The X-Plane scenery tools are open source; their bug database is open too, so that anyone working on the project can see the status of all bugs.

We recently merged the scenery tools bug base into the gateway bug base; in the process I audited about 70 open WED bugs, and finally closed all of the bugs where the original filer did not provide adequate materials to reproduce the bug. Typically these bugs had been sitting, waiting for user feedback for at least a year.

I’m looking at the feature request list next; it is also about 70 items long and needs some auditing. The old bug base had about a million “levels” of bug status, so it was easy to leave a bug in some partial state and ignore it forever. The new bug base does not, so I think I need to either set the feature request as something we want or kill it.

One problem: a lot of the WED feature requests aren’t feature requests at all; they are requests for changes in the underlying scenery system. E.g. if you say:

Allow WED to edit the height of the underlying terrain of the global scenery.

The only possible response is “unable”; WED cannot do this because the DSF file format cannot include this information; if you had some way to edit such data in WED, there would be no place to save it in the scenery pack that is built.

Really the request needs to be two-part:

  1. Allow overlay DSFs to change the underlying mesh heights of the global scenery underneath them.
  2. Provide an interface and exporter in WED to export the new “mesh modifier” added to the scenery in point (1).

The first change is a change to X-Plane and its file formats; the second one is to the scenery tools.

I don’t blame authors for filing the bugs against WED – as far as authors are concerned, WED is their interface to the scenery system; they want to see something new in WED, and if I do (1) and not (2), the job is not done.

But…the bug base is also my todo list, and having an item on the wrong todo list is a good way for it to get “lost”. If I look at mid-term feature requests for the scenery system in X-Plane, I will not find anything in WED.

I haven’t figured out what I am going to do with this, but one possibility is to simply move all valid feature requests on the underlying scenery system out of the WED bug base and into the X-Plane one. This will have the side effect of taking them private, but if the feature request is a legitimate one, I don’t think the original poster will need to provide more information.

About Ben Supnik

Ben is a software engineer who works on X-Plane; he spends most of his days drinking coffee and swearing at the computer -- sometimes at the same time.

15 comments on “I Nuked Your Bug

  1. At the risk of opening a can of worms, Ben, I have to say that it seems counterintuitive to mix feature requests with bugs. There are improvements to be considered as well as outright new items. But if I’ve thought of something in the past, I would not have considered filing a creative contribution as a bug. Perhaps there should be a differentiation or a question when filing a bug: Is this a bug, an improvement or a completely new feature that is missing from X-Plane? I realize everyone has their pet improvements and features that aren’t in X-Plane. Some are reasonable, some would require a complete rewrite of the rendering engine. But mixing them in with the bugs? I think the same portal could be used, but with some sort of automated “traffic cop” so that people with good, smart ideas aren’t put off from offering something beneficial.

    1. Having features and bugs in the same bug base is pretty standard in most bug bases for products; in our case, the bug has a type, “bug” or “new feature” that makes it easy to see what’s what.

  2. Thanks for the email updates on my bug and WED (not X-P) feature requests. It’s nice to know one is never ignored — merely a couple of years in limbo 🙂

  3. It would be nice to have WED 1.4 ASAP if it will let us handle jp2 tiles. We are pretty much stuck on MAC platforms with tifs not working properly, at least in my case.

  4. Sorry for my english))
    I look forward to the opportunity to edit the mesh – that are lacking at the moment. Anyway, Ben, my friend .. When it appear full support properties of materials ??
    When can I use many of the properties of materials in FSX ??? Reflection, glare, enviroment .. look at the plane – and it looks like plastic, not metal. In the yard in 2015 ..

    1. Someday we will have better materials! But they will __NEVER__ be like FSX! This is because FS X’s material model allows for physically impossible materials; we will use a model that is physically based.

  5. JP2 can be easily converted to GeoTIFF via various free tools. GeoJasper is one of them — and can be run in a batch to mass convert files in a few minutes between the formats on MAC. Surprised you didn’t already know this.

  6. Can we please see better ground handling? GA planes behave so unrealisitc during taxiing. Even the lightest wind can rotate them on ground. What’s wrong with the nose wheel?
    IMHO its a shame that there are so much improvements but XP lacks such basic things.

    Please hear me.
    Thank you.

    1. This is definitely the wrong place to ask for some feature. You need to visit the site Ben is talking about to do that.

  7. I miss the old bugbase already 🙁

    Is there any way the new … thing … can be less ‘blog’ looking, and more ‘list’ looking? Another theme or something?

    Also, do you think a vote up/down thing be of any value?

    1. Jira’s not quite as “very best of 1997 internet tech” as Mantis was, but you can always disable CSS. 😉 Experiment with the various queries and list views – I yelled at Chris for a while when he brought Jira in, but I’ve found that pretty much every power user feature I want is actually in there somewhere.

      I don’t think vote up/down is terribly useful; most issues are limited by the architectural issues, dependencies on X-Plane, and cost of engineering. Having more users go “but I -really really- want this” doesn’t change the equation that much. We also already here a lot of the same requests over and over again.

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