Over the last few days we posted a new version of our installer and X-Plane 10.40 beta 7. What follows is a big pile of notes about all of the new versions.

Fixes for Digital Download

The new installer and 10.40 beta 7 fix a pile of problems we found with digital download. Some major fixes:

  • Installer crashing with old Intel drivers. (If you have a laptop with an NVidia card for games, the Intel driver may still kick in for the installer, and it may have an old driver that’s not upgradable.)
  • Problems with computers running Windows in a language other than English.
  • Problems authenticating.

X-Plane 10.40 beta 6 also had a bug where, for the very first aircraft start after entering your product key, the sim would still be in demo mode – change airports and demo mode would be gone. This was due to code using stale cached information to know if X-Plane was in demo mode, but it made things very confusing for new users. Beta 7 fixes this.

Important: if you have a digital download product key and X-Plane requires you to enter your serial number over and over and over, even when you do not delete preferences, please contact X-Plane tech support! A small number of users are affected by a bug in the code that checks product keys; since this bug isn’t reproducible on computers within Laminar Research, we’re looking for users who see this problem and can send us logs.

Other Stuff in X-Plane 10.40 beta 7

The normal X-Plane beta process goes something like this for a “major” beta.

  • Early betas – putting in a fair amount of new code and large-scale restructuring to try to address feature requests and problems.
  • Middle of beta – fixing bugs, often the high risk and tricky ones.
  • End of beta – try to touch as little as possible. Unobtrusive bugs, small changes, nothing crazy.

The idea is to cut down the level of code bashing over time so that by the end of beta we’re not adding a new bug for every bug we fix.

X-Plane 10.40 beta 6 is a little bit atypical in that it is also the first release to have digital download. Since beta 4, we cut down how much code we were changing to try to get digital download released, since the servers and installer became ready to ship.

The result is that beta 7 contains the rest of that “large scale restructuring” and other code change that you’d expect from an early beta – it’s a significantly bigger jump in code than you’d normally expect from a beta that’s this many weeks old.

I am hoping that beta 7 represents the last of this kind of “change a ton” code and that we’ll get into stability mode shortly. But in the meantime:

  • If you make a third party add-on, you should definitely plan to test one of beta 7 or 8 for compatibility in the next week. (Since beta 7 has a bug where the FMS is broken with certain planes, beta 8 might be a better candidate.)
  • There are definitely still bugs we have reports for that are not fixed for beta 7. Check the release notes; if your fix isn’t listed, there’s no need to re-report, it means we just haven’t gotten to it.
  • If you put in a feature request and we said “yeah, we’ll get that into 10.40”, we haven’t forgotten – I have a big backlog of datarefs to add, for example.

I think we still have several more weeks of beta; inserting the release of digital download has stretched the process out. How long beta lasts will be a question of how quickly we can stabilize.

New Commands

X-Plane 10.40 beta 7 adds a big pile of new commands. I will try to produce a comprehensive list later; one of our goals for our own fleet was to have a command to change any control that is all of:

  • An in-cockpit control.
  • Has more than two positions.
  • Has discrete movement (e.g. up a notch, down a notch).

So besides commands added by the request of users, a number of commands were added to add “coverage” to the cockpit.

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.

48 comments on “Digital Download and X-Plane 10.40 Beta 7

  1. Thanks Ben. On the closing of the 49002 port what are the devs to use for third party items (I use my iPad) like the FF 777/757 external FMC and moving maps and I think XAirports use it? it has been none useable for a while now… do we need a dedicated channel for tablet computers? SD

    Oh on the last post thread you noted that what if the Dog ate the paper with the serial number on it? But what if the Dog read the serial number before eating the paper and could tell you what it was 🙂

  2. I take it the new commands aren’t in yet and will go into Commands.txt? Any changes to current FMS functionality or SDK?

    1. The XPLMSetFMSEntryLatLon() function is broken in beta 7. This causes the FMS of all FF757, FF777 and JRollon CRJ to not work, likely also the CIVA addon installed in some 737s and 727s from FlyJSim. It’s fixed for Beta 8.

  3. Oh they’re in! Currently SASL crashes if you reset the plugin with its built in command on, say, airport change. What could fix that would be a Laminar command: sim/operation/RELOAD_aircraft, which we could call when appropriate. On first glance I thought sim/operation/load_aircraft would do it but it’s not a reload.

    1. That’s something that needs to be fixed in SASL, not by X-Plane installing a kludge to reload twice.
      Also, you can already see an airport load in the plugin before it happens: the message XPLM_MSG_AIRPORT_LOADED is broadcasted to all plugins so they can brace themselves for a reposition. That’s how the 777/757/CRJ FMS detect they must re-initialize the inertial reference units.

  4. Hi Ben

    I have some questions regarding OpenGL changes for the Mac. In the X-Plane log.txt (inside the X-Plane folder) i see that X-Plane 10.40b6 is still using OpenGL 2.1 while the current OS X Operating System allows to use OpenGL 4.1 (such as for Graphics Card like the AMD Radeon HD 6750M for example).

    – Will there be improvements in OpenGL with X-Plane 10.40 on Mac OS X (if not will it be in a release cycle of X-Plane 10)?
    – Older machines such as the Mac Pro 2006 are stuck with Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard, which means they can only use OpenGL 2.1. Will X-Plane scale the Display features automatically down if it detects an older OpenGL version?
    – Will a newer OpenGL version improve the performance or features of displayed effects?

    Thank You!
    Jorge

    1. At this point:
      – We have no plans of using the ‘core’ profile on OS X to get to OpenGL 4.1. The problem is that (unlike Windows and Linux) Apple does not offer GL_ARB_compatibility. Therefore, plugins that use OpenGL (which is a wide range of plugins) would not be able to run in the 4.1 context.

      While it is technically possible to build a ‘bridged’ design (where x-plane runs both versions of GL to keep plugins working), that design is complex enough that we have to look at something more radical, e.g. X-Plane uses Metal and plugins use GL, instead of X-Plane uses GL 4.1 core and plugins use GL 2.1 legacy. If we have to bridge, we might as well use an API that gets us fixes to a number of fundamental GL issues.

      – This change is far enough off that we will have dropped support for 10.6 Snow Leopard before it happens. (Yes, this means such a change will not happen in the 10.x version run.) 10.6 is very, very old already.

      – I do believe that features available in newer GL (e.g. uniform buffer objects and multisample framebuffers) can improve framerate.

      So – as of now there isn’t a performance loss to being on OS X, but in the time between use of new GL features and the time where we adopt new APIs, there may be a performance gap.

      Frankly, this is pretty moot – there is -already- a performance gap between Mac and Win – go run your Mac in boot camp and compare framerate with the OEM driver from AMD or Nvidia.

  5. Ben,

    Has the new features you mentioned coming in b6, was that referring to digital download and other things already here, or have these items been stalled.

    thanks

      1. From July 1st

        X-Plane 10.40 Beta 5 Is Out
        Posted on July 1, 2015 by Ben Supnik
        X-Plane 10.40 beta 5 is out – this fixes my breaking the zoom wheel, and has a few small loose ends tied up. We have a bunch of new stuff to get into beta 6, maybe this weekend .

        Thought maybe new in sim visual features

        1. I was either referring to digital download, or the big pile of restructuring with a bunch of new commands from Austin – those were the two big things pending at the time.

          At this point there are no plans to put _more_ stuff into 10.40 than we already have.

  6. I was under the impression that there was a major city-autogen-upgrade in the works since – well – 2+ years. Now it seems to me that it will not materialize.
    Priorities may have changed or I might have missed something or gotten it all wrong in the first place (aka wishful thinking). Can you please shed a little light on this matter.

    Thanks in advance
    Flo

  7. Hope you get to implement so that one can choose runways in the quickload menu at startup.

    1. This would be great – I mean to choose runway or parking place at the beginning!

      regards,

      Carsten

  8. my xplane was not used for some months, today i install last beta and i have a poor performance, what happend? do you know that?

    1. Juan,

      I think you should post this in the forums first, but if I were you, I would have:
      1. Install latest graphical drivers.
      2. Install the latest stable release, and not the latest Beta.
      3. Tweak the “Rendering” options.
      4. check OS Memory usage and close any application not related to x-plane

      Hope that would help.

      Saar

  9. Question about hardware, i want to build a dream machine. Should i pick xeon cpu or i7 and dual cpu or single. (I want to be sure it will support future version and still be a killer)

    What would give me more power ? Clock speed or the number of core or both. I am planning to put 2k$ + for a complete system. I already have an imac but x-plane 10.40 is getting so nice i want to push it more 😉

    Any advice
    Thank you and keep up the good work it is jaw droping

    1. I can’t answer this – it’s a question of how much you care about keeping your money. I can say that clock speed is more important than huge numbers of cores.

  10. Thank you for all the hard work on the 10.40 beta run some great improvements.
    However for Mac users wanting to create video the avi format is not good .It is not possible to quickly view the movie from the the OS finder anymore ( i.e quick look, pressing space bar) and unfortunately the video quality is not as good as before.I realise this is probably not a major issue right now-but not great for XP mac users who regularly create a high volume of video.

  11. Hi Ben,
    I’ve read this…

    Problems with computers running Windows in a language other than English.

    I hope you mean that finally you will solve the ridiculous ATIS problem, that try to spell English using the local language settings from Windows, so just imagine a German a French or a Spanish trying to read english without the right pronunciation. The result is you MANGLE the english language in seconds, and sound ridiculous. So ridiculous that you cannot tune the ATIS because you are ashamed people listen to it.

    The proof, here:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mwuQ2nBXUfE

    Information – spelled as – INFORMACHION
    Runway – spelled as – RUNGUAY
    You have – spelled as – YU ABE

    And more beutiful gifts like that.

    1. The fix was -not- an incorrect accent on Windows with the ATIS – that bug is still open.
      The bug was the sim crashing if the user’s machine had an unsupported language default.

    1. I have i7 with 16gb and a 500gb SSD loading takes about a minute or so, maybe something is wrong with your computer. If you think it’s a bug you should file a bug report, but not here in a blog post.

  12. Good morning Ben!
    You said:”I have a big backlog of datarefs to add, for example.”
    Are there also datarefs for sling load position in that backlog?

    Have a nice day!
    Vita

  13. Hi!
    I run the old installer/updater and it does not found any update over Beta6.
    I run the new installer/updater and it returned an error before starting to download the update informations (Error 2:404)…

    How to solve this?

  14. I suppose that “DD” version don’t fit for users who have more than 1 computer. After all, the DVD version allow them to run XP on the 2 computers by using DVD1 and have flying with pleasure during some hours. How to do this by “DD” version, I haven’t understand.

    1. As of now, that is correct – the official policy has always been one license, one computer – the idea is that the product is naturally more expensive for people doing ‘high value’ applications like building cockpits and doing commercial training.

      In practice, this is strongly enforced in the commercial space with USB keys (which makes sense – if you’re building a $100k sim out of 5 copies of x-plane, the cost of 5 USB keys is still much cheaper than most solutions in the market), while it is weakly enforced at home (the DVD copy protection is _not_ hard to circumvent).

      So we have to decide what to do with digital download, which has the same policy as the ‘official’ policy of DVDs but doesn’t match what people wer doing with DVDs in practice.

      I would definitely say this: _do not_ buy one digital download key expecting to be able to use it on multiple machines.

  15. With b7 I get the elevator trim display in the Cirrus TheJet misplaced in both 2d and 3d cockpits. Might have been b6 too but I don’;t recall flying that plane – I basically use it to test new airports etc as it;s so light to load and easy to fly. I’ve deleted the plane and updated via the installer but it is still wrong so I don’t think it’s me. Anyone else getting this?

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