Things have been quiet with the mobile product recently but that’s only because we have been working on some new features that we didn’t want to talk about until we had them running reasonably well on a variety of devices. Well, we have made some great progress and now I’m happy to start talking about it.

What’s the big secret?

So what have we been working on…..? Taking the entire X-Plane 10 Desktop flight model and aircraft systems! That means all of the physics, all of the systems, all of the datarefs, as well as 99.9% of the panel system and instruments*. I cannot emphasize enough how unprecedented this is on a mobile device…and it will be free of course. Read on for specifics…

Flight Model History

Let’s rewind time back to 2007 when the original iPhone was being released. We had about 25MB of memory to work with and a very limited processor. There was absolutely no choice but to prune the flight physics and all of the systems back to the bare minimum. This has been our mobile product’s foundation for the past 9 years…a reasonably good approximation of flight physics and systems that is adequate for mobile devices…but very limiting for us as developers and also a bit limiting for users as well. Lately, we’ve been moving over pieces of the desktop flight model a little bit at a time (for example, Airliners required a better slat and flap system) but it’s time consuming and tedious.

Where we’re headed…

Over the last couple of months we’ve been reorganizing our systems and now have most of the desktop systems running on our mobile product…even on the older devices that we support like the original iPad Mini/iPad 2/iPhone 4s. We’re still actively integrating the systems so it’s not ready for release just yet, but a lot of the work is done.

So what does this mean for users? Archimedes said “Give me a lever and a place to stand and I will move the earth.” The mobile product sharing the flight model and systems with desktop is a HUGE….MASSIVE….LEVER. It means that mobile instantly gets an FAA Approved flight model…the same one that real pilots train on. An instantly improved autopilot, no more bounced landings (unless you fly like Ben…in which case you’ll still bounce ;)) full electrical, hydraulic, engine, prop, fuel, radios, navigation, pressurization, starter, trim and gear systems.

With all of those systems available in their entirety, it means that the beautiful 3D cockpits that our artists have been developing can come to life with interactivity to touch and manipulate all of the same systems that you can on desktop. Start/Shutdown the aircraft the right way, tune all of the radios, operate the full autopilot etc.

This is the symbiotic relationship that we’ve been talking about since the launch of V10 Mobile. Mobile feature development will improve the Desktop product, and Desktop features will trickle down into the Mobile product.

When is this happening?

Soon? I expect much of this to be done and the first update to happen by the spring for iOS and Android. It will not be done in one release but over several.

The release schedule and contents are still not completely concrete at this point but if I were to take a guess, I’d say that the first release will include the complete flight model. This will be an incremental update for end users because while the flight dynamics will change, the interaction will not change much. It will have the same simple 3 button autopilot and minimal interactivity with the 3D cockpit.

The second and subsequent releases will start to expose much of this new system to users. I would expect to see a new 2D autopilot UI that exposes the complexity of the desktop autopilot…heading, altitude, speed, LNAV, VNAV etc. I would also expect that some of the aircraft panels will have been updated with manipulators that allow you to start touching all kinds of buttons and knobs.

With this kind of leverage, we can release new features faster than ever before. I’ll have more details on that specifically when the time is appropriate.

*We will not have a working 430/530 on mobile in the short term nor will we have a few very uncommon and extreme instruments.

About Chris Serio

Chris is an electrical engineer and commercial pilot who got roped into software development by Ben because misery loves company.

39 comments on “Major Mobile Changes Coming!

  1. Great work, guys! Nice way to make the mobile app feel more integrated with the X-Plane family. Looking forward to seeing where this leads.

    Any thoughts on a world map?

  2. Meh,

    I’m not really sure what the motivation is to divert development resources into this. I suppose it is a cash stream.

    I’d rather see these resources used to continue the improvement of X-Plane and maybe get it caught up to 10 year old competitor FSX.

    1. The motivation is to provide the best product that we can for our mobile users. The mobile product has been around for almost 9 years now and it’s not going anywhere. In many ways, the desktop product would not exist without it and vice-versa.

    2. Desktop shares code with mobile. Mobile gets more features!
      Mobile shares code with desktop. Desktop gets more features!

      There have not yet been any heavily visible mobile-based features in desktop, but the integration is already well underway in BOTH directions, so we already know that this is a matter of when, not if.

      When a mobile-based feature becomes a big ticket item in desktop, I will be sure to note it!

      (That way mobile users can say “I’m not really sure what the motivatin is to divert development resources from mobile into desktop.” 😉

      1. As a desktop-only flight simmer I see this announcement as technically exciting, but practically irrelevant. I wouldn’t want to fly on an iPhone 4S. Maybe on an iPad Pro. But clearly there seems to be some demand, so I guess it is good news.

        I’m currently developing on iOS (and OSX) exclusively so I’d be interested in the ratio of Android vs iOS revenue, i.e. dollar ratio, not actual user figures because everyone knows Android is a software pirate’s wet dream. I’m trying to figure out whether it would be viable for me to support Android.

  3. I was really looking forward to XP10m coming to Android, but felt let down with the quality of the app so far. It has some really poor flight models like the Baron’s rudder behaviour (it’ll positively climb indefinitely whilst knife edging), control interface is still lacking (I can’t reach the centrally positioned rudder on a Note 4), and it has various bugs like the constant breaking ALT and VSI instruments again on the Note4 specifically.
    I currently find myself choosing Aerofly2 instead.
    I’m looking forward to seeing the improvements, unfortunately I’m just not as optimistic after the first release.
    Good luck with the new improvements.

  4. Great, It is a great giant leap forward in flight simulator in mobile.
    This is more of revolutionary!
    Then are there any missions added?

  5. the changes on flight caractheristis and making the bounce disapear, will change the mobile sim in an arcade game, where anyone can land anything, anywhere? are this changes gone fix the rudder issue on several planes? better sounds will come with the first update? are we gone have at certine time real weather conditions as it is in desktop version? snow? the controller will still be usefull? for example, for now, with an controller, is the only way to trim the aircraft! proper atc maybe sometime? will the new platform or design, is gone improve the multiplayer aswell? more players in same time?or this is regarding only gamecenter?

    1. I think you’ve misunderstood. There’s an issue now where no matter how softly you land an airliner, it bounces. That’s the bounce that I’m claiming should be corrected.

      I don’t know what “rudder issue” you’re referring to. There are no sound changes in this update. There are no weather changes in this update. The controller is unaffected. There is no ATC in this update. There are no changes to multiplayer in this update.

      1. “There’s an issue now where no matter how softly you land an airliner, it bounces”

        With these airliners is possible to landing without bounce with any pratcice, Sir. I already posted any videos to yours facebook site about it. And imho this feature was the main virtue of this simulator.

        “I don’t know what “rudder issue” you’re referring to. There are no sound changes in this update.”

        If i step only the rudder to right for example, a yaw move will beginning. The riht wing will slower and the left wing will faster. This speed difference make a roll move too. With full step the nose beginning to move down and the Cessna and the Cub only(!) make a right dive turn.

        All the other planes make a complete right snap roll=horizontal autorotation, because the too hard rudder effect the right wing is stalling. This move isn’t too lucky at a final approach in crosswind and low altitude. This is the “rudder issue” as Arrow said, Sir.

        1. You may have been able to land without a bounce but that doesn’t mean the physics were as accurate as they should be. The new flight model is more accurate. It models more forces and does so more accurately so it’s going to be a step in the right direction. The sim is not going to lose “its virtue” here…it’s only getting better. I’m not sure what to say about your other issue. You’ll just have to try the new physics and decide for yourself.

  6. i think that “flight simulation”is noy a truly xperience for casual mobile market…..

  7. This is fantastic news for me as a mobile only user (wish my laptop could run the desktop version). I really love this app, very good job. My wishes have been two fold. Primarily more areas and greater distances in which to fly and greater control over the aircraft systems, such as setting OBS for VOR nav. Glad to hear these things will be coming to the product. thsnk you

  8. When can we expect more airports (such as LAX and JFK), Weather like snow, Ground Proximity Warning System, and more missions, jets and liveries to be added?

        1. There are already NINE different views. It’s getting a bit annoying to even cycle through them. I’m reluctant to keep adding more views until we have a better mechanism for users to directly pick the one that they want.

      1. And more realistic sounding jets (since I noticed all the jetliners sound the exact same.)

  9. Will planes developed for X-Plane desktop eventually be able to be ported to the mobile version?

    I disagree that it is a waste of time to concentrate on the mobile version. I would not be in simming if it wasn’t for it. I am an instrument rated pilot and the mobile version is an excellent tool for keeping your instrument flying skills sharp.

    1. Do you mean for users to port themselves? Because ALL of our current and future planes are desktop planes that are ported to mobile.

  10. It would be nice if users could do it but if not, maybe they could submit them for conversion.

  11. There is a sneak peak picture of 10.50 on facebook, can you blog about 10.50 ?


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