I Wear My Sun Glasses at Night

And so should you if you use beta 16. X-Plane 11 public beta 16 is out now and fixes a whole pile of bugs. It also introduces one new big one: in HDR mode the overhead panel of the cockpit is totally lit up. Alex reported this to me about an hour after the beta went live; it's caused by changing where in the drawing process the moon is drawn.

This will be fixed for a beta 17 in the next 24 hours; you can work around it by turning your effects down to medium. Please do not report this bug, as it's already being fixed. (Do report anything else you find though!)

There are some things fixed in beta 16 though!

  • Clouds should be faster. If you are having performance problems with the clouds, please re-report a bug against beta 16.
  • We fixed a lot of bugs for authors. Third party developers: please read the release notes carefully - we've tried to document every change we've made. The new FMS should be a lot more compatible, as should various parts of the flight model.
  • A number of rendering artifacts are fixed: sky banding, etc.

Beta 17 (to fix the lit up cockpit) will likely be the last beta of the X-Plane 11.0 series.

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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.
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67 Responses to I Wear My Sun Glasses at Night

  1. Gustavo says:

    PB17 will fix the sky color banding effect?

  2. hawkeye124 says:

    Supper job to the LR team for all the hard work put into this beta series! Very much appreciated.

    Now, if we can only have all that nighttime cockpit illumination shifted over to light up the ground at night 🙂

  3. Daniela says:

    Ben, do you know if the "visible stripes in the water" defect will be fixed before release? I think the XP10 water was awesome (FFT I guess?) but the new water doesn't look that good and it's not the volumetric water we were shown on very early betas either, so why don't roll back to XP10's?

    Thanks!

    • Daniela says:

      We also get this strange bug where the reflection of distant mountains on the water is way brighter than the mountains themselves. And yes, before you scold me, yes I've filed a bug for that one too 😛

      Sorry to panic but the "b17 could be the last beta" frightened me a bit! 🙂

    • Ben Supnik says:

      No change in the water for final.

      • Elios says:

        yeah new water looks awful you really should just go back to the 10 water for now....

        it looks like the waves are 10 feet high all the time

  4. John says:

    Horrible FPS. Report is out. Engine fix work.

  5. Aiden says:

    Hey Ben, thanks for the sky banding fix. I was wondering if you guys have though about updating the Earth orbit Textures normal maps and/or red coloring. It's pretty noticeable from about 30-40 thousand feet and up. I was also curious if you guys have a public facing tool that could generate new normal maps, so that one could create their own textures and new lands, like Antarctica from the Maps2XPlane project.

    • Ben Supnik says:

      The earth orbit texture normal maps can be fixed - you should file a bug, but I'm not sure if what you're seeing is definitely the normal maps. The coloring is a shader bug and it's a rats nest that I'm going to have to sort out for a patch.

      RenderFarm is open source and can generate the code, but it's not particularly user friendly. Someone who can figure out how to compile the source can probably figure out how to use it though.

      • Aiden says:

        I guess I was thinking about the resolution when I mentioned the normal maps (Which do account for the height map LOD, right?). Which is more a preference , not so much a bug. However it's good to know you know about the red tint. Does your LOD pipeline allow for an easy increase in resolution & quality?

        • Ben Supnik says:

          It's not that bad to bump the far planet view - I have a TODO to look at using a higher res mesh and being a little bit smarter about how we build it - the one we have now was designed to meet v10 constraints that might not still apply.

          There's a bug now where the far planet view is visible from close up sometimes, and it's ugly. That's on the short list - might make final, if not, it'll be, like, 11.01.

          • Steve.Wilson says:

            It is indeed. In mountainous regions, it's like the mountains are double imaged due to subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) differences between the far planet mesh and the normal terrain.

            Possible interim solution: increasing the near drawing distance, where the terrain starts to transition from solid to transparent for that blending effect that mimics distance?

          • Ben Supnik says:

            This is due to some kind of incorrect cross-fade between the LODs - it's on my list of stuff to look at.

  6. Frank Martinelli says:

    You are doing a fantastic job with XP11. Cheers.

  7. Pablo Bressan says:

    Thank you for the update! It's nice to have moon, sun and stars now! FPS are ok too!

    Now the only thing I want to ask (already filed the "bug") is about the map behavior. Is it normal to reset every time you close the map windows?, I mean, if you zoom in the map and select an approach, as soon as you close the map window the map will be reset when open again.

    Good work!

    • Ben Supnik says:

      We have a bug note to fix this but it'll probably come in a patch shortly after we ship. I agree that the resetting behavior is annoying, as is the pause when the map reloads itself.

  8. rms59 says:

    That's sad.... about the water not changing. The 172 on floats bounces around unrealistically in only 6 inches of water wave. It's nothing like the real thing. Hopefully, a third party will have a fix.

    • Ben Supnik says:

      Wait, let me be clear. The water RENDERING is not going to change before we ship. If you're seeing the physics be screwed up, well, that's not going to get fixed before shipping either, but we need good bug reports on water physics bugs.

  9. Zhuikov Denis says:

    Thank you guys for an amazing update!
    Ben, is it possible to give us a hint on when/whether you are fixing the night city lights popping out in the distance?

  10. Gustavo says:

    Engine data for MD-80 is wrong.

  11. Brendan Keith says:

    Hey Ben,

    As this may be the final beta before RC time, I had reported that the 530/430 the RNG buttons are backwards. For example if on the 430 you push the right RNG button on the panel you zoom in. However, if you pop out the panel and push the same button you zoom out.

    Do I need to refile this bug as it is the same with beta 16 or is it still on the list?

    Cheers,

    • Marius says:

      You should probably mention which aircraft this happens with.

    • Yes, that is (sadly) intentional. When the new GPS was introduced in X-Plane 10.30, we found that the old 2d instruments had the button commands mapped backwards. So the choice was either to break ALL old panels, or keep the command mapping reversed for compatibility. Sadly that means if you are making a new instrument in 3d, you need to reverse the commands tied to the RNG buttons, just like the old 2d instrument always was.

  12. Aggggh lost all my lovely replays, part of the process, but it hurts... My undercarriage doors on my Bonanza work again!, the GA was stuck in the hangar for months and I can fly at night again.

    Life is good 🙂

  13. Bob Marsh says:

    How about making the check box control for ground taxi arrows operational. The arrows have been missing since the first beta release when I filed this bug. It would seem that its fix should be elemental. Guessing the names of taxilines at unfamiliar airfields is a real puzzle if you are doing a lot of cross country flying.

    • Bob Marsh says:

      No, I am wrong... the arrows are there. They just can't be seen in the daytime because the brightness of the ground in the daytime is enough to overpower their very substantial transparency! If you look very carefully for them at the ends of the runway, you can see them when they appear over the black of the rubber marks there. I bet that you can see them at night. They just need to be made more opaque so they can be seen clearly in the daytime.

    • Ben Supnik says:

      I'm looking at it now. They're not missing - they are REALLY light when HDR is on.

      The fix is not at all elemental - it's a problem in the color space of one part of the partially rendered frame at the time they are rendered.

  14. Amazing Update and lot of bugs fixed !!! thx Ben

    Are you able to remove the Anchor and Glider cable messages in the next updates (checkbox). Much better for video recordings. The same as you have done with replay mode. Anyway, this simulator has a best and most of potenial for the future .
    Testet today water operation. Very nice now with the Cessna (Float).

  15. Peter Allen says:

    Thanks for all the amazing work on this and the great sense of humour displayed throughout [Monty Pythonesque at times :)]

    FPS is good especially with the new couds (which lokk fabulous) - set up a very stromy stratus layer last night and it had virtually no affect on the frame rate.

    It really is a wow experience.

    The two visuals which I hope will be fixed in the 11 run is the water matrix ( I know, I know not before final - but at some point?) and the lights showing through even very thick layers of cloud.

    But bravo - 11.b17 is overall pretty awesome.

    cheers
    Peter

  16. Peter Raslik says:

    Can you please also edit Known Bugs section at the beginning of release notes? Number of bugs are bugs no longer. For those that still remains, you do not plan to fix them before final? As you plan to enter RC stage, I would assume your intention was to deal with those first.

  17. Peter says:

    Thanks for the new beta Ben, X-plane is really starting to look incredible. I love the new clouds, the stars, moon, sun, lighting system etc.

    However, one issue is still bugging me, and I filed a bug report for it, including a little movie clip which shows what's going on. The cloud shadows still flicker on my system, and it makes me wonder if I'm only one to whom this is happening. It's quite a jarring experience, and it's a real shame,m because I LOVE the new clouds, and the shadows look great too if only they'd behave a bit.

    Is there any chance this is going to to be fixed? Is it my hardware setup, and if so, what should I change to make it go away?

    Thanks in advance!

  18. XPlanePort says:

    Ben,

    Thank you, and congratulations on the latest beta! As you already know, it is great!

    I have a question:

    I am developing my latest Towered airport with all the AI features (ATC Taxi Routes, ATC Flows, Ramp Starts).

    One problem with AI (and there are some other problems related to AI) that I see is with AI twin engine props.

    When they start their engines (at Ramp Starts), and try to taxy, they start to spin in place (One main gear is stuck on the ground). After several spins, they would free themselves and taxi normally.

    I know that the problem was reported (at some point) with user controlled aircraft.

    So, my question is:

    If the problem (main gear stuck on the ground) was identified and fixed for user controlled aircraft (and I know that at some point you mentioned that AI has now the same physics as user controlled planes), should the stuck on the ground problem be automatically fixed for AI?

    Or, if user controlled aircraft physics is fixed (for the problem), was the AI missed or was it omitted on purpose (until all the physics are fixed for user controlled planes, and at that time move all the fixes to AI)?

    With all the above, I understand that the AI is not complete. What plans do you have for AI, if any at this time?

    • Ben Supnik says:

      So...I don't know what the cause of this bug is. I would expect that IF the aircraft can be flown by a human, and the aircraft ships with X-Plane, the AI shouldn't spin it in circles. If you can report this against b16 with one of our aircraft and the AI driving, preferably at an airport already on the gateway, that would be helpful.

      • Brendan Keith says:

        I reported this too a beta back when I was working on an airport. I had three AI aircraft spinning non stop that were both aircraft from xplane and add-ons. Also found a lot of aircraft would double up and use the same parking space. I re-saved the scenery from WED and it seems to work better.Now have only seen the Cessna do 2 spins this morning before heading out to taxi.

        While trying to watch for this I did notice that the stock 747 AI cannot land. It flares at around 45 degrees while on approach.

      • XPlanePort says:

        I am trying to figure out what causes (consistently) the spinning before I file the bug. Sometimes, when I load at an airport with ramp starts, they (default X-Plane AI aircraft) don’t spin.
        Trying to do different scenarios (number of IA aircraft, wind direction and speed relative to the parked AI aircraft, etc.)

        The only thing that I am noticing at the moment, is when AI aircraft starts the engines before getting taxi instructions, they will spin while waiting for the taxi instructions.

        I did two tests (reloading X-Plane in between). Two different results (same ramp starts), But it looks like it is consistent.

        First Test:

        1. Clear weather.
        2. Four (4) AI aircrafts: Beechcraft Baron 58 (Laminar Research) and Three King Air C90 (Laminar Research).

        3. Two AI aircrafts loads on the ground at two (out of many) Ramp Starts: One Beechcraft Baron 58 (Laminar Research) and One King Air C90 (Laminar Research).

        4. The Three King Air C90 (Laminar Research) (without engines running) gets clearance instructions from ATC.

        5. The King Air C90 (Laminar Research) starts the engines and starts spinning.

        6. The Beechcraft Baron 58 (Laminar Research) (without engines running) gets clearance instructions from ATC.

        7. The spinning King Air C90 (Laminar Research) gets taxi instructions from ATC, stops spinning and taxi normally.

        8. The Beechcraft Baron 58 (Laminar Research) (without engines running) gets taxi instructions from ATC.

        9. The Beechcraft Baron 58 (Laminar Research) starts the engines and starts taxi normally (without a single spin).

        Second test (new x-plane session after completely shutting down x-plane after the first test).

        1. The same as First Test
        2. The same as First Test
        3. The same as First Test
        4. The same as First Test
        5. The same as First Test
        6. The same as First Test
        7. The same as First Test
        8. The Beechcraft Baron 58 (Laminar Research) starts the engines (while ATC is stuck at instructing taxi instructions (over and over) the taxiing King Air C90 (Laminar Research)) and start to spin waiting for the stuck ATC to give it taxi instructions.

        9. As soon as the taxiing King Air C90 (Laminar Research) gets to active runway, the ground ATC stopes repeating instructions to the King Air C90 (Laminar Research).

        10. ATC gives taxi instructions to the spinning Beechcraft Baron 58 (Laminar Research)

        11. The spinning Beechcraft Baron 58 (Laminar Research) stops spinning and taxi normally.

        So, what it looks like from the above observations, the spinning is only happening if engines are running and no taxi instructions are given to the spinning aircraft.

        Two problems complementing each other:

        1. Fix the ATC getting stuck, give taxi instructions before engine start: No Spinning.
        2. Fix AI controlled aircraft that is waiting for taxi instructions with engines running: Who cares for the stuck ATC 🙂

        Fix the both problems: I care 🙂

        I hope the above observations will help you fix the problem at some point (if not for the 11.00 release).

        Thank you!

        • XPlanePort says:

          One more additional test I just did based on Brendan Keith comment regarding seeing Cessna 172 spin.

          Loaded only AI Cessna 172s
          See the same as described in my first and the second tests.

          If Cessna starts engine before getting taxi instructions, it will spin.
          But in this test, ATC was not stuck, it was busy talking to the first 2 out of 3 Cessna 172s.
          As soon as it gave taxi instruction to the 3rd spinning Cessna, the 3rd Cessna stopped spinning and started taxi to the active runway.

          So, my first thought that it was only twins, is wring.

          P.S. I did try Jets, but they all start in the air.

  19. Max says:

    In X-Plane 10 I replaced my clouds with the 3rd party cloud replacement SkyMaxx. Now in X-Plane 11 I'm back with the default clouds and I really love them - view distance is really far and the effects when I fly through a cloud in XP11 - absolutely stunning. Great work!

    Performance has improved in comparison to the last beta (from avg. 28 fps to avg. 32 fps for me in similar conditions), but I still get sim "freezes" for a millisecond or so when I fly through an area with lots of clouds.

  20. Michel Karam says:

    Was the issue of the nose wheel tiller not working solved? Otherwise at low speed no way to taxi with Jets.

  21. sebastian says:

    I`ve just reported a bug that happens when you fly through Clouds at night (at 2600ft) with overcast Setting. the landscape and scenery basically Looks like a infrared view through a advanced weapon System 😉 as in Call of Duty 😉 I`ve attached screenshots of the `effect`, I don`t know if this has been reported yet.
    Thanks for your hard work, enjoying your latest updates a lot.

  22. Jens says:

    Overall some better performance with clouds which is nice!
    But flying directly towards a cumulus wall the FPS go down the closer one gets. Clouds in the distance are fine.

  23. Tom Knudsen says:

    Thank for fixing the brakes, Ben 🙂

  24. SL9 says:

    Clouds are more performant, however I'm getting strange artefacts:

    https://youtu.be/ltNvW9N-4oY

  25. Ben,

    You really made my day with this beta! Beside all the physics and logics, it is the eyecandy which fills the last gap to the "feel there experience".

    The sky looks amazing now - day and night! All the ugly light effects at night have gone and finally: Moon and stars are back!

    Also I thank you for making the wind turbines spin again!

    It is nice to see the release version coming closer - but I'm really going to miss the every week (or two) beta update surprise event... :-))
    I can imagine you disagree and look forward to having a little rest instead...

    Regards,
    Marc

  26. Sudipta Singh says:

    Dear Ben,

    I was one of the first ones who signed up to pay for beta software. I'm sorry to have to say this, but I am definitely underwhelmed. The focus of LR seems to have been eye candy and peripheral issues (ATC not fixed, but a ton of energy spent on AI routing and planes - really?). In the name of better flight modeling - the code seems to have broken things that really didn't need to be fixed. Tire friction, turbine engine modeling, combustion engine issues with carb heat, etc. Sound engine upgrades are nice, but I dont hear too much difference in the shipping aircraft. The new UI is nice, but reloading a flight when I change airplanes is a step back. DSF scenery load stuttering. Throttle Quadrant (GoFlight TQ6) , paired with the 737 engines goes to 0 thrust for no reason at all when I havent touched the throttles, and seems to only pickup after they have been advanced to 50%. Seems like I have to buy a new machine to run all this when nothing actually is really working, and frame rate has been decreasing with each update. I have been simming for years (since FS4), and I fell in love with XP 10. 11 is a cruel disappointment if this is a "Release Candidate". IMHO, Open Sourcing it, letting 3rd party developers build the amazing addons like RTH, Lua, Ortho4XP, (even ATC) etc. and having LR focus on the core - World & flight model, physics, sound &, lighting etc. would have made the most sense. I realize the decision to announce 11 for Christmas was a commercial one and not your call, but I see all the hard work you are putting in to try to do it all and am truly pained at the results. I wish you all the best for 11, but I am going to back to 10 where the base platform worked and was stable, and the addons made it a truly immersive experience. I tried, and I wanted to like it , believe me, but the frustration is not worth it. I truly appreciate your hard work and diligence, but just wanted to let you know. BTW, a tip on bug reporting... please make the list public so one can know to not report duplicate bugs and can see if others are experiencing the same issues. You may end up with a bigger list, but a better product. Once again, your enthusiasm and diligence in answering comments, and trying to build a better product is obvious to all who have been following this process, and this is no way a slam on you or LR, just some feedback.

    • sebastian says:

      How about a dedicated Forum where users interact with developers? I have been following closely development of Assetto Corsa (racing sim), and their Forum is really exemplary, with different bug statuses and People actually talking

      • Ben Supnik says:

        This has been proposed many times, and even tried a few times, including inviting developers to public forums and even making private forums for just the LR development team and users who (in the judgment of the people starting the forum) were worthy of such access.

        None of this worked...for several reasons:
        1. The development team is made up of...developers - we're not huge fans of "forum" software as a way to communicate digitally and we absolutely do not use such a thing internally. (Internally we use email, text chat and VoIP, with shared docs/blogs for persist info.) So we're perhaps congenitally unlikely to "keep up" with a forum full of styling, side bars, wasted space, and giant avatars, with uncurated chronological threads.

        I can only speak for myself, but if you file a bug and say "see this forum thread" I bang my head on my desk a little. SOMEWHERE in the thread is probably the info I need, but finding it feels a little bit like mining.

        2. The ratio of development team to everyone else is pretty unfavorable, and there's just too much info to keep up with. My in-box has already totally exploded to the point of absurdity. One of the reasons I keep shouting things like "file a bug" is that it's one of the few areas where at least we have a _process_. (Albeit that process can still be leaky, something that needs addressing.)

        Sudipta is not the only one who has complained about the lack of visibility into bugs, and I agree that it is a problem. (We have the same complaint when _we_ file bugs to vendors like the GPU IHVs and OS developers.)

        The flip side of this is that our bug feed is incredibly noisy. The WED bug feed is noisy too (you can browse and see how many "bugs" are tech support requests or badly written reports) but WED is a free product, so letting the bug base just stew a little bit is less of a problem, and the X-Plane bug feed is _much, much_ noisier.

        As an interim step, I've been considering at least giving out the internal bug numbers (those XPD-xxx you see in the notes) when a bug does make it into the bug base. (Some bugs don't make it into the bug base because they get fixed immediately, or because they're dupes, or because we don't think they're bugs, etc.) This way at least when you have to go "hey have you fixed my bug", with the number, it's really trivial to check.

        We also need a better way to collect feature requests. The old mechanism was "email Austin", but this isn't great because the entire development team isn't Austin anymore. I need to talk to the other developers about what they'd like to do for this. The dev team doesn't read the blog comments diligently enough to scrape -everything-, and our coverage of the forums is poor. (Marty keeps up with the forums more but it's not the same as scraping them.)

        A lot of companies use their bug base for features (we have done this in the past) but I'm not totally sold on it as a way of working.

    • Ben Supnik says:

      Hi Sudipta,

      In the end of the day, we hung this release on four tent-poles:
      - New UI
      - New lighting engine
      - New higher quality airliners
      - New European autogen

      This meant saying no to major upgrades of other parts of the sim. At this point modern flight simming has become too complicated, too detailed, too realistic, and too advanced for us to revise _every_ subsystem in the simulator in a single release. The days of "we upgraded everything" are over. (This was possible in 2002 when everything was a lot simpler and computers were not capable of more.)

      The decision to not upgrade everything was very intentional - X-Plane 10 was a _messy_ release - 2 years later than intended and very, very buggy, with a long overhang just to get quality up to par. One of the biggest reasons for this was that the scope was too grand. With ACES gone, our plan was to make EVERYTHING awesome, and the results were unmanageable. The goal with v11 was definitely to make _some_ things really good and have them actually work.

      So if the things you most want aren't on our hot list, I cannot possibly fault you for not being excited about the new release. But we had to make a call, based both on what we thought was most important for our users and what we were most able to develop with our particular development team.

      Finally, I'm going to nitpick just one part of what you said, because we do get asked for this feature occaisionally: at no point has it _ever_ been possible via X-Plane's UI to change aircraft mid-flight, and if it was possible to do so via the plugin SDK, this was due to a lack of error checking in the SDK, not a feature. We design the flight model under the assumption that the physics data about a current flight is _not_ portable to another plane. You can't take off in the 747 and turn it to a Cessna while you're doing 400 knots ground speed at 40,000 feet. This is a design requirement of Austin's physics engine and we have no intention of ever changing it; we believe that at the very, very best we could do a ton of work to get strange results for a feature that isn't that useful for real use of the sim.

      • Sudipta Singh says:

        🙂 Thanks for the reply Ben ! I really appreciate the kind words after that rant!

        On the nitpick, I didn't want to change aircraft mid-flight, but just get into another plane when safely back on tarmac ... the other option is not something that I even want to consider .. though if I suddenly want to fly a glider at Mach 0.78 at FL 320, I am sure I can figure out how to do it some other way!!!!

        • Ben Supnik says:

          Ah - there IS an open "bug" that the free-flight doesn't automatically change to show your new destination when you complete a flight, so if you do nothing, you end up back at the first airport. You can also work around this by picking a start place at the new airport when you pick the new airport. It's slightly more time consuming but pretty easy in the new UI.

          Given that pretty much _everything_ that was not developer-facing has been rewritten, it's going to take a few patches to get that kind of deep detail into the UI that smooths out the rough edges.

  27. sebastian says:

    sounds like your team needs more people

    • Ben Supnik says:

      Well, you could guess that from our call for developer resumes a while ago. 🙂

      But...don't think that "throw more warm bodies at it" is going to change the fundamental dynamics. There's no way we ever have a development team so big that we can do everything at once or talk to everyone all the time. 9 women can't have a baby in one month and all that.

  28. sebastian says:

    shit man, I can only imagine....I remember when Assetto`s Team consisted of only 6 People, and then we had early access on steam phase and everything changed.

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