We’ve gotten a number of requests for video of the conference. Chris just posted these on our Youtube channel:

And the accompanying slides:

This is the original of Chris’s VR demo – he looks super dignified with the HMD on.

Finally, here’s video of the panel discussion from Saturday afternoon.

This one wasn’t recorded by us.  There was a “serious” video camera at that event, so if there’s video with a direct feed from the mixer, I’ll post it.

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.

80 comments on “Flightsimcon Videos

  1. The panel was interesting. Odd that Lockmart would have someone sitting side by side with two primarily consumer level sims, given the release model of Prepar3d. Overall it seemed like X-Plane was exceptionally dominant, which is odd, given the still substantial FSX/P3D user base.

      1. That’s encouraging, and these days is less of a surprise than ever. 🙂

      2. Not surprised at all. Having seen all videos (never mind the 15+years of being X-Plane user), is clear who the grey-back, dominant alpha is. You guys rocked! The entire Laminar Research team showed profound expertise in their fields and confidence in the quality of you work. A big Thank you and congratulations on your success, I am prod to be part of it in my own humble way.

  2. Maybe its bias, but you guys pwned the Q&A.
    I’m sure the htc-vive can support more than 2 hand controllers at a time – why hasnt Chris got another pair strapped to his feet?!

    I just remembered seeing some guy got Internet Explorer running as an instrument in x-plane, and I wondered, considering you can vnc/air-play from an ipad, have you considered the 3d ipad to remote control a real ipad??

    Also, big kudos for supporting the 100’s of other XP scenery devs with the expanded object library. With respect to all their combined effort, this cant come soon enough.

  3. have you addressed the cpu usage spiking to 100% when loading large mesh textures? this currently brings the frame rate to single digits because the cpu is being totally used

    either do to on the fly compression /conversion or spin waits

      1. ortho images

        it’s not an issue with stock textures since it’s only loading a few MB

        1. We found a bug where loading large numbers of orthophotos in the base mesh hung the sim for a few seconds. This should be fixed soon. The bug was that the large texture load was causing a thread scheduling problem.

  4. Hi Ben,

    Much needed new UI, 3D Audio, detailed 3D cockpits, Physically-based Rendering and VR are great developments. Delaying serious work on multithreading support and Vulkan, though, is not good news.

    Furthermore, 60 fps is not good enough, either. That should be your most pessimistic objective. 90fps for VR is the bare minimum. If we could run X-plane on a Pentium CPU without a discrete GPU at our disposal, we should now be able to enjoy a minimum of 144 fps with ease.

    If your team lacks the required know-how and it takes ages to develop it internally, bring in an expert. Build a strong simulation and rendering engine foundation that makes good use of all CPU and GPU resources. It’s very much needed and has already been unnecessarily delayed.

    I remain hopeful…

    All the best!

    1. Nikolaos – I think you should not worry to much… I believe Laminar will someday reach 90 fps for VR, but two things need to work out first:
      1) Optimization of current code (including swapping out some codes to Vulcan/Metal friendly codes)
      2) Optimisation of Vulcan and Metal code (Not Laminar area)

      Apple recently released Metal 2 which is 10 times faster than Metal! I.e. 100 times faster than OpenGL – so there should be good possibility of improvements of X-Plane 11 and later.

      Metal 2 is able to run 90 fps on VR on Mac OS High Sierra with external GPU card… – just watch WWDC 2017

      Give Laminar some time time to port X-Plane to Vulcan/Metal 2 friendly code, optimise it and debug it.

  5. VR looks great, but Teleport thing is something I don’t understand… why not walk axis for the controller or joystick.

    1. Sure, that’s a possibility too…but constant motion with close proximity to the ground tends to make people nauseous…I suspect that’s why most games have opted for teleportation.

      1. I use to do that when we first got the headset working and didn’t have teleport. It was so annoying I’d close my eyes, hit the arrow keys, then open them again. Pretty much any time the VR image moves in a way not like your real head, it’s awful. Any time we screw up the math of the camera, it’s carsick time.

  6. X plane devs have hit the ball out of the park second year in a row.. Great show Ben and Austin.. Other sims seemed like passive spectators.. I’m particularly excited about the landmarks.. Looks awesome..

        1. We had an HTC Vive AND and Oculus Rift there…running on two separate computers of course. Attendees got to try both and see what they preferred.

  7. Since Philipp didn’t have a chance to demo the G1000 during the talk, is there a way to get a few minute demo video?

  8. It was an impressive show. Does the transition to Vulcan/Metal require any hardware changes or is it all software? My understanding it is just the drivers that are different?

    There was no mention of the particle work in the SimCon? was that a time factor or is the work just behind or has been put aside? For once it was nice to see X-Plane as a major force at the SimCon, well done.

    1. Metal/Vulkan: all software, but only users with vulkan/metal ready hardware will be able to use it. The very lowest-end supported hardware (e.g. AMD HD 5xxx) will have to stick with OpenGL.

      The particle system is still “almost done” – I was actually working on it last night. But we had so much to talk about it, given that it wasn’t done it didn’t make the cut.

        1. I don’t think so. I’m not sure what they’re using, but our particle system is _not_ appropriate for clouds. It is appropriate for smoke, fire, mist off wheels, small-scale FX like that.

  9. any idea when VR is coming out, mac compatible as some of the new iMacs are vr supported

    also, which vr headset is best to use? and how universal is vr for x-plane? ie; is it a global setting or more like FMOD very slow paced plane specific development

    1. VR for Mac won’t be out until Metal is done, and we’re not predicting Metal because it’s a long way away.

      VR is a global setting, but aircraft may need a config file to really be usable. It’s also performance sensitive.

        1. VR needs high end hardware right not that no mac out really has

          if you want VR your going to have to go to a PC / windows box

          1. Since we are not running on Metal on the latest iMacs, I cannot comment on whether the current top-end Macs will work with our VR implementation.

  10. From a real pilot who uses X-Plane for real IFR training (www.flythissim.com and //www.pilotedge.net)…and a VR expert. So excited about the VR experience. It’s hard to tell how good the resolution is though. For it to be good enough for training like you are in 2D now, when the user looks at the avoinics, they must not have to strain. I’m guessing with the current generation of headsets, that’s a ways off. Still, kudos to the X-plane team for venturing into this space. Can’t wait for these products to get to market!

    1. Yes, the resolution is barely good enough to read the 430/530 display. You have to lean in towards it to read what’s on the screen. However, you can actually do a few things by touch only. Since the controllers give tactile feedback when you rotate the knobs, you can tell how many clicks you’ve moved the knob.

  11. Very exciting announcements !

    Is there a fix coming for autogen lights/clouds visibility at night? It’s killing my IFR night flying experience.

  12. So much great news! One detail I am not sure about though, I like the addition of the flats, they where thing that was really missing in cities of my country, however I think they should be more grouped together rather than spread out through the whole city, that way you would get the characteristic look of european city, or at least from the eastern half 🙂

  13. just got a chance to watch the presentation, sounds like some nice stuff is coming. Most excited for the eye candy visuals, especially Chicago and London. I hope such Landmarks appear for more cities and come this summer as mentioned

  14. Ben, the new euro autogen is beyond stunning.. i still find it hard to believe that this will be a reality in a few months from now.. unbelievable.. it looks way better than payware orbx autogen..

  15. Great news. Good work. Yeah in case of FPS should be some more room to play. 10 FPS more will be good for me. Combination of ortho pictures and addon planes hard to hold 30FPS.

    And the stutters with ortho pictures and 3rd party scenery.

    Good work so far…keep going.

    Cheers John

      1. Is this the ground “shaking” bug also?

        Last night I was just doing pre-flight and it was like an Earthquake going on with textures shaking and juddering (the ground) while I wasn’t even in motion.

        1. No. The ground shaking is a separate bug that is fixed – the fix will be released in 11.10.

          Orthophoto stutters are the sim pausing for small amounts of time (or HUGE amounts of time) while loading heavy orthophoto scenery. The really big pause is a threading bug, fixed in 11.02 beta 2 when it comes out; the small glitches that we’ve seen are locks in the Windows memory allocator and GL driver…we’re trying to work around them/minimize the pain.

  16. Thank you for posting the ‘exhibits’ from the conference!
    Enjoy reading/watching it.

    Since I really think that X-Plane is setting our path to the future, I think that for reaching the target FPS performance you will need to find way to activate the ** Flux Capacitor ** 😉

    Thank you all for the amazing news, can’t wait for the G1000 (and the other great stuff).

    JetManHuss 🙂

  17. I’m not a current X-Plane user but keep tabs on progress in order to inform my next system build.

    I have a (somewhat) interesting idea for a tool that could help people predict their settings. This could be used to flag systems with issues or give them guidance within the game.

    I believe that you could use a neural net model to predict the FPS for a given set of settings for a given set of hardware by training the model on all of the existing benchmarks.

    I noticed that you’ve introduced an FPS Test with version 11.01. I’m not sure if it “reports back” with the outcome to a central server, but that would be ideal.

    With this data, you’d probably need to have a “tool” look up attributes of the hardware components. A GTX1080 is fine, but I think a more meaningful measure might be the TFLOPS/GFLOPS of performance or the number of shaders etc. etc.

    There’s obviously a lot of interactions between variables so I think any sort of linear model is out.

    You could probably post this on the data science competition website //www.kaggle.com and get people to build out a working model in exchange for winning a copy of X-Plane.

  18. Excellent news regarding the new custom landmarks. The quality of the buildings looks stunning.

    Would there be any opportunity in the future for users to contribute custom landmarks to the default world, or are there too many obstacles such as quality and copyright screening to consider?

    If not, what plans if any are there to expand the custom landmark catalogue?

  19. And maybe overthink about an permission sim private dataref for shadows / relflections and clouds.

    Many users need it really to get a fine fly result on midrange systems.

    Or a checkbox in the menue that will set it to plain 0.

    That will raise the airtime.


  20. Landmarks – is this the start of an expansion of the scenery gateway, or is it all sourced in-house?

    And will it be a new ‘layer’ in scenery.ini, so they can be placed above things like tonywobs World2Xplane sceneries?

    1. Land marks are in-house. This is not an expansion of the gateway and we have _no_ plans to crowd-source art.

      I _think_ this will be a new layer, but we’re still finalizing the production format.

  21. I’ve been submitting airports to the scenery gateway whenever I have free time and noticed that the gateway currently reports there are currently over 9400 scenery packs with 3d objects, but at Flight Sim Con I think the number of airports currently with 3d objects in X-Plane is around 4400. That’s a pretty significant difference. During the X-Plane 10 run it seemed like the default airports were updated with more frequency, any chance that we will see more frequent airport updates? Because 9000+ airports is a lot…. thanks

    1. The difference in count is due to unique airports vs total submissions. We’ve broken 10k _submissions_ but we have ~ 4400 3-d airports because a lot of authors have submitted second or third revisions.

      With that in mind we are going to try to increase the pace of roll-out.

      1. Ben and the Team,

        Thank you so much for everything you are doing for us!!!

        If my X-Plane Gateway airport submission is marked “LR Internal Use”,

        what does it mean?

        Do I need to be proud? 🙂

        1. Indeed! The “LR Internal Use” tag is applied by Julian (the Gateway moderator) to what he believes to be the best submissions he sees. These are the airports we choose from when we need to create screenshots of X-Plane for marketing purposes. 🙂

  22. Good news, guys.
    Finally talk about landmarks! I talk about this for YEARS.
    Funny that NYC is not in initial batch.
    Hope to see Paris, Dubai, Athens, Cairo, where the landmarks simply cannot be ignored.

  23. Men. Great features, nice timeline…but still no work on the weather engine. This is absurd.

    1. A new complex weather engine probably cannot happen until the core system is optimized. Otherwise it would probably be unusable. VR is like a free lunch at this point, the plumbing has been in X-plane for some time.

    2. Mad Mat. Worry not. Active Sky is coming to the rescue.

      And such a welcomed rescue. I totally agree the default weather engine is unworthy of XP11.

      1. I think Active Sky is for FSX or Prepar applications not XP compatible, although any addition is welcome.

  24. Regarding the flight model improvement that vectors now work from behind (I believe Austin’s examples were a tail dragger taxiing in a tail wind or a vertical stall in a tail slide maneuver): does this mean that aircraft devs will have to develop a second set of airfoil lift/drag polars for the reversed flow condition? Or are we talking flat plate airfoil assumptions at that point?

  25. A product like X-Plane needs a vision. So far what I have seen in the videos was great stuff.

    But please don’t forget to fix very old and nasty bugs also.
    I mean bugs like the uggly shadows inside the cockpit (no antialiasing), or what’s about the strange behavior that all the mist disappears above FL100?

    Pleas put aside a little bit of your time for working on these things. 🙂

    Thank you for all your excellent work.

  26. Hello,

    Any news about an increase of the night lighting distance? Which is not enough far, in my opinion.

    Thank you for your great product!

  27. Give us more FPS !!! It’s ridiculous 18-30FPS with ortho and addon aircraft. And ortho take less than 1-2 FPS. 4.6 GHZ 8Core and 32 GB Ram 8GB VRam. Give us full power !!!
    No fun to fly.

    After tests…XPlane take 40% of my CPU. And there are no bottlenecks. Only a code that slow down XPlane.
    Why ? No changes in the graphic settings take much effect of the frames.

    DataRefs dissabled…perfect. No chance to optimize.

    Do we get 10-20 FPS more in the upcoming beta ?

    And final…is XPlane bound by hardware manufactures ?


  28. As everybody is requesting their favorite fix/feature, I want to propose moonlight. I’d love to see moonlight. And the fix for the strange bright cyan horizon. And the fix for datarefs doing what they want on replays which ruin FMOD sounds 🙂 Thanks!

    1. Moonlight is on my list — we had it way back in the day and it got lost somewhere.

      For datarefs that go whacko on replay, file a bug and include the datarefs, please.

  29. Thanks for all the effort you put into X-Plane 11. What i like the most, is the new autogen buildings for europe. The artwork is absolutely gorgeous. Can you tell us anything about implementing other european building styles, especially southern european architecture? F.e. spain, italy, greece … etc.

    Many greetings from germany!

  30. With the new api enhancements on the way I’m wondering is it better to stick with my 6700k or move to something like a 8 core CPU. Also during the presentation it was stated that it would be a year before they could get everything working right I am wondering if that’s for the final api code or if we will see early Vulcan and metal implementations much sooner over the next couple weeks to couple months or is a year a best case scenario before we can see any of the beginning implementations?

    1. Hi,

      You won’t see any “beginnings” of an implementation – running under Vulkan vs Metal vs OpenGL is a binary thing – there needs to be only one back-end driver drawing for the sim. So my _guestimate_ is a year to get a public beta running Metal or Vulkan – that means that’s the only thing running the sim and GL is just doing plugin compatibility. We won’t be shipping any “partial” version because there aren’t any partial intermediate stepping stones.

Comments are closed.