After much bug fixing, X-Plane 11.20 beta 4 is out – here are the fixes. This beta fixes Linux performance, a few material rendering bugs for custom aircraft, and a bunch of X-Plane SDK bugs for VR.

We have a new WED 1.7.0 release candidate – hopefully the third time’s a charm!

And…we have docs on the vrconfig.txt file format. The VR config file is used to add VR-specific data to an aircraft, including:

  • Hot spots for seats (E.g. where does the pilot sit).
  • Extra data for manipulators.
  • Parameters for the yoke in VR.

Please do not ship your add-ons based on 11.20 VR tech – wait for us to go final. All file formats are subject to change during beta!

We are reaching the end of beta, for both WED and X-Plane. We’ll see, based on incoming bugs, whether we need a beta 5 before RC; hopefully WED 1.7.0r3 is a keeper.

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.

65 comments on “More X-Plane, More WED, More Docs

  1. You guys rock. Your interface with the community is one of the things that makes X-Plane a far better choice than P… er, *the competition*.

  2. Having to look at the green yoke highlight all the time when in vr and operating the yoke with hand controllers is quite annoying and somewhat kills immersion. Maybe instead of highlighting the yoke itself after grabbing you could put some indication on the virtual controller that let’s you know you are currently holding the yoke. Maybe change the ring on the controller’s top to green or put add a yoke symbol to the controller or something.

    What also would be nice to have is a command that you can bind to a controller button that locks the controller to the yoke. Currently you have to choose in the settings if you want to lock or not lock but your needs in that regard might change multiple times in a flight.

  3. Fantastic. I feel a performance increase, which is probably placebo, but I have been livestreaming once every couple of days and compared to b3, b4 has a better framerate.

    Can’t wait for Vulkan! Would you say we can expect a fix for the could transparency bug in the Vulkan run?

    Cheers!

  4. Thanks for the bug fixes in the X-Plane 11 new GUI when in VR.

    There is still a issue with XPLMSetWindowGeometry not working in VR. Bug report filed with plugin and source to test.

    Did I miss any info on Widgets in VR?

    Thanks Bill

    1. Thanks for the bug report – I’ll look at it Monday. I’m not sure what XPLMSetWindowGeometry is expected to do in VR though – what are you trying to accomplish? A code-driven resize?

      Widgets: they can now “work” in VR — our docs are NOT up to date on this. Basically you can: enable a new capability “XPLM_USE_NATIVE_WIDGET_WINDOWS” and you’ll get a modern XPLM window behind your widget. A new API call lets you get this window from your widget and then map the window to VR, which maps the widgets to VR.

      If you use this code path you need to ensure that:
      1. Your plugin uses scissoring in model-view space (by transforming to device space using the transform matrix) – we have a code sample on how to do this and
      2. Your plugin is prepared for its widget window to be repositioned by us – if your window uses the standard title-bar handler, you already do this.

      I’m working on more detailed docs.

      1. Xchecklist resizes the window depending on how big the checklist page is. It works fine in 2d so thought it should do the same in VR.

        My understanding is using the X-Plane 11 new GUI windows VR should act the same as 2d with the exception of popout. Is that a correct understanding?

        I will also look at the new Widget usage and see what I find. Are we using the same SDK or is there a newer version.

        Thanks Bill

        1. Um, I’m not sure about the release situation with the VR widget APIs – I’ll have to sync up with Tyler on Monday.

          Re: resize – it’s a little messy – you clearly need to be able to change the windows’ size, but the window’s total location is up to us.

          1. Hi Ben,

            When Xchecklist changes size the left and the top do not move but right and the bottom change depending on the next checklist page.

            I did another test with a different function and it would not resize so it is like no plugin resizing are allowed at this point in time?

            When clicking on the increase button I do this.

            width = width + 50;
            XPLMSetWindowResizingLimits(g_window, width, 200, width + 800, 600);

            Thanks for your Time

  5. I’m already tired of VR.
    The xplane has other things that are much needed, both physically and, above all, visually.
    Why do you insist on developing something that is not necessary now?
    Start with what’s important….it’s too bad there aren’t any alternative companies today.

    1. We’ve talked about this before. The standard way for competing groups of users who want the LR development team to focus on different areas to settle which new feature will get the team’s top priority is mortal combat to the death. Whichever user is left standing at the end of this will have complete control over what X-Plane features will be coded because

      1. You will be our only customer left and
      2. We’ll be terrified of you since you will have killed off our entire user base in a brutal blood sport.

    2. RBH, I don’t know if you have a VR setup, but I’m guessing by that comment, you don’t. Many of us have and will in the near future spend hundreds of dollars to deepen the immersion of flight the X-Plane so greatly does natively. VR is the future of simulations and games and Laminar Research is doing what they need to to stay relevant with changing times.

      I am, as I’m sure many others are, very thanksful they are working to perfect this (as they do with everything they take on) before moving to the next big project.

      Keep up the awesome work, Ben! Please pass my thanks on to any of the team who do not regularly read the Dev Blog!

      1. It’s worth remembering that:
        – Releases tend to focus on a specific area. A future release is going to have _major_ changes and improvements for autopilots, and when that happens it’s going to be awesome for users who care about systems realism and not particularly interesting for anyone who cares about FPS or visuals.
        – Stuff is being developed all the time. By picking specific features to put into a particular patch, we can hope to limit the bugs and beta time to something not totally insane.

        So recently Philipp and Austin have had the brakes put on their code so that 11.20 wouldn’t be “about the aircraft”, so we wouldn’t have to go through a big retest and debug cycle. But the work is being done and will ship. There isn’t really an obvious relationship between the company’s allocation of development resources and beta notes.

      2. I have vr.
        Just like you are happy because they have improved and deepened vr I am not because I don’t focus on other areas.
        But believe me, there are many more like me.

        1. RBH, sorry man but you lost me at “it’s too bad there aren’t any alternative companies today”… why always take the passive aggressive route? Just make your point, make your own decisions and move on. Everytime the internet throws in the old “I’m not happy! I’m going to buy elsewhere yadayada!” it makes my cringe sensor go off the charts

  6. Congratulations team.

    As a non VR user (probably never will be), I have seen improvement in 10.20 B4 that I have not seen since the release of XP-11. There are practically no stutters and this gives a perception of more framerates through smoother flight! I have a certain waypoint that I ALWAYS fly to first thing and it has just jumped through the turn even to the point that the sound would buzz. On my trial flight this morning, the only thing was sort of a “grunt” as the clouds relocated – not a stutter, just a grumble. Also, the map will initiate without the usual pause. You guys have really done this flyer (old time XP user) a service. Framerates are good (can’t say they improved this time but didn’t go down) and are holding better through a variety of conditions. Please don’t mess it up trying to “fix” other complaints!

    1. The same here, no user VR, beta version 4 running wonderfully well, with AMD hardware. Very enthusiastic about X-Plane 11!

      João Alfredo

  7. WED 1.7 r3 is great. Super stable
    Today I’ve move the whole airport I’m working to match the OSM road, all coordinates moved, runways, taxiways, objects and for my great surprise no scenery error when reloading it in game.
    In the beginning I was restarting X-Plane because thought it was a certain death
    Congratulations

  8. Hola Team! Can’t wait to test out this new beta. I want to see XP VR adopted by the entire XP VR user community. If you have a VR device and fly X-Plane, why wouldn’t you adopt it, you ask? Well, simply put, if the VR experience is more painful than without it, people will not adopt it. Currently, the following (IMHO) make it more painful to use than just flying with a DOM (Dumb Old Monitor):

    1) Lack of feedback from the yoke – Real sim yokes (even the cheap ones), apply some type of resistance (either via actuators or just dumb old spring). This feedback is critical for sim pilots to control the aircraft.
    1a) Related to this is the lack of a “center detent” with the VR yoke. Here’s what I mean. When I’m flying along with my yoke, I have no idea what the center position is of the yoke. The VR yoke does not naturally bounce back to it’s neutral position as a real yoke does. And without any vibration feedback I am left guessing (usually incorrectly) and over trim or under trim the aircraft resulting in a trim stall (deadly IRL). The VR yoke should, either return to center when I let go of it OR it should provide feedback (via vibration) which tells me I am approaching center.

    2) Unable to pull up all my charts in the VR world. No pilot flies without his/her charts for the flight. I have no way of doing this in the X-Plane VR world making any IFR or even cross country VFR flying impossible. There are plugins that make this problem going away in DOM X-Plane, but…

    3) Plug-ins (especially the ones with a GUI), don’t work by default in XP VR. eBag is a great plugin that allowed me to bring in all my charts into the DOM cockpit. But, eBag doesn’t work in VR. I don’t even know if the developer who made eBag is even around any more (to update his/her plugin). There are many other very popular plugins (Autogate, smartcopilot, FSEconomy, etc), which don’t work in the VR world and we don’t know if the developer will even make an update. I would guess almost all X-Plane users heavily modify X-Plane to suit their needs. Why would they adopt VR if they have to dump all their plugins? My guess is that they won’t do this.

    In summary, I just wanted to provide some constructive feedback to help X-Plane VR improve it’s user adoption to the maximum level possible. Hope this help you. Great work as always. I know none of this is easy.

    1. The centre detent on a flightsim yoke/stick is a placebo. It doesnt exist in real life. I assume that even if you are not a pilot IRL you have sat in the pilots seat of a real aircraft at least once and grabbed the controls. There is no centre position. In the aircraft I’ve flown IRL, when the plane is not moving (i.e. no airflow over the surfaces) the stick falls forward (nose down) if you let go. When you are flying and let go of the stick/yoke, it will ‘centre’ itself based on what the angle of attack is of the aircraft at that time, which can vary a lot. The only way (that I know of) to duplicate this in a sim is to have a force feedback stick/yoke correctly interpret data from the sim and put the stick in the correct position, which would force you to trim it properly to relieve the pressure on the stick/yoke. I don’t know if those $1500 FFB yokes do this, but if they don’t they are not worth the money IMO.

        1. Trim is for relieving the pressure on the controls after you put them where they need to be. To be more clear, it doesn’t directly change the controls, it changes something on the control surfaces (a trim tab), which adds aerodynamic pressure to the surface so you don’t have to hold the controls there yourself. There is more than one type of trim setup – if you are interested, wikipedia should have what you need.
          Trust me, you dont want to fly an aircraft while holding the stick (and therefore the control surfaces) somewhere they don’t want to be for any significant length of time. It gets old real quick.

    2. +1 on the idea of the recentering VR yoke! Maybe you can just add it as an option so one can decide to use it or not!

      Regarding the charts: Maybe you can add the ability to view pdf‘s in the VR tablet/iPad? We already have two options „show map“ and (IIRC) „reset pilot view“ – why not add a third option „browse pdfs“ ? 🙂

  9. ASW issue – 30fps!

    Great beta guys, can I ask though – when using the Oculus Rift with ASW on, unless I’m either hitting 45fps OR 22.5 (which are both smooth), I get horrible terrain stuttering outside of the cockpit, this occurs at exactly 30fps. This means whenever my system starts running at 30fps I have to enable my mouse to get back to 22.5 and then everything is smooth again.

    This is greatly affecting VR at the moment. Any ideas or planned fixes at all?

    Thanks again

  10. What is the process for receiving betas in Steam? I am opted in, but there is no update – still running b3…

    Very happy with the updates btw – big fan and love VR!

      1. Is there any way to manually install a beta update if you have the steam edition?

        Sorry to bug you with that, I know it’s super low priority but I’m just always really looking forward to the new updates as a VR user 🙂

        Thanks!

        1. No, absolutely not. If you try to install our non-steam beta over the steam edition, you will screw up your steam install pretty thoroughly.

          We’ll get the Steam beta posted as soon as we can.

  11. All right, but when Vulkan?
    Who uses the VR, 20% of people
    Who uses everything else? 100 percent of people

    1. Vulkan is being worked on constantly…including in this VR update.
      You can’t lift up a house in one night 😉

    2. For me, I would start using VR once Vulkan is in. Not my choice anyway as I can’t use VR on Linux without Vulkan!

      1. I am in the same boat here, and going back to MS ecosystem is out of the question for me (however VR would me make me reconsider this seriously when buying a new machine, but I run XP at very high settings with 25-30 FPS currently, and this is the most demanding app in my list).

  12. What is the realistic METAR delay we should expect in the X-Plane weather data? I’m noticing around a 2 hour delay in multiple airports in my area at the time of this post. That is after completing a weather download/refresh and checking Metar.rwx.

    I’m basing what it should be off the airports actual ATIS and https://aviationweather.gov/. I can understand a delay, but two hours seems odd.

  13. I appreciate all your hard work on VR, I will not use it but I am happy for everyone waiting for this feature.
    What I really thinks more important is fixing the bugs with Boeing 747, I am waiting for every new post here to see if you already fixed it, it’s almost unusable to make ILS landing, I reported the bug many times with no chance to fix it. thats why I reporting it here in comments.
    Please focus on fixing this while moving forward with your great work in VR. I don’t want to purchase another paid 747. thanks 🙂

    1. I have also reported several bugs of 747 in bug report, I did not check in beta 3 but in beta 4, A / T of 747 can finally be turned on and off.

      1. I still can’t use Beta 4 since it’s not available on Steam. Is nav button on Nav Rad button on FMC working now?

  14. Are VORTAC and VOR objects missing in 11.20b4? I cannot for the life of me get them to show up. I can tune them and they do work only the objects do not appear. I did remove all additional scenery that might draw over or exclude them and still they won’t show up. This isn’t supposed to be a support question or a bug report I just want to know if this might be a bug or something on my side. In the older V10 demo they do show up.

    1. I don’t see any problem here – I checked BOS and PVD at the field and then LFV by flying to it – all there visually.

      Third party scenery can kill them by replacing their library paths.

  15. I don’t know if this qualifies as a bug, however the pilot’s voice located at
    \Resources\default scenery\default atc\voices\default pilot
    is missing a couple of .wav files:

    checking_in.wav
    field_in_sight.wav

    I tried downloading and installing a 2nd copy of X-Plane to see if I could grab a copy of the missing .wav files but they were not there.

  16. On the WED’s version strings: shouldn’t the “r”s in betas be “b”s?
    On VR priority: not every prospective X-Plane customer has a 500 USD GFX card and VR gear. If 3D is nice, but the frame rate is is 0.5 to 5 FPS on a standard computer, you have a real nerd product.
    MHO: Instead of VR most users would benefit more if plane collisions with the scenery were detected (as most Sims do) and if the plane would receive realistic damage from that (anybody ever tried the rigs of rods demo? ).
    More realistic AI and ATC would be another candidate, AND a graphical flight planner (the map is there for a long time, why not allow clicking airports and navaids to add them to a flight plan?).

    1. For sure, there is plenty of non-VR work to be done on X-Plane (and there always will be, regardless how much gets done). I am also a proponent of better collision detection (every sim I have flown since the 80’s has had it), better AI, and better ATC, but I believe it was necessary to get VR done now, and I am grateful. I’ve put $500 into the Rift, $750 into a GPU (luckily I got a 1080ti before the prices exploded) and another $1000 upgrading my machine. JUST FOR X-PLANE. I am not a rich man, but I don’t regret it one bit. I can survive on Ramen for a while, I just can’t eat it while I have the headset on, it gets a bit messy.

  17. Any news about final x plane 10 Update ? Please don’t forget us. (User than can’t afford a new PC forma x plane 11)

    1. +1
      I still have that hope.
      It was talked about X-Plane 10.52, when X-Plane 11 still in public beta, but the launch did not happen.
      I use X-Plane 10, in it there are several very interesting features.
      We will see…

  18. Ok. I wish I had not bought my copy from Steam. But I did. I am an avid user of X-plane and spend significant $’s on addons and such. I know the Steam betas are fewer and farther in between, but I sure would like to have the same opportunity to use the betas as other purchasers, especially since I did pay full price. I also purchased VR equipment for the sole purpose of flying in X-plane. Hoping the issue can be resolved soon…

    1. The current situation is abnormal – there’s a technical problem starting the beta upload. Otherwise b4 would have been up days ago. We’ve been more aggressive about posting _stable_ betas to Steam in 11.20 – b4/b5 aren’t on beta because of Steam tooling problems, not a decision to hold them back.

  19. Trying to update to b5 but upon installing it states Bad Descriptor, never happened before, what would be the probable cause?

        1. This is the X-Plane support hotline, not!!

          This _developer_ blog is about development internals for add-on developers and/or enthusiasts who like to know what is going on under the hood of X-Plane.

          And, BTW, “this company” is the far most communicative software company ever seen. But you can’t expect the developers to do support here for every poorly described installation issue.

  20. Are there any plans to disable scroll wheel zoom? It can be a bit of a pain to have to use a scroll-only rotary knob, only to ever-so-slightly miss the active region and end up scrolling all the way in. Then there’s the tedious process of scrolling all the way out without accidentally scrolling on anything else.

  21. Can we have a status update on a updated SDK supporting Widgets in VR and XPLMSetWindowVrSize() and XPLMGetWindowVrSize().

    Thanks Bill

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