Thanks to everyone who came out to see us at FlightSimExpo – it was great to get to meet so many people in person. Just a few quick notes:
I don’t have an ETA yet on video of our talk that was shot by the event coordinators (the cameras you might have seen dead-center). We’ll post slides soon. There is an audience-shot video that some people have seen – the audio is understandable.
Regarding the new particle effects system, the biggest single question has been: will it work on scenery objects? The answer is: yes, eventually. Right now you can attach a particle system to an object attached to an airplane or created with the XPLMInstance API. Scenery-attached particles are on our road map, and if they don’t make the initial release in 11.30, we’ll get them as soon after as we can. (The same thing actually goes for FMOD sound – we intend to have FMOD sound on scenery objects, but we don’t have this done yet.)
Regarding “research mode”: the intent here is to have a non-versioned beta flight model available for longer periods of time in an otherwise final sim so that people doing experiments on the flight model or building new aircraft designs have access to the latest in Austin’s physics without having to build a new permanent version for the physics on every single release. Up to now, it has been really hard for Austin to get useful feedback on the FM because it is either hidden (non-beta) or locked down, except for tiny 8-week windows, during which the rest of the sim is so unstable that aircraft developers don’t want to touch it.
So you can think of research mode as getting access to in-progress 11.40 physics within 11.30. If you’re the kind of person who holds a flair over the air-stream of your aircraft, this is a useful way to compare the real world to Austin’s latest work.
Research mode is not available in Plane-Maker as a setting because there’s no versioning control, so an add-on that depends on it is asking for trouble. When we reach a point where the research-mode physics seem well-behaved, we’ll make a real “version” and make them default for all non-old aircraft (as defined by when saved in Plane-Maker).
A lot of the new systems announced (new engine types, new auto-pilots), etc. are strictly opt-in. e.g. the old behavior is unaffected if you pick an old autopilot or engine model. This is a case that’s fairly easy for us to do without compatibility problems.