As Tyler previously posted, we’re doing another X-Plane Live video stream this Wednesday – this one a bit earlier for Europe.

A number of commenters pointed out that the Q&A has been a bit of a free-for-all in the past live-streams. It’s hard for us to pick up all of the questions, things get missed, etc.

So this time, we’re going to do a mix of live questions and questions submitted ahead of time. If you have something you want to bring up, please post in the comments section for this post. You can also ask questions via Facebook or Twitter – Thompson will post start a feedback thread on FB tomorrow.

Please only use this blog post for questions for the live session next week.

We are almost certainly not going to be able to answer everything that gets asked, and there will probably be questions where the answer is more or less “we’re working on stuff but it’s rully rully secret right now”. But we will read everything that gets asked here and do our best to make sure big things don’t get lost.

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.

62 comments on “RFC: Questions for X-Plane Live

  1. – Are there any plans to allow easier and more flexible (local) mesh patching i.e. without requiring the creation and distribution of whole 1×1° base mesh tiles?
    – With the “departure” of Andras Fabian, will we ever see a continuation of the highly popular “HD/UHD global scenery” series?

    Thanks a lot,

    1. I agree with Henry:

      _ A short comment on the topic “mesh editing” would be really interesting: Is the feature on LR’s (long term) TODO list? I did with a own tool a lot of mesh edits for various freeware and payware products in the last year and got a great overview about what’s desired by scenery developers. Also, I have a lot of ideas how the process of mesh editing could be unified and automated. I glady like to repeat my offer (somewhere in a comment in the bug database) to share my thoughts with you.

      _ As regards the future of HD and UHD meshes, I guess the community is on its own after the farewell of Andras Fabian. However, it would be desirable if LR could at least share the lasted “config”-folder for MeshTool (wouldn’t it be an idea to submit it to the xptools git repository?) as well as the latest XES files.

  2. We’ve seen great improvements in the model and ‘tunability’ of jets and turboprops recently, which is really good. Will we get similar improvements to the reciprocating engine model? At present, there is no way to tune it to get real-world HP and the right MPR, for instance. This is important for matching real-world procedures to sim performance!

  3. Hi Laminar team!

    Here are 3 questions I have in mind about art assets :

    -Do you plan on implementing interactive gates?
    Right now, we have to manually modify a scenery pack and manually install the fantastic autogate plugin from Marginal. We are definitely lucky to be able to do that already, but things would be much more convenient if we were able to publish scenery packs on the gateway that would already support that by default.

    -Along with interactive boarding gates, could you implement built-in support for interactive hangars, interactive barriers, either triggered by keys or even manipulators, or also by the position of the aircraft. Right now, you can see an example of interactive hangar doors in XLILU scenery published on XPFR. (And soon LFST with barriers). The trick we found so far (based on a FlyWithLua script) is a bit heavy in terms of scenery management, installation and preparation. This, along with FMOD support for scenery objects, would make X-plane even more immersive.

    -still with gateway publication and support by default in mind, do you plan on implementing normalmaps on your polygons, for asphalt, concrete etc.. well. To sum it up, the new RA_library is extremely useful and it would be very nice if we had all this choice of art assets in Laminar Research Library : grass etc..

    Thank you for reading this long post all the way, and most importantly, thank you for showing this particular care about your customers.

  4. I’m using the fantastic Xvision plugin that really changes the experience for me. This will be incompatible with 11.30 said his developers.
    Will you inspire inspire yourself with what is done in the community and build that in the core of X-Plane ?

  5. Could you please confirm that the cloud transparency bug will be fixed in the 11 run?

    Bonus question: Is a weather engine overhaul planned for the 11 run at all, or will this wait for X-Plane 12?


  6. Greetings Ben,

    i have to say, that X-Plane engine is finally starting catch with front lines of visual quality – especially with addition of plugins like xVision from the PTA team, and soon to be released ASXP.

    Building a massive world-scale scenery is to be under-estimated, but thanks to updated scenery shaders/libraries/art (as in 11.30), and orthoxp, the progress is steady.

    However, there is one potential area of development, which i wonder why it has not been tapped thus far, unless the engine develops the full-scale Vulkan API and effort on moving into better-multi processor load-balancing.

    Here comes by question, have you considered the possibility of integrating
    // (//

    Whereby i would envisage that a buffered pre-processor -running on different cpu core- invokes the Outerra engine to fill the dull vast emptiness of land with lively fractal based representation of land. (as alternative to Orhroxp which suffers huge datasets and fixed resolution that is washed out at VFR low altitude flights)

    Even the roads in outerra can be openstreetmaps driven – through the API

    The sheer beauty of 3d vegetation and extra number of vertices – i dont think that will be issue, as no burden on GPU as far as multi-processing is used properly – proof demo (//

    i have read one of your articles, you stated that VULKAN will bring 5% extra performance, and not much more… i understand that all is bound by GPU after all, it is only using GPU with a more optimized way.

    However the horizons that Vulkan API will unfold, will be increasing detail in airplane. scenery in a dynamic was up to how much cores and GPU’s available to serve for given hardware setup, which means we can see real 3d-trees, and keep push the immersion envelope.

    some readers adopt a philosophy of given less importance on the visual candy, i understand them, but i know Laminar is making sure to perfect and groom the physics and aviation experience, – i only shed light on the immersion aspect.

    Kindest Regards

    1. Ooh, I totally forgot about Outerra! That would make for an awesome integrated rendering system.

  7. Hi, 3 questions:

    1) In a previous Q&A (more than 1 year ago, I think), Austin talked about revisiting and improving water physics for seaplanes. Are there news on this?

    2) The light levels during dusk (both morning and evening) are completely out-of-sync with reality. In X-Plane it’s pitch black when there’s still plenty of light in the real world, for a given time of day/sun elevation. Are there short or mid-term plans to improve this?

    3) There are rumours that the rendering shaders will be completely revised for 11.30. Can you expand on this? Will these bring new or improved effects?

    1. I was going to ask about the seaplane situation too, but don’t have to now. Please add this +1 to the ‘weighting’ of this question.
      Thanks, Michael

  8. Ben, I’ve asked this question many times. But it seems to still be a gray area. I know you guys hired a full-time network engineer, but where are we in terms of client/server over wide area network i.e. the Internet. Not kidding when I say there are a great many of us waiting in the wings for you guys to get this last piece of the puzzle solved so we can move our virtual air show series. We have 2 major events coming up in October and December with December being the largest being V F A T virtual festival of airshow teams. Generally, a 3 day event encompassing teams from around the world and all flights are live and live streamed in real-time on twitch TV. If you have any doubts at all about how large an event This is. Please Visit these sites. // // just 1 of the teams. We really want to do large-scale precision formations in Xplane over the Internet but just can’t. . So again I ask where are we on this?

  9. Thanks Ben for giving the opportunity to ask some questions for the Q&A session.

    1. From the start of X-Plane we have seen graphical artifacts between mountains in combination with haze. Is your team working on this bug and so yes when can see a solution?

    2. X-Plane has a nice feature of runways that follows the contours of the terrain. But sometimes the transitions are rather bumpy. Are you planning to work on a sort of micro-mesh that (also) can be used by scenery developers?

    1. For question 2, this is done in Ortho4XP v1.30 and I can confirm it works wonderfully. If LR is ever interested in this, maybe they could contact Ortho4XP’s creator. Just throwin this out there.

  10. Hi Laminar team!

    Here are 3 questions I have in mind about art assets :

    -Do you plan on implementing interactive gates?
    Right now, we have to manually modify a scenery pack and manually install the fantastic autogate plugin from Marginal. We are definitely lucky to be able to do that already, but things would be much more convenient if we were able to publish scenery packs on the gateway that would already support that by default.

    -Along with interactive boarding gates, could you implement built-in support for interactive hangars, interactive barriers, either triggered by keys or even manipulators, or also by the position of the aircraft. Right now, you can see an example of interactive hangar doors in XLILU scenery published on XPFR. (And soon LFST with barriers). The trick we found so far (based on a FlyWithLua script) is a bit heavy in terms of scenery management, installation and preparation. This, along with FMOD support for scenery objects, would make X-plane even more immersive.

    -Still with gateway publication and support by default in mind, do you plan on implementing normalmaps on your polygons, for asphalt, concrete etc.. well. To sum it up, the new RA_library is extremely useful and it would be very nice if we had all this choice of art assets in Laminar Research Library : grass etc..

    Thank you for reading this long post all the way, and most importantly, thank you for showing this particular care for your customers.

  11. Hello Ben,
    I strongly believe that one of the most asked questions will be about the ATC work-in-progress, specially after your past RFC about it (not able to find it again, though).
    So, what’s the actual situation and your plans about the ATC?
    Thank in advance!


  12. Will you fix the environment lighting bug that causes sudden changes in the sky appearance (very noticeable at dusk) in the 11.30 update?

  13. Thanks for giving us the chance to ask questions.

    Will you work on saving a complete flight situation? I imagine something where the sim saves the default data and something like a plugin interface where aircrafts can store their custom state.

    It would be great for training something like an approach by starting mid air from a saved situation.

  14. Any plans to make the management of custom scenery (and perhaps any kind of addon in general) more straightforward for newbies and occasional users i.e. by way of implementing an intuitive scenery/addon management subsystem based on a common packaging format containing metadata such as version, dependencies, default priority etc.? I find that many users struggle a lot with the task of installing and organizing custom scenery correctly due to the lack of a common and automated/guided scenery installation procedure.

    Also, X-Plane seems to lack diagnostic tools allowing for efficient troubleshooting of frequent scenery layering issues (wrong/missing exclusions, wrong object placement, redundancies etc.). IMO it would be super helpful to have something like a visual debugging mode capable of interactively inspecting the fully layered scenery – for example by either hiding or highlighting elements per DSF and/or scenery folder in real time. After all, with increasing number of installed custom scenery it can become extremely difficult to understand which object is provided by which DSF or library. Are there any plans for improvement in this context?

    1. +1

      A better management of custom scenery would be great. The forums are full of people having issues because their entries in scenery_packs.ini are in the wrong order.

  15. Questions on small graphical improvements as I am all about the eye candy.

    I love your new scenery graphical improvements but as I’m sure you know there are still existing issues with autogen that could be improved.

    Is there any work being done on the appearance of water as it looks rather dated and obviously tiled. (Will we ever get waves breaking on shores and improved shorelines?)

    Are there any plans to improve road traffic, appearance and variety of vehicles, regional variations (These would help with immersion), an end to the sudden right angle turns or endlessly circling roundabouts for example?

    Also smoothing the autogen road and rail bridges and other autogen issues such as buildings in the middle of roads which cars drive through which sometimes create a surreal rather than believable landscape?

    Thank you for all your excellent work and wonderful sim.

  16. I would echo Wim van Dijk’s questions.

    Part of the problem in mountainous regions is due to the disconnect between the long distance global terrain map and the high detail terrain mesh. Distant mountains fade into view nicely, but when the terrain mesh is faded in, we see mountains appearing in substantially different locations, leading to unusual visual artifacts.

    In a separate issue, I would like to know if we’re going to see a 4k panel.png at some point. 2096 x 2096 is becoming very limiting. While it may be possible to use panel regions, it would really be appreciated if we could simply have more real estate in a 4096 x 4096 texture. In fact, I received a question on this very subject from a client today. When one can now create left and right side airliner cockpit panels, having more texture area will allow us to enhance the resolution to more acceptable levels.

    And speaking of resolution, how about a bigger airliner style map to equal Philipp’s excellent Garmin offerings? This has been asked before, but discounted. I can assure you that the idea of spinning up a custom map is not a happy thought. 😉

    Thanks for asking for questions in advance!

  17. Thank you for this chance! I was talking to a friend who has XP and we came up with the following:

    -Will there be default 3D clouds?
    -Can you please improve the seaplane physics? This is a big one.
    -Could you please make automatic installation of scenery libraries when you install custom sceneries? Kinda like apt-get.
    -Ortho tile levels change with altitude. For ex. switch to orthos at 10,000ft and above or specified altitude.
    -Could you improve the docs of normal maps & Blender?

  18. Hello Ben,
    Thank you for the opportunity to ask.

    -Will there be any built-in Multicrew operations (pilot-copilot mainly) ever available ?

    Of course over the internet. The current option is a 3rd party plugin that it’s good but it can’t be better than something made within the sim itself (rough guess)

  19. Hello Team

    I only have two questions.

    1. When will we get a user friendly “built-in” mission builder?

    Unless you fly on FSEconomy there isn’t really much to do with helicopters other than flying around aimlessly, and there is a large group of “Helicopter” enthusiasts who would like fly and build missions for helicopters in XP. Search and Rescue, sling loading etc. Which brings my to my next question…

    2. The sling loading physics in XP at the moment looks very awkward and unrealistic compared to FSX. Cargo that is sling loading remains 100% upright and the cable looks wonky. The “Advanced Sling Loading” mod in “Arma 3” is an excellent example of awesome sling loading modeling and physics.

    Kind Regards


  20. Question 1: will the new particle system be able to bring better windshield rain effects?

    Question 2:Will the cloud transparency bug be fixed in 11.30?

  21. Any chance that the dreaded “instant gray-out of death” occurring on transitions of certain “invisible” overcast layers and which has apparently been unofficially acknowledged by Chris Serio back in 2012 will be addressed soon™? Or at least, can you officially confirm a bug report is already in the database?



  22. Love LR and XP! There are very many of us oldies who cannot make scenery and we rely on others in the community doing so. Could not LR make a fortune by hiring more people and providing, as an optional extra and for an additional fee, world-wide photoscenery (look at the huge popularity of forkboy2’s USA photoscenery) and cities and landmarks (I know you are slowly doing some landmarks)? I usually do not go for payware, but I would go for this one! In the meantime, of course, maintain your great on-going focus on aeronautical engineering aspects . Cheers.

  23. Hello,
    So getting in depth in tje mobile version for android i noticed many departures and arrivals in the fmc were simply impossible to do because there were discontinuities in the map being too small. Will there be any major update of scenery upgrade, more full working cockpits (a320) and even just starting on a gate possibility?

  24. Hello,

    Here are some questions:

    1) Will clouds transparency be fixed?

    2) Will clouds flashing (mostly with scattered and broken clouds) be fixed?

    3) Clouds drawing in VR have some serious problems.
    a) Clouds are cut to the boundaries of the layers (you can see it when flying at higher altitudes through or over clouds).
    b) Clouds (metar reports few clouds) are just in front of you and are floating over your head. Probably the drawing distance related to ground is wrong.
    Will these clouds issues in VR be fixed?

    4) In VR the most annoying thing is stuttering when flying. During flight when next tile(s) are loading there is a huge frame drop for 1-3 sec. This is not very annoying in 2D, but in VR the screen goes black with a very annoying stuttering.
    This is more or less intense according to PC specs but everyone flying in VR is facing it.
    Could this stuttering be fixed somehow?

    5) Water rendering is not very good. Unfortunately none of the water tweaks (payware or freeware) could make water looks like real from calm to rough and heavy sea state.
    Could water rendering be improved to look like real or at least like Triton Ocean?

    6) Is there any progress to new ATC? Will it be VR friendly?

    7) Will ground handling and ground effect be further improved?

    8) Could you make the default FMC popup in VR?

    9) Will the Europe library be expanded to include objects for other countries like Greece? (Europe is not only Germany)

    10) Could autogen be more smart? Filling cities with tall (flat roof) buildings and villages and country with short (1 – 2 floor) houses?

    Thanks in advance!

  25. I hope that this question does not go into some secrets that you can’t reveal.
    As i do have an interest in performance optimization via culling algorithms, does X-Plane use any kind of special data structures or culling algorithms for performance optimization? Like for example Frustum Culling, CHC++ etc. or simply rendering the plane first when the user is in the virtual cockpit and using the plane as an occluder for the remaining scenery? Do you think any of these occlusion culling techniques could be beneficial to X-Plane/flight-simulators in general? What are possible problems you think might occur with such techniques?
    Again please excuse if these questions are to specific/extensive or are going into areas you don’t want to/can’t answer because of wanting to keep things a corporate secret.
    I’m really interested in those things as i hope to maybe (very very careful maybe) get the chance to write my master thesis about this exact topic (culling algorithms for flight-simulators).

  26. Can we have the commands sim/general/rot_left_slow left and left_fast
    sim/general/rot_right_slow right and right_fast work the same in VR as they do in 2d?

  27. One more question.

    Will XP ever support Crossfire and SLI technology. I for one can only dream of the Graphics settings some are running on their rigs in XP as I do not have the budget for a high end 8GB+ GFX Card. Adding an additional 4GB GFX in SLI is more within my grasp. But I understand this is not supported by XP.

    1. Interestingly, the new VULKAN API will make naively make better use of existing multiple GPU’s in your system, whether they are configured as SLI or not – provided both GPUs are from the same Family or at least driver by same universal driver.

      Whereas Vulkan API will not help in these scenarios:::
      – if you have Nvidia Card and AMD card on same machine, Vulkan cannot use both of them.(but DirectX12 and OpenCL Does)

      – if you have integrated Intel Graphic on your motherboard and Nvidia Card, Vulkan cannot utilize both.. (but DirectX12 and OpenCL Does)

    2. As far as I know cards in SLI have the exact copy of the data in their VRAMs because the both draw the same frame, interpolated. It’s not like when you add a 2nd card you have twice the amount of VRAM available.

  28. Are we ever going to get an update to the generic radar weather instrument (with customizable range inputs) as well as a generic terrain radar instrument with the same?

  29. First of all, many thanks for making it easier for us Europeans. It’s very nice from you and a good acknowledgement that this hobby is really spread worldwide. Some general questions from me, hopefully you can answer some of them.

    Where are you with the ATC overhaul? Did you already decide how it is supposed to look like? What is the Roadmap? This is high in the list of many of us…

    Do you foresee a Gateway – like system for the landmarks?

    A question about how your development cycle works. Do you work in parallel with the current Xplane version and the next one? Or do you finish all the updates of the current version before starting with XP12? How long before the launch do you start with a new version?

    Keep up the good work!

  30. These are subjects creating debates – through growing numbers of commercial addons, brave DIY-projects – OR just share dreaming.
    1. Weather. The visuals, the injection and the impact on your aircraft.
    2. To shade or not to shade.. Lighting and seasons – give us the real deal.
    3. Most of us fly offline; we need en-route functions for AI and supported ATC
    4. Landing gear authority! Rudder is doing fine (or not helping at all)
    5. Gazing at the world in X Plane from high altitudes, the earth looks flat with the landscape, clouds and horizon arguing how to settle. Bring out the magic wand..

    Thankyou for taking the time to listen to us 🙂 Have a nice stream!

  31. Here’s one I don’t really hear too often. Are there any plans for more advanced autogen and regional scenery editing? I think most users are deterred from contributing to the more remote areas of OSM. Having a more simplistic 2D editor where we can draw custom roads, forests, building plots etc. Being able to just paint on ground textures, rather than being reliant on the same, repeating crop-field texture. Having the tools early could greatly benefit the community, both for payware scenery creators, or if a similar system created to the default airport database was put into place.

    I also think having in-sim tools could be hugely beneficial. I know there are some disagreements on mesh editing, but from an artists perspective, the ability to sculpt terrain would be hugely beneficial to those who wish to depict airports close to sea level (and prepare for the day 3D water comes into play), create small embankments, more believable looking roads on mountains, and other potential obstructions someone might use when training at an airport.

    Cheers for your time, and as always, looking forward to the Q&A

    1. The outsourcing of airport design to the public (gateway) was a huge success for Laminar: apparently, there are a zillion artists out there willing to contribute!

      I agree with the above poster that providing additional tools should be on the roadmap. Are they?

  32. Do you plan to change the auto-gen in other parts of the world?

    for example: in Algeria and Tunisia which are in north Africa most houses are European style, due to
    the colonization by the french in the past.

    Also about custom scenery folder can we have a more organized folder ? a separate folder for library’s and another one for mesh..ect inside the custom scenery folder. And having the option to change priority of the scenery in x plane without having to edit the .ini file

    Last thing any plans to upgrade x-plane default ground textures? they are starting to show their age and a lot of times they are not accurate and two different textures side by side don’t blend well together.

  33. Hi,

    With the future planned implementation of 2 new graphical APIs – Vulkan and Metal, programming a UI will probably becomes a tedious job.
    Is there any plan by “Laminar Research” to make a consolidated SDK for UI, so programmers won’t need to learn to new graphical framework just to paint a window (for example).
    In the same way, I would appreciate if an SDK won’t be just for UI but also for primitive drawing in X-Plane 3D world.

    Making a standard SDK for UI and 3D primitive draw would make a huge impact in programming for X-Plane ( My humble opinion at least).


  34. Hi everyone

    Firstly, I would like to thank you the effort on the continuous improvement of the game.

    My question is simple: when will we have access to VULKAN? Will it allow a substantial improvemente in VR?


    1. The Newly Released Vulkan 1.1 Does Improve VR (But not Vulkan 1.0)

      Vulkan 1.1 is better for Virtual Reality applications. VR requires rendering two different perspectives of the same 3D scene, one for each eye. This is possible today through brute force—first, submit all the commands to draw the left eye to the GPU, then submit all the commands for the right eye. With Vulkan 1.1, developers can use multiview, where a single set of rendering commands produces multiple, slightly different outputs with a single call.

      Read More::

  35. Any news about XPD-8408 (C172 pulls right)?
    Any news about the new ATC (considering VFR flights) and its connection with a better AI traffic?

  36. Another question:
    Is it also possible to create growing icing, de-icing, thunder, rain etc with the new particlesystem?

  37. Is it possible that we will see improved simulation of thermals in the future/thermals with real weather enabled?
    Another thing I would like to see is ability to set linearity and dead zone for all axis, I tried to set my wheel as a tiller as it happens to sit in perfect position for that when I am not using it, but I was unable to do so due to lack of axis setting options. I got a bit into combat sims lately and I have to say the axis settings were miles ahead with every setting imaginable avaliable for all axis and a very nice visualization on a graph as well. Having ability to set one axis for both toebrakes would be nice as well.
    Also I started to fly in the US more recently and it would be nice if the altimeter units switched automatically based on location, it’s a small thing, but it would be a nice feature to have and probably not hard to implement.

  38. From a developer stand point, could we ever expect to see support for “or” functions?

    Example being the flap alert sounding when not in T/O config and above a certain throttle, but if one of those conditions is resolved the alert still plays. There are work arounds, but they can be time consuming.

    Would also love to be able to spawn carriers a la AI Carriers for FSX.

  39. What is the progress regarding the overhaul of the ATC system? Can you highlight some cool features that will be implemented? Thanks!

  40. Hey All,

    – Realistic AI that integrates with a realistic ATC environment.
    – Improved weather and environment engine (clouds, water, seasons etc).
    – Improved shading (sky textures etc).
    – Update on where we are with Vulkan and XP road map in general.

    All of the above is already possible via third-party addons which I have, but it would be really great to have this done/improved natively.

    Many thanks and looking forward to the stream!

  41. Hi,
    Any news on the progress of X-Plane 11.30 and a possible ETA for the public 11.30 beta?

    Also, do you have any updated information on whether Vulkan may reach public beta by the end of the year?

    Thank you!

  42. Since the scenery is mostly based on Osm which is constantly being updated, are there any plans for periodic scenery re-cuts? Especially now that alpilotx has stepped back from the scenery generation process.

  43. Am currently tinkering on my “cockpit” while waiting for the upcoming hires VR headsets (Pimax and now as of yesterday StarVR). I stumbled across something where the “Dark Side” (FSX and Co.) still seem to be better. I thought that X-Plane had arrived at the same point with the multi monitor support, but it seems to be only for 3 monitors to provide a wide screen forward view. When I tried to set up an unused monitor as an overhead panel, it wasn’t possible. Only solution is Airmanager (which I am using for the Instruments on some cheap Android Tablets), but displaying the overhead still neads a separate computer in a network. OK, I can try building my own using Airmanager, but for every aircraft? Lot of work. Any chance on changing this? Example: setting the second monitor also on forward with instruments to then adjust that view to display some part of the cockpit. Shouldn’t be that hard to do, or am I wrong? All hunting on the internet always went to the thing with a second computer running a second copy of x-plane. Think that is a waste, and over complicated…

  44. Since the latest Oculus Rift update (1.29) I can no longer properly shutdown XP11.25. When I go to the main menu (or use the screens pulldown file menu) it just hangs. I then need to go to task manager in order to end it’s task (which just tells me it is not responding). Using Windows 10 1803. Will a fix be forthcoming soon? Thanks.

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