In the past, our posts breaking down X-Plane usage data have been… well… intermittent at best. Not because we don’t think sharing this stuff is important—it absolutely is—but simply because gathering the data, putting it into nice charts, and writing up a blog post took time away from developing X-Plane itself.

Whenever we encounter a problem like this, we try to pull back and take the humans out of the process. Out of that philosophy, let me present to you:

The new, always-up-to-date X-Plane usage data “dashboard.”

Like our blog posts, this is based on data collected from paying users of X-Plane 11 who have opted-in to data collection.

Unlike our blog posts, though, this updates daily based on live usage of the simulator!

Have a look, and if you spot any bugs or want to see something else, let me know in the GitHub project’s issue tracker.

About Tyler Young

Tyler is a software developer for X-Plane. Among other projects, he was in charge of the new X-Plane 11 user interface.

38 comments on “Usage Data Never Goes Out of Style

  1. Thank you Tyler

    I am surprised to see only 2% use VR in 2019. I can only relate this to purchase cost. Will I do think this can be the future, it needs to cut its production cost in half.

    1. Not surprised at all, there are some who have no interest in VR. Its not just a cost thing.

      1. I agree. It’s also a quality issue. VR technology is almost there, but the big drawbacks are insufficient field of view, insufficient resolution and general response lag (which contributes to that whole nausea thing). Solve those problems and VR will take off.

        1. Totally agree, and there is also a general issue with comfort for me. Can only handle short bursts before either feeling nauseous or really hot.

    2. I’ve got a VR headset and in spite of that, I’ve only used it once for X-Plane this year.

      Part of the trouble with VR I think is simply the time and trouble it takes to get into VR.
      1. First you have to select VR mode
      2. Then you have to figure out why your headset isn’t working
      3. Then you have to download the latest drivers and/or firmware
      4. Reboot machine
      5. Can’t remember the steps after that…. but you get the picture.

      Ideally the user process should be distilled right down to a level where all you have to do as a user is put on the headset – no pressing buttons – it just “knows” when you’ve donned your headset and initiates VR mode automatically.

      Another feature of VR is heavy performance load. I personally feel sick if the frames get choppy. So I also have to spend time manually dialling my rendering settings right back. If this was done automatically (essentially two rendering mode presets – one for monitor and one for VR), then that can also ease the user process.

    3. I’m surprised it’s this high because personally speaking, it’s not fun to use: If you want fluid AND fancy graphics, you’d need a cpu twice as fast as can be purchased today; the resolution of the available headsets is so bad that reading the instruments on e.g. the aerolite is impossible. VR and graphics hardware have to improve a LOT to make it worthwile IMO.

    4. “I can only relate this to purchase cost”

      By flying an airplane nothing is as unreal as not to feel any feedback of yokes, rudder, switches, breakes.
      That’s the point for me.

      Beeing not the pilot but a passenger, VR may be an option 🙂

      1. Why wouldn’t you use your yoke in VR?
        Yes some people splash out on large consoles and like the tactile feeling of flicking switches etc, others feel VR is more immersive, no reason both cannot enjoy Xplane.

        Other negative comments on VR tend to relate the limitations of the technology which is fair IMO but of course it is a subjective experience.
        Personally I think some of the comments are a little out of date though, with the latest VR HMD’s you can have a very good experience (again subjective) and read dials etc but it is still a work in progress and leans more toward the enthusiast than mainstream for some of the reasons pointed out, especially cost and ease of use.

        VR isn’t going anywhere and each iteration improves on the last and increases popularity.
        One day it will be fringe to not be simming VR.

    5. I’m also surprised about the low VR percentage. Once you tried VR (with a decent setup and VR headset like the Rift S), you’ll never want to go back to a 2D monitor. VR is the future of flight simulation!

      1. It’s still subjective and heavily depends on how you use the sim. I own a Vive Pro (and had a regular ol’ Vive before that) and still prefer simming without it.

      2. I completely agree…
        First time I tried VR, I decided to would wait for 4x resolution, and bought a 55″ 4k tv instead. Which was so much more immersive than the old 24″ 1080p.

        3 months later I tried VR again.
        I could not stop myself buying a (now much cheaper) Rift.

        Every pleasure of my flying – GA, military, low-level, scenery-tourism, is made better by VR.
        Flying to the Austrian mountain tops from LOWI, amazing.
        Flying low over the lip of the grand-canyon, actually took my breath away.
        (Thank you so much for adding the microlite with the VR)
        You wanna fly circuits? Get VR. My VR has overlapped with my PPL, and I cant imagine my progress without it. I have more fear of the radio than pointing the nose at the ground.

        I expect anyone flying big jets need to spend a lot of time ‘in the cockpit’ and clarity, plus quick-view hot keys, is probably king.

        If I ever need to learn a G1000 though – I’m sure I’ll take the VR mask off.

        FYI, I have zero faff with driver updates and equipment not working. This is likely an individual experience, not the general VR experience.

    6. I tried VR but the screen door effect was to bad and killed any immersion gain. What good is it to feel inside a 3D environment when you can’t read any instruments without putting your nose right in front of it?

      1. use super sampling with something like Oculuis Tray tool but you need a LOT of cpu and GPU till LR gets around to fixing vr so its not rendering everything twice

          1. well your doing something wrong because not matter how low the settings are nothing helps the get the frame rate up

            have you not used the OTT data graphs? your using WAY more cpu then any other VR ap

            you have to nearly turn everything off to even get close to 90fps and you still havent updated to Oculus 2.0 sdk

    7. 90% of the conversation in this current topic for ‘Usage Data’ is about VR performance and ease of use.

      I am one of the 2%.

      I fly every day, in one of the following Simulators currently installed on my $4000 watercooled PC:

      (VR)
      Xplane 11
      P3D 4.5
      FSX Steam Edition
      AeroflyFS2
      DCS World
      Flyinside Flight Sim Demo
      War Thunder
      Elite Dangerous (well that might be a stretch to call it a simulator)

      (VR not available)
      Falcon BMS 4.33 U4
      Flight Sim World
      F18 Super Hornet
      Star Citizen
      ARMA (Helicopters)

      We all spend hundreds on software annually, from core products to DLC.
      We budget hundreds more on maintaining the best hardware available.
      The best simulation available today is Xplane 11 (flexibility not performance).

      However, Installing Ortho scenery is not for the average user and is likely only 2% of users also.

      Can we see stats on how many people use default scenery vs custom scenery?

    8. it’s a performance issue for me. I think a lot of us are waiting for vulcan/metal betas. I can’t get a usable/stable framerate with a GTX 1080 and i8700k

    1. Agreed. For now, the answer for all graphs is “over the lifetime of the sim” (with the exception of VR usage, which is of course only tracked since the introduction of VR in 11.20).

      Long term, I’d love to be able to live-filter the data and say “show me just the last 6 months/just 2018/etc.”

      1. Lifetime of the sim therefore wont give an accurate portrait of how the sim, X-Plane11 in particular is being used currently.
        I was surprised at the low figure for the Zibo Mod, but if its against all use since 1995 that might explain it.
        The live filter you mention would be a good move, if possible.
        Very interesting though, hours of use would be very interesting too!
        Loving your work.. Thanks

  2. Excellent information. The addition of VRAM would be good to see. Questions are often asked on forums about how much VRAM should I have on my video card

  3. If it can be done, would it be worthwhile also adding the plugins people use? I’ve noticed over the years that popular plugins often become a part of x-plane and the plugin is no longer required. Maybe Laminar would benefit from seeing what sort of enhancements people want from the plugins they use (or do you do that already)? They could be classified into “weather” “AI traffic” “optimisation” etc etc

  4. Now that the VR is usable, I’m so stoked with it – really looking forward to Vulcan.

    I’m still struggling to get ATC and FMC windows in VR though.

  5. Hey Tyler, can we get a bit deeper on some on the data for Third-party aircraft? Maybe a filter to allow us to show the top 10, 20, 50, 100 etc? Also what percentage of owners actually turn on analytic data… do they come from steam or native launcher?

    Cheers!

    1. Re: third party aircraft, my near-term plan is to just produce a downloadable CSV of the top 500 or so third party planes.

      Re: percentage of owners sending usage data, we don’t know… because of course we’d have to send some analytics data to tell us! 😀 What I can say is that there are hundreds of thousands of copies of X-Plane that have opted in to data collection.

      1. How can you not know? Number of unique reports / copies of XP11 sold.
        Unless of course you don’t know how many copies are sold by third parties

        1. Sure, we know how many copies we’ve sold. What we don’t know is:

          • How many have actually been installed
          • How many have been resold
          • How many have been reinstalled, or installed on multiple machines
          • How many have been pirated
  6. Great idea to automate this process.
    Absolute data is nice to know but it doesn’t give insight of changes over time.

    REQUEST:
    Could you provide an easy way to compare two sets of data?

    Like:
    Data set 1: From date – to date
    Data set 2: From date – to date

  7. Whats the definition of a ‘flight’ – is it a boot-up of X-Plane, a respawn, or a takeoff/landing?

    Is it all the data since XP11, or does it contain data since data capture began (which was 10.40 i think? You really have XP11 users on <2GB ram?)

    Considering the most popular aircraft is 'other' should this graph be replaced with a graph per category (ie GA, Military, etc) ?

    If (big if) the effort to select date ranges is the UI, perhaps release a url-parameter UI before a full HTML UI ..?!! (this IS the dev blog, after all)

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