Thomson and Philipp are at FlightSimExpo in San Diego; at 2 pm PDT (5 pm EDT) he’ll be showing our video presentation. You can watch it here or on our Youtube channel.

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.

157 comments on “X-Plane Livestream at FlightSimExpo

  1. I am super excited. I hope the event staff aren’t recording it with a potato though! (As event staff all over seem wont to do)

      1. It was great!

        One question though, and I know it’s really really early. Say I have a Vega 48 with 8 GB of ram. If I dialed the autogen way down, do you think clouds, atmosphere, weather, & screen space reflections would be moderately performant (say at 1080p) or are things going to be pretty GPU melting?

  2. The presentation was great and I’m looking forward to the new features that were announced. Can we expect an X-Plane 12 page on the site soon?

  3. Was that a HUD with proper collimation on the F-14 that I saw? Will the functionality for HUD be available and/or customizable for other aircraft?

      1. I don’t know if it’s just a coincidence, but I made a request about having collimated HUDs a few years ago, so it’s great to see them implemented. Great work in general for XP12!

        1. It’s a request we’ve gotten from multiple developers, and having better HUD tech has been on or TODO list for a while, so the F-14 was a good way to work that out.

    1. The new model separates cloud TYPE from cloud COVERAGE – you can have scattered cumulus or scattered stratus clouds. The cloud types are cirrus, stratus, cumulus, and cumulonimbus, but internally the engine can blend between them so we can grow a cumulus cloud to a cumulonimbus cloud.

      We change the rendering properties slightly based on cloud type, but the whole system is more fluid and dynamic than that. The UI presents cloud layers, but the engine works on a big 4-d ‘pile o weather’ that doesn’t have discrete boundaries.

      1. About clouds and weather, you did a GREAT work! Looking at preview shots, I have two questions though:

        1) Do clouds extend to the horizon (or at least close to)?

        2) Specifically, stratus clouds still don’t look very good, and seem to suffer from the distance limitation as in XP11. Maybe the stratus clouds in the preview shots were XP11 clouds?

        1. Confusingly, some of the preview video were NOT the new clouds – all the clouds in the ‘clouds’ segment were new, but some of the clouds in the other segments were legacy because the cloud tech isn’t all over the internal build yet. We realized during production that this was confusing but couldn’t do anything about it because of time constraints.

          With that in mind, right now cumulous clouds do look better than stratus clouds, but stratus clouds do work and are not billboard based.

          1. Looking forward for better lighting flashy thunder bolts effects, whereby it should illuminate its surrounding within an attenuation diameter.

  4. Hi Ben I have to say I and the community I represent are both intrigued and excited and a little bit disappointed by the live stream.

    Throughout the entire presentation and Q&A session afterwards there was not one mention nor was there one question about multiplayer,/networking in X plane 12.

    This is very disturbing because I thought that with all of the pressure that my community has tried to impress upon you guys as developers as to its importance. I realize we must be some kind of niche group to you people. Multiplayer and networking has certainly been very low on the list of priorities for development. And gets no mention and no love . And yet there is an entire community that I keep stressing, and that is literally chomping at the bit to make a move to X plane but can’t do so.

    Because we just don’t know if you guys are going to solve the issue you currently have when it comes to multiplayer networking and synchronization.

    And in that vein while we noticed the mention of split cockpit controls for pilot/copilot does not extend to multigroup over the Internet?

    With the announcement of all the new upgrades, I have to say all of these new features are going to look fantastic for the virtual airshow community doing live performances,

    provided the 800 pound gorilla in the room of multiplayer networking is supported to the same extent that it is in the current simulator platform (DCS) we have been using but sorely lacking in any version of X plane , even MSFS has contiguous real-world multiplayer, but even they managed to botch it up when it comes to formation flying by not allowing aircraft to get too close visually before it just stops drawing and the other aircraft becomes invisible.

    We want X plane! We want the real weather we want the cool scenery and cool water effects we want the cool airports and runway effects we want the seasons and snow and rain . We want all of it. but we need it to be multiplayer synchronized and accessible over the Internet.

    Whatever happened to the network engineer you guys hired?

  5. Hello all,
    I enjoyed the presentation today. While watching the enhancements to the water world, including knowing the depth, if I understood correctly, I had a thought.

    What about tides? I believe NOAA publishes tide data which I’m sure X-plane could use and would be neat to include. For instance around the equator, the tide levels don’t vary much but along the US West coast the level of the water can vary greatly. Also bays like Hudson Bay can be drastically different depending on the tide.

    I know, tide data around the US is easy to come by, but no longer as easy to get in other parts of the world… But it would be great to see tides modeled.

    I have in mind a program, I used to use called XTide, which was the genesis of my interest in tides as an element of X-Plane

    1. I don’t think you will have that with the current tech or even at all.

      Good tide effects implies you have the ability to change the water level locally which in itself is probably a coding nightmare (idk though, not a dev) and that your water should ideally interact with real ground / contact mesh. Which ideally would probably mean having bathymetric data in your DSFs so you can have a good interaction with the two components. Which in turn would naturally draw your coastlines…

      Honestly I would prefer to have that for real coastlines and the possibility to extend XP capabilities with submarines for example (for military missions, etc). But tides are not that vital to have in a flight sim (nor submarines for that matter). Having water or rivers going uphill or doing weird things is much more annoying and immersion braking…

      So you shouldn’t expect tides… 3D water is very good to have instead for the physics interactions with seaplanes and boats. That’s a winner! I could see Laminar adding one or two boats in the fleet, that would be fun (excluding A/C carriers already present I think).

      1. FWIW we do have bathymetric data and the ability to locally displace the water level. No engine limitations there. But we’re not looking at tide right now – it’d open up even more cans of worms WRT coastline interactions.

        1. That’s interesting, something tells me your million lines of code have some hidden gems then!
          Am I wrong if that could be a good use maybe not for coastlines, if it opens up a bunch of problems, but for lakes for example? That seems to be the easiest case…
          Good to know anyways, I’m a bit surprised you actually have that capability but very nice. 🙂

  6. Will there be any short term changes to the LOD distance of city lights? Or at least any improvement to the distant flat textures currently representing said lights?

    And most importantly (shake shake thine money maker): will the weather engine, even if without volumetric clouds, ever go into mobile??

    1. Isn’t the LOD distance of lights linked to the loaded DSFs (or the autogen)? Because then the more lights you want, the more DSFs you have to load. Which is resource intensive…

      I wonder if lights could be coded in separate and lightweight file format… Then you could have much more lights loaded, maybe even seing those from orbit! But I don’t know exactly how it works. That’s a question for Ben I guess…

      1. Yes, but we load a LOT of DSF distance already – the bigger issue is that the 3-d isn’t built out to the entire extent of the DSF, so we have room to add more detail without bumping up the DSF count.

  7. In order to get weather effects working on canopy glass in XP-12, will we developers need to add any kind of attribute to exterior-facing glass objects? Or will we be calling a new API to add weather to our exterior-facing glass objects?

    1. There’s a new lighting mode for the attached object in Plane-Maker that makes the glass rain-enabled. For more control, there are a few OBJ-exporter tags to specify things like the rain texture size. No code needed, it’s pretty quick.

      The biggest problem for legacy aircraft: we found our artists had mirrored the left side glass to the right side of the cockpit. You can’t do that – the rain drops need unique UV space based on their physical location.

      1. Is the next VR Upgrade after the XP12 release? Would be a good thing to have someone triage and improve the feedback site then. Every time I log into that site I get errors unless I’m already ON an item. Several OpenXR posts there.

        1. Hand tracking has been requested a lot – doesn’t mean we’ll do it for sure, but we will look carefully at it. It’s a complicated feature.

  8. I am really excited to get my hands on X-Plane 12, can’t wait. Everything looks stunning, my ONLY complain is about Terrain. Are you going to enhance Terrain and terrain textures, please? I do think it is the only visual barrier, it’s really frustrating to have such a beautiful simulator, with all those improvements and completely reworked atmosphere and then, once i look to the ground i see that green vomit with beautiful trees planted just over that texture…

    Another point, is the mashes structure going to be the same? Because there is many cases which an airport is situated between two mesh tiles and we have that hole to the infinite which is a pretty boring one too.

    Thank you so much and all LR’s Team for your Hard Work!

  9. Hey Ben,
    I was so looking forward to today’s reveal! Austin’s acid trip was certainly a bit unexpected LOL.

    Anyway, I wanted to ask about the additions in autogen to the plausible world. Do the sports objects/stadiums include the baseball/softball fields, golf courses, etc that are typically peppered across the real landscape? How about shopping malls, college campuses, parking lots, vast concrete, etc? Oh, and what about radio towers?

    Also, not much of a reveal of night lighting, any new light color variations.. And any increase in real world landmarks?

    I am very excited with how XP 12 is panning out. I don’t want to sound like I am disgruntled with XP 12. I thought the autogen/scenery portion of the presentation was a little light.
    There is an appeal to the consistency of the plausible world, but it needs more visual variation to be truly plausible (and I would like speak for those of us that wish to end the love/hate relationship with orthos : )

    But most of all, thanks to the efforts of you, and all of the team. We will (hopefully soon) be exploring and enjoying the next generation of X-Plane!

    1. Am quoting for revelance a comment from one of youtube commenters saying:
      “I was really hoping XP12 would have a 1 click scenery import feature so actual VFR pilots could look out the window and recognise what was actually there. We don’t need 5cm accuracy, but Laminar could easily have a satellite imagery subscription at 20m resolution, which they could use for customer “pre loading.”

      I am personally very happy with the new xp12 presentation and can see a lot of hard work already through, we are not yet there, and there is surely alot more on the roadmap.

      thanking you for the great effort and achievement so far.

  10. A lot of really appreciated news out there! Will developers have to register somewhere to get X-Plane 12 beta, or will you announce all the stuff here? Of course we don’t want to lose time…



      1. Good Morning Ben,

        What are the prerequisites to join the developer relations program? Is it just for commercial developers?


        1. It’s not just commercial – I’m not sure what the full set of restrictions are – we don’t have infinite slots in the slack channel, so “I once downloaded the XPLM but never unzipped it” is probably too casusal.

  11. I’m excited for X-Plane 12! I’m personally more interested in accuracy of flight models and physics than with pretty graphics. There were hints in the livestream that the physics is being tweaked and added to. Please can you explain more about this. Thanks.

    1. There’s actually a lot of FM refinements and improvements. We may have to have Austin do a separate video where he just _nerds out_ for the people who want to see this in gritty detail.

      The short version: he worked with a company to make an actual electric aircraft, and he used the (in development) XP12) to do the design; this gave him a chance to refine a lot of the aerodynamics and validate against real world data up close.

      1. Wow, that sounds interesting. It would be interesting for Austin to tell us more about it. Thanks for continuing to put work into the flight models, I really appreciate it.

      2. any improvements in ground handing namely tail gear aircraft? also id like to know more how your doing water sim. it makes no sense for small lake to have 3 foot waves even if its blowing hard because there just isnt the surface area etc.

        1. Regarding waves: In the presentation it was said (and shown), there are big waves on open water and small waves on lakes and rivers. Seems like this feature is already implemented.
          I think the new water looks really nice, btw. : )

  12. I recognize that F-14 model any day. The “D” shape imaging pod with an “A” type body.

    I was curious when would someone inevitably put it in a flight simulator, but didn’t expect it to be Laminar to do it!

  13. Will night lightning extend further than XP11. It would make night flights much more ambient, especially on takeoff and approach, and just regular low flights. Thanks for any answers.

    1. In 12.0 there is no change to how far out the 3-d extends. There will be some kind of change to how things look because the entire lighting engine is photometric. We’re still tuning night lighting so we’ll see in a few weeks how it looks.

      1. Given this statement, are there any plans at this point for the 12.0 distance 3D global terrain model to get increased resolution so that it at least comes closer to matching the higher fidelity “near” 3D terrain? The mountains appearing in mountains effect due to the way near terrain fades out using the alpha channel is rather dated, even if at the time it was part of design intent.

  14. I’m so glad to see, that X-Plane has decided to not join the race of the best
    scenery graphics and instead invest into simulation!
    New planes, better ATC, flued weather, seasons, better sound
    and it looks like this could all still run fluedly on avarage systems
    thanks to Vulkan. I’m looking forward to it!

  15. Hi Ben, very big thank you to the entire team for a great display on the upcoming XP12! Some of the capabilities shown caught me by surprise! Very much appreciate all that they do to bring this incredible flightsim to the next level, with game-changing capabilities. The only question I have without narrowing a date, can we expect an open beta this year! Thanks again to Austin and the entire team!.. you all are incredible!!!

  16. That is a lot of stuff!!! Now I understand the radio silence all these days…. thanks for continuing to up the game on what is already a really cool flight simulator.

    I think the list you have is bang on… focus on where we spend the most time — the sky …. ( rendering engine , weather and clouds) and airports/atc !!!!

    Trees and seasons are great, and hopefully 3rd parties can start to offer photogrammetric scenery for x-p based on the foundations you are putting in for auto-gen etc. Jetways were long overdue…thanks for that!!

    Also happy with things that were —not— announced … and i hope do not change … install and update process… ( 2 thumbs way up), local and non-cloud install/dependency for the core product ( if addons want to do leverage cloud and stream data… thats their business and abs fine ) ….

    Excited for XP12 and looking forward to the pleasure/pain of another major release!!!

  17. Will a default X-Plane 12 installation prevent trees or high tension electrical towers from being placed in the middle of roadways? Just wondering …. Thanks

  18. Nice lot of new features/improvements, and nice presentation – congratulations. I have been with XP for a very long time, and I hope that continues. I am a real- life pilot. I am also a bit of an “eye candy” guy, so I have MSFS as well. It seems to me that with your new features/improvements the only thing MSFS has over XP now is the “eye candy”, but that requires a good internet connection with MSFS. If you guys sold world-wide photoscenery for XP, say as an optional extra, for people to load onto their own HDDs, or sold it already on a HDD, I for one would buy it from you. I think many others would too. I have no idea how practical this would be for you, but it would put you ahead of MSFS – just imagine, all the “eye candy” without needing an internet connection. I would drop MSFS like a hot spud. You already have the better flight model, avionics, aircraft etc etc etc. – only one thing missing for you, ie the “eye candy”. Why let the new big- boy win in any respect!? Cheers.

    1. I agree with you. Mesh res, ground textures, shore lines/rivers and good road placement (on tilted terrain) are important. Not that much with XP11 but now that the other big elephant is in the flight simulation room, that’s another story…

      I understand XP doesn’t need to do the same thing as MSFS2020 is doing, the approach is different. On top of Laminar not having terabytes of satellite imagery and data as well as an entire network infrastructure in their drawers alongside their socks…

      But, I don’t understand why Meyer is using the “blobby/melted” aspect of MSFS2020 on ground level to prop up the plausible world approach. The “blobby/melted” effect is only present with photogrammetry on. You can use the sim, with online streaming data and sat imagery with photogrammetry off. Then you have the Blackshark autogen creating the exact same plausible approach of XP. And it is as plausible as it gets. If fact, it’s a big part of MSFS, the photogrammetry is not available worldwide. Far from it.

      It is against that, that XP12 is going to compete when it comes to terrain depiction. So I don’t understand the marketing approach of Austin pointing out the flaws of photogrammetry. It’s almost irrelevant.

      To your point, I remember posting something here a year ago or more about the possibility of using satellite imagery as some kind of landclass data. So you would know exactly what is where. Then use your own assets or procedural generation to build your world, without having all the problems of orthophotos that no one likes. Baked shadows (or aircrafts on tarmac), weird stretching on tilted terrain, not perfectly sharp at ground level, etc.

      And if it means hundreds of GB of data, then stream it yourself. Once you have that on your SSD at home, you’re good to go, no difference between online or offline… Or sell a Terabyte SSD for those who have limited internet or want the whole thing in one shot!

      Thing is, Ben basically said that in a subsequent interview, it will be possible to use sat imagery as a template to build their plausible world with their assets. That’s awesome. They should make that a priority. Especially now that the “other one” is there in full force. Even if that means changing the tech and abandoning the old DSF backward combability. So yes, I’m disappointed with the terrain aspect but I guess we have the choice now.

      I’m still curious to see what the final XP12 will look like once fine tuned, but I’m not really looking forward an old looking terrain, weird coastlines or rivers or water escalating terrain. Then again, I understand it takes time for a small team (compared to Microsoft), and I wish them the best but I suppose you will have to wait for XP13 for a big terrain upgrade…

      1. There is a flight sim called flyinside FS which has streaming imagery from bing. Although the autogen is extremely basic, it gets that simulator a recognizable world with very little assets of their own. In fact, flyinside is more of a tech demo than a day to day simulator.

        As Flyinside has previously had a VR plugin for X-Plane, I did ask the developer whether there is any interest in providing a paid plugin for streaming imagery in x-plane. After all, XP simply gets its tiles from a file system, so it would just need a background process to keep the area you are flying in updated on the hard drive. However, I got no response.

        I get it that Austin wants all generated data to have full control over how the world looks, but I do think that XP 11 textures are just too coarse up close. I also find that, while memory intensive, my frame rate profits from draping big satellite textures in stead of generating the ground from the default mesh. So I would very much welcome to have a choice which does not require downloading a terabyte of imagery myself.

        1. Yep I know about FlyInside FS. I tried to use it but it was very buggy and running very bad. I didn’t spend the time to figure out what would have been the problem, I was immediately annoyed. I’ll try it again if they release an updated tech demo but it seems to me that thing is going to be abandoned, dev activity is very low…

          From what I have seen, it looks alright from high altitude. And yes the autogen is super basic. At this point the HD Mesh v4 looks better alongside with simHeaven X-Sceneries… I don’t know, I think I would still prefer a homegrown world using ortho as a data source like Ben want to do in the future. Meyer is on board with that path as well, I hope. I understand he wants full control of the data and be totally independent. But maybe they can compromise to some extent and licence some data. Idk.

          There is the NASA Blue Marble dataset which looks awesome with corrected colors for seasonal variation and the sat imagery is also corrected for clouds (cloudless) and backed shadows as well I think. The data set is free for 2km resolution if I’m not mistaken and paid for 500m res. It looks awesome and could be a good start to use that data in future terrain rendition for X-Plane. But they will decide…

          And yes, sat imagery can look awesome, hence the MSFS2020 success. But even there, it’s not all good in some places. It still output weird stretched textures on mountains (not a new problem), horrible backed shadows, etc. I don’t like it. And there lightning depiction is horrendous. But I’m picky…

  19. Hi
    just a question about autogen and ground textures , were those shown in the video apart from the new stadium s / tennis xplane 11 ones as I am guessing the ones for Xplane 12 are being worked on and implemented .

  20. Will there be any improvements to mesh resolution, ground textures, shore lines and road placement?

    Also have you considered to add 3D grass? That makes a huge difference visually when close to the ground. Especially in combination with the nice new 3D trees.

    1. The new 3-d engine _can_be used for 3-d grass, but it’s not a good idea – it’s tuned for tree-scale (big things you can see at a long distance), so while our art team has tried 3-d grass and it’s very pretty, I’m not expecting we’ll turn it into something shipping in 12.0. Long term we’ll add a code path to the vegetation engine specific to small, highly numerous things (grass) so that we have the perf we want.

      1. I do hope you find a way to not make the surface look like a parking lot partly painted like a runway and partly painted greenishly to represent grass. There needs to be some kind of bumpyness, some volume to a grass surface. Also it will look very odd to just have trees and no shrubs. That will make a leaf forest at ground level look like a bunch of lamp posts on a parking lot where you can see miles and miles through.

        To that effect, with an aiport I have been creating in WED, I have been stacking different kind of vegetation polygons to create a realistic patch of forest. Maybe XP could offer that by default, i.e. a forest that includes multiple sizes of trees and shrubs that looks dense and realistic.

        I guess it will take only weeks until a “tree” object is created in the community that is one to two foot high and could be mistaken for grass 🙂

  21. Here’s one thing I would love for you to work on: there are so many mods to X-Plane for various things, to get it looking as good as the best videos that I see on YouTube. But I have no idea which mods to install, how to do it, what is compatible with what, etc.

    So maybe you could do a deluxe version (higher priced) where you bundle the best mods, make sure they all work together, and get it so it just works “out of the box” without me having to spend forever figuring it all out.

    I’d rather spend an extra $50 or whatever to have a better experience rather than endless faffing about! Thanks.

  22. I was EXCITED to see/hear that the sound of weather and thunder is being given the FMOD treatment. Can you please also improve the visual depiction of lightning bolts, by giving them a more realistic glow that has a bluish hot white appearance along with a flash that lights up the cockpit and to rain. The lightning bolts in X plane 11 always had a yellowish cartoony look. Thanks!



    1. The visual depiction of lightning bolts is probably already better than the horrendous one in MSFS2020. But yes it lacks “punch”. Some bloom and more randomness would probably do the trick… There is room for improvement.

      Thing is, I remember the lightning bolts in X-Plane 6 or 7, those were awesome. Even if clouds were only billboards, the way the lightning was rendered in-cloud, playing with cloud shadows, etc, was awesome at night. Somewhat along the road, it got less realistic. Maybe it’s just my memory playing with me though.

  23. Loved the presentation, made my day. All the fancy new features look great and there are so many techy comments about this and that, but the one thing that really made my day was the addition of a PTT option…. that has bugged me all through XP11, so thanks for fixing some of the small things that perhaps not many will even notice…love it and thank you for all your continued hard work!

  24. What a lot of upgrade stuff!
    New 3D engine… 3 dimensions. Will this finally do something good to make things like
    rooftops hard “automaticly” in some way – for heli flying?
    Or at least better-than-in-Xplane11 for custom made scenery (things on top of each other etc) ?
    Please say you thought about it! 🙂

    1. Always No 🙁
      Ben, instead of letting the heli constantly checking for distance to surface, why not extract a database with building/object hight within a distance of 5-10 meters..and tell the heli to compare to those?
      There must be a much better way than using so much “power” to find the distances between two objects (heli and rooftop eg.)

  25. Now that the simulator will be Vulkan/Metal-exclusive going forwards, are there any plans for improved anti-aliasing modes like TAA? I was under the impression that these would be more straightforward to implement into modern APIs, and they would greatly improve the appearance of the sim.

    1. I have MSAA with deferred rendering running “in the lab” on Windows – it wasn’t faster than SSAA, which was a little surprising and makes it…not actually a win. It’s something we’ll have to revisit when we have more time for perf and aren’t just trying to get features going.

      1. Hi Ben,

        I would also like to take up this topic. Currently it is so that the buildings and especially the scenery strongly tend to flicker. I have already addressed the issue frequently in various forums, all agree and also say it flickers strongly, but they accept it so. There is no solution. To get the matter at least somewhat under control, I fly only without HDR (Vulkan) and then with 8X AA. This is much better than with SSAA. Even with 8X SSAA (which kills any graphics card at 4K) it flickers more than with 8x AA without HDR. I can’t really explain why the AA in X-Plane is causing such problems. When I watch the AA in other games and simulators, I always find that TAA is the only mode that eliminates the flicker. I can’t judge what effort it would be for you to implement TAA or even other modes. But it would be quite great if this issue gets a high priority. I always find it incredibly unfortunate when you enjoy the now already great graphics in X-Plane, but then the flicker ruins everything.

        Thank you.

  26. You haven’t presented anything about the interface yet, will it be very different from the X-Plane 11?

  27. Hi,

    I am very excited about X-Plane 12. Ban can you please comment on tcas in X-Plane 12? Any plans to add tcas functionallity?

  28. I understood that ATC UI gets a heavy overhaul, but how about the underlying ATC logic, routing etc? Will that be improved?

  29. Would it be possible to inject the new ATC
    in X-Plane 11 as an open beta already –
    just for the purpose of testing?

      1. About ATC, do XP12 has speech synthesis ? Or is it strictly pre-recorded voice packages ?

        I ask because I found a jaw-droping speech synthesis and I wonder if something like that could be integrated in X-Plane to read the ATC text, instead of using pre-recordings…

        Here, incredible : //

  30. Hey there! Great news, I am really excited! Will be a day one purchase!
    One question on autogen: in the presentations the habe been several mentions of Open Street Map. Will the new Autogen systrm place objects based on OSM much like X-Europe or will the autogen system keep putting houses and objects along the roads per the classic algorithm?
    Looking forward to the new lighting, clouds and water!

  31. Hi Ben – I know Austin mentioned recently in one the prior update videos on your Youtube channel that you guys may look into localized terrain meshing. This wasn’t in the XP12 keynote.

    Can you speak to where you are with the ability to do localized terrain meshes for airports instead of having to generate the whole tile?

    I’m working on a project right now where the airport is on not one, but two tiles, and I have to regenerate the whole of two tiles as of course, the airport isn’t flat at all. It probably will mess up another add-on scenery airport if that also needs a terrain mesh change.

    This has happened with Seattle area add-ons quite a bit with the multitude of add-ons that each update the same mesh tiles but use different high res data sets [for the same reason – pursuit of detail and realism] (Orbx, Drzewiecki, and Airfoilabs KAWO) – they all step on one another because the tiles are so large.




  32. Nice presentation and a lot of amazing new stuff coming, thanks for the insight! : )

    Also great to see ATC improvements. As it wasn’t mentioned, I assume the way AI aircrafts are done won’t change for 12.0? If not, are there any plans for the future?

    Cheers, Jörn

    1. AI are still full aircraft. The system can do virtualized aircraft in theory – it’s abstracted, but we’re not sure what we’ll do with that capability yet.

  33. Any rough estimation for a first public beta of XP-12? 2022, 2023? just to set expectations!! 🙂

    1. No date as per stated in the presentation at Flight Sim Expo…
      But, educated guess :

      XP11 was announced at FSE 2016 in October 2016.
      First beta released at the end of November 2016.
      Final release in March 2017 after a long public beta.

      So for XP12, probably the same thing, first public beta at the end of November or in December (Christmas gift). Then long needed beta and final release in March 2022 for spring… More or less.

      1. Ok, you prediction made me very excited! Thanks!

        PS. I know you are just guessing based on what you have seen on XP-11, but again, makes sense and if it takes smore time, I’m also ok with that!! but at least is something to look at the horizon!

  34. Hey! Quick questions:
    1. Will the clouds be illuminated not only from the sun but also from landing lights and city lights?
    2. With new volumetric clouds, will the lightning be brighter and also illuminate the clouds?
    3. Can you ever add autogenic TV towers? It seems to me, in addition to lighthouses and various skyscrapers, TV towers are often observed from a height, for example, the Estonian TV tower is presented in the form of a multi-storey building in x plane 11.
    I really admire your work done and am looking forward to the new version of x plane!

    1. 1. Not city lights – hopefully landing lights though. The city lights are too far away. We were just discussing that today, actually – we have ideas on how to do this in the future.
      2. I think light brightness is not related to clouds. Light brightness will appear different because the whole HDR pipeline is rewritten.
      3. I think we have radio masts – if some are missing hopefully we’ll pick them up in new exports.

      1. Oh, I forgot about one more question: is there a chance that you will add VDGS system for default airports? It’s just not very convenient to park without this system, I have to use an external camera all the time. thank you in advance.

      2. In my experience many radio and large cell towers were missing in v11 and the art asset is “private” in the library which doesn’t make adding them easy for “regular users”. I populated 3 DSFs around my home area using the FAA public database and scenery tools. Really makes flying at night different with the lighted towers in some areas.

  35. Will AI populate correct airplanes, both type and livery, at the correct spots in v12? ie not putting a 737 Ryan Air at a United Terminal at O’hare etc. And will VFR options like early X-Plane years be back, where you hit the keyboard Return key to get guidance to land?

  36. Hello. I was wondering if there’s any more information on multicore support in Xplane 12. In xplane 11 it utilizes most of my cores when loading. But once you’re in the actual simulator it might use 1 or 2 cores. I remember this was talked about awhile back but this didn’t come up during the presentations.

    1. There’s no single “we did more multi-core just to get more perf” push in 12.0. All new features go in using multi-core where appropriate, e.g. Austin’s new weather system – the file processing happens while you fly using multi-core – there’s no other way we’d consider doing the feature.

      But multicore is a means to an end, not an end to itself. For example, the FFT water _used_ to be multicore and now it’s on the GPU. We made this decision because the whole system runs better when the water starts on the GPU – it means the water is where it needs to be most and we have to haul less data over the bus.

      At some point post ship we may do another “make more things multicore” – we have seen bottlenecks on large-core-count systems with DSF loads where things could be better. But more likely our first performance pass will just be “fix anything we can to get better FPS and load times, everything is fair game.”

      1. Even with Vulcan I’m seeing CPU bottlenecks with objects using particles loaded from plugins. Would having objects on more than one thread help FPS much or it is more the particle engine would need to be moved to the GPU..or other?

        1. Someday I’d like to see a trace of that case. The particle system and instancing are already set up so we’ll be able to move them to other cores. X-Plane slurps up all of the animation values for instances from a plugin once and saves them, so we’ll be able to farm off particle computations to a job thread without plugin synchronization problems.

  37. Has ARCAL been coded into 12 for the thousands of airports in USA, CAN, and Australia that use UNICOM/CTAF frequencies to trigger on airport lighting? Great work and can you give any detail about WED improvements?

  38. Fantastic future ahead. One question that I haven’t seen:
    Am I correct in understanding that only an XP12 key, once available for purchase, will also work as an XP11 key, but an XP11 key bought after the XP12 announcement will not work for 12?

    I have a friend itching to jump onto our XP bandwagon after being disappointed by MSFS, but I probably need to tell him to wait. 🙂

    1. X-Plane 11 keys purchased now WILL NOT enable x-plane 12. We are not selling X-Plane 12 right now.

      Thomson is planning on having the first set of X-Plane 12 keys (during “early access”, which is to say, public beta) be dual keys – those are v12 keys that happen to also unlock X-Plane 11.

      1. Ben, when Thomson gets this first set of keys, anyone will be able to buy them or are you planning on invitations/ small groups at first?

  39. Will overcast cloud coverage extend to the horizon? I’ve seen thunderstorm weather in the footage where cloud coverage was very limited just like in XP11

    1. A lot of the expo footage was NOT the new cloud system – since we don’t have every feature in one master branch right now (mostly it’s the weather system still being worked on).

      The thunderstorm should go to the horizon if it really is “Everywhere” – if it’s localized to a region you’ll see past it. But with at least 250 km of draw distance in any direction, horizon coverage should be really good.

      1. I think the new weather system and cloud depiction will be a game changer (ahem, sim changer), that got a bit overlooked by many.

        I feel like we will have the real experience of “working with the weather”, esp. in VFR with XP12, which was a goal Austin set some time ago as far as I remember. That would be just amazing. : )

      2. I wonder, in the new weather implementation, if there is a shower in the distance, is there any representation for it or we just see rain clouds and drops on the windshield but not he shower itself.

  40. Like many others, I’m very excited about the upcoming X-Plane 12. My question: Back in April, Paul wrote a great blog post about what happened to turbulence data in XP11 in March 2021 (// My understanding from that post was that 1) the original source of turbulence data disappeared from NOAA’s servers, 2) the grib2 replacement had issues, and so 3) LR decided to use a WAFS-Blended file that was the last saved file that had been downloaded before NOAA stopped serving updated files. It was static, but at least it offered real-world turbulence from a single point in time.

    Now, fast-forwarding to XP12, does Austin’s new grib2-fed weather model address the turbulence data issue? From Paul’s April post, it sounded like the relevant data were in the grib2 files, but it may have just taken a while to be able to actually use them in X-Plane… perhaps figuring this out has been part of what’s been keeping Austin locked up in his lab? 😉

    If so, the last paragraph of Paul’s April post actually foreshadows Austin’s new weather model quite well.

  41. Hello Ben,
    I understand photogrammetry is almost impossible for you to implement. However I was expecting to see more about your plans to improve the existing textures and autogen but could not see any change to XP11 (apart from
    The trees).

    1. do you have any plans to implement curved roads?
    2. any plans for better ground textures that match with different world regions, look and perform better?
    3. any plans to improve the Autogen housing in the different world regions? Hi

  42. Congratulations on the announcement Team!

    Just a small question, is there any plans to have a global map in the main menu UI?

    When the user starts X-Plane 12, instead of having the aircraft selection as the main thing, why not a world map of every airport, VOR…etc then the user can simply select the airport they want to fly from. a great way to showcase the number of 3D airports too!

    Thanks, ben for the hard work.

    1. We’ll get those at some point – mobile has them. I’m not sold on a global map as a way to pick airports though – the world is very big and airports tend to be very clustered.

      1. Hi Ben. Sure, a global map should only be implemented in addition to the current airport selection, not as a replacement.

        But having a global zoomable map would be really awesome and would dramatically improve the user-experience of creating flights (and in the future flight plans) for areas where one does not own real world charts.

        LR could only show the largest airports at first (for example measured by the total runway surface area) and then add smaller and smaller airports as the user zooms further in.

        It would be also very useful to have checkboxes then allowing to filter different types of airports to be displayed. IFR equipment, night VFR, CAT I/II/III, VFR only, seaplane ports, mountain airport, heliport and so on.

        Even filtering for the most beautiful, most scenic, most challenging, most tilted runway, … airports could at some point be implemented. Such requests come up quite regularly on the .org. There could be a set of 5 star ratings next to an airport for such criterions, where the community could provide that information to LR with a few clicks directly from the UI, slowly building up the database.

        There are quite a number of map and flight plan releated comments on the feedback site.

      2. If I may explain one reason why it would be nice.
        Sometime you just want to fly in certain region which you are unfamiliar.
        It is nice to zoom in and pick your starting location based of the geographical information. Zooming in you see smaller airports, zooming out bigger airports.
        That is a nice way to do a random flight mission or just a “site seeing”.

  43. Are there any plans to update/improve the mesh/base scenery throughout the v12 run (compared to one cut prior to shipping v12)?

    One really ugly example is when a airport boundary is changed on the Gateway and the the smoothing/ground textures don’t change for many years.

      1. To correct wrong airport boundaries should we fix on the lasted version on the gateway? this “recut” is near? I want fix some wrong airport boudaries in Brazil.

  44. Hi Ben! Will the rain effects be improved too?
    In X-Plane 11, the raindrops “follows” the camera and, once we get some speed, we get those terrible rain effects (which look like the effects of the 1980s star wars).
    Will the raindrops be 3D and interact with the airframe?

    Have a great weekend! Thanks.

    1. The rain effects are absolultely great. Looking forward to them like to so much other stuff that was presented. You guys really rock.

      @Ben, it seems that in real life, the raindrop size distribution can be modeled quite well with a lognormal. Not sure what is used currently but maybe the drop-sizes are too similar to each other (trimodal?).

      Also, in real life, when the raindrops move across the windshlield they leave more and longer streaks behind, often separating into smaller drops as they move. Could be worth checking out FlightUnlimited III again who had had quite a good stab at this.

      1. As of expo the streaking code was a bit haywire – Sidney’s working on it now. Some of the car sims have really great windshield water sims.

  45. hey Ben, I’m actually going to ask you a question that has nothing to do with multiplayer, miracle of miracles. But has any thought been given to Aerial Refueling ?, the system as it is now is sort of not really there. Will you have collision modeling so that the fuel boom or basket actually hook up to the receiving aircraft? It’s the one area X plane has always just not done anything with since for as long as I can remember.

    1. Yes. Refueling is coming out for now as a ‘start type’ – we expect to put it back in at some point with (1) a bette refueling aircraft and (2) as an ATC service you can call for mid-flight. At that point we’ll re-eval the actual refueling process/physics too.

  46. Awesome announcement, but as most of users we want more.
    And this time it’s not even about scenery.
    Any plans to include mission SDK in X-Plane 12?
    It’s obvious that you have strong tech base already for such SDK (tutorial missions in mobile/flight school in desktop version) but there’s no documentation on how to create custom missions and include them in the sim.

  47. Can we expect improvements to shadow graphics?
    The shadow process on XP11 and shadow on XP12 seems to be the same.
    I think it’s time to have improved graphics for shadows.

  48. Hi, a few more questions arose:
    1. Will there be a transition between ground and concrete in airport?
    2. Will de-icing service be added?
    3. Will the head-shaking feature be improved or added?

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