Here’s a quick update on X-Plane 12 to give you an idea of where we are, what’s being worked on right now and what the next steps are. At the end of last year, we started sharing early, rough builds of X-Plane 12 with a private alpha group, mainly 3rd party developers and subject matter experts. Everyone in the alpha program has signed a non-disclosure agreement, so please do not ask them to share X-Plane 12 or technical details. (The alpha program is also ful, please don’t email us for access… sorry.) 

Here’s a snapshot of some of the development tasks we’re working on right now.

Recently Complete
In Progress
Up Next
Default Fleet UpdatesLow VisibilityRain Improvements
Rain/Snow on RunwaysWaterPerformance Tuning
Prop Physics UpdatesAnti-Aliasing and FSRRestore VR
3D HUDNight LightingRecut Default DSFs
ATC OverhaulThird Party APIsBug Fixes
Seasons
3D Trees
UI Refresh
FMOD 2.0
Moving Jetways

There’s a lot more that is already completed, too – this is just a window into our current work. Once we complete all of the open development tasks, there are still plenty of bugs to fix.

At some point during this bug fixing process, we will transition from the closed private alpha to an open “Early Access” beta program. Once we make this transition, anyone who wishes to participate in Early Access will be able to purchase a license of X-Plane 12 and use the new sim right away.

Here are some details on our recent development work.

Light Up the Night

X-Plane 12’s lighting engine is completely photometric and runs in true HDR at all times. This includes updates to how we do night lighting and artificial light sources. We are finishing up a very careful pass over a wide variety of light sources – urban lights, street lights, and most importantly light sources that affect pilots (e.g. approach lights, runway edge lights, PAPIs, etc.). The intensities of these lights are calibrated using spec sheets from the FAA.

Low Visibility

The new lighting engine also requires us to take a new approach to low visibility flying conditions. Low visibility daytime conditions in X-Plane 12 are naturally darker than sunny days, but also still lighter than night time flying. Low visibility isn’t just about making X-Plane look nice – X-Plane is used as a training simulator, so we need to make sure that visibility is limited by just the right amount to train for instrument approaches.

To solve this problem, our art director Alex Unruh built…a monolith.

The monolith is a calibration target for tuning the simulator – based on a certain position on the runway and the right visibility settings, the monolith will be just barely visible.  The monolith is surrounded by runway lights so we can make sure the approach and edge lights respond to fog appropriately as well.

Water, Water Everywhere!

X-Plane 12’s water is 3D. Not only does this make ocean waves more realistic, but this 3D water interacts with the flight model. Austin has worked closely with seaplane pilots during alpha testing to dial in seaplane behavior.

A new feature in a simulator can create new bugs that need to be fixed – this is why we invited our third party developers to try out the simulator early in the process. For example: When we made the water waves 3D, they started sticking up through orthophoto scenery. (In X-Plane 11, orthophotos just “paint over” the 2D water.) Last week we implemented water masking, so that orthophoto scenery can cut out the 3D water to avoid these bugs.

Anti-Aliasing

X-Plane has featured a deferred renderer for almost a decade; with X-Plane 12, deferred rendering is the exclusive mode our graphics engine runs in – this is important because it makes the new weather effects and lighting possible.

With X-Plane 12 we now support real multisample anti-aliasing (MSAA) with our deferred renderer. In some versions of X-Plane, MSAA wasn’t compatible with deferred rendering, and the AA options were FXAA and SSAA. This was frustrating to users because SSAA severely hurts framerate. If your GPU is maxed out, 4x SSAA will typically cut your framerate by …. 4x.

The new MSAA code path should be much more efficient. We are also implementing AMD’s FidelityFX Super Resolution (FSR). FSR lets us render the world faster and then scale the result up to 4K – it’s a great option for users who want to fly in 4K but keep their framerates up. You can read more about FSR here.

Supporting Third Parties

With the new major version we are making some changes to the plugin environment:

  • The X-Plane SDK supports the new ARM M1 Macs.
  • We are removing OpenAL from X-Plane. X-Plane itself hasn’t used OpenAL in years, and we are in no position to support it. Plugins that use OpenAL in X-Plane 12 will need to package OpenAL themselves.
  • We are making the FMOD API available to plugins (in a few different ways) so that plugins that generate sound can interact with the full 3-d sound environment.
  • In X-Plane 12 we run Chromium Embedded Framework (CEF) at startup. In X-Plane 11, the first plugin to run CEF would ‘own’ it; this new setup allows X-Plane and all plugins to share CEF and should make it easier for plugins that need to access web pages to do so.
  • We are building our own test plugins and working with our third party developers to make sure these new pathways have been tested experimentally.

A major focus of the private alpha is to make sure that these changes will work with third party add-ons the way we expect, so we’ve prioritized getting the changes into the alphas early so our third party developers can try them.

What’s Next

The next phase after private alpha will be a completely unrestricted Early Access beta program – everyone will be able to run the X-Plane 12 beta (either as a demo or with the purchase of an X-Plane 12 license).

We have some feature work to wind down with some of these third party cases and new features, and once that is done, it’s going to be bug fix, performance tune, repeat, repeat, repeat to get to Early Access.

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.

202 comments on “X-Plane 12 Development Update – March 4th, 2022

  1. Hmm No Support for DLSS, very can boost more fps then AMD version. It’s way better no blurry ness to the graphics

    1. DLSS isn’t a simple drop in thing that just magically works, despite what people have claimed so far. In particular, it requires view space motion vectors to work which X-Plane currently doesn’t have. That doesn’t mean that it will never have them and there will never be DLSS support, but right now we are already using fat g-buffer for our existing effects and having an additional motion vector isn’t in the cards.

      1. Hand/finger tracking absolutely necessary to activate switches, etc. If you want your software to be purchased and taken seriously by professional pilots, this must be done.

        Tom Fisher EE ATP retired Am Eagle Capt

        1. WHOA – why isn’t this a separate comment. I’m so on board with Tom Fisher on this. This would be a real coup over MSFS if X-plane 12 could make this happen. I’m using ultraleap which is pretty popular. I know that occulus uses their cameras and other headsets have different approaches. I understand that there are numerous approaches but this has been roughly solved for hand controllers. So maybe a standard API could be published that would work with the majority of the Hand/finger trackers out there. Please – I’m on my knees begging. I’ll give you my unopened Star Wars Pez dispenser if you put this in.

        2. Seconded. Right now there are a handful and messy solutions for
          finger/hand tracking which will set you back a few thousand bucks
          and barely work in a worthwhile manner. As someone who
          exclusively flies in VR/XPlane (2 years), anything that can remove
          the mouse as a primary cockpit manipulator is going to, and I never like saying -this-> will be a game-changer with broad implications in the Sim World. XPlane could be the leader in this.

    2. Also, since FSR is “open source” your Nvidia card can still make use of it. Even if some say it isn’t as good, you’re still getting the benefit of the feature accessible to ALL video card users and I doubt in the sim you’d spend enough time noticing any kind of meaningful differences. Xplane12 will undoubtedly perform better, and FSR will take that to the next level for many who need that extra overhead. Open your mind Luke!

      1. That’s right. One of the nice things about all of AMD’s FidelityFX middle-ware is that there’s no black box, so it’s very portable.

        1. But doesn’t FSR require TAA to work at its best (ift all) or can it be used with MXAA too with lesser results?

          1. AMD strongly recommends FSR to be used with an anti aliased image, but it doesn’t care about what method that image was anti aliased. So MSAA + FSR work just fine, no TAA requirement.

      2. XP has been in use by professional pilots both active and retired, and serious study-level simmers for many years. So it doesn’t need hand/finger tracking to attract users and buyers. Nice to have surely- but not essential to the user experience.

          1. Not essential for those who have little sim/VR experience.
            For those who are 100% immersed in it, YES. I is a big deal.

  2. Wow, I’m very encouraged with the MSAA and FSR update, great news. Is there any hope of seeing DLSS and/or TAA at some point in the future post-launch?

    1. I think DLSS requires motion vectors, therefore probably not? Not sure on TAA, the engine has a history buffer, but again, we don’t have motion vectors.

      1. Both DLSS and TAA require motion vectors at their core. Which I think is the big missing feature we lack for adoption (plus dev time, of course)

        1. Thank you. This was the missing piece that explains the difference in perceived complexity of implementation. So doing pure DLSS was not what would make it difficult per say but the additional requirement to have motion vectors…

  3. Thanks for the update!!! Looking forward the open beta.

    One thing worries me a bit: what does “Restore VR” mean?

    Is XP12 going to be available in VR from day one?

    Happy Flying.
    Dani

    1. The new X-Plane 12 photometric rendering pipeline – not all stages support VR, so you get artifacst. Sidney’s working on it now, and we expect to restore VR before Early Access.

    1. I’m also looking and waiting patiently(well maybe not so patiently)for any news on VR.

  4. Cannot wait for X-Plane 12 and very excited to use it.

    I am an AMD (5600?) user with a 2060 Super GPU. I’m concerned about the Intel lean on the recent tech specs discussed by your PC design wing. Can you speak to modern AMD CPU performance as well as older but still modern GPU performance with XP12?

      1. What about AMD GPU’s? Currently, I face many compatibility issues with aircraft addons for XP11 in Vulkan specifically, but not in OpenGL. Since you’re going Vulkan only, does that mean XP12 will be a flickery, unpleasant mess on my 5700XT?

        1. No, just certain plugins (also used in planes) and these still use OpenGL and the OpenGL -> Vulkan bridge in the drivers and from what I’ve understood, that is where the AMD issue is (no problems with NVIDIA here, so again AMD up their drivers

  5. Any word on whether there is being work done to improve performance comapred to XP11?

    1. Work is being done to keep performance from getting worse compared to X-Plane 11. The rendering engine _does a lot more_. But I think it’s unquestionable that X-Plane 11 at its lowest settings will be a lot faster than X-Plane 12 at its lowest settings. If you really want to see high FPS, try X-Plane 9!

      1. Thanks for the info. I have a high end system, so as long as it doesn’t get worse I’ll be happy.

        Thanks again!

      2. That being said. Can we please allow the aircraft ground shadow to be removed this time. I’m quite sure it is an FPS killer for those on lower spec machines.

  6. I am so excited. I would like to give you guys money soon.

    Also, I hope you guys support EDR and display P3 too. Your awesome sunsets shouldn’t be squished into sRGB 🙂

    1. We may look at EDR/HDR display support at some point. P3 and other wide gamut formats really isn’t on our radar – our content is authored in sRGB and doesn’t become _more_ saturated during lighting, so wide gmaut isn’t useful for us.

      1. It should become more saturated at sunset – the sun low on the horizon should be clipping in orange/red really hard.

        But this is easy enough for you to A/B in Metal. I think you just need to render to a DP3 target.

        DP3 also helps in the green/cyan range which would help sky and ground textures under bright light.

        Sorry I’ll stop… I just think you’ll be amazed how much a wider gamut can help 🙂

  7. Nice that you are using AMD’s FidelityFX, I’ve seen that it can be implemented also on Macs, even M1 Macs. Hope to see some overcast footage from the ground now!

  8. I would love to see a true improvement to the night sky.
    No milky way, no golden color in Aldebaran (Alpha Tauri), the dullness of these plain white dots as stars in X-Plane just makes it so depressing to look up for constellations during the night.

    That’s the only thing that I love in MSFS. The night sky in that sim

    1. Yeah, that bothered me too was how dark X-Plane nights are. Just white dots of light against a pitch black sky. Hopefully some city glow into the atmosphere will be rendered in XP12

  9. Hi Ben, any chance that the team has reworked the appearance of lightning bolts, and the flash that comes along with it? In v11 they are a crinkly yellow color that were even less than X-Plane 11 standards when compared to the rest of v11’s appearance. On that note, any chance you might have updated the weather/thunder sounds to the quality we hear when one takes full advantage of FMOD?

    Thank you for the update!

    1. They’re still on the TODO list – Austin worked on the shaping at one point but the shader needs an update to be photometric. The weather sounds are already redone by Daniela and they’re pretty awesome.

  10. Will the current selection of high-quality default 3D airports make an immediate jump to Xplane12, or should we expect gradual release like we did with v.11? Your system of default airports is one of my favourite features of Xplane….other than a few locations special to me, I have never felt the need to go out and buy / find free airports; add a good texture pack, and Xplane11 offered me all the authenticity I needed!

    1. Everything that’s already in the gateway will stay in the gateway. What will take time is adoption of _some_ of the new features in the engine. Some new features (like the new runway markings) take effect everywhere, and in some cases Michael Minnhaar has update-on-export in WED that will make things look better.

  11. OpenAL is gone, what about OpenGL? Will that old lonesome travler still be used in X-Plane 12? Right now people kling to this API, some do it because of one bad experience with Vulkan, others due it on the statement of better performance while the latter perhaps use it just because librain supports it.
    In any case, will XP12 have only Vulkan and Metal or support multiple API’s.

    1. We don’t use OpenGL but we make it available for plugins – they still just work, to the level they did when running under Vlkan and Metal. In other words, running 12 is just like running v11 with Vulkan/Metal enabled.

    2. In previous posts/video’s (and even above) it was stated that xp 12 gets native rain. Developed in combination with the developer of librain iirc. So no opengl needed for that

  12. When you say that the new water mask cuts out the water orthophotos. What exactly does that mean? Does it mean if there is a reef reflection in the part of water you’re flying in real life that the new water mask will exclude the reef reflection in the Simulator? “Cut it out” so it won’t render that reflection in the Sim even though it’s there in real life?

    1. First, this is an opt-in behavior that ortho creators will have to decide how to use.

      The alpha cut-out is blended, so translucency can be used to tint the water itself (or have the ortho be visible on the sea floor) in wet parts, while having the water be fully removed for dry land.

    2. “Last week we implemented water masking, so that orthophoto scenery can cut out the 3D water to avoid these bugs.” Given that, I was worried about the opposite to your point Jonathan. If I’m flying in an area that I’ve downloaded ortho scenery for, does that mean that I won’t have 3D waves? I hope not because I’m quite excited about the idea of taking off and landing from 3D water so would prefer the option to mask the water part of the water if possible.
      (thanks for the update Ben)

      1. I can definitely say this.

        – If the orthophoto scenery is for X-Plane 11 and
        – Has not been modified for X-Plane 12

        You will not have 3-d waves. The ortho pack doesn’t have the right encoding to support 3-d water.

        We can try to keep v11 content working, but we _cannot_ always make new v12 features “just work” with old content that was created before that new feature even existed.

        1. Okay, thanks Ben 🙂 Does this mean that Orbx would need to update their TE regions for 3D water to be supported, or is that different?

        2. So if I want to add 3d water to my terabytes of awesome XP11 ortho scenery authored with Ortho4XP using grayscale alpha masks for old-school water masking, what effort will I be looking at? E.g. will I have to recreate the DSF’s? Or will it suffice to patch the .ter files? Or … ?

  13. Could you explain me about new runway markings a bit more? For example, I heard there would be feature to change runway marking colors. There have been requests to make it possible to adjust the TDZ position from runway threshold. I’d like to ask you of progresses of these stuffs.

    1. The new marking system is flexible in marking color and symbol position, but these capabilities are not exposed in the apt.dat yet. TDZ position is currently based on regulations and the standard of markings, e.g. if you’re doing EASA markings, we do what their docs says we should do.

  14. I am very excited about the native Mac ARM support. Any word on performance on it vs Intel?

    1. The new Mac ARM CPUs are very good – tough to compare to Intel because e.g. Chris’s fancy new M1 laptop is brand new, while my Intel Mac laptop is from 2019. So of course mine is slower – it’d be slower even if they hadn’t dumped Intel.

      1. Hello Ben,

        Thank you to all the team for this great job ! 🙂
        I notice also “The X-Plane SDK supports the new ARM M1 Macs”.
        What does this mean for Mac users ? XP12 will be native m1 ?
        And so, Third parties dev must recompile their add-ons or XP12 can run them seamlessly ?

        Thank you !

        André

        1. Yes, X-Plane 12 will work natively on the ARM Macs. Third party devs will need to recompile their plugins with ARM binaries (just like they did for 64-bit) _or_ you can run X-Plane in x86 mode.

          1. Great job Ben and team!!!
            I’m so looking forward to X-Plane 12 on M1 Macs (Pro, Max, …).
            I have invested in some RSG G1000 panels but so far they do not support M1 chips, and I’m hoping they would too.
            I hope it is not a big job for third party vendors to recompile their plug-ins again?

            Thank you!
            Emilio

  15. Fantastic looking so far. Very happy to hear from the team on the recent developments!
    That night-time city screenshot looks fantastic, love looking at all the lights reflecting over the waves! Cheers Ben!

  16. I noticed that in xplane11, such as CL650, the lighting effects of the cockpit and the cabin at night are basically wrong. I turn on the lights in any position, and the places that can be illuminated are not as good as those in the MSFS2020 and the real world. Lighting the corresponding place or object, and replacing it with just spooky reflective maps, will this incorrect lighting inside the fuselage be completely reset in xplane12? Take the cl650 as an example. It stops on the side of the light source at night. From the outside of the fuselage, you can see that the side of the fuselage is illuminated. At this time, when you enter the cabin in the cold state, you can find a side facing the light source in the cabin. The sides are also illuminated, I don’t think it’s a bug, I think it’s a fundamental bug in the xplane11 lighting engine, will the above issue be fixed on xplane12, what we want is something like MSFS2020 or based on real world real light, thank you for your answer

  17. All of us at everythingxplane are looking forward to xplane12, exciting times ahead!!

    1. I am looking forward to X-Plane 12. I moved to MSFS2020 simply for the graphics and realism. Although there were and still are several bugs to be worked out, I am very happy with it, overall. What I like most about X-Plane, however, is the simplicity of setting up and calibrating the controls. I’ve always had issues with the setup in MSFS 2020, and I still do. Every time I’ve made adjustments that correct a problem, the next update screws things up so I have to start over again. VERY frustrating. Maybe it’s just me or my setup, but I NEVER had these issues with X-Plane. Set it and forget it.
      Again, the graphics and scenery are what drew me to MSFS, so I’m waiting to see how much better the new X-Plane will be. I was never very fond of FSX. I am a licensed pilot and for me, realism is everything. I hope X-Plane 12 doesn’t disappoint.

  18. Hello, in x-plane 11 for the scenery you use 12 tiles, at high altitude the composition of this scenery seems to me limited and repetitive especially towards the bottom of the screen, can we hope for an improvement?

    1. We are not planning to increase the loaded DSF count, and I don’t think it would help this issue anyway. We are recutting the wide-earth textures and improving their shading.

  19. Hello ! Thank you very much for the update ! Just one question that is really important for me and that frustrates me with the current version of x-plane 11: will beaches be properly represented in the default terrain of the new simulator ?
    I live in a place where we have hundreds of kilometers beaches along the coast line and this not at all depicted in xplane 11…insteasd it is just some kind of rock line that is depicted… this would be finally awesome to have the beaches properly represented. Thanks and keep up the good work!

    1. I believe Coast Lines are being worked on so you may very well see proper beaches as I think this correlates with beaches as well.

  20. Having read the questions and your replies above, can you please give me an indication as to your best guesstimate of the improvement (or otherwise) in FPS that current XP 11 users might expect? There are legitimate concerns within the simming community that the introduction of XP12 will result in a ‘status quo’ on frame rates, or even a potential need to upgrade hardware in order to stand still.
    Can you confirm one way or the other please.

    1. It’s totally dependent on your hardware and performance optimization. We have never shipped a new version that was, feature for feature, _faster_ than the old version because we have always introduced new visual capabilities and made the minimum graphics settings less ugly. Anyone who is at the absolute bottom of hardware and settings in 11 will need to upgrade hardware. But none of that is new, and almost all of our users are not way off to that low-end extreme.

      1. That’s a very relative assessment. Many MAC users probably don’t drive the HiEnd devices like the developers do. In my case it is a MacPro 3.2 / 16-Core Intel Xenon / 96GB RAM / AMD ProVega II 32GB. In my opinion, this is not a low-end machine. At 11 I fly in a reasonably comfortable FPS zone with drops below 20 only when approaching compact clouds. But I can live with that. All in all, it delivers a very attractive look that makes XPlane 11 a pleasure to use. I hope it will be the same at 12.

  21. That sound great. Looking forward to XP12 beta.

    Will FSR also work for us VR users or is that something for monitor folks only ?

  22. Exiting news, in particular the weather features. Thank you Laminar!!

    General terrain textures and autogen – Any news here? Reportedly Laminar was not a big fan of Orthophotos, however, default terrain looks pattern-ish in 11 so many of us created Orthos.

  23. Fantastic !
    Do you realize the full potential of 3d water surface ?
    There’s is not a single boat simulator on the market with real world data, + wind.

  24. Fantastic preview! I really look forward buying this game! Right now, I have a high end system with an i7 10700k and a Rx6700xt as my GPU. However, Xplane 11 isn’t performing as good as on comparable Nvidia GPUs. In fact, some older Nvidia GPUs perform even better! When looking at the Taskmanager, I see that my GPU isnt being used 100%. Will this be fixed in Xp12?

    1. It may be better in 12 – the RDNA AMD GPUs are very good and seem to handle v12 work-loads well. Generally, I would not worry about v12 perf for users with a system like yours.

      1. That is good news. Currently my 5900x Ryzen and 6900XT RDNA 2 GPU “flashes” with certain weather add-ons and certain aircraft. Hopefully, this AMD Driver bug with the whole OpenGL/Vulkan combo is gone in XP12.

        1. I don’t think GL/AMD interop is better – last I checked it was out of our hands until we can engineer some kind of (very big) work-around.

  25. Several VR related questions in relation to what is posted above (so I won’t ask about OpenXR and Handtracking 😉 )
    – How does MSAA perform in VR?
    – And what about FSR, does it help in vr?
    – Can HDR (night lighting) be used in VR?

  26. Hello, i have several questions for you:
    1. Are you going to improve the movement of ground services trucks, as you know, they take sharp turns.
    2. I saw a video of keynotes of xp12, and there were jetways, which perfectly worked, but i didnt see that an accordion-like canopy was moving, will this thing move?
    3. Will cruise ships be added?

  27. Now if they would release something instead of just talking about it, I would purchase it, but not going to buy the old version when the new is so close and they won’t give an upgrade… Bad business planning!

    1. So what you’d like to see would be pre-selling XP12 with a license for XP11 included? I think a lot of people would open up their wallets for such a thing. Pricing for XP12 hasn’t been announced yet but perhaps it’s time to start thinking about such things.

  28. With the changes in lighting and 3D water, how will existing planes and scenery that run well in XP11 be affected? Will there be some kind of support for XP11 versions in some way? Even going from XP10 to XP11 with an aircraft built for XP10 is not particularly straight forward. Is it going to be worse to go from XP11 to XP12 with exisiting planes and scenery?

    1. X-Plane 11 aircraft will load in x-plane 12, but they won’t hit all of their numbers without an update. They should be flyable, but compatibility won’t be as close as 10->11 because the FM has changed more.

      V11 Scenery will load – orthophotos will need updates to run with 3-d water – I’m not sure what we’ll do for the non-updated case yet. Most old scenery should work. We’ve heard that spill lights don’t throw lights in a compatible way – we may be able to improve that a bit.

  29. Very much looking forward to XP12 guys – any comment on potentially upgrading the stock G1000 with some newer features or perhaps adding a G1000 NXi?

    Regards

  30. Breath-taking news! Every new post is like Christmas.

    @Ben/Sid: is the the XP’s FSR implementation only helping 4k or also does also help at lower resolutions, like scaling HD to 2k?

    Daniela’s thunderstorm sounds in the SC22 video are really awesome.

      1. But make sure you have enough GPU headroom from what I understand. If it is already (almost) saturated, it won’t help much. It seems to works best if you CAN run at 2K without FSR with an average FPS, it can help you to run at 2K with more FPS with FSR enabled.

        1. Thank you Ben and Ronald! Great news.
          If XP11 is any indication at all, I should have some GPU headroom at 2k without FSR.

  31. Great improvements so far.
    How about the airport traffic, any improvements on this from in XP12?
    Some details should/could be solved fairly easily and improve realism:
    1- I really hate the trolleys cart running without a driver on the seat and at insane speeds (these carts are slow, especially when full),
    2- the Tug truck with its bar driving in the front (IRL the bar is disconnected from the front once the pushback is complete and is placed at the rear hook of the Tug to be towed along).
    3- the lack of other 3D models for the cars/trucks (an BMW X5 is not a standard crew transport, and fuel trucks in Europe/Asia are different from the standard ones)
    4- And more importantly, a proper pushback of the AI aircrafts, so they don’t end up into the bulilding/fence cause the 90degree turn is done too late….

    Thanks!

  32. I am anxious to hear about direct frame rate comparisons with XP11. FSR discussion above is interesting. I am running 3x 65” 4K TVs (at 90 deg to one another for ‘surround’ view) on a 3080, I7-10700k with 32mb ram. Cockpit panels are on Air Manager with a second computer. With Orbix Washington scenery I get low to mid 20’s FPS around Seattle. Very flyable until I introduce weather. (Gpu time actually is very low vs cpu time). In general version updates typically hurt frame rate – hoping 12 is the exception so I can fly with the lovely new weather effects. Also looking forward to a UI update. I have a 4th small screen on the main computer for RealSimGear GNS530 – with 4 screens of greatly different sizes, scrolling around on the graphics settings is very painful, since the bottom scroll bar isn’t accessible unless scrolled all the way to the bottom of the form.

  33. Above all the impressive developments the design of 3D cloud structures is pending, for which we previously had to purchase special add-ons. With the new real and current weather information, the corresponding 3D cloud layers are also displayed?

  34. would be nice to see nav lights and stuff not shining through half the fuselage, somehow make airplane mantles less walk-throughs and see-throughs. walls should be walls.

  35. I noticed there was no mention of scenery objects / textures in the development tasks / update. Can you comment on what improvements we may expect to see over v11’s plausible world? Thanks!

  36. What changes (if any) are being made to the global scenery, mostly in regards to ground textures, shorelines and riverbanks, terrain mesh, and roads? Are there any plans to include ground clutter such as bushes and grass? I enjoy flying airliners at high altitude as much as anyone but I also really enjoy flying low and slow as well as some bush flying (looking forward to that Piper Super Cub you guys previewed awhile back).

  37. Some questions about the DSF recut:

    1) many of us are using AlpilotX HD mesh, with a much improved mesh, coastline, landuse and inland water data. Of course that amount of data could not be shipped on DVDs. Are you planning to release online an HD version of the DSF, as AlpilotX will not provide them anymore?

    2) the actual projection system is not suitable to render the poles terrain correctly. Are you planning to do something about it, for example switching to another projection system for Antarctica and the arctic?

    1. We are not planning to do an HD mesh at this time, but we can look at that later if there’s a lot of interest – the HD mesh is basically just the regular mesh with some settings cranked up.

      We’re not looking at polar projections right now.

      1. Afaik AlpilotX’s HD mesh is an absolute standard add-on for every serious XP user (with enough HD, RAM and GPU, of course). I am quite sure there _is_ a lot of interest and it would be a pity to not have it for XP12.

        Really looking forward to the beta and thanks for keeping us hyped with the updates! : )

      2. I really hope that you will consider the HD mesh. I’m sure we are a lot of people using them, and it’s really difficult to go back to the lower resolution mesh, the less detailed coastlines and roads, the lack of many lakes and rivers, I tried going back and it’s like night and day difference for a VFR flyer.

      3. The HD mesh is important for the montain airfields. The mesh by default of XP11 isn’t satisfactory for that.
        Is the AlpilotX HD mesh usable for XP12?
        The orthophoto’s sceneries without sea/lake doesn’t need udpade for XP12?

      4. How about cranking up the settings around airports and other landmarks/areas where the user is low and slow as the default AND offering full HD meshes as an option/later?

        This would eliminate issues with the Gateway airports and designing for the “default” or HD mesh?

  38. I really, really hope you’ll look into adding TAA as well if possible. It seems to have become an industry standard and it cleans up the image so well and has an even lower performance hit compared to MSAA.

  39. seeing some interesting task on your list, including “Prop Physics Updates”. I hope this will deal with visual improvement of the mainrotor’s rotation physics visualization of helicopters: gyroscopic effect, dissimmetry of lift, etc.. Current blade to disk translation looks not good really imho, especially when a strobosopic effect is adding and entirely ruins a fluid acceleration look. at least i should be able to disable such effects, both as user and/or developer. just my oppinion.

  40. I’m looking forward to this since Microsoft Flight Sim was released. Competition is always good and X-12 is a 100% certified purchase for me.

    I’m a HUGE fan of the series, since X-Plane 9. Will the early access be available on Steam and will there be a discount? All my copies of X-Plane 9,10,11 were disk based, so I guess it’s tough to verify as previous purchases.

    I am a VERY casual flight sim gamer but one thing I liked about X-Plane 9 was the generic Tower conversations while in flight. It made it seem like you had the Radio tuned to the Tower and listening to them. That was pretty cool and would like to see that return.

    1. I have bought X-Plane 11 via Steam but my experience with it was not good. Since I was new to X-Plane I was hoping that scenery addons from Steam would seemlessly integrate. But that’s totally not working.
      You have to do the same manual configuration work than without Steam.
      It is harder to debug and I have no real control over updates.
      So for me the next version will be non-Steam, even if that might cost a bit more.

  41. Great job so far, looking forward to testing my airports “FlynBrian”. I have a question about seaplanes crashing against the piers I have created in seaplane base in gateway, will this be fixed in XP-12? The other XP-11 question is when a seaplane was shut down on water in a wind the physical behavior was out of sync, will this be address in XP-12. There is a lot of lakes and rivers in Canada, lol.

    1. I don’t know what the behavior with piers will be – we have logic for gentle side collisions in 11, but it may have been buggy, so this is something where if it’s still not working in the public beta you’d want to file a bug.

    2. That will be the plan, I was one of those involved with Austin directly on seaplane behavior in XP-11

  42. No mention regarding multi-monitor visuals like we currently have in X-Plane 11. Can I assume that cockpit builders such as myself will have the same options to display outside visuals and panels on external displays as we do now?

      1. Hi Ben,
        Regarding multi-monitor support, back in Nov 2020 you said
        “Right now while multi-monitor is possible with X-Plane, it is very expensive performance-wise. Having a frame that can be farmed out to multiple cores would make multi-monitor less of a performance hit.”
        Please can you clarify what has been done in this area as nothing is mentioned ?

        Also the idea whole issue of multicore support in XP12 ? – again, no real detail. Are we still going to be limited to (mostly) a single core talking all the work (presuming no add-ons) . Regards, Joe

        1. We are not adding multi-core-for-multi-monitor in the initial 12.0 release, but we are looking to work more on that later in the version run. For 12.0 perf tuning we’re focusing on the GPU, as 12 doesn’t appear to increase CPU costs compared to 11.

          1. Hi Ben,
            Will the particle system and/or plugin objects have it’s own core for 12.0? That’s the main update I’m waiting for.
            thanks

  43. Surely, if we were to request an awesome status report blog post, such as this one, to happen on a sorta monthly basis, until early access release, you’d certainly oblige, right? Right?! 🙂

    Thanks for the update! Love what’s coming.

    1. Oh I forgot to mention the most important thing here – Jim has the ATC window working entirely from the joystick, so you can fly HOTAS with ATC. This may be particularly useful for VR flyers like me who don’t like to use the mouse.

      1. Nice to read you’re into VR too. This carries hope that VR in X-Plane continues to improve over time 🙂

  44. So excited thanks so much Laminar. Still playing XP11 as MSFS is not mature enough to be enjoyable for me. So XP12 will be the perfect next step 🙂 and I saw moving jetways in the tasks. Can’t wait to see how you guys will bring this as a default feature

  45. My system is a Core i9-12900k, MSI RTX 3090, 64GB RAM and X-Plane 11 itself runs off a Gen-4 4TB Firecuda SSD. My monitor is a 65” TV. With these graphics settings: Visual Effects – High (HDR); Texrure Quality: High 78 MB currently loaded; Antialiasing: 2xSSAA+FXAA; Anisotropic Filtering: 4x I get decent FPS of ~ 30 to 60 dependent on the scenario. However, even with this high-end setup if I try to max out the settings the FPS drops often to less than 20 for a time in excess of the low-FPS time constraint and so I get the applicable warning. What can I expect in X-Plane 12 based on your description at the beginning of this thread? Thanks.

  46. Hi Ben, will X-plan12 improve the visibility of scenery to remove the washed-out look? Excited about X-Plane 12. Thanks,

    Paul

    1. I think scenery will look less desaturated – we’ve posted videos of the sim that are a reasonably accurate reflection of whatever the lighting engine was doing on the day they shot the video.

  47. Will there be a boxed version of X-PLANE 12, with DVDs or Blue-ray disks that serve as license key, like it used to be the case with XP 11 and earlier?

    I just need to know since if there will be one then I would like to wait for it instead of buying a Beta License which will certainly be download only version with activation counter protected serial key and need to be online all the time.

    Thanks for any info.

  48. Thanks a lot for the update, Ben. Even though writing it takes a little time off of your coding and testing, we really appreciate it.
    Feeling like a little kid waiting for Christmas day. This helps a bit. Not much… 🙂

  49. TWIMC: My biggest concern, is because I have slow, to almost slow as a caterpillar slow internet, that some other form of installation other than download is going to be offered. XP-12 allows DVD, old school, don’t care, I can install the whole thing in 4 hours using them. It takes me 6 days at 24/7 to download and install MSFS-2020. When I first got XP-11 I did try to download it, that took 12 hours, so paid extra for the DVD’s. Please, please, make DVDs available for purchase. Additionally, I am not really ready to buy new PC, so my Laptop which was spec’ed out for MSFS 2020, is more than capable of runing XP-12 it sounds like, but I am an Intel/Nvidia believer, so I hope all this optimising and polishing will not nullify those platforms. Was Intel Processor Dealer for years, so have loyality to that venue. Thank you again for the updates, and let us know when we can sign on. M

  50. I have a RealSim Gear GNS 430 and use the RealityXP plugin for it, which gives perfect Garmin compatibility – but was a fiddly, pain to set up. Is there any changes in this part of things, will this still work or will new versions of Reality XP be required?

  51. When I land my helo in XPlane 12 am I going to see the grass and vegetation around and under the helo realistically move in response to the downforce effect ?

    Are you going to fix the ridiculous trampolining/bouncing effect I get when I crash the helo in XP11 to something say even remotely like a no-nonsense crash in DCS ?

    Cheers

  52. I am an instructor in the Boeing 737-800 sim. I love X-Plane, and use it to prepare lessons, and also for my own practise. Will the Zebo mod 737 function in the new version of X-Plane? Also, will you be addressing a current issue that bugs me: the lack of runway lighting during daytime, apart from approach lights? Really looking forward to X-Plane 12, I am very impressed how thoroughly you are preparing the new release, and am happy to wait until it is right. I would not dream of flying any other sim!

    1. For reference sake: It is pronouced Zibo as in the abbrivation for the developers name Lubos Zibek. But to answer your question, yes it is already said to be adopted for it by the developing team.

      1. Thanks, I realised after I had posted that I spelt Zibo wrong, my mistake. What about my query regarding runway lighting during daylight hours?

  53. I know the release date cannot be pinpointed but is there a hopeful timeframe as to a possible release date?

  54. Hi ! im new to the saga, this will be my first X-plane, which I am looking forward to with great excitement!

    I have a question, which may be basic, but I’ll ask it anyway………. If one buys the early access on the website, is one can get a code on Steam?

    My congratulations to the development team, the graphics of the game looks too good, it has quality for 8 years of gameplay this X-plane coming!

    1. I think it’s unlikely that we’ll have it for sale on Steam as early as the first early access release, but we are planning a Steam versoin for v12.

    2. Don’t buy on steam. It has no advantage only disadvantages:
      – forced updates (not when you choose to)
      – more complex to install plugins/addons/planes/.. (or at least not simpler)
      – less money for LR

      1. I understand all these points, it’s just for comfort for me, thank you very much for your comment as the team of this game

    1. There are some APIs and there will be a new SDK version – I don’t think there are any major deprecations in the API itself if you were fully updated for 11.50.

  55. Hi,

    I run a full flight deck via XP11 and I’m unable to enjoy the nice looking rain/snow effects one sees while flying via the 3D cockpit. Will these effects become available for those that run X-plane via external views?

    Airport vehicles… Will airport vehicles still morph or disappear when crossing from computer to computer in the network? Nothing kills the flight sim illusion like a baggage car changing into a fuel truck going from the right computer/monitor to the center, or having the vehicle disappear all together only to show back up on the left computer/monitor before driving off.

    Thanks

    1. You will not get 3-d rain effects on the windscreen in an external view because – if you ask for an external view – you are by definition saying the camera is on the wrong side of that glass. This may affect sound too.

      In theory you could try to map the 3-d position of the camera in the 3-d cockpit to the actual glass of your monitor – I’m not sure it would work well though. Nonetheless we have a fundamental problem with your type of setup: what is the physical shape of “your monitor”? (This matters for the rain physics? Typically a monitor doesn’t have the same shape as a real airliner window.)

  56. Apart from XP12 being #InstaBuy I have two quick gateway questions:
    1. Will you be able to filter for fully XP12 compatible scenery?
    2. Are there any plans on adding a map feature to the gateway to visually search for scenery in a specifc area – and maybe even extend that to display scenery in the user’s Custom Scenery folder?

  57. Is there work to allow VR (or non-vr) people to work as Pilot/Co-Pilot/Engineer in X-Plane 12? ( what about larger teams with “cruise relief”, etc)

    Will there be expanded facilities for walk around, making it easier in VR (or non-vr) to perform pre-flight checks?

    Othewise looking forward to more realistic VFR

  58. Really excited about XP12 – especially native ARM support.

    Are we planning any improvements to saving and loading ‘situations’? In XP11 only limited parameters are saved, as such, it is impossible to retry RNAV approaches.

    I am not sure if this is a limitations of XP or in airplane programming, but it would be nice to have ‘Toilss like situations’ for other planes.

  59. Progress looks amazing. Please keep the cloud shadowing similar to XP11, it’s pretty good as it is 🙂

  60. I feel somewhat uneasy with CEF: Will X-Plane import all those security vulnerabilities, too? I guess you want to do the UI in HTML with scripting. Does the UI really need Internet?

    1. The UI is still coded natively. Our goal with CEF is to set up a standard way of _sharing_ it between the sim and add-on makers now at the major version run.

  61. Any chance that XP12 will support macros (in prf files) – so that one joystick button can be assigned to more than one function for instance (e.g. toggle both CMD1 and CMD2 autopilot switches simultaneously)? Limited number of physical joystick buttons available of course: this would help a lot! 🙂

    1. If you really mean _preference_ files, this isn’t something we’re planning, but this could be easily done by a plugin or script making custom meta-commands. If you mean joystick configuration files, we have considered more complex mappings and we may extend this some day, as there are several complicated .joy cases we don’t handle yet.

  62. Looking fantastic – can’t wait to try it out!
    I’m just wondering when 3rd party devs can get access (not just a select few) as I’m assuming changes will need to be made for existing products to work with XP12?

    1. Many third parties are in the alpha and have had access since January. They’re not allowed to talk about it publicly though as we put them under NDA.

  63. Will the texture paging system be made more efficient? Load stuttering is a huge issue in X-Plane 11, even on modern hardware, when loading in orthos or high quality airports combined with using high quality aircraft. The current workaround solution for the HotStart 650 is a band-aid at best, so I hope a better solution can be found.

    1. The TODO for third party aircraft that need their own cores is _not_ a change in the paging system, it’s a change in the _SDK_ so that they can communicate with X-PLane when they are using CPU cores so we can dynamically throttle back our own work-load.

  64. for work reasons I am forced to use an Apple Mac with OS High Sierra (10-13-6) and I read that XP12 is compatible only from OS Catalina onwards. Isn’t it possible to use it with the OSX High Sierra?

    1. No. X-Plane 12 will not work with High Sierra. We need newer features from newer Metal drivers, which are tied to the OS’s overall graphics system.

  65. Regarding the night environment that you guys are currently working on, are there any plans on light-pollution in the sky or moonlight?

  66. I’d really like to see the following:
    1. Options to use custom carriers and custom positioning of waves and cat and trap positions, also options to switch off the cat for VTOL/helo carriers . More than one XCarr, XFrig etc.
    2. Options to use custom tankers. Multiple tankers of different choice.
    3. Important : options to make scenery loading faster, I mainly fly in the UK but loading of the whole database takes forever. If we can have vehicles on multiple roads this should be possible.
    4. More work on AI, my right hand is far more intelligent! Likewise AP is a bit flaky/unpredictable.
    5. Better helo support, more work on governors.. I did read the latest posted info, is it enough?
    6. Id like to build custom rockets to launch into orbit, I did a Vostok, but only as an animated wep.. could do so much better, staging multiple engine types etc..
    7. Ability to run the Helo tail rotor off a single engine and position accordingly, likewise contra rotating props on one engine.
    8. Superchargers; if it’s already there I cant find it.
    There’s more, less interested in visuals more interested in advancing the aero modlling options.

  67. GNS 430, DLSS, FSR, MSAA, AA, FXAA, SSAA. … I have no idea what what any of this means! I’m a sexagenarian now an I just want to enjoy flying planes on my mac like I used to. It was never about programming in those days. All I know is that half of my mac plug-ins don’t work anymore, and I’m wondering when the time will come when the sim will fade away on this platform, and all future conversations will be about Windows and graphics cards. Is it just me getting old?

    1. “Do not lament getting old – the alternative is a tragedy.” I don’t actually know who that quote is attributed to, but anyway, Mac is fully supported in the v12 run.

  68. My main concern with XP12 is the compatibility of the XPLM API between 11 and 12… I’m in final phase of an Airbus MCDU (JDA320, FFA350) for Android platform witch runs fairly smoothly. I’m close from release. It’ll be free with small banner Ads on screen bottom and later no Ads for small amount payware. I plan further FCU, top panel dev and more as well. I don’t use much of the API: get data, set data, command handler (before + after). That’s about it. However, the UDP + XPLM + thread/coroutine is a complex piece to finalize so I’m just anxious at needing to redo what already went through 100’s of hours of test flights.
    Any clues?
    Also, will early beta be available for testing? Besides that, all the best to the XP dev team. XP is a flight sim, others although nice(r) just being advanced arcades games 😉

    1. It should keep working. The main thing to note is that the legacy non-modern FMS has only been available with *X-Plane 10* aircraft – you couldn’t use the old FMS with a new v11 aircraft. So we have had some alpha testers who thought their add-on worked (because it worked only for legacy content) who finally realized they only worked on the deprecated old system when it -fully- went away.

      If your add-on works with a default v11 aircraft like the 737 then you’re probably in okay shape.

      1. Ok. Will go ahead with testing as soon as I have a version and report back any behaviour variation. I currently test against 11.52 so as I understand it should work.
        Thx

  69. Hello, will X-Plane 12 have visible rainfall on certain clouds from let’s say 10nm. Something like spotting where exactly there’s rainfall visually in the vicinity that you’re flying in.

    1. Also wondering whether G1000 will
      (1) work as separate / pop-out window in VR
      (2) will have a more efficient means of turning knobs/tuning frequencies, etc. in VR.
      – knobs/dials pretty clunky to turn with either mouse or AI pointer

  70. Hi Ben,
    Will X-Plane g1000 support twin turboprop ? And also is there a g1000 king air version ?
    Many thanks

  71. I use both flight simulators FS 2020 and X-Plane 11 and soon X-Plane 12. I’m glad we have such great flight simulators. You are doing an incredible job and thank you for all the work you put into it 🙂

  72. There is one who makes the monolith. The rest of us just take pictures of it. Or use femur bones creatively…

    I was just wondering here… is atmospheric water vapor the perfect broad-band light intensity sink? Do all the visible color frequencies dim at the same rate from a given light source?

    1. In the wide-scale atmospheric scattering, it’s totally frequency sensitive – it has to be or else the sky wouldn’t be blue. Over very short distances, light absorption is monochoromatic – the engine could do differently but I don’t think we want to tint the fog.

      1. Cool… I was pondering the calibration process and data that would be needed at the distances in the monolith pic. Seems like it would be along the lines of how the FAA does RVR measurements…and then wondered how the different frequencies disperse. Tinting the fog based on light color would be nice up close. I imagine a billboard could take care of that nicely though. Definitely excited for what is coming.

  73. It’s exciting to hear of the progress! It’s more exciting to know you’re not going to pull a fast one on people and release a bug-filled Beta and call it a final release. Looking at you, MSFS – What a frustrating nightmare that is

  74. I’m loving your attention to detail, e.g. with the Low Visibility monolith. Accuracy is more important to me (personally) than the absolute very last word in beautiful graphics and eye candy.

  75. Will we see 13 thousand gallon/49205 liter fuel trucks? Smaller catering trucks? Thanks.

  76. Will it also finally snow in XP or will it be like in XP11 where the snow looks like rain?

  77. Very exciting stuff. X Plane is THE Daddy of all Flight Sims. So great to hear of the obsessive focus on real world physics and properties. I am pursuing a PPL so replicating reality to aid my training is the attraction here. I am already in the queue to buy X Plane 12. Oh by the way, do you plan native support for Tobii Eye tracking? I just bought a unit, replaced my TrackIR and must admit it takes immersion to another level.

  78. Hi Ben,
    Will X-Plane g1000 support twin turboprop ? And also is there a g1000 king air version ?
    Many thanks

  79. Is ALL aircraft in the default aircraft fleet going to get FMOD sounnds?

    Examples are:

    747-400
    747-100 NASA
    SR-71 Blackbird
    MD82
    Cirrus SF50 like in X-plane mobile
    B52
    KC-10
    C130

    Also are you planning on making 3d cockpits for:

    C130
    KC-10
    B52

    ?

    1. Every aircraft in the v12 fleet will have FMOD sound, yes.

      The C-130, KC-10, B-52, SR-71 and the 747s are _not_ in the default fleet in 12.

      The MD-82 and Cirrus are getting FMOD sounds, as well as the other V11 aircraft still in the fleet that didn’t have FMOD in 11.

  80. One more question if I may..

    Will AMD’s SAM ( Smart Access Memory ) be supported in 12 ? Not sure if it will make a huge difference but specially when transferring data between System-Ram and VRAM it might help to speed things up.

    1. I’m not sure it’s going to make any difference that anyone can see? X-Plane’s assumption is that it _has_ to be able to run asynchronously and hide transfer latency (e.g. not have FPS be limited by transfer latency).

      So cutting transfer latency isn’t going to e.g. improve FPS. I’m also not sure how great it would be to have the CPU write _directly_ into VRAM via the BAR – CPU is a resource we care about too, so the current design (write to system memory that is device visible, let the DMA engine schlep the data, run the GPU out of VRAM) has the advantage that (in return for that long latency) neither the CPU nor the GPU are running out of non-local memory.

      In theory we could put streaming constant data in host-visible VRAM – I don’t think it’ll be a huge win though because modern GPUs have memory hierarchies and caches just like the CPU, and it would be shocking if .e.g the transform stack wasn’t in cache on the GPU.

  81. Do we have a firm date for XP-12 release to the general public?

    Seriously, I can’t wait too long. I’m so excited to see how close to realism, the graphics, etc…

    Best regards,

    Pierre GEAGEA

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