Author: Jennifer Roberts

X-Plane 11.50b14 Now Available

X-Plane 11.50b14 is available via the Laminar Research installer & Steam “Unstable Betas” channel. We’ll make beta 14 the standard Steam public beta version once we have a sense that it’s not completely unusable.

Highlights of this update include fixes for stutters and freezes we heard a lot about over the last week. We believe users on the latest Nvidia driver (451.48) should see improvements as well.

We have seen some early reports of problems with VR and performance, and some of them are already identified and will be addressed in beta 15. We are going to keep with beta 14 for now to collect more bug reports – it also provides smoother flight for NVidia users.

Catching Problems Early

The plugin system has an iron-clad rule–you can’t talk to the plugin system from your plugin from a second thread. This rule is important because if a plugin violates it, the resulting crash may happen later, somewhere else in the code, or might just be impossible to decipher.

Beta 14 addresses this by crashing immediately when plugins run certain APIs illegally from the wrong thread. The goal here is to clearly identify these problems as an incorrect plugin, so the plugin author can fix the problem, and we can tell how stable the rest of the sim is.

Here’s the gotcha: when a plugin crashes the sim by doing something illegal on a thread, X-Plane doesn’t diagnose it as a plugin bug – you’ll just get a standard auto-report form. This isn’t perfect, but we think a clear auto-reported crash is better than a confusing auto-reported crash.

We quietly released beta 14 yesterday afternoon, and so far, the top four auto reported crashes are all plugin crashes in threads.

Plugin authors: we will try to find you and tell you if we see your plugin crashing in threaded code by calling X-Plane.

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X-Plane 11.50b13: Lucky Number 13?

X-Plane 11.50b13 is now available. Steam users, remember you can access this version immediately by opting into the “Unstable Pre-Release beta” version. We’ll make beta 13 the standard Steam public beta version once we have a sense that it’s not completely unusable.

Beta 12 was released on Friday, however we quickly learned it had a major issue: Windows OpenGL users couldn’t launch. Our build process had a hiccup that caused a shader mismatch, so we rolled beta 12 back in favor of beta 11 for the weekend.

Beta 13 fixes this shader issue, and includes all of the beta 12 fixes such as:

  • Even more crash fixes!
  • Video recording fixes
  • Fixed ocean “grid”
  • Fix for sim “freezing”

View the full release notes here for betas 12 and 13.

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X-Plane 11.50b11 Now Available

X-Plane 11.50b11 is now available. Steam users, remember you can access this version by opting into the “Unstable Pre-Release beta” version. We’ll make beta 11 the standard Steam public beta version once we have a newer beta.

Release note highlights include:

  • New UI option: anisotropic filtering
  • New Plane Maker option: always use Experimental Flight Model
  • Fixed hang on load
  • Shadow & crash fixes

View the full release notes here.

Enabling the Experimental Flight Model in Plane Maker

The experimental flight model has proven to be quite stable since it was released in X-Plane 11.40, so authors can now set up their aircraft to use it by default.

The new check box is found in the Author screen in Plane Maker. When it is checked, the aircraft will always get the 11.40 experimental flight model, no matter what the user pref for flight model is in the X-Plane UI. You should use this option if you like how your aircraft performs with it enabled.

When the new check box is off (which it will be by default), the user pref decides what happens, just like 11.40. Aircraft creators should pick this if they target the older flight model. Note there’s no way to force the experimental flight model off.

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X-Plane 11.50b10 Now Available

X-Plane 11.50b10 is now available if you update via the Laminar Research installer. (Steam users: it’s on the servers and we’ll hit go in a few hours if we don’t hear reports of massive crashing and pain again.) You can view the latest release notes here.

This update has two major improvements: we fixed our top auto reported crashes, and optimized VRAM usage based on the reports many of you sent in. If you update to beta 10 and still see blurry textures, please create a new diagnostic report, and file a new bug report with it.

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X-Plane 11.50b7 – MIA

X-Plane 11.50b7 has been recalled before it even made it fully out the door.

We had a ton of changes in this one–at one point I pulled over 100 Git commits on our release branch. Ben and Sidney also knocked nearly all items off their features-to-do list.

But thank goodness we asked our third party developers to kick the tires early on this one. They found a beta stopping bug in about 30 minutes! In our attempts to fix some performance issues, we caused the aircraft to be blurry in almost all cases, and we knew that was not an acceptable regression bug for a flight sim.

So sit tight for beta 8 to come soon, and don’t panic when your version numbers skip b7.

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Investigating Nvidia Device Loss Errors

In 11.50b6 we added a command line argument to run Aftermath, a debugging utility, hoping it will give us more insight into device loss errors.

A “device loss” error is specifically the crash that accompanies the on-screen (or log.txt) error message “Encountered Vulkan device loss error!” Using Aftermath will not help us investigate VRAM issues–that is a different issue entirely.

If you are on Windows, have an NVidia GPU and you see a device loss error followed by a crash, you can help us track these bugs down by running X-Plane with Aftermath enabled. We know from 11.50b5 that many devices are not compatible with Aftermath, so if you crash and burn immediately, you can go back to using beta 6 without the extra command line option.

Aftermath Instructions

We will be using the command line via Command Prompt. (Here are instructions on getting started with this if needed.)

Launch X-Plane from the command line with the following flag:

--aftermath

You can then try to reproduce the steps that caused the initial device loss, or just fly as usual. If device loss happens again, the auto crash report form should come up again. Please fill out your email and submit the auto report to us for investigation. 

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X-Plane 11.50b4: Crash Fixes

X-Plane 11.50b4 is now available if you update via the Laminar Research installer. (Steam users: it’s on the servers and we’ll hit go in a few hours if we don’t hear reports of massive crashing and pain again.)

This update was focused on crash fixes and better triaging. We’ve been seeing a huge uptick in volume of bug reports and auto reported crashes since the initial 11.50 public beta release. We are trying to cut through the noise and provide better information in logs and in the remaining crash reports to fix issues faster, and let our support team (primarily me) get the inbox under control.

The best way to help us handle crashes on Windows and Linux is still to submit the auto report form. You can include your email if you want us to be able to find your specific crash, but we do not need the message field–the log and back trace will have pretty much all the info we need. If you send an auto report, please do not also send a bug report form email.

Mac users do not have the ability to auto report, so they should fill out the bug report form, and include the Apple crash report as well as the log.txt. This can be found under your username /Libraries/Logs/DiagnosticReports. The name will include the date & time of the crash and will end in .crash. You may need to show hidden folders to access it.

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X-Plane 11.50b3: Quick Fixes

X-Plane 11.50b3 is now available if you update via the Laminar Research installer. (Steam users: it’s on the servers and we’ll hit go in a few hours if we don’t hear reports of massive crashing and pain like we did last night.)

We waited on releasing beta 2 on Steam after we started hearing reports of new, unintended crashes, and we spent the last 24 hours coding and testing the fixes. The only new fixes in beta 3 are for crashing with Linux + Vulkan, and null pipeline crashes with third party aircraft.

Hopefully this update will be more stable and we can get back to our regularly scheduled programming of working on a wider range of fixes for beta 4 next week.

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World Editor 2.2 is Final

The latest update for World Editor is out of beta testing and considered the official version. It can now be used to upload scenery to the Gateway, and is an incremental update that features the ability to preview facades in 3D, faster loading, and up to 100 “undo” operations.

See README.WorldEditor for the full list of changes, or Michael’s extended release notes here. Download this version for Linux, Mac, or Windows here.

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