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Usage Data as of June 2018

Here are the results of the latest X-Plane 11 usage data as of 04 June, 2018. If you’d like to compare, here is the previous post from November 2017.

X-Plane collects diagnostic & usage data on a strictly opt-in basis. All information we collect is anonymous; it does not include contact information like your name or email address. We share the aggregate usage data with the community but we do not share or sell (or even have direct access to) the raw data.

Below is a handful of easy-to-digest charts, plus the raw data at the bottom of the post for those that are interested.

Items of note

All data in these charts are for users of the full version only—we’ve filtered out demo users.

If an aircraft’s name, studio, or number of engine fields in Plane Maker are changed at any point, the aircraft will show up in the data as two different entries. Tyler did a lot of work to consolidate obvious duplicates, but aircraft authors, please please please set this up correctly at the start and then leave it alone! It will make tracking data on your specific aircraft easier for everyone.

Aircraft


Hardware

 

VR

Since 11.20 went final, 2.65% of all users have flown at least 1 flight using VR hardware.

Raw Data

X-Plane 11 aircraft data

X-Plane 11 hardware data

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X-Plane 11.25 Beta 1 Available

X-Plane 11.25 Beta 1 went live while we were in Las Vegas this weekend. To get it, run the installer, update, and make sure “get betas” is checked. We do not auto-notify you for betas when you are flying a release build. We’ll have a Steam build up soon.

X-Plane 11.25 updates X-Plane’s Las Vegas landmarks to include a much more detailed version of the strip, and also includes landmarks in Chicago and 645 new 3-d airports from the X-Plane Scenery gateway.

Besides these headline features, we have something for authors too:

Petr has updated the art definitions for our lines and added a lot of new line types. Apt.dat support for the lines will come in WED 1.7.1 and beta 2, both on their way; beta 1 contains the lines as .lin files in the library. 11.25 also fixes a long-standing bug where line markings would become trapezoidal and skewed at inappropriate times.

Please do not build “lines” by using small pieces of the ground-marking .pol files (e.g. a small yellow bit) with long polygons. Use these new lines instead. They are meant for the job and are more efficiently handled inside X-Plane.

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Back From Vegas

Thanks to everyone who came out to see us at FlightSimExpo – it was great to get to meet so many people in person. Just a few quick notes:

I don’t have an ETA yet on video of our talk that was shot by the event coordinators (the cameras you might have seen dead-center). We’ll post slides soon. There is an audience-shot video that some people have seen – the audio is understandable.

Regarding the new particle effects system, the biggest single question has been: will it work on scenery objects? The answer is: yes, eventually. Right now you can attach a particle system to an object attached to an airplane or created with the XPLMInstance API. Scenery-attached particles are on our road map, and if they don’t make the initial release in 11.30, we’ll get them as soon after as we can. (The same thing actually goes for FMOD sound – we intend to have FMOD sound on scenery objects, but we don’t have this done yet.)

Regarding “research mode”: the intent here is to have a non-versioned beta flight model available for longer periods of time in an otherwise final sim so that people doing experiments on the flight model or building new aircraft designs have access to the latest in Austin’s physics without having to build a new permanent version for the physics on every single release. Up to now, it has been really hard for Austin to get useful feedback on the FM because it is either hidden (non-beta) or locked down, except for tiny 8-week windows, during which the rest of the sim is so unstable that aircraft developers don’t want to touch it.

So you can think of research mode as getting access to in-progress 11.40 physics within 11.30. If you’re the kind of person who holds a flair over the air-stream of your aircraft, this is a useful way to compare the real world to Austin’s latest work.

Research mode is not available in Plane-Maker as a setting because there’s no versioning control, so an add-on that depends on it is asking for trouble. When we reach a point where the research-mode physics seem well-behaved, we’ll make a real “version” and make them default for all non-old aircraft (as defined by when saved in Plane-Maker).

A lot of the new systems announced (new engine types, new auto-pilots), etc. are strictly opt-in. e.g. the old behavior is unaffected if you pick an old autopilot or engine model. This is a case that’s fairly easy for us to do without compatibility problems.

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Next Stop, Vegas

I have a bunch of stuff I need to post that I haven’t gotten to because this week has been the usual last minute chaos that always precedes a show.

In this case that show is FilghtSimExpo in Las Vegas, and if you click on that link you’ll see what a user told me — Saturday is completely sold out! While this is unfortunate for any X-Plane users who were on the fence about going and hadn’t registered, I think it’s great for flight simulation. For years now we’ve been wondering if the US can have a “big” flight sim trade show like the ones in the UK and Europe, and I think the answer is a resounding yes.

For those not going, there will be a team video taping the Laminar Research talk, and it sounds like they’re bringing some serious equipment, so I’m hopeful for the resulting video.

One note for third party developers: if you need to talk with me about a technical issue (e.g. you have some programming or add-on problem you want to get resolved) and you’re arriving at the show the day before, email me and maybe we can set up a time to talk early. For family reasons I have to leave very early Sunday morning so getting time to talk Saturday is going to be hard.

We are bringing almost the entire X-Plane development team, so with Philipp, Alex and Ted also present there will be plenty of people around to get add-on questions answered even when I’m not.

There have been a lot of questions about X-Plane’s road map and we’ll get into them in a lot more detail on the developer blog once the show is over.

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X-Plane 11.21 Release Candidate 2 Available

X-Plane 11.21 is available in public beta. Like most “.1” releases, this is last minute bug fixes to 11.20.

Like every other website and app you use, X-Plane will now pop up a GDPR notification. We’ve been rolling notices into all of our apps and websites, and unlike RC1, in RC2 you can actually click the check-box to accept the notice and move on with life. (In RC1, the check box was outside the dialog box for some users, making the sim impossible to authorize.) Our actual private data use is almost entirely unchanged; we’re really not in the business of collecting or selling private data, and the data we do collect are for very specific purposes (e.g. your email address for the Q/A site so that you can receive notices that your question was answered. Once you accept GDPR, it is saved to prefs so you won’t get asked again.

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XPlane2Blender v3.4.0-rc.2 is out!

XPlane2Blender v3.4.0-rc.2

This RC has two simple fixes that are non-breaking and totally awesome.

  • #347: Optimization that brings export time down by a third to a half. The file size remains the side and nothing is needed to activate it. Using the “Optimize” checkbox was not optimized this time around.
  • #350, #351: Two animation bugs that would cause strange offsets when using bones. You may or may not have experienced this. Again, there is nothing to do to activate this, it is part of every export.

If you run into problems, please file a bug. If you do not notice a decreased export time with large models, also please tell us. We’d love to benchmark this on more data.

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X-Plane 11.20 Escaped Captivity

X-Plane 11.20 is, of course, final! Like all good Klingon software, it was not so much released – rather it escaped captivity, leaving a trail of blood in the path of all whom opposed it.

I am aware of two plugin-related issues we are tracking:

  1. Some legacy plugins with widget UIs are missing buttons when the UI is at 150% or 200% scaling. We have a fix for this, but for now you can work around the problem by turning off UI scaling in the graphics settings tab.
  2. Some Mac plugins compiled against libstdc++ crash with the Steam version (but not the non-Steam version).

Philipp and I are still discussing what to do about this second thing, but if your plugin is in this category (so far we’ve seen it with HeadShake and X-Ivap), my suggestion is: compile and link against clang’s libc++ on OS X – it’s the native Mac C++ runtime and the one that’s going to work well in the long term.

We’ll release an 11.21 release candidate either late this week or early next week, once we collect the bug fixes that got away.

EDIT: HeadShake has been fixed by SimCoders!

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Better Fuselage Dynamics Through Science

It turns out that my teachers in college, a ton of engineering textbooks, and the internet in general all seem to understand what wings do. Also my airplane has wings, and those wings are designed to interact with the air as much as possible, so I can flight-test my airplane at any time (and I constantly do) to collect information about what the wings in said airplane do. And then I use the information from the several sources listed above to really dial in the flight dynamics in X-Plane. Without question, on my death-bed I will look back on my many flights flown while frantically scribbling down notes and flying the airplane at the same time fondly. This is a challenge that not enough people get to enjoy, and then turning that knowledge into a simulator that then turns into money for me… well, let’s just say I have very little to complain about. Read More

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