X-Plane 11.35 beta 4 is now live – run our updater and check “get betas”. Release notes here.
Steam users: we’ll release this tomorrow if there isn’t a sign of a huge fire overnight – it’s already uploaded to the servers.
Add-on Developers: if you haven’t run your add-on in 11.35, please put it through its paces now. Everything that might be risky or weird is already in and we’re just killing off bugs now. If your add-on has a compatibility problem, we need to know now if we’re going to fix the problem during beta. While we’ve tried to make everything “just work” with old add-ons, there’s always the chance that your add-on does something special we didn’t think of. Please test now!
Beta three is now available to LR customers, and we expect Steam to be available within 24 hours. This beta has the last of our planned code changes for 11.35 (in addition to bug fixes), so we expect the rest of the beta period to be focused on fixing regression bugs.
If you haven’t already, this would be a great beta to test your add ons in to ensure we haven’t broken them. If we have, get at us via the bug report form and be sure to include a copy of your add on.
Here’s our keynote talk from FlightSimExpo 2019 last week!
Evans video team really did a fantastic job with the feed this year – everything was live-streamed in great quality, and the talk has a direct feed to the slides and good quality audio. Totally what we were hoping for!
The first public beta for X-Plane 11.35 is now available! (Steam is staged and will be released shortly.) This is an update that includes new Gateway airports, FMOD sound for the Boeing B737-800 and KingAir C90B, improved aircraft systems, and landmark scenery packs for New York and Washington D.C.
Aircraft developers will want to review Philipp’s notes on the:
Update: We are aware of a cloud rendering bug with anti-aliasing. The work around for now is to turn off or use the lowest setting of anti-aliasing.
We are working on b2 to fix this issue and will be holding the wide release of the Steam beta for the fix. If you really, really, really want to use b1 with this known issue, you can email me directly at my first name @x-plane.com and I’ll get you into the private Steam beta.
As you may have heard, we’ll be at FlightSimExpo 2019 in Orlando this weekend! If you are attending, please stop by our booth and drop in on our talk Saturday afternoon. We’ll be qualifying people for a VR landing contest too.
For developers: Austin, Philipp, Chris and I will all be there – find us to talk about developing add-ons for X-Plane!
We’d like to point your attention especially to the new “2D” or “3D” meta-tag for export targets of 11.30 or higher. This tag tells the X-Plane GUI to list the airport as “2D” or “3D”.
Before X-Plane 11.35, the information in the “Features” column in the X-Plane airport selection menu came from any scenery in a user’s Custom Scenery directory, rather than being an entry in the system-wide apt.dat in the Resources/default scenery/default apt dat/ directory. The assumption was any addon airport would always be 3D. But starting with X-Plane 11.33, all global airports, even those with 2D-only layouts, were now included in the Global Airports –which made the X-Plane GUI effectively list every airport as “3D”.
At export, WED 2.1 will analyze the scenery for 3D content and look for the existence of the meta-tag “GUI label”. If the export target is 11.30 or higher it will warn if the tag is missing or improperly set, ultimately leaving it up to the designer how they want the airport to be listed in X-Plane. If the target is “Gateway”, it will forcibly create or update this meta-tag to always be set correctly according to the actual scenery exported.
In order to fix the 2D/3D display in X-Plane 11.35 and later for any scenery not submitted via the Gateway, authors will need to manually add the tag via “Airport->Add Meta Data” and then re-exported to a target of X-Plane 11.30 or higher.
X-Plane 11.34r1 is now available as a beta for those who update via the Laminar Research installer. We expect to make it available on Steam in the next 24 hours or so. This update includes a Plane Maker UI fix and a couple crash fixes.
Just a reminder that the sim will not prompt you to install this beta–you will need to launch the installer manually and opt into betas to get this version.
We are putting more effort into cleaning up frequent crashes. We recently upgraded our back end crash reporting to a fancy paid service that we hope will allow us to gain a lot more insight into what is going wrong. This beta includes additional crash logging for that purpose.
Keeping in the crash-fixing vein, we believe we also fixed two notable crashes in this beta: issues with Intel GPUs and with duplicate FMOD sound banks. We heard from a lot of Intel users about these crashes, so Sidney took a look and was able to find a fix for it. The FMOD crash has been a round for a while and was caused by duplicating an aircraft folder that included FMOD. When an FMOD bank had the same contents on disk at a different file path, FMOD wouldn’t load it. We now handle this case gracefully.
Update: Steam users can get 11.33b1 by selecting the public beta under application properties.
Just a quick update on our progress with Vulkan and Metal. We last spoke about this on the live feed a few weeks ago, but we’re a little further along. Here’s the summary:
Plane-Maker and Airfoil Maker run in Vulkan and Metal.
X-Plane runs in Vulkan and Metal up to the main menu (e.g. the app starts) but can’t yet fly or show scenery.
The Vulkan and Metal code runs on Mac, Windows and Linux.
The Vulkan code runs on Nvidia, AMD and Intel drivers.
All shaders are ported.
All of the zoo animals (abstractions around part of the graphics engine) are now complete. We killed off the last 2 or 3 since the live feed.
For the last two weeks, Sidney and I have been working to port all rendering passes to the new code, so we don’t have to go through OpenGL to fly the aircraft. I lost a few days dealing with this:
That turned out to be a single if statement that got reversed deep in the mesh drawing code during one of the porting steps, resulting in some of the runway lights being replaced with random pieces of … heck, I never figured out what the wrong mesh was, just that it came from some other unrelated part of the sim and changed as the camera moved. To make matters worse, the error only appeared on the Mac, so we couldn’t use Windows OpenGL debugging tools to find the issue.
The silver lining is that once we are all Vulkan/Metal, we’ll have at least four separate debugging tools to go after bugs like this.
We don’t have measurements of performance yet; once we can sit in an aircraft in X-Plane running Metal or Vulkan, we can at least get some initial performance numbers.