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Let’s try this again: X-Plane 11.35b6

Beta 6 is now available to fix the hang with auto update. Please note that it will actually take two (2) rounds of updates to see the complete fix. B6 will still hang, but it contains the fix so that when you update after that, it should work as usual.

To get beta six, run the updater and click “get betas”. Once you have beta six, the next update will work normally.

Release notes here.

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X-Plane 11.35b5 is Out

We are nearing the end of the beta cycle and it is highly likely that the next build will be a release candidate. (Release notes here.) I’ll continue to sound like a broken record: please test your addons if you haven’t done so already!

One thing of particular note for aircraft authors in this update: we added datarefs to read the contents of the X-Plane default FMS Control and Display Unit (CDU) screen. You can read more about this addition here.

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X-Plane 11.35b3

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.

Edit: 11.35b3 is live on Steam too now.

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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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New VR APIs Are Available Now

Plugin developers, Beta 5 includes a few new VR-specific APIs in the XPLMDisplay header.

The complete list of VR-specific APIs is now:

I’ve updated the VR sample plugin to take advantage of all the new stuff here, minus the widget API—really, once you enable native widget windows, your widget window becomes “just another XPLM window” as far as the display APIs are concerned.

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X-Plane 11.20 VR4 Is Live

****EDIT: There’s apparently an issue for people running the Vive and WMR where they’re seeing reduced resolution. We’re looking into it and will post an update as soon as possible.

****EDIT2: We’ve found the issue affecting Vive and WMR. We’re testing a fix internally and will release an update hopefully in the next 24 hours. Please do not submit any more bug reports about Vive/WMR resolution.

11.20 VR4 is Live on the servers. Aside from the usability fixes that Ben already mentioned, the major ‘feature’ in VR4 is…Oculus users will no longer need SteamVR. If you downloaded it just for X-Plane, go ahead and remove it. It will no longer be necessary.

As we said we would do from the very beginning, we investigated the relative performance of X-Plane through the native Oculus SDK versus SteamVR and what we found, through data collection, is that the overall experience for Oculus users was better by going through the Oculus SDK directly. I know many of you are thinking “Duh! I told you that a month ago ya big dummy!” and yes…yes you did. Fortunately/Unfortunately, we try not to make engineering decisions based on gut feelings and anecdotal evidence when we have a way to collect actual numbers. We wanted to tackle a majority of the usability issues affecting everyone before we looked into performance.

In the various A/B tests that we performed, we found that going to the Oculus SDK directly got us about 25% improvement in frame rate. This does not necessarily indicate that there’s anything wrong with SteamVR itself. There are several factors influencing the performance in VR. First, Oculus has their “home”, that little bachelor pad where you hang out while waiting for games to load. SteamVR has their “home” as well. When you use SteamVR, BOTH are running on your machine. Those houses are not free and X-Plane is already CPU bottlenecked so anything consuming CPU resources is going to directly affect performance. (I noticed an Autodesk updater in my task manager that was stealing 5% of my CPU consistently. That too was decreasing my performance….every bit matters!). Going directly to the Oculus SDK removes the SteamVR house from the equation.

Sure, getting 25% improvement is a huge win, but that’s NOT the biggest win. The biggest win, in my opinion, is that Asynchronous Space Warp (ASW) works MUCH better even at very low frames rates down to about 22.5fps. It appears as though the timing of the frames is critical for ASW to work properly. Being at 22.5, 30, 45, 90fps feels smooth! Being in between those frame timings seems to make ASW lose its mind creating an annoying judder; the opposite of what ASW is supposed to be doing for us. Oculus seems to be V-Syncing us to hit those intervals, allowing their algorithms to make reliable timing decisions and predictions. It’s my suspicion that SteamVR was just not hitting those intervals, causing ASW to flip out.

TLDR; Performance for Oculus will be on par with what Vive users have been seeing all along. The smoothness of the rendering seems consistent even down to 22.5fps. If you’re a Vive user, you will still, of course, need SteamVR as that IS your native SDK. If you’re a WMR user, you will still need SteamVR. I have not seen any reprojection issues with WMR like we have with Oculus. Supposedly the upcoming versions of SteamVR have some performance improvements coming for WMR users as well so we’ll be sticking with SteamVR for all headsets other than Oculus. That can always change in the future…based on data.

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Three lesser known aircraft features for 11.10

These smaller features are likely to be overshadowed by the release of the G1000 for default aircraft in 11.10, so I decided to dedicate a blog post to promote the articles I’ve written  – you can find them among all the guides for aircraft developers: http://developer.x-plane.com/docs/aircraft/

Electric and remote gyro systems

Back in April, I flew a Mooney M20J with a KCS55A HSI in it, and realised that it was impossible to model in X-Plane correctly, so I got to work. See the manual for an explanation of this popular HSI/remote gyro system.

I’ve written a usage guide on the new datarefs and commands that I added, along with some more detailed explanation of all the different gyro systems X-Plane simulates, in this guide for aircraft developers. I also talked about the systems at length in a Youtube live stream earlier this year.

Separate GPSS autopilot mode

This is a feature that many add-on aircraft already simulate to some degree, but by means of more or less reliable plugin trickery. The X-Plane 11 default 737 and 747 are no exception. With X-Plane 11.10, a separate GPS steering mode for the autopilot becomes a standard feature.
The new datarefs and commands are explained in detail here.

Screen-only popup instrument windows

Several people who build home-cockpit setups have asked about removing the bezels from the popup displays, so they can have only the screen of a GNS430/530, FMS or G1000 instrument to put on an external monitor, with a hardware bezel around it. While this can already be achieved through some clever hacking in the Miscellaneous.prf file, we now offer a more straightforward way to do this: The popup and pop-out windows now get their bezel graphics from the library system, so you can override the bezel graphics. How to override the bezel with nothing, if your bezel is made of hardware? Simply supply a 1×1 pixel blank .png as a bezel graphic, and X-Plane will know that you really want no bezel at all. In the case of a bezel-less 430, you’d put a 1×1 pixel png as the “cockpit/radios/GPS FMS/Garmin_430_2d.png” resource of your plane.

Posted in Aircraft, Aircraft & Modeling, Cockpits, Panels, Uncategorized by | 31 Comments

XPlane2Blender v3.4.0-beta.4 arrives

Download here:

https://github.com/der-On/XPlane2Blender/releases/tag/v3.4.0-beta.4

Change Log

Bug Fixes

  • #294 – A case where autodetect off was not fully trusting the author for Aircraft exports
  • An uncaught spelling mistake __upgradeLocRot vs __updateLocRot. The fix for the updater altering the animation types was written for object’s dataref animations and bone’s dataref animation troubles. However, with this spelling mistake and Blender’s uncanny ability to eat exceptions from addons, it wasn’t realized until later that bone’s weren’t also getting updated. Fortunately, the updater can be run-again without fear of messing something else up.

At the bottom of the Scene Settings, check “Plugin Development Tools”. Use the Re-run Updater tool at the bottom: Put in 3.3.9 in Fake Version, and click the button. You should see your bone values corrected, as long as you successfully reverted any bad changes from v3.4.0-beta.1. Please e-mail me if you have problems!

Improvements

  • Some spelling and capitalization in the UI. Great care has been taken to ensure that none of the actual value or order of the addon properties has changed!
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XPlane2Blender v3.4.0-beta.2 is out!

XPlane2Blender v3.4.0-beta2

So far so good (aside from one big breaking problem)!

Fixes

#289 periodic filename_ext error notifications.
#288, 292 loc/rot/show/hide upgraded improperly

Add X-Plane Layers button for new projects now longer hidden

Adds
  • Re-run updater button – USE WITH CAUTION! – to force re-running the updater as if the file was previously saved with a different version of XPlane2Blender

See the next release here, download the .zip here. As always on-topic feedback is appreciated!

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