Beta 6 is out and with it comes quite a list of improvements.
We listened to some feedback and decided to bring mouse-look back but in a new and totally rewritten way. Originally, it was removed because as a MODE, it was confusing. Many users would pick it thinking it was “the” 3D cockpit mode and then be horrified that they weren’t able to use the mouse for anything else. Mouse-Look is no longer a MODE…there is only ONE mode which is 3D cockpit mode. This is the mode where you right click and drag to move your head and then use the scroll wheel to zoom…but now if you double right click, the view mode is locked into “mouse-look” so you can let go of your mouse button and the camera will still track the mouse movement. To get out of the mode, just right click again or switch views and it’ll disable. This works for users with a mouse and for users with a trackpad.
Quick-Look views have been fixed so that they now smoothly transition from one preset to another preset within the cockpit – without recentering each time. I do have to make an apology that your existing presets will no longer work with Beta 6 until you go to your aircraft folder and rename your preferences to *_view_prefs.txt. They used to be called *_prefs.txt. They won’t be lost or deleted, X-Plane just won’t see them until you rename them.
One other neat feature to note…it’s a really simple feature but I think it adds a nice touch of realism. As Tom was working on the Baron he said to us that since so many users like to start their planes from cold-dark-cockpit mode, they should have a way of using a flashlight so they can see what they’re doing before they get the plane powered up. What a great idea! So that’s what we did! Most aviators use a red flashlight to preserve their eye sensitivity so in the View menu, you’ll now see a way to Toggle on and off the Red flashlight. You can tie it to a keyboard or joystick button as well. There’s no menu entry for it but if you’d prefer a white flashlight, there’s a command for that as well so you can pick what you like best. Like all of the other fancy dynamic lighting in the sim, the flashlight only works with HDR enabled.
I’ll leave you with a little video demo of it to see while your X-Plane is updating to Beta 6 in the background.
Once Ben is done fighting his war on HDR arthropods, Beta 5 will make its way out to the masses. In it, you’ll find some very cool updates to the view system that we think will make sim-life much easier, more intuitive and more useful.
The first change is the removal of the “mouse look” in 3D mode. This was the mode where the mouse controlled your camera orientation just by moving the cursor around without clicking. We had some feedback on the feature and agreed that it’s really not a very useful mode. The mouse is needed to click on various things in the 3D cockpit and to have your head bobbing around while you’re trying to do that was just annoying.
To look around in 3D mode, you can still of course right click and then move the mouse to adjust the camera angle. You can also use your scroll wheel to zoom in and out of things. This has been in the sim throughout the 10.x run and will remain the primary means of controlling head movement (unless you use your keyboard or Track IR of course). Since many people find the right-click/scroll gestures to be intuitive and useful, I’ve gone in and made things more consistent. Now, no matter what view you’re in, if head movement or zoom is possible, it’s done with right click and scroll. It used to require a LEFT click and scrolling was not an option. This should immediately help people who had trouble with the left clicks activating their mouse-flying box.
The final change is a pretty important one. We’ve added a system called “Quick-Look” (QL from this point on). Technically, you already have QL but I didn’t want to point it out to everyone until I had time to make some improvements to the system which I’ve done for Beta 5. QL allows you to get a view just the way you love it…and then save it to a hot key/cmnd that you can recall at any time later to go right back to the same spot.
For example, suppose you’re flying the default King Air and you find yourself frequently positioning your head, tilting down and zooming in on the throttle quadrant to see how you have the aircraft configured. This can take some time to setup and if you do it often, it can really get tedious. Let’s assign it to a QL then! Get the view the way you like it, and assign it to QL1. Now, no matter what you do to your views, when you press QL1, your head position, orientation and zoom goes right back to your memorized view of the throttle quadrant. It’s not just for 3D cockpit mode either. It works in all aircraft-relative views so 3D Cockpit, Ridealong, Chase, Circle, Forward with Hud etc. The reason for that limitation, is that these views are saved a little differently than other things in the sim. These are aircraft specific preferences. This is necessary so that your views for the Cessna 172 stay with the aircraft and don’t interfere with views for the King Air etc.
Currently, you get 10 QL views per aircraft and they’re saved/recalled anytime you switch aircraft. The QL keys are number-pad 0-9 by default. So for example, to recall QL3, just press the 3 on your number pad. To save a view to QL3, just get the view the way you like it, then press CONTROL + Num-pad 3. CONTROL is the default modifier key to do memorization. Like most of the commands in X-Plane, these are customizable so you can wire them up to any button combinations that you want. Also, you can use your joystick buttons as well to recall saved views.
A word of caution…some of you may have already discovered the QL system in earlier betas. That version is a fairly limited prototype (it only works in cockpit mode) so please do not report any view bugs prior to testing Beta 5. Lastly, your aircraft QL view preferences are going to get trashed with Beta 5 so please don’t spend hours tirelessly getting your views perfect for dozens of aircraft.
***EDIT*** Here’s a quick video I took of some sample views that I setup in the default King Air.