XPLMCamera API

The XPLMCamera APIs allow plug-ins to control the camera angle in X-Plane. This has a number of applications, including but not limited to:

  • Creating new views (including dynamic/user-controllable views) for the user.
  • Creating applications that use X-Plane as a renderer of scenery, aircrafts, or both.

The camera is controlled via six parameters: a location in OpenGL coordinates and pitch, roll and yaw, similar to an airplane’s position. OpenGL coordinate info is described in detail in the XPLMGraphics documentation; generally you should use the XPLMGraphics routines to convert from world to local coordinates. The camera’s orientation starts facing level with the ground directly up the negative-Z axis (approximately north) with the horizon horizontal. It is then rotated clockwise for yaw, pitched up for positive pitch, and rolled clockwise around the vector it is looking along for roll.

You control the camera either either until the user selects a new view or permanently (the later being similar to how UDP camera control works). You control the camera by registering a callback per frame from which you calculate the new camera positions. This guarantees smooth camera motion.

Use the XPLMDataAccess APIs to get information like the position of the aircraft, etc. for complex camera positioning.

Note: if your goal is to move the virtual pilot in the cockpit, this API is not needed; simply update the datarefs for the pilot’s head position.

For custom exterior cameras, set the camera’s mode to an external view first to get correct sound and 2-d panel behavior.

CAMERA CONTROL

XPLMCameraControlDuration

This enumeration states how long you want to retain control of the camera. You can retain it indefinitely or until the user selects a new view.

NameValueDescription
xplm_ControlCameraUntilViewChanges"1" Control the camera until the user picks a new view.
xplm_ControlCameraForever"2" Control the camera until your plugin is disabled or another plugin forcably takes control.

XPLMCameraPosition_t

This structure contains a full specification of the camera. X, Y, and Z are the camera’s position in OpenGL coordiantes; pitch, roll, and yaw are rotations from a camera facing flat north in degrees. Positive pitch means nose up, positive roll means roll right, and positive yaw means yaw right, all in degrees. Zoom is a zoom factor, with 1.0 meaning normal zoom and 2.0 magnifying by 2x (objects appear larger).

typedef struct {
     float                     x;
     float                     y;
     float                     z;
     float                     pitch;
     float                     heading;
     float                     roll;
     float                     zoom;
} XPLMCameraPosition_t;

XPLMCameraControl_f

typedef int (* XPLMCameraControl_f)(
                         XPLMCameraPosition_t * outCameraPosition,    /* Can be NULL */
                         int                  inIsLosingControl,    
                         void *               inRefcon);    

You use an XPLMCameraControl function to provide continuous control over the camera. You are passed in a structure in which to put the new camera position; modify it and return 1 to reposition the camera. Return 0 to surrender control of the camera; camera control will be handled by X-Plane on this draw loop. The contents of the structure as you are called are undefined.

If X-Plane is taking camera control away from you, this function will be called with inIsLosingControl set to 1 and ioCameraPosition NULL.

XPLMControlCamera

XPLM_API void       XPLMControlCamera(
                         XPLMCameraControlDuration inHowLong,    
                         XPLMCameraControl_f  inControlFunc,    
                         void *               inRefcon);    

This function repositions the camera on the next drawing cycle. You must pass a non-null control function. Specify in inHowLong how long you’d like control (indefinitely or until a new view mode is set by the user).

XPLMDontControlCamera

XPLM_API void       XPLMDontControlCamera(void);

This function stops you from controlling the camera. If you have a camera control function, it will not be called with an inIsLosingControl flag. X-Plane will control the camera on the next cycle.

For maximum compatibility you should not use this routine unless you are in posession of the camera.

XPLMIsCameraBeingControlled

XPLM_API int        XPLMIsCameraBeingControlled(
                         XPLMCameraControlDuration * outCameraControlDuration);    /* Can be NULL */

This routine returns 1 if the camera is being controlled, zero if it is not. If it is and you pass in a pointer to a camera control duration, the current control duration will be returned.

XPLMReadCameraPosition

XPLM_API void       XPLMReadCameraPosition(
                         XPLMCameraPosition_t * outCameraPosition);    

This function reads the current camera position.