Stephen Posted December 1, 2022 Report Share Posted December 1, 2022 Behind the Screen : November 2022 When Laminar Research declared that X-Plane 12 will go final and will be out of beta by Christmas 2022, I almost choked on my coffee. "No way". There just seems still too much work to be done, too many areas and details to be crossed off the whiteboard list. And then to go and present the new Simulator version to the finicky hoards and masses in a few weeks. It all felt like a bit of a stretch to me all round. Testing Beta 14 was however a huge step forward towards the goal of a release, but there are still some big issues to be addressed, mostly the square clouds and ridiculous winds that never seem to change day to day, I'm not going to mention VR. Laminar say a fix to both is coming very soon, VR probably not until 2023. That fix will be an important one in making the final release actually believable. Stutters? I didn't get that one, what are your settings, being too greedy as usual... Laminar Research are quite confident they can achieve the Christmas target, my personal feelings say more to the middle-late Q1 before the Simulator is a more totally refined and stable Simulator. So what to expect in the New Year? Well quite a lot actually. Laminar have released a list of areas they will be working on, including; 3d Rain shafts which is very, very nice, 3d volumetric low level fog of which I really expected to be in the release version, but it is coming. God rays are planned. This is an area in being the one thing I was a bit down about in losing, by moving my simulator environmental needs from xEnviro in X-Plane 11 to the default weather in X-Plane 12, as I badly miss those rays (It makes images pretty!) and lens flares. And that they are now coming cheers me up no end (A Christmas Present!). Laminar has also announced that the weather engine will also be open to 3rd parties but there will be limit on what they can and cannot access, which is another interesting aspect, fine, even great as long as we don't get loads and loads of similar shader apps again. Notable is that there is better wind and turbulence improvements coming. This one is a no brainer, it is stupid to have aircraft reacting badly to abnormal weather conditions, and it is the one area that is severely currently restricting my flying. I mean winds and turbulence of 97 knts? you would break up and fall out of the sky if you encountered that in real life, I flew once at 12,000ft in 63 knt winds, I won't say my swear words at the controls, as my GA (and me) was being thrown all around the sky. Yes I'm not saying 63 kt turbulence at 12,000ft has not been encountered in the real world, but not every day since September? I went to manual settings to land. Laminar admitted that getting data for the NOAA GLIB files from the Laminar Research central server has not been going to plan, but again are working on a fix, it works but not as efficiently or as well as promised (actually I don't see it changing much day to day), but a fix is as promised in really (hopefully) coming soon. Overall in this Beta I have been flying on the "Manually" set weather, I just can't rely on the "Real World", settings, a shame as I want to try out the real world Winter Wonderland that I expect to be brilliant (I've seen shades of what can be presented by messing around with the settings), but you shouldn't have to do that manually. Before X-Plane 12 came out. Ben Supnic (Laminar) noted as a comment that they would look into better satellite imagery even against Austin's wishes, even in streaming it à la MSFS. But Supnic noted at the time it was not a top priority. Again Laminar has recently again noted they are actively looking at satellite imagery so it looks like it is back on the table or whiteboard. Now having used X-Plane 12 for a few months I have a few comments on that. Over most countries of flying in general X-Plane is very good in replicating the real world (Night lighting aside). However when in the departure, landing or VFR phases it is certainly not as detailed to be called authentic, as texture tiles in areas are just not good enough to reproduce a complex planet. Streaming is not good either, no matter how powerful your internet connection is you are always going to get lag, worse for me as I can change location quite often while doing reviews. So waiting ages between loads for scenery to load would be a backward step. However I do feel that finding quality satellite imagery as a base, but still keeping X-Plane a closed system is still a great step forwards in fixing the realism ground texture problem. The trick is still making it look very good, while still keeping efficiency in the Simulator. Can we have the best of both worlds, well I think so, but don't expect anything soon, but in a year or even maybe two. Many say X-Plane 13, but I very much doubt X-Plane as a Simulator could last that long in say waiting 4-5 years in this competitive (MSFS) commercial world to fix the problem. Austin Meyer has also been making a lot of noise about Networking X-Plane, and is even actively looking for staff to create the dream. Really when using On-Line ATC you are now already networked, but I suppose he wants to connect us all, and together... which creates a bit of a problem? "Have you seen other users fly". By personality I'm a very procedural pilot, all very by the book. I do actually like the idea of other pilots doing their work around you, but then comes the cowboys, the F4 jockeys who just feel that the airspace is their airspace and not yours, or the wandering GA pilot, who is not sure which runway to pick to land... It's all a personality thing and I'm not saying who is right or wrong in the way they want to fly.... but I don't really want to do it all together ATC aside. What I have learnt is that many users are Gamers in flying and not Simulation users, obviously our styles are going to clash, probably in mid-air. Another item on the table is that Laminar are actively investigating is OpenXR (Not to be confused with OpenGL) by The Khronos Group, a member-driven consortium of over 150 industry-leading companies. OpenXR is a newer VR standard for Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR). And already OpenXR API is standard on Windows Mixed Reality (WMR) and HoloLens 2 headsets. Most will be adopting it as native support, and even previous APIs like OculusSDK and SteamVR are also moving to it as an open standard. MSFS is already native to OpenXR, so expect X-Plane 12 to be native or it to be in development once X-Plane 12 is in it's basic form completed. Bottom line it will make a lot of VR users very happy, more importantly it will create a standard across the board. If you want a job then Laminar Research are hiring, but oddly only a few of the new positions are actually related to the Simulator development, mostly the jobs are in marketing, customer support and website support... get your CVs out now, Laminar Research is going Global. This conversation has been visited quite regularly in BtheS. Austin has made noises he wants to bring in more gamers (obviously for the money) into the X-Plane Simulator. I have noted quite often in the time required to set up an airliner for a flight, even a short bounce of say under an hour. Earlier you set up and could fly under ten minutes, but now the quickest you could set up a flight from cold is around twenty minutes, as its a lot of work if you do all the correct procedures. Its even over 30 min if you want to set up the MD-11 and B742 for a flight. I don't mind it, as it is totally realistic simulation to it's core, and you now have a lot of great tools now to help with the set up. At one point, programming in a route of say 25 waypoints across the globe was tedious, but extremely satisfying in that you were mirroring one of them (professional Pilots). That is what Simulation is all about, I seriously love it, why I do it. Put a full cold up sequence under a Gamers eye and they would freeze over... they want instant gratification, oddly to get the ultimate gratification out of Simulation is doing the full experience from cold to shutdown, but as noted it takes time, too much time sometimes. Is there a middle ground? There is actually. The excellent save system on ToliSS Aircraft has to be the best overall tool in our toolbox. As the system is so complete when resetting up an aircraft, on the ground or in flight, it really does open up your world to instant gratification when you don't have a lot of time to do the complete main course. Many times I have wanted to fly, but was restricted by time or work. Pull up a ToLiSS and I can be ready and waiting to depart in a minute... ditto wanting to practise a landing, or even a takeoff, and with all the correct settings is just at a touch of a menu selection. Yes the X-Plane Simulator comes with a save system, but to be honest it is very if extremely poor in resetting up your flight at the point you saved it. You will never ever get it back the way you left the aircraft state, but you can do that with the excellent ToLiSS system... I don't don't know if this could be done, but could we swap ToLiSS saves for instant setups between us. That would allow non-experienced users (hint Gamers) to access the detailed setups of the Pro-Users, obviously for instant gratification. I don't mean for users (Gamers) not to be being able to just forever glide along on the backs of the Pro's, but to see and learn on how they do it, it is a consistent learning curve to get it all right. But many a time my reverse engineering of (mostly FMC's) has opened the "Ah ha" door to learning on how it all works. They are bloody complicated (Flight Management), they need a lot of study to get right. But it is how you get from there (dumb) to being here (guru). I don't know that if the basic X-Plane save and situation tool can be improved. The roadblock is the aircraft plugin architecture, and a few developers do actually include good save systems, but they never make it as a priority feature as ToLiSS does. But the ToLiSS system proves without doubt how extremely versatile it makes your Simulation experience when it works so perfectly, developers need to take note, this for me would make and break a sale, as it is the number one feature I would want in an (every) aircraft, because it translates to you flying that aircraft more, because you can. There will be as usual no Behind the Screen December 2022 issue, but our full yearly round up of the year review is to be published on 16th December 2022, so watch out for that. Stephen Dutton 1st December 2022 Copyright©2022 X-Plane Reviews Nighthawkvnam 1 Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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