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X-Plane 12 Roadmap v12.1.0


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X-Plane 12 Roadmap v12.1.0


Laminar Research have issued a Roadmap on the immediate future of the X-Plane Simulator. And a very interesting Roadmap it is.


First is the price increase of X-Plane. The price of the Simulator will change from US$59.99 to US$79.99 with the introduction of a new numbering system starting with version v12.1.0... yes there is an extra digit in there, but in reality it is also a start of a new era in X-Plane version numbering, with more incremental releases for quicker (smaller) and more frequent changes to the simulator.


I have over the last few years asserted that X-Plane is simply too cheap, and it needed more resources to counter the growing size and complexity of the simulator. Now it looks like Laminar Research has come to the same conclusion. As the requirements of running a modern simulator have grown exponentially, increasing every year... three guys with laptops can't cover the requirements of modern systems and the software required to create a modern Simulator like it did a decade ago, and the development and run-out of X-Plane 12 has showed that the pressure was on and the old style system was now detrimental to the workings of the business. Unfortunately Microsoft's re-emergence back into Simulation with Flight Simulator, left Laminar sitting on it's laurels, the game changed, so you have to adapt and change with it, it is a welcome forward looking change.



But first there is the last version release of the old current version... v12.08. X-Plane 12.0.8 is already in beta testing, and is expected to be released in the next week or two.


Flight Model

Top of the list is focusing on improving the flight model, and improvements to the way that X-Plane simulates engine performance. Jets, turboprops and reciprocating engines will now follow real-world test data more closely, and used data from Pratt & Whitney will bring the numbers closer to reality.


Landing Gear Physics

Yeah! Finally...  I have found over the last few years that landing aircraft in X-Plane is like landing and taking off on ice, it is not at all realistic, to a point it is even putting me off enjoying the simulator to it's fullest extent, plus it's not at all realistic for reviews. In v12.08 there will be changes to the ground Inertia.


    1. Wheel Inertia – which means smoother landings, winning! The wheels on the aircraft’s main gear will now reach the speed of the aircraft sooner after touchdown, resulting in less forward pitch/slam on the nose gear during rollout.
    2. Weld Modeling – this code controls each wheel’s transition between rolling and not-rolling. That sounds trivial but when you consider that it effects every transition from an aircraft being parked vs. not parked and low-speed taxi, it’s important to get it right!
    3. ABS Revisions – tweaks to the logic that the anti-lock breaking system in X-Plane uses to slow down the aircraft after landing without too much skrrt skrrtt skrrrtt.


Hallelujah for all that, and finally.


New Fuel Temperature Model

Did you know that jet airplanes actually use their fuel to cool their oil? That’s why they don’t have any visible oil coolers like your ol’ Cessna 172! The oil heats the fuel and the fuel dissipates its heat through the skin of the wing! So, in effect, jet airplanes use their wings as their radiators. This is now fully simulated in X-Plane 12. Check out the details in the fuel temperature in data output screen to see the effects in your favorite jet aircraft.


This has been debated in the forums? Fuel Oil Heat Exchangers (FOHE), are usually used where the oil is cooled while the fuel is heated? More details on this aspect is probably needed.


Projector Warping/Blending

The use of multiple projectors to display the world around you is the gold standard of display in flight simulation. There’s a catch though – when you point multiple projectors at a curved screen, the image from each projector looks wonky and distorted. We solve this by rearranging the pixels that X-Plane sends to the projector itself – yielding a visually correct image. Behind the scenes, this is powered by all sorts of trigonometry and calculations but the end user simply needs to align a grid pattern to their display and they’re good to go! This feature will be available with our X-Plane Professional licenses.


Networking and Ex-Visual Sync

…have both received a bunch of bug fixes to improve the experience when using X-Plane in setups that include multiple computers driving multiple monitors.


But also a good update and welcome news for those trying to blend together three or more displays in home-build systems, of which there has been a lot of noise or complaining since the introduction of X-Plane 12.


Graphics quality-of-life Bug Fixes

12.0.8 is firmly focused on the physics side of X-Plane, but the graphics team has also included two quick fixes to address pressing concerns:

- The most common is the “totally out of VRAM” crashes have been resolved

- Users should no longer experience a long pause when popping out windows



A new version numbering system will probably bring in a reset of X-Plane 12...  and the focus is all on graphics. My guess the release will be around the late November and early December, to have the Simulator better packaged for Christmas 23


Real Weather Improvement

No more square “Minecraft” cloud formations when Real Weather is enabled. A definite yes to that. Weather has improved enormously since the release of v12.06/7, but a lot of weird cloud formations are still visible, certainly at high altitudes.


Water opacity and Cloud Shadows on Water

I love the X-Plane water effects, but to be honest it's not at all totally realistic in it all being so very clear, great for tropical reflections, but not for the North Sea. So here will be a fix for that, plus real cloud shadows on the water to make the water even more visually appealing.


Better Bloom Lighting Effects

One area that needed more attention is "Bloom" lighting effects. Bloom is based on a real-world phenomenon that is causing bright lights to bleed over into darker areas when seen through a lens, causing fringes (or feathers) of light extending from the borders of bright areas in an image. Yes very nice and it make lighting more realistic.


RCAS (Robust Contrast Adaptative Sharpening)

Contrast Adaptive Sharpening (CAS) will help increase visual quality by enabling sharpening with optional upscaling to restore detail lost after TAA is applied, the result is softer, less aliased ground shadows.


MSAA Improvements

There has been a lot of noise around Multisample Anti-Aliasing (MSAA). In fact it is the one most complained about area of X-Plane 12. The dreaded "Jaggies", and yes they are really bad, worse are when combined with reflective water effects, and needs serious attention. Work arounds just don't work, many have turned MSAA off completely to try to get a better rendering. It works, but only from certain angles, then you get very bad large jaggies all over the objects. So fixes include..


- MSAA resolution so that is photometrically correct

- MSAA of alpha-cut textures

- Improved CPU Performance


And a new “modern collector” – the code that the sim uses to find all the scenery necessary to draw. We know that many users are now only CPU-bound in X-Plane and this is step one to improve their experience in the sim.


Looking further down the road (no pun intended) 2024


G1000 Avonics

In a few areas here X-Plane has been a bit lax and is need of some updates. One area is the default G1000 Avionics system, which is feeling it's age lately. All avionics in X-Plane will always be quite generic, that is a given considering the wide variety of aircraft they have to cover. But there are many areas that could be improved, and they are.

- New G1000 pages

- G1000 Synthetic Vision


Are what is required to bring the universal G1000 up to date, as it needs more depth and features.


Airliner-style weather radar

With better weather and forecasts in X-Plane 12, then you also need better (or more realistic) weather displays in the cockpit, this is coming, and not before time.


Plugin-created glass avionics

To allow more 3rd party avionics into the Simulator, so a plug and fly system would make your instrument panel more realistic and better avionics accessible.



Graphics are still going to get a lot of attention ongoing down the road

- Depth of Field effects (for pretty pictures)

- CACAO (Combined Adaptive Compute Ambient Occlusion) fixes (small SSAO update)

- New Particle Effects, like sparks from engines/fuselages touching the ground at speed

- (better) Ground spray from wheels/engines

- Helicopter Brown-Outs/White-Outs (if helicopter flying wasn't hard enough), but this is a returning feature, not used for a few years.

- Virtualized VRAM – using the virtual memory capabilities of modern graphics cards, we can pack VRAM more tightly, waste less VRAM and not have to move things around like a number puzzle. This should result in sharper textures and less likelihood of out-of-VRAM crashes.


Lighting Model

Lighting has slowly being getting better, but it still has a long way to go. I made my thoughts quite clear on the problems of the lighting in X-Plane 12 in my Sept 2023 Behind the Screen Edition. Lighting changes or adjustments coming next year will include...

- Light Level Tuning

- Sky Exposure Recalibration

- Clouds Affect Haze and Sky

- Local Rain and Fog Affects Visibility

- Foggy Lights

- Fix Dark Cockpits



Networking is one of the huge growth areas of X-Plane, so you will see far more attention and features in this specialised area as the Simulator proceeds though the X-Plane 12 version. Focus on intergration and online gaming will see you immersed in a more 3d world.

- Multiplayer Bug Fixes

- Improved synchronization between external visuals monitors – ground trucks, etc.



VR... a lot of users want VR or Virtual Reality to have more attention from Laminar Research. My guess is there will be attention on VR during this Roadmap.


The last published Roadmap from Laminar came out in May 2023. It covered versions 12.05, 12.06, and 12.07, and that development road has now been completed. This new Roadmap with the new version numbering change will take you to about Easter 2024, if successful it will deliver significant and finally the required fine-tuning aspect the X-Plane 12 version the Simulator requires. For once it covers a lot of areas I have fussed over and covers complaints in the forums, if Laminar delivers, then it will be a very good advancement of the Simulator. But it is also a big list to cover, far bigger than the earlier May 2023 Roadmap. Laminar did do it...  but only just.


X-Plane 12 Minimum Requirements

  • CPU: Intel Core i3, i5, i7, or i9 CPU with 4 or more cores, or AMD Ryzen 3, 5, 7 or 9. (Those with other CPUs should try the demo before purchasing.)
  • Memory: 8 GB RAM
  • Video Card: a Vulkan 1.3-capable video card from NVIDIA or AMD with at least 2 GB VRAM
  • If your system is borderline, we encourage you to try the demo first. The full version of the simulator will perform exactly the same as the demo—neither better nor worse.

X-Plane 12 Recommended Requirements

  • CPU: Intel Core i5 8600k or Ryzen 5 3500 or better, or Apple Silicon
  • Memory: 16-24 GB RAM or more
  • Video Card: a DirectX 12-capable video card from NVIDIA or AMD with at least 4 GB VRAM (GeForce GTX 1070 or better, or similar from AMD)

Supported Video Cards:

  •     NVIDIA: NVIDIA GeForce 900 or newer, driver version 510 or newer
  •     AMD: AMD Radeon RX 500 or newer, driver version Adrenaline 22.2.1or newer

Supported Operating Systems:

  •     OS X: OS X 10.15 or newer (e.g. Catalina, Big Sur, or Monterey)
  •     Windows: Windows 10 or 11, 64-bit
  •     Linux: Varies
  •         If you want to run on Linux, you will need to try X-Plane on your distribution to see if it is compatible. We have developers using Ubuntu 20.04 LTS and newer successfully, however we don’t provide support for specific distributions.
  •         We require the proprietary driver from NVIDIA to run X-Plane. We require the Mesa drivers, version 22.0 or newer, for AMD to run X-Plane.


Roadmap announcement is here: Coming in X-Plane 12.0.8 and beyond – Roadmap Update


Download the free demo of X-Plane 12 and experience all of these improvements for yourself.



X-Plane 12 is purchased directly from Laminar Research for currently US$59.95 and the download file size is 82 GB


X-Plane 12

Price is US$59.95, soon to be US$79.99



X-Plane 12 Roadmap overview by Stephen Dutton

4th October 2023

Copyright©2023: X-Plane Reviews



(Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions) All Rights Reserved


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Hi Stephen, thank you for the extensive description of planned improvements. However, at the end you mention the requirements for the 12.1.0 Windows version without touching the MAC requirements. I think that the Mac OS users should not be neglected in this kind of articles. (I once read that X-Plane is being developed on Apple computers) Best regards, Henk

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Yes I agree to a point, there was no mention of any changes in the roadmap for Apple computers, or for Linux for that matter. The changes from Rosetta to the native plugin support for Mac M1/M2 arm64 architecture, was mentioned in the "State of the Union" article were it was appropriate, and any aircraft changes to the native architecture are also reported. To be honest apple software has been very much in flux with their consistent proccessor upgrades as they transition from Intel to their own branded system. Were as Windows has been settled for a few years now. X-Plane is a three platform Simulator, Windows, Apple and Linux, always developed together in stu, unless the platform changes, which as noted has been by Apple. But the last few years the focus has been totally on Vulcan/Metal API changes, that era is now thankfully is coming to a close.

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