Jump to content

Behind the Screen : August 2019


Recommended Posts

Behind the screen- August 2019.jpg


Behind the Screen : August 2019


In reference to the first six months of 2019, August slowed down a little for us to all catch our breath. As the northern summer got hotter, the releases got slower, but that does not mean X-Plane per se is slowing down as we have a huge amount of releases now well into their development and expect a very big September and October for a lot of significant releases, with Carenado's Fokker 50 a great way to kick you up and into the next gear.


FlightFactor are about to deliver their Flat Panel Display System avionics package for the FF Boeing 757, with the Boeing 767 version obviously coming soon after and making these the most comprehensive Boeing's yet for X-Plane. But I am going to be honest with these aircraft, sensational as they really are they never return the full satisfaction level I really want from them  or what they can really deliver. The biggest boundary in connecting deeper with them is the mostly in the set up areas, and in the loading of the passenger, cargo and weights. Spending a lot of time in setting them up correctly, you mostly find that when you land at your arrival airport is that somewhere from the point of loading on your passengers and cargo to the point of unloading them, you have lost most of them enroute? Consistency are big issues with these aircraft, and it is all in the interface of setting up the aircraft, it is odd, even damn right frustrating to use, worse it keeps on reverting back to the default settings and the weights and preferences conflicting with the settings in the FMC setup and the A320 Ultimate can be the worst offender. In most cases I just give up, which is not the way I really want to do my simulation, because at the loading and at the end of the flight I want to have realistic numbers to reflect upon, okay even gloat that I got a pure realistic simulation out of my flying.


So the point is are we in need of a 3rd party plugin driven loading master, a bit like SimBrief for loading aircraft, where as we get first a standard loading pattern that covers all aircraft and all developers, and don't get me wrong a lot of developers have done brilliant Weight & Balance systems, but do we need a standard and to cover a lot of the aircraft that don't have a highly detailed W&B sheet (like most of Laminar's default aircraft), personally I don't need another plugin to maintain like a hole in the head, but this one I would welcome.


I had another so called moment mid-August in that I felt the simulator wasn't as healthy as it should be, framerates were dragging and down into the lower twenties, X-Plane ran, but again it didn't feel right, I have also had a lot of moments were I was getting odd wind forces throwing the aircraft around on strange vortices on a perfectly clear calm day, ultimately what it all felt like was that older preferences are getting mixed up with current ones. I have had my suspicions all year on this aspect and it seems to be a creeping in code mismatch. The problem I feel is in the complexity in many different parts or mostly plugins that are using or target the same areas. A weather plugin for say the weather radar is creating it's own data preferences that a weather environment plugin is doing the same, and both are loading in the slightly different data information (METAR) for X-Plane to absorb and remember the weather data can be updated as early as every ten minutes or so.

So the simulator is taking the data from both and creating a hybrid situation, worse is that the reread preferences are being rewritten in this hybrid code so you get this sort of flu virus that is changing to it's own RNA (for the unwashed, Flu viruses will replicate badly because of each time they replicate the code is not perfect, so they can change shape because of the damaged replicated elements and that is what makes them so lethal) just waiting for you to reopen the simulator to a strange flying environment. It is also a gradual thing, not simply something that happens overnight but over months as the code get more and more confused.


Obviously the fix is to dump those preferences and start with a clean sheet, and that always works, but again there are now a lot of preferences and even now the more dangerous hidden ones you have to cover to reset, each developer to their own is fine, but when you start to add them in all in there together it starts to get seriously complex, this "Data Bleed" as I call it maybe an area to be aware of in the future.


I am already heavily juggling plugins that will work together and the ones that don't and my plugin folder is quite bare compared to many of yours out there, but a few aircraft in ToLiSS A319, IXEG B737 Classic and the FF A320 Ultimate will only work/fly cleanly with only certain plugins installed, so you have to swap them around beforehand to fit that required simulation, it is important that you have to make a list and follow the install perfectly to make them available. Messy, well yes but you really don't have any other choice, the worry is that as aircraft get more and more seriously complex, then the problems of complexity and conflict can get far more worse and not better, are you going to soon just get to want to get back to the older X-Plane9 simplicity, in other words...   just load it up and fly.


And complex it really is getting. The basic X-Plane simulator is fast approaching its 100,000 items to load, up from a 23,000 load items when I started, but that still is the basic system before anything else is added in there, to run X-Plane it is becoming like to keeping twenty spinning plates moving in the air at one time, if you are lucky they all will spin together, but have a bad day, and it can get seriously complicated just to find that odd wobbling plate and get it spinning again, so again like a mantra on these pages, you need to keep it simple to get the best out of the simulator.


Microsoft put out their roadmap for the coming new Microsoft FlightSimulator 2020, and you can become an "Insider", and officially the development team expect a beta testing version out soon with "Build Programs" and a lot of "Program Updates" and it is all very professional.


So do this and tick-off that...  anyone who follows big developments, like our own Laminar development threads will tell you, that hitting project dates and ticking off targets will just be asking for trouble, at least Laminar are extremely open in setting targets, and mostly hitting them, but as they warn repeatably they can also miss targets just as easily as well and beta's can run sometimes a third of the year in bug fixes and changes. Simulators as noted above are extremely complicated bits of code to try to get it all to work seemlessly together. In a box or regional situation that is fine, but once you start adding in the addons and third party plugins then the real problems start. Try weather or environmental effects, has any one really pulled that one off yet in X-Plane, not really, ATC, no again, traffic, well we have a few and WorldTraffic3 is pretty good but complex, but Microsoft are promising all this and far more straight out of the box, I hope they achieve it, that would be golden for simulation, but my gut and head currently says otherwise, as one day Uber promises to make money, and so does Tesla...


In the same theme Laminar hit a landmark just only this week. For the first time a 3rd party aircraft flew in the Vulkan API. The significance for the simulator is really like the first flight of a new aircraft design. The aircraft was the ToLiSS Airbus A319, which is a very complex coded aircraft and Laminar's response was "a buttery smooth landing with no stutters", now that is advancing the simulator and a real breakthrough for the rest of us.

MilViz was again in the news in August and if you have been following the dramas of the developer and his absurd crowdfunding scheme that failed, the announcement was this time that he has now given up X-Plane as a simulator altogether. Yes we are not going to get anymore aircraft from MilViz.

I have detailed and spent already far too much time on the MilViz saga in past Behind The Screen editions, but the full saga is one to be noted on how not to enter a credible market (X-Plane is actually a bad market according to MilViz) but the point is I gave him the benefit of the doubt and checked out his Cessna T310R. Many users love it, but I was underwhelmed, it felt old and in this light twin category you are up against the very best with Carenado, vFlyteAir and Just Flight and even Aerobask, and they are all exceptional developers, more odd is that MilViz actually collaborated with vFlyteAir, so how could it all go so wrong, personally again the old issue is true, you can't mask over old designs against the current X-Plane ultra quality aircraft, maybe it would have been accepted far better back in the X-Plane10 era, but X-Plane11 has now certainly lifted the game to a far higher standard and dynamics. So I think overall it was that like a lot of FlightSim developers, in that they just waited far too long to get into the X-Plane market and by the time they did...  we had then significantly moved on.


A site note, In the middle two weeks of September and then again in the middle of October the site will be slow with updates and I will be not posting as frequently as I have to move homes, so my attention will be required elsewhere, certainly if something significantly comes out I will make a big effort to cover it, but if I have no broadband or they are extremely slow in reconnecting (which they can be), I won't be able to post, my apologies but you simply can't avoid life.


See you all again next month


Stephen Dutton

1st September 2019

Copyright©2019: X-Plane Reviews


Logo Header X-PlaneReviews 200px.jpg


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...