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Developer Blog : X-Plane will start to move "beta" forward soon.


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Ben Supnik has posted on X-Plane's Developers blog that "he is not dead but on Vacation"...  Vacations are interesting things to do as they take your mind away from the day to day living and focus on you that you finally have a bit of space in your life...  Interestingly for me they allow you to focus on the "bigger" picture on the fact that your are on the outside looking in, and not in the middle of the usual daily grind.

 

Surprisingly I get more work done on holiday that I do everyday.  as your mind is freer to look at things in this different outside perspective, I usually turn into a idea machine and set out new plans, goals and projects. More importantly it allows you to notice the bad as well as the good and be able change the things you normally would not usually do.  Vacations can also severely ruin your bank balance and bring home the point of why you were doing certain things in the first place anyway (laughs).

 

Ben I feel in this post has reached the same conclusions on X-Plane development, beta cycles are going be longer in six months and more than the usual three months in the past. His point is keeping the simulator more stable with a longer cycle, but like he notes X-Plane10 is a now very different animal than XP8 or even XP9. X-Plane is getting highly complex and you get things going in here affecting things somewhere out there.

 

He does seem happy with the fact that the simulator has reached the point that the whiteboard of bug quashing is finally getting some blank space areas. So Laminar can now focus more on what Ben notes as "Structured Development" and move X-Plane10 forward in features than just spending months fixing the simulator and getting it to a mature stable phase. 

 

In reality you could look at it this way, The first two years was used in getting X-Plane10 to this mature stable point and the the next two years are used in building up on the foundations. The point must be made that X-Plane10 in its main engine is a very different beast than any other version before it, the basic fundamentals were changed and the implantation of the 64Bit memory expansion added to a bigger revolution than we realize. That phase hopefully is now behind us.

 

Looking forward what can we expect. Ben notes : "

  • Some kind of short-beta release to roll out new terrain textures, some of the userr-submitted lego-brick airports, and possibly a few small bug fixes.
  • Then a long-beta release, where we could put a major feature or two, and also ship code that needs more serious testing (e.g. the OpenGL modernization)."

The first beta is also required to deliver a few features for the addon developers (FlightFactor Boeing 757?) that are in a holding pattern waiting for the changes to be made, so a small run would have been required there anyway.

 

In the second beta there will be changes (hopefully for the ATC?) and Ben will always surprise us with something totally unique and from far left field. The OpenGL is very interesting as well, It is noted not to be for current computers but to be used with the newer GPU features for X-Plane in the future (No it won't help with your framerate).

 

The general feeling is that we are going to be moving forward again with the "betas", but with a more longer and slow but safe approach than in the past. If X-Plane10 is running well then don't mess with the apple cart and send everything into a runaway mess by tipping it all up. This time the simulator will just move more forward slowly but also carefully... 

 

X-Plane Developer Blog : X-Plane Developer

 

Full post text is here: Author - Ben Supnik

 

"Rumors of my death…are greatly exaggerated.  I was out of the office last week on vacation (for the first time in 2.5 years) and didn’t bother to post first.  Austin and Chris were also out on vacation for at least a week each.

We are not dead, we are not out of business, and we are definitely not stopping development of X-Plane 10!  Austin has been working on X-Plane since approximately 1637 (well, the 90s at least) and he is not going to stop now.

Stuff We’re Working On

I am still working with Alpilotx and others on DSF recuts.  This work is moving forward, but my side at least is going slowly because I am also working on other features that are pre-release and have not been announced.

I also had some time to do some OpenGL modernization over the last two weeks before vacation.  This code does not directly improve X-Plane, but it sets us up to improve performance: once we have more modern code we can get access to newer GPU features.

Upcoming Releases

At this point I am looking at two releases:

  • Some kind of short-beta release to roll out new terrain textures, some of the userr-submitted lego-brick airports, and possibly a few small bug fixes.
  • Then a long-beta release, where we could put a major feature or two, and also ship code that needs more serious testing (e.g. the OpenGL modernization).

Over the last few years that I have been working on X-Plane, the time between major patches has been steadily increasing.  Back in X-Plane 7 or 8, we might have a major patch every three months; with X-Plane 10 that interval is more like six months.  I think this longer time between major betas is good for X-Plane 10:

  • It lets us run longer 8-week betas without being in beta perpetually.  This gives third party developers more time test.
  • Fewer larger patches means less work for third parties, since a major patch means retesting add-ons.
  • X-Plane 10 is a much bigger product than X-Plane 6 – it needs a longer development cycle.

Still On Fire?

The other factor making it seem quiet around here (besides slower major betas and the occasional time off is that we are finally moving out of fire-fighting bug-fix mode into doing structured development.  When we were fixing bugs in X-Plane 10.0 as fast as possible, a bug fix was followed by a beta and announcements as quickly as possible.

Now that we have a stable 64-bit build out, we’re writing code that looks to build the future of X-Plane, rather than just fixing its past.  So the quiet you hear now should hopefully turn into good features in the future."

 

17th August 2013

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