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News! - Laminar Research : X-Plane12 Preview

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News! - Laminar Research : X-Plane12 Preview


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Just yesterday I did a full evaluation of the Simulation situation current to date in this year 2021, in our monthly "Behind The Screen" (May) edition. And lo and behold the next day out comes a preview video titled "X-Plane Technology Preview One"...  did Laminar read our summation? I doubt it, but it does note the date, in that this weekend the original FlightSimExpo 21 was to have been held in San Diego (4th-6th June) that has now been rescheduled for September 24-26, 2021. Was this weekend originally supposed to have been an announcement on the release of X-Plane12 (or whatever it may be called).


The video highlights the new existing lighting with a completely new photometric lighting mode. This is a new engine to create atmosphere and cloud light scattering and color depend on atmosphere quality, weather conditions and the time of day. I had to live with the bland current X-Plane11 lighting effects for many months until I could then reuse the xEnviro plugin in Vulkan, and it is very boring and flat. And that is the point, you can have these effects now if you use the expensive xEnivro addon, so the new effects are actually to me old news, sorry to burst your bubble Laminar.


But  that is not to say the new lighting mode is not welcome. In having used xEnviro, you simply cannot live without the feel and dynamic density of PBR lighting effects, the bonus is that with them coming to the default simulator, it does get around the the major xEnviro issue of recreating the weather conditions manually, which is impossible to do in xEnviro. The main advantage though is the quality sheen you will get in the simulator, the lighting conditions in xEnviro is simply overwhelming in look and feel.


Users are already worried the framerate hit, they may get with the new effect engine, but the reality is, you will get that hit no matter where you go, 3rd party addons or in the default simulator, but the bonus is that the Laminar effects will be far more finely tuned to fit, so I expect the actual framerate hit to be quite low, and it depends also on if Laminar use the more dense 3rd clouds or more modern cloud effect engine. So no matter how you twist the situation, X-Plane12 will require a computer update (certainly if you are using a pre teen computer) in the context that you can't simply expect that old machine to cover the modern requirements.




Basically the video is a good start, and more videos are noted as coming (soon?), but details like will X-Plane12 use Spherical buffers, or Seasons or even just realistic active weather are still to be announced. Volumetric cloud systems that uses a three-dimensional volume texture that is ray-marched to represent cloud layers in real-time is already in X-Plane, but are currently highly ineffective and limited in their effects, such as Cloud Occlusion and Shadowing, which is hopeless in X-Plane, but quite good in xEnviro.


So the video shows the better quality you can get with photometric lighting, and it will be obviously interesting to see and use in the simulator.


We all wait with bated breath... its a start!



News by Stephen Dutton

2nd June 2021

Copyright©2021: 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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