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Behind the Screen : October 2016

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Behind the Screen : October 2016


The overriding event of October has to be the announcement of X-Plane11 at RAF Cosford in the United Kingdom on the 8th of October. These major version changes only come around every four years or so, but they are of course very significant to the future of the simulator.


X-Plane10 was without doubt a very successful version of X-Plane. It visually changed the look of X-Plane and there was the time that we could have expected it to maybe run even longer than most versions because there was a lot of ground to cover and a lot of features to refine, but that didn’t happen of course and X-Plane11 is now coming. The other reason is simply economics as any new version is payday for Laminar Research, because every update or changes during a version run is free. So How would you like to be paid only four years or so?  


I was there on the threshold between X-Plane9 and X-Plane10, and still very green. Problem was my machine struggled with the new simulator because it needed a nuclear powerplant running by the side of the computer to push through all those numbers. I upgraded as did everyone else over time and that is the expensive side of this hobby, but even over the run of X-Plane10 I was still marginal on framerate and finally only this year and a move to windows and I finally have X-Plane10 running at full throttle. For those of you who are still sitting on the fence it is a beautiful thing, but thankfully X-Plane11 won’t require you this time to mortgage the house or find a part time job to run it efficiently.


I went through the details in my review, but it is as usual the understated areas that you will come to love the most. Yes that fancy new interface looks excellent, but the real advancement is the way you will actually use it and not what it looks like. I doubt that through the many conferences and meetings that Laminar Research went through and with the sheer amount of hours in planning and code writing in that they really thought this one through, right through because it is very clever and it it is a lot harder to play all these different areas and match them all up to work seamlessly. And it was that, this new way you move from one area to the next and how you will set up and operate X-Plane on a new and wholey totally different level that is the biggest step forward in your simulator lives.


The main reason of this X-Plane11 feature is actually not us the X-Plane users, but it is to be still to be aimed at the usual crowd, those ExFlight Simulator users that are still waiting for their Jesus moment that the simulator will rise again phoenix like to fly the routes again with a modern simulator. I am not going to get into the augment of which simulator is the best, but X-Plane is very much alive and moving forward and that is certainly a big benefit in the name of a dynamic simulator.


But the biggest gripe from the FS crowd was that old fashioned drop down menu system, they sorta suffered the rest of X-Plane because it was so good, but funnily enough an old windows style interface sent them all into such a bother. Bother no more with X-Plane11, it will be good…  Amen.

But the reveals on October 6th that really excited me was the ones as usual you didn’t expect. Really good aircraft, top notch machines with an FMS system that is the best in the business. A brilliant Boeing 737NG, MD-82, Citation Jet and the original X-Plane10 show pony has also had a makeover in the Boeing 747-400. A nice S-72 is not going to go to waste either, and just this collection is worth double the entrance fee that X-Plane11 will cost you, so you could say that Laminar Research are throwing their wizz bang flashy new interface in for free.


And like I said in the review roundup. It is not the banner features or the ones that come with the new box that will have the biggest impact. It is also the features that come along during the X-Plane11 run that will change the way we use the simulator more that what we will download later this year. For X-Plane10 it was the move to 64bit and the brilliant Garmin GNS430/530 that made the bigger impacts than any of the announced release features and in X-Plane11 there will be some great and good surprises coming in there as well, but not in the first year or so.  


So it is now time to do something nice for your partners and families, they won’t be seeing much of you over the Christmas holidays, and I wonder why…


As October moved on then X-Plane went into an early hibination period, it went quiet and empty. In most cases you are running at an hundred miles an hour and always behind the ball, but when you are patching up and fixing scenery to pass the time you know it is far too quiet. 


I think part of the reason was actually X-Plane11, in that developers didn't want to spend time doing to many changes before the new era, and then to do them all again after the release. So you will certainly get a real rush of upgraded aircraft early into 2017, as they get to grips with the changes.


but that is not say there won,t be some great new releases before Christmas to put under the tree, because there is and sorry I can,t yet say what they are, but to note there is some surprises in there. And there is few good upgrades coming as well like JARDesigns excellent A320neo that is actually now going to be a real NEO and it looks amazing. And SSG has done a great update to their E-175 Evolution to bring that aircraft up to spec and make it one of the best regional aircraft in X-Plane.


So why a bit of a future tense when noting all of these releases and events. Well for three weeks I won't be near a computer, in fact I will be a very long way from any of my X-Plane aircraft and the simulator as I will be in the UK. It was a last minute decision to go, in fact I had three hours to do the numbers and book a load of real world flights. But the chance to be with family and very old friends for my 60th birthday (yes they are holding a surprise party) and other personal reasons was a moment of "aw what the hell, let's just do it" which is about as far as my boring routine based life can get... 


I will be back right on the cusp of the release of X-Plane11 on Nov 24th, and there is a few excellent exciting reviews set up for releases while I am away, so have fun, do a lot of flying and I'll let the professional's do the piloting for a while, while I'll sit in the back and put my feet up...  Because there is no doubt that this Christmas it will be me again doing a lot of flying myself, and I just can't wait for that....   See you all soon.


Stephen Dutton

2nd November 2016

Copyright:X-PlaneReviews 2016


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