Jump to content

Laminar Research : 11.30 Release Analysis


Recommended Posts

11.30 b_Header.jpg


Laminar Research : X-Plane 11.30 Analysis


On Friday 25th October 2018 (US time) Laminar Research released the next version of X-Plane11. This is version 11.30, and as per all new releases this originally was the beta test version of the simulator. You could get the test beta version via the "beta" checkbox on the X-Plane Installer app. (Steam users were excluded). The full release of X-Plane 11.30 is now (final) and is available for download (Steam users update is to follow) and you can update to 11.30 by doing an "Update X-Plane" on the Installer app.


Officially on release it is version 11.30b1 or by my moniker 11.30 2.0. As this is a very significant update, and will certainly be a companion the coming Vulkan update now noted for 2019 if targeted for Q2 or mid-year which will be a noted another significant milestone for the simulator. That is a yes in performance, but the ground work for that Vulkan version is actually built into this 11.30 update and so this is in reality the really important one.

As with most groundwork code you will very rarely see it, but as I noted earlier this year it is in that the whole internal structure of the simulator that is currently undergoing a total revolutionary change as it is significantly being rebuilt from the ground up or inside out, so it is just not about Vulkan/Metal we are talking about here but the whole complete internal X-Plane code structure itself that is undergoing an extensive transformation to another new era.... "Yes Jim, it is X-Plane, but not as we know it".


And so in this 11.30 beta you are starting to feel it's presence, as the changes do however pop up here and there, but mostly they are still all still well hidden and buried from view. This approach can make many users think that it is only what they can see is only what has only been changed, but also a lot of this analysis can't be revealed until other parties (i.e. developers) start to use and mostly adjust their products to take advantage of the full suite available of the new features and ideas presented here, in fact it will be months long after 11.30 has gone final in that it will be then that everyone realises the large effect this version will have on X-Plane. Obviously the special effects noted below will come in all shapes and sizes and many will be totally (even stupidly) overdone, but in many ideas it will be also very clever (as X-Plane users can be) and show off how good the simulator has become. Since the release of X-Plane11 and in many respects the simulator has already changed totally beyond our original expectations, now here there is the start another level of transformation that has got even the most hardened FSX/P3D users wondering what baby they are now left with to hold on to.


Internal changes

11.30 is the first installment of API (Application Programming Interface) changes that will switch from the older OpenGL API to the new Vulkan (Windows/Linux)/Metal (Mac) API's. This is to update the simulator to work far better with more modern hardware in processors and graphic cards (a graphic card moniker is really a bit outdated now? as they are more now the size of a mini-computer itself and than be rather of what the installed graphic engine producing machinery really is).


Originally we expected that the new Vulcan/Metal API's to all come in together with one major update, but the introduction here shows that is not the case as the API's can be introduced in blocks of areas, and it may also serve as a good test on how X-Plane itself responds to the changes out here in complex-land before going in for the full change over API deal. You may find the API change over in not one but maybe even as many as four updates to complete the full API changeover, you could with this release to note it as the block 1 release.


The area most affected in v11.30 is the shader system, so it has been completely totally Vulkanised because it won't work with the .glsl format, so it was changed early. There are huge bonuses here as well, in that the older slideshow shader system was pretty crappy anyway, slow, not very realistic and even really annoying as the light faded or increased in brightness in the significant changes from one shader to the next. The new system uses a very much larger spectrum of shades, it is also quite complex and even fully updatable. More interesting is the new shader system is now off limits to the tinkerers, so you won't be getting loads of experimental shader downloads any more, as there was a full X-Plane industry running on that side of the simulator.

An interesting side point is that Laminar note the new (and very complex) shader system will get intermittent updates as the shader system can be refined or reshaded to match conditions and on the fly with updates, which is a sort of window to what to expect from all the different areas of X-Plane in the future, this new feature is one of the most important to understand, because it is the future in not only for its assembly in Vulkan but also in the way it brings in a much more different engine into the original X-Plane machine. So you are starting to see the future changes of X-Plane happening right here, and right now in this version 11.30 update... think of it more like the windows ongoing system updates than major releases.


One of the biggest first impressions of beta 11.30 was how brighter it all was, and the change of the basic X-Plane background in light and colours. Besides the actual new shader system, 11.30 has had a lot of fine tuning of the PBR (Physically Based Rendering) effects as well, this is noticeable in those sudden light to dark light changes in the cockpit, that were just as (if not more) annoying as the slideshow in the dawn and dusk periods.


11.30 b_Shader 1.jpg11.30 b_Shader 2.jpg


Seriously impressive the shaders are...  lighting changes are minimal and the only way to see the actual lighting shader movements now is via speeding up the simulator to fast forward. Does the PBR still pop!, unfortunately yes it does and sometimes in a dramatic annoying way, but it also shows the PBR can be fine-tuned...  I just don't think this area is the focus for Laminar right now.


11.30 b_Shader 3 LG.jpg


What strikes you the most though is the sheer smoothness of the simulator, it felt almost quite crude before to what you are experiencing now. Yes you will still get pauses (as scenery loads) and the odd pause as X-Plane shifts from one tile to the other which is still a major obstacle for ultimate smoothness, but that constant shutter and stutter in flight is gone, and it now all feels far more linear. I lost 2fr -4fr frames in the changeover as my 11.30 beta download was nearly 2gb, but I expect to claw that back and far more with the full Vulkan conversion later in the year, but that minimal framerate loss is somehow eliminated because the simulator seems to be not working as hard to achieve the same results, hence the smoothness. Everything feels sharper, cleaner than before. I will note that the framerate was better in the beta 11.30b2 than b1 and more gains came in v11.30b6 (b4 and b5 were absolute duds), but it all came good again in b6 and b7... by the RCs (Release Candidates) 11.30 was excellent.


The star patterns at night are back, yes they were fixed before 11.30, but now you can actually see them feel them now while traveling at night, and with the even more refined night ground patterns, it is like X-Plane9 all over again, but far better... yeah!


11.30 b_Shader 4.jpg11.30 b_Shader 5.jpg


It certainly all bodes well for the future.


Particle Effects

Yes the showstopper! The particle effect generator has been in development hell for as long as I can possibly remember. "It's coming" was the usual mantra in X-Plane version release after version release, but now it is finally here... was it worth the wait? Of course it was.


Like a lot of areas in b11.30 it is important to understand that although the current aircraft all work with the new particle effect engine, most of the aircraft have not been adjusted to get the best of the effects just yet, which it is like when the FMOD sound engine was first introduced...  so every aircraft will have to be tailored to the effects engine to get the very best out of the effects, and then some more. Because certainly many developers will want to push the boundaries on what can actually be achieved with the custom particles. It is certainly an exciting time to be in that scenario.


11.30 b_Particle 1.jpg11.30 b_Particle 2.jpg


Vortices are amazing...  and a far cry from the old smoke effect. They are extraordinary at night, as you can see the trail standing rearwards in the turn, as they dissipate of where they stand, and then fade away realistically back slowly into the sky.


It is in the subliminal as not the direct effects that the effect change the nature of the simulator. The engine heat blur is excellent as the haze unfocuses the background with absolute realism. You knew something was missing before, and now you realise what that "something" actually was...  realism.


11.30 b_Particle 3.jpg11.30 b_Particle 4.jpg


The biggie effect was always going to be fire. X-Plane already had a sort of animated fire effect, but not the adjustable realistic effect of fire. Now here it is and it lives up to it's dramatic entrance.


11.30 b_Particle 5.jpg11.30 b_Particle 6.jpg


11.30 b_Particle 7 LG.jpg


The are different types of (particle) emitters from smoke, haze to fire and different styles for say streaming continuous smoke or for violent explosions, other effects cover wing vortices, engine blast, tyre contact smoke and wing, engine cowl condensation.


The Particle Effects will have a multitude of uses within X-Plane, but currently they are restricted to only aircraft use, and with the odd ground explosion. This has been highlighted by the issues during the beta of smoke or particles in the aircraft (cockpits!)and not the filtering out of the new elements, and more fine tuning of the contrails in certain lighting conditions are still required. But static ground objects will soon have access to the same effects which will be interesting. As a note I never really took to the old X-Plane smoking "puff, puff" chimney effect, I thought they didn't look very realistic and even looked cartoony awful. However I really like the idea more of a hazy chimney or a steam (power plant) effect than the usual and expected black puffing variety.


All elements for developers (or anyone) are accessed by the new "Particle System Editor" in the "Developer" X-Plane menu and the layout and the use is very similar to the FMOD sound editor. 


11.30 b_Particle Dev 1.jpg11.30 b_Particle Dev 2.jpg

11.30 b_Particle Dev 3.jpg11.30 b_Particle Dev 4.jpg


Access to the various elements are through the particle system definition files (.pss files), which brings up an editor to create, adjust and even delete the particle elements set out in the texture menu. A full dynamic adjustment of : rate, speed, velocity, pitch, heading, size, Alpha and Lifetime (Seconds) are available via keyframes of the all these different elements.


ATC Voices

A surprise feature included in v11.30 was the new A.I. based ATC voices. There was a comment about these new speech tools by Chris Serio in the mid-year Q&A session, but we never expected the actual release until in 2019, or even longer. The new ATC system now builds up real commands and sentences, as was in the older current version in that the ATC as it was then built up around .wav files to say they were very stilted conversations was an underestimation. But the main problem with this system was it was totally inflexible and very limited in speech capacity. So the new way is to use a text to speech (TTS) engine that is used in Amazon Alexia and Google Voice and of which are both a development of the Dragon NaturallySpeaking speech recognition software.


TTS can learn and be adjusted on the fly and you will be even able to contribute to the engine. So instead of the older communications of just the repetitive "X-Ray, Beta two five..  Runway five left" you can or will have "Speedbird 231, taxi cleared to runway five left"...   The ATC system will learn and grow and get better as does all current TTS software working now. The system will be also able to work with a multitude of different voices and not just the current male and female choice or no choice at all. Accents in regional or national voices will be available as well as the ATC is more fully developed.


Obviously the ATC voice system is still only very limited to the style and the current natural feel vocally until the full ATC system is intergrated later, but it does show that the pace of development is certainly taking place and going forward, which also means that the full ATC feature should be expected during a beta run in 2019.


11.30 Systems and Avionics

Phillipp Ringler outlined the extensive navigation and avionics coming in 11.30 in the Vegas seminar. Ringler's overhaul of the X-Plane navigation and avionic areas since becoming part of the main Laminar team have been a total revolution in detail, dynamics and data use and most notably the GNS 430/530 pair, G1000 and the native X-Plane FMS. Certainly Phillipp's unique talents has certainly totally enhanced the basic avionics of the simulator.


With the main navigation elements in now place (although I do find the main FMS still a bit wanting in detail), his attention has moved on to the more cosmetic areas of the systems and most notably the Autopilot.

So 11.30 comes now with brand autopilots that can installed in your GA aircraft. These include the position based units GFC-700, KFC-250/Century and the rate-based S-TEC 55, KAP-140 and the Piper Autocontrol. The autopilots come as single or dual axis and with or without altitude select and also with or without electric trim functions.


The GFC-700 Autopilot is also now part of the G1000 system, which is a high-end position-based digital autopilot, and the new version is now giving the G1000 more realistic capabilities. The Piper Autocontrol Autopilot is a generic low-tech non-microprocessor autopilot, and this AP can be either rate-based or position-based and has the usual dual-axis modes, but does not have any logic for automatic mode reversions.


The AP modes are obviously quite basic as all Laminar default systems are, but entirely usable and effective. Here is the S-TEC 55 (C172SP) and the KAP-140 which are the most popular and both can be set as noted with/without altitude preset. One major surprise is that the AP panels don't pop-out?..


11.30 b_AP 1.jpg11.30 b_AP 2.jpg


...   as with the already branded C90 Collins APS-65 (below) it is impossible to use effectively without a pop-up panel, as the distance from the AP panel to the navigation display on this aircraft is very wide... an oversight?


11.30 b_AP 3.jpg11.30 b_AP 4.jpg


Airliner autopilot systems have also been upgraded as auto-throttle can now use both N1/EPR modes, Control Wheel Steering (CWS) (yoke movements to adjust pitch, mostly on older aircraft), Master FD (Flight Director) or source selection, duel and triple channel preconditions and checks (computers compare two or three channels of data and select the best option), flare and roll out guidance and a three axis DAS/Data Acquisition Systems. GPSS autopilot mode is also now available. All these AP operations are quite comprehensive but mostly hidden, but you will suddenly find you will have more options and get closer to the real world operations of flight deck autopilots once their features start to flow through to the aircraft.


In 11.30 system changes the areas focused on have been for the more realistic oxygen systems and anti-ice/de-ice systems, and the propeller itself now has four different propeller failure modes of fine pitch, anti-feathering springs and the full feather position...  as not on all aircraft if when the engine fails does the propeller go straight to full feather mode and auto-feather. 

Also included are more extensive systems to replicate the unfeathering of the propeller realistically with pumps and negative torque sensing, and also fuel-topping and overspeed governors, vacuum gyro limitations and caging is now also being available. With the release of 11.30 Phillipp Ringler is also now responsible for these system changes besides the avionics portfolio which was once the domain of Austin Meyer, so expect more extensive and thankfully more speedier changes to aircraft systems than was the case in the past.


While in the realm of systems, in that X-Plane is now also 8.33kHz aware. The old 25kHz spacing has been divided by three 25/3 = 8.33333. to allow more channels to be used which will help in congested airspaces, it became mandatory in Europe as of January 2018 if you are flying in controlled airspace in Europe, as you must have now an 8.33kHz radio to meet that mandate, as you now do also in X-Plane 11.30.


The panel resolution has be enlarged to 4K (4096x4096) to get rid of poor resolution text and give a better quality fascia, which is another step away from the original X-Plane standards. 


Flight Model

Although X-Plane is known for its incredible ability to simulate real airflow and air dynamics through its “blade element theory” calculations, it is still not the full range of forces on the aircraft while flying through the air, or on the ground. The aerodynamic basics are of course correct, but in the last few years Laminar has been focusing on more detail of the more secondary forces that affect the aircraft. To that end Austin Meyer has been doing some pretty outlandish if quite bizarre experiments with a Telsla S car to get more realistic data on fuselage, wing forces (post stall), inboard wing air dynamics (the join between the wing and fuselage), propwash and helicopter downwash and tailwash is also being done via more conventional data driven calculations and a follow on from the earlier 11.10 dynamics, as with the earlier asymmetrical new airfoil formats for Reynolds numbers (fluid flow past a body in this case an aircraft).


All these new calculations are now included into PlaneMaker 11.30, but you can have the choice in to either opt in out opt out of using the data. These changes are not actually for the X-Plane simulator per se, but for more comprehensive real world data of forces that can be applied to the aircraft's airfoils and wing forces, and PlaneMaker will now do a batch convert to the new settings, but also show you where your drag was not realistic.


This aspect is to find a more realistic feel with say the landing and flare dynamics, and with an emphasis on post stall drag factors which are still X-Plane's main limitations, as also for better helicopter downwash and tailwash dynamics which are also currently still not totally highly realistic. My personal beef on this has been the ground friction (or grip) that seems lacking in the simulator... or in other words the weaving and poor tracking on the ground when taking off or landing as I just don't feel that rubber contact grip that I expect to be real world realistic.


So has that aspect been fixed or at least refined better than the last set of changes? again personally I don't think so, but in reality the jury is still out on that aspect, it depends on if the 11.30 default aircraft have been updated to the new aerodynamic data, if so then the answer is no, but it will be extremely interesting when the developers do their own calculations... they know their numbers far better than the default aircraft developers as in reality Laminar default aircraft at their heart are quite simple, it will be the specialist developers that will refine and home the data closer to the real world conditions, so when the top payware releases come around after 11.30 goes final then that will be interesting and ralso eflected in the reviews and I will certainly be focusing hard on that aspect. Ditto for helicopters, once say a top helicopter developer like say Dreamfoil does the new 11.30 downwash and rotor dynamics will we see if the improvements are actually realistic. A side note to that is the new "joystick curves" see below... in fine tuning your hardware gear to be also more refined in their inputs.


So the changes in 11.30 are actually quite extensive in these areas, but again to stress that you won't see any of these extensive benefits until the developers sort out their own flight model calculations and dynamics to match the more comprehensive flight modeling avaliable to them.


Late in the beta run (RC 1) Laminar also inserted the Toe-Brake option for users that have NO hardware (i.e. Rudder Pedals) in controlling aircraft such as tail-draggers, which are notorious to control currently. Previous versions of X-Plane we had this automatic toe-brake behavior that was automatically applied based on some rules that were originally coded into X-Plane. Now aircraft authors can now explicitly control whether toe brakes are auto-applied for users without hardware, and if so, how aggressively. This control is auto-populated for older aircraft with the choices set for X-Plane 11.26 and earlier versions.


Engine Improvements

Austin Meyer since the start of the X-Plane 11.00 version has been focusing on more realistic engine dynamics. Earlier focus (11.26) was on turbine outputs, specifically in single turbo-turbine outputs. In 11.30 the focus is more of the same but more on the larger jet-turbine aircraft (B737/A320).


Believe it or not until 11.30 both the twin-spool tracking of the n1 and n2 engine outputs was done not separately, but notably as one joined calculation. But now it is possible to select both single or twin-spool jets in Plane-Maker to really get the jet engine dynamics (output numbers) better in the spool-up and spool-down phases, and watching N2 lead the N1 output on the spool-up, or the other way around on the spool-down. And the engine output modeling has also be validated of real engine starts and throttle run-ups and shut-downs taken on a (real) Airbus A-320 for realism. (throttle input/output data was a real mess on the release of X-Plane 11.00)


Specifically the area noted is the improved Jet 1 spool. Again Jet 1 spool in X-Plane is currently still very basic and the data comes actually from the earlier (now really outdated) X-Plane releases .This current model always has the N1 spinning at a ratio to N2 that was a simple power curve. This is good enough to mimic a real jet engine which was in the past sort of close, if you don’t look at how fast the various turbines spin up and down compared to each other.


Jet 2 spool is also a new jet engine model for X-Plane as well with N2 is the power turbine is in the hot section, and it spins up and down as fuel is applied. and is independent of the N1 that is spun by the torque generated from N2, spinning the bypass fan. So a more accurate model, taking into account that the N2 can surge while N1 takes some time to respond, and N1 can windmill briskly even if N2 is shut down and is barely spinning. You can see where all this is going with more internal engine dynamics being realistic in the simulator, and with N1/N2 windmilling which are now more accurate as well. This new modeling should also be more specific in the cruise phase as well.


There has been also focus on fine tuning and the modeling of actual dynamic pressure and the resulting Bernoulli effects in the Venturi tube itself to see when ice will form, this will give you a more realistic feedback on ice formations as the Bernoulli principle applies to the motion of air over an airplane wing, to air flow through a carburetor, to the flag flapping in the breeze, and to the low pressure systems in hurricanes.


The earlier focus on PT6 turboprops still continues in 11.30, which now in the new model, of which is more accurate and very carefully matched to real PT6 performance. This uses now N2 for Ng which is more accurate, of which there is also now a new manifold pressure model for non-turbo airplanes. The new functionality now allows the simulator understand that lower back-pressure at altitude for non-turbo airplanes provides a bit more power per inch of manifold pressure...  all in the quest for realism. Garrett turboprops (Honeywell TPE331) that is an fixed turbo-prop engine that is used extensively with X-Plane aircraft like with the Dornier Do 228/King Airs/Turbo-Commanders is next on the list after the PT6 for the same intensive attention.



There was a lot of noise in discussion of an F-14 (Tomcat) in pre-release notes, but the actual F-14 Laminar default aircraft didn't appear in the 11.30 release, but is that a spelling mistake? Could it be the F-4 Phantom that has had all the attention and could it all be just misleading?


Including the noted F-14 above there was no new aircraft released in 11.30, but a few aircraft had some significant work done on them... obviously the  Cessna 172SP was given a lot of attention to highlight most of 11.30's new features including the new S-Tec autopilot (above) and performance/tuning gains.


11.30 b_C172SP 1.jpg11.30 b_C172SP 2.jpg


The Boeing 737-800 is of course the showcase aircraft for X-Plane11, so besides the new performance, particle effects and new triple-channel autopilot features the aircraft also acquired something special...


11.30 b_B738 1.jpg11.30 b_B738 2.jpg


...  a cabin! But not just a filler cabin, but a full and very detailed cabin. And it puts even most payware cabins to shame... yes it is that good.


11.30 b_B738 3.jpg11.30 b_B738 4.jpg


At night the internal lighting is even better to sensational with the "Sky Interior" theme...


11.30 b_B738 5.jpg11.30 b_B738 6.jpg


...   even if the Austin Meyer graphic is a bit cheeky, the detailing is just as good in the excellent and realistic galleys that are also payware quality.


11.30 b_B738 7.jpg11.30 b_B738 8.jpg11.30 b_B738 9.jpg11.30 b_B738 10.jpg


With the internal structure in place (cabin) then you can also have opening doors as well...


11.30 b_B738 11.jpg11.30 b_B738 12.jpg


...  even if they are not actually attached to the aircraft? and they are hard to open in all have to manhandled directly, I am not sure if the cargo doors open? but the cargo internal 3d containers are in there, so if not now, then certainly the cargo doors will open in the future... obviously still a WIP.


Boeing 747-400 has had attention as well... as neglect goes it was way on the top of the list, in fact it was totally unflyable as I found out earlier last year...  which is certainly not good enough for an aircraft that is there to promote the simulator. The bug XPD-9644 "747 catches on fire in replay" said it all.


11.30 b_B744.jpg11.30 b_B744 2.jpg11.30 b_B744 3.jpg11.30 b_B744 4.jpg


In a short flight I found the 747 aircraft at least now usable. there are important elements still missing like the heading pointer on the rose navigation display, but "hey who needs that!" but a lot of the major issues have been addressed including the reverse thrust (yes you need the reverse thrust as well!)...  it is flyable...  maybe even usable for a long haul, I'll do a route and see how it all goes.



While you have been flying around overhead, then Laminar Research has been very busy filling in your autogen. Europe got the treatment back in the v11.25 release. This is mostly to fill in Urban Industrial Autogen aspect and in 11.30 the US got the same makeover, and it is all pretty impressive, although here it is a much more dirtier and darker theme than the steel and glass of Germanic Europe.


11.30 b_Autogen US 1.jpg11.30 b_Autogen US 3.jpg11.30 b_Autogen US 5.jpg


11.30 b_Autogen US 4.jpg11.30 b_Autogen US 12.jpg


11.30 b_Autogen US 11.jpg11.30 b_Autogen US 13.jpg11.30 b_Autogen US 14.jpg


Government buildings with the old PWA Moderne 30's 40's styling, glass office towers and excellent modern residential buildings now fill a large area of your X-Plane autogen landscape... even Ben Supnic has now got his own Computer outlet chain! along side the usual US fast food outlets.


Building quality is also high class and it all comes with great nightlighting detail as well


11.30 b_Autogen US 2.jpg11.30 b_Autogen US 9 Night.jpg

11.30 b_Autogen US 7.jpg11.30 b_Autogen US 10 Night.jpg


East US coast New Jersey terraced housing is also now visible and it is again highly detailed. 


11.30 b_Autogen US 8.jpg11.30 b_Autogen US 9.jpg


11.30 b_Autogen US 15.jpg11.30 b_Autogen US 16.jpg11.30 b_Autogen US 17.jpg


Urban industrial is now also filling in nicely those empty grey spaces, and it is all very highly detailed. And while you are flying around, then the kids can have a go on the swings. Still no churches though?


11.30 b_Autogen US 18.jpg11.30 b_Autogen US 19.jpg


I always get a little annoyed when the scenery developers cover over this expansive quality autogen for something usually quite flat and average with mostly poor orthophoto textures, why not take advantage of the already comprehensive tools the simulator delivers... you won't find better.



Dubai has been added into the landmark list with two buildings now present...  The tallest (for now) building in the world with the Burj Khalifa and the sail like Burj Al Arab, but the modeling comes with no Jumeirah hotel at the rear.


a330_Dubai 1.jpga330_Dubai 2.jpga330_Dubai 3.jpga330_Dubai 4.jpg


Both landmarks are well done, but feel a bit lonely as being the only buildings sitting in a vast landscape, no tall city Dubai autogen and only housing leaves them markedly exposed.


User Interface U.I.

Some fine tuning of the U.I. interface includes options to enlarge font sizes and the new layout to configure joystick curves in more detail with the option to set the joystick curves per axis., and users can also now submit joystick config files.


11.30 b_Config 2.jpg11.30 b_Config 1.jpg


Other items on the interface include new added sector altitudes in the VFR map. U.I. Options to enlarge the U.I. font size. You are now able to re-enabling of the notification windows that have a “don’t show this again” checkbox and the situation files can now get you close to the landmarks for quick sight seeing.


X-Plane data

The default simulator data has been updated its airspace to 2018 & Navigraph default data 1708. Which is out of date unless you have an account for the latest cycle (1901) 3rd Jan 19 - 31st Jan 19, but at least it isn't years old. And the total Global Airport count with 3-D scenery in the 11.30r1 release is now 8247.



For all its new features and tools, X-Plane 11.30 is a still a bit like an iceburg, there is a little bit sticking up out of the water, but with a lot going on in size under the surface. It will be months and even months before X-Plane users will get the full effect of the update as the developers adjust to the new tools and feature details. We also have to get used to the delay of change than the usual instant gratification of an update and that instant wow factor... like the new autogen in 11.30, it sort of creeps up on you now more than coming in an explosion and all of a sudden you realise that just how much more expansive, responsive and smoother the simulator all is, and just thinking back to even the release version of X-Plane11 you then realise how far the simulator has come in just two years, it makes X-Plane10 now feel almost arcane. And that change didn't come either with huge system or framerate set of penalties, as if you only have even still a fair 4K graphic card you will still find a lot of efficiency.


This is also again the underlying factor of this 11.30 update, efficiency, but with not yet getting the full effects of the Vulcan/Metal API core changes. Yes some parts and others are now operating on Vulkan API, like the new shader system... but overall it is all still very much a Work In Progress, as noted... 11.30 is just block 1 of many components that will probably go in and keep going in right up to the X-Plane12 new version release.


Highlight visually in 11.30 is of course the Particle Effects and their earth wind and fire elements. Yes it is nice to have them back and it will be interesting to see how the developers use the editor skillfully to use their maximum effect. Scenery particle effects are coming soon.


ATC A.I. Voices were a nice surprise but limited until the rest of the ATC is intergrated, as is the nice finer details of new autopilots and avionics, Flight modeling has again improved upon earlier changes with even more adjustments available as has deeper engine modeling and this time focusing on larger jet engine output. Default aircraft had all the above features inserted and with that bonus cabin on the Boeing 737-800.


2018 saw the X-Plane simulator finally shake off it's "hobbist" tag and with respect... thus 11.30 update again pushes the boundaries higher and better again, but this version update is however not a final solution waiting for the next update, but part of a simulator in transition, but a transition that will build it into a far higher platform of a quality and an extremely efficient simulation platform...  the words "head and Shoulders" and "above" start to come to mind.




X-PlaneReviews can't cover absolutely every change or bug fix with the version update, and so the 11.30 Release notes are available here at the Laminar Research Development pages:


X-Plane 11.30 Release Notes


X-Plane 11.30 is available now for download. Run your X-Plane installer application or download from Steam.




Analysis review by Stephen Dutton

12th January 2019

Copyright©2019: 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)

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...