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  1. News! - Released : v11.50b1 Beta - Vulkan/Metal API by Laminar Research Laminar Research has released the long awaited, long in development Vulkan/Metal API update in a beta version v11.50b1. The new Application Programming Interface (API) replaces the decades old OpenGL. The API is is a computing interface to a software component or a system, that defines how other components or systems can use it. It defines the kinds of calls or requests that can be made, how to make them, the data formats that should be used, the conventions to follow, etc. It can also provide extension mechanisms so that users can extend existing functionality in various ways and to varying degrees. In X-Plane's reference it is for the processing of the very highly processor usage of graphics, or what you see on the screen. In the past under OpenGL most of the graphic processing was done on the Video Graphic cards, so the bigger and more powerful graphic card engine you had, then the more better X-Plane ran. But that aspect is not very efficient to a simulator. Vulkan (Windows) and Metal (AppleOS) changes all that by redefining the way ALL your processors process the data and not just the graphic cards, this will also smooth out the processor calls into the urgent and the not so urgent changes you require. For instance the background in reality of your simulator does not really change much, but the aircraft and instruments do and constantly. So the newer APIs will now not just tunnel everything through the graphic card like OpenGL did, but also allow the use of the main processors to work as well in finding a better balance and of course far more efficiency in running your simulations. Overall the changes with the API will be far better for the Apple aspect (Metal) than for Windows (Vulkan) so don't expect huge changes (i.e in your frameframe) because there isn't any. But where you will see huge differences is in stutters and far a more smoothness coming out of the simulator, I found that the weather is far, far more less intrusive as well. Secondly is that the API is very new (it is a BETA as well), so like with the 64bit changes a few years ago, the main total benefits won't be seen for a while. v11.50b1 Beta The beta release is activated via your X-Plane Installer, just make sure your "beta" box is ticked. It is very important to use a second copy of X-Plane for the new APIs (Again this can be done from the installer, and note don't load in your Global Scenery in the second copy, but when installed then transfer your current Global Scenery folder to the new installation). This way your current X-Plane v11.40 (OpenGL) will still be available. Important! Update your graphic drivers before installing or running the v11.50b1 Beta. Current Nvidia GeForce version is v445.75, and YES you do need to update to this driver! On startup the v11.50b1 beta will still be in OpenGL mode. you have to tick the "Use Vulkan for faster rendering" tickbox and then do a restart... ... when restarting the new API will then take a fair while to recompile your shaders into a new format, so you have to wait while the system does this, every time you restart the system will do this until it has covered all the shaders, but as it processes each startup the loading times will get significantly shorter, finished loading times are still not faster, in fact they are a little bit longer (shaders are now loaded at startup). On release the current items that will not work with v11.50b1... Current list is: Aircraft using DreamEngine Sound Ground Traffic Flight Factor A320 JAR A320 librain SkyMaxx Pro ToLiss A319 & A321 Traffic Global xEnviro xPilot XPRealistic Pro xSquawkBox Incompatible with X-Plane 11.50: xVision (I believe that xVision has already done a 11.50 update) Most of the above will update in the next few weeks, as they are all currently working on the changes to the new API. Laminar notes "not all add-ons are compatible with Vulkan and Metal. In particular, when Vulkan and Metal are enabled, 3-d drawing callbacks and map drawing callbacks are not sent to plugins. If an add-on appears to not work correctly, you can disable Vulkan and Metal and restart X-Plane." v11.50 is a BETA, not a release, so expect CTD (Crash to Desktop) and loads of other weird things going wrong, the trick is to keep X-Plane v11.50 version as basic as you can, few plugins, few aircraft, but the custom scenery folder should be fine... then add as required and as tested. Most weather related Applications will currently not work and neither will the multitude of 3d shader projects. Current known bugs First load time with Metal and Vulkan will be surprisingly slow. This is lots of shaders/pipelines compiling for the first time; subsequent runs will be faster. XPD-7871 Dark contrails instead of white. XPD-9729 Contrails and wing condensation missing in replay. XPD-10458 Need control of eGPU selection. XPD-10506 First run shader creation is super slow. XPD-10569 VR Right eye not working with AMD + Vulkan. XPD-10607 Null pipeline when opening skycolors. XPD-10616 Water reflection off if wave height is non zero. XPD-10617 CTD when using “regenerate icons for current aircraft (and livery)”. XPD-10619 EGPU massive FPS loss with OpenGL Drawing. XPD-10623 Panel screenshots command not working/crashing. XPD-10629 Black screen on Nvidia. Features and improvements Can toggle between OpenGL and Vulkan/Metal in rendering settings. I will note the water effect has had attention, it is now working very well. Full analysis of the new v11.50 version release will come next week from X-PlaneReviews, and any notable new changes... You can get the full X-Plane 11.50 Release Notes and any new changes here: https://www.x-plane.com/kb/x-plane-11-50-release-notes/ Discussion and comment updates on current events is here on the X-Plane.org: XP11.50 beta ______________________________________________________________________ News by Stephen Dutton 3rd April 2020 Copyright©2020: 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)
  2. News! - Beta Release! - X-Plane beta 10.50b4 release There was not much reasoning in noting Laminar Research's beta releases in b2 or b3 as they were officially duds, but 10.50b4 is now out and quite stable and usable. On beta 10.50 at this point to be honest I am a little underwhelmed. But also however I have not gone too deep into the systems yet with airport parking and or the updated ATC changes. But I am not seeing the effects new autogen either and I think a big feature like this to be just restricted to the US is a bit of a waste as where we really need this autogen is actually not in the US as there is already a lot of good city packages to cover that, where we need it is in the European countries and Asia, so good autogen even with a compromised tall buildings would be for better arrivals than the nothing we have now, yes you need data to make these things work and areas like China are totally devoid of any data at all, but that is where is needed in the areas it is needed, X-Plane 10 is global, and I am not feeling the love for the rest of the world. My framerates are not good at all either, in the low 20's compared to the 40's with 10.45 in the same areas and it is very slideshow in movement, the internet connection alert boxes are also still seriously annoying... but this is a beta and simulator speed is usually not refined until we get to the RC stage (Release Candidate) and no, Steam users cannot access the betas until you get a RC release, so stop asking to do so. But it is early days yet... Notes for b2/b3 and b4 releases. Fixed for Beta 4 Fix for crash on start due to missing object. Fix for AI aircraft flying too slowly. Layer order was unstable between default .pol and base taxiway when collector was in use. Fixed by forcing pol to be 1 lower than taxiways (XPD-6407). Fixed for Beta 3 ADF fixed in B-58 (XPD-6375, 6380, 6383). Stall warning alpha corrected in B-58 (XPD-6374). Object on C90 door removed (XPD-6402). B-58 instrument panel shadow is now solid (XPD-6384). Better scaling of weapons console. Make sure primary monitor on Windows is always main display (XPD-6393). Access to CG and mass of all weapons. Fix memory scribble when extruding scenery (XPD-6405). Removed last squawk about missing lights from log. Capped taxi speed at 25 kts. Toned down MDEG to log error and not quit sim. People would get booted out of their flight because an add-on delivered OOB weather. (XPD-6391). Fixes the bug where the beta would say “authorization is successful” and then be stuck in demo mode. Fixed crash on road drape if there are cracks in the DSF mesh. We also use the DEM in 64-bits for much faster draping (XPD-6398). Fixed plane falling through solid objects onto roads (XPD-6396). Fixed broken lights on all airplanes. Light init must be AFTER plugin load so that data refs for lights can be resolved (XPD-6387). Better macibm alerts. Fixed crash with no GRIB. Progress bar no longer off screen. Fixed for Beta 2 Fixed crash when starting Plane-Maker on Windows with an aircraft with attached objects. Fixed crash on startup of X-Plane with plugins that load objects, e.g. SeaTraffic, GroundVehicles. Fixed missing static aircraft on gateway aircraft. Fixed missing new autogen city scenery – the new autogen was accidentally not included in beta 1. Fixed crash when third party scenery contains un-textured objects. Fixed objects floating in the sky. Fixed missing taxi lines on airports. Fixed overlapping items in basic joystick button setup screen. More to come... ______________________________________________________________________ Stephen Dutton 27th June 2016 Copyright©X-Plane Reviews: X-PlaneReviews
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