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  1. News! - Beta Release! - X-Plane beta 10.50b1 has released Laminar Research have released their latest X-Plane beta in v10.50b1. Very new and full release notes below... and there is a major problem with any plugins installed to get it to run? Clear out your plugin folder to see and run the beta, I would wait until this issue is cleared up... No taxi lines is also being addressed. New tick box on "Render Settings" to "draw parked aircraft at airports" (or activate static aircraft). And internet output is disabled... I notice very different lighting effects in the cockpit, even with HDR not activated, very nice. Here is the full release notes: Airports with new user-submitted scenery in the 10.50 release (147 total) Airports with improved scenery in the 10.50 release (718 total) New Features & Improvements New U.S. city autogen. Improved Baron & King Air. Global winds aloft files. Better AI airplane flight… they now fly a bit more realistically. When you enable a net connections usage, we now auto-select a beacon to use if possible (rather than giving you the default, raw IP). Added support for autoconfig of Control Pad and Xavion. Stratus clouds look better from above. Better randomization of AI parking spots. Added “engine” notifications, so that sim components have access to all the same hooks as the plugin system via XPLMEventHook(). We can now separate Steam from non-Steam users in our analytics data. Particle emitters now take rulers. This makes it unnecessary to put static animations around most emitters. This also fixes a bug where particle physics on the airplane OBJs was run at 2x speed. New prompts to complete installation and/or scenery with authorized sim. New meta-data key/value pair code. It also provides a new meta-data key to force flattening on a per-airport basis. Updated credits & improved layout. Swapped the order of the aircraft in A/B testing & added sample size analysis. Auto-tuning when using Nearby ATC box can now be turned on and off. Much better real weather diagnostics, and also we now scan through the TIME of the MDEG metar report, as should always have been there. Much faster (about 1000x faster) sorting on the commands list in the key-to-command screen, which takes the UI from annoying to smooth. Settings screen is no longer deleted on hide (makes for faster re-opens). On-screen notification if download of real weather fails. We can also steer tv-guided bombs and missiles with a joystick axis, cool! Airfoil maker allowed to have smaller linear range, as needed to simulate iced or damaged foils, for example. For Carrier Ops, LSO calls are a little more accurate, with phraseology that is now official standard, and based on angles of attack that are appropriate for the airplane (but be sure to set the stall warning angle of attack in Plane-Maker in the viewpoint screen!) Strobe lites in the clouds set now to only happen when totally IN the clouds, so it does NOT affect scenery at nite when turned on like is used to. Break-out to visual at the cloud bases, as we needed all along. Now we don’t delete the global wind and turb files, and we have then named in a way that makes sense for others to write to them as desired. We load the afl every time we load the acf because the afl might have changed along with the acf! Safe save – keeps old ACF around. Removed ground targets on the HUD. Limit thrust to 0, not below 0, to keep things from getting crazy when we fly jet engines into orbit. Labels for movies and other warnings are now much easier to read, the movie messages are centered, the pulsing text easier to read. Crash limit set from 20 g to 10 g. No-op manips can take dateref and tooltip for training purposes. When planes blow up they go to wrek… for ALL planes! This lets you blow up other planes in flight rather fantastically. New command to download all weather files. Trimming out actual elevator deflection in pitch, not just the autopilot deflection. This will give slightly more accurate pitch trim, which will not fight with the elevator deflection in planes with art stability. Joystick not applied to flight controls if user not flying cause ai is flying! Joystick calls not needed in that case. Effects like prop disc now behave as expected in replay mode. We now load the mouse cursor bitmaps all at once and cache them for future use (XPD-6181). Slightly more data logging for net-tracking. Plotting aircraft now in the slightly tilted attitude needed by the nearby coord-system origin. Now the glideslope info for the profile view on the IOS as sent across the net by nav ID, not index! This allows us to have the profile work across the net with different apt databases! When calculating string tiles, the LAST slop gets skipped since we can’t actually overlaps the tile. Changed the way prop discs are loaded. They are now on the aircraft’s veh_prop_class so that they are accurate PER ENGINE. This also means that texture’s can be shared in memory if 2+ engines have the same prop. Lastly, it allows for goofy configurations like a gyrocopter that has a rotor and a propeller. Stall warnings a little more accurate: do not depend on avionics switch, and reed switches do not depend on battery. Planes now go around if a crash is imminent, and are also better about not kicking in rudder at low altitudes, which will crash an airliner. Updated beacon port to 49707 by default, split the receiving sockets, clarified the error messages and updated the documentation. New hint messages during loading screen. Minor serial-port PFC hardware improvements. FDR (Flight Data Recorder) window tracks monitor res to let you see a lot more on larger monitors. Various bis of frame-rate improvement here and there, to increase frame-rate overall and also reduce pauses! Fixes for Airplane Authors & Developers New datarefs: airport_lites_on_priv_override; // override: -1 is off. 1 is on. 0 is override not set! current_plugin_dust_rat Datarefs now available to control volume of each radio… You can now use a generic rheostat assigned to the dataref to set the volume of any radio! X-Plane will provide the current world model-view, projection, and aircraft model-view matrices to plugins via datarefs. We resize the property table in the lower left when an animation model is changed on a group. Fixed instrument selection and list change in Plane Maker. Fix memory scribble when deselecting generics in Plane Maker. False alarm in debug code for instrument save: instrument save code would alert if a non-custom unused drag radius was saved on a non-draggable needle or pointer (XPD-6056). Fixed bugs tabbing between instruments in Plane Maker. We were not showing fuel on the right side of the plane in the load0out screen! Now we are! Panel animation IO code permanent and not conditional. This way if you save a group-animated panel in regular X-Plane you DO NOT LOSE your data!! Better alert messages for demo users–can use digital download, installer or buy DVDs to get scenery. Wrek works about as well as one might expect in replay without having to work backwards or use more ram. USB key is re-checked at start before demo warning. Added autopilot basic mode to hold a rate of turn. Global plugin tropopause values are now read/writeable to plugins. Tropopause variables allows to squeeze or stretch the stratosphere depending on where the the troposphere actually begins. Tropopause altitude and troposphere temperature allow a much better weather depiction in non-mid latitudes (polar and tropical regions). New autopilot axis options: default to pitch or roll or none at all! Added wreck flag to Plane Maker. Engine screen in Plane-Maker: New field for thrust reverse area, for more accurate thrust reverser drag! Airfoils are now loaded whenever you load an aircraft, even if it is the same aircraft you already had open. This is in case you changed any airfoils in the background while X-Plane was still flying. Weapon systems improvements Weapons systems improved quite a bit, with some passable precision-guided weapons delivery now possible! WEAPON-SELECTION: Choose individual weapons or weapon type. The display is much better now, and clearly shows the selected weapon as flashing. CAMERA: There can be up to ONE camera on the airplane, which may be steered with a joystick! Simply get a SECOND joystick, and assign the axis to camera steering and zoom to steer and zoom the on-board camera! On-board camera is one of the instruments you can drop in the plane in Plane-Maker. GUN: Aircraft can have one gun. It MAY be steered, if desired, by joystick. Simply get a SECOND (or THIRD!) joystick, and assign the axis to gun/bomb steering to steer the gun! AIR TO AIR MISSILES: The [ and ] key target other airplanes for missile guidance. Up to 24 total weapons may be carried (some or all of which may be missiles) and a dataref will be provided to re-load the craft in flight if you ever want to re-stock in flight. UNGUIDED ROCKETS: For the unguided rockets, they live in a pod, invisible until fired, and up to 99,999 rockets may be stored in the pod. A dataref will be provided to re-load the craft in flight if you ever want to re-stock in flight. UNGUIDED BOMBS: Up to 24 total weapons may be carried (some or all of which may be bombs) and a dataref will be provided to re-load the craft in flight if you ever want to re-stock in flight. TV-GUIDED AIR TO GROUND GUIDED BOMBS AND MISSILES: TV-guided missiles require constant steering by the pilot with the mouse by dragging around the + icon on the camera… very very tricky to do… nearly impossible when flying an airplane or helo. AND I added something REALLY COOL: The GUN/BOMB STEERING ALSO steers the TV-guided bombs and rockets! If you have a joystick axis assigned to the gun/bomb steering, then it will steer the TV-guided bombs as well! LASER-GUIDED AIR TO GROUND BOMB: There will be a targeting reticle in the middle of the camera. Any laser-guided bomb will go for that target! GPS-GUIDED AIR TO GROUND GUIDED BOMBS AND MISSILES: There will be a targeting reticle in the middle of the camera. When a joystick button is pressed (joystick buttons screen, around the middle, labeled Target camera pointer in GPS) or command is sent in (sim/weapons/GPS_lock_here), whatever the targeting reticle was looking at at the moment is LOCKED IN as the GPS destination for future bombs and missiles! When desired, let them fly! Bug Fixes Fixed for Beta 1 We no longer nag the user about single engine planes pulling left if they aren’t in the C172 (XPD-6354). Fixing dout_line com radio problems. This refactors the way read-only and empty dout lines are handled to fix com radios and make things more readable (XPD-6268). Fix for hitting dev assert when you open-close-reopen the interaction recorder window. Disabled the floating windows’ popout button (XPD-6342). Changed layer order to prevent non-flush approach lights at KSAN 27 (XPD-6346). Instancing state could get borked if an obj’s LODs were not all the same instance-able. Stop inet listening on ALL modals. This fixes a bug where snap recall is called re-entrantly when the missing scenery modal is up due to a snap recall. Fixes bug where IOS hangs if no scenery at location of master machine. Collector takes object param – fixes broken PAPIs. Fix for infinite wait in crash reporter due to attempting to write to debug log. Fixed shading of local maps. Turned off auto-initialializing a flight once again. Fixed crash when showing non-instance light-only OBJs with collector. Fixed overlap in GPS (XPD-6179). Track previous state so assertions are valid. Fixes load of Carenado C90. After a custom light, ATTR_lit_level change need to be deferred, not immediate, because we don’t have a shader changed. Fixes crash in Carenado C90, and is faster too. Weather downloading not turned on when you only hit the button to SCAN weather. Fix for the way we jump straight into the sim (old way could give us a null texture). Restored functionality of “external visual tracks view” check box. Fixed uninited var that could cause seg fault on OS X. Do not let FM run before the plane is loaded – but DO let it run when the IOS is up. No more crash when you hit the scan real weather lots of times really fast. obj plot callback was ignoring model view changes, and thus obj culling wouldn’t work when transform was applied. Ground lights moved into collector to fix bug with black quads at LOWI in non-HDR mode Fix clipped generic instrument preview in PLN (XPD-6290). Fixed messed up wire frame in plane-maker (XPD-6287). If you’re running an authenticated demo download, we *always* pop up the nag to complete your install (XPD-6285). Fix for missing break, resulting in wrong error message when checking sim version. Fixed internet-output-disabled warning messages on the data output system when not called for. road bug fixes: Interpolation of Y when rebuilding roads is linear in world space, not parameter space. This prevents us from making S curves when we didn’t mean to. Clusters of ramps connected to other ramps on the ground are treated as draped – this makes ramp clusters look less silly. Fixed pointers to transient locals in dout, fixing a crash when we attempted to write to invalidated pointers (XPD-6271). Fix for crash caused by no-machine-ID alerts at an inopportune time (XPD-6277). We now go straight to the sim after the XDD grace period message, instead of showing a confusing “Authorization Successful” message (XPD-6264). A command received over network acted differently than a command received from a joystick. This fix solves the asymmetry and makes sure commands work the same regardless their origin being joystick or network. We no longer disable ATC when there is no FP and no AI planes. CMND packet handles third party commands and aliases too. Lat and long corrected in data output. Fix for global USB key not exiting the startup-time DRM modal dialog (XPD-6274). Uninitialized variable used (XPD-6302). Bug fixed where fuel flow on multi-engine planes was too low.make clicking in buy button for proj key work (XPD-6263). Fixed illegal access to geoid in threaded park proc. DRM visibly doesn’t request re-auth after 11 days when in grace period (XPD-6264). Modal windows aren’t visible (XPD-6260). Fixed broken lower right corner of round rect (XPD-6233). Click on the map to place an airplane on the IOS and it works properly. The glide-slope profile plot on the ios works for p==0 even if there are other planes as well. Fixed regional DRM. No more cockpit window coming up on IOS when a new airplane is loaded due to a situation file being chosen. Fail at speed, alt, and time all work when controlled by IOS. Now we see the word PAUSE on the master when paused on the IOS! Road bug fixes (XPD-6132, XPD-5313, XPD-5945). Fixed screwed up airplane starting. Fix for “can’t get MID” messages appearing on setups where the MID isn’t essential (XPD-6245). Fix for dev_assert caused by attempting to use the log system before it’s been initialized (XPD-6244). Arrows work immediately to control the camera after closing the map window with the return key (XPD-5145). Don’t dev assert on bind from worker thread -this is legal now (XPD-6236). We now use overcast clouds in our QFL storms (XPD-6175). Fix for self-tests that crash when you have custom commands defined (XPD-6162). ATC will not vector a go-around aircraft until it clears 400 feet AGL…this prevents it from encouraging the AI to make dangerous steep low turns (XPD-6115). Ramp starts had uninitialized data if we hit the “there are no ramp starts at all case.” More to come... ______________________________________________________________________ Stephen Dutton 17th June 2016 Copyright©X-Plane Reviews: X-PlaneReviews
  2. News! - X-Plane 10.40 goes Final! Yes Girls and Boys X-Plane is now up another version to 10.40 Final. Laminar Research has also released a Control Pad app with the release as noted here by Ben Supnik. X-Plane 10.40 and Control Pad now available"The latest update for X-Plane 10 is now available for all users. X-Plane 10.40 is a major release that includes a new DSF loader, ATC functionality, digital download, and multiple performance enhancements. Scenery updates to almost 500 airports, including major locales such as London Heathrow, Hong Kong, and Atlanta, are also included. Visit the briefing page for more information on the major features in X-Plane 10.40. Instructions for UpdatingTo update your copy of X-Plane, simply start the simulator and choose to update. It will automatically download and launch the latest installer. Free for X-Plane 10.40 Users: X-Plane Control PadIn addition, the new Control Pad app is now available as a free download in the Apple App Store. Control Pad allows you to control X-Plane dynamically without pausing or interrupting flight. You can change weather, position, and more with the app, or even use it as a portable instruction station to throw emergency situations into the mix." X-PlaneReviews have done a full review of the 10.40 version that breaks the version down and explains the details... Here: X-Plane Version 10.40 : What is New For the full minute details on the release then go here to the X-Plane Developers notes: X-Plane 10.40 Release Notes Details of the release of the Control Pad App are here: News! - Control Pad App Stephen Dutton 1st October 2015 Copyright©2015:X-PlaneReviews
  3. X-Plane Version 10.40 X-Plane has passed another milestone in the release of X-Plane Version 10.40 from Laminar Research. In this article we are going to explore what was part of the release and the changes that are relevant to the simulator. First Impressions As with any new X-Plane Version release, there are usually a swirl of rumors and favorite items that users aspire to be incorporated in the simulator and v10.40 was of no exception. So first impressions are not to be the start and end all of the items that made the list. Nothing is concrete till the final version is actually released, but in v10.40's case it was a little more on the actual surface but a lot was actually done deeper down, so in that case with v10.40 the so called "Banner" items were quite small and noted as "just a few". But didn't mean that v10.40 was just an average upgrade because it isn't, as it is quite significant and certainly has made a decent change to X-Plane. We may get with current version releases the less dramatic in your face changes and features, but that does come with an actual upside of the fact that the version releases are more polished and have had more backroom testing and fine tuning than the past releases of putting it out there and sailing into usually a storm of bugs, user torment and computer crashes. If v10.40 was noteworthy it was in the fact it is very well refined (v10.30 was very smooth as well) and certainly in its most biggest change in the introduction of extended visual viewpoints. No matter what changes where completed or mostly the ones that were not actively incorporated into this version, my general reasoning is that they were simply not good enough or refined enough to make the cut, and there is still more work needed to refine them to the expected quality we expect, these items will also need to be addressed before X-Plane10 has done its run and before X-Plane11 will see any light of day. In other words the features noted on the X-Plane10 release will all have to be completed to the standard required before there is any chance of a new X-Plane version serial change and that will still have to include the ATC and Weather (clouds) that are still in need of more development to achieve the original set goals of X-Plane10. So a few more Beta X-Plane versions are still going to be required to meet those goals, but I always noted that X-Plane10 will be a long development phase anyway, so I still doubt any new serial version before at least 2017. Banner Changes. The headline acts in v10.40 are: Digital Download; Now you can purchase a key from Laminar Research to do a digital download "X-Plane 10 Global" of the simulator which is the same price (currently US59.95) as is the still continued boxed DVD set. The release price covers the current v10.XX run. The digital download sounds like a better deal, but in reality it can come out a bit more expensive and time consuming than the current DVD installing system. That depends on your internet connection and download speeds, because if you want the full scenery install it means you will have to do a download cost of the 60GB+ in scenery mesh over your modem, you however don't have to download all the scenery in one go, but on an as need to install basis. But you will need to download a basic starter set of scenery to fly in X-Plane. But that is still a heavy download unless you have a cheap, fast and wide broadband pipe. Certainly this is the future of X-Plane in how you access the simulator and so boards well for updates including scenery mesh as that was in the past only accessible via the DVD disk loading system that was then restricted to only serial X-Plane version changes. Extended DSF; This is the most visual change to X-Plane in that X-Plane can now load more 4x3 DSF (distribution scenery format) tiles than before. It is known as "Extended DSF Scenery" and you can select the feature by selecting the tickbox in your "Render Options" menu panel. The visual line in scenery was around 12,500ft, and under that altitude you could be within the older DSF tile visual range (with the horizon haze switched on), go higher and it was not very nice if quite average and certainly from altitudes of 35,000ft it became down right ugly. 12,500ft Non-Extended Scenery haze off (original) 12,500ft Non-Extended Scenery haze on (original) 35,000ft Non-Extended Scenery haze off (original) 35,000ft Non-Extended Scenery haze on (original) The boundary line between the high-resolution texture mesh tiles and the more weaker Earth Orbit Textures were highly noticeable, jaggy and the haze had to cover a significant area to cover the joins, in other words it wasn't very pretty. The tile size of the area is now expanded out significantly from the original loading and here it is expanded to such an extent, it easily now covers the whole width of the Florida peninsula. From the air it looks significantly different. At 12,500ft with the haze off you cannot see the boundary line (only just if you want to really be really picky) Put the haze selection on and the difference is small, so the feature has little work or any to blur the textures to the sky. In other words for General Aviation flying the "extended Scenery" feature, is absolutely perfect, with horizon to horizon high-resolution textures. At 35,000ft with the haze off (left image) you can still see the boundary join, but it is much further away in the distance, not quite perfect. But with the haze switched on, then it is at least very much more acceptable a view for this altitude, and remember this is in totally clear conditions and any slight cloud cover will make the view authentic, and also the fog line on the horizon has also had a little refining and that is noticeable. You can't really stretch the high-resolution mesh tiles any more than this without getting a significant hit on your frame-rate. So any more enhancements on this area would have to come from the Orbital Textures. So what did this enhancement cost to your frame-rate, personally to my system it was very little and with only 9gb of memory I use an average of 5gb of memory in normal conditions with no Hi-Res textures loaded. So turning off the "extended Scenery" does not not give me a significant boost in performance like I expected it would and my frame-rate numbers are not that much different than my original 10.36 settings. So that shows how much time and effort has gone into this feature to make it perform extremely well across the board. One change to help in this efficiency is that the loading of the tile mesh in your computer is now "multicore". No doubt different machines will interpret the feature (and on how many cores you have available) in slightly different ways, but overall the "extended Scenery" is a huge step forward for the simulator and in my mind one of the very real turnoffs for new users was X-Plane in not delivering quality viewpoints from the aircraft, and certainly for the long route-high flyers they will finally have the quality vista scenery well worth looking at from behind the controls. Video; Video is back! Yes you can again record all your bad flying habits again. Quicktime is out and that has been replaced by a AVI system. As a mac user I don't like avi but the windows users will accept it better than me, personally I don't care if only it is far more efficient than the old system and any video is nice to have... I missed it badly, but it is also 32 or 64-bit and multi-core which sounds promising. Sound is still missing though so a third party application is needed for that. You can set the seconds per frame, a time lapse, resolution of the video in pixels and quality. There is also a choice to select background recording. Laminar Research note that if you have a slow computer or are near (or under) the frame-rate threshold. Then the best way to record clean video is via the replay option, in this way when you record from the replay the actual playback is in the correct frame-rate speed and the video capture will be much better and have no or very little effect on recording a clean video (note the playback bar and controls will not show in the recorded video replay). The video and screenshot creations have been moved over to the "Output" folder and out of the mainstream X-Plane (root) folder. As I can create 250 or more images a review, it is great to see the images not overwhelming out the main X-Plane folder, and then finding it hard to look for even the basic X-Plane folders and applications. Preset Rendering options; You now have new five preset rendering options on the Rendering Options menu, replacing the old "Set all rendering options for maximum speed!" Settings include - Set to Extreme, High, Medium, Low and Minimum. Certainly aimed at new users and for a quick change in settings... But it is really totally useless for everyone else. I checked them all and they don't come even close to my most efficient settings? I would have personally liked a saver preference system were you can save certain snapshot render settings for certain circumstances for a quick change, wasted opportunity really. Startup changes; If you crash to the desktop (CTD), you will not now get that alert box that asks you if you want to reset your rendering settings (you can hold down the "Shift" key if you want the Alert box back) so the safe mode is now an option. It certainly speeds up getting back up to speed after a crash. In reality this change is because the safe mode is out of date now, and not really required. Because "multicore" mesh loading now starts from early startup, the loading times are quicker (but not by a noticeable amount for the full load procedure) but it is still quicker. The startup menu has been speeded up, so loading and selection is faster. And the ICAO list is not pre-typed into the airport list in the selection box which gives you a large list of airport selection available. The lettering on the definition of the position of the aircraft's state on startup has changed from "start each flight with engines running" to "start each flight cold and dark" just a name change really, but I asked for this option on the "Startup Menu" but it was declined. Another item has also been changed to the "Startup" page is the rewording of your "saving" of preferences, from the simple "Save Preferences" to "discard changes to preferences". Isn't that the same thing... but the other way round?. But the idea is that if have your perfect settings and X-Plane is running like a humming bird, you don't want it changed and to keep those settings every time you start up. With saving your preferences there is always the chance you could overwrite your perfect settings just for the sake of it. Of course any changes you make are not recorded. It would be a nice option that you can have a choice in what Preferences you can save like the "X-Plane Keys" or "X-Plane Screen Res" without overwriting the well set main "X-Plane.prf". ATC; We were expecting a total overhaul of the ATC in X-Plane in 10.40, but that didn't come out in this version. But there has been a few good if certainly positive refinements. There is a new ATC controllers pop-up window which is located in the "X-Plane/Special Menu. It shows you your nearest Air Traffic Controllers and their Com frequency, if you click on the frequency it will be auto-tuned into the aircraft, which is extremely handy when juggling frequencies when being prompted by the controller. The significance of this is not the actual pop-up window or what it does, but in the new X-Plane interface which is very different from the usual panels of X-Plane past. It looks a little out of place at this point, but it points to a newer more modern style of XP interface in the future and as announced at FSConn this (northern summer) a totally new Menu system is noted as "top priority" by Laminar Research. You can now turn off those taxiway guide arrows if you don't want them in the settings menu panel. I didn't mind them actually, but it was when they didn't work that drove me crazy... One major change that can significantly make the ATC more user friendly is the "reply" mode in which you can now just double click (the return key) to reply to the ATC instruction. This before was a major distraction when you had to manoeuvre your mouse over the reply to activate it, once is fine, but over many replies it became a logistical problem (and a bad distraction) when flying the aircraft. Fixed, and a welcome relief. If you use your arrow keys in the ATC window no they will now no longer move camera (view). The "you are still off course" is still in there to still drive you to mental distraction, but I found it less unforgiving and more relaxing than in the past, but certainly the ATC in v10.40 is far more user-friendly than it was in the past Windshear - Winds Aloft!; X-Plane METAR downloads will now read winds aloft data for high altitude wind data... but only if you are flying over the United States, it doesn't work anywhere else. But I found this actually worked high over Australia at 35,000ft and I suddenly had 80knt headwinds that stood the A330 almost to a stop in a moment, unnerving. You can now regenerate the weather from a "keyboard/Joystick" command, and the “sim/operation/regen_weather” action is now available to re-generate all weather. Windshear can give pilot's shivers, and that function is now also available. METAR now sets clear layers lower when the weather is all-clear, and this improves your upper level visibility when using real weather. The "Winds-Aloft" has been added to the main startup window. Throttle Beta; The PT-6 Beta throttle idle function is now activated and has created some strange results around the different aircraft, It works in the actions of pull back from idle (prop pitch decreasing, engine still at idle) then pull back again to another selection to get into the REVERSE mode (prop pitch decreasing more, engine power increasing) for reverse thrust. This system can and does mess up the "Reverse Thrust" and "Full Reverse Thrust' actions. If the developer has taken the beta idle function into account it works very well, and that notch on your add-on throttle now has the correct function, but the throttle up area is reduced. But in many cases I found myself toggling between the "Reverse Thrust" and "Full Reverse Thrust' selections to find one that works correctly if the aircraft has not been updated or adjusted, in the FlyJSim Q400 there is no action at all or reverse thrust. The backup manual throttle control does also now not over-ride the governor. X-Plane usage information; X-Plane can now collect anonymous X-Plane usage information. There is a new checkbox in Operations & Warnings window to allow Laminar Research to collect anonymous usage data on your system configuration and X-Plane usage patterns. You can opt out of course, but collectively it may be interesting to see how and why we use the simulator. Rescan; There is now a new button the "Aircraft" selection menu, that will rescan an aircraft file. This function allows you to modify an aircraft while the simulator is running and reset the aircraft to restart the updated file. A great function, and handy for developers. It would be nice to have the same function for scenery, so if you drop in a new scenery into the custom scenery folder you don't have to shutdown to the desktop and restart the simulator again to access it... Global Airports; The global Airport folder is still growing at a massive rate. In 10.40 another 776 total more airports are available as default, that comes to a total of 1730 new batches of scenery (well done everyone) overall. As noted X-Plane is now getting a solid user base of scenery. But I have found that I am pulling the "Global Airports" out of the custom scenery folder more and more as they interfere with the heavier payware and larger freeware airports. If I am going from point to point between two large payware airports then I want to arrive at the quality airport and not one with double airbridges and two control towers. Although Laminar Research note it is the responsibility of the Payware/Freeware developer to make sure it does not happen, but I have found more and more lately it is not doing so, and so devaluing the idea in v10.40. Swapping art assets; A small but again significant change in v10.40 is that Library art assets can now be swapped based on datarefs. This can be used to make seasonal texture add-ons change in the sim. In other words you can now have winter textures change to summer textures without actually going into the resources folders and changing them physically over. The results from this change is not noticeable yet, but the code to do so is now in the simulator for third party developers to use... it will be very interesting of where it will go. GPS Improvements; There has been a few more refinements with the GNS 430/530 innards. GNS 430/530 now allows disabling the automatic ILS CDI switching and now by default, the CDI will blend in the ILS signal smoothly beginning 2nm downwind of the final approach fix when the cross track error is 1.2nm or less. When the ILS signal gain is maximal, the CDI indication will change to VLOC and the changeover can now always be over-ridden by manually selecting the CDI to VLOC. There is an automated changeover that can be configured off for training operations in the NAV menu, along with the map options and the settings are remembered in the per-airplane settings file, like the map settings. Aircraft Improvements and changes; Overall there has not been a huge amount of changes in aircraft systems in this v10.40. Mostly they have been over forgotten items (some even over a decade!) and mostly the items are refinements. Items include the bus voltages that now ignite properly at flight start, This will keep systems from reporting a no-volt for the first frame. Hobbs time is now tracked with an aircraft that has a working Hobbs meter that notes the total hours flown. Most Hobbs meters shown in X-Plane are usually fake, now they will work. In Plane-Maker If the type of file (airfoil, aircraft, etc) is the same as the last time you did a file-open, the path and folder to that file is left in place. This means that if you are selecting 50 afl files for your airplane, you do not have to navigate right through UI every time down to the same folder, which is real time saver. And Plane Maker no longer crashes if you zero-out wing chord multipliers. A new feature is that 2-d windshield effects can be disabled in the rendering options screen, checking this box causes all 2-d window effects, like rain and bird-strikes can now be bypassed. For people with projector screens, collumated displays or any displays for which the 2-d effects are annoying, they can now be turned off. Thermometer and fuel indicator failure now functional! These failures were initially designed for the g1000 only, but now I have them working for all instruments And better compressor-stall modeling. This is based on observation of compressor stall dynamics in a level-D sim. The new “automagic” rudder code was tried but then removed. This code tried to manage the rudder for you if (and only if) you don’t have a rudder axis installed. Instead Laminar Research tightened up the ground steering. Glider tow; The glider-tow feature has had a few changes in being re-organized internally, Were as the glider tow had a bug in it where the forces for the first frame of the glider tow were wrong, due to the towplane location not being ready. The tow cable is now black instead of grey to make it easier to see, and for hoist users, the slung load code also had a bug in it where any cable length less than 1 meter did not compute the loads properly, due to a /0 protection… It has been lowered now to a 1-centimeter minimum cable length. And not forgetting the feature that we all wanted in.... there is now the "animated" feet to the birds! Frame-Rate and simulator rendering efficiency; With every new X-Plane version the main focus is always on how the changes will effect your computer and its frame-rate processing. There has actually been a lot of refinements in v10.40 and considering the amount of changes the overall efficiency compared to v10.36 is very good. As noted the extended mesh scenery did not cause any major drop in frame-rate, which was forecasted to be quite hard on your memory and processing power, but that turned out to be only a whimper and not a loud bang of pain. The first beta's were amazingly good and fast in efficiency, but it all went a little sad and rough around beta 4. and continued like that till it all came back to greatness around beta 11, which shows you have to wait until the beta run is completed before making your strong assumptions. Although the actual default/autogen scenery has not had any attention in v10.40, the way they are laid out has certainly been refined. The "Rendering Options" panel settings for "Texture Resolutions", "Stuff to draw" positions have been moved significantly upwards, in that a lesser setting will now draw more out on your screen. But I found my usual default settings moved in reverse in the in v10.36. There I could run out a lot of "Stuff to Draw" but very little of the expanded "World detail distance". Now I have a reverse situation in that I can set my "World detail distance" to almost maximum (very nice) but the "Stuff to Draw" to no more than "a lot", and in good conditions maybe one more setting upwards. My antialiasing setting is now halved from x8 to x4 with the same quality. 10.36 settings are on the left and 10.40 settings are on the right, but my frame-rate is very close at 22frames each... and that is with the extended scenery switched on, so that is a good refined performance from the new version. There is no doubt with these changes that the difference in between HDR (High Dynamic Range) mode on and HDR off is now significantly narrowed in using up your frame-rate quota. HDR on is now highly usable even with an average processing computer, but it comes with a bit of a hidden bite. In the HDR settings, then "none" is now quite jaggy on the antialiasing, but that should be its real setting anyway. In FXAA mode, you still get a lot of jaggies, however still it is quite an average antialiasing resolution... the next is 2 x SSAA+FAAA and that is perfect basic antialiasing, but the gap between FXAA and 2 x SSAA+FAAA is wider than the Grand Canyon and that cancels out any benefits you have gained, so in reality "None" and FXAA are too low and poor visually and the 2 x SSAA+FAAA and lower settings are all too high to be of a real visual benefit? So the only gain is that you can have your HDR on with better frame-rate, but only at night or have poor visuals. If a better HDR mode setting was set between FXAA and 2 x SSAA+FAAA or one or the other of the settings were refined better to fill in the gap then you could have your HDR rendering and eat it as well with a better visual antialiasing. A side note on the HDR is that the lighting (aircraft lights, airfield lighting) have been made brighter and larger in v10.40. Earlier beta versions were horrible glops of light, but in the final beta's the lighting was much better and refined. Overall though the simulator rendering efficiency is improved and refined in v10.40, and only area that can create a significant frame-rate pull down is still the weather and the clouds, dark clouds can still be a real frame-rate killer, for anything but for users that have powerful computers to over-ride the sheer number crunching required. One area in clouds that was however refined in v10.40 was the grey out transparency, in that in the lighter shades the grey out is more realistic and viewable. I do highly recommend to do a bit of housekeeping and clean out your preferences and start v10.40 clean and reset, it can make a difference to your frame-rate and to the overall smoother running of your simulator. Steam users will be able to update to v10.40 via Steam (Steam users can not participate in X-Plane beta development) You can't cover every single aspect of a serial X-Plane version release as the changes and bug fixing are far too many to list. So you can only cover the highlights and the changes. For the full complete list of the beta run then go to the X-Plane 10.40 Release Notes provided by Laminar Research. To keep up to date on any developments of the X-Plane Simulator then go to Laminar Research's "X-Plane Development" blog that can usually explain significant areas and future changes to the X-Plane Simulator. Stephen Dutton 18th September 2015 Copyright©2015:X-PlaneReviews
  4. News! - X-Plane 10.40 now on Steam Laminar Research have announced that the latest X-Plane version 10.40 is now available for update on Steam. This is ver RC3 of 10.40, but note it is not Final, but in reality it is a given that RC3 or RC4 will be the "Final" release version. Steam users: to try the release candidate, you’ll need to go to the “properties” of X-Plane (in the steam client) and opt in to betas. A note to Steam users is that if you buy the "Full" X-Plane10 package you can participate in beta development... You can buy the "Full" version here at the X-Plane.Org Store here : X-Plane 10 X-Plane 10 + Global Scenery Price:US$59.99 Stephen Dutton 23rd September 2015 Copyright©2015: X-PlaneReviews
  5. News! - Laminar Research releases X-Plane Control Pad Out of the blue Laminar Research have released an X-Plane Control Pad to change your X-Plane menu settings while still running the simulator! Details from Austin Meyer... I have recently found the X-Plane interface to be slow, cumbersome, and distracting. And, no matter how good I ever make the X-Plane interface, we STILL have to STOP the simulation to change the weather, time of day, selected aircraft or location, etc. This is quite simply because we have to bring up a window that stops all the action to change anything in X-Plane! And, once we have invoked the new window, we have to creep around a bunch of tiny boxes with the mouse to see what we want to change! Annoying. But what if we could blow right past all that and have a lightning-fast touch-screen interface to set up X-Plane WHILE IT IS STILL RUNNING? I envisioned something like the interface in Minority Report, where we could rapidly touch, grab, and zoom about to get to whatever we want, instantly, while the action we are controlling is never slowed down at all. And the way to do this is obviously with an iPad or iPhone that runs WHILE X-Plane is running, so anyone (either you or an instructor!) that likes can adjust all manner of weather, weight and balance, failures, etc, all WHILE X-Plane is running, WITHOUT stopping or even slowing down the flight! And just to add the last level of craziness, I added a little AI instructor that lives inside the App that can set weight and balance and weather and failures for you, so you have a little AI instructor demonically failing systems and setting weather in flight, all without your knowledge, to maximize the challenge in flight in X-Plane… all WITHOUT slowing or pausing the flight to fiddle with various settings in X-Plane itself, since this is all done on your iPad or iPhone, which is connected to your copy of X-Plane for Mac, Windows, or Linux by WIFI. So, I am thrilled with "X-Plane Control Pad”, because it is simply so lightning-fast, light-weight, user-friendly, and still capable.. all much quicker and easier than the current X-Plane interface, which is always bound to stop the action whenever you want to consider changing anything. Anyway, give it a try and let me know how it goes… this actually lets you set up X-Plane like a multi-million dollar flight training sim, where they use touch-screen interfaces to control each element of the simulation while the the flight simulator itself never stops! Multi-million dollar power for $19.99 on an iPad or iPhone: That is one of the amazing things about this wave of technology! The App is available on the iTunes Store now for iPhone and iPad itunes Details iPhone/iPad Images and text courtesy of Laminar Research Stephen Dutton 16th August 2015 Copyright©2015: X-PlaneReviews
  6. News! - Laminar Research releases beta 8 Beta 8 is out to replace the average Beta 7. I was simulating along and soon it was apparent that the beta(7) was not good, not good at all in a bit of a mess. So it was canned and the work continued in 10.36 (All reviews are still done in 10.36 stable, but testing is also done in the beta) Out with the old and in with the better... notes are. Fixes for Beta 8 Fixed DRM for Windows users that were asked for their product key repeatedly. File a bug if this is not fixed for you.Fixed scenery clipping at 300,000 feet.QPAC A320 now resets correctly.Fixed EHLE tower frequency in default apt.dat.AI controls small planes better.Extended DSFs now load at sim start up.Demo region now uses extended DSFs.Livery options are back in Plane Maker.Re-scan button added when choosing a plane.Text-to-speech ATIS works with all frequencies.Windows text-to-speech ATIS uses US-English regardless of system language.Panel instruments are back to correct locations.Using METAR weather works again.Better warning messages when using old situations files.Aurora borealis option only displays between 45 & 60 degrees north.Black line removed in air refueling scenarios.Using arrow keys in local map scrolls as in planet map.Flight Factor CDU/autopilot works again.Run the installer and have the beta checkbox ticked to update to 10.40b6 (Steam users cannot update betas). X-Plane Developers Blog : http://developer.x-plane.com/ Stephen Dutton X-Plane Reviews : 14th August 2015
  7. News! - Digital download is available for X-Plane Now you can download the full X-Plane simulator online. Not required anymore is the DVD pack and to insert a DVD (Disk 1) or USB - Unlock key to run the simulator. The digital download is the same app as the DVD version… it just comes with a unlock-CODE (product key number) instead of an unlock-DISC. The X-Plane Simulator software is available Mac, Windows, and Linux. X-Plane will still cost the same at US$59.99 same as the DVD package but less the postage costs. But you have to factor in the download cost of the 60GB download of the default mesh scenery, you however don't have to download the scenery in one go, but on an as need to install basis. But you will need to download a basic starter set of scenery to fly in X-Plane. You can use your digital download product key to add scenery to X-Plane at any time by re-running the installer, picking “Add and Remove Scenery” and entering your digital download product key; you will need an internet connection to get additional scenery from the Laminar Research server. If you already use X-Plane10, you can get the product key number to replace the DVD and USB lock codes, which makes X-Plane10 easier to use without lugging around a disk drive or having a USB clogging up a slot. Full information here : X-Plane Digital Download Stephen Dutton Copyright : 22nd July 2015 X-Plane Reviews
  8. Laminar Research releases beta 10.40b6 Beta 10.40b6 is now available on your X-Plane Installers. The beta 10.40b6 is not really a beta update at all except for a few small fixes (below), but an update to allow the new X-Plane Digital Download to be active in the simulator. 10.40b6 notes are: Fixes for Beta 6 Screen saver disabled on Linux – user contributed code.Restored exporting parts as objects one-at-a-time in Plane-Maker.Improved time to load Quick Flight dialog box.Removed bogus OpenGL driver warnings on OS X that were scaring users.Run the installer and have the beta checkbox ticked to update to 10.40b6 (Steam users cannot update betas). X-Plane Developers Blog : http://developer.x-plane.com/ X-Plane Reviews : 21st July 2015
  9. Laminar Research : New approach-capable GPS navigator in X-Plane 10.30 One of the biggest items in common use on the X-Plane simulator is the Garmin GNS430 instrument. But only it wasn't really useful. Overall it was just really used to cover the VOR 1 and VOR 2 functions and that was about the length of its usefulness. That will all change with the coming 10.30beta. Philipp Munzel (of FlightFactor fame) has updated this very important instrument to its rightful position of the main navigation tool in most Small and General Aviation aircraft. The results are simply fantastic. To note Philipp: "X-Plane has been lacking a decent navigation solution for general aviation aircraft for a long time. The built-in GNS430 instrument could only do direct-to navigation and not use X-Plane’s FMS plans, making long IFR flights inconvenient. In X-Plane 10.30 we are introducing a new generation of the X-Plane 430 GPS navigator, modeled more closely after the Garmin 430W that is very popular in general aviation aircraft. The 430W is a popular aftermarket GPS replacement in many older general aviation aircraft, because it is approved for WAAS approaches and thus an easy upgrade to allow flying instrument approaches at lots of smaller airports without ILS." Philipp goes on to note the functions of the new Garmin instrument: The new X-Plane unit can create and fly multi-leg flightplans in addition to the direct-to function: You can create directs or flight plans using a worldwide database of airports, fixes and navaids: Loading or saving the route works using the X-Plane FMS format. Many online services for virtual flight planning are compatible with that: You can then navigate along your flight plan using one of different map views that provide situational awareness: While flying under VFR, stay alert to any Bravo, Charlie, Delta or special use airspace in the United states (open database, user-expandable): You will be warned when you are about to violate an airspace: using the nearest airport function you always know your nearest alternatives for landing (though we all know X-Avion does a much better job at that!) With a little help from your friend, knowing when to start your descend becomes easy: Before landing, always know who to call: For IFR approaches, load precision and non-precision approaches from a world-wide, updatable database: Review approach transitions and initial approach fixes: and then load any approach and transition into your flight plan: Under ATC (read: when flying online) the vector-to-final function will often be used instead of a transition: The X-Plane 430 is there to help you stay alert to common errors in approach navigation: The GPS is capable of flying non-precision GPS-approaches with a localizer-like guidance and varying CDI sensitivity: If you don’t see the runway at the minimum descend altitude, continue to the missed approach point and the flight plan sequencing will go into suspend. At the missed approach point, if you still don’t see the runway, begin your missed approach: If you don’t see the runway at the minimum descend altitude, continue to the missed approach point and the flight plan sequencing will go into suspend. At the missed approach point, if you still don’t see the runway, begin your missed approach: The new GNS430 is a drop-in replacement for the old one, so every X-Plane aircraft equipped with the GNS430 automagically becomes more IFR-capable with the 10.30 update. We also provide an additional instrument in style of the bigger GNS530, that designers can use in their aircraft starting with Plane-Maker 10.30. It also allows for dual installations that can either use separate flight plans or cross-fill. "The interaction of the GPS with the rest of the panel, especially the CDI and the autopilot, has been improved, offering a few more options for aircraft designers. Two additional posts explaining the new options in Plane-Maker will follow shortly. The database from which approaches are loaded is provided by Aerosoft. A current database will be provided once with X-Plane 10.30, and further updates will be available on a subscription basis. You might have noticed stupid COM frequencies in some screenshots. This is not a bug, but a feature: X-Plane 10.30 supports 8.33kHz channel spacing, that is now mandatory in the European upper airspace and will become more important over the next few years. This does not cover all functions of the real unit, but it covers what the pilot absolutely needs every day." (Philipp Munzul) (All of above in text and images are courtesy of Laminar Research) So not only do you get a hugely significantly upgraded Garmin GNS430, but the GNS530 version as well with the same features. No doubt this new feature will have a significant effect on our X-Plane simulation flying capablities and brings the smaller avionic suites up into the world of the larger FMS systems that have come into the cockpits of the heavies. Excited... Yes I am, and I can't wait to try all of these new Garmin systems out... Of course X-Plane Reviews will review the whole system when 10.30beta is released. For more information go to the Laminar Research Development Blog. Stephen Dutton 30th March 2014 Copyright©2014 : X-Plane Reviews
  10. Laminar Research have released a new beta cycle in 10.25. If you wish to participate in the beta process then go to your X-Plane installer and press the "beta" checkbox. If you wish to dis-continue using the beta (10.25) you can uncheck the box and rerun the installer to go back to 10.20 (Final). 10.25 is a huge download (1.3gb) with all those submitted (over 250) airports. However it is full of "New Stuff" that marks the advancement of the X-Plane simulator with new urban bases (wet climes only at this point) and the natural terrains have been completely revised and now also represent tropical, subtropical and other landclasses. These urban bases will finally start to cover the "Green" lawn effect. The ones we have now were just a stop gap measure (that worked to a point). but were still very basic in their effect. The main library has also had art and texture updates for more stable (and efficient) rendering of library objects. And the library (with WED 1.2.1) has been simpified. The full Beta release comments are here : 10.25 Beta 1 I X-Plane The full list of the 10.25 beta is here below and the address of X-Plane Beta page : Beta - X-Plane Wiki X-Plane 10.25 Beta 1 updates a number of the art assets in X-Plane, and also ships a few bug fixes. New Stuff: This update contains 3-d buildings for over 250 airports, contributed by the X-Plane community. This is our first update to ship community-built airports using the X-Plane 10 airport building library. We will continue to ship updates to these airports as more contributions come in. A large number of natural terrains are updated. There are 103 new textures (+30%), which now represent tropical, partly subtropical and many other landclasses entirely new. This comes along with a great number of improved, enlarged or changed former textures. V10 has now a consistent look around the globe. New urban base terrain for wet climates. We are working on dry climates and may have them for a future beta, but for the wet climates this should make a nice improvement in views of cities from the air. Airport library and art decals have texture updates. The default libraries have paths marked as deprecated or private where appropriate; when using WED 1.2.1 beta 1, old and private library paths are hidden, simplifying the library. Bug fixes: Fixed network data output to ForeFlight. Fixed scroll wheel operation on Windows. Fixed ACF panel import in Plane-Maker. Datarefs: New datarefs to control the aircraft carrier and frigate with an override. Cinema verite can be set by dataref. Read-only access to whether HDR is on. I will add more notes to this post when I have ran the beta. 18th October 2013
  11. Laminar Research have released a beta for World EDitor in version 1.2.1 b1. It is noted as a "bug patch", however it is more focused on usability. Details: Locked and hidden items don’t cause clicks to select their parents. The interior of an airport boundary is not selectable – it never should have been. The marquee tool will never select the “world” entry on the hierarchy. The click hot spots of handles don’t shrink at low zoom – they were doing that before, which made clicking hard. The 1.2.1 has also the revised library items ready for beta 10.25 (Noted as coming "real soon now") and the submissions of "Global Airports" to Robin Peel. Ben Supnik noted in The Library: Public, Private and Deprecated that the current WED library system "is a big cluttered mess and it makes it hard to find and use art assets properly." So there is a need for a better filtering system. Currently Ben has three categories for art assets: Public. This is the stuff you should be using to make scenery packs. The lego airport bricks are all public. Private. This is stuff we meant to use as sub-parts of other art assets; they really should not have been exposed in the library. (The right thing to do is to use the parent art asset.) Often the private sub-parts contain fractions of a complete art asset and don’t make any sense on their own. Deprecated. This is stuff that used to be public, but now isn’t a good idea to use. Often the deprecated art assets contain empty stub objects, in place only to keep old scenery packs from crashing. For example, there are actually library paths for X-Plane 7 ENV radio towers – these would be marked as deprecated. These categories are for WED remember and not for X-Plane in private art assets, any private art assets will still work just as well under 10.25 as it did under 10.20. The goal here is to filter the library to find "the good stuff faster" and "not use internals and old stuff by accident" in WorldEditor. So with 1.2.1 it will filter out the private and deprecated library items, and make the library display a lot cleaner and more easier to use. Any bugs in the 1.2.1 beta should be of course reported quickly. For the full post then go to the: X-Plane Developers Blog : WorldEditor 1.2.1 Beta 1 – Ease of Use (for Robin too) WED Downloads are here : WorldEditor I X-Plane Developer Stephen Dutton 12th October 2013
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