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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. Beta Update - Released! X-Plane beta 10.40b7 Laminar Research has released beta 10.40b7. So run your updaters! (Steam users cannot upgrade till 10.40 goes final). This is mostly a bug killer download covering video, weather (mostly METAR and high winds), ATC refinements and note the "OS X anti-aliasing was running at 1/2 the selected setting when 4x or higher anti-aliasing was selected. If you liked how your sim looked and don’t want to lose frame-rate, cut your AA setting down" as mostly the AA was not working efficiently well enough unless you were in 8x, so set your setting lower now. And that Nvidia artifact render issue has also been addressed... Here is the details courtesy of the Laminar Research Developer blog Fixes for Beta 7 Metar wind headings now interpreted as true degreesRecorded AVI movies can now be opened on OS XReferences to QuickTime movies in UI changed to AVIs.Fixed crash on start with old Intel GPU drivers on Windows.Fixed sim going into demo mode after a valid product key is entered.Worked around rendering artifacts on Nvidia GPUs in HDR mode with clouds and shadows.OS X anti-aliasing was running at 1/2 the selected setting when 4x or higher anti-aliasing was selected. If you liked how your sim looked and don’t want to lose frame-rate, cut your AA setting down.Grass runways blend with terrain better.Fixed longitude tracking and clicking on the planet map.On startup, QuickFlight screen does not have ICAO pre-typed into airport list, so the entire airport list is visible.ILS and VOR visible on carrier in local map.Fixed erroneous 99 in middle of default apt.dat fileFixed authenticating product keys on Windows when user’s login name has non-ASCII charactersFixed hard crash when loading seriously damaged OBJ8 files – errors are now safely logged.Data output range and distance now reflect ground speed – if you use these for theoretical airplane performance measurements, set calm winds.ATC Who’s Online window always show a name next to a frequency – no more blanksATC Who’s Online window: If a single controller can be contacted on multiple freqs, we only “recommend” (with an asterisk) the first freq.ATC Who’s Online window updates now occur once/second (not once every 10 seconds)Fixed LSND UDP messageFixed handling of flooding VEH1 UDP messagesFixed French translationsOrdnance menu removed for aircraft that do not have ordnanceReplays include slats. Note that this means you cannot mix and match X-Plane 10.40b7 with X-Plane 10.36 for situations or multiplayer.Ridge lift lowered to about 1,000 ft or so, as it apparently is in realityFixed crash taxiway has blank name with no trailing space in apt.datTime of day tracks properly in replaysMETAR sets clear layers lower when the weather is all-clear. This improves upper level visibility when using real weather.Fixed text outside box in Plane-MakerFixed lightning strikes shooting between cirrus cloud layersEngine air density effects now applied to after-burners, which were too powerful before at high altitude.Pressure altitude offset changed from 1,000 feet per inch HG, which it has been wrongly set to for 20 years, to 915 ft per inch hg, which it should have been all alongX-Plane no longer uses port 49002Fixed zoom on ACF in local mapCloud puff types seeded so visuals match master machineGlider beeping noise no longer persists when other airplanes loadedStephen Dutton 6th August 2015 Copyright©2015 X-PlaneReviews
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