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X-Plane 11.50 Flight Simulator Bringing Vulkan Support

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  • X-Plane 11.50 Flight Simulator Bringing Vulkan Support

    Phoronix: X-Plane 11.50 Flight Simulator Bringing Vulkan Support

    For years we have been looking forward to the realistic X-Plane flight simulator rendered by Vulkan as an alternative to their long-standing OpenGL render and with X-Plane 11.50 that is finally being made a reality...

    http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?pag....50-Has-Vulkan

  • #2
    I don't understand why everyone isn't flocking to vulkan. GPU support goes back 7-8 years currently and while the API is different, Unity and Unreal Engine both support it. In addition, if custom engines were designed properly, it should just be a matter of implementing an interface.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by betam4x View Post
      I don't understand why everyone isn't flocking to vulkan. GPU support goes back 7-8 years currently and while the API is different, Unity and Unreal Engine both support it. In addition, if custom engines were designed properly, it should just be a matter of implementing an interface.
      It's pretty simple: Vulkan is much harder, because the game developer has to take over many tasks that were previously done by the GPU driver.

      Some engines like Unity and UE4 support Vulkan, but the benefits seem to be more limited (possibly due to the abstraction done in the engine to allow for different renders), hence the lack of motivation for the devs to go that way.
      Let me quote Stefano Casillo from Kunos Simulazioni (Assetto Corsa lead dev):
      exactly.. they are very very thin drivers, the game dev is writing the driver now

      Vulkan has a very nice story with Doom, where the performance gains are spectacular. UE4 on the other side doesn't seem to offer many gains by running in DX12.. which shows to me how important is that the engine is either designed to run with the new APIs from the start or does some peculiar things that happen to get huge advantages with the new toys (I think this is the case with Doom).

      We'll see.. I am writing some test stuff with Vulkan during the weekends.. and it's SO DAMN HARD compared to DX11/OGL.
      That's also why the vulkan drivers emerged quite quickly (and why there are now 2 of them for radeon cards), because there is now less to do in the driver and more in the game engine.

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      • #4
        Great, so general performance should be better than the upcoming MS Flightsimulator 2020 which still uses DX11. Now if they later catch up with the FS2020 generated Scenery etc. it will be the best FS.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Berniyh View Post
          It's pretty simple: Vulkan is much harder, because the game developer has to take over many tasks that were previously done by the GPU driver.
          In short, Vulkan is nearly a low-level API compared to DX11/OpenGL which are high level. It is more akin developing application for a console hardware taking advantage of some undercover features. Interesting enough, gaming developers requested that kind of control nearly decade ago responded by both Microsoft (DX10) and AMD (Mantle which is the foundation of both Vulkan and DX12).

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          • #6
            Originally posted by mike456 View Post
            Now if they later catch up with the FS2020 generated Scenery etc. it will be the best FS.
            Not going to happen, for the simple fact that they don't have the ressources for it.
            OSM data is available online and is already used by modders and companies to create scenery data, but detailed topology data is lacking for many regions (though a few countries started to release data of LIDAR scans, like e.g. Ireland) and also there is limited amount of photographic data.
            This is why MS can do that, because they have the data available in-house.

            Unless MS or Google (the other big source for such data) provide the data to Laminar Research, it's not going to happen.
            So unless a miracle is approaching …

            Apart from that the scenery streaming requires huge streaming ressources which Microsoft does have (as a cloud provider) and which btw will likely be some kind of monthly payment (or similar).

            Having said that, I'm quite happy with XP11, so I'm not complaining. FS2020 isn't an option for me for the simple reason that they won't provide it for Linux.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by finalzone View Post

              In short, Vulkan is nearly a low-level API compared to DX11/OpenGL which are high level. It is more akin developing application for a console hardware taking advantage of some undercover features. Interesting enough, gaming developers requested that kind of control nearly decade ago responded by both Microsoft (DX10) and AMD (Mantle which is the foundation of both Vulkan and DX12).
              Well yes, but keep in mind that most game engines these days are quite complex and have been growing over years for 5, 10, or even 20 years in some cases.
              Updating to each new level of OpenGL/DX was relatively simple compared to ripping out the graphics core and implementing something radically new.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Berniyh View Post
                Not going to happen, for the simple fact that they don't have the ressources for it.
                OSM data is available online and is already used by modders and companies to create scenery data, but detailed topology data is lacking for many regions (though a few countries started to release data of LIDAR scans, like e.g. Ireland) and also there is limited amount of photographic data.
                This is why MS can do that, because they have the data available in-house.

                Unless MS or Google (the other big source for such data) provide the data to Laminar Research, it's not going to happen.
                So unless a miracle is approaching …
                In my view this is only a money problem. AFAIK, both Google and MS had paid third parties to have access to that map data, so Laminar Research can do the same. Obviously, they do not have the deep pockets of MS, so... But instead they can release partial world maps, with new areas as a DLC. That could help them pay for the data they need.

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                • #9
                  Sure, but the risk (together with requiring to pay for the streaming ressources) would be quite big.

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                  • #10
                    Good news. I am amazed by what they achieve with such a small team.

                    Re-MS 2020 and the cloud aspect, my understanding of it is the simulator will use said cloud for a part of the calculations so i guess it is out of the table for Laminar Research. They would have needed to build their engine with this in mind from the start to be able to do the same.

                    We will stay a niche among a niche.

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