X-Plane 11 Working On New Physics & Other Improvements, Vulkan Taking More Time
Written by Michael Larabel in Vulkan on 30 June 2018 at 09:35 AM EDT. 7 Comments
Earlier this month the Laminar Research crew responsible for the realistic, cross-platform X-Plane flight simulator presented at the FlightSimExpo about their work on porting the flight simulator to Vulkan and other ongoing improvements.

While they talked about their work on rewriting their OpenGL renderer to now support the Vulkan API too (as well as Apple Metal), it's still going to be a while before that happens. The X-Plane Vulkan renderer work is progressing, but it will not be ready for their big X-Plane 11.30 release. They are hoping that the Vulkan renderer will be available in a public beta at some point in 2018, but no firm commitment yet. They remain committed to it though and its benefits of better performance, less stuttering, and better multi-core utilization.

Right now they feel they are about half-way through the process but at this stage not ready to share performance numbers with the entire flight simulator not yet working on the new graphics API. But X-Plane's Airfoil-Maker component is working with Vulkan and so far they found about 69% less driver calls than OpenGL when using Vulkan. Their Vulkan code is further along at this stage than Metal.

X-Plane 11.25 meanwhile entered beta this month with new Las Vegas scenery, new Chicago landmarks, over 500 new 3D airports, and other asset improvements.

For the large X-Plane 11.30 release will be a lot of improvements. Some of the work there includes better looking industrial areas due to the new industrial autogen code and arguably most notable is new physics technology. There is improved physics code being worked on for X-Plane 11.30 in particular around body lift forces and prop wash. For opting into the new physics support, X-Plane 11.30 is opening up a "Research Mode" so users can opt into the new behavior.

Also big for X-Plane 11.30 is a new particle effects system that Laminar Research has been developing. X-Plane 11.30 is also working on new autopilots, prop governors, passenger oxygen systems, and other in-flight improvements for this simulator.

More details on these latest X-Plane advancements via the X-Plane blog.
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