Ben Supnik, an X-Plane 11 developer, has today posted on the official X-Plane website a post regarding the long-awaited Vulkan update for X-Plane 11. He started the post by talking about the current COVIDE-19 situation.
First, at this point, no one working for Laminar Research has COVID-19. We have people working on X-Plane in at least six countries, including northern Italy.
Ben assured the community, that no one in the team has COVID-19 and that the situation has not affected their internal pace of development. This is also because Laminar Research does not have any offices that should get closed, but everybody works from home.
Based on the post, the private testers should get the developer preview nine today. The developer preview nine should be the last private build before public beta.
We acknowledge we’re reaching public beta much later than we had hoped/wished/anticipated, but we are now aiming for a public Vulkan beta by the end of March.
Ben has explained the delay of the update by saying, that they have added more stuff than it was originally planned and they missed the “deadline”. One thing they have added is better handling of plugin drawing which, as the name says, provides better drawing compatibility for weather plugins, for example.
Adding weather support was pure feature creep–a new thing we didn’t plan on, but something that we thought was worth extra schedule time.
The second thing the developers have added was better handling of texture paging, which is actually a feature that has been rewritten multiple times. This feature enables automatic texture resolution control based on VRAM pressure. Current sceneries will work with this feature without any problems and it will not affect framerate.
The next part of the article is quotes from the original post since I couldn’t describe it in a better way.
In these pictures, you can see the new pager at work. I have parked my aircraft on the ramp at SeaTac and moved the camera across the city, so that the distant autogen (from the pilot’s perspective) is now close and the airport is in the background.
In this first picture, green represents full-res textures, with the next levels down being yellow, then magenta. You can see some nearby autogen down one level and far-off autogen down two levels; the loss of res is put far from the user.
In this next picture, I artifically lowered my machine from 4 to 1 GB of VRAM using a developer tool. Now you can see magneta autogen close to the airport, yellow even closer, and some really dark green (the next level down) where we had magenta. In other words, everything got a little bit lower res because we were tight on VRAM, but again nearby sceney is prioritized.
At this time, the developers are focusing on fixing bugs. There is no ETA of the public beta, because nobody knows what bug they might find.
” Vulkan is Not the Only Iron In the Fire “
Ben wrote, that they have several other “irons in the fire”, that include new features for the X-Plane mobile, next-gen features for the desktop version or a few non-Vulkan features that there will be featured in the upcoming 11.50.