22.6.2024 – 05:34z

X-Plane 12 to Receive New Weather Radar, Dark Cockpit Fix, and More

Laminar Research took to the stage at FSExpo 2024 to announce some of the fixes it’s been working on for X-Plane 12, including upgrades to the G1000, a new weather radar, lighting fixes to make XP’s cockpits less dark, performance improvements, a new X-Plane store, and more.

The team began its presentation by mentioning that X-Plane’s 12.1.0 update is now a Release Candidate, and should be coming out soon. This update will include many bug fixes and improvements to the weather, graphics, and system avionics.

Avionics Improvements

X-Plane 12’s G1000 will be receiving a big upgrade that will add synthetic vision, flight path boxes, new pages, terrain and obstacle avoidance, and performance improvements.

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12.1.0 will also add a new weather radar for airliners. This radar will simulate update sweep, tilt, ground reflections, stabilization, and more. It will have good performance and be available to 3rd party developers to integrate into their aircraft.

Dark Cockpits Fix and Lighting Model Improvements

A big complaint about X-Plane 12’s lighting model is that it makes the cockpits too dark, especially when it’s very bright outside the aircraft. The team investigated the issue and found that although the sim is properly rendering lighting, the difference in exposure between the very bright exterior and the relatively dark interior caused this issue of dark cockpits.

To rectify the issue, Laminar Research has introduced a few changes to its lighting system, as well as introduced exposure fusion. This is a feature that exposes different parts of the image to different brightness.

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Performance and Graphical Improvements

Laminar Research’s graphics team has been hard at work improving the sim’s performance. Tile-base lighting will save GPU power, static descriptor sets will save CPU power, and multi-core mainframe rendering will take full advantage of today’s multi-core CPUs.

X-Plane 12’s terrain rendering will also receive a major upgrade. The new terrain rendering will allow higher performance on really detailed sceneries, will allow scenery developers to overlay and correct local meshes, and allow developers to stream meshes to their sceneries over the internet. These features are planned for Q3/Q4 of 2024.

X-Plane Store

Laminar Research has been working on integrating its own marketplace for X-Plane: The X-Plane Store. It will be available both in-sim and online, and will have many quality-of-life features for both developers and consumers, such as automatic updates, built-in DRM solutions for developers, and quality control by Laminar Research. Payment in the XP Store will be securely handled by Stripe, and will feature popular payment methods like Apple Pay and Google Pay.

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Part of the launch of this store will be X-Plane’s new Websocket API. With this API, 3rd party developers will be able to receive and send data and commands to the sim over the internet. This will allow developers to interact with the sim without the need to write their own plugins, and will also allow for integration with AI tools. One such tool is Fly Shirley, an AI copilot that can give the user information about their plane, give info about the area they are flying in, read checklists, or even provide fun challenges.

X-Plane‘s presentation was the last of FSExpo Friday’s announcement seminars, but there’s still more to come. Stay tuned to FSNews for the latest of FSExpo 2024!

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