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X-Plane 11, the detailed flight simulator is finally closing in on an update that will bring in Vulkan support as detailed in a new developer blog post.

Firstly though, the upcoming X-Plane 11.40 update is going to be focusing on the physics. They've spent a good six months going over their physics system as part of an upgraded and currently experimental flight model. The new system will not be the default in the 11.40 update but it will eventually replace the current flight model. If you're interested in learning more about that side of it, see the video included below (Vulkan info below the vid):

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The more exciting part for Linux fans of this sim is likely the Vulkan API addition coming with X-Plane 11.50. This is going to be a huge change, making it more modern and prepares X-Plane 11 for future enhancements as the foundation of what comes next.

It won't be done quickly though, as they said they expect the beta period for Vulkan to "be a relatively long one" but they want to get it out the door and started this year. Sounds like their team are quite excited about using Vulkan (and Metal for macOS) as they say a lot more of what happens compared to OpenGL will be directly inside their own code. They claim what happens inside the drivers are "more predictable, bounded, and can be viewed via modern profiling tools". They think it "should be straightforward to get the information we need to really make the Vulkan renderer scream".

For those of you interested, I've started following their developer blog posts to keep an eye on it for more information on when X-Plane 11.40 and X-Plane 11.50 will actually release in full.

You can pick up X-Plane 11 on Steam and the official site.

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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iiari 16 Oct, 2019
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Quoting: Ardje
Quoting: SkipperroMan... I'm collecting everything with Vulkan support and I have X-Plane on my wishlist for a long time, but I'm not as big of the simulator fan to pay freaking 65$ for it. I would rather save it for Kerbal Space Program 2.
I have X-Plane also on my wishlist. I did have some fun with Euro Truck Simulator, but I guess X-Plane is more realistic. And I actually don't want that.
Quoting: EhvisCompletely different beasts. ETS2 is still a game. It's open ended, but the simulation level and mechanics are still geared to have fun even without skill. X-Plane is not a game, it is just a simulator. I think most flight simulator enthusiasts will tell you that flight simulation is a hobby. With matching time consumption and expenses. I have many hours in various X-Plane version, but haven't done too much of it lately and I'm getting rusty to a degree where I couldn't even get my B727 started any more. :D
Yeah, absolutely what @Ehvis said above. X-Plane is a hard core sim to the level that flight schools actually use dedicated commercial versions of it to train future pilots. There really is no "game" here unless you buy mission or sim-economy mods, which people say are a lot of fun but I just don't have the time for...

That said, it's still an amazing product. If you wanted to flip every switch in a Boeing 737 cockpit, plan your fuel, program in your flight plan, go down your pre-flight checklist, pilot your flight in near photo realism, and even be able to see real-life air traffic around you and potentially talk to real people serving as air traffic control, all in life-sucking real time, then this is your thing and $65 is a steal (I've spent far more on planes and scenery and mods). X-Plane actually recently got me over my fear of flying for a real trip.

BTW, on the XP .org forum I've been chronicling my experiments at trying XP in Wine/Proton and how to make the Linux version look nearly as good as Win XP with xEnviro...


Last edited by iiari on 16 October 2019 at 12:07 pm UTC
iiari 16 Oct, 2019
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Quoting: rustybroomhandle
Quoting: iiari
Quoting: rustybroomhandleI shot them an email for access to the Vulkan alpha/beta.
Did you do that on your own or is there a open request for beta testers? I'd love to test the Vulkan beta as well...

It's explained in the video linked in the article. Only for their installer, not Steam yet.
Ah, OK, then I'm out... If you get it, please post back on this thread to let us all know how it's working, especially in Wine/Proton...
Mountain Man 16 Oct, 2019
Quoting: ArdjeThe bigger question for the flight sim world is when does MS 2020 come out, which is the only title that will bring me back to Windows for gaming if it does not run on Wine/Proton and which looks bonkers amazing and which could make XP 11 somewhat irrelevant...
If all you care about is eye-candy then X-Plane might become "irrelevant", but X-Plane has always been the king of physics and flight dynamics.

But before you declare MS Flight Simulator 2020 the king of graphics, the trick is actually very simple: orthophotos, a trick that has been around for years, and you can add for free to X-Plane 11, assuming you have the time to generate them from publicly available satellite imagery resources, and the several terabytes of hard drive space to store them. My hunch is that MSFS 2020 will not store the considerable amounts of data on user's hard drives but will be an online-only title that will pull down the data only as needed.

And while orthophotos generally look good, they come with certain problems, such as textures sometimes being oddly stretched over surface geometry, "baked in" shadows that don't match the in-game lighting, dynamic roads not lining up with the photos so that you end up with oddities like cars driving through buildings, generated 3D structures that don't line up with the photos leading to flattened buildings, visible seams between photo textures where they don't perfectly line up, and so on. And, yes, every single one of these problems is visible in the MSFS 2020 trailer, but the deliberately fast-paced editing makes them hard to spot.


Last edited by Mountain Man on 16 October 2019 at 10:03 pm UTC
Mountain Man 16 Oct, 2019
Quoting: ArdjeX-Plane looks a bit dull to me, but this got me excited: X-Plane almost twice as fast on Linux than on Windows.
Yeah, but Linux got blown away in every other gaming comparison. :(
iiari 17 Oct, 2019
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Quoting: Mountain ManIf all you care about is eye-candy then X-Plane might become "irrelevant", but X-Plane has always been the king of physics and flight dynamics.
Quite right, but the MS 2020 team says they are paying a lot of attention to this with the upcoming release, with something like a thousand points of flight dynamics on the surface of every plane, or something like that. Per early reviews from hands on by journalists a few weeks ago, the "feel" of flight is outstanding, and things like stalls, turbulence, and weather effects feel utterly real and likely better than XP 11...

Quoting: Mountain ManBut before you declare MS Flight Simulator 2020 the king of graphics, the trick is actually very simple: orthophotos... My hunch is that MSFS 2020 will not store the considerable amounts of data on user's hard drives but will be an online-only title that will pull down the data only as needed.
It's not just a hunch, they've announced that they'll be streaming Bing Maps of the ENTIRE PLANET as high res orthos, 2 pedabytes worth from their server. Their advanced algorithms will figure out what buildings look like in 3D and fill in the details. Journalists were picking random points like the neighborhoods they grew up or where they went to college and found uncanny 3D realism, not just flat stretched orthos but convincing 3D locations that finally allows for true VFR flying. Early report back is that even in non-streaming lowest settings, it's an enormous advance over what exists today...

And I've used lots of orthos. They're great 4,000 ft and up, but are lacking at lower altitudes, where the MS 2020 model shines. Competition is exciting!


Last edited by iiari on 17 October 2019 at 7:26 am UTC
Ardje 17 Oct, 2019
Quoting: Mountain Man
Quoting: ArdjeX-Plane looks a bit dull to me, but this got me excited: X-Plane almost twice as fast on Linux than on Windows.
Yeah, but Linux got blown away in every other gaming comparison. :(
But Linux won in all cases I actually care about commercially. POS systems usually are html5 based, and when you talk about 500 systems on a site, you definitely want to have the cheaper hardware. Actually you don't want any PC, but sometimes I don't have a say about that. But sometimes managers need reassurance that Windows is never the solution for a POS system, this is another statistic that just turned in my favor.
Mountain Man 17 Oct, 2019
Quoting: iiari
Quoting: Ardje
Quoting: SkipperroMan... I'm collecting everything with Vulkan support and I have X-Plane on my wishlist for a long time, but I'm not as big of the simulator fan to pay freaking 65$ for it. I would rather save it for Kerbal Space Program 2.
I have X-Plane also on my wishlist. I did have some fun with Euro Truck Simulator, but I guess X-Plane is more realistic. And I actually don't want that.
Quoting: EhvisCompletely different beasts. ETS2 is still a game. It's open ended, but the simulation level and mechanics are still geared to have fun even without skill. X-Plane is not a game, it is just a simulator. I think most flight simulator enthusiasts will tell you that flight simulation is a hobby. With matching time consumption and expenses. I have many hours in various X-Plane version, but haven't done too much of it lately and I'm getting rusty to a degree where I couldn't even get my B727 started any more. :D
Yeah, absolutely what @Ehvis said above. X-Plane is a hard core sim to the level that flight schools actually use dedicated commercial versions of it to train future pilots. There really is no "game" here unless you buy mission or sim-economy mods, which people say are a lot of fun but I just don't have the time for...

That said, it's still an amazing product. If you wanted to flip every switch in a Boeing 737 cockpit, plan your fuel, program in your flight plan, go down your pre-flight checklist, pilot your flight in near photo realism, and even be able to see real-life air traffic around you and potentially talk to real people serving as air traffic control, all in life-sucking real time, then this is your thing and $65 is a steal (I've spent far more on planes and scenery and mods). X-Plane actually recently got me over my fear of flying for a real trip.

BTW, on the XP .org forum I've been chronicling my experiments at trying XP in Wine/Proton and how to make the Linux version look nearly as good as Win XP with xEnviro...
I agree that competition is a good thing. But it remains to be seen if MSFS 2020 really will live up to the carefully orchestrated media previews and marketing hype. I still remember some of the bold promises and pre-release screenshots from Microsoft Flight Simulator X that were simply never delivered.
peta77 17 Oct, 2019
That's some really exciting news as I was actually a little bit disappointed about the performance it has shown so far on an RTX2080ti @ 4K. It has used (according to nvidia-smi) less than 50% of my GPU and about two third of my CPU cores were just bored while having just 25fps! I hope with update 11.50 X-Plane will finally be able to fully (or at least a lot more) exploit my resources so the experience will be a lot smoother.
SuperTux 18 Oct, 2019
Quoting: peta77That's some really exciting news as I was actually a little bit disappointed about the performance it has shown so far on an RTX2080ti @ 4K. It has used (according to nvidia-smi) less than 50% of my GPU and about two third of my CPU cores were just bored while having just 25fps! I hope with update 11.50 X-Plane will finally be able to fully (or at least a lot more) exploit my resources so the experience will be a lot smoother.

Honestly you're OK with 25FPS in X-Plane, when it dips and stays below 20FPS your flights take twice as long, so a flight that would normally take 20 minutes will now take 40 lol.

Unfortunately I would not expect a huge jump asyou're hoping for as I have been told that the X-Plane isn't multi-threaded...
iiari 18 Oct, 2019
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Quoting: peta77That's some really exciting news as I was actually a little bit disappointed about the performance it has shown so far on an RTX2080ti @ 4K. It has used (according to nvidia-smi) less than 50% of my GPU and about two third of my CPU cores were just bored while having just 25fps! I hope with update 11.50 X-Plane will finally be able to fully (or at least a lot more) exploit my resources so the experience will be a lot smoother.
I would temper those expectations. They've already said people shouldn't expect an FPS boost with Vulkan. This is being done solely I think because of expiring OpenGL code and Mac requirements to use Metal. And your experience is totally typical, BTW. XP11 will bring even the tippist toppiest systems to their knees. It's because of all of this legacy code that pushes almost the entire sim through one core of the CPU, and the GPU doesn't matter all that much. So, again, sadly, your experience is typical.

One theory as to why MS 2020 will look and perform so much better is that it's a new, ground-up creation with contemporary code built around contemporary hardware and networking. I mean, all of our current sims are built around code that is 10-15 years old, or older. I wonder if, for a theoretical XP 12, they'll elect to start all over. I would imagine (maybe?) that the MS2020 announcement would have blown up any XP development roadmap, but maybe not...


Last edited by iiari on 18 October 2019 at 3:36 am UTC
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