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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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37 comments
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rustybroomhandle 15 October 2019 at 12:32 pm UTC
I shot them an email for access to the Vulkan alpha/beta.
Ehvis 15 October 2019 at 12:32 pm UTC
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They have already said that we shouldn't expect an immediate fps boost with the new Vulkan system. The current focus is to get the basic engine functional and stable before making better use of multi-core rendering.

A big issue is also that X-Plane is not just the sim, but also a platform for third party add-ons. Some of those add-ons do direct OpenGL rendering. For the overlay stuff they're basically still rendering things on an OpenGL surface which is then displayed over the main screen. For the plugins that do actual 3D rendering there is little hope and they will break. Which pretty much guarantees that Vulkan will never be default for X-Plane 11 since there is a policy to maintain compatibility through major versions.

I'm still unsure if the beta will immediately allow Vulkan use for VR, which is what I'm looking forward to most.
Dedale 15 October 2019 at 1:13 pm UTC
They had talked about preliminary tests and some improvement in performance actually. They also said miracles should not be expected. It was long ago.
raneon 15 October 2019 at 1:19 pm UTC
I don't have X-Plane yet, but the Vulkan work sounds great and I will likely buy the game once this is available for testing.
Mountain Man 15 October 2019 at 4:54 pm UTC
DedaleThey had talked about preliminary tests and some improvement in performance actually. They also said miracles should not be expected. It was long ago.
X-Plane 11 is actually extremely well optimized at this point. In fact, it runs better for me than X-Plane 10 ever did. So in my case, Vulkan could only deliver small improvements.
iiari 16 October 2019 at 12:05 am UTC
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I have the most hours on X-Plane 11 than any other title I own, and it's a tremendous Linux sim that anyone with any interest in flight should buy. I anticipate Vulkan will provide very little in improvement on the Linux end which, as others have alluded to, is very well optimized, as Linux XP 11 runs at or better FPS than Windows XP 11 in testing.

What I am hoping Vulkan WILL help is how well Windows XP 11 works on Wine/Proton. This is actually important, as some of the best XP 11 add-ons (like xEnviro and xVision) are Windows only right now. Via Wine, Windows XP 11 actually right now runs beautifully, but its FPS drops substantially with rendering add-on's. That will hopefully change for the better once Vulkan comes and renders via GPU rather than CPU, as it is now...

Sadly, XP development tends to be somewhat glacial. I'm thinking 11.4 by year's end, and 11.5 by summer 2020. The 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...

Also, is this maybe the only group jazzed about working with Metal? XP 11 coding is actually done on Macs....


Last edited by iiari on 16 October 2019 at 12:10 am UTC
iiari 16 October 2019 at 12:11 am UTC
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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...
Skipperro 16 October 2019 at 6:38 am UTC
Man... 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.
Ardje 16 October 2019 at 8:21 am UTC
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X-Plane looks a bit dull to me, but this got me excited: X-Plane almost twice as fast on Linux than on Windows.
Ardje 16 October 2019 at 8:25 am UTC
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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. Unless someone funds me the gear to drive a HMD.
So a buy would be a supporter buy. But since the performace of X-Plane is better on Linux than on Windows, I allow it to be a bit more pricy.
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