FSElite Interview: Laminar Research – X-Plane 11 Vulkan and More

Join us as we chat with Ben Supnik from Laminar Research who gives us all…

Posted: 16-Jan-2020 @ 16:29z
FSElite Interview: Laminar Research – X-Plane 11 Vulkan and More

Join us as we chat with Ben Supnik from Laminar Research who gives us all the details about the upcoming Vulkan / Metal update for X-Plane 11.

We also discuss what he thinks about the new Microsoft Flight Simulator along with how third-party support is impacting the current ecosystem of X-Plane 11.

You can listen to the MP3 version here.


Update: Here’s a very rough transcript from the conversation. Please note this was done using an automated service.


Hello everyone, and welcome to this very unique Podcast, I am joined by Ben from laminar research is gonna really kind of tool car ears off today all about Explain 11 and in particular the upcoming exciting Vulcan update that I know so many people out there are really, really anticipating to finally get into their copy of explanation. So, Ben, thank you very much for joining me and hello, welcome to this kind of unique podcast with myself and the city.


Well, thank you for having me on.


It’s been a very exciting and pretty crazy December for us, and we’ve got the “vulkan build of explain in private beta now, so we’re super excited to see it in the hands of third party developers. We’re starting to get some feedback about the performance. So this has been an exciting thing to see after so many years working on it and as we were kinda saying, just all fairest now, is we’ve also been really busy for you guys at laminar as well. You’ve had playing mobile, that huge update and lose the Vulcan stuff and Christmas, so you must be in pretty tired, already. And it’s only the beginning of the year, that’s right. It was a very busy December for us and everyone really pushed to get these milestones out. It’s not easy, ’cause people have family and they have holidays. And we wanted to get the bulk beta out before the end of the year, we messed do that for third parties, we wanted to get it out to everybody what we realized that what we had was something that third parties could really start to look at what they’re add-ons. They’re getting us really great bugged back and now we’re just pushing to get the boats fixing it, it to everybody and basically as unsca.


So before we get into the technical details and stuff of what Bolin is and how it’s gonna enhance the simulator and stuff going forward, maybe you can just give a quick run down of a little bit about yourself, what you do and your involvement with the laminar research team.


Sure, so we are a lot of different hats at laminar research. There’s probably about a dozen and a half of us now so it’s still a very small company, and everybody takes on a lot of different kinds of work, which is one of the things that’s phone about being at laminar. We get to try lots of different things for me, there’s two big things I do. I’m the Part A Director for explain the desktop edition, so I have responsibility for what explain desktop is going to be what kind of features we’re gonna put in when on how we’re gonna get all those things put together and make leases. And I also do a lot of the graphics and scenery programming. I’m not the only one who does that, but a lot of the rendering engine lighting, some of the senior creation, that’s kind of in my main area for the last couple of years now.


So how did you… This is completely off the cuff, but how do you kind of get involved with work it as and kind of developing explain?


It was a very weird set of consensus an accident. So it was definitely not anything intentional. I was working through a company on the West Coast, and I do the East Coast until I was flying a lot cost cost and it kind of related, my interest in aviation, from back when I was a kid, and that took me to that. Tim and online flight and Air Traffic Control, and I started using explain ’cause I was just looking for a flight simulator that would one well, on the computers, I had that I could play on this and I got X-playing six back in the day, and it was just so smooth and it looks so good and I was hooked and I said, “Well I’ve gotta fly this on baton but you couldn’t do that back day. You could only fly Microsoft flight simulator. And I said, “Well I’m a computer program or I can fix this, I call a Boston and said, “Hey you know, I’m gonna go attach your… In the tattoo. Massive he is like… Or are you…


I ended up doing add-ons for X-plane, and working with Austin a bit and I ended up quitting my job to becoming air traffic controller, and I went to what of the accredited college programs to be commander can for… And I was actually on the list with the FAA to become an air traffic control while this was going on, I started working for Austin part-time ’cause why I was in school, I said, “You know, I’ve always wanted to do a little bit just to make a plan look better and I’ve got some time now, let’s do this. Let’s work on the scenery. And what ended up happening was, the government was really, really slow to call me back about air traffic control and often I got in deeper and deeper with Expo in the scenery system, and by the time they called me back and said, “How do you like to push in, in Washington DC, I was like, “We really in to explain 8. I kind of never left. So was it a custom programming to our drive control, and back to play Tilton?


So do you still find yourself on the bat in that weren’t doing any control interests, over hobby or view you so neck-deep in kind of work and stuff. At the moment, I would not work as a controller and that I, in at least a decade every now and then I get to take a flight as a pilot. I don’t think they’ve revoke my ID yet, but one of the side effects of working on a flight simulators that you just don’t get to do nearly as much flying as a good before every day I let all gets to take a flight. Sometimes I’ll be working on testing VR and all to get You know, I really wanna test this. I never go to a couple laps just to make sure it really was the threat worse. If it’s very easy to get distracted when you’re trying to fix a bug and just keep on flying, which that over there the… That’s a, where we came from, and actually Christie as well also works for us now was another Batson programmer. So we definitely appreciate what online play can be and when you get from being in that kind of interactive environment for sure, I’ve always think it’s quite interesting to see how people within our community in our industry and stuff, I’ll get to where they are today, and say it’s never really a straightforward to transition. Is it from… I know I’m gonna be a program Rand, I know I’m gonna develop for this sense. There’s always kind of that round about way but it’s, there’s always awesome with regardless of the story. And I just wanna pick up on what you mentioned about the… You were brought on board to initially do that kind of connection between Pan and VAT and then you develop your skills into make an explain look better. And now, I guess the next kind of move on from making plain Perform Better is kind of this big move from the open jail platform over to Volcom and metal.


So for those maybe who are a little bit less technically Versed for the people like me could you just tell us what workin’ is? And obviously, metal as well as part of come hand-in-hand and why it’s such an important milestone for explain going forward.


Sure, so we’ve actually struggled with this within the company to figure out how to talk about “buin ’cause sometimes we have to show an error message in the M, we could not internalize your open driver, and we going… Do they know what “Boling is? What is this thing, how do we talk about it?


The pin is a graphic standard for applications to talk to ravages. And Bo, and drivers are raisers provided by in video and AMD that let the app that speaks Bok in in some ARCOS. Talk to their cars.


So I, in that sense, it’s similar to direct X or direct 3D 11 or 12, it’s similar to opengl. It’s a new way to talk to your hardware.


And we like being because it’s really good for what we want to do.


A boat is kind of a rethink of how a graphic “Shirer should work with games and real-time simulations. in mind, so it’s really good for performance.


It’s really good for smooth flight. It’s good for not having tutors and it’s also really good for multiple… And this was one of the big reasons why the industry said We need to do a new driver as opposed to just trying to fix open gas, ’cause open Jill’s been around for decades, and I’ve been around for decades and when I started doing plate simulation, we had one core, we had a pent before that was a really great fit for machine at a on core and so multi-Cortes thinking about it ’cause why would you want that? No one has one core, and now it’s just the opposite. You can’t buy a one machine, right?


So what you need is a graphics API that is meant to be used from multi-core machines, and that’s not something that you can just fixed in a driver, it requires re-thinking so be… There’s all those things for us and when we’re doing in some ways it all that more because we are moving explain to talk to work in and we’re also changing how explain works to take advantage of volume. So a lot of it too that I first worked for us and in those early days, we just barely escape. Being a traction form with design to open jail was designed for one more machines when we were trying to do the best with the very limited resources we could, and if we’re flying that we had to look something.


You weren’t gonna have a starter.


Now, it happens, it was unavoidable. You only have one core.


And now we’re going back and saying, “Well we have these computers that can do more than one thing at the same time, we have this great driver that can work without stuttering let’s go through our code and really take advantage that make sure it’s gonna be smooth and predictable and fast and modern. And a lot of this has been re-visiting some of that very first work I did for Austin back in the day, and taking those… Those that car, which was good for say. And we’re placing it something that’s much more modern and it’s gonna give us a much better foundation and much better performs.


So you, obviously, I think it’s…


I’ve seen Red messages I’ve seen Facebook posts and I’ve seen the community’s perception of what Vulcans gonna do.


And you talk a lot about performance, and I think that may be this misconception. And please correct me if I’m wrong, but broken is not gonna suddenly give you 100 FPS if you’ve been used to 30 FPS on your current machine is that kind of the right thinking? This is more about smooth performance, this is about a less stature? Experience and more so than kind of that increase in frames per second.


It really depends a lot on your situation. And this is one of the things that are hard to communicate ’cause sometimes we’ll do a multi-blog, post and it’ll just be Well-make this faster, we’ll make that faster, and it really depends. So we can talk about a few different cases.


Computer is slow because your GPU is underpowered and they’re wanting a 4 re-with HDR on… And at least… And you got like a 460… That the problem is that your GP is not up to the task and Wilkin is not gonna help because Vulcan helps the CP that if the problem is that your CPM is too slow and you’ve got a GPS tighten and you’ve got an older machine, and your CPs, just not feeding it in your GPS board, then broken maybe it will help your performance.


We’ve seen big performance increases on AMD hardware, because we were never able to get the open jail and driver in as fast as we wanted. Their Boland driver is significantly faster, so that’s been a really nice bright spot.


We’ve seen big performance improvements on the Mac going from panto metal, the metal driver is a lot faster and metal is an API for as X that basically does for the Mac, what “vulkan does for Windows and Linux. Pretty much everything we said about into new it’s modern, it does multi-core is copper overhead is predictable, basically, that’s true for metal and so we’ve done a and b in at the same time or in color, with different drivers for different platforms and actually has not been a terribly difficult thing for us.


So that allows backers to get the same benefits so we have seen big performance increases there but we have seen performance improvements even in video users on Windows and the in-video driver was always very fast. Sort of poly sell even then we hear reports of some tips, improvement that if you were winning you’ve got pretty good tips already.


The smoothness is probably the really big feature. Take a high frame rate and keep it that way, and within we get so much more predictability from the driver and we’ve gone through and fixed so many or problems that we’re finally seeing a point where we can get really nice smooth flight that’s locked up and doesn’t Studer as you do things.


And obviously, this kind of concept of smooth light is incredibly important for the way. Explain handles the flight dynamics, is that right? It does help a lot to fly dynamics. I would say it’s hard to feel how good the play dynamics are.


If the plot isn’t smooth Austin has always felt that you should be running at 60 fps and not at 20 FPS. The next point has a broader little bit of 25s. And sometimes you just say, “Well why can’t I run at 15? We in or r10, and we say, you’re not really feeling the flight if you’re going on slow. We think that 60 is a lot better.


And the faster you go, the more the smoothest matters, if you think about it, if the sin is wanna get 15 tips and a little Bligh happens, it’s hard to do this because everything’s really so already, but if you’re morning at 60-7080 FIPS almost anything that happens is noticeable, is slows you down. Think of how little room, give you that a highway to feel that bunny going at high speed.


So as we’ve seen users flying faster as we improve performance, this has become much more than faster.


I obviously, performance is obviously really important, and you’ve spoken a lot about different types of GPs that people could potentially have and how it may impact their experience with Excel, going forward with Flint. Kind of reminds me of the bloopers out just a few days ago, talking about the RA and how much of an impact Vulcan to do with that.


So I must admit I read it through, and I had to read it again because it got quite technical but it was, there was a lot of information to take in. So for anyone who kind of read that article, and for not really quite too sure what impact it has for me in my current GP could you maybe give a little bit more information in detail about that?


Yeah, I have some bias rewards on that article ’cause I tried explain what we were doing. I am, and I got so many comments saying I go. I have ESO, people did new graphics, card A-




A, total of… Also, we expect that bulk in will not require more hardware than you already have. We’re definitely not trying to force anybody into an update. And the VR story is kind of always been the same it X plan, which is RMIS memory on your graphics card, where we can store textures, so that the graphs card can render fast and if you don’t have another bit, then the data has to be held somewhere, else. It’s gonna slow down drawing and so if you want high-tips and a lot of detail you need more RAM, so if you’re using more add-ons you might need more RAM if you’ve got your text your slider set up at the max, you might need more Bram, and if you have an older I just cold with less Bram maybe you turn that letter down a little bit so that you can still fly and things are not gonna be a short, but it’s still gonna work and that’s a lie. What are Bolton?


The big difference is that when Ram gets tight with the old code of the open jail driver, the open GL drive would just try to move data around for us to try to solve the problem and sometimes, what was doing that, we’d be stuff we couldn’t fly ’cause the car would be like, “I’m busy, I’m moving your tester as well.


We’ll do more drawing what I’m done and that’s not great because it can happen in Platt and stop. And what we realized with Belkin is that this process is up to us now, one of the big differences between “vulkan and opengl is that focus very thin driver that doesn’t very small amount of stuff and therefore, all these things that the open Gill driver did for us, it’s now part of X-plane, so we know how good power and great responsibility because it’s us to manage your VM it’s up to us demands, the card, cash is and if we do a really good job, we get results and if we have bogs where we screw, we can absolutely make a hashes. It’s not a simple work.


What we can do is we can say it would be better to be a little bit leery and to stop a fight. And so what we can do is keep over versions of detectors around even when the higher ones have to go away to free of Bram and that way when you need the texture, we can show you the low-res one first to bring in the higher as one quickly as opposed to stop in your flight.


So, the example I use is you’re leaving Los “Megas you’re flying away and all those hotels, the blog at all, these beautiful custom hotels that crusader did.


So looking from any more, I do behind you at that point, we might wanna free up the BRM from all of those custom textures for something else that you care more about right?


So in the CoG world they would they come off or graphics cards, you could do other things.


And if you said, “Oh my God, I forgot one. You at a U-turn, you open around and we say, “Okay pirate of the Wage and open. Jill goes at that though it’s over there and be a… It goes again the textures and it just slows it sounds. And you might see you could you go chunk you’ll see a couple of plans started all of a sudden my tips or back when the Gravis card, get intact together what we can do, we can keep a very low quality version of the blog around and then was it Doc? And so that point’s gonna be smooth. And maybe for maybe for half a second. The badges a little “blore then it comes up, but here’s the thing, maybe you made it 20 miles, away from blog before you realized or for that your long right?


And in that case, that board “bloggi it’s not gonna matter, it’s 20 miles away, it’s just a tiny, tiny little building, with open global texture as high-res.


It had to go get the whole thing to do anything.


And since we know how we use textured we can say, you know the lot epoxy, that’s pretty good, that’s gonna be a better way for this to happen than what we’re doing before and that’s the kind of control over the environment that we get with Molina, we never had an open GL the benefit of open wells in so much stuff for us and back in the day that was really important when X-plane was just… Austin and then what was just awesome and may not having to load all this code was a huge win for us. A lot a two-person team, to get a lot done, what at this place items have got really fancy and really complex and really good, and having the control to get exactly what we want is exactly what we need see to…


I find out really kind of interesting and I can just… From your explanation, you can almost kind of vision how this will improve kind of performance or people and you talk a lot about the “balai and obviously work that you’ve done at laminar. So how does this impact the third parties and their ions and their airports and their senior are they gonna require big changes to the way they develop or their common products, so that it can use the Vulcan technology effectively or is it kind of… Is there have been a lot of work behind the scenes from your end to make that a very smooth and easy transaction for them?


We’ve done a bunch of things to try to make it easy to print parent to do anything for add-ons, but it really depends a lot on the category of add-ons.


So for example, if you have a car pack, the heart is just gonna work, there’s nothing you have to do.


You see our work is our problem.


So if you’re modeling if you’re doing 3D textures if anything that doesn’t involve code, it’s pretty much just gonna work and you don’t need to do anything.


We have a bunch of third-party developers in our private “Mapam right now, and that’s been really great because they can try their ad on and say Hey, I’ve seen some gear stuff with my ad on… And then it’s our problem to go figure out what we did wrong with compatibility.


We have open GL compatibility for plug-ins, for 2D drawing, and that’s really, really important for the airplanes…


’cause a lot of third-party airplanes have custom panels where for example, if this display is being drawn using code the developer Road and that lets them get really, really accurate play displays and things like that, and we don’t wanna make them write that code that’s a big investment, it’s a lot of work. It would not be easy to rewrite.


So, we won their plug-in in a small mini open jail environment, and then we sort out the results when they’re done so most airplanes just work on modified.


We have seen some incidences where a third party add-on should work, but because they’re doing on coding techniques that haven’t been updated in a while they don’t and what they need to do is modernize but the facilities for that are already there. And so far, when we found that the Fort part of developers have been very willing to just update their coach, the latest tech.


So I think you may see some out on developers have to modernize things where they haven’t had time to get up-to-date and hopefully, that will not be a hard transition for them. I think you’ll see a lot of stuff just work.


We’ve got a pretty well-listed bugs that we need to work out to try to get that compatible. compatibility is really as possible.


The other thing to know is that you don’t have to use Bolin. There’s a checkbox in the UI, now that says Use “olinda driver depending on what OS you’re on and you can just turn it off.


And we’re really going for as close to perfect compatibility as we can get with opengl because one that we don’t wanna do is have any one wake up and Hey, I have all these add-ons, a thousand works for them.


I just wanna fly. I got this update, and now not in work. So, crap that’s a bad day. And that’s not shared any… So we’re really trying to make sure that if you do not turn Bukit on that, we haven’t… Academy changed the rules of O in jail in some way.


So we’re adding to really, really, really careful, compatibility there.


The one category, it’s not compatible is there is not a way to draw in 3D in Vulcan we don’t have an API for that. And unfortunately, that affects the weather add-ons at of the times they’re drawing their own clouds in 3D. And we’re aiming for opengl compatibility, that’s complete and just works for them, but we do not have multi-compatibility to them so I can imagine us.


So, I Onegin, I am not technical. So is there still gonna be if I had that Vulcan driver ticked in the menu and I still want to use my weather add on is that possible or is it gonna be a long time coming before I could start to see those 3D clouds and stuff?


I’m a fan that is gonna be a long time coming. And this is basically the one sad point in the compatibility story. ’cause with the airplanes in the scenery we think it’s gonna be really pretty straightforward and we’ve done a lot of work to make it that way, which is Whether add-on it’s not… And this is the problem we have. So first of all, yeah, I don’t know, just don’t work in the Balkans. It got… We have to create some way for them to talk to me, and this is not something that that exists, this is something that we have to develop out of plot and the problem we have this Get into all their book and effort is about how do we draw the sin, do we render fast?


It’s not at all about what we draw and every question we bulk can make the clouds look better.


The I can make the night was writer or to me the style blue, the answer to every one of them, is…


No, sadly because the point of bikinis, just to go faster and smoother, it’s the same thing only better.


The next step after volk-in, is to change the one to change. What kinds of things we draw and the very next thing on my to-do list, and I’ve actually had some time to start poking at this stuff, but as bulges out into the world, I’m starting to get more time is to really go back and examine everything about whether about clouds about lighting and that stuff, because we haven’t had time to update that, code in a wild and we know we could look much, much better, and with “Okay we had to focus on just drawing and drawing fast and once we have a book and that we can say, Okay, is the V10, clouds really the best way to do Clouds?


No, of course not, of course not that technology. When we did the B10 clouds almost nine years ago, we looked at them and we said, “You know, we’re doing these particle billboards, “This is gonna be a lot of particle toward engine, we have a right, this is not the great way to do it… We could always see that box of clouds were a better idea and we look, the code and V10 we couldn’t do “Boxford people didn’t have the hardware for it, most of our users wouldn’t even be able to run them at all, but we knew that something much better was coming.


And once we get Bok and done, we can start doing this in earnest, at the side effect of this is that if we try to create a 3D API for people to get into or through a drawing, it’s going to be immediately obsolete because the very first thing that we have to do once we get banshee is start re-working his entire three Pipeline, which will change the rules of what it is to draw in 3D.


And one of the things that we I do do for a hour parties is not up and what they’re doing continuously ’cause these guys sink a ton of time into making their 3D add-ons, and it’s kind of no more news than I spend a ton of time on my three ton.


And then, limiter is update. Now everything is broken, so if you eat then we have pretty drawing in a batter “vulkan engine, we need to make sure it’s happening. In a way that we can sustain for years and not have be broken every three months.


So I think all of operation has to be… Get broken working, so that we have a strong foundation and fast performance we work a light pipeline and our clouds and a weather in our environment and really get something that’s generational and then we can say, “Okay how do people interact with this… How do they extend it, how do we make an S for this? Because that would be something that we can really have as a solid foundation for years to come, but that’s a process, that’s just starting for us, which is why it’s too soon to expose stuff, right? Okay, so again, I’m just gonna ask for… I think some people may be listening.


So in terms of default weather already in P11 and the way that weather is rendered will that still be compatible with Von or is that, again, gonna be changed now with a new drivers, the weather, and all the effects that we have built in in Version 11, just work in bulk, in and metal just like to do an open GL. The things they do well, it will keep doing well. The cases where you’re frustrated with how they look May you’re gonna keep being frustrated because they look the same, they should just use less CPU power, so if your spurs are problem, they’ll have fire prime rate.


So again, Bukit is changing how we do what we do, we haven’t had to drop any more existing affects what we also hadn’t built new ones.


That’s the next step, after we talk in.


Gotcha, okay cool.


So we’ve literally spent maybe about 30 minutes. Now, I’m talking about Volcan.


And I guess that’s kind of indicative of how much time you guys have been spending on developing this. I think I remember maybe even back in 2017, I think you are for first announced that you guys were moving on to this new driver.


So I and along with many other the community members have been keeping up with the blog posts and seeing some of the crazier anomalies that have come. We’ve obviously moving across from open “jovian and just be kind of cool, maybe if you could explain some of the history of development maybe, some of the big challenges you faced in a time. We thought this is working really well that you are quite proud of, just to see, from your perspective as a developer lesser the technicalities of all.


It’s been a very long journey because we’ve revisited just about every single part of the rendering engine. And ask the question, “Is this really the best way we could be doing this is this? What we wanna have in the future is just gonna get people go performance. So everything has been potentially upper grabs.


The process actually goes way back to before VR and native VR support was one of the weird side effects of moving to the bulging Code, because we started refactoring things, and rebuilding and one of the first things we got was a system that could draw to two eyes at the same time, because the must-have feature for VR if VR ran at half the speed of flying. Because I do one, and then the other and it twice as long.


They’ll just be no way. You can have VR no one has frame rate so fast that they can wanna have speed of VR.


So once we got to is at once that was a neat milestone to see because we could already see that some of the new design ideas were just going to be better than the old ones.


The scenery shadows started to get better. I just ran the latest book in my PC and I was happy to see that I could run with full shadows full auto-gen and war reflection at a solid 30. and that doesn’t sound like the highest free rate number but I have an ‘5 ’46, ’90, which is to say my PC is at least five-years-old, so I’m learning on what to become towards the low end of “phagwara users on a list. Every user I interact with, has a bebop than I do.


So, seeing and it was very smooth. This is with an AMD card and seeing it and card eating us all a pretty tips on older hardware has really been big for us because we wanna support and… And in video we want to not have to pick a favorite so that people can use whatever hardware they have so that whichever GP company happens to have a hot hard right now, you can use that card. We think it’s better for everybody if we’re not locked into one.


And for a very long time, you kinda had to go to an video to have high frame rate on Windows and when it had a red card, that was good and when the video prices got kind of crazy ’cause it coming, that was not so good, you could couldn’t get into a car for less of a 1000 bucks.


Well, I can get the… And part it’s not fast now to see that they both just work. It is really fantastic for us ’cause we’ve been trying so hard to reach that point and we finally did, so it’s been cool to see all this work come to fruition and just see… Just smooth results.


Yeah, I remember liking it. Your blog post and stuff, and I think you had some examples of where the whole scene had been rendered. But upside down, and I think you had some crazy almost. So, shading effects where the running engine wasn’t just quite working, it’s been quite an entertaining process, I think, from an a consumer, a standpoint to see kind of the changes and stuff, and over the years to listen to kind of the technical aspects as well. So I Oh yeah you… You get one map operation wrong, and all of a sudden everything sideways, as we… We just had a bug last week, where all the plain windows were upside down everything was perfect, but the window was exactly flipped and the okay moment, at the top of the Dino the text was flipped. And these things come and go with… It’s very picky programming, but sometimes the books are so for to see that we wish we can keep them.


I was just gonna say, have you got an archive of screenshots that maybe one day in the future, you can kind of share is like a… Hey, this is the long last process, it took to get to where we are today. Just for a human.


I have it live but it’s never complete enough ’cause sometimes you go… Oh, I gotta get a picture. And sometimes you’re like, “Oh I just gotta fix the bug, and so, so you blow through also has used it to him once a week on what we’re doing to tabs and the ARIS they only send these beautiful screenshots, up what they’re working on and that Etta a role. ’cause that’s what’s gonna ship later. You get to see it early. But I got tired of them all having this a screenshot. So for a while, I would just say in a picture of… Or my broken bugs every week, and it was like, “Okay here’s it, but everything’s purple. Here’s the whole sill the shadows and to magenta. And I would just fall about once a week, but not sometimes you just gotta fix the bug. And we launch the next thing, I can title foresee coming pool first, you guys are gonna release an update could upside down MOD or something like that, and all things just gonna be upside down. A people are gonna go crazy.


It’s very fitting you is because the mouse clicks are not up, say down so you have to figure out what the… What the view of a point is, if you wanna close the window.


I see it reminds me of getting these parts and married stuff where you pick up a night in and the controls are just all messed up, and it just causes like chaos, and stuff.


You mentioned that on online networks and what your player and stuff. That would be a… Yeah, it interesting right is just what they wanna see. A passing he early. And this is why you haven’t controlled just in case you cool, so I think volcanism, what you’ve been talking about and what we’ve seen and stuff is gonna be a huge kind of change for for explain moving for… So I wanna just… We have a goal much time. I just wanna spend some time talking about a few other kind of important subjects that are kind of out there and I think the elephant in the room and we’ll continue to be a theme I think over the next couple of months at the very least it’s of course Microsoft flight simulator, which is like out this year.


So I think I remember when this… Originally, it was announced, I am out a bunch of developers and I was really, really curious to see if a response from yourselves at laminar Research, and I think yourself yourself, go back to me.


And I think you said you were quite impressed with the the way aesthetically it looked which I think was a common theme when we saw that initial trader back in June, so there’s been several months that’s than people have had opportunities to use it. There’s been a lot more information to voted from Microsoft. So what are your thoughts now? And are you guys in a competitor mode or is it more business-as-usual still for you guys?


I would say it’s actually… So I’ve been working with awesome for a long time, and I guess I would break down the competitive landscape into maybe… Maybe three arrows.


Well, I started with Austin Expos. a going concern. We were developing X-plane wall and has 2000 came out. 20022004.You were competing with that.


They want obviously hugely dominant. Simon, we were a little guys out of the margins kinda taking Polson at them at a… We people had a choice of plate in and we would try to move the ball or we did New flights. And in terms of doing things that had never been done before, making flights and better, and so we day and we would sometimes see update and be like, “Oh my God, look, they’ve really jumped ahead. And then we had sort of a second era, after I see it, a one-act shop got closed when there was no MSX. And this was a bit of a different dynamic because we didn’t have a strong direct immediate competitor with the kind of resources and focus that Microsoft was bringing at. A people won’t really sure what would happen to place him.


I remember the very first place of conference in a Hartford.


The question was, does quite simulation have a future? This was before 11, when I think were very concerned about whether explain would ever be usable enough for a general audience. There was no sign of an S reducing out of Microsoft. And that now, I think has come to an end. This era were… There isn’t a strong miso competitor. And we’re just trying to make explain as good as possible, and we’re going back into sort of a new phase where both X-plane and Microsoft flight sim, are going to be pushing as hard as we can to push things forward and innovate, and in some ways this has been a difficult time for my team, just because they’re in testing and therefore their marketing guys are showing everything they’ve worked up to for a couple of years. All the stuff they’ve been sitting on. And I really wanna share if you want, they get to show it and my guy is the rather are all… It’s hard for them or in eternal shot to people who are doing things that will ship in X plane.


They’re not showing them, because that release here yet, it’s still work in progress and so it’s been hard for us because it’s just too soon for us to show what our next oration is going to be, but there absolutely is going to be one. And there was going to be another major version of X-plane, regardless of whether poison came out.


So don’t run a hand into business as usual, ’cause we weren’t gonna just do nothing if it didn’t come out and there are… And it absolutely is competitive mode because we do see what they do, and it does help us think differently about plates in instead of saying What can we do, relative to the last ex-point we do have to say well what they do as possible, it’s after that. Can we do what they did, and then some more… And we also have always looked at other 3D game genres, the driving Sims, the shooting games and the combat games.


When we look at ideas for what we can do with graphics. So a lot of what I’ve seen from the placing trailers is really well done, but also not super surprising, because that level of attention to detail and quality has been in the racing games for a while, now. So if you’re a for a user, your reaction, it might not be… Oh my God, I never see is in a sense your reaction might be I, it’s about time ’cause they’ve actually had some “distaff I ate with.


And partly that comes from them doing a very different problem. You can’t take your fear. And I have to 2000cc at once. So we have a different problem to solve and widest is in the same problem spaces we are, but we’ve been looking at that stuff, and so I think it’s going to be a very eating time from point simulation because with two companies both trying to push the envelop, everyone’s gonna be tool auto Lapeer is trying to move the play. “immolation is part four as we can.


Yeah, I think that’s a driving a lot of the excitement for me in particular, as well as we are entering this kind of unique error a flight simulation where we’ve got huge opportunity now for all these exciting SIMS, and they look amazing. The hardware is obviously there for the software and all these different kind of new drivers and all these systems are finally catching up with the hardware as well.


In “I so I… So I think we’ve seen this, and I from a variety of different developers all kind of…


I feel like it, some will acquire to at the Mont from the third party depths everyone it kind of… Not sure what the future holds, but there have been some that have been a little bit more public and saying We’ve evaluated what’s going on in the community, we’ve seen that there’s a new SIM coming out, and as a result, we’re gonna step away from explain development and there’s a whole bunch of reasons why.


So I just quite curious from your perspective, Laminar is what are you doing to help make development easier for these teams, and what are you trying to do to kind of say to them? No goes, Come on unique still develop or explain you can still develop for PD, you can still develop all these other Sims, that are out there to try and encourage them to continue working with your platform, right? So there is a couple of aspects to this. First of all, the biggest thing I think we can do to make it easy for them to develop for X plan is to just have plain be a very stable platform for third party development right?


If we give them a way to do something, make sure it keeps working so that their investment is protected ’cause if you’re a… You’re party out on make in your business, it’s a business. And I were very aware of that. So we try to look for ways to not make the rework what they’ve done. That’s one of the reasons why having things just working will in is such a high priority and why we invested time to make sure we have open GL had a building through the panels for airplanes, right?


Because if we want them to keep making airplanes for explain, we need to give them time to make new airplanes and not just have to go and rebuild their existing that’s not the same kind of revenue for them so we can try to protect their investment to make sure, it’s not crazy expensive for them to make stuff for explain.


We try to be as open as possible to getting to questions answer. We have a developer relations program that they can sign an NDA and actually getting to our chat and find us, we try to do an audio Q and A, every couple of months and just generally make sure that they can get answers to the questions they have, we try to get new features in if they need a data rap or some other hook into the set, we try to get that for them in timely manner.


A what we could do is try to make their development process easier and more streamlined on the other part is the business process though, they are running their own business, and they’ve got to make their own decisions and if they make a business call that they think that the right way to spend money is not working on explain.


We can’t tell them how to run the business. So I have to respect any decision they make, even that it’s not the one we want, all we can really do is make the experience as good as possible for them so that they don’t have it any regrets? And so that the tons, work really well and look really good and that’s what the balance is, we have to strike is How do we keep making explain better how we get modernizing it and making it look better without breaking the add-ons? That hasn’t really been a conversation with Ms. because it spent a decade not changing. So we’ll all be compatible with FSC in a year. The answer is a postwar ’cause nothing is gonna change but we’ve been going in and moving physically-based rendering moving to 64 bit.


Yeah, we made a number of these transformations already to a…


Yeah, why are we were shipping while people were making through party add-ons?


So that’s something that we have about experience with and that we need to keep doing what we were tubulin is… We implore him forward but not leaving the add-on helpers behind, at the same time. So it’s a tricky balance, but we think there is a balance because this is how we’ve been doing. Explain for the last time, in the last decade or so, right? Yeah, no, that makes total sense. I definitely not say This is a vast majority of developers. I think there’s just like you said, people are evaluating their current business and for some people it explain is a really viable platform and you’ve seen the likes of those are different developers right now of really focusing and really bringing their products to the platform. And I think, again, if we think about a volcano, the way that it’s gonna evolve the same to be this much more stable performance-friendly platform then hopefully that again, encourage more and more people to check out this sin.


So my final question before we really wrap things up is it was quite interesting to see that voce is gonna be part of X11 is of an incremental version number. So I know you’ve spoken a bit about Once Wallis out the door and you’ve got some other focuses such as of the lighting, the weather in the clouds. Are we gonna start to see if explain 12 news in the future, or are you still very heavily involved in kind of X11 development?


Well, there’s a limit but what I can say about a future version ’cause I don’t want auto cut off my fingers ’cause I hard to fix my babies if I can’t type.


We chose to put book in to explain 11 of the… That was a hard decision ’cause one of the things that we did say is, “Is this gonna be such a big deal that we need to do a new version. Is this something that people are that different, Harbor apartments for etcetera.


And the concluding I had was that the book in beta would be a complicated long on a, with a, a long tail of users who have strange things happen older hardware older drivers, maybe just run well. And so it seemed like a good candidate to do within the version. So the people can keep using the old version of explain, and there’s a really good safety valve here, which is if the boomers on, isn’t working well, you can turn it off if the bat is not looking well, you can go out of beta. So it was a tricky decision in the end, we said, We do this in v-11 because it’s the right way to ship the feature for our users and give everyone a lot of time to get used to it without having the chaos of a major version of making that process. Not because a major version is kind of a circus it’s a really big announcement. We really want it to be done on the first day, and the book, it doesn’t quite fit that we are starting to think about things after 11. we’re sort to think, that think about things after bulk in. It’s too student for me to announce a major version. But the state or the obvious thing, a Verona E is not the end.


All the ex-plant run we’re not giving up.


We were to think about what the future is. We already have things coded for the next major version of X-plane, so we’re absolutely looking towards what comes next and it’s a hard time for us because it’s too sui to announce what comes next, and this is also what I think hard their party developers, because they see what places in 2020 is gonna be in there goal that’s gonna be huge and then they look over at us and we’re not ready to show stuff yet, and so I think it’s gonna be easier for plate developers to evaluate whether they wanna say with explain and what we have to offer. One, we get for Lolo we can start showing new tac, at that point. They can say, “Oh yeah, that’s gonna be pretty good too. That’s a feature I like to make an Alan for that’s gonna make my out, look really good. And it’s hard to have to ask for patients because Microsoft is out there showing stuff. Now, this is the cycle learn, we do need to get Bulfinch and stabilized before we can move on. So the timing is what it is with these things. You get to control your only cycles, but we don’t get to control the time. Anger competitors and so we have to live with the situation we have exactly cool so a final question is, and I don’t know what the answer will be, obviously, you were predicting kind of an end of year end of ‘2019 for again, I allosteric data.


So what’s your new time frame looking, right?


I said, “A platini. We didn’t have it out to users by print a219 and I got a finger cut off, and so we did seriously consider just going public beta on December 31st and we said, “You know, it’s probably better to make something that’s really solid from day one and to just try to avoid change in what we said at “sexpe I would say we are looking at weeks for the public beta and hopefully not a lot of them. It’s not so soon, it’s gonna be days, but it’s not gonna be months.


You are management. I would say at this point is the only issue that’s stopping us from sharing this with everybody and we are making real progress with it the very management core now is light years ahead of what we had in 2019 when we were saying it is a wait-ready yet, but it’s also something that’s it’s gonna take a lot of testing. We reduce we’ve really got this that and then we give it to the third parties and we see what actually happens because ex-plant is not a closed system, and so we can’t actually know what’s gonna happen on your machine, you can add any combination of add-ons that you want, and explain being wide open. It’s more of the things that makes a great but it’s also one things that makes the the coding tricky because I… We can’t predict exactly what you’re going to do.


So it might be a couple weeks as we get to do algorithm going, and then we have to test a little bit internally and get some bugs out but I think we’re getting close, we’re starting to see things there much that than they used to be.


Excellent, Awesome Well, I hope Aston. Does it cut off your fingers otherwise we’re never gonna get bogan.


The ease-on changer. So, I suppose with mind figures, we could SOSCIP the product.


Well, who knows, but honestly thank you Ben for your time today. I feel like I’ve let a lot just for listening to us or hopefully the people at home as well. I’ve picked up on a few, cool, new iits relating to “Volga but honestly thank you so much for your time and the best of luck. Obviously when it does get released ’cause it’s obviously gonna be a huge master for you in the team after all these years of development.


Alright, thank you so much for having me the problem and to everyone else, thank you so much for listening and make sure you check out front for more information on explain the future. Thanks

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Calum Martin
Calum has been an avid fan of Flight Sim since the release of FS2000 and has developed his love for aviation ever since.
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