X-Plane 12 has been in the hands of simmers now for a short while and has seen a few minor updates over the past few months to help with stability and functionality of the simulator. However, many have been left wondering what the future for the platform holds. After all, X-Plane 11 was updated over and over again adding significant changes over the years.
Whilst this roadmap doesn’t provide any large scale changes to the core platform, it does give an insight for what to expect in the short-term from Laminar Research. The near term updates from the team will be versions 12.05, 12.06, and 12.07.
X-Plane 12 – Version 12.05
Version 12.05 of X-Plane 12 is already in Release Candidate form and has a focus on the Airbus A330 included with the base simulator. The A330 now has a fully custom MCDU/autopilot and flight systems, giving simmers the most authentic experience possible for the Airbus aircraft.
This version also fixed critical issues with ATC, along with various flight model improvements. As the post says, these flight model changes are incremental, “but contribute greatly to the fidelity of the platform over time.”
X-Plane 12 – Version 12.06
X-Plane 12.06 seems to bring with it a lot of changes that users have been asking for. This includes better VRAM usage, improved cloud rendering, and also OpenXR integration.
As described in the post, this version of the simulator will improve the VRAM usage. This means better performance and reduce the risk of blurry texturing. Another visual improvement will come in the form of the fix to weather cloud pyramids and ‘zebra-stripes’ in the clouds of X-Plane 12. Speaking of clouds, cirrus cloud types will be added to the volumetric 3D cloud engine for the first time.
VR users will be pleased to hear that OpenXR integration will be shipping with 12.06, allowing third parties to better interact with VR elements and also allow for a greater number of headsets to just work with X-Plane 12. Aircraft carriers are also coming to this version.
ATC is also going to see a massive improvement with version 12.06. The post says that,“AI aircraft (especially helicopters) how operate more realistically. This helps us better convey the experience of flying in the vicinity of other airplanes in real life.” You can see the full list of ATC changes planned for version 12.06 down below.
X-Plane 12 – Version 12.07
Whilst details for exactly what will be in version 12.07 are still being ironed out, the post did give an indication on what to expect with this update. Lighting tuning will be a big part of 12.07 with a balance of bloom lighting effects, sky/exposure recalibration and atmospheric scattering. Furthermore, there will be some new water rendering to make it seem more realistic.
Another area that is going to likely get some attention with 12.07 is turbine engine improvements. The ‘how’ of avionics of aircraft will also be reworked, which will yield benefits for both internal teams and third-party developers, hopefully meaning they can be produced faster and more efficiently.
That wraps up the roadmap post from Laminar Research. Things may change along the way, but these incremental updates are designed to provide stability and fixes to the platform that have been fed back to the team since X-Plane 12 debuted. We’ll keep you posted with any further changes.
- ATC is aware of TCAS (i.e. plugin-controlled) aircraft
- Controllers now use multiple available channels, reducing radio contention
- Parked AI aircraft were not always created at the starting airport
- Wake separation is taken into account when issuing line-up or takeoff instructions
- Line-up time calculations were wrong for some runways
- AI conformance to ATC instructions is better
- Global region now uses mbar instead of inches of mercury
- AI can now properly navigate great-circle routes
- AI can now fly polar routes
- Fixes for routing where multiple waypoints with the same name exist
- Auto-router will consider great-circle routes
- Generated flows now align to the longest runway instead of always cardinal directions
- Generated calm flows only used one runway
- Fix approach being canceled if you are a long way out but perfectly aligned with the runway
- Fix approach cancellation not always being spoken
- AI now see the user’s aircraft if it starts on the runway, does not move and does not interact with ATC
- Add flight-plan dialog options to transfer route to and from FMS
- Add some missing spoken airport names
- Several problems with direction after a missed approach
- Nag for late contact to next controller was broken
- AI did not always call downwind when needed
- Allow editing of basic flight data if something required is missing, even if the flight is already under way
- Potential fix for incorrect warnings for altitude compliance
- Missing phrase for a low-visibility ATIS message
- Descent time calculations changed slightly
- Visibility at high-altitude airports improved (i.e. will be poor if the METAR says so)
- Pyramid cloud formations fixed
- Metar reports from XPLM didn’t use the next available data