In a post on the X-Plane Developer Blog, X-Plane Software Engineer Ben Supnik gave a look at some of the updates due for the simulator.
Speaking about the latest beta release, 11.40, Supnik says this is a “physics release.” All of the changes in this release focus on physics and this update is a departure from the normal release method in that the code in this beta is strictly code from Austin’s work on the physics engine. This allows the developers to focus on debugging one set of code, instead of multiple sets and then trying to figure out which set of code the bug exists in. So far Supnik says this method is working.
While this method of release is working, there are still bugs that are popping up – mostly in the area of NaNs (Not A Number) in the flight model. It appears that Austin has fixed one of the two root causes of this error, but the team will need to keep chasing the bugs until the other root cause is fixed. This will mean a high occurrence of beta releases over the next little while.
Supnik also spoke about the state of the experimental flight model, which requires a lot of time to test and measure performance. He said that by checking the ‘experimental flight model’ box, users are getting the opportunity to test the flight model of future X-Plane releases. He also said that developers of third-party aircraft need to test their planes against both the experimental and non-experimental flight model.
The blog posts wraps up with Supnik saying that X-Plane 11.50 will be the next major patch once 11.40 is out of beta, and it will be the first patch to feature Vulkan and Metal support. For those who missed the preview of Vulkan at Cosford, he said that developers expect that add-ons doing “supported things” (2-d panel drawing and UI) should have no problems working in Metal and Vulkan. He also said that X-Plane running in OpenGL should “just work” for pretty much every add on, and should be faster than 11.40 but not as fast as Vulkan or Metal.
Supnik cautioned that the Vulkan beta will be a long one, and that while it will start in 2019, it won’t end in 2019 and that Vulkan may be great for some users and crash for others.
As for what’s next after Vulkan, it’s a little early to say, but Supnik says that Vulkan will be the foundation for what comes next.
You can read the full blog post here.