In a recent blog post from Ben Supnik, on behalf of Laminar Research, Ben has announced that the team are ever closer to a public Vulkan/Metal beta for X-Plane 11.
Ben starts the developer blog with very positive light and mentions that Covid-19 has not taken hold of the developers and everyone is fit and well, despite the varied worldwide locations of the team.
Although later than expected or wished, Laminar research has today released their Vulkan/Metal development update 9 to selected private beta testers. The team hopes that this would be the final build before a public beta is available for the wider X-Plane userbase. Ben has confirmed that they aim to have the public Vulkan/Metal beta released by the end of March. The reason for the delay in getting a tangible Vulkan/Metal build out to the public is down to the wish list growing larger from a developmental perspective. The blog post goes onto clarifying some of these features and what the team have been up to over the past three months, since the previous post.
Ben describes two areas in which the team have been working hard to implement within X-Plane. Enhanced plugin drawing is the first on his list as he describes how certain third-party plugins showed compatibility issues in the early stages of the development. The team has rewritten the way X-Plane interacts with plugins to add better drawing and capability for more plugins to be used at the same time. This will mainly impact such plugins as weather generation and the more visual environmental plugins you may use.
The second feature that was mentioned in the post was surrounding advanced third-generation texture paging within the system. With a fear of getting bogged down in the technical, texture paging allows your graphics hardware to focus on building the textures in greater detail the closer to your aircraft they are placed, and in less detail the further away they are. This will allow your graphics hardware to concentrate on drawing the things needed most, rather than getting slowed up by drawing all textures to high resolution.
From describing some of the issues the team have encountered during the implementation process of Vulkan/Metal and the above features, Ben reiterates the advanced stages of the build before the public beta is released and the team are currently working to eradicate some bugs to get the system in a more solid-state.
Finally, Ben dangles the carrot regarding some extra features that are being developed for the X-Plane mobile platform as well as specific non-Vulkan/Metal areas for X-Plane desktop version 11.50.
If you would like to read the full development blog named ‘D9 You Sunk My Battleship‘ from Ben Supnik, you can do so over on their blog page.