After a very long period of radio silence, the team behind the successful environment engine, xEnviro for X-Plane, has posted that they have released version 1.14.
Version 1.14 was initially supposed to be just a performance update for users in general, with a specific increase in performance of those users with a lower-end system as well as those that operate X-Plane in 4K. Although all of these objectives were achieved, a significant re-write of the platform’s core code has been carried out to lay the foundations to build a Vulkan compatible update next. The team did not include Vulkan compatibility in this update as they wanted to ensure that the core xEnviro was built on a solid version of X-Plane and Vulkan, rather than a beta.
xEnviro users that update to version 1.14 will see the addition of three new sliders that give the ability to control three new aspects of cloud quality. Cloud static quality changes overall cloud appearance. Cloud dynamic quality, which controls movement artifacts – clouds may blur or ‘ghost’ when moving the point of view around. Cloud detail range controls the quality of clouds in the distance. Turning this up too high will impact FPS considerably. It is advised that the ultra settings in any of these sliders should be used for screenshots and not for flying to limit the performance issues the user may experience.
Version 1.14 doesn’t address all the outstanding issues with xEnviro. The team are aware of a list of known issues that, with the release of version 1.15 and the update to Vulkan compatibility, will be easier to address, as many of the issues are limited with OpenGL. The team are confident that with the rebuild of the core code, the update to bring Vulkan compatibility will open up more possibilities in terms of features and the ease of building these features into the plugin. Therefore, the team will be drawing a line in terms of developing for OpenGL and only focus on Vulkan, moving forward.
The move to Vulkan will unfortunately mean that seasons will no longer be dynamic. This is due to a limitation with Laminar Research rather than xEnviro. Seasons will revert back to being static, as it was in version 1.13. All is not lost as this feature will still be accessible in version 1.15 but only when running X-Plane in Open GL.
With version 1.15 being all about Vulkan, users could possibly see another the post mentioned that other features are also on the horizon for xEnviro, including VR compatibility and multi-screen support as well as thunderstorms and enhancing the night environment. In an ideal world, the team have put together a rough outline for a roadmap for the next few updates.
- 1.15 Vulkan
- 1.16 Spherical buffer
- 1.17 Low-level fog
- 1.18 Precipitation volume
- 1.19 atmospheric shadows
- 1.20 Thunderstorms
- 1.21 Night environment
Version 1.15 will not take another 12 months to produce but there has not been any promise of a timeframe for the next update. You can purchase xEnviro for X-Plane from the Threshold Store for $69.90.