Laminar Research has released to the public their X-Plane 11.50 Beta Update. This major update features the native support of Vulkan and Metal API. Vulkan and Metal API target at replacing OpenGL in rendering engines in order to take a better advantage of the hardware technology currently available. This leads to a better rendition as well as better performance on the end-user computer.
Vulkan is an API primarily targeted at PC users, while Metal is an API developed by Apple. Respective X-Plane users will be able to see benefits of these APIs depending on the hardware they are running.
X-Plane 11 and Vulkan/Metal : what is it ?
What does Vulkan bring to X-Plane ? The developers have explained what they were aiming at achieving with the addition of the Vulkan API to the game.
- Better handling of plugin drawing. This means for example that weather addons have a better compability and possibilites, as explained here.
- Better handling of texture paging. This means that the use of Video RAM (or VRAM, the size of the memory of your graphic card) is much more optimized. Unused textures will be cleared from the memory with more efficiency. The display of the texture has also been revamped. In the end, the user will see better performance and better stability, with less risks of exceeding their GPU VRAM capacity. More detailed explanations can be found here.
As X-Plane developer Ben Supnik said “a flight simulator is more than its rendering engine”. The update also pushes new features for the desktop and mobile version of X-Plane, but the developers have said they would update us later on this subject.
While your X-Plane is updating, you can listen or read the script of the interview of Ben Supnik with FSElite in January 2020.