Hacker News

X-Plane 11: World Editor 2.0 Released(x-plane.com)

51 pointsdoener posted 3 months ago20 Comments
20 Comments:
jillesvangurp said 3 months ago:

For those who don't know what this is about. World Editor is an oss scenery development tool for x-plane (not oss) and it's the main scenery editing tool for x-plane. It's also what powers the x-plane scenery gateway which contains user contributed 3d scenery for thousands of airports worldwide.

The scenery gateway has made a lot of difference to x-plane in recent years. It relies a lot on automatically generated scenery from open data sources and it used to be that the scenery was pretty bland and monotonous. Autogen scenery actually works quite well these days but it doesn't generate airport buildings. Since they introduced the scenery gateway essentially all major airports are now covered out of the box and many of the smaller ones as well. This means you get terminal buildings, signs, taxi ways, etc. for over 8K airports world wide (last number I heard, probably more by now).

V2. supposedly makes it a lot easier to add missing airports by integrating external maps and satellite imagery to make it easier to position objects correctly. So, it will likely result in even more and improved airports.

I've been a long time x-plane user (since v8) and it's a great ecosystem to be in these days. As of v11, they've ramped up development a lot and managed to attract a lot of commercial add on developers (essentially most of the big ones that also target FS X/p3d). Awesome product and it keeps on getting better with each release.

With this and some free add-ons from x-plane.org, you can get a really nice flight simulation experience for just the price of the base simulator. I have generated several hundreds of GB of photo textures (using ortho4xP) and I've also installed some scenery packages from e.g. simheaven.com to generate detailed 3d scenery from open streetmaps. Getting the same kind of experience on competing products is possible but will cost you an arm and a leg.

I've been following flightgear for years as well and I want to like it but it is just not in the same league.

zippergz said 3 months ago:

Many years ago I was big into X-Plane. But it seems like so much of the development and community is focused on making the graphics as pretty as possible, instead of making the flying as realistic as possible. I'd easily take the tradeoff of rudimentary graphics with incredibly realistic controls and aircraft behavior over rich landscapes and fancy liveries......

outworlder said 3 months ago:

> Many years ago I was big into X-Plane. But it seems like so much of the development and community is focused on making the graphics as pretty as possible, instead of making the flying as realistic as possible. I'd easily take the tradeoff of rudimentary graphics with incredibly realistic controls and aircraft behavior over rich landscapes and fancy liveries......

This is not the case at all. The flight model is pretty good. The bundled aircraft may not be as good. But is that really a surprise?

There are many third party vendors with realistic aircraft. Try Airfoilab's Cessna 172, or Zibo Mod (free) for the 737, to name two.

Zhenya said 3 months ago:

My guess is that the community focuses on what they know; how things look. If you're busy flying planes all the time and know about the challenges of flying, then you're probably not spending a lot of time developing for xplane.

zippergz said 3 months ago:

Yes this makes sense. It's just frustrating for me as somone who doesn't have the time/money/risk tolernace for real flying, but would like to be able to "fly" as realistically as possible at home. I'm sure people like me are a tiny niche within a niche, though.

nightski said 3 months ago:

I was obsessed with flight simulators in middle school and high school. These included Microsoft Flight Sim, Flight Unlimited, Fly!, Falcon 4.0, and many more. So much so that I ended up taking up flying lessons and having my first solo flight on my 16th birthday (the earliest legal date I could do so at the time).

What I learned is that flight simulators can be a huge benefit. I basically learned everything in the simulator that I was later taught in the ground school of a private pilot course (which made those hours really boring haha!). You can learn weather, instruments, aircraft systems, etc.

The one thing that is really hard to grasp however from a simulator is the feel of flying an aircraft. I had a horrible habit of overcontrolling the aircraft - and it was the direct result of my many hours of flight sim experience. Even when using force feedback joysticks, etc.. there is still going to be quite a learning curve in a real plane.

So enjoy the flight simulators. But in my opinion I wouldn't get to concerned about how realistic the flight mechanics are. Because they are the least important thing you'd learn from a flight simulator. But that is just my opinion.

upofadown said 3 months ago:

Same sort of experience: my transition from zillions of hours of PC flight sim to gliders did not go well at all. It seemed that I would never get so I could follow the tow plane in a non-exciting way.

I have observed that experienced pilots do reasonably well at following the towplane on the simulator even with no simulator experience at all. So it isn't just that it is different. There is something else going on there.

13415 said 3 months ago:

The realism of some payware planes has increased drastically, from aerodynamics to systems and failure modeling. Unfortunately, high quality payware has become very expensive.

As for X-Plane itself, Austin Meyer doesn't seem to have lost his old modeling habits, which sometimes infuriate flight simmers. Remember when he read a book on ground physics and all the wheels and braking were messed up? Now he has mentioned in a live FAQ session that they do HDR lighting "the right way" and that's the reason why cockpits are so dark in relation to the outside...

Blackthorn said 3 months ago:

There are many planes for xplane dedicated to realism. The SimCoders reality expansion packs, for example.

Buttons840 said 3 months ago:

The reality expansion packs are made by one guy, as best I can tell. The company that makes them consists of a founder / CEO, an artist, and 3 beta testers according to the website.

I've often wondered if making XPlane addons might be one of the easiest and most profitable side projects out there.

zippergz said 3 months ago:

I considered it, but it seemed like Austin would be a difficult person to work with (even if "work with" is limited to developing software within his app).

Blackthorn said 3 months ago:

I think the SimCoders guy would say there's nothing easy about it!

Someone1234 said 3 months ago:

You should check out Prepar3D, it isn't cheap, but is focused on realism.

zippergz said 3 months ago:

Appears to be Windows-only, which is a line I will not cross...

iso-8859-1 said 3 months ago:

It's a modified Microsoft Flight Simulator X, so since that works fine in Wine, Prepar3D probably will too.

piotrkubisa said 3 months ago:

During trial installation of X-Plane 11 I got an notification from Windows Defender that it spotted Trojan:Win32/Bearfoos.A!ml. It looks like a false positive for me, but still it leaves a very bad taste.

Disclaimer: I am not a security expert and I do not take any responsibility for my opinion - it is up to you to verify if it is free of any malicious code.

ploxiln said 3 months ago:

This happens occasionally for new versions of 7-zip and more often for niche open source tools which offer installers or executables for windows. You should have a bad taste for antivirus. It's never really worked.

StavrosK said 3 months ago:

> It looks like a false positive for me, but still it leaves a very bad taste.

I agree, this definitely doesn't look good. If I were you I'd uninstall this obviously broken antivirus software.

garaetjjte said 3 months ago:

Why does it matter? Antivirus software vendors effectively engage in code signing certificates protection racket.

sjwright said 3 months ago:

I haven't run resident virus scanning for at least a decade or more, including Windows Defender on my Windows machine, and I haven't had a single meaningful issue during that time.

(And I know this with high confidence because I do schedule weekly full disk scans on my computers and NAS and they haven't ever found a damn thing that wasn't a false positive or a fake-positive.)