Version 7.00

Version 7.00 was in beta test for a couple months, and then went kind of quiet. Finally, Release Candidate 4 became the final version of 7.00 without a lot of fanfare. There's a lot of new stuff in 7.00...
THE MAIN NEW FEATURES FOR X-PLANE VERSION 7.00:


THE NEW AIRCRAFT FORMAT

TOTALLY NEW AND OVERHAULED AIRCRAFT FORMAT...
YOU NO LONGER EVEN SPECIFY IF YOUR CRAFT IS AN AIRPLANE, HELO, OR GYRO!
YOU JUST ASSEMBLE THE PARTS HOWEVER YOU LIKE AND SEE HOW IT FLIES!
AWESOME!
And oh yes, X-Plane 7 uses this excellent new acf format but still reads in NEW AND OLD formats no problem! V6 airplanes fly just fine in V7 with NO changes!

In the new ACF format, which must is totally reverse-compatible, you get:
  • EIGHT MORE WINGS SECTIONS
  • EIGHT MORE BODIES
  • SIX landing gear (not "just" 5) so you can get the gear on those B-52's just right.
  • Variable control surface ratios!
  • If you want the control surface to be really wide at the root, and narrow at the tip, or the other way around, or the same chord for their entire length.This new technology will allow you to get the rudder shaped just right.
  • The ability to specify the thrust-vector minimum and maximum vector... we no longer assume 0 to 120... so now you can get it perfect for my plane!
  • The ability to specify the thrust vector rotation RATE! Fast on Harriers, slow on Ospreys!
  • The ability to specify the N1-prop linkage factor in Plane-Maker to get the Garrets and PT-6s to behave differently from each other. This is the ability to specify how "free" the turbine is from the prop to get the turboprop N1/prop linkages just right for our particular engine.
  • The ability to specify the idle throttles as well, for both low and high idle, right along with the max throttle!
  • The ability to specify the starter and battery strength ratios in the Systems window in Plane-Maker... and get all the battery anbd starter powers just right for your plane!
  • MORE. Dive into Plane-Maker to experiment.

 
THE BIG FLIGHT MODEL STUFF

  • Fusleage lift is now more accurate. We consulted curent research in missile design to get the fuselage to contribute just the right amount of lift. X-Plane now considers the exposed area, so a Boeing 747, for example, will put out more sideforce than lift because of the additional area of the hump as seen from the side only.
  • More acurate moment of inertia calculations, along with actual changing moment of inertia as the fuel is burned.
  • Also the moment of inertia and the weight and the drag of all the weapons on the craft are considered so we now have the weight, drag, and even increased moment of inertia on the craft from carrying weapons... We are not doing actual fighting or firing of the weapons now, but we still want those F-15's accurate for operational flight!
  • X-Plane now uses the new accurate fuselage-lift even for the weapon's bodies so their lift and drag and sideforce on the aircraft are all accurate while they are being carried!
  • ALL computed weapon mass and aero-effects are now computed while they are attached to the airframe, and their forces carry through to properly affect the aircraft to which they are attached. In other words, the weapons flight-model is still done (in addition to the aircraft flight model) and the forces from ALL combine on the total large, heavy body.
  • Improvements in rotor-modelling... in addition to total flexiblity with number of rotors and engines, the transmission drag is more accurate as well.
  • Improvements in flight-modelling for most all planes... the joining of multiple wing sections to make one wing is more accurate.
  • Airfoils now have any linear lift-range you like... Get those thin or slotted foils just right, even if their linear range is not 10 degrees!
  • Reverse the rudder control if you put the vertical stabs on the FRONT of the craft! Experiment with wildly yaw-unstable craft this way!
  • Further prop/engine/clutch physics improvements... the engines should windmill even backwards if conditions warrant!
  • Throttle and reverse thrust failures are more realistic as FAA desires:
    • throttle fails to CLOSED,
    • thrust reverse fails to CURRENT POSITION, be it on or off.
  • More accurate N1 repsonse from turboprops.
  • More realistic handling of super-low AR cases, as some people use for fairing and strakes and things like that.
  • More realistic supersonic engine performance.
  • New engine and propeller sound system... X-Plane now has seperate the engine and prop sounds! Then those engines and props will be just right even in odd cases like auto-rotation and clutched engines.


THE BIG WEATHER STUFF

  • Set Weather Atmosphere: The runway water or ice conditions can now be patchy or uniform!
  • The conditions are calculated FOR THE LOCATION OF EACH WHEEL! (Not just the airplane overall!) This way, the left main gear may be on a slick spot, while the right main gear is getting good traction... the plane will pull to one side for a moment as you go over that part of the runway!
  • Hydroplaning! Your hydroplane speed is determined based on your tire pressure, and if the runway conditions are wet and the hydroplane speed is exceeded, you can forget about any ground friction! This applies to steering AND braking of course.
  • The hydroplane speed is determined by the tire size and the current weight, so lightly-loaded planes or planes with large tires hydroplane more easily! This happens around 115 kt in airliners, slower in light planes.
  • Needless to say, wet runays and icy runways with patchy ice conditions make things VERY interesting when the wind is gusting!
  • Overcast clouds are now solid... no stars showing through underneath, etc.

 
THE BIG VISUAL STUFF

  • New Object-700 format! This new format contais ALL OPEN-GL primitives! Insanely easy to learn!
  • But old OBJ-format is still supported for COMPLETE reverse-compatibility!
  • You can easily do objects with points, lines, triangles, quads, quad strips, triangle strips, triangle fans, and n-sided polygons!
  • Objects can have smooth or flat shading...it's specified in the obj file that and can be set for any poly.
  • See the CUSTOM SCENERY folder for the KSB EXAMPLE to see an example of this easy, powerful new format.
  • More efficient objects! Objects now draw faster and use less RAM
  • Autogen objects are now better randomized... not so "patterned".
  • Objects textures to look better from a distance... not "spotted" but instead "smooth".
  • MENU BAR DISSAPEARS WHEN THE MOUSE IS NOT NEAR IT!
  • Just drag the mouse up to the top of the screen to get the menu bar to appear...
  • otherwise, the menu bar DISSAPEARS to give you total immersion.
  • Instrument panels are now BIGGER! (1024x768, not 1024x750)
  • If you have any custom panels from version 6, edit them in a graphics program to be 768 pixels tall... or don't... in which case X-Plane will still let you use them with no modifications.
  • Hit enter for ATC and ATC brings the lights up or down in intensity at your airport!
  • Set the lights to suit yourself, as ATC will often do in the real world!
  • PARACHUTES are now visible... and not just eye-candy! Now you can be sure they are correctly placed and really see them in action!
  • You can see the chutes deploy, and trail accurately with the wind vector.
  • More accurate FOG.. now based on the true distance from you... not just the distance in the z-direction!
  • Textured Lites run faster... turn this option on in the rendering options screen for more realistic lites at nite.
  • Check out the cars parked around the airport fence with someone standing by them watching you
  • and waving to you! ;-) (and the cars use their blinkers as they turn)
  • Custom textures can now use alpha! Just use pink! Now you can get little lakes and ponds and rivers and coastlines in there perfectly, even for custom textures! There is a little region near KSBD that shows this... crank up the texture res to see it.

 
NEW SWITCHES AND INSTRUMENTS

  • New switch: taxlilight.
  • New switch: Puffer Power. Turn those reaction jets ("puffers") off when in the atmosphere.
  • New EFIS instruments: DIGITAL OBS. Indicate the exact digital OBS on any EFIS display.
  • New round "flaps indicator" guage. Custom fuel and flaps angles.
  • Another notch of flap-settings to get those airliner flaps just perfect.
  • Carter Copter ECAM updated to track the real prototype as research progresses.
  • New all-in-one DME (requested for FAA certification issues)
  • Better PFC support for FAA and PCATD certification.

 
EQUIPMENT FAILURES

  • Tail rotor failures are back, as per request.
  • Electrical failure fails the HUD and gear and flaps.
  • Also the electrical system to charges the batteries more accurately... one generator can charge multiple batteries in the event of an engine failure.
  • Manual Reversion: Flight controls move only partway after a hydraulic failure! This is because without hydraulics, you are depending on pilot muscles or manual trim-tabs to control the plane.. which is not much to go on with a really BIG one! Set up the Manual Reversion ratio in Plane-Maker.. then fail the hydraulics in flight and see if you can still control the plane on partial deflection only!
  • Autopilots now follow the INDICATED artificial horizon and directional gyro... right into the ground if those systems have failed! Remember, the VACUUM horizons and DGs will follow the failure of the VACUUM system, the ELECTRICTAL horizons and DGs will follow the failure of the ELECTRICTAL system (or eventually the alternators if given enough time as the abtteries drain!)
  • SO YOU MUST KNOW IF YOU HAVE A VACUUM OR ELECTRIC DG AND HORIZON (find out by clicking on the instrument in Plane-Maker) so you know what systems will go South after a vacuum or electrical failure... and realize the autopilot will follow that AH and DG right into the ground after those systems have tumbled from lack of vacuum or power! Know the systems if you want to live.

 
VARIOUS NEW FEATURES

  • AIRWAYS! See the low enroute to see them all.
  • ACTUAL RADIO FREQUENCIES! See them in the approach plates!
  • New apt.dat file that can have SEAPORTS with BOUYS marking the runways... and yes they bob in the waves! (and yes the old apt.dat files will still continue to work).
  • New view: Moving Spot! This travels at the exact velocity-vector of the moment the view is set... then you can fly all around the view!
  • ATC vectors to aircraft carriers and frigates to complement the vector to the tanker! Set the weather to IFR and then get a vector to try to work out the approach!
  • Carrier catapault should shoot you to a good speed for any airplane now. It will always to to put you off the deck at published stall plus 15 kt.
  • New icing model... see the new equipment in Plane-Maker to see all the new systems available. The modelling of nature has been expanded to match the new equipment options for the plane. This include airframe ice, pitot ice, propeller ice, windhshield ice, and engine inlet ice, with the effects on the plane in flight, and systems required to combat it!
  • New weapons type: drop tank! Put in the fuel you like, and even new fuel gages on the panel to check out the fuel inside! of course, all the mass and inertia characterisitcs are simulated, and the tanks can be jettisoned.
  • Acf2 bmp for the misc wings and bodies! Check it out in the instructions fodler. Misc body 1 and 2 are already in the main acf bitmap, but all the others, and all the misc wings, are now in the new one!
  • New fms plan format: simply text so you can easily check and edit by hand.
  • Various minor bugs fixes and optimizations, including more detail in fuel tank distribution in Plane-Maker, finer throttle resolution, ability to cancel quickflight and airport placement, etc.

 
AIRCRAFT-OPERATIONAL

  • Autopilot glideslope capture is more realistic.
  • Here is how it works in the real plane:
    • You are on ALT HOLD as you approach the outer marker, the glideslope still above you.
    • Now, hit the VNAV BUTTON.
    • BOTH THE VNAV AND ALT HOLD BUTTONS WILL BE LIT UP.
    • Now, the otto WILL HOLD YOUR CURRENT ALT UNTIL THE GLIDESLOP COMES IN.
    • Then, the auto-pilot will switch to glideslope mode as you intercept the glideslope automaitcally.
  • This allows you to fly the entire ILS automatically if you just configure the otto in advance of the approach!
  • THIS IS NOW HOW THE AUTOPILOT IN X-PANE WORKS.
  • Autopilot is more agressive on nailing the target, too.
  • New water pickup method. It works like this:
    • Skim the water at 70 knots to pick up a full load of water and then drop it on forest fires!
    • Specify in Plane-Maker if the payload you have is slung or water. Then skim the water to pick up another load of water!
    • Go into the Weight and Balance screen in Plane-Maker to indicate if the jettisonable load is water on your craft.
  • The multiplayer aircraft are more detailed in their actions... the landing lights are now shown accurately, for example.
  • Send your opponent morse code or attempt to blind him! Or simply turn on your lites so he can see you at night.

 
SIM-OPERATIONAL

  • All-new interface! We now have a new interface by Sergio! It is better-looking and leaves more room for new controls in the same 1024x768 package! This new interface really takes the UI to the next level, speeding use as well with a number of quick TABS to quickly see what you like.
  • QUICKTIME MOVIES!
    • This is set up in the Settings menu: Movies!
    • Record your own QUICKTIME movies directly from X-Plane with NO special hardware or software required!
    • Set any resolution and framerate you like!
    • If you have enough CPU and feel like taking the disk space you can
    • record movies at the full 1024x768, 50 frames per second, zero distortion!
    • More realitistically for most computers, make your movies about 400x300, 10 or 20 frames per second...
    • then you have a QUICKTIME movie of your X-Plane flight to email or post on the net!
    • This work on Mac AND Windows! (then, get a copy of IMovie and edit your Quicktime X-Plane movies, adding music as you like! JAMMIN!)
  • Option to turn off airways and fixes will so those files will NOT to be loaded... thus you load faster! Turning this and the other airplanes off cuts the load time in HALF!
  • More joystick support on Mac OS-X... more gamepads and joysticks of all varieties supported.
  • More joystick support on Windows XP... multiple sticks hooked up at once supported.
  • Plane-Maker now shows planes in "orthogonal" view... simply meaning there is no depth perspective, thus no distortion of the plane, so you can get the shape just right without any depth-cues altering the image.
  • All preferences are now stored in resources/prefs folder... easier to delete if you want to restart in default configuration. THIS ALSO MEANS YOU CAN RUN MANY DIFFERENT VERSIONS OF X-PLANE ON ONE COMPUTER WITHOUT THEIR PREFERENCES STEPPING ON EACH OTHER, SINCE THEY ARE EACH STORED IN THEIR OWN X-SYSTEM FOLDER.
  • X-Plane now remembers the startup runway on restart of the sim.
  • AWESOME new feature.. check out the "other aircraft" option in the Settings menu... set up what the other craft are for various refueling/carriage options... maybe you don't want top drop from a b52 in an x-15, but instead want to drop from the White Knight in SpaceShip One... or get towed aloft be a different plane than a fast racy Lancair... set up your airplanes, speeds, altitudes, and headings for all that stuff right here!
  • New engine rpm gages... now you can choose gages to indicate engine or prop RPM... or BOTH!
  • Helo tach now indicates rotor not engine rpm as it should.
  • Helo fadecs more accurate: they no longer allow engine drop-off if the rotor overspeeds. When you turn on the FADEC on those helos from an idling condition it eases the throttle in more gradually rather than firewalling it in a desperate attempt to yank you up to oeprational RPM.
  • In engine-2 screen in PM, specify if each prop or jet vectors or not with the thrust vector... but now you have to go activate this for each of your existing VTOLs!
  • Further helo clutch handling improvements.
  • Plane-Maker: For the misc wings, set up each wing as either left or right, as you like.
  • New airport type: helipad... see the end of the apt.dat file for examples... no airport fences around them.
  • Improved FMS management... navigate from fix-to-fix, etc.
  • New improved runway textures by Sergio.
  • Sound improvements... get in there with your custom engine and prop sounds, and set the recording rpm in Plane-Maker engine 3 screen, to get them perfect!
  • Even record seperate tail-rotor sounds for helos at the operational rpm of the helo, and enter the operational rpm of the main rotor as the recording rpm in Plane-Maker.
  • Projective-textured taxiways, so we do not get that "patchwork" effect of many different tiles.
  • New control-keys to control the GPS and helo clutch.
  • See the resources/keys folder the list.
  • More stars in the sky at night, with better distribution / Plane-Maker now shows all aircraft lights for placement
  • No more other airplanes going into "tunnel-boring mode" and tooling happily along, deep underground
  • No more gyroplanes running up to full power on you with runaway FADECs
  • No more extra "bmp" on the end of the texture starting points in plane-maker.
  • Oil rig lights drawn at right height.
  • Instrument panel "pink-edge" solved.
  • No more rivers rising up to form "bridges" over water. It was funny to look at, though
  • mach hold allows mach numbers above 1.0.
  • fuel selector always starts off in good default position
  • QFL screen operative all resolutions.
  • rudders always go in right direction when placed on the wings
  • different lo and hi enroute maps with airways appropriate for the altitude
  • Improved lakebed textures for that flying at Edwards.
  • New joystick button: toggle ignition. This runs you through the available ignition settings.
  • Real-Weather scanning about 1000 times faster. (not 1000% faster... 1000 TIMES faster). What used to take about a minute of reading is now done in less time than you can see.
  • Other planes keep their lite on below 10k if they are jets.
  • New zoom method that works with airliners and lite planes to increase the out-the-window view when you hit 'w' twice.
  • Longer airway names allowed.
  • Sectional chart has colors refind a bit to be a bit more accurate.
  • Vapour trails from the engine are 100% more solid.
  • New instrument: artificial horizon with low-vacuum warning flag. Select it in Plane-Maker then yank the engine(s) or fail the vac system to see it.
  • No more old panel being left over from previous plane. / Fadecs inited to ON.
  • New PNG files should ok on OS-9. / Various labels and stuff fixed.
  • Glider tow operational.
  • Have all the guns you want on the craft... only 1 at a time was firing for beta-2.
  • No more "cant set sound frq" error.
  • Geared engine now putting out rated power to the props.
  • Plane-Maker can load background images.. bmp or png.
  • No more "square" cloud in overcast conditions
  • Weapons can now go directly in the aircraft folder, and you can fire or drop them. (space bar)
  • All aero and mass properties (including assymetric layouts) of the weapons are carried over to the aircraft wheile they are in carriage. Set up your weapons loading in the new Weapons Loadout windows in the Settings menu.
  • The Japanese Anime in the Science Fiction folder makes for an interesting demo experience indeed!
    • A 40,000 plane with tons of thrust carrying 100,000 lb of bombs... WOW!
    • The shifts in CG and drag as the 10 bombs release one at a time is really cool!
    • Remember the little button near the chutes in the Japanese Anime is a "vertical boost" button...
    • It hits a vertical rocket for jump take-offs!
  • Also try experimenting with the last option in the View menu to track bombs and missiles though their flight.
  • Also try the TV-Guided missiles and bombs... and use the little white cross-hairs under the screen to guid the missiles and bombs... as long as they are selected as TV-Guided in Plane-Maker of course, and have control sizes and deflections.
  • Set the rpm and speed that your engine and wind noise (if custom) were recorded at in Plane-Maker to get them perfect in the sim!
  • Material properties added to the obj7 struct:
    • Set the ambient, diffuse, specular, and emmision colors, as well as shininess!
    • Use this to tune windows, shiny vs dull surfaces, etc.
  • Manual helo clutches take 20 seconds to engage or disengage, as in reality
  • Variable-incidence wings now supported... see the Wings windows in the Expert menu in Plane-Maker, and be sure to apply an incidence handle in the panel window!
  • flaps now increse the effective angle of attack on the wings... so you stall at a LOWER angle of attack (though HIGHER coefficient of lift) with flaps down, as in reality. The more the flaps lift, the more the reduction in stalling angle of attack.
  • More Windows Joystick support... we now support up to 3 devices, and hat switches as well.
  • New switch to open or close the water scoops. For fire-fighting, open the scoops, then skim the water... Watch the water level rise in the water level indicator (supplementary instrument folder). Then hit the jettision button to jettison the water load... specify the jettisonable payload is water in the Weight and Balance window.
  • Improved handling of the REND struct to use X-Plane as a visual renderer... Scaled Composites is the first customer diving into this area.
  • Auto-link of rudders to ailerons in the Special Controls window in Plane-Maker, as used in the Ercoupe.
  • Enter a "Strut Compression" in the "Landing Gear" window in Plane-Maker... this controls how much the struts get compressed during gear retraction. This is done in the F-4, for example.
  • Smoke trails from airplane last longer, as requested.
  • New gear type: 2 in front 4 in back. Used in C-5 Galaxy.
  • Joystick range only set when the joystick window is open... thus the calibration is not lost by random joystick noise later.
  • Airfoil-selection improved.., the current location for foil-searching is remembered as long as the foil-section window is open.
  • New prop type: VTOL CYCLIC... this goes on planes like the V-22 and Bell 609... this has been auto-selected in the past but is now manual so you can get the props you want where you want them. Just FYI!
  • Speedbrake motion shown in Plane-Maker with "View with Moving Surfaces" on... helps with placement.
  • All the Misc Wings can now have variable sweep, dihedral, etc.
  • Cloud shadows in the terrain added for Cirrus clouds now... including motion over time.
  • Plane-Maker now lets you copy misc bodies, just like you can with Nacelles.
  • Support for PNG files... this file format lets you store alpha (transparency) as a channel, thus freeing you from the purple use for transaprrency in the past. Try it out! (but be warned, X-Plane will not down-sample to lower res settings like it will for bitmaps, so the RAM usage is the same as for a bitmap at EXTREME RES!
  • When in forward view, just hit 'w' again to get a "lookup" forward view to look up and see more out the window.
  • CONTROL-q map: enroute map
  • CONTROL-w map: sectional map
  • CONTROL-e map: weather radar map
  • CONTROL-r map: textured map
  • CONTROL-t map: elevation spectrum map
  • CONTROL-y map: three-view map
  • CONTROL-f now activates any failures that you set in the failure screens to activate on the keypress
  • "Help-bubbles" are now into text files so they can be localized to any language!
  • Do you you speak Portugese and like X-Plane? Your day has come. Portugese language now available.


Version 7 Overview

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