7.41 was a long time in coming - 6 months altogether. There
were a couple of early betas and then Austin went quiet for a couple
months while all the new instruments were developed. Then there was a
series of 7.40 betas and release candidates, and at the last minute the
version number was clocked to 7.41 with a couple of last bug fixes and
NEW STUFF FOR 7.41
A lot of the rendering code was redesigned; frame rate impact
appears to be inconsistent - some folks are seeing faster, other
slower. One thing for sure: going by the list of stuff in this list,
Austin's rate of development on X-Plane remains constant. There's a lot
of material here, but not terribly well organized. This is how it comes
off the X-Plane web page, modulo some format fixups and typo
REDESIGNED PANEL INSTRUMENTS:
TONS of new instruments,
with most every instrument overhauled to Sergio Santagada's new
standards. We now have up to FOUR LAYERS OF SHADOWS, FONTS, AND NEEDLES
FOR EACH AND EVERY INSTRUMENT! (about 600 so far) These new instruments
are incredible, and represent 3 months of work for Austin, and easily a
year for Sergio... check them out! The new instruments can be PNG
files, not just BMP, for Sergio (or you, if you are a panel-designer!)
to get the alpha-blending options just right.
Here is a small sampling for
your pleasure... remember, these are the DEFAULT instruments... you can
drag them into your cockpit in your airplane in 5 seconds flat!
These new instruments are too numerous to mention here, but
- new DG's, VOR's, ADF's RMI's
- new EGT's, ITT's, N1's, and N2's of all sorts (EFIS,
round, digital, etc)
- New EFIS elements and horizon
- new master CAUTION and master WARNING
annunciators... you get a warning for the sort-of-critical errors, and
a caution for the big ones, as in the real plane.
- a full globe that rotates as needed to show your
PLANETWIDE location! Cool! See it in the Standard-Six/Artificial
- cool "all-attitude" instrument in the supplements
folder, that shos pitch, roll, and heading in 3-D!
- standalone barometric pressure guage.
- new gear lites: UP ONLY and DOWN only. They only
lite up when the gear is up or down, respectively. These are used in
all Beechcraft planes.
- BUILD YOUR OWN HUD. Just drag the pieces in just
like instruments in Plane-Maker! (from the HUD folder)
- BUILD YOUR OWN ECAM. Just drag the pieces in just
like instruments in Plane-Maker! (from the ECAM folder)
- Now there can be 300 instruments on any panel, not
200 like the old limit was!
- And we are doing this WITHOUT changing the aircraft
format! 200-instrument planes are still supported!
- YOU CAN NOW HAVE ANY OBJECT YOU CAN IMAGINE (USING
THE OBJ FORMAT) IN THE AIRPLANE WITH NO FLIGHT MODEL EFFECTS, SO NOW
YOU CAN DO THE COCKPIT INTERIORS COMPLEETE WITH LITTLE PILOTS THE
==>RIGHT<== WAY. See the sample kingair for a cockpit object,
which is a little concrete building on the roof of the plane for now,
but you get the idea.
NEW SCENERY FEATURES:
- Night vision goggles! Check them out in the view menu and
joystick buttons. It is so cool! Hit the 'i' key to turn them on!
- Balloons can be seen tooling around on nice days, moving exactly
with the wind... do a close flyby to see people in them waving to you as
you pass...or are they desperately signaling for help???
- Runway markings are right for the type of approach
to that runway, be it VFR approach only, non-precision approach, or ILS
- New light and heavy cirrus clouds... with all new
cloud and liting conditions if the visiblity is around 7 miles and
heavy cirrus clouds are selected, simulating the "misty" conditions
right at the edge of a front.
- New water shows waves for all sorts of water
conditions, based on the wave height and wind set in the weather
- User interface fonts cleaned up.. the data output
looks really nice!
- New skycolor setup by Sergio: Really cool! No more
stars below the horizon. Sky colors are not the same all the way around
in all headings.. instead they glow around the sun near sunset and
- Now we have real star locations... We start with a
good number of stars visible at sea level, and then increase the number
visible as you climb through more and more atmosphere, until thousands
are visible from bery high altitude! Get in the Jap Anime and climb
vertically to space, at night... Watch MANY THOUSANDS MORE STARS APPEAR
as you climb into thinner air and you go from the Earth-bound fogginess
to the hubble space telescope view!
- Runway lites are on for IFR day operations.
- Better 3d clouds and shadows... all clouds move with
the wind, the shadows move with them, and the shadows effect the trees
as well... It's really cool as Cirrus clouds blow over the mountainous
terrain at 50 knots, the shadows moving with them!
- All the sub-applications (Plane-Maker, World-Maker,
etc) now run at whatever screen res you set in X-Plane... and use that
space to best effect. Running World-Maker and Plane-Maker in hi-res now
gives bigger editing views!
- Make the side-views of the cockpit any size you like
up to 1024 tall... the w/s keys will scroll them up and down.
- New smoke-modelling for weapons, engine smoke,
tire-skidding, forest fires, etc.
- Smoke is now modelled with volumetric tracking of
opacity based on the volume of the smoke for more realism.
- New object instruction type: polyon offset. This
determines how much polygons (like ramps) are offset to avoid fighting
with the ground. See the KSBD example in the custom scenery folder for
- Revised ground-effect model
- Semi-transparent aircraft textures possible (like
for cockpit windows)... just use PNG format for the paint.
- More ram savings
NEW FLIGHT MODEL
- More realistic rotor model physics... the flapping of rotors on
those helos and gyros is now improved.
- New engine physics across the board... check out the
various new options in Plane-Maker engine window.
- Engine-start fuel introduction rates and inertias
and torque response times are all variable.
- New N1, N1, EGT, ITT, torque-rate, and engine
response physics. Watch an airplane with a recip engine, like the 172,
from an external view while you shut down the engine to appreciate the
detail and accuracy of the new engine model... the prop actually
oscilates as it stops due to the compression in each individual
- Refinement of speedbrakes and parachutes to be more
realistic, even including falling BACKWARDS, hanging on the brake or
- Improved seaplane dynamics, complete with an ANCHOR!
Hit the BRAKES in a seaplane when in the water to drop your ANCHOR! The
first time a beta-tester saw this, he refused to belive that the anchor
was intentional! Why would the plane stop in the water with the brakes
- Two sets of spoilers now avail, with cutout speeds
for all ailerons and spoilers.
- And, a new level of refinement for the roll
spoilers: In the controls screen, you enter HOW MUCH ROLL INPUT MUST
COME IN BEFORE THE SPOILERS ACTIVATE. This allows the roll spoilers to
augment the ailerons without the controls being too sensitive at small
aileron deflections, as is done on real Airliners
- Helos are more realistic about what system keep
working after tail-strikes... pumps and stuff are hooked up to the
right systems for proper damage-tolerance.
- Flight model refinement: aircraft angles perfectly
tracked through the ENV shifts.
- Flight model refinement: airfoil coefficients
perfectly interpolated between data-points based on angle of attack.
- More detailed engine model.. enter both the torque
onset rate and engine inertia in Plane-Maker this let syou get engines
that have compressors that spin up FAST for RAPID torque, but with N2's
that spin up SLOW due to large weight and high speed, thus giving rapid
TORQUE response, but slow SPEED response. this is typical of free
turbines, where the torque can come up quickly, but the N2 is slower to
- More realistic indicated airspeed. It has been
perfect at low altitudes and Mach numbers, but with some
compressibility errors at high altitudes and Mach numbers. The high
altitude and Mach number flight regimes are now covered with
compressibility effects taken into account.
- Sloped terrain correctly impacts ground dynamics...
now you can slide (and tumble!) down hills! ....On your roof if things
go badly enough! And put a plane like the Lancair (free-castoring
nosewheel) on the deck of the carrier in 20-foot waves with a
wildly-pitching and rolling deck... then turn off the brakes so the
plane plane can slide and pivot freely on the continuously-chaning
surface... hilarity ensues!
- As well, the inertias of the wheels are modelled, so
they spin up and spin down realistically... tap the brakes after
takeoff to stop them from spinning!
- More realistic brake modelling as well... ABS is
modelled to prevent locking the tires and blowing them, as would happen
in the sim if you simply applied max braking torque.
- Excerpt from email from Austin: "I am importing the
ABS (anti-lock braking system) from X-Auto to X-Plane now... it is
wild... with X-Auto's wheel inertia and barking system applied to
X-Plane (as it now is) going to full braking effort would lock the
wheels every time (as would happen in reality) and a lot of screeching,
smoke, and tire blowout ensue. To prevent this in the sim, I have to do
the same ting we do in real life.. an ABS system... be it the automated
system of an airliner, or the pilot just easing off the brakes in a
light plane when he hears tire squeal during braking.
- Do you want to still want to hear the screech, burn
the rubber, and blow the tires? No problem. Just touch down with the
brakes already on.. the result will be the same as in a real plane,
which is listed above"
- Gravity adjusted slightly to always go to the center
of the Earth, which is not always exactly "down" in the coordinate
system, since the curvature of the Earth changes the local "down" as
you move across the face of the Earth!
- Manually specify the radii of gyration for your
planes, if you like, over-riding X-Plane's defaults.
- Signifigant improvement in ground-effect model...
the aspect ratio of the craft is now considered.
- New data output: cl and cd of the whole craft, based
on the wing area of all basically-horizontal wings (thus, including the
horizontal but not vertical stabs).
- Improved vacuum-system failure modelling. The
aerodynamic drag and bearing friction on the gyro are modelled to get
spin-down times tuned, and gyroscopic forces on the the instrument from
the spinning gyro are more accurately modelled.
- The X-Auto driving engine has been imported into
X-Plane to handle the gear dynamics with the realism of a driving sim.
- Set your autopilot constants! See the art stab
screen in Plane-Maker
- Elec system overhaul.. gen load, bat load, and bat
amp instruments all avail now in engines/supplement folder
NEW AUDIO FEATURES:
- New sound: afterburner
- New sounds: 4 different levels of landing roughness
- New sounds: Starter for each engine type, and each
engine, just like with the engine and prop sounds.
- Check them out in resources/sounds/engine... And of
course you can make them custom for your plane as well! LOOK AT THE
C119 IN THE VINTAGE FOLDER AND THE CL-415 IN THE SEAPLANES FOLDER FOR A
SAMPLE ON CUSTOM STARTER SOUNDS. NOW MORE POWERFUL THAN EVER! A
DIFFERENT START SOUND FOR EACH ENGINE IS ALLOWED! If you ever wanted
both the radial and jet engine STARTER AS WELL AS ENGINE sounds to
sound just right on a B-36, with the left engines begin left-biased in
stereo, and the right engines being right-biased in stereo, with the
near engines having loud starter sounds, and the farther engines having
quiter start sounds, well then, your day has come!
- Better sound with wheel skid and touchdown, with all
skidding noises and effects being more thoroughly modelled... Skidding
will no longer be the predictable "blirp" on tocuh-down, but will
instead be a continuous skidding sounds that is modified in pitch and
volume to fit the current skidding of the tire, based on its inertia,
touchdown speed, friction coefficient, and the weight on it. This way,
a hard landing in a heavy plane on dry pavement will give a sudden
"GR!" sound and that is it, because the tire will spin up very fast. On
the other hand, a smooth landing in a light plane on a slippery (wet)
runway will result in a long
"BBBBBBBBbbbbbbbbbbbbbbrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr..................." as the
tire slowly spins up.
NEW GENERAL UTILITY FEATURES:
- Now you can have X-Plane automatically download Real-Weather at
any interval you specify! It is all handled in the Set Weather window.
Just tell it how often you want to grab real-weather from the net! Easy!
- New joystick button to scroll the panel up and down,
and the joy butttons are re-organized. Heck, there are a WHOLE HANDFUL
of new joystick buttons for you, such as the new joy button option to
set to takeoff trim. Enter this value in the controls screen in
Plane-Maker, so now you can set the takeoff trim settin for each plane!
- And, now you can move the helicopter landing lite
with joy hat switch! See the joystcik buttons options for this.
- We also now have joy buttons and axis to adjust the
blimp/dirigible displacement up or down.
- We also now have lots more data output options, and
re-organization of the selections.
- When in a map or plate view, hit the space bar to
center on the aircraft. Kind of convenient, and requested.
- We now have DG drift! The vacuum DG's drift over
time now... you have to spin the little adjuster to calibrate them from
time to time!
- Choose what gear steers and what gear doesn't in
Plane-Maker landing gear screen now. Easy!
- Up to 9 multiplayers with you for 10 total aircraft
in the air... Time for a lan party while you contest to see who can
land the shortest, race around buildigs the fastest, fly formation,
etc. We had an incredibly good time doing this in our secret meeting in
the Black Forest of Germany... and in 740 you can do it with TEN
planes! (And, if all 9 guys are on the same IP address except the last
3 digits (all on the same LAN at a LAN party, for example) then just
hit the "auto-detect" button to have X-Plane constantly search out all
the other players on the LAN so you dont have to enter too many IP
addresses. This keeps everyone flying together, without you having to
enter each person's IP address!
- Cool Plane-Maker feature I invented while entering
my Cirrus: Double-click a body node you are editing to "lock" it... do
this and then the smoothing algorythm will NOT move that node!
- New propeller type: Auto-RPM. This automatically
setys the prop RPM based on the throttle percentage, interpolating RPM
setting with throttle position across the green arc and then up to
redline as entered in Plane-Maker. This is what the Cirrus uses.
- New rotor type... manual-disc tilt in Plane-Maker
VTOL screen. This uses brute force to mechanically tilt the disk,
rather than the helos way of adjusting cyclic pitch to finesse it. No
craft in the history of aviation has successully used this method,
since the advancing blade retains a high angle of attack, thus a high
lift, thus pitching the craft up-and-over as soon as it picks up any
speed. In other words, the craft works like, and flies like, a
boomerang. Nevertheless, if you want to see WHY cyclic control is such a
good idea, try this method to see how NOT to do it! (some of the early
helo and gyro attmepts used this method, and were never put into
production for the reasons mentioned above)
- Airliner autopilot heading now has roll mode to
select max bank angle.
- Ask ATC for the barometric pressure, right under the
wind-check, whenever you like.
- Mouse cursor changes whenever you get near something
you can grab or push... kind of convenient.
PANEL EDITING FEATURES IN PM
- Multiple select/toggle in selection via the
shift key, or drag outside an instrument to lasso select.
- Hold down the option key to see the number of
an instrument in the set. The number in parenthesis is the number of
the instrument within its type, e.g. (1) means you're the first N1, (2)
means the second N2. This is how X-Plane decides what instrument works
with what engine.
- Option drag to copy. Shift drag to constrain
the drag to horizontal or vertical boundaries.
- The panel can now zoom. Use the mouse wheel
to zoom in and out up to 8x around the mouse pointer.
- New keystrokes:
- Arrows - nudge the current selection 1
pixel. Shift arrows nudge 10 pixels.
- Delete key deletes the selected instruments.
- A and D select all and deselect all.
- Z is undo, Y is redo - now 40 levels.
- minus and equals zoom in and out around the
- Brackets [ and ] shuffle an instrument up
or down relative to its peers. Use this to get instruments on top of
the glass cockpit panels or to adjust which instruments work with which
- Q,W,E,S also scroll the panel.
- The UI is revised. The new toolbar has four
- The up arrow goes up a level.
- The gear toggles "advanced" mode (with
import and reset buttons), the panel toggles the panel, and the up/down
arrow minimizes the UI.
- FUSELAGE EDITING FEATURES IN PM
- The fuselage/bodies editor also has undo!!
Use Z and Y to undo and redo in that screen too.
- Copying a station now preserves the
relative longitudinal offsets of a station.
- There are copy and paste buttons for each
station, allowing any station to be copied to any other station.
- A WARNING ABOUT UNDO: When you change editing
screens in PM, or change tabs in the fuselage editor, your undos go
away! So once you close the panel editor (for example) you can no
longer go back and undo panel changes.
- Big panels are better-situated in the follow-view.
- Check out the viewpoint screen in Plane-Maker: You now can enter
the vertical viewpoint center location (in pixels) for each of the 8
views to get the correct left and right view geometry.
- Airplanes should not start up at helipads unless you
specifically ask them to in the set apt window.
- More robust net-connections, to handle all the
out-of-sync type cases better.
- Up to 300 airports per region now, not 200, to get
in every field in even the areas most crowded with airports and
- Weapons mount rotated about their attach point, not
cg, if you enter a weapon rotation when mounted in Plane-Maker.
- Automatic computer crash-proofing. If the simulator
detects incredible accelerations from a high-speed ground impact or
squirrely behaviour from a computational flutter, it automatically
dampens the flight model for a few moments to avoid crashing the
simulator. This is to stop the flight model from crashing in extreme
- Autopilots on the airliners fly with trim only in
pitch now, not applying both trim and elevator
- Landing gear and much, much, much more saved in the
- Better starting speeds for the carrier approaches.
- Standard rectangular fuel gages now respond to
custom fuel limits, and TOTAL fuel custom limits, which were never
used, are now applied to DROP TANK custom limits. (TOTAL fuel custom
limits never used since there are no fuel gages in the sim that show
TOTAL fuel... only fuel PER TANK)
- Set the max ITT and EGT for your plane in
Plane-Maker, engine screen, tab-3.
- Thrust vectoring now has some new options: Enter the
amount the vector can change direction, and how much the nacelle can
change direction seperately. This lets you get discs that tilt a
different amount than the nacelle rotates, as is needed in various
- Reversible props now go from flat to max reverse
pitch linearly with the the handle position as you drag it into
reverse, as the props typically do in actual turboprops.
- Are you at an airport with no tower and no rotating
beacon? OK, then hitting the tower view just places you at a starting
point or on the runway.
- Fuel flow can now be controlled by the UDP data I/O.
- You can do map placement at negative altitude...
good for Death valley, or many places on Mars.
- Glideslope flag indicator only comes up when you
have a nav indication on an ILS
- A different wheel fairing is now available for each
- Weight and Balance screen: Enter the vertical
location of the center of bouyancy for those blimps and stuff.
- More joystick buttons listened to on Windows
- Manifold pressure for recip engines tuned a bit.
- ATC text location scaled to fit all resolutions
- Lots more joystick buttons and better organization
in the joystick screen!
- New joystick buttons: View Zoom and Speedbrakes
- Ground plane is a new data output option... set the
ground local elevation point and slope in each direction if you like so
the simulator lines up with your own custom scenery.
- New option in the Special Controls screen in
Plane-Maker: Auto-Sweep with thrust vector. This can keep workload down
in fast VTOLs.
- Liquid-fuel rocket engines do not smoke so much.
- Helicopter hydraulic systems are hooked to the
transmission of the helicopters, not the engines. This is how real helos
are set up.
- MUCH MORE THOROUGH flight replays, complete with
engine handle locations, NAVAID indications, etc... and all of this is
done WITHOUT any increase in the situation movie size or RAM increase.
- Mouse is automatically disconnected from flight
control if you scroll the panel
- I am now working with a compnay that supplies
simulators to the military for total battlefield awareness and
simulation... An offshot of this project is that you will be able to
send x-plane a UDP message to draw any object in any location... the
military will use this to draw tanks, missiles, etc, but you can use it
for unlimited additions to X-Plane. See the udp reference docs when the
beta comes out for a description of the UDP message format
- New attribute for the objects: backface culling on
- For smoothing of the wheel fairings, misc bodies,
and engine nacelles in Plane-Maker, only the body on screen in an
editing window is smoothed, not the others. If you you hit the smooth
buttons with NO editing window on-screen, though, then ALL the bodies
- FADECs can handle tip-rockets now as well.
- Check out the UDP reference in the instructions
folder... the "VEHA" (control ALL PLANES by UDP) now lets you set the
CAMERA position as well, so you can set the location of all planes and
the camera in the same frame. (All locations for these UDP messages are
now handled as double-precision lat and lon, by the way, so there is no
question on the axis system any more... this makes it much easier to
control X-Plane when using it for visualization only)
- The nav.dat file now has the RANGE of every navaid
- 4 throttles, props, and mixtures individually
assignable in the joystick screen...
- New stuff from GoFlight and CH Products has
4-handled throttle-quadrants, so we support it here
- As well, I am now working with a company that does
flight recreation using "black box" data, so 740 has a new system that
lets you very easily import (real) black-box data for replay in X-Plane
- Note: stab trim, stab deflections, and wing tilts are all about
the 50% chord now, not the 25% chord!
- Note: The data output format is different now!
Be sure to read the UDP docs in the instructions folder to get the new
- Note: More sounds. Check out the
- Important change for panel-designers! The size
of all the compass-style markings for all the new instruments in
X-Plane is now exactly the same size as the bitmap itself (times the
instrument size). Make them larger or smaller as you like to have them
fit various instruments in your plane.
- New key commands, including HUD brightness,
transponder mode, and nav/com flip-flopping... check out the key file.
- "SMO" is now the file type suffix for
situation movies, not "MOV"... they were getting confused with
Very large custom objects are read
in much faster... this reduces load time.
- Very extensive frame-rate optimizations. So
much so that even with all these new features, the frame-rate is
usually almost identical to version 730. Autogen objects are slower,
but we are working on that now.
Version 7 Overview
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