Version 8.20 is the next major
functional version after 8.16/8.17.
OK what's new for 8.20?
is the biggest internal re-write we have ever done on X-Plane, and it
is done to streamline and tighten the code, making it run faster and
more consistently... we have really overhauled the way the sim works
from the inside-out.
The Big Features:
- Completely overhauled variable-storage and file-io systems
designed to be more robust, fast, error-proof, and RAM-efficient. You
will not really SEE this, except in faster load-times, and faster
loading of objects, preferences, situation files, situation-movie
files, FDR-file, logbooks, and everything else you
could ever load! And you will have some small RAM savings too.
- You can now GRAB AND MOVE ALL THE COCKPIT CONTROLS WHEN THE
COCKPIT IS IN 3-D MODE! This applies to EVERY plane, whether the basic
"default" 3-D panel, or you have a fancy custom cockpit.
How do you do this? Go to the joystick screen and set the joystick
buttons to pan the 3-d cockpit around... and choose a different button
to center it. Then, hit those joystick buttons to look around the
cockpit... Then, while doing so, use the mouse button to click on
controls! Cool! Of course, you can also hit "Control-O" to look around
the cockpit with
the MOUSE, but that makes clicking pretty tricky, as you will see! ;-)
As well, the full 1024x1024 panel can be used in 3-D cockpits, even if
the sim is only in 1024x768 resolution!
- Choose slung load OBJECTS in the Weight and Balance screen by
choosing a Slung Load Object! The object format now has a label called
"slung_load_weight"... see the EXAMPLE PLANE for an example. So now,
you can design slung load objects with any textures and shape you like,
and any weight you like! Then, just attach them to the craft in the
Weight and Balance screen!
You can store your slung load objects anywhere you like in the X-System
folder, and name them anything you like... The same folder as the
aircraft itself is a handy, and recommended, location. Specify the
Slung Load Attach Point in the Weight and Balance screen in
Plane-Maker. How much weight can you lift in a Blackhawk, or drag
behind you into the air in a Boeing 777?
- You can now change the Autopilot and Artificial Stability system
constants WHILE YOU FLY! Do this and watch the control deflections that
result as you fly along! Cool! Access the various windows for this in
the Special Menu.
- In the various WINGS screen in Plane-Maker, you can hit a little
checkbox to tune the planform of each wing! This lets you get all your
little wingtip and curved wings and stuff
without having to link together a bunch of litle wings.
- Thermometer to show atmospheric temperature WITHOUT considering
compression heating. (Unlike the default thermometer which is affected
by the compression
and resultant heating of the air hitting the plane) ...As well, set the
custom limits of the thermometers in the "Custom
Limits" window in Plane-Maker to get them scaled as you like.
- Afterburner level: Put the burners on lo or hi with this switch,
found in the "Engine" folder in Plane-Maker.
- Generator power switch for APU... let the APU have a generator to
power electrical systems, or not.
- New buttons in Plane-Maker: Magneto switches! Turn the left and
right mags on and off with switches, like in the Piper Malibu.
- Engine fire extinguisher button... Hit it to put out those pesky
smoking engine fires. Of course, once you've hit it, don't plan on
getting any power out of that engine!
- More landing gear light options to be more realistic... this is
used by freight-haulers getting flight training in X-Plane that want
systems-modelling perfect for their planes.
- Refined Reciprocating Engine model... The engine DRAG is what we
really tweaking here to get the power-OFF descents just right.
- Seaplane water dynamics improved to understand the "slicing"
effects of v-hulls thru the water.
- Manifold Pressure and Fuel Flow tweaks now done to be a bit more
accurate, based on Cirrus flight-testing.
- More accurate indicated airspeed at high altitudes and Mach
the TRUE airspeeds and Mach numbers remain un-changed but we now have a
more accurate airspeed INDICATOR model that considers
the compression on the pitot tube due to compression effect as you
approach the speed of sound, as airliners do.
- Zone of confusion! Huh? In a 10-degree wide cone over the VOR
you will not get any signal from the VOR, just as in the real plane!
- Specify the minimum prop governor RPM now in the Engines screen
in Plane-Maker (No, you do NOT enter 0 here if the prop feathers... you
enter the RPM
achieved when the prop is pulled as far back as you can WITHOUT
- More realistic downwash modeling... small things like antennae,
example, will NOT create too much downwash on large things like wings.
You should be able to have plenty of large wings and small antennae
without creating any flight model problems. As well, PARTIAL-ELEMENT
downwash is now simulated, where only PART of
a wing element is in the downwash of the wing in front of it. This
takes Blade-Element-Theory modeling up to a new level, as we break
the model down to even little PARTS of elements.
- Better Biplane-Interference modeling... We even handle biplane
STABILIZERS now! (uhhh.. if you ever have one).
- You can now specify whether weapons are external or internal
Plane-Maker, to get them tucked inside with zero drag on the B-1 and
planes like that, and external on planes like an F-16.
- Auto-Flaps-Near-Stall option in Plane-Maker now better: The flaps
deploy at the speed specified in Plane-Maker, and near the stall, and
still deploy if you lower the flap handle as well, so the actual
flap deployment will the be the maximum of the flap-handle request and
the flaps needed to help avoid a stall... limited by the flap-motor
speed as specified in Plane-Maker.
- The engine pylons are now handled more like all other wings: You
set the chords and number of elements and any control surfaces for the
pylons like any other flying surface.
- Scenery-loading should be faster because X-Plane now only loads
textures when they are needed in flight, lowering load times. The
texture-loading has been made as fast as possible, making the load-time
in flight very minimal... try it out!
- Now here is where it gets REALLY good: If you have TWO
processors, or a
DUAL core, then the SECOND CPU will load textures while the FIRST CPU
runs the simulator! Therefore, you can load scenery
and fly at the SAME TIME, really lowering scenery-load pause times.
- (Hint: to get the fastest load times from DSF, shut off roads
- Object-loading is now faster... up to 10x faster for really
really LARGE objects.
- Even faster real-weather scan by over 40%!
- Better HUD and runway lighting effects in bright-light (daytime)
- Reduced-res textures (if you do not have the Extreme Res"
option) are now reduced via linear instead of nearest filtering. This
- Texture Compression! This may improve your framerate, but it may
not. It may let you run at higher texture resolution, getting crisper
graphics. Your OGL card must support this.
- Graphics in the Data Output screen automatically scale to
visibility of the variables THAT YOU HAVE SELECTED. This is used by the
National Test Pilots School for data acquisition and training!
- As well, open the Data Output Screen on second (or third or
computer that is set up as an "External" anything and check the data
you wish to see, and then go to the "Data See" tab
to watch the data come across in real-time as you fly! (NOTE: For some
of the more obscure data selections, you may need to
select that data for output to the IP address of the External machine
from the master machine)
- Stratus cloud layers can now be any thickness. This lets you do
West-Coast style IFR, where you go into a layer of
some thickness, and then pop our right on top exactly where you
expect... unlike the Cumulus overcast you find in the SouthEast, where
the tops are variable by 10,000 feet on summer days.
- Moon liting a hair more realistic.
- LOTS of autopilot tuning to fly LOTS better. The default
constants should work pretty well for a very wide variety of planes...
Try those default constants if your plane does not handle to well on
autopilot now with custom constants.
- The whole new autopilot customization theory is now much better
thought-out and organized... The constants now make more sense, give
you more control, and have less modifications performed by the sim so
that what you ENTER is exactly what you GET in the sim.
- As well, the auto-throttles are a bit smarter now: They will not
your N1 or EPR or RPM limits as set in the Limits tab in the Engines
screen in Plane-Maker.
- All the runway lights lights phase out smoothly as you fly
off-axis and out of their visible cone, as in reality.
- The propeller rendering is a bit different for any failed engines
are windmilling to give a visual indication of a failed engine. (This
is something that you would be able to feel in the real plane,
and possibly see as well, depending on the conditions).
- New tab in the Engine screen in Plane-Maker to set the color of
each arc, if you like.
- New options in Special Controls screen in Plane-Maker:
- Auto rudder deflection on engine failure.
- Auto-stabilizer-deflection with flaps.
- X-Plane should be more robust at finding real-weather to download
if the NOAA is putting up 0-size files for the current weather, as they
- Plane-Maker: "Make Ellipse" button under each body section to
get a quick round section.
- Landing Gear screen in Plane-Maker: Specify the wheel separations
both the lateral and longitudinal directions for multi-wheel trucks.
This lets you tune the gear for the 777, C-5, or whatever other plane
you are modeling.
- Choose the frequency to output data to both the disk output and
the internet UDP output in the Data Output screen.
- The IOS has a new option: Show Basic Flight Instruments. This
lets the instructor see what the student is doing in real-time... kind
- Support for the Garmin GPS-3 pilot... Try it out if you have one
and let me know how it goes.
- X-Plane will now do physics calculations with multiple hard
straddle a Helicopter between two roofs if you can!
- Better syncing of External Visuals to the Master Machine...
smoother external visuals in the really big multi-machine setups.
- Marker Beacons are now fully displayed on the map.
- Click on the map to place a compass rose on an airport or NAVAID
or anything you like... and then the specs for that airport, NAVAID, or
fix will appear in the upper-right of the map!
- FMS/autopilot interaction tweaked a bit to be more accurate.
- Many aircraft tweaked and refined a bit, especially the B-2 and
the National Aerospace Plane... Can you get the B-2 around the Country?
Can you get the NASP to a stable orbit? I can!
- You can now label the Misc Bodies in Plane-Maker so you can
what all those little misc bodies are in Plane-Maker.
- Replay mode is now accessible through Map screen... it's kind of
to watch your little plane creep across the map replaying a flight you
- More information is tracked in the situation movies, situation
files, replayed flights, and external cockpits... much of it being
increased detail for FAA-certification.
- Hit "control-x" to leave little "markers" in your data output
the National Test Pilot's School wants this to mark when various
manuevers were performed and you can use it too!
- New Artificial Stability option: Deflect pitch surface with
alpha. Choose this option and the pitch controls (elevator or
stabilator) will track the angle of attack of the airplane
naturally-stabilizing a Canard configuration. This will work best for
an all-moving stab, so the surface can really track the wind.
- Enter your callsign for ATC to use in Plane-Maker, Viewpoint
screen, if you like. Even though your plane might be a Cirrus SR-22,
and the ICAO code might
be SR-22, every controller on the planet will just call you "Cirrus"...
Enter that in the new "call-sign" box.
- OK now you actually have to pull the trigger to fire the laser
weapons... they are not always on any more.
- New joystick axis: Flaps.
Really Tiny Enhancements:
- Custom Cockpits, and weapons, show on OTHER planes than yours
- Rendering Option to lock the Master Machine to a forwards-only
view or not.
- You can now control the rotor pitch by UDP on helos.
- Up to... ummm... 99 blades per propeller now allowed. Set in the
Engines Screen in Plane-Maker.
- 3-decimal precision in texture-coordinate selection lets you get
texture-selection to the pixel.
- The chronometer in the King-Air gets the date exactly right.
- Default texture regions in the Visual Texture Regions editor are
tweaked a hair to match the Instructions texture perfectly.
- All the direct trim-control axis with joystick are now fully
auto-scaled to perfectly match the trim authority of each individual
- The Custom Digital Limits screen in Plane-Maker now applies to
the digital fuel gages as well.
- If you have the speedbrakes set up as a joystick axis, then you
infinitely-variable control whether in a glider or not.
- OK, fine. The little yaw string hangs DOWN now when there is no
- Engines have to spin at least 25% N1 to keep the pressurization
- QuickTime movies auto-scale for you so the image is never
the aspect ratio always matches your resolution.
- It is now easier to grab small handles on the panels in X-Plane,
like the small mixture cut-offs in the jets.
- Real-Time-Tracking-Offset in Time window changes local but not
- "!" key disconnects the autopilot.
- ITT responds to fuel-flow only when the engine is actually
- Old v-7 panels can handle higher-than-standard res.
- Autopilot does NOT auto-set the heading whenever you engage it
your plane lacks any sort of autopilot setting bug.
- Tail-wheel lock operative.
- All types of clouds should be synced across external visuals...
know if you can find a case where they are not.
- You can now grab all the throttles and props with the mouse just
clicking in the center of the group even at hi resolutions.
- Localizer back-course now has non-reversed deflection when the
BACK COURSE autopilot button is hit.
- More graphics features work on more video card.
- Old Version-7 scenery works more like it USED to... with no
Version-8 scenery, thus giving the same terrain and no "floating roads".
- IMPORTANT NOTE! HELOS WITH CCW MAIN ROTORS WILL HAVE TO FLIP
ROTORS TO A LATERAL HEADING OF -90, NOT 90, TO GO IN THE RIGHT
DIRECTION. THIS IS NEEDED FOR THE MIN AND MAX TAIL-ROTOR PITCH AND THE
TAIL-ROTOR CAMBER TO BE RIGHT FOR BOTH DIRECTIONS!
Version 8 Overview
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