What's Changed in Version 6?

In a word, a lot. The current version is 6.70. Here are the biggies: For all the gory details on what's been happening with V6, see the detailed history pages.

This page describes changes specific to V6.x. Also see the Installating and Upgrading page for general information.

Where do I get 6.70??

From the  X-Plane download page. It lists the main FTP site and several alternate sites. If you can't deal with the download, you can order a CD.

Can I run V6 with my 5.x CD?

No. V6 is a major new version. The 5.x update subscription has run out. You must order a V6 CD, either direct from Laminar Research, X-Plane.org, or The Pilot Shop. V6 is not sold through retail stores at present.

But I just bought 5.54 in a store the other day, and it says "free upgrades" on the box.

Sorry. That 5.54 package was released over three years ago. It's not Austin's fault if retailers continue to stock and sell it. Anyway, the 5.54 version is upgradeable to 5.66. 5.66 is still available from some of the private archive and mirror sites. Check the X-World page and X-Plane.org. (Sorry I can't be more specific, but availability changes over time and I can't keep up.)

OK, I have a V6 CD, but X-Plane doesn't recognize it.

This problem occurs on MacOS 8.6 and earlier. The V6 CD is a Mac HFS+ / ISO-9660 hybrid. MacOS versions earlier than OS9 don't recognize this format correctly. You can work around it by installing the freeware Joliet support extension, available from http://www.tempel.org/joliet/. Then again, all X-Plane versions past 6.06 require OS9 at minimum anyway, so if you're still running OS8 it's time to bite the bullet...

When I try to start X-Plane I get an error opening the land use file.

This is what happens when you try to run X-Plane 6.10 or later (or WorldMaker 6.10+) on MacOS 8.x. You need to upgrade to OS9 or OSX.

New system requirements:

Macintosh version 6.10 and on requires MacOS 9 at minimum. (It is also the first version to support OSX.) Versions 6.00 through 6.06 run on OS8.x.

There are no mandatory hardware requirements over 5.66 (other than a monitor with 1024x768 minimum resolution). However, you're going to need a good deal more horsepower to run V6 because of the increased resolution and terrain polygon count. 8MB of VRAM is the absolute minimum, 16MB is marginal, and 32MB is good. Here's my SWAG at the minimum machine to run V6.06:

The GeForce II or III is the graphics card of choice.

6.10 ups the ante again; the new new terrain textures work the video card harder. The minimum video card is now an ATI Radeon or GeForce II MX. Bump the minimum CPU speeds to 500-700MHz. Recent test results indicate that the PowerPC has no speed advantage over Intel/AMD when it comes to running X-Plane. MHz for MHz, you'll get about the same performance out of either.

What's happened to the folders?

Not much, this time. There's a new folder called Instructions that contains the documentation in HTML. Some of the Bitmaps subfolders have been reorganized, notably the cockpit instruments - there are lot more of them.

What changes are there in the aircraft format?

What about my custom scenery?

WorldMaker will automatically scale up an old ENV to the new format. However, because custom textures are tied to individual ENV tiles, all custom terrain textures must be redone. Existing custom scenery for 5.66 will not work in V6.

Note! The ENV format has changed again from 6.06 to 6.10. X-Plane 6.10+ will accept the 6.0x ENV format. So will WorldMaker. However, note that WorldMaker will always write the 6.10 format when you save.

Known Bugs and Restrictions

What?? Known bugs in X-Plane?? (8^)

I see rendering problems or get random crashes on my new Macintosh.

MacOS 9.2.1 shipped with a very buggy set of OpenGL drivers. Upgrading to MacOS 9.2.2 fixes these problems.

The instrument panel text is illegible with my 3dFX card.

Voodoo2 and Voodoo3 cards have a 256x256 texture size limit. The new panel graphics (knobs, indicators, lettering, etc.) are done with 512x512 bitmaps. The Voodoo OpenGL driver scales these down to 256x256, rendering the text unreadable. Sorry - you're due for a new graphics card.

I tried to open a plane and all I get is an empty file selection box.

Scroll it up. If you scrolled way down in a box with a lot of files last time, the box is left scrolled down next time you open something.

I have a METAR.RWX in my X-System folder, but X-Plane says it can't find real weather.

(This happens on a Macintosh.) METAR.RWX must have a creator of MOSS and a type of TEXT.

Airport / navaid misalignments.

In early 6.x verrsions, ILS markers were not correctly aligned with the runways. This was a consequence of the round world changes. The currently available airport and nav data is now automatically generated from current DAFIF data, and most ILS markers are correct. Those that are incorrect are probably not covered by DAFIF. They  are left over from the old data and must be corrected manually.

There are gaps or overhangs in some of the taxiways for the same reason. The old airport data contained adjustments to compensate for the misalignments caused by the old flat earth model. Many of these were automatically corrected, but airports with custom taxiways built in the flat earth model may not be corrected. It will take a while for airport taxiways to get lined up properly, because there is no online source for this data and they need to be manually corrected.

"Bump" at scenery boundaries.

After X-Plane pauses to load new scenery, the plane feels like it hit a bump. There may be a small vertical or horizontal lurch before the plane settles into normal flight again. Related symptoms include a sudden course correction if you're flying on autopilot. There are some rough edges in the handling of global to local coordinate mapping. For details, see the round world description in the Theory section.

Bugs fixed since 6.00

Get the current version! Many bugs and loose ends in the 6.00 version on the CD have been fixed. Here are some of the major ones:

No night light textures on ATI cards

At night, instead of getting lighted textures, objects turn gray.

Deck of cards effect

At unusual attitudes and/or in rear quarter views, the terrain/sky view looks like a fanned deck of cards.

Delta wing flight model

Planes with delta wings (like the Concorde and SR-71) require far too much airspeed to fly.

Localizer function

ILS localizers had severe problems just as you got to the approach end of the runway.
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