What's Changed in Version 6?
In a word, a lot. The current version is 6.70. Here are
For all the gory details on what's been happening with V6, see the detailed history pages.
- Minimum ("natural") resolution increased to 1024x768.
- New scenery format with 5x the number of elevation points.
- Auto-generated buildings. People go hot and cold on this
feature; if you live in Los Angeles or US suburban areas you'll feel
right at home.
- New aircraft format with new texture format and greatly
increased flexibility in instruments. Vastly improved default
- Round world terrain model that eliminates the old distortions
- Major terrain upgrade in 6.10: improved terrain accuracy for
the US, land use data, all new terrain textures, roads, rivers, power
lines, etc. For more details, see the Scenery
- Custom scenery folders. See the Scenery
- Lots of new instruments, aircraft features, flight model
This page describes changes specific to V6.x. Also see the Installating and Upgrading page for general
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
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
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
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
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.
- Mac: 300MHz G3, ATI Rage 128 video
- PC: 500MHz P-III, ATI Rage 128 or equivalent
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
What changes are there in the aircraft
V6 has a new, incompatible aircraft format, and all aircraft require
conversion. Much of the conversion will be done automatically for you by
PlaneMaker, but you will have to make the following non-trivial manual
For details, see the Aircraft Format
and Conversion page.
- External textures. Instead of a bunch of texture bitmaps for
the plane components, there is now a single bitmap with different
sections for different parts of the plane.
- Panel. You will have to do a new panel more or less from
scratch; the old panel is not automatically converted. Most of the old
composite instruments (notably autopilot) have been broken up into
small components, and some instruments are just different.
- Custom panel bitmap. At minimum it needs to be rescaled.
You'll have to make some changes because of changes in instrument
- Redesigned handles/gauges bitmaps. If you have custom handles
you'll have to redo them in the context of the new bitmaps.
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
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
I tried to open a plane and all I get is an empty file
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
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.
ILS localizers had severe problems just as you got to the approach
end of the runway.
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