What's Changed in Version 8?
The major change in Version 8 is that the scenery
architecture has been completely redesigned. There is a completely new
rendering engine and a new scenery format. The other major new feature
in V8 is true 3D cockpits. In addition, there has been the usual slew
minor new features, especially more detailed modelling of aircraft
systems. For the details, see the 8.01
Compatibility with older versions:
Global scenery for latitudes from 54 degrees south to 60 degrees north
is now available as a 7 DVD kit. The kit is available from either the X-Plane order page, or from the X-Plane.org store. For details,
see the global scenery page.
- V8 will accept all V7 scenery, including all custom scenery
- V8 will accept V7.x aircraft. However, legacy custom panels are
no longer supported (so far they still appear to work with limitations,
but there are no
all the gory details on what's been happening with V8, see the detailed history pages.
This page describes changes specific to V8.x. Also see the Installing and Upgrading page for general
information and details on installing.
Where do I get V8??
From the X-Plane
download page. Current versions of X-Plane are downloaded by
running the installer program you get from the download page. No CD or
DVD distribution is currently available for the latest version.
Can I run V8 with my 7.x CD?
No. V8 is a major new version. The 7.x update subscription
has run out. You must order a V8 DVD, either direct from Laminar Research or X-Plane.org. The V8 DVD is also
available at some retail stores and mail order retailers. See the retail description
The Macintosh version requires OS-X. OS
10.4.8 or higher is highly
recommended, in particular for X-Plane versions 8.60 and later. X-Plane
will run under OS 10.3.9, but see the following recommendation by Ben
Macintosh OS X 10.3 users: the video
drivers that ship with 10.3 do not support GLSL shaders [used as
of V8.60]. If you have a modern card (nVidia 6000 or newer, or a
Radeon 9600, x800, x850, x1600, x1900, etc.) I strongly recommend
updating to OS X 10.4 to get video drivers that do support pixel
Mandatory hardware requirements over 7.6x:
- DVD reader (version 8 is distributed on DVD).
- 512MB memory minimum. You'll be happier with 1GB. Version 8
uses a huge amount of memory for precomputed textures to improve
Absolute minimum cpu and video card
remain the same as 7.6x - 1GHz cpu and Radeon or GeForce video card
16MB VRAM. However, the global scenery is much more demanding. A
reasonable configuration requires a 2GHz minimum CPU, 1GB RAM, and a
high end Radeon or GeForce card with 128MB VRAM or more. Version 8
more effective use of the video card than V7, making a video card
upgrade in an existing machine more attractive. Frame rates in machines
with high end video cards are substantially improved over V7 when using
the same (V7) scenery. That said, the V8 scenery can be much more
demanding on the video card with its increased detail and potential for
higher object density. 3D cockpits also up the rendering load a lot.
usual rule applies: the more hardware you can throw at X-Plane, the
What about the new Intel
X-Plane 8.40 and later versions are
universal binaries and run native on the Intel Macintoshes. For
details, see the Intel Macintosh
What's happened to the folders?
Not much, for the most part. The V8
scenery files are named .dsf. They are stored as a scenery package in
the Resources/Default Scenery folder, not in the Resources/Earth Nav
Data folder. For details, see the Installing
and Upgrading page
What changes are there in the aircraft
There is a new aircraft format version number, as usual, but V8 accepts
V7.x aircraft. Aside from new system and instrument types, the major
feature in V8 aircraft is the optional 3D cockpit. The only known
in converting older aircraft is that the legacy custom panels (in which
the panel bitmap contains the instrument background) are no longer
supported. So far they work, at least to some extent, but there are no
promises on how much longer this will be true.
What about my custom scenery?
Custom scenery for V7 should work fine
in V8. It should be installed in the Custom Scenery folder as before.
How do I choose between V7 and V8 scenery
X-Plane will load whatever scenery is
available. Custom scenery is loaded in alphabetical order based on the
name in the Custom Scenery folder. The first scenery package found that
covers the area you're in wins.
For default scenery X-Plane looks for V8 format scenery first. If you
have both V7 and V8 default scenery covering the same area (such as the
continental US) you must delete or move the V8 scenery to use the V7
The autopilot doesn't work!
There are a number of subtle but
important changes in how the autopilot works as of V8.60. See the Autopilot Problems page
The reverse buttons are missing
in the replay controls
Indeed they are. Austin took them out
because there were some problems with playing the replays backwards. To
back up, instead grab the slider in the progress bar and pull it back.
Why am I getting "missing
scenery" messages when my scenery is correctly installed?
This is new behavior in 8.60. Scenery
is packaged in one file per square degree of the earth's surface, but
there are no files where there is open ocean. X-Plane's local map
always shows a 3x2 degree area. If you are located at, say, a coastal
airport, then part of the local map may be open ocean and there will be
no corresponding scenery file. X-Plane reports this as a missing
scenery file since it has no inherent way of knowing whether there
should be a file there or not. You can turn the warning message off in
the Settings->Operations and Warnings menu.
do I shut off the never-ending ATIS broadcasts?
Tune your COM receiver to some
frequency other than the ATIS frequencies of nearby airports.
V8.60 (and later) won't launch on MacOS
You need the OpenAL sound drivers.
These are included in MacOS 10.4 but not 10.3.x. You can download them
from the Apple
Developer web site
lighting has disappeared in V8.60
A new form of pixel shader is used in
V8.60 to handle the effect of landing lights on the runway. Updating
your video drivers is recommended. Macintosh users running OS 10.3.x
are strongly encouraged to update to 10.4.x.
Older video cards may not support the new pixel shaders. Some display
be cured (at the cost of reduced frame rate) by disabling sprites or
vertex buffer objects, by running X-Plane from a command line with the
--nosprites or --novbos switches. For details on running X-Plane from a
command line, see Ben
Supnik's blog entry on the subject
How do I move
around in free camera (control-;) mode (V8.60+)?
The controls have changed - use the
page up and page down keys to move forward and back. Control-arrow
moves you left, right, up, and down. You can reassign the keys in the
assignment tab of the Settings->Joystick menu. Look for
installed global scenery and now I get an error when I start X-Plane
I get an error message like
Unable to Locate terrain definition
(C++/design++/HLutils/Files/io-dsf.cpp line 380)
You've tried to install global scenery into an incomplete V8.50 or
later X-Plane install. Either you started out with a demo download, or
you started with an install from the V8.0 single DVD kit, or
you tried to manually merge an 8.50 demo install with an earlier
version full install (like 8.40). X-Plane updates after 8.40 modify
some scenery resource files, while other files are still available only
from the base kit DVD. Manually merging the files is too complicated to
explain, and it's unlikely you'll get it right. The only way to get
this to work right is to first install the base X-Plane DVD, then
scenery DVDs, and finally update to the latest version. You must
start with either an X-Plane
8.21 or 8.40 DVD kit. See the
global scenery page
The autopilot make my plane bob
up and down like a dolphin, or
My ailerons or elevators flutter at low frame rates
The effectiveness of control
surface deflections was changed in 8.32. As a result, artificial
stability and custom autopilot constants are likely to need retuning.
Artificial stability systems are likely to flutter at low frame rate;
planes with custom autopilot constants are likely to bob up and down
like dolphins in the vertical AP modes (Alt Hold, VVS, etc.) The
default autopilot constants were retuned to match the flight model
changes, so aircraft using the defaults should not require retuning.
Control surface effectiveness was changed again in 8.40, substantially
for the better. (It is now understood that control effectiveness was
way too high in 8.32.) Aircraft response should be a lot less "twitchy"
in 8.40, but autopilots will need to be retuned yet again.
I have a
really powerful video card, and I still get frame rate warnings and fog
You're probably running out of cpu
power, rather than rendering power in the video card.
This is most likely to happen with high object density (lots of
buildings and trees, streets, taxiways, etc.) For details, seet the video
card FAQ page
getting a lot of short pauses running X-Plane
There may be other applications or
system processes running that are taking up cpu time.
As of V8.32, the pauses may be caused by incremental scenery loading.
For details, see the Performance
a plane X-Plane tells me I have incorrectly assigned Reynolds Numbers
As of 8.15, X-Plane checks the Reynolds
numbers when you've specified
different high and low Reynolds numbers for the airfoils. There are two
rows of airfoil assignments for each wing surface; the top row is the
low RN airfoil and the bottom row is the high RN airfoil. If they are
assigned backwards X-Plane will complain. A considerable number of
third-party planes have backwards Reynolds Number assignments. For
details on how to fix this, see the Aircraft Format and Conversion page
(If you're wondering what Reynolds Numbers are and what they have to do
with X-Plane aircraft, see the FAQ
page on Reynolds Numbers
I've upgraded from an earlier
version, and the throttles on the 747 (or 777) have disappeared off the
The panel has been extended. Scroll it
down with the down arrow key and you'll find them.
So how can I see the whole panel
The complete panel is 1024x1024 pixels.
To see it all without scrolling, set your monitor resolution to
1280x1024 (or whatever else gets you 1024 pixels vertically). Then, in
X-Plane, from the menu bar select Settings->Rendering Options and
select a display resolution of 1024x1024. You'll have to exit and
restart X-Plane for the change to take effect. For more on screen
resolution tradeoffs, see the Video Cards
The runways are so hilly I
can't land or take off, or...
When I'm taxiing by a runway or
taxiway intersection my plane crashes or gets bounced in the air.
The airports are suffering from an
unsuccessful attempt at making them conform to actual terrain
elevations. Apply both of the following remedies:
- Upgrade to the latest 8.x version; the situation has gotten
- Check the "Flatten Airports" box in the Settings->Rendering
Where's the Glasair??
The manual describes a practice flight
from San Bernardino to Riverside and tells me to load up the Glasair. I
can't find it!
Unfortunately the Glasair is long gone. (The reference in the manual
never got fixed.) X-Plane aircraft come and go as the sim evolves;
that stay version to version require periodic updating. In the case,
Glasair appeared because Austin was building a real one. He never had
time to finish and finally sold the partially completed kit, and
probably lost interest in the X-Plane model.
Both the Cessna 172 and the Piper Malibu (in the General Aviation
folder) have a GPS and will serve just fine for the practice flight.
What happened to all the autogen
The autogen scenery feature that was
present in versions 6 and 7 of X-Plane has been dropped. Version 8
incorporates buildings as part of the scenery creation process, rather
than having the sim populate the scenery with buildings "on the fly",
So where are all the buildings
outside the continental US?
Update to 8.64. Buildings for the rest
of the world were added in V8.50. (In fairness, they look pretty
European. Maybe in future versions we'll see other varieties of
buildings for other parts of the world.)
What happened to the cars on the
Update to 8.64 - the cars are finally
How do I edit terrain in the V8
Where can I learn more about the
new scenery format?
When I switch to external or
side view my frame rate tanks
The plane probably has an externally
visible cockpit object. Adding it to the rendering load has overloaded
your video card. To get your frame rate back, either reduce your
rendering load by turning off features or switching to 16 bit mode, or
open the plane in PlaneMaker and in the Standard->Viewpoint menu
off all display of the cockpit object.
I downloaded a plane from
X-Plane.org and it doesn't work in V8.
It's probably for an older X-Plane
version. You'll have use a V7.x PlaneMaker to convert it to use in V8.
How do I convert V7.x planes for use in V8?
For many V7.x planes no conversion is necessary. V8 will
accept them as is. Older planes and planes with legacy custom panels
may require conversion. To convert a plane open it in PlaneMaker and
resave it. (Depending on the age of the plane you may have to use an
older version of PlaneMaker.) For details and exceptions, see the Aircraft Format and Conversion page.
After flying at high altitude for a few minutes
the screen slowly goes black.
You're suffering from hypoxia - oxygen starvation. This
will occur in a plane that has pressurization controls and you forgot
set them, or it has an incomplete set and you can't. For more details
see the Flying FAQ.
The following problems are
unique to specific older 8.x versions. You may still encounter these if
you've bought the 8.01/8.06 Graphsim retail DVD, which is still being
flown a short distance in the San Francisco area, X-Plane crashes,
Parts of the
San Francisco area are water.
The same problem applies to a couple of
other areas as well.
There are a couple of corrupt scenery files for this area on the
original 8.01 DVD. (DVDs with later versions of X-Plane do not have
this problem.) Replacement files are available at the scenery development
. Early 8.x versions crash with the bad scenery files;
versions after about 8.04 should be more graceful and simply not load
the corrupt scenery files. The following is the complete list of
corrected scenery files:
+27-082, +28-082, +29-085, +29-090, +29-091, +30-090, +41-125
+42-090, +43-088, +44-104, +45-102, +45-119, +45-120, +48-101
Why is there water at the US
Even though I have both the US and
worldwide scenery installed correctly, when I fly just outside the US
(examples: Toronto, south of San Diego) there is no land.
This is caused by gaps in coverage between the original generation
used in the US and the generation 7 scenery used everywhere else. The
problem does not exist with the generation 8 global scenery. For
details about why this happens and how to solve the problem, see the Scenery page
I've upgraded to V8.15
I can't steer the plane
on the ground with the stick or mouse anymore.
When I select any
of the Space Shuttle approach scenarios I'm in the 747 instead of the
Version 8.15 was packaged with a
non-standard set of preferences that cause a variety of annoying
behavior, including the above problems. The easiest way to clean this
up is to open the Resources/Preferences folder and delete everything.
You'll get a new set of prefs the next time you start X-Plane. Of
course you'll have to redo whatever setup you've already done. To fix
just the above problems:
To fix the steering problem, open the Settings->Joystick menu and
select the Axis tab. Find the axis in the left column that's assigned
to Yaw and reassign it to Nothing.
To fix the Space Shuttle problem, open the Settings->Other Aircraft
and Situations menu. Click the button at the left of the Shuttle
Approach entry (top line) and navigate through the file selection menu
to find the space shuttle again. You'll probably have to do the same
for the other aircraft as well if you want to use any of the other
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