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turner112

XPX impressions of demo - the good & the "needs work"

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Ok, first let me say that I was really impressed. I ran everything at default install settings.Without a doubt, this is the best looking experience I've had with a flight sim. I'm running it on an iMac i7 and it was pretty smooth - sometimes choppy when looking right down at the airport.I'll take some screenshots, but here are a few things that I liked:1) Cloud handling. Great clouds - probably the best feature, and one I didn't expect, is how they "glow" - when you're under a layer, light "diffuses" really nicely and the clouds seem to be brighter where they should be. Flying through them is like no other experience I've had so far on a computer.2) The "plausible world" is working out pretty well. Very nice to see everything align realistically. There are a few glitchy things - like weird road transitions - but generally it's also far, far better than anything I've ever seen. Cars pop in a bit too much but I can handle that. Flying low (illegally low, I'll admit it) over rolling hills and populated areas is again unlike and better than anything I've experienced so far.3) Aircraft - I just flew the 172 around. IMO it handles more realistically than it did for me in XP9. One HUGE issue though is that the VC is blurry because of the texture resolution... at least on my large screen. The fact that it flies better is a big plus for me. That said, it "shudders" a bit when beginning the rollout but I'm sure that will be addressed.4) Landscape / Environment / Visual - as noted, it's easily better than anything I've seen or been able to run to date. I mean... wow. Wow. First - the undulating runway and excellent lighting and texturing just works, works, works. The lighting is vastly improved, though still largely too bright. The airport features some moving large jets, but one of them seems to like to do donuts in the grass near the runway, and they all seem to smoke their nose gear when turning. But if this is some indication of what to expect, it'll be nice. I'm hoping that the AI limit is increased, or, at least, that they find a way to work GA into the mix. But seeing the other aircraft up & going is nice, except for that "OH SH!T" moment when you realize you're lolling about sightseeing and forgot you're in the approach path ;)Ground lighting at night is also unsurpassed. You have to see it in motion to appreciate it. Day lighting, when under a broken deck and seeing the bright and dark play of light on the ground is simply sublime and adds immersion I have not experienced to date.My single BIGGEST ISSUE - and I suppose not much can be done about this - is that I could fry an egg on the top of my monitor after a while. Wonder how to cool an iMac...So... overall... Laminar is stepping things up. Really, really nicely. An absolutely beautiful experience.In my opinion, the single most important thing that will contribute to the success of XPX (aside from Laminar's typical and regular fixes and updates) will be the ability for the community to easily and efficiently create content - especially land features such as buildings, wooded areas, and other scenery objects, and to easily "fix" and update airport grounds as needed - all within the 3d environment. I feel the ability for the "common" user to easily make these edits is critical. I currently use Instant Scenery for FSX and it has made a world of difference. Creating aircraft is a can of worms I'm not willing to take off the shelf yet!cheersAndrew

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Nice report and I agree.One of the biggest things for me is the cockpit issue you mention. Cockpits need to look sharp and photoreal, and have instruments that look more realistic (my preference would be based on photos and not hand drawn) and work more realistically. I also hope the worldwide textures have the resolution of the ones in Seattle. I agree-even the 172 handles more realistically in 10-something for sure happened to the fm and it is good!


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...that they find a way to work GA into the mix...
You can set both the numbers and types of aircraft in XP10. Go to the "aircraft and situation" menu (I think). Tweak to your hearts content.The ATC still needs a lot of work, obviously. The aircraft don´t follow you around (standard ATC) - if you fly to another airport you will be lonely. If you set them up while flying they will just cruise around (at FL350) and never land. At least thats my experience.Jan

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Hi Jan-I should clarify: I fly from a relatively small GA airport. I'd like to see GA aircraft coming from and going to other airports as well as taxiing around. Would be nice to be able to set the traffic density (and possibly some randomness) by airport. Might be asking a lot but hey... I can dream.

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I'd like to see GA aircraft coming from and going to other airports as well as taxiing around. Would be nice to be able to set the traffic density (and possibly some randomness)
Just read the manual it can be done.http://dl.dropbox.com/u/19900507/DFS/stinsonduo.png

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Just read the manual from start to finish , it is the first thing to do.Special situations are discribed.If you just installed the demo there is AI traffic by default.


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I have turned down AI to zero while I tinker around with my other settings. I hope when I turn it up I am not going to have to drastically reduce other settings. I haven't seen any mention to addon ai traffic like there is in fsx, I forget the name of it. I know when tinkering with the fsx api I remember thinking how easy it would be to scatter random ai aircraft around your aircraft, e.g. within 50km s you keep a good level of traffic near you but no need to fill up the entire world. So for example you could place them every 5 minutes coming and going to airports near you, maybe some in the air and some on the ground. I plan to look at the xplane sdk in the next couple days to see whats possible there although playing with ai is not my goal. I do wonder though, and I am sure it has been brought up in the past, why ai should take such a large hit on performance, to the extent where I have seen a few posts telling people to turn it right down. I think I know why and it's either idealogical or no one has created a simple flight model to fix the problem. In il2, a10, cliffs of dover and numerous other there are at times a hundred ai planes flying around giving a good illusion of flight and that you are not the only plane in the virtual world. It would seem what holds this back here is the need to do a million calculations per meter travelled on an ai plane when it's not required. Aside from brining up the ambient temperature of my room by a couple of degrees and needing lots of cpu the illusion of ai with the same physics as our plane is no different than the illusion we would get if they had a simple flight model and we could get 30 aircraft in the skies for the performance penalty of only one. As I say, it seems so obvious this must have been discussed in the past but I can only see a long list of cons for the ai physics to be real and no 'pros' ?

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I think I know why and it's either idealogical or no one has created a simple flight model to fix the problem.
There was a developer blog some months back discussing this. The short version is that developing a simpler flight model would take time and resources away from optimizing the full flight model and other parts of the simulator. Second, the full flight model is not as expensive as you might suppose since the most intensive part is checking for collisions with the ground, and if the plane is at a certain altitude then those checks don't need to be made anyway. Finally, they want to increase the realism by having AI planes respond to wind and weather conditions, and the easiest way to do that is to simply use the full flight model.

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This is the Blog post - I think - you are referring to, and it might be a worthwhile read for many here (about the full physics of AI planes):http://www.x-plane.com/blog/2011/01/atc-part-i-real-physics/


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This is the Blog post - I think - you are referring to, and it might be a worthwhile read for many here (about the full physics of AI planes):http://www.x-plane.c...i-real-physics/
Thanks for that, I had a read and while I don't agree with all of it, e.g. the thought that splitting time between a simpler model and a complex model may not yield benefits because the processor has to work harder to do both? At the end of the day there is still less work to do for the cpu. As I said, I had turned off AI while tinkering. As I had brought this up I turned it back on for a quick test. With 7 AI aircraft of which I could see one, the others could be where ever, one the ground in the air, not sure. I didn't notice any difference in cpu usage from having zero aircraft. The cpu usage fluctuates so mych from 33% towards 50% that any average increase is not easily visible by just eyeballing the meter. I must admit that I immediately thought the worst after reading one of the devs say something along the lines of how each aircraft uses its own thread so will run really well on multi core, multi cpu set ups. The thing that made me think the worst was when they said, so if you have 16 cpu's you could set up 16 ai aircraft. I really thought, hell, is that what it's going to take, and from the developers themselves? Gad to see thats not the case but I should see how I can set up a scenario where a number are at an airport, then the cpu usage may go up, which I dont mind if the fps dont take a dive.

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Thanks for that, I had a read and while I don't agree with all of it, e.g. the thought that splitting time between a simpler model and a complex model may not yield benefits because the processor has to work harder to do both? At the end of the day there is still less work to do for the cpu.
He meant less work for the developers. They could spend all their time optimizing the full flight model and have something that performs really well or divide their time between the full flight model and a simple flight model and have two systems that aren't as well developed as they could be because of limited manpower.

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Yeah, strange Mountain Man, I read that and knew he meant developer time but then for some reason as I read further I thought he said it again meaning no performance gains. You are right though, he didn't say that. I do need to set up a better scenario with more airport scenery, I wasnt at seattle, and see what happens.

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Just looking at the xplane sdk it seems that you cannot control ai aircraft, i.e. create/destroy them, give them flight plans. This is something available in fsx and I would not imagine something like ultimate traffic as an addon would be possible without it. Which is a shame because even a really simple plugin could give you an illusion of lots of traffic while only using a handful of ai aircraft at any one time.

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