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    First Look - XPlane11 BETA


    WR269

    First Look

    by Will Reynolds

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    As we all know, XP11 has been released for PUBLIC BETA....it is what it is folks, a BETA, nothing else.

     

    As such, it would be ridiculous to review a BETA, so what we will do is highlight the differences between XP10 and XP11....what do we see?  I will not go into performance, or anything else, because it is all a moving target at the moment, remember the word...BETA!

     

    Please keep an eye on this link, it highlights the stuff the team at LR are working on at present:

     

    http://www.x-plane.com/kb/x-plane-11-00-release-notes/

     

    You will note, they are still working on optimisation and lots of other stuff. The list is by no means complete, and if you participate in the Beta, feel free to provide feedback of errors, bugs etc.

     

    Ok, let’s start....what has changed?  We knew the interface was new, but how new?

     

    Here we see the Menu options compared between XP10 and XP11:

    This is the old XP10

    This is the new XP11

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    Different?  Let’s see what they now do:

    This is what LR wished to change, it is the traditional “Windows 3.1 vertical menu” which is a layout still favoured by the vast majority of simulators in one way or another.

     

    There is an “ABOUT” menu which tells you version number and takes you to the instruction manual if you need to, this is now a small icon in XP11:

     

    XP10

    XP11

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    Next is the “File” menu to setup a flight or situation, and a few other hardly used features, the new “File” entry in XP11 allows you to resume or set up flight as well as a few other useful options:

     

    XP10

    XP11

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    The “Aircraft” menu allows you to load aircraft type, choose repaint, setup weight, fuel, etc. And is obviously very heavily used. In XP11 this is replaced on two locations...one is the “Flight” menu tab, and the rest of the functions are in the small shortcut “app” on the top right hand corner:

     

    XP10

    XP11

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    Worth noting that the shortcut will take you to quite a comprehensive menu, which in XP10 is available through different menus and tabs...in XP11 they are all on one location.

    To set up aircraft, repaint, time, weather and location, in XP10 you have to set up in different tabs and menus:

    XP10

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    In XP11, you can do all this in one screen, by pressing the aircraft icon at the top right:

    XP11

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    To calibrate controls in XP10 you had a dedicated TAB

     

    XP10

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    In XP11 you again make use of the quick set up icon:

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    This small icon will bring a comprehensive “SETUP” menu and is designed to be the core of your use.

     

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    The other feature I wish to highlight is the new Map. You can call it by using the “M” keyboard command or again pressing the quick access icon, in XP10 you have a distinctive TAB and submenus:

     

    XP10

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    In XP11 you can use the small icon and the map appears half way down the screen so your flight is not paused.

     

    XP11

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    So to fly...what does it come with? Well there are 11 default aircraft...you can see some of them here...

     

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    The only aircraft not shown in that picture are the SR-71 and a Cessna Skyhawk on Floats.

     

     

    After setting up your controls, you are pretty much ready to go.If you are familiar with XP10, you would be very familiar with the Rendering Options screen....this will dictate how smooth your experience is...in XP10 it had a lot of minuscule options...in XP10 some options have been bunched together and some removed. You need to experiment here to get the best out of your hardware. Remember this is a 64 Bit sim, so the more RAM you have and the more VRAM you have, the better detail you can load, so be careful.

     

    XP10

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    XP11

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    So here are a few comparison shots...the airport is LOWI (Innsbruck), payware by JustSim. Same settings, weather, etc.

     

    XP10

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    XP11

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    And finally, I took the default B737-800 for a quick flight. This is a default aircraft....I have to be honest, I have never liked default aircraft in a flight simulator, and owning the iterations from FS5 all the way to P3D, my feelings are unchanged. BUT, I have to say graphically, this is the best default Jet I have seen in a simulator. I chose the B737-800 because it is a popular jet, and because it is also with a few quirks.

     

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    The exterior model is exquisite

     

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    It is equipped with a “default” FMC which reads from the navigation data in the core sim. This navigation data is provided by Navigraph and is updateable via a separate subscription.  The FMC loads the flight plan and gives you a proper map, but without the waypoint or navaid names. It does cater for SIDS and STARS, as well as transitions.

     

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    Loading the aircraft is a graphical journey....very easy.

     

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    From here, start engines....this is where the quirks started...dont expect full realism...I had to hold the starter in place and took the N2 to about 60%!! Anyway, after engine start, taxi was very good, I can see the complaint people have about the “Screech” sound if you exceed a certain speed value and angle of the nosewheel...just for kick, I found the speed and angle to taxi and avoid the screech sound, so really not a big issue.

     

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    Takeoff, autopilot engagement, LNAV, VNAV, etc...all no issue, very smooth and that X-Plane “airborne” feel.

     

    So we will conclude this “First Look” here folks...this is a NEW sim...no doubt about it. Austin Meyer does not like “hacks” to make things appear real, he wants a package that does that....and you have to say, on look at this early public beta, he is getting closer than anyone to that goal.

    If you wish to participate in the BETA, this is the link you need:

    http://www.x-plane.com/desktop/try-it/

     

    System:

    Intel i7 4790K

    GTX970 4G

    24G RAM

     



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