X-Plane 11.50 beta goes all the way to 13!

For the past few months, Laminar Research, the developer of X-Plane 11 have been busy releasing new beta versions of the X-Plane 11.50 patch. While the patch number may sound innocuous its actually one of the biggest updates for the X-Plane series in quite a while and with it comes some impressive performance changes to the sim. Let’s have a quick look at what they are doing, what beta 13 updates, and how long it might be before the 11.50 patch goes from beta to released.

Here comes Vulkan

Vulkan will help boost performance in a serious way

You may have heard of Vulkan API before. It’s a graphics API (application programming interface) that, in essence, connects game world with your computer graphics hardware. It’s something that the developers of DCS World are actively working on using for their next generation rendering engine and its something that the developers of X-Plane 11, Laminar Research, also spent years perfecting so that their new X-Plane renderer would work faster and smoother than before.

For X-Plane 11, this is a seriously needed upgrade as their old OpenGL renderer is quite old and its showing its age with poor multi-core support and ultimately low performance. While IL-2 and DCS (sometimes) can give me a solid 60fps on my GTX 1070ti, X-Plane at best is able to give me about 25-30fps and then it frequently drops below that. Stuttering and low FPS are, as I’ve been told by many X-Plane groups, relatively normal as an X-Plane experience and 30fps is typically what you aim to get. I’ve tried a lot of performance tweaks to get better performance but ultimately… its stuck around 30fps.

Enter Vulkan with 11.50 beta 1. That was months ago and even then, those users opting into the open beta, reported huge and impressive performance increases. Since then the developers have worked hard to squash bugs and while the beta testing process does usually involve problems, this process has been longer from what I gather because Vulkan really is going to make a big splash when it finally emerges as the replacement rendering system for X-Plane.

It’s actually Vulkan and Metal support because X-Plane works cross platform and is supported on MacOS as well as on Windows PC.

The latest beta updates

X-Plane 11.50 will boost performance over 11.40 and that will be especially impressive when paired with something complex like Orbx TrueEarth

We’re now on beta 13 for 11.50 for X-Plane which in their latest developer blog they are calling ‘lucky 13’. While many users reported that beta 9 has been the fastest they’ve seen X-Plane, it also looks like there were still problems and the developers have moved through a series of updates.

Along the way, everything from shaders to support for third party plugins to fixes for crashes have been solved. If you’re really interested in the patch notes for all of these beta updates, check the X-Plane 11 .50 release notes out here.

It’s clear that we’re not quite there yet. There are still crashes and problems and it’s unlikely that beta 13 will be the final version before we go to a stable release. It does appear that it may still be several weeks or even months before Laminar move X-Plane 11.50 out of the beta and into stable. And that’s not a bad thing either. The beta process is designed to get through these problems while those looking for a more steady experience are still on the 11.40 version. Laminar actually has a third release, a 11.50 unstable beta, which might crash all the time while 11.50 beta is intended to have been given a medium check for stability.

You can opt into the beta but unless you like to tweak and test things I recommend you wait for things to stabilize. However, what beta testers report does have me excited for a much smoother and higher performance X-Plane experience in the future.

6 Comments Add yours

  1. CanadaOne says:

    X-Plane looks tempting, but with FS2020 it’s hard not to see it as potentially wasted money. Mind you, X-Plane is on sale right now for $50 on Steam.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. ShamrockOneFive says:

      I know, its hard to say what the MSFS experience will be and what X-Plane’s role will be when MSFS looks to be doing so much so well. I wouldn’t count X-Plane out but it does look very dated when not using something like Orbx’s TrueEarth.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. TexasWarbird says:

        Not to mention the price difference. I think X-Plane is going to be in big trouble if FS 2020 comes out with an all inclusive/included full global VFR environment. X-Plane at 1,500 USD on sale for all airports is pretty steep.

        One thing is for sure MFS is really going to shake the flight sim foundation hard.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. clannk says:

    the Beta performance increase has been astounding!

    at first, i was running a second installation to test the Beta, but stability has been good enough I ended up nuking it and converting my main install to Beta(!)

    So far, most of my addons either are already compatible, or have been tweaked/updated to compatibility, so it’s hardly a compromise at this point to use the Beta as a primary version of the sim.

    Great work by Laminar Research turning out a rapid progression of quality Beta releases! Hasn’t been problem free (nor expected to be), but has definitely shown an effective public testing program. Much appreciated!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Chris says:

    In a recent interview Austin Meyer stated that he has people working on new scenery for X-Plane.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. ShamrockOneFive says:

      Yeah a great point Chris. I listened to that interview and it did sound encouraging that they are going to do some work to update the overall look of the sim.

      Liked by 1 person

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