Laminar Research has released a cinematic trailer featuring one of their new flyable aircraft, the Airbus A330, as a kind of teaser for X-Plane 12’s launch. Let’s have a look at the trailer and what we can learn about the aircraft in advance of the launch.
Is it a “default” aircraft or something more?
After watching this trailer a couple of times, it has me wondering exactly what Laminar Research is showcasing here. Yes there are some nice visuals courtesy of the new lighting engine, the new shaders, and new weather and rain effects. They look great, however, it seems to me like each moment in this trailer seems carefully calibrated to tell us something important. On the interior, we see high quality textures and lighting effects which are far in advance of what we’ve seen on X-Plane 11 default aircraft and look to match payware quality modules (and MSFS while we’re at it).
There’s a few shots of the outside world which seem carefully calibrated not to focus too much on the scenery as X-Plane 12’s scenery engine has yet to be shown off.
There’s a nice scene showing off some of the interior angles including the seats. This is seemingly aimed at differentiating between this A330 and other sims that have previously offered just a cockpit without the extra interior work. Several liveries are on show too including Air Asia, Air Canada, Cathay Pacific, and Lufthansa. Then we have a sequence that is explicitly labeled as an engine start, then later, showing an engine fire.
Default, prepacked aircraft, have a bit of a reputation for not being all that impressive but this A330 may be looking to shake that impression up a bit.
All of these line-up like checkmarks and seem to suggest an aircraft that, as defaults go, is surprisingly well realized already. I do see some eagle eyed viewers noting that it is still using a default X-Plane FMS rather than an Airbus specific one so that may be an area where future updates might focus in on.
We might even see a Zibo/FlyByWire type start-up tackle this A330 releasing freeware mods that enhance the experience and it may also provide enough of a baseline for other airbus models to flow more freely later on down the line (I wouldn’t mind flying that very slick looking A350 XWB).
I can tell you that I was not expecting Laminar Research to release a trailer for just one airplane in advance of X-Plane 12’s release but it does have me thinking that this will be a flagship airplane that showcases a lot of what X-Plane 12 is capable of doing. And, given the intense interest from many in the sim community over medium and high fidelity airliners, this seems like a smart move.
Enjoy the trailer!
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Thanks Shamrock. I’m very curious as to which direction they go for scenery. MSFS has raised the bar significantly in this department and I think I’d struggle to go backwards with a lesser technology.
I’ll be following this closely as I think it’s going to be an important and fundamental choice to assure there future success.
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I agree completely. The only bit that we’ve seen of their scenery so far is what they have with procedural detail generation on their airports – which does look pretty impressive.
I am hoping that similar techniques are being applied to scenery. X-Plane doesn’t have to have satellite streamed imagery to have impressive scenery but they do need to do something else to impress.
Laminar Research doesn’t have the funding to pay for satellite map providers (ex: Google) so this is the best that they can provide. We need to remember that Asobo has the support of Microsoft who owns Bing Maps.
This is true, however, there are outside the box concepts that would make integrating ortho easier than at present for example – agnostic of the image and DEM sources.
But the way I think Laminar is going to go is more in the autogen and procedurally generated direction. We’ve already seen them demo some of that technology for airports.
I wonder if it will be weeks or months til X-Plane 12 is on Steam for PreOrder.
After so much MSFS disappointment in terms of updates and lack of high fidelity mods I returned to X-Plane 11 recently and am loving every second of it. It is streets ahead in terms of addons and reliability. This A330 looks absolutely incredible as does XPlane 12 itself. At this point I don’t care all that much about the scenery aspect, which is a good thing because I have a sneaky suspicion that we are going to be pleasantly surprised. Better default autogen for sure, but howabout download your own Ortho from within the sim? it’s possible…
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Yeah an in-sim, streamlined ortho process would be fine by me too. I think they have some creative options for next generation scenery generation and we’ll see where they go.
You may have noted my MSFS content has trailed off due not because I don’t like the sim but because the sim doesn’t seem to like my system. X-Plane 11 seems to continue on which is great.
Great observations, and well played by Laminar Research 🙂
It’s hard to remember, given all the 3rd party scenery packages in every youtube, but also note the clouds are native to XP, AND if you noticed, the weather radar changes with the clouds outside (something still unavailable in MSFS)!
We’re also seeing wingflex (still a bullet point feature on many addons), extremely well detailed engine graphics, etc,
Also a good choice to diversify to an Airbus, as well as a versatile “mid-size” airliner that sits between 737/a320 and the jumbos.
The 330 choice also means they’re not stepping on too many 3rd party dev toes, given the available Airbuses in the game (it does make me wonder if they worked out some kind of deal with JAR Design for some of their A330 assets…).
And I guess i’m one of the weird people that just don’t care about a fully developed FMC in a default aircraft model.
Which is also to say that I hope not too many folks set themselves up for disappointment in believing that this will be a “study level” addon (i’ve seen it time and again in re MSFS default addons).
Those features are rightly delivered by payware or Zibo/FlyByWire groups.
All in all, this vid is another VERY good sign that v12 will be more than worth the upgrade price. XP will NOT go quietly into the night… 😉
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