New X-Plane 12 updates highlight third party content that has made the jump

A series of posts coming from Laminar Research this week have highlighted the efforts of some well known third party scenery and aircraft developers as they start to integrate some of their products into the new X-Plane 12 sim. Let’s have a look at what they’ve posted so far.


Over the last week or so, we’ve seen a series of social media posts (I’ve embedded the tweets) from Laminar Research’s X-Plane Official account showcasing third party aircraft in the new sim. They started with VSKYLABS and their Rutan Model-153.

Then it was Khamsin showing off a B-17 and a helicopter that is not currently listed on their store.

Then, Windsock simulations and their Madrid airport scenery.

Next up, one of my favourite developers Aerobask got a chance to shine with a new image of their Falcon 8x project as well as the DA50 RG (just released) and Phenom 300.

VerticalSim’s Tampa airport is also being shown off.

Back to VSKYLABS and two of their helicopters. The Cabri G2 which I know fairly well and the R66 which I’ve considered adding to my collection.

Then we saw FlightFactor’s X-Plane 12 content. That company has a 757, 767, 777, A320 and A350 all available in X-Plane 11.

Finally, new default parked aircraft. These look pretty good!

Some thoughts

Looking at the screenshots for X-Plane 12 tells us a few things about the product. First, its a good sign that third parties are now in and developing on the new platform. The ability to jump in, potentially on day one of a public release with some well known favourites will be potentially great news if it comes to pass. X-Plane 11 has a strong portfolio of third party developers and aircraft and the more that are available early in 12’s release, the better.

Some of the screenshots have been pretty good looking, even impressive at times, while others are underwhelming. I say that with full knowledge that X-Plane 12 is still in development and not yet a released product. With that in mind we have to critique what we see with some degree of restraint although I do worry a bit that X-Plane 12 won’t be able to fully match its competitors – at least not visually.

Looks aren’t everything of course and there are some folks out there who would seemingly be happy to have minimal graphics and maximal aircraft simulation. For me, however, its a balance between those. Visuals aren’t just pretty pictures but rather something that helps to add to the authenticity of the experience. Every sim has to confront and achieve a balance between all of the different layers from the visual to the physics that drive it. I am a bit concerned that, although this is better, X-Plane 12 may land short of where it should for a sim in 2022.

That said, I’m prepared and would happily eat my words over the coming weeks as Laminar reveals more of their product. This is still in development and I have high hopes that a finished product will come together in an impressive way.


8 Comments Add yours

  1. X-Plane has never and probably will never match the visual state of the art of a given year. But that’s not dramatic. Even if user numbers would go down back to X-Plane 10 numbers, because people prefer looks of other sims, it would still fill it’s niche.


  2. Urgent Siesta says:

    The Khamsin helo is their EXCELLENT collaboration on the SA 315B Lama, available on the Org store. IMHO, the most satisfying helo in XP!

    The Aerobask shots highlight just how much the X-Plane lighting engine has changed, and how much work devs need to do to update their models to v12.

    In all honesty, v12 was never going to match the MSFS standard. But then again, nothing does…

    I have MSFS, and X-Plane, and P3D – and still, my favorite flight sim remains DCS World, even for non-combat flights.

    We’ll see how well XP v12 hits The Balance. MSFS has a long way to go to get flight & ground dynamics right, so XP still will still have a seat at the table (but I think that’s going to fundamentally change when the PMDG 737 and Fenix A320 drop for MSFS…).


    1. ShamrockOneFive says:

      DCS does a great job of looking incredible as everyone knows. IL-2 does too on less of a budget and yet it still manages to be impressive… even if its a little less. X-Plane really seems to struggle to meet and I wish they were a little more competitive.

      What we’re seeing is GOOD but still behind.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Baltic Dude says:

      I fly helicopters like Mi-8/24 and Ka-50 in DCS. If this simulation of the Sa-315B is accurate then I will be purchasing X-Plane 12. I have never played X-Plane before but I love helicopters with REAL simulation and flight model with VRS and such. MSFS 2020 is a HUGE disappointment for me so when X-Plane 12 releases I will be purchasing it. Looking forward to flying the Sa-315B, R44 and others. Also, in DCS I am looking forward to the As-350 with multicrew support to fly in Dubai and hopefully Argentina soon :thumbsup:


  3. Chris says:

    No preorder yet?
    I love the idea to buy and forget untill release.


  4. gasman says:

    My big question for XPlane 12 is how it will handle ortho-photos. It will be extremely disappointing if it doesn’t offer something in that area as that is a large part of what makes MSFS look so good. It’s not possible to take the DCS approach and handcraft maps on a global scale, and it’s not practical to for the consumer to create orthos due to storage. I hope they’ve developed something smart here as that could easily make or break it for the wider consumer base.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ShamrockOneFive says:

      Right now it doesn’t look like they have anything planned in that area beyond what we already see with XP11. There is some updated terrain rendering supposedly coming but I’m not sure if we’ve seen it yet.


  5. Baltic Dude says:

    I am a DCS user who flies Mi-8/24, FC3 and JF-17. I do not care at all about MSFS 2020 because of the terrible flight models but I will be purchasing X-Plane 12. I always thought that a more civilian-based simulator would be a lot of fun but I am looking for accurate simulation, not just a marvel movie with realistic graphics. I have never played X-Plane before but if the helicopter simulation is accurate I will purchase X-Plane 12. Looking forward to it :thumbsup:


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