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!
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.