Laminar Research shows off 10 hour X-Plane 12 timelapse

Getting a flight sim ready for launch sometimes requires some unique testing methods. While most games need to remain stable for just a few hours, a sim like X-Plane 12 requires potentially dozens of hours of stability out of the product to simulate long distance flights. In the spirit of that testing, Laminar has released a 10-hour timelapse condensed down into 6-minutes. Let’s have a look at the video and the reactions.

Ten hours crammed into six minutes

Starting out in the dark with rain coming down and transitioning into sunrise and variable clouds, this latest X-Plane 12 video gives us a good look at many of the sim’s facets. Condensing 10-hours of testing down into just a few minutes really lets us cover a lot of ground really quickly.

The test is likely seting using an AI that is pre-programmed to fly from airport to airport. The aircraft, a Lancair Evolution, transitions between airports, lands, taxis, parks, and then does it all again. In the background we get to see the sim’s new lighting model, clouds and weather, the ATC window is open so we can see some of the functions there, and we get a look at the scenery, terrain, textures, runways, and more.

Have a look for yourself.

My reactions and reactions from the community

The video on the face of it is a really good technical demonstration of the sim and its various functions working together over a prolonged period of time. That its seemingly running smoothly and stably is important for those long flights. I got to experience this with X-Plane 11 and my cross Atlantic journey that I did last year.

That it also gives us our most complete look at X-Plane 12 in many respects also has quite a few people paying attention to not just the flying but the scenery and the weather. And there are a few things that stick out.

The scenery appears to not have really evolved all that much from what we see with X-Plane 11 although it does appear that there are better textures. To be sure, airport textures on the ground do appear to be excellent. Airport buildings do look a little less impressive than I had assumed they might be.

The weather is also cause for some questions. In a lot of instances there appears to be cloud banks that pulse in and out of existence relatively quickly. Although I do expect the weather to be dynamic, a cloud bank shouldn’t disappear in the time that it takes to do a pushback.

It seems that similar concerns are being shared across the X-Plane community with threads popping up on the Facebook and Reddit groups. Those threads include this one with divided opinions, questions and concern in places.

I do want to put a giant caution on judging everything at this point too. Although X-Plane 12 does appear to be nearing early access release, we do know that there are lots of rough edges to smooth out as the sim makes the journey towards a full release. Often, a lot of hard work over years take time to fully integrate into a product and its really only in the last stretch where things really solidify.

Of course, the sim’s flight model might be so impressive as to negate some of these other concerns. But for those looking to X-Plane 12 for a complete sim experience, there are no doubt going to be some question marks at this point. Others will find the scenery and weather quirks to not be an issue.

What do you think? Is any of this cause for concern? Or is it just to early to know? Let me know in the comments!


10 Comments Add yours

  1. 1_Robert_ says:

    Hmm, I’m actually a bit surprised on the visuals as I expected much more. I’m holding hope that this gets worked out as I trust Xplane’s flight modelling should be far superior than it’s competitor.

    As far as non-combat flight simming goes, it appears we may be stuck with two opposite offerings, neither getting it completely right. One is strong with the visuals but unrealistic flight modelling, the other lacking the visuals but featuring a more sophisticated flight model.

    I hope this title gets both right.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Top Gun Maverick still flying high! says:

      I’m very worried about the graphics here… geometry, detail level, weather effects, even the general lighting…
      Maybe MSFS will push things to an unreacheable level with the CFD modelling later this year…not happy with this prospect, but now it’s quite a reasonable bet…!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. ShamrockOneFive says:

        I think the work that MSFS is doing on their flight model is underestimated by the die-hard X-Plane fan. It’s catching up quickly.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Redglyph says:

      The model is not only what MSFS or X-Plane provides, but what the aircraft developer is actually using for their product. An A2A, REP, DreamFoil, Majestic and so on will be as good on either platform.

      It’s easier for them if the model is better of course, and there are likely more accurate products overall too.

      Still, MSFS needs to fix whatever seems to give a Dutch roll to every aircraft by making the model more stable; hopefully they’re working on it. Their algorithm is not far off X-Plane’s from what I’ve read of people who did some tests and some digging. And they’re trying to improve helicopters as well. The overall presentation is a bit game-ish though.


  2. Olli says:

    I am not too impressed with the graphics either. The clouds are odd, but I suppose Laminar will be working on this for the next years. Overall it appears to be an updated 11.5. Which wouldn’t be surprising, since most addons require only little work to be compatible with v12 (which is a good thing!).
    As for the realistic flight model, pretty much every new version has the best flight model ever, no? 🙂 I am just thinking of the exaggerated rolling effect with RPM change in props (v9, v10 and early v11) – I felt it was quite wrong, while Austin insisted it’s most realistic.
    Overall, I think there are many system changes under the hood. I like the ATC window. I’ll be getting v12 as soon as it’s out.


    1. ShamrockOneFive says:

      I will be getting it as soon as its available as well. It’ll be interesting to see where this sim is at when it gets to that early access release.


  3. Redglyph says:

    The general consensus seems to be that it’s not what we would have expected regarding buildings, scenery and weather. It may depend on the options chosen for the test, and perhaps the on/off clouds are on purpose for the test, though they would have told us so. Clouds shouldn’t be so blocky either, it’s not Minecraft.

    The conditions of the test itself are debatable. A real user switches views more often, rotates and pans around with the camera, and does more activities with the controls, the map, and so on. This loads more scenery and triggers more loading / unloading and garbage collecting, or memory defragmenting and potential leaks depending on the libs that are used. It covers more code too.

    Long flights are often done in much more complex aircraft than this one, with more requirements on the memory.

    Finally, in-house developed aircraft are made by people who know the API and its pitfalls. Using a 3rd-party (good) aircraft is more representative of the actual stability – besides, who’s ever using the default aircraft except a few times at the beginning?

    So in conclusion, I’m not sure what this video is trying to prove, but it’s not as reassuring as it claims to be. There’s still time, and we’ll know how good it is when the sim is closer to release.


  4. Jer Stryker says:

    Well, I was at least hoping for prettier clouds than that. They are still better than XP11’s billboards, but not very close to almost every other sim these days. With MSFS taking care of all of my scenic flying, I only use X-Plane for the add-on airliners and aircraft that I can’t get in MSFS yet, which there are still quite a lot of. For big airliner flying I can manage with DIY satellite imagery, but the clouds (and sky/vis effects in general) I’m hoping for a little better.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ShamrockOneFive says:

      I was hoping for better as well. They are obviously an upgrade but folks tend to cross compare. We have IL-2, DCS and MSFS all doing the same kind of ray marched volumetric clouds and X-Plane 12’s looks like it might be behind the competition.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. yeah….nahhh.

    Very underwhelming to be honest. Will still upgrade to continue with my addons but I can’t say I am seeing a huge change at all. I suppose if you compare it to bare bones default xplane 11 then it is a step up but with addons we were already pretty much at this point by the looks of it.

    Liked by 1 person

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