Comet 4c - Prototype Testing - First Flight in X-Plane 10

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Fig. 1: Comet 4C in X-Plane 10: “Telephoto” views have noticeably less thrashing than in X-Plane 9; anti-aliasing seems on a different level altogether (look at the fine detail on the antennae attached to the tail fin); landing lights look miles better. Click for high-res.

This week is a milestone, because a prototype version of the Comet 4C (version 0.91) went out to testers.

Will there be a Comet 4C for X-Plane 10? Yes!

Along with everyone else I’ve been itching to get my hands on X-Plane 10. I ordered a copy immediately and downloaded the demo as soon as the servers had cooled down a bit. My 2006 Mac Pro is showing its age now. Frame rates are lower than X-Plane 9, but there is so much more for the CPU and GPU to do with more detail on the ground, HDR lighting and dynamic shadows.

Screen shots on this page were from my first 10 minute session with HDR and shadows ON. I’ve uploaded full resolution copies, too. I’d love to spend an afternoon fiddling with all the new settings, but at the moment it’s a distraction from getting the Comet finished and out. A Comet 4C for X-Plane 10 will come, and it will be a free upgrade for those who buy the version for X-Plane 9.

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Fig. 2: Comet 4C in X-Plane 10: Look at the blend of sunlight and shadow on the fuselage. Rendering is on an altogether higher level in 10. Click for high. res.

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Fig. 3: Comet 4C in X-Plane 10: Again look at the transition between light and shade. It’s far more subtle than 9. Click for high res.

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Fig. 4: Comet 4C in X-Plane 10: I could have spent more time on this, but the 10 minute demo ran out a few seconds after this shot. Look at the differences in lighting on the roof panels, left and right. Look also at the shadow falling across the central instrument panel. There was a strange shimmying effect, like a mild form of z-thrash, around each of the nuts on the windscreen pillars in the sim. It only happened with shadows ON. I think this is an example of how developers must let things settle before trying to fix things that may be an early-release bug. Click for high res.

Next steps: Complete the user’s manual, fix faults found by testers, paint more liveries.
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GMM-P (03/12/2011)
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