From StrategyWiki, the video game walkthrough and strategy guide wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search

X-Plane comes with:

  • The Flight Simulator application
  • Scenery for all of the Earth and Mars (if you choose to get the Mars CD, otherwise it just comes with a small portion of the planet).
  • WorldMaker: Allows you to edit everything about the land above which you fly, from adding hills to adding custom built objects that you can place anywhere.
  • PlaneMaker: Allows you to build your own special plane from scratch, or import pictures and model an existing one, then add photorealistic paint to it in any paint program.
  • AirfoilMaker: Even though X-Plane comes with ton of pre-built airfoils, you may want to create a new one, and this program allows it to be done.
  • Briefer: Launch it, type in your altitude, departure and destination, and it tells you the weather for your trip, which it downloads from the Internet.

All of these programs combined together give you the X-System. All updates throughout a version are free. For example, if you buy X-Plane 8.01, you will be able to download all the updates, such as 8.41, 8.73, 8.99, up to the final release for that version.


Users are encouraged to design their own aircraft, and design software is included with the program. This has created an active community of users who use the simulator for a variety of purposes. Since designing an aircraft is relatively simple and the flight model can help predict performance of real-world aircraft, several aircraft companies use X-Plane in their design process. The CarterCopter uses X-Plane for flight training and research. X-Plane also contributed to the design of the Atlantica blended wing body aircraft.

Through the plugin interface, users can create external modules that extend the X-Plane interface, flight model, or create new features. One such feature is the Xsquawkbox plugin, which allows X-Plane users to fly on a worldwide shared simulation network. Other work has been done in the area of improving X-Plane's flight model and even replacing entire facets of X-Plane's operation. Scaled Composites, for example, used the X-Plane rendering engine on top of their own simulator while designing and testing SpaceShipOne.

X-Plane is also capable of communicating with other applications via UDP. Through a relatively simple interface, third party developers can control the simulator and extract data regarding the simulation state. Companies like Scaled Composites have used this tool in order to use X-Plane as a rendering engine for their in-house simulators.

The maps and scenery are also fully editable. While no tool is provided to edit the 3D mesh objects, there are tutorials for using the third party 3D modeler AC3D. Once built, editing landscape elevation and 3D object placement is easily accomplished with the scenery editor. In fact, much of the world's detail, including detail in airports, such as ramps, buildings, and taxiways, is provided by the end-users. Users can also subscribe to a mailing list, receiving regular updates of the airport and navaid database.

Map imagery and aircraft paint can be created and modified with any paint program capable of manipulating PNG images. Additionally, Laminar Research has released a 7 DVD "Global Scenery Package" containing imagery of a much higher quality than the default information. This package covers close to 85% of the Earth's surface. The release of X-Plane 9 (January 2009) has introduced much improved areas of high ground relief (in particular, mountains) and a plethora of other improvements.