Switching to X-Plane
Want to convert? We can help.
Ever since Microsoft laid off its Flight Simulator development team, users of Flight Simulator X have been looking for what’s next. Microsoft’s newest product, Flight, has no qualms about being a game, not a simulator.
In light of this, many tens of thousands of people have been switching over from Microsoft Flight Simulator to X-Plane. We at Laminar Research are ready for the influx of new customers coming in now, and will be facilitating the move from Microsoft Flight Simulator to X-Plane to make the transition as easy as possible for everyone. We will continue to make X-Plane the most powerful, accurate, flexible, and fun flight sim there is. We have big plans for the future of X-Plane 10.
With or without Microsoft, we believe that X-Plane is by far the best flight sim on the market. More than that, we are both committed and capable of continuing to build a true engineering-quality simulator. X-Plane is not, and will not be, just a game.
Photos and videos of X-Plane 10 »
Getting Started with X-Plane
The best way to get started with X-Plane is to download the X-Plane 10 demo. If you get stuck, you can download the comprehensive X-Plane 10 manual—Chapter 2 of that manual is our “Quick Start Guide,” designed to get you up and running in the simulator in as little time as possible.
Converting Scenery from MSFS to X-Plane
As you may have heard, you can convert third-party scenery from the format used by Microsoft Flight Simulator to the format used by X-Plane. The tutorial “How to Convert MSFS Scenery to X-Plane” on the X-Plane.org forums will be helpful in this; it details the use of the FS2XPlane plug-in, which converts Microsoft Flight Simulator 2004 and FSX add-on scenery packages to X-Plane DSF overlay scenery packages. The resulting X-Plane scenery packages work under X-Plane v8.64 and later on Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux.
If you’re interested in creating new scenery for X-Plane, the X-Plane Wiki’s Scenery Development page, and in particular, the Scenery Tutorials page, is a good place to start.
Creating Aircraft for X-Plane
Aircraft in X-Plane are created using the Plane Maker tool, which is included with every installation of X-Plane. Plane Maker is very user-friendly, and if you can just enter the geometry of the aircraft in Plane Maker, then X-Plane will predict the way the airplane flies for you; you don’t need to enter aircraft performance into X-Plane, like you did with MSFS. By default, the X-Plane aircraft visuals are based on the geometry entered in Plane Maker, but this can be overridden with incredibly detailed 3-D models if you like. 3-D models that can be easily exported from AC3D.
The Aircraft Development page on the X-Plane Wiki, and in particular, the Aircraft Development Tutorials, are a great place to start learning Plane Maker. The new Plane Maker Manual will also be very useful.
Creating Plug-Ins X-Plane
As well, X-Plane has plug-ins (see the X-Plane SDK site) to interface third-party tools with the simulator. Using plug-ins, you can read and write data in X-Plane very easily, allowing you to create third-party add-ons, which we enthusiastically support.
The bottom line is that we at Laminar Research are ready to accept the inflow of customers from Microsoft, will continue to make X-Plane the best flight simulator in the industry, have new things lined up that will knock your socks off, and will post tools and information here that will make your transition from MS to X-Plane be as painless (and fun!) as possible.
This applies equally to both customers and add-on developers.
Signed: Austin Meyer, Author of X-Plane
Looking for information on switching from Microsoft ESP?
Click here to go to the ESP page.