Wednesday, January 27, 2010


Surely I'm not the only one with that song embedded in some deep part of my psyche, right? One thing we seem to have down with 940 is counting upward...945 is in testing now.

There are two things driving the perpetual 940 bug fix releases:
  1. Third parties are using the sim heavily, so the bug fix releases have been vehicles for fixing a number of small bugs that are only reproducible with custom add-ons. (The fix for night lighting and orthophotos is an example of this.)
  2. We've played a real game of whac-a-mole with the throttles. (The bug is that X-Plane will lock the two throttles together. I believe that the new 945 release candidate finally fixes this.) Having done a bit of a 3 stooges routine on this bug, we've tightened up our internal procedures a bit.
As always, if your third party add-on broke with 940, please file a bug report! The only case of this I know of is the throttles bug - 945 should fix the BK-117, the Mu, and any other plane suffering from throttle-glue.

Will there be a 946? There very well might be, and I sincerely hope it will not be because 945 missed its target. But if, two months from now, we've collected another half-dozen fixes for third party authoring, I don't see why we wouldn't release them.

Could The Name Beta Be Any More Confusing?

The version number gets bumped when we have a release and it still needs patching. Of course, some bugs get reported after we ship, and some address issues not even under consideration during release. Had we not had any fire drills, we would probably still be on 942 or 943 right now, because we've had third party reports with very specialized authoring cases after we finalized the build.

Here's what makes things even more confusing: that check box "Check for new betas as well as updates" in the installer. At any one time we may have two versions of X-Plane availalbe for download:
  1. The official version (currently 944) for everyone.
  2. Whatever the latest in-test build is (currently 945).
(You can even see which versions are current here.) What's confusing is that while this check box says "get betas", in truth it gets any build that is "in staging". At this instant that I blog, X-Plane 9.45 final is in staging. That is, we believe 9.45 fixes our two known bugs, we think it's done, it's a release candidate, we think it is the next American Idol^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^HX-Plane. But until we certify it, you still have to check "get betas" to download it.

What we probably need to do is re-label the check-box in some way; the "staged" approach where every build is available for test first is, I think, a valuable tool to let third party authors confirm that we fixed their bugs before the entire world gets the app.

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