With X-Plane 10 on the way, it seems that the various X-Plane forums are just filled with users listing off their favorite feature requests. If there is one uniting theme for these requests, it is this: they are pretty much all requests for X-Plane to more accurately model some neglected aspect of reality.
I would like this relationship to be two-way, with give-and-take. It doesn't seem fair that in every case, we should have to change X-Plane to model reality. So I humbly submit to the X-Plane user community: my requests for changes to reality to ease X-Plane development.
No Wind Near Water
My first request is a simple one: can we simply not have any more wind over the ocean? Ocean waves are hard to model. They are non-sinusoidal, they don't repeat, they're refractive, and they go for miles. If we could simply eliminate the wind, then we could model the ocean as a nice calm glassy lake, which would be quite a bit simpler to get right.
Only One Building
My second request is a modest one: from now on, I would like everyone to live in the same type of uniform house. It can be a nice house (several stories, with a pool in the house), but everyone's house should be the same. We have some new instancing technology for version 10; it reaches peak efficiency when a single building is repeated ad infinitum. So if you could all agree on a single house type, it would be good for everyone framerate wise.
(I realize that some of you in subdivisions in the US that already do this; hopefully the rest of the world can take a hint.)
No More Intersecting Roads
Alex and I have spent just a crazy amount of time trying to cope with what to do when two roads intersect. So my third request is: no more intersecting roads. I would like all roads to cross each other by some kind of overpass. This will eliminate a lot of artifacts.
In fact, for extra credit, if all roads could be aligned to be precisely north-south or east-west in a grid, that would be good for RAM use.
No Variation in Climate
This one isn't so important for me, but I think the art team might appreciate it. It turns out that different parts of the world have different temperature variations and rainfall, and that in turns makes the local color of grass, trees, etc. a bit different. This just makes work for our artists - they have to draw everything several times for the different climates. It would help us out a lot if you could all live in places with the same annual rainfall and temperature variation.
(Just in case this climate thing turns out to be true, I suggest everyone settle on the "hot dry" climate pattern - we have pretty good textures for that.)
Pave the Bay
Finally, when in doubt, use asphalt. We have some new shaders in version 10 that will make asphalt look pretty good.
Anyway, this is my list - I am sure the other X-Plane developers will have other requests. (I suspect Austin's life would be made easier if weather was always CAVOK, and Chris's life would be greatly simplified if there weren't any other airplanes in the sky.)
Do you have any hints as to when this new version of reality might be released, or what its minimum system requirements are?