X-Plane 12

X-Plane 12for Mac


App info

Laminar Research
Free to try
22.81 MB
Melissa Wyss
Melissa Wyss
Appsitory Reviewer

A realistic flight sim

X-Plane 12 for Mac is a realistic flight simulator from Laminar Research. According to the developers, the game was created with the help of real pilots and engineers, so it has almost perfect physics with recreated characteristics of planes.

A real-world map, volumetric clouds, water, ground objects, forests, photometric lighting model, seasonal textures, and weather effects based on data from actual weather st https://store.steampowered.com/app/2014780/XPlane_12/ations are also implemented here. Now X-Plane 12 allows you to control only 8 models of aircraft, but the authors promise to add more details to the game later. We will tell you more about this game.

What is this game?

X-Plane 12 is a realistic flight simulator that allows you to fly worldwide in various aircraft. Unique characteristics and individual control panels represent each type of transport. Professional pilots were involved in developing X-Plane 12 for Mac, so the gameplay could convey the actual experience of controlling planes. Various planes, helicopters, glides, etc., can be used for flights.

Both the aircraft and the environment are very well-thought-out. The game presents great detail of water, various trees, and the change of weather conditions and seasons. You can sit at the controls of multiple planes, such as Cessna Citation X, Cirrus SR22, Grumman F-14 Tomcat, and many others. Each type of transport allows you to experience different emotions of piloting vehicles.

About 17,000 airports worldwide are available, including Bella Coola, Portland, San Francisco, etc. The main difference from other flight simulators is that the gameplay is based on the blade element theory. This allows you to assess the behavior of the propeller correctly. Thus, each sub-element of the blade or wing is calculated individually, affecting the aerodynamic force. The gameplay is based on physical quantities, such as geometry, mass, engine location, engine characteristics, etc. The terrain of the Earth is calculated using SRTM.

Realistic weather

Unlike X-Plane 11, where the weather was static, changed when updates were received, and based only on METAR (local weather reports from airports), X-Plane 12 has a weather model of the entire globe from NOAA, the National Oceanic, and Atmospheric Administration. This model is generated by a vast network of weather sensors and weather stations worldwide and includes forecast data. X-Plane 12 for Mac combines local METAR data with the global NOAA forecast model, so the engine dynamically updates weather anywhere on the planet smoothly and seamlessly.

3D clouds

X-Plane 12 finally got 3D clouds (Volumetric Clouds) that dynamically change their shape. The predecessors of this simulator used sprites for this, which negatively impacted the frame rate. Clouds are now rendered by raymarching, which is more efficient in using the power of the graphics accelerator. Moreover, the clouds now do not stand still, and the speed of their movement depends directly on atmospheric conditions.


The long-awaited seasons are now available in the simulator. The new 3D trees and plants are an excellent visual indicator of the seasons. Detailed forests are drawn close to the camera, and the trees are replaced by more primitive sprites from a certain distance. Moreover, they sway and bend differently depending on wind speed and appearance.

They are also covered with snow in snowy weather. Certain species of trees change colors or lose their leaves at different times of the year. The algorithm is based on real data on the climate and the distribution range of various plant species. Latitude, elevation, and calendar date are taken into account.

Weather conditions

Dynamic puddles, snow, and ice have appeared in X-Plane 12. Developers of custom scenarios can determine the places of their generation under appropriate weather conditions.

Rendering of raindrops on the windshield with light refraction also aims for realism. Raindrops are a particle system integrated into the flight model. This means that they are subject to all forces and moments according to the physical simulation, including the propeller thrust of the aircraft.

Improved audio-visual component

The audio engine in X-Plane 12 has been redesigned. The world around you now has the sounds of wind, rain, streets, trees, water, birds, and crickets. Airports have the sounds of ground handling machines, telescopic ramps, etc. The sound changes depending on the time of day, temperature, wind speed and direction, and ground coverage. Snowy and dry locations sound different.

Water in X-Plane 12 is simulated entirely by the graphics accelerator. After that, it is sent to the processor to simulate the interaction with the aircraft. The previous version had physical models of the waves, but the sea was always visually calm. This error is corrected here, so waves can now be seen. Seas and oceans have higher waves than rivers and lakes. The depth of the body of water directly influences the color of the water.


The developers introduced the possibility of independent control of the aircraft by a co-pilot. This means that two sets of input devices can now be connected to the simulator simultaneously, and two pilots can organize coordinated teamwork.

Built-in air transport systems are now more intelligent and easier to operate. It now takes into account the actual terrain when vectoring to avoid collisions. The interface was redesigned, commands now have submenus, and dispatchers' voices differ depending on the region.

Work on improving the hydraulic system of planes was made, the automation and sounds of a telescopic ladder in the airport were added, the thickness of the terrestrial atmosphere got shades, and the simulation of a vortex trace was designed.

  • Improved visual fidelity
  • A handful of new aircraft
  • Runway handling is much better
  • Stunningly realistic weather
  • Not a significant upgrade from X-Plane 11
  • Some controls don't pop up
  • Can be challenging to play
Download for Mac

Also available in other platforms