X-Plane 9 and Intel GMA HD

X-Plane 9 does not run well on Intel GMA graphics. I have tested it on GMA HD today. There are textures missing -- everything is just gray (TM). It turned out the problem is in lack of S3 texture compression algorithm in the Mesa 3D library which is used for 3D on all Intel graphics drivers.

Running X-Plane 9 with MESA_DEBUG=1 shows the actual problem: Mesa warning: couldn't open libtxc_dxtn.so, software DXTn compression/decompression unavailable. Unfortunately unticking Compress textures in the Rendering options of X-Plane does not help here. What now?

Luckily the Mesa 3D is able to load additional shared modules. The one we are looking for is obviously libtxc_dxtn.so. To get X-Plane working on an Intel graphics card just clone the git repo, build the library (call "make") and copy/symlink it to /usr/lib. You can modify library path (LD_LIBRARY_PATH) as well but I suggest to make a symlink if you have root access. Don't forget to tick Compress textures in the X-Plane settings. Done.

While it's not recommended to fly X-Plane on Intel graphics cards in general thank to this workaround one can use this wonderful piece of software on a intel-based laptop. It works like a charm on modern Intel GMA HD (Intel Core i5/i7) when you play a bit with the settings.

Warning: The library contains some patented IP. Please make sure you are allowed to use it in the country of your residence.
28 December 2010 | english
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