What is BluFX, and why has it divided opinions on whether it’s genuine or not?

December 5, 2018

If you’ve been engaging with the X-Plane community on Facebook or any forum, you’ll probably see the term “BluFX” thrown around quite a couple of times; which an add-on which gives post-processing abilities to X-Plane, take it as a dynamic Instagram filter for your simulator.

What’s polarizing about this particular add-on is the nature of it:

  • What’s the big deal?
  • What is the story behind the rift between the creator of BluFX and Maxx - we’ll discuss about the origins of the add-on and why the developers of MAXX-XP and Sundog are against it.

To put it simply, both plugins allow the user to add post-processing effects such as colour adjustments to which BluFX heavily borrows, or specifically... verbatim rewritten MaxxFX in a less optimised format.


Some Threshold investigation work….

We did a little digging behind the plugin and spoke to the developers behind MaxxFX for more details about it. I couldn’t confirm nor deny of the validity of these explanations but if true, it’s more reason to support a fragile developer community.

Paraphrased from the Developer’s explanation, the code behind BluFX is created by a guy associated with The Pirate Bay in Germany. Contrary to popular belief, the code was not “stolen”, but it was created to undermine Maxx-FX. The initial version of the product even used the same preset names as Maxx-FX. Looking closer at the code of BluFX, the plugin uses a simpler format that is not optimised for use in X-Plane.

Could this be proven??

The MaxxFX developers got a lawyer involved, and at that point the BluFX developer changed the names of the presets, however, it still completely mimicked MaxxFX’s functionality, down to the GUI layout and whatever else occurred at the time. At that point, the team pursued further legal action, pushing forward with litigation based on an infringement of the team’s "creative license", and finally the developer pulled BluFX from easily accessible download sites. Despite this, the plugin itself remains sitting on GitHub.


But does it prove wrongdoing?

If it’s not stolen code, or borrowing anything from MAXX-FX besides the naming, why is the plugin pulled every time it was uploaded in a download repository? We have seen evidence of admins removing the offending plugin from sites including x-plane.org whenever a member has uploaded a copy of the plugin.

Ultimately, we can safely assume that in the eyes of the majority, BluFX isn’t strictly “illegal’ in the same respect as blatantly copying the code. The question that one needs to ponder is the ethics of downloading and using BluFX. Would you like to support MAXX-XP’s efforts, or would you like to download BluFX?


So where to from here?

MaxxFX is sitting in an increasingly disadvantageous position, because with the likes of X-Vision, FSEnhancer, and other graphics improvement add-ons, we’re spoilt for choice and at the moment there is no update for MaxxFX that expands on functionality to make it more competitive with the current options.

That said, I wouldn’t be vouching for a plugin that’s allegedly developed by a member associated with TPB, especially when it was intentionally created to discredit the efforts of the developers who wrote the original plugin. What are your thoughts?

Threshold encourages informed discussion and debate - though this can only happen if all commenters remain civil when voicing their opinions.