• Prepar3D v4 Release Announced

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    Lockheed Martin announced that the next generation of simulation and training will start on May 30, 2017 with the public release of Prepar3D v4. The release culminates over eight years of Lockheed Martin development and welcomes major enhancements and new capabilities.
    Prepar3D v4 completely changes the simulation landscape with a comprehensive baseline update to a 64-bit architecture. Higher resolution visuals, more objects, increased data precision, larger scenarios, and improved performance are now all possible at levels never seen before in the product’s history. The sky’s not the limit!
    Additionally, the release brings dynamic lighting, rain/snow particles, global 3D trees, a fully reworked software development kit (SDK), new default vehicles, and countless improvements.
    More details will be released over the next week with Prepar3D v4 being directly available from Prepar3D.com on May 30, 2017 at 2:00pm EST.
    Visit the P3Dv4 Homepage to read further details and the Avsim Forum    to follow the commentary of Avsim's membership.

    Robert S. Randazzo PMDG

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    An announcement from Robert S. Randazzo Director PMDG regarding free transition to Prepar3D v4
    Captains,
    Now that the cat is out of the bag on the worst kept secret in simming, we can **finally** give you a bit of information on what our Prepar3D customers can expect to expect moving forward during the next few weeks and months.
    As we promised back in 2015, customers who have purchased our products for Prepar3D v3 are going to enjoy a free transition to Prepar3D v4 and the advent of 64bit simming technology, as this was already rolled up into the development costs of the product you already purchased.
    Beginning on/shortly after the release of Prepar3D v4, we will begin publishing Prepar3D v4 compatible versions of our existing product lines.  We have spent the better part of 2017 thus far working our way through the transition of our existing product line to make the NGX, 777, 747 and DC-6 compatible with the new, Prepar3D v4. 
    As of today, we have both the DC-6 and the 747 operating within Prepar3D v4, and we hope to have the 777 completed later this week, with the NGX to follow shortly there-after.
    Those who are already customers of our Prepar3D products will be able to obtain these new versions at no cost.
    Now a couple of notes:
    With the release of Prepar3D v4, we have new sets of developer tools and many new features to work with that did not exist (or existed in less useful formats) in Prepar3D v3.  Our goal with the initial push into Prepar3D v4 is to bring you a fully x64 compatible product version that has been rebuilt using the new development tools for each product initially.  We will then be updating each product over time to include many of the new functions native to Prepar3D v4, and pushing those updates to you via our in-house product updater functionality.
    Schedule-wise we are still working out a few details because we haven't been allowed to discuss Prepar3D v4 even with our own beta team, and that also means we have been unable to beta test the DC-6 and 747-400 in their new x64 iterations...  So we need to work out the details of how we will do this before pushing the new versions to you.
    (The DC-6 is easy- since that product is still in beta testing, we will have it fully tested when it releases in a few weeks, obviously, but the 747-400 is a whole different animal...)
    My best guess right now is that we will begin pushing the new Prepar3d v4 versions to you within days of the initial Prepar3D v4 release, as this will give our own test team a chance to make sure we haven't missed anything obvious before handing the product over to you for use.  In order, I expect you will see the products in this order:
    PMDG 747-400 Queen of the Skies II, PMDG 777-200LR/F (and expansions), PMDG DC-6 Cloudmaster, PMDG 737-NGX (and expansions.)
    Again I want to stress that PMDG customers who have already purchased our products for Prepar3D v3 **as of the day we release the Prepar3D v4 compatible version** will receive the update at no cost...  (No matter what foolishness you read on the internet!  )
    We will have lots more information for you in the coming days, so please stay tuned!
    Follow the discussion in the Avsim Forum  .

    Wednesday

    | 706 views

    Flight Simulator X - Aircraft Repaints, Textures and Modifications
    Sabena "75 years" Boeing 747-400 (OO-SGC) by Dries Martin
    JetBlue "It Takes Blue to Tango" Airbus A320 (N827JB) by Miguel Angel Taboada
    JetBlue "Simon Says, Fly JetBlue" Airbus A320 (N828JB) by Miguel Angel Taboada
    JetBlue "Keep Blue and Carry On" Airbus A320 (N834JB) by Miguel Angel Taboada
    JetBlue "How's My Flying? Call 1-800 JetBlue" Airbus A320 (N715JB) by Miguel Angel Taboada

    Flight Simulator 2004 - Aircraft Repaints, Textures and Modifications
    Airbus A320-200. Liveries for iFDG aircraft by Martin Stebbing

    X-Plane - Scenery
    BR MT SBBW - Barra do Garcas Airport v1.0.0 by Rui Mesquita
    BR BA SBLE - Lencois Chapada da Diamantina v1.0.0 by Rui Mesquita

    HJG WEBSITE UPDATE

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    HJG (Historic Jetliners Group) have pleasure announcing another website update .... its 2nd for the 2017 year.
    This update is composed of both new release and upgraded texture files .... featuring the liveries (including some nostalgic and rare hybrids) of major and lesser known B717-200, B727, BAe 146, CV-880 & -990A, DC-8, DC-10, and MD-80 operators from Canada, Central & South America, Europe, and the USA (both scheduled and tourist charter carriers .... some of which are no longer existent today) from between 1966 and 2009 .... and among which "a classic WHAT-IF" subject is also offered.
    HJG also advise that 3 separate upgrades for its "NEW" and recently released ARJ/BAe projects have also been released during April and early May. These upgrades "fix" .... and "further improve" .... a few details associated with this project .... to the extent that these ARJ/BAe simulations are now "SUPERIOR" to what was originally released during late March. For further information regarding this .... and the new and upgraded texture files too .... please refer to the following HJG forum announcement/s ....
    http://tonymadgehjg.proboards.com/thread/8564/website-update-18th-2017
    "ALL THIS" and "A GREAT DEAL MORE" .... may be downloaded "FREE" .... from the HJG website at the following address :-
    http://simviation.com/hjg/
    Work continues at pace on a number of "NEW" HJG projects and which are slotted for 2017 release.
    France VFR is proud to announce our last VFR Scenery :  Auvergne VFR FSX/P3D

    This very famous area is modelized with one hundred thousand 3D dedicated buildings and a very accurate vegetation using France VFR 3D Automation technology !

    This new scenery is fully compatible with the other 3D Automation VFR and Airports sceneries...

    The new VFR Regional series was designed and developped to provide VFR flight an environment as realistic as possible. It is the result of years of experience and practice in flight simulation and 3D modeling.

    "VFR Regional" products embed all enhancements from the new 3DAutomation® technology developed by France VFR. This technology already allows to generate the most realistic and dense environments ever seen. It does not intend to model real world accurately but to create a copy "as real as it gets" on a massive scale. It will evolve to adapt to the needs and new data available.


    This scenery full compatible P3DV2-V3 and FSX with both specific installer.

    The scenery is available at France VFR and European resellers.

    France VFR
     

    Features :

    - Ground textures from 0.8 to 1.20 meter / pixel resolution from IGN aerial photography reworked for an optimal visual rendition in Flight Simulator X® (summer only).
    - Dedicated mesh with high definition 4.75 meters (LOD13).
    - Lakes and rivers with navigable waters fitting the texture.
    - Transparency management of the seabed on the entire scene.
    - Semi-detailed generic airports including flatten platform correction.
    - Obstacles and VFR landmarks modeled on the entire scene including the official SIA database (antennas, towers, water towers, wind turbines, various constructions ...).
    - Hundreds of thousands of objects and notable buildings integrated into the environment (churches, power plants, silos, castles, industrial tanks, bridges, tolls, cranes, boats, streetlights, road signs ...).
    - Integration of 3D Automation® technology allowing multi-million buildings and realistic vegetation areas fitting geographic specs.
    - Extremely dense and optimized vegetation coverage using a custom rendering module controlled by artificial intelligence (AI).
    - Autogen buildings including additional specific and optimized 3D variations.
    - Geo-referenced data for maximum compatibility with future add-ons installed on the same area.
    - Development process 100% Microsoft ® SDK specifications compliant, ensuring maximum compatibility with new releases.

    FSWidgets Updates iOS Apps

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    The team at FSWidgets has rolled out updates to four of their iOS apps (iGMap, iGMapHD, QuickPlan and EFB).
    Under the hood the apps were significantly re-worked to use the very latest technologies (iOS SDK 10.3, Dropbox API v2, AFNetworking) so they should run faster and smoother, especially on the latest devices with iOS 9 or later.
    For full details please see the News page  .
    Paderborn, 08 May 2017 The 15th German Flightsim conference was hosted by the Airfield Haxterberg, Paderborn for the very first time. Perfect weather conditions and more than 500 visitors made it a great day for all flightsim enthusiasts and virtual pilots checking out all the news and latest developments. Around 20 exhibitors from 5 countries displayed their products and services in the glider hangar of the airfield.  Apart from the latest software developments, visitors had the chance to test hardware from simple rudder pedals to complete 737 or A320 cockpits. In addition, talks and presentations held by developers rounded off a very informative and special day.
     
    This  year the conference which was organized by the German company Aerosoft hosted around 40 software developers from 13 countries (England, Spain, France, Poland, Norway, Russia,…) who all exchanged their views and experience revolving around flight simulation at the evenings “Captain´s Dinner”.
     
    The combination of the virtual aviation and the “busy” real life flight activity outside was the perfect mix for all who attended.
    Next year´s conference is being planned in southern Germany.
    An important post by Robert S. Randazzo reprinted from the PMDG forum  at the discretion of Avsims Managing Editor .
    Captains,
    I have been a member of the simulation developer community since 1992, when I began creating freeware scenery using the incredibly primitive methods available to us 25 years ago.  In the quarter century that has followed, the team that is PMDG has worked very hard to push the state-of-the art of desktop simming to new levels and to all points of views I feel that we have succeeded.
    I have the sometimes-fun/sometimes-frustrating position of being the visible face of PMDG.  I am very proud of the fact that in most reasonable opinions, users in this community generally give me credit for being up front with what I think of trends and moves within the simming marketplace.
    I have always been against paid-beta testing, for example- and I took an incredible amount of criticism for coming out strongly against the trend by warning users to be wary of their investment ten years ago when the paid-beta trend took off.  Five years later, many users were sharing their horror stories and lamenting that perhaps this was indeed a bad trend in our marketplace.
    I have tried very hard to be a calm point of view in the community- recognizing the enormous size of our customer base.  I have tried very hard not to criticize other developers- even in the face of no such courtesy from others.  I spend (literally) thousands of dollars a year on products from new developers because I think it is important for all of us in the "old guard" to support new entries to the marketplace because a thriving marketplace is what helps our own companies to grow.
    Occasionally, users have tried to pit PMDG vs <some other entity> in a strange "coke v. pepsi" or "godzilla v. mothra" battle that I always find to be supremely strange.  I like our competition- because they help to bring customers into the marketplace with their own products- and ultimately we all wind up sharing in the health and vibrancy of the community.
    I don't worry about much in the future of our hobby- except for two things:
    1) Someone making a grab to control distribution channels and their associated profit margins.
    2) Flagrant dishonesty/concealed motives.
    You are going to start hearing me talk about these two topics quite a bit in the coming months, I fear.
    Three years ago, PMDG was involved in a conglomeration of well known sim developers who negotiated with Microsoft to acquire the rights to continue developing FSX as a platform.  Late in that process, Dovetail Games appeared on the scene with a better, cleaner plan, and Microsoft rightly chose them as the custodian of their platform's future.
    My primary concern then, as it is today, is that Dovetail might ride into a marketplace that has been created by companies like PMDG, Aerosoft, Flight1, JustFlight, SimMarket and dozens upon dozens more- and attempt to make a overreaching money grab by forcing all developers to push our products through THEIR distribution channel.
    There are many economic reasons why this will signal the beginning of a decline in product quality and product differentiation, and I can certainly go into that in detail in another thread if anyone is actually interested in the process- but suffice it to say the PRIMARY reason why we have such a broad and active marketplace for flight simulation addons has EVERYTHING to do with how free and open the marketplace is- and how low the barriers to entry are placed for new entrants.
    I fear that this is about to change for the worse- in spite of assurances to the contrary.
    After I made my post on Friday regarding the news release from Dovetail regarding their upcoming sim, a user pointed me to an information post in which dovetail address the topic of distribution for 3rd party addons like ours.  In their post, they said:
    "In order to market as an official FSW add-on, you will be able to sell your add-ons on your own store as long as it is made available on the Dovetail channels as well."
    Last night, I was lying awake pondering this comment, because it was in direct contravention to assurances I was given when PMDG was asked to provide input and ideas and engage in conversation with Dovetail about putting PMDG's products into their steam channel for FSX-Steam Edition.
    This afternoon, I went digging into our email archive and my conference call notes- and sure enough, I found a lengthy communication exchange that involved multiple members of the leadership team at Dovetail responding to my direct concerns regarding the rumored requirements that companies like PMDG would only be allowed to sell products for their new platform if we agreed to sell them via their steam channel.
    I was assured in no-uncertain terms that this would never be the case, as Dovetail felt that such a move on their part would destroy the ecosystem that has grown and thrived and made the FSX platform and brand so significantly more vibrant today than it was ten years ago when it was launched.
    This has me pondering:  What changed?
    For a few years, PMDG and Dovetail had an open line of communication.  It was honest, humorous, respectful and at times unpleasantly candid.  But there was never any doubt that we held one another in mutual respect and wanted to see one another succeed.
    That communication essentially dried up after PMDG decided not to push our products via Dovetail's steam channel, because we couldn't see the value in surrendering nearly 65% of the revenue earned by our products in order to be present in that channel.  Sure, not all of that cost winds up in Dovetail's pocket- (Steam takes about 30% of each sale, for example) but the bottom line is that companies like PMDG and Aerosoft and our competitors get here by having the ability to reinvest in ourselves and our products.  If our distribution costs become artificially inflated by being forced to use a high cost channel in which we don't control our own destiny- it is only a matter of time before the companies with the kinds of capabilities simmers have come to love vanish from the landscape.
    We have been reaching out to Dovetail off-and-on since late last year and those efforts have met with deafening silence.  Perhaps the language chosen to describe Dovetail's position inaccurately appears to constrain developers to their steam channel, when instead they mean to separate community offerings as "official" and "unofficial" in a manner that has yet to be described?  I don't know- but the silence doesn't bode well.  After all- PMDG aren't exactly newcomers to the marketplace.
    I sincerely hope that Dovetail hasn't decided to toss aside the value set that has allowed the ecosystem of flight simulation to grow and thrive.  If they have, it will have grave and terrible consequences for the continued growth and product quality of the community.
    As I said, I don't like money/power grabs, nor do I like dealing with dishonest brokers. 
    From where we sit today, it seems we may be dealing with both and that is a very troubling thing indeed.
    SamScene3D  has released Zurich RealCity X for FSX P3D. Zurich the largest city in Switzerland, is located in the north central Switzerland. Zurich is the hub for railways, roads and air traffic. Many museums and art galleries can be found in the city, including the Swiss National Museum and the Zoologisches Museum which also can be found in this scenery.
    Scenery Features:
     1. high definition photo texture of zurich city
     2. over 10,000 autogen buildings and houses with switzerland style designs
     3. many famous museums and churchs in zurich city center area
     4. many hotels, shopping malls, school, ferris wheel, etc.
     5. 3d models of main zurich train station
     6. 3d models of industrial buildings in zurich
     7. 3d models of apartment buildings in zurich
     8. city photo ground made in summer textures
     9. good frame rate
     10. trees and bridges in zurich city
     11. boats and vehicles traffic around the zurich city
     12. free updates in the future
    Visit the Zurich RealCity X Product Page for further information.

    vaBase Version 3.1 Released

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    vaBase is pleased to announce the release of its brand new Virtual Airline Management Software, version 3.1. A lot has changed since the initial release of 3.0 back in 2015. vaBase has rewritten the system from the ground up which was necessary to incorporate many new and exciting features which were certainly needed to achieve the level of detail and pilot immersion from an airline operations perspective that vaBase is today.
    vaBase major improvements over the last 12 months have seen the incorporation of a fully functional web template supplied as default at the request of our customers. A fully automated Flight Booking and Dispatch Centre to enable pilots to reserve flights, and receive a full flight briefing before departure.
    A Fleet Management system has also been integrated into the admin and public facing application giving full control of your fleet through the admin interface. The vaBase fleet module is also now integrated into the dispatch system auto generating you passenger and cargo information based on aircraft type and configuration. Other major improvements include a new Admin Centre with staff management and individual user based privileges, airline reporting, mailing lists, awards system, and much more.
    The vaBase pilot ACARS application has also had a facelift and now boasts an integrated live map with pilot chat and X-Plane support. Our ACARS also features a ‘auto update’ feature keeping all your pilots running the latest most up to date version available without the need of reinstallation.
    Lastly, vaBase now offer a web hosting solution with free vaBase installation to help those will little experience get up and running.
    Head over to the vaBase Homepage for a full feature listing and live demo.
    This is a free update to all existing vaBase customers.