Sign in to follow this  
jjjallen

P3D 2.0 Lessons Learned

Recommended Posts

I still remember driving 100 miles to get my copy of FSX as all the local stores were sold out.  Now after 7 years of learning how to configure it and with the many addons and now on my 5th computer build, FSX is finally at the stage where it runs in a performant fashion with a high level of realism.

 

Now, after all these years I now have an upgrade to FSX to play with called P3D Version 2.0.   After some initial trials (haven't reached the tribulations yet) I want to offer a few observations to try to gain a perspective outlook on Flight simulation and the future of this exciting hobby.

 

1) FSX remains as a testament to an excellent flight simulation architecture that was achieved by a team of dedicated individuals who, working under the leadership of an individual with a vision (aka Phil Taylor), created an extensible flight simulation platform that to this day has not been excelled.

 

2) P3D 2.0 can IMO be considered SP3 to the FSX platform and offers many optimizations such as implementing the latest version of D3D 11, dynamic lighting, shadowing, HDR and AutoGen optimizations.  In hindsight some of these where expected in the initial release of FSX.  Remember the FSX prerelease marketing glory shots of water that were much talked about?

 

3) P3D 2.0 has been marketed (possibly inadvertently and subversively) to the general Flight Simulation community as the next gen simulation.

 

4) P3D 2.0 now runs very well with said optimizations on medium to high-end systems.  FSX will perform similarly on these systems but without the optimizations.

 

5) P3D 2.0 can reduce fidelity in some areas such as AI, AntiAliasing, Addon support ect.  These should work themselves out over time however.

 

6) P3D 2.0 does not offer an improved AI subsystem, cloud shadows over land or an FSX equivalent start screen.

 

7) The Flight Simulation community in general is still hoping for a new visionary flight simulation platform that offers both support for their existing assets but is forward looking and offers revolutionary advantages.

 

In summary P3D 2.0 offers an evolutionary upgrade to FSX but unfortunately falls short in some areas to appease most FSX users.  

 

Going forward we need an Individual cast in mold of a Phil Taylor and who has the backing from a large software development company such as Microsoft who can move the Flight Simulation franchise to the next level. Most importantly, this consortium will need to be wedded to no one entity but only to the betterment of Flight Simulation as a whole.

 

Regard

jja 

 

 

  • Upvote 3

Share this post


Link to post
Help AVSIM continue to serve you!
Please donate today!

The main lesson learned is that P3D has advanced the hobby tremendously because the flight sim is no longer CPU bound. With a high end GPU you can now fly with most sliders full right. As GPUs advance, performance will only get better. That plus the active development by LM means that P3D has a bright future. No use wishing for an alternative.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post

The most important point: LM is still working on updates and new features of Prepar3d V2.

So I believe it has a bright and great future. Just to be realistic: FSX is a great platform but it's getting older and older, it is time for retirement.

  • Upvote 3

Share this post


Link to post

The Flight Simulation community in general is still hoping for a new visionary flight simulation platform that offers both support for their existing assets but is forward looking and offers revolutionary advantages.

 

If there was a market for such a platform surely someone would have entered it? The reality surely is that the hopes will remain just hopes.

Share this post


Link to post

Not true Mark - check your task manger CPU usages and you will see that several cores are maxed at 100% which is possibly due to the fact that P3D 2.0 (like FSX) does not optimize HT core use.

 

This is another reason why I developed FSXAssist which helps spread the load across all real and virtual (HT) threads and why one of the LM tweaks is to add an Affinity Mask setting of 14 to the p3d.cfg file.

 

Regards

jja

  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post

 

 


or an FSX equivalent start screen.

 

Boy I'm with you there.  I posted this on the P3D forum but it's been buried and unresponded to.

Share this post


Link to post

If there was a market for such a platform surely someone would have entered it? The reality surely that the hopes will remain just hopes.

 

The point is that LM (if they will be the best Flight Simulation provider) needs to break out of the FSX mold and develop a totally new platform but at the same time support legacy FSX assets.

 

This is how it is traditionally done when moving a platform forward.  

 

Regards

jja

Share this post


Link to post

Not true Mark - check your task manger CPU usages and you will see that several cores are maxed at 100% which is possibly due to the fact that P3D 2.0 (like FSX) does not optimize HT core use.

 

This is another reason why I developed FSXAssist which helps spread the load across all real and virtual (HT) threads and why one of the LM tweaks is to add an Affinity Mask setting of 14 to the p3d.cfg file.

 

Regards

jja

Why would it be an issue if the sim works steadily? I have a bottom of the range cpu and card, can run with third party add ons at egll with 40fps. I dont need any more, but it is smoith like fsx never was and stutter free. Lets face it, some will complain because fsx has not advanced and some will complain because it hasnt advanced enough and stay with the buggy old one.

 

It is all about personal preferences, my preference is to take any advancement in the market and enjoy it, however small it may be perceived to be.

 

Sent from my Mobile thing

 

 

Share this post


Link to post

 

 


The main lesson learned is that P3D has advanced the hobby tremendously because the flight sim is no longer CPU bound. With a high end GPU you can now fly with most sliders full right.

I'm not so sure this interpretation really holds true as it first might seem.  I'm finding what is added w/ the outsourcing to the GPU has less to do w/ the basic tasks of executing the simulator engine and quite a bit to do w/ DX10/11 effects.  What I notice is that in FSX moving in-game sliders had a profound and linearly scaled impact on performance such that it was possible to run the sim in a big range of computer processing power environments.  W/ V2, what I notice is that this is less the case--I can add lots of effects w/ virtually no impact, but the big ticket items like autogen still take a toll on performance.  About the only thing that impacts DX effects is putting Shadows to Ultra mode for me.  So it seems like adding the high end GPU, which I am fortunate to have, adds primarily special effects.  They are compelling, don't get me wrong.   But I would have hoped more of the basic work of the simulator--not visual effects--were going to be ported to the GPU.   I could be wrong on this for sure, but this has caused me to to believe SLI'ing my Titan will likely yield very little more than I already see in V2.  Quite frankly, I can't see any difference between Very High and Ultra for shadows.  Moreover, I also have the vegetation box checked for shadows--along w/ all other ones--but I can't really see the difference w/ that box checked, or not.  64-bit & building a core that can access LOTS of physical memory, since it's now dirt cheap, AND really aiming for maximum multithreading, would be the key to an engine every 3PD & simmer would want to jump on board with.  We'll see how P3D progresses & XP 64 as well. 

Share this post


Link to post

The point is in regards to architecture.  A computer platform should optimize based on need across all available CPU assets.  Given that, to a modern computer calculations are trivial so why would P3D 2.0 require 100% of a core when 5 others are lagging at 20%. This goes back to the basic design introduced in FSX (and before).

 

As an aside my team (in my day job) recently reduced a process from 33 hours to just 18 minutes by optimizing and off loading how calculations were done.  Basically you want to utilize the subsystems based on potential.  FSX had very different subsystem potentials when it was written.  This is why I emphasize a revolutionary code change rather than an evolutionary one.

 

Regards

jja 

Share this post


Link to post

The point is that LM (if they will be the best Flight Simulation provider) needs to break out of the FSX mold and develop a totally new platform but at the same time support legacy FSX assets.

 

This is how it is traditionally done when moving a platform forward.  

 

Regards

jja

 

Maybe Lockheed Martin doesn't want to be "the best Flight Simulation provider"  (what ever that may mean). Its objective could be to  concentrate on its training business - which it has always said from the beginning was its primary interest. It obviously decided not "to break out of the FSX mold and develop a totally new platform" with V2.0 and there's no evidence that it intends to do so.

 

Prepar3D is the best hope for the future, even though it's little more than FSX with vastly improved graphics. Lockheed Martin's strategy seem to be to provide "hooks" so that developers can create their own improvements. I suggest that will be of more benefit to those who want to develop Prepar3d for serious training applications rather than those who want to support the enthusiasts market simply because there'll be more money in the former.

Share this post


Link to post

Spot on Gerry and your post emphasizes the dilemma that we Flight Simmers are stuck in.

 

Regards

jja

Share this post


Link to post

7) The Flight Simulation community in general is still hoping for a new visionary flight simulation platform that offers both support for their existing assets but is forward looking and offers revolutionary advantages.

I'm really really struggling with this point. Am I missing some deep meaningful point here? I'm confused as to what it is your actually asking for?

Share this post


Link to post

LOL Darkstar - I'm just a flight simmer who like many is looking for the ultimate flight sim experience so I cannot give you any god-like answers. Suffice it to say that many like me are still waiting for FS11 in our hearts but alas MS disavowed the Aces team so we are crying in the wind at this point.

 

Suffice it to say that It would be really nice if.. Well we have P3D at this point for good or naught.  The optimist in me says let's do this thing right and if I had booku $ then it would be done.

 

Anyway if a company like say ORBX decided to do a new Flight Sim version then I would be fully on board with $ to back the effort.  It will just take someone to push the effort forward is all I'm saying.

 

Regards

jja 

Share this post


Link to post

The point is that LM (if they will be the best Flight Simulation provider) needs to break out of the FSX mold and develop a totally new platform but at the same time support legacy FSX assets.

It seems to me those two goals are contradictory. In order to "break out of the FSX mold" will require -among other things- massive recoding to a full 64bit engine...

 

...which alone would result in completely gutting any "legacy FSX assets."

 

What I see is are several opportunities for some clever programmers to develop bolt-ons for the Prepar3D platform:

  • AI engine
  • Weather engine
  • Flight Dynamics engine
  • ATC engine

Any or all of the above could be offered with an SDK/API for freeware developers, and a licensed "professional" SDK/API for payware developers.

Share this post


Link to post

The point is that LM (if they will be the best Flight Simulation provider) needs to break out of the FSX mold and develop a totally new platform but at the same time support legacy FSX assets.

 

This is how it is traditionally done when moving a platform forward.  

 

Regards

jja

Platforms normally evolve keeping backwards compatibility with 1 or 2 previous releases. Like FSX kept some conpatibility with FS9 and P3D kept some compatibility with FSX.

But that might not break our the mold. In fact, it doesn't by definition, because the core platform stays.

Maybe  to break the FSX mold there has to be some kind of entirely new platform (X-Plane?) Something entirely different and new.

Share this post


Link to post

The point is that LM (if they will be the best Flight Simulation provider) needs to break out of the FSX mold and develop a totally new platform but at the same time support legacy FSX assets.

 

This is how it is traditionally done when moving a platform forward.  

 

Regards

jja

 

First off you can't make a totally new platform that still use legacy 32bit FSX add-ons especially when everyone is calling for a 64bit version released.  Second P3D v2 is a great platform void of the bugs and problems FSX had.  P3D v2 will grow while FSX will stay the way it is.  Your points here come off as 'Trolling' more than anything else, creatively trying to kill all joy for this effort.  There's no way FSX is in the same class as P3D v2 especially when developers start developing for it.  The FSX code had to be cleaned up first now LM can advance it in any direction they see fit..  Currently their allowing us to help in that direction.

  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post

First off you can't make a totally new platform that still uses legacy 32bit FSX add-ons (when everyone is calling for a 64bit vesion released).  Second P3D v2 is a great platform void of the bugs and problems FSX had.  P3D v2 will grow while FSX will stay the way it is.  Your points here come off as 'Trolling' more than anything else, creatively trying to kill all joy for this effort.  There's no way FSX is in the same class as P3D v2 especially after developers start developing for it.  The FSX code had to be cleaned up first now LM can advance it in the direction they see fit..  Currently their allowing us to help in that direction.

 

Dillon!  Knock it off, man.

 

You see what I mean when I'm complaining about this concerted effort to play whack-a-mole with any point of view that isn't totally pro-p3d?  I considered this an informative and respectful discussion, even citing it in another post as an example of such, until your comment above.  What so trollish about this guy's opinion? 

 

Who is the one "trolling" ?

Share this post


Link to post

Platforms normally evolve keeping backwards compatibility with 1 or 2 previous releases. Like FSX kept some conpatibility with FS9 and P3D kept some compatibility with FSX.

But that might not break our the mold. In fact, it doesn't by definition, because the core platform stays.

Maybe  to break the FSX mold there has to be some kind of entirely new platform (X-Plane?) Something entirely different and new.

It sounds like there is a lot to like in XP64 even though it's apparently lacking in some substantial ways still.  But the core engine--how does it stack up against P3D V2?  Is it better at multithreading than V2? 64-bit has to change the approach to coding I would imagine in a pretty big way so I would think that gives a leg up at least theoretically to V2.  So the question becomes, is it better to support something that has a leg up on a future in terms of fundamentals, or to support V2 whose future is very much 'on the come.'  It's possible LM may never get to 64 bit.  If their agenda is primarily training, and not impressively more visual content & 'entertainment' focus, then they may already have what they need to deliver on training, barring fixing some bugs and developing interfaces.

Share this post


Link to post

LOL Darkstar - I'm just a flight simmer who like many is looking for the ultimate flight sim experience so I cannot give you any god-like answers. Suffice it to say that many like me are still waiting for FS11 in our hearts but alas MS disavowed the Aces team so we are crying in the wind at this point.

 

Suffice it to say that It would be really nice if.. Well we have P3D at this point for good or naught.  The optimist in me says let's do this thing right and if I had booku $ then it would be done.

 

Anyway if a company like say ORBX decided to do a new Flight Sim version then I would be fully on board with $ to back the effort.  It will just take someone to push the effort forward is all I'm saying.

 

Regards

jja 

 

 

LM is our best hope as no one else has the money or resources to do it right.  Not even Austin with his X-Plane effort. If so much was accomplished with FSX in it's lackluster state what we could do with P3D v2 will be nothing short of incredible...  I marked this as 'Old' because this has been discussed before even by Aerosoft and no one can pull it off.  Outerra came to this community for our support in building a new base engine and everyone opted to dismiss them in favor of cuddling up with outdated FSX... 

Share this post


Link to post

Your points here come off as 'Trolling'

Only if you define trolling as meaning having a different opinion to yours.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post

It sounds like there is a lot to like in XP64 even though it's apparently lacking in some substantial ways still.  But the core engine--how does it stack up against P3D V2?  Is it better at multithreading than V2? 64-bit has to change the approach to coding I would imagine in a pretty big way so I would think that gives a leg up at least theoretically to V2.  So the question becomes, is it better to support something that has a leg up on a future in terms of fundamentals, or to support V2 whose future is very much 'on the come.'  It's possible LM may never get to 64 bit.  If their agenda is primarily training, and not impressively more visual content & 'entertainment' focus, then they may already have what they need to deliver on training, barring fixing some bugs and developing interfaces.

For what the poster asked for:  "Break out the FSX mold" I would think X-Plane would be a good candidate.

Obviously the subject of rivality between fans of P3D and fans of X-Plane is much broader. One (neutral - still - temporary - happy - FSX - simmer) could say: LM is way better company to invest and make the new platform fly high for the log term, but also, one could say that the X-Plane platform is better because is newer. So, where do we go from here?

 

Time will tell.....the direction developers take will play abig role here for sure ...

 

Hint: Having been a windows user for many many years I switched to OSX and Mac for work about a year ago. Why ? ..... because the business apps ( MS Office included) finally got up to the level I needed in the Mac environment,

Share this post


Link to post

Only if you define trolling as meaning having a different opinion to yours.

 

 

A different opinion is one thing and I support that but it's like this guy is writing off P3D v2 in favor of FSX in the most creative way I've yet seen.  At the same time where was he when Outerra asked for our help in creating a new FS platform?  Based on what this guy is saying I say just stay with FSX and be done with it because the points being made make absolutely no since.  You can't have a totally new platform expecting legacy FSX add-ons to work and you can't have a 64bit version expecting the same thing.  LM starting off is getting the legacy code cleaned up and this guy has so much to say negatively about it when the project is just now gaining real traction.  He's asking for pie in the sky when the market is not large enough for a company to come in and make a totally new sim.  The only way LM is able to do it is for one they have the money second they pass it off as a total training tool.  Jja doesn't realize that the Aces team he's talking about is the same team that's working on this new effort.  I would imagine allot of these guys wanted to finish properly what they didn't get a chance to fix back in 2006.

 

The FS community is shaping this product more than ever before.  I'm fine with an opinion but respect the fact that LM has the Aces members that worked on FS for so many years and what we have today can evolved into something great down the road.  For now this is all we have on this kind of level and coming in here with hypotheticals that can never be in reality is pointless.  Make this effort the best we can make it like Aerosoft, PMDG, Orbx, and others are doing (or how you settle down and did with FSX) because X-Plane ain't cutting it and no one has the money to fully develop a better alternative.

Share this post


Link to post

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this