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Jimmy RFR

Prepar3d v2.1 - My Pros & Cons

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I was going to post my findings and thoughts in the 2.1 release thread, but seeing as how large it has become in addition that it seems to be getting out of hand in terms of people's opinions not exactly matching ^_^ , I thought I'd start my own.


I was planning on waiting until the weekend to install 2.1, but I had some free time yesterday, plus the 2.1 full installer was burning a hole in my hard drive...


I installed full 2.1, with a careful, thorough uninstall of 2.0 (including config folders) first.  I also deleted my P3Dv2 NI profile as well.  Once the default flight in the F-22 loaded up, I paused and went into the options to adjust a few sliders (FXAA off, framerate to unlimited).


First impression? Oh-my-gosh so smooth!  I know this is a very subjective thing and the meaning is different to everyone, but I have never achieved this level of smoothness in FSX, and I have FSX running extremely well - enough so that the 'why bother' factor is an important consideration for me.


My findings thus far after 6+ hours of flight (on a bare, clean install of 2.1, with no 3rd party add-ons):

  • (pro) My perception of smoothness in 2.1 has increased.
  • (pro) My perception of water display quality seems to be improved over 2.0.
  • (pro) Shadows seem to have less on an impact on performance. (There's still an impact, it just seems that I can turn on a bit more than before without noticing as much of an impact.)
  • (pro) Dragging a 2D gauge to another monitor now seems to have zero impact on performance.  That's awesome, as I like to have the ATC window on a second screen, as well as the GPS occasionally.
  • (pro) HDR is stable. Previous 2.0 black screen issues have yet to occur.
  • (pro) They seems to have done some tuning on HDR.  While it's there, it's not as in-your-face there as it seemed to be in 2.0.  Basically, the HDR black screen bug didn't bother me much in 2.0, because I didn't really like the HDR effect. I do like the effect it provides now in 2.1.
  • (pro) Volumetric fog interacts differently with the terrain at the horizon, seems to be improved over 2.0.
  • (pro) Cloud rotation, while still present, seems to be improved over 2.0.
  • (pro) Terrain shadowing is fixed.  This was an annoying bug to me in 2.0, since I fly often in mountainous areas.
  • (pro) MSAA seems much improved.  This might be purely my perception, but in-game MSAA at surprisingly low levels is actually quite good.
  • (neutral) Framerates seem to be lower on average than 2.0.  However, with the increase in smoothness, this doesn't seem to have any effect, plus this is an adjustable thing - I have lots of room on my sliders to go left.
  • (con) Texture loading is slower.  Noticeable when flying +500 knots at low altitude with higher settings on the LOD radius slider.
  • (con) Autogen radius seems to be smaller than 2.0.  Could be my imagination, but since others have reported it, it's likely true.
  • (con) It is easier to overwhelm the autogen batching / loading system.  This starts to become very noticeable at +500 knots with building autogen set full right or one notch below.  When flying slow, or turning the setting down to reasonable levels, this is not as noticeable if at all. At 350ish knots, I didn't see any issues.

Other things that might not really be pros or cons, but that I can report on in reference to other people's issues:

  • I have yet to experience the stutters reported by other users.  I can't even offer any ideas or suggestions; based on their descriptions and my experience thus far, we seem to be flying completely different simulators.
  • I have yet to experience any crashes whatsoever.  Nothing related to right clicking, nothing related to OOM, simply nothing.  Keeping in mind of course that I'm not stress-testing, I'm just flying. I did let the sim go on a 20 minutes flight with the f-35 at about 350 knts at about 500-750 ft AGL, just for kicks, and that still didn't cause anything - I even simply paused that flight when I came back to the keyboard, loaded up a different plane, then loaded up a different airport (in a dense region, CYVR), and proceeded to fly for another 45 minutes without any issues. Autogen sliders were one notch lower than full right.

Overall, I see an increase in smoothness and stability, that is perhaps coming at the expense of eye-candy (I don't think 2.1 can quite handle the same massive amount of autogen that 2.0 could).  I have yet to add in any 3rd party planes or scenery, but really, since there are so little 3rd party add-ons that are specifically designed for P3Dv2 at this point, I firmly believe that we should care about performance and stability of the base simulator first and foremost.  If we have a stable base platform, any addons that cause issues can only be blamed on the addons themselves.  P3Dv2 != FSX.


Also, I noted that my flying time thus far has been with my system not overclocked. I always mildly overclock for FSX, and I was also occasionally overclocking for 2.0.  It's possible that the autogen performance may increase with my regular mild FSX overclock, I'll have to check.


I'm pretty pleased with 2.1 as it is; I'll be adding a few select add-ons to the mix (FTX AU, FTXG, FTXGV once the update is released, Twin Otter Extended) and see how it goes.  For GA or bush flying, it really looks like 2.1 is king of the hill, in my opinion.  However, it looks like for the foreseeable future that I'll be retaining FSX for really anything military related due to the slower texture loading and poorer autogen performance.  Kind of ironic, given who the developer is. ^_^  I do so little tube-liner flying that I'm not really invested in it, but my opinion is that those who are will be having issues until such time as P3Dv2 native airports and complex airplanes are released.


Now all we need are a bunch of native P3Dv2 addons!  And please developers, take note that an FSX addon with the installer changed to point to P3Dv2 is not the same thing!  I think going forward, that this will become clearer and clearer.

Jim Stewart

Milviz Person.


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 Autogen radius seems to be smaller than 2.0


could explain



(pro) My perception of smoothness in 2.1 has increased.


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I have yet to experience the stutters reported by other users. I can't even offer any ideas or suggestions; based on their descriptions and my experience thus far, we seem to be flying completely different simulators.


My experience as well. What I find I frustrating is I wish there was something I could pinpoint to help (but haven't been able to even when using other's settings).

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could explain


Possibly, but even at an autogen radius which seems apparently lower than 2.0, it's still loading a really massive amount of autogen in large cities at the highest slider settings.


Also, the smoothness I'm referring to is more an absence of a very slight hesitation in passing scenery that was noticeable in FSX, and although much improved, also noticeable in 2.0.  This was never the same for me as a hard stutter, which I consider a completely different issue. 


Regarding the autogen issues, I'm almost wondering if they've introduced a bug into the autogen loading system - it still doesn't 'popup' like it does in FSX, but it seemed to load smoother in 2.0.  Perhaps the radius is the same, we're just noticing a popup that wasn't happening before.

Jim Stewart

Milviz Person.


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