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32bit addons for 64bit P3D usable?

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The recent statements of OrbX and the closing statement of LM in the release note for 3.4 hotfix 3.4 seem to point directly to an upcoming 64bit version 4 of P3D.

While in itself that's wonderful news, it makes me wonder what will happen with the current sh*tload of addons (99% payware) I have.

The main reason for me to transfer from FSX to P3D has always been that the vast majority of addons I already had for FSX could still be used.

To my (very limited) understanding of the whole 32bit vs 64bit thing, the change of the platform to 64bit will have a major impact on the existing addons. So the question is, will we be able to continue to use the addons we currently have? As stated before, over the past 10 years I have invested an enormous amount of money in addons, the latest being FSGlobal Ultimate NextGen, FlyTampa EHAM and REX World Airports (great it's included in the 50% off sale!!). These latest 3 addons already sum up to about 100 Euro and I would deem it unacceptable if I had to shelf them within the next few months due to the next version of my beloved platform.

If this were the case, I wonder how many would indeed make the switch. Combined with the fact that it will take a serious amount of time for the new 64bit compatible addons to be developed and released, it wouldn't surprise me if the transfer of the community from P3D V3 to V4 will take as long as it has taken to get from FS2004 to FSX (which also took a long time due to the abundance of FS2004 addons as well as the lack of FSX addons).

Would love to get some feedback on this from people more knowledgeable on the subject than me.

 

Cheers,

Frank

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Scenery addons that consist only of scenery files should be unaffected by switching to 64-bit, provided that the addon installer is able to install the scenery files in the new version of the sim, or you are able to copy the scenery files manually. Scenery files are merely data files that contain scenery data (3D objects, textures, lighting effects data, sound data, etc). A 64-bit application should be able to read the same data files that its 32-bit version does. The only scenery addons that will be partly affected by a switch to 64-bit will be scenery addons that also include some sort of "computer program" (.DLL files or external .EXE file) that controls part of the scenery, like SODE controls jetways and Orbx ObjectFlow controls people animations and such. Those parts of the scenery will not move or will be missing until the scenery developer provides a 64-bit version of SODE/ObjectFlow or whatever component is handling the animated parts of the scenery.

 

Aircraft addons will to a large extent not work in 64-bit, because aircraft addons very often also includes .DLL files that handle instruments like the GPS/FMC/etc. While most scenery addons will work without their programmatic parts, only with some scenery parts becoming static or missing, aircraft addons are another matter. If the GPS and other gauges cannot be loaded into the sim because they are not 64-bit, it will most often not result in merely a blank GPS or some nonfunctioning dials, but instead the whole virtual cockpit will be displayed with large parts missing/transparent, and generally be in a totally useless state. Aircraft addon developers will have to provide 64-bit versions of their gauges and other programmatic parts of their aircraft.

 

Specific addons like Active Sky and EZDok will invariably require upgrading by the developer to work in 64-bit. How much development time the upgrade will require is probably very different depending on how and to what extent the addon interacts with the sim. Camera addons that just move the eyepoint around could maybe be quick to upgrade to 64-bit, while more complex addons will of course be more complex and time-consuming to upgrade by the developer.

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I would say that EXE addons which are using SimConnect interface to dial with P3D should work without modification (unless LM breaks SimConnect interface while moving 64 bits but I don't believe they will).

 

Those EXE may currently run on another computer over network, meaning they are independent of the P3D env.

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JaquesBrel's answer unfortunately gave the impression that not until the availability of P3Dv4 will the add-on developers start modifying their products. This is, of course, a long way from the truth for most active developers.

 

Non-disclosure agreements, quite rightly, mask the details of 64-bit developments and testing from us licensees.

 

It is greatly in the interests of all developers of chargeable software to protect their revenues by ensuring their readiness for the releases of all related software products. So I am sure that much frantic activity is happening out of our sight!

 

HTH :wink: 

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I sincerely hope that all backwards compatibility is broken and that LM now takes the time to upgrade the scenery/terrain engine significantly. It will be expensive for all of us, but you can only do so much with DX11 to pimp up the 2006 graphics of the current P3D scenery.

 

For those that don't want to upgrade, there is still a massive amount of addons to be had in both FSX and P3D 32 bit - more than any of us will ever have the time to enjoy to its full potential.

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JaquesBrel's answer unfortunately gave the impression that not until the availability of P3Dv4 will the add-on developers start modifying their products. This is, of course, a long way from the truth for most active developers.

 

My answer was mostly just about what sort of addons could work in 64-bit, and what would require work in order to work. Not so much about the whens and hows involved in the addon developers' work towards upgrading to 64-bit. I'd rather stay out of such speculation  :smile:

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I would expect them to approach this in some reasonable manner .

 

Wherever its necessary to break the compatibility - break it, but especially for top class addon manufacturers, invite them to work together on this P3D 64 bit. I will bring up (again) SCS Software example - they invited modders (Promods creators, Ohaha who makes top class truck addons) to work together on new releases and it really  pays off. SCS releases DLC, Promods adjusts its map to make it only DLC compatible and everything is released almost same month.

 

We can't wait for addons forever - if by beginning of 2018 there won't be no PMDG, A2A, REX Skyforce/ActiveSky (or any other good wx engine) ready for this sim, they might fall into trouble, unless they plan to incorporate some of those in sim itself and bump its price.

 

Xplane 11 will already be 1 year ahead (or more, because I suppose next year we will see Alpha or Beta stage of P3D 64 bit at best) so LM needs to plan this well.

 

Anyway, for now I stick to P3D 3.4 as with HF2 it's really stable and complete platform. Future looks promising and I sincerely hope LM will not just re-relase the sim looking exactly the same and requiring us to repurchase addons. I'm just tired with FSX engine - it's been few years since we have it and we need something fresh.

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Our flight sim market and community is so small... Because of that I will be more than happy to repurchase most of my current addons if P3D becomes 64 BIT and we will have to (depending also on Deweloper strategy) to support our community. 

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I am pretty sure I won't be spending 200 bucks on a 64 bit P3D version..

I am pretty sure I will on day 1. And, yes I own and know XP11.

 

As a sidenote: Some threads with P3D fans celebrating their sim in the XP forums have been closed. 

 

Kind regards, Michael

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It is greatly in the interests of all developers of chargeable software to protect their revenues by ensuring their readiness for the releases of all related software products. So I am sure that much frantic activity is happening out of our sight!

That would be a first, I don't remember any occurrence where a major flightsim platform provider ever gave addon developers advance access. They usually sit tight until they are reasonably sure that the platform is stable, and then they push it out on the market quickly (why would they wait?). Plus, there might not be an SDK right from the start, logic suggests that you cannot think about releasing the SDK until the platform itself is finished.

 

For the addon developer it would be very dangerous too. It is not a good strategy to start developing addon code for a platform that isn't finished. You may end up having to do it twice.

 

"Protecting revenue": except for a very select few, FS addon developers cannot make a living from their products anyway. So the usual will happen, the handful of developers who sell enough of their products to have to care, will adapt pretty quickly (if they are able to). The others will follow when or if they can.

 

Besides, did LM mention in any way that there will still be a "mass market" Academic license with V4? I wouldn't rule out the possibility that they go all Professional with this version, ending all discussions and possible legal implications once and for all. Personally I don't believe it, but I have seen this happen before. This would result in a sharp decline in motivation for the average addon developer to invest any time = money at all.

 

Reason for edit: clarification

Edited by Lorby_SI

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As a sidenote: Some threads with P3D fans celebrating their sim in the XP forums have been closed. 

 

And if we get too much of "I'm switching to XP" - we'll have to close a few here also.

 

If you want to talk abouit how much you like XP - that is your right, just do it in the XP forum please.

 

Vic

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Besides, did LM mention in any way that there will still be a "mass market" Academic license with V4? I wouldn't rule out the possibility that they go all Professional with this version, ending all discussions and possible legal implications once and for all. 

No one can exclude this. 

 

However, wouldn't they have restricted this semi-announcement to their professional partners instead of addressing it to the public using version 3 in this case?

 

Kind regards, Michael

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Assuming 32bit Addons would not work on the 64 bit P3D without recompilation and rebuild of each scenery...My strategy is this

 

I will continue to use P3D V32bit with all my 10 year investments on 32 bit addons...

 

I will install the 64 bit P3D and purchase 64bit compatible addons for P3D at the same rate as I buy the 32bit addons today... Of course I'll fly the 64bit addon airports as much as I can and when I get bored, I switch and load up the  32bit P3D. I expect the complete transition to take about 2-4 years.

 

That's what I did when switching from FS9 to FSX. Many of the FS9 addons would not work properly on the curved earth in FSX. Particularly the two amazing airports from Vauchez (KPDX and KPVD). I had to keep coming back toi the FS9 whenever I got bored with FSX.

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Scenery addons that consist only of scenery files should be unaffected by switching to 64-bit, provided that the addon installer is able to install the scenery files in the new version of the sim, or you are able to copy the scenery files manually. Scenery files are merely data files that contain scenery data (3D objects, textures, lighting effects data, sound data, etc). A 64-bit application should be able to read the same data files that its 32-bit version does. The only scenery addons that will be partly affected by a switch to 64-bit will be scenery addons that also include some sort of "computer program" (.DLL files or external .EXE file) that controls part of the scenery, like SODE controls jetways and Orbx ObjectFlow controls people animations and such. Those parts of the scenery will not move or will be missing until the scenery developer provides a 64-bit version of SODE/ObjectFlow or whatever component is handling the animated parts of the scenery.
 
Aircraft addons will to a large extent not work in 64-bit, because aircraft addons very often also includes .DLL files that handle instruments like the GPS/FMC/etc. While most scenery addons will work without their programmatic parts, only with some scenery parts becoming static or missing, aircraft addons are another matter. If the GPS and other gauges cannot be loaded into the sim because they are not 64-bit, it will most often not result in merely a blank GPS or some nonfunctioning dials, but instead the whole virtual cockpit will be displayed with large parts missing/transparent, and generally be in a totally useless state. Aircraft addon developers will have to provide 64-bit versions of their gauges and other programmatic parts of their aircraft.
 
Specific addons like Active Sky and EZDok will invariably require upgrading by the developer to work in 64-bit. How much development time the upgrade will require is probably very different depending on how and to what extent the addon interacts with the sim. Camera addons that just move the eyepoint around could maybe be quick to upgrade to 64-bit, while more complex addons will of course be more complex and time-consuming to upgrade by the developer.

 

 

That is the most accurate and best summary of the situation. There's a difference between files that just contain data, and files that contain actual instructions that the CPU must execute, such as .dll and .exe files. Data files such as .air files, .bgl files, .cfg files, .dds files etc. will work just fine on 64-bit. You can open text document, or a picture you made in Paint on a system with a 32-bit CPU, 64-bit CPU or even on your ARM powered smartphone, as long as you have a program that knows how to decode the file. The same is true for those "data only" files in P3D.

 

In theory, it's possible to "bridge" 32-bit plug-ins so they can communicate with a 64-bit host application. That would make it possible to use GPS plug-ins, OrbX "flow" plug-ins etc. without updating them to 64-bit. This is what the music production industry did with old 32-bit audio plug-ins during the transition to 64-bit, but this would require a lot of work and probably won't happen.

 

That said, we don't know what other changes LM will make to the file formats, and whether they will retain backwards compatibility at all. They could abandon the .bgl format completely, move away from the .air lookup tables etc. Even if they retain the old file formats, backwards compatibility is not guaranteed. We've already seen this with 32-bit P3D v2 and v3, which broke compatibility with some FSX addons.

 

Companies like OrbX took several years to make the transition from FSX to P3D. I would not expect the transition to P3D v4 to be any faster. If you're heavily invested in 32-bit P3D v3, you'll be running it alongside any "next-gen" sim for a long time, at least for the remainder of this decade.

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That's ridiculous... that happens ALL the time, platform dev releases info and SDK to major devs for all platforms like PC, with direct X, etc., Xbox, PlayStation, etc... Of course they want third party developers to have stuff ready, otherwise who would buy a dead platform?

Thanks a lot...

 

Sure this happens, for hardware platforms which would otherwise be unusable. But in that case the 3rd party development often is part of the plan and synched to the main stream. Sadly, this is not the case in the world of flightsims or any other platform that can stand on it's own, where the addons are just that - improvements of the original program.

 

Plus, this is hardly a large scale project, where millions of revenue depend on everything working on day one. Maybe there is the odd developer who is integrated as of now (like ORBX was with DTGs FlightSchool), but then they are part of the team and have their contract. This just isn't the case for the vast majority of FS developers. They will have to wait until things are reasonably ready. And they should, too. Throwing money out of the window because a spec changes after the fact is no joke.

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