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bandman

Disappointed

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I have been using flight simulators on and off since subLOGIC released Flight Simulator 1.0 for the TSR-80. So the progress I've seen in the technology since then has been amazing, to say the least. About 5 years ago I stepped away, along with my flying in real life.

 

Coming back to the hobby now with the prospective of what has happened in the 5 years vs. what has happened since PC flight simulators really began I have to say I am disappointed in Prepar3d. Fundamentally I see very little progress. Maybe there are some performance enhancements but the fact the LM started with a fairly well developed piece of software I'd say the progress has been extremely slow. I'm not saying that as a novice either. I've built enterprise level software myself in a previous life so I have a good idea of what time frame is needed to do development. Most video game companies can make a state-of-the-art game from scratch in the same period of time. Looking at some of the newer flight sims which have been coming out now the competition doesn't seem to have more manpower or bigger budgets than LM yet look to be making much more progress. Even X-Plane, which I've never been a big fan of, is looking better.

 

So coming back I started with P3D v3 and I see we have gotten some improvement such as cloud shadows, a moonless night is actually dark, maybe some better FPS (how much of that is just due to better hardware?), there are weapon systems and you can go underwater (but water physics don't seem much better for seaplanes and floats!) Did I miss anything? At least we still have a vibrant 3rd-party development community. But, in my opinion, many of the improvements the 3rd party developers bring to market should by now be part of the core software. All airplane physics should be as good as A2A Accu-Sim. If Lotus Software was able to add visible icing and animated rain effects in the virtual cockpit back in 2010 why isn't that on every plane by now? I should not have to buy add-ons like FTXGlobal to render better auto-gen. Even with AS16 clouds still magically appear out of no where.

 

To be fair my activity in the sim is fairly limited. I mostly do GA and mostly at regional airports. My main focus is to train for real life emergency situations such as icing, base to final stalls, etc. and for fun I mostly do bush flying. So things like accurate physics and environmental conditions matter most to me. A2A's Accu-sim C172, an Orbx freeware rendering of my home airport plus AS16 make for an excellent sim for me to practice for the real world but that hardly needed P3D v3 to fulfill that requirement. Unfortunately I've now spent hundreds of dollars to figure this out. Maybe for those who prefer flying heavies from hub to hub have a different view.

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To be fair, the genre as a whole has really been stagnant, not just Prepar3D. X-plane still lacks seasons, halfway competent ATC, realistic AI traffic, etc. These are issues in X-plane that date back several years as far as I know. Meanwhile Prepar3D struggles when displaying hilariously simple custom 3D objects like buildings made out of 100 polys, and also continues to struggle with the 32bit VAS limitation.

 

The ultimate truth is we just don't have a civilian flight simulator yet that's truly modern in terms of how the rest of the simulation genre (and computer gaming as a whole) has progressed.

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Well if it helps you could think about it like this:

 

I have Bruce Artwick's SubLogic here on my bookshelf, a program I paid $49.99 for circa 1984 and that doesn't factor in the $350 I saved up to add the 1541 5.25" floppy disk drive to my Commode 64.  Heck I've flown most PC-based software developed between then and now.

 

But consider, for about ten dollars more, today you're getting a piece of software that stands mountains over a molehill in comparison, and the whole world to fly in.  So, there is that.

 

But I only recently came to the Prepar3D world (less than 1 year with it) and like you expected a bit more after I first booted it up.  It didn't seem too different from FSX and the choice of starting airport and starting aircraft didn't make any sense to me - billed as a training piece of software I'm not sure why the default aircraft is an arcade quality F-22.  Really...?  And given all the beautiful and interesting airports....a flat South Georgia?

 

Now having said that, spending time with Prepar3D I do appreciate the fact that it is more stable, and without going into a lot of detail it feels more mature.  I keep trying X-Plane, I buy it about every 5 years, but it still just isn't 100% there yet for me- but I'm hoping for the best because competition in this space works for everyone.

 

It does take 3rd party weather, scenery, and airplanes to make it whole, but right now Prepar3D is still the best looking girl in town- she needs a few nice dresses and some makeup to pretty her up, but you can get there.

 

Mark Trainer

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I agree totally with the OP and wrote a similar post a few weeks ago. I was watching a YouTube video of a Virtual Cockpit landing with good rain effects on the windshield. It was FS2004. 13 years later we are wishing for this functionality.

 

In 13 more years we will probably still be using an fsx style simulator with a few more features thrown in.

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What I think is the major advancement over the years is accuracy.  More geography, better textures, more parts of the world, better flight models.  Granted, the steps are sometimes small.  But I am flying in a world that I recognize!  Not green lines on a black screen - which I loved at the time!  :-)

Ron

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