Richard McDonald Woods

Ending support for older simulator versions?

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Thanks for the positive feedback on that. We expect the transition to V4-only Addons with FSX support being dropped to happen a lot quicker then it did with the FS2004->FSX transition where FS2004 versions remained viable for years along with a loud FS2004 userbase demanding them.

This time the transition will be "harder" and more abrupt, and in fact several high-quality developers have been communicating behind the scenes on exactly this topic, which boils down to how quickly they are willing to drop FSX support in favor of V4-only releases. Without naming anyone I can say that what came out of these talks is good news for V4 and bad news for FSX.

The quote above is from Martin at FlyTampa.

The list of previous simulator versions is long and many developers struggle to service all of the in-and-outs of each.

The list of current simulators gets ever wider - XP11, P3Dv4, etc.

We must all suffer from delays caused by developers having to re-visit older versions to ensure upgrades will work. At some point, developers will have to reduce the list of simulator versions being supported.

Should we be pushing the developers to announce limitations on the older versions being supported - for example FS9, FSX?:blink: Should users of the older simulator versions be given tougher timescales for removal of maintenance?

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Support would be limited to P3D v4 only? No support for P3D v3? :huh:

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Recorder P3D V4 movies do not work in P3D V3, from LM. Backwards compat has been the drag chain of most development..

Jorge

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4 hours ago, Christopher Low said:

Support would be limited to P3D v4 only? No support for P3D v3?

I would imagine that would be the case. There's the potential for 4 different "MSFS-like" SDK's which would need to be built against in this new era...

FSX/FSX:SE, P3Dv3, P3Dv4, and if they ever release the kit, FSW.

Developers do need to draw a line somewhere as to what they will support going forward. Obviously we are still in the extremely early stages of P3Dv4, and its impressive that we've seen so much compatibility so soon. Unlike the P3Dv2 to v3 transition where the changes were more nuanced, I see the community mostly in agreement that v4 is a natural and welcome progression. I think it's adoption will be faster than its predecessors, and developers are wise to push in that direction. (*spoken selfishly, because I want them to push in that direction!)

 

 

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Dumping support for P3D v3 at this point in time seems somewhat premature.

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I would hope that developers start producing 64-bit only content that takes advantage of the new features available to developers on the v4 platform. This is the best way for flight sim to progress into modern times. If development has to reach way back to 2006 and cater to 2006, then flight sim will be stuck in 2006.

It is 2017 and it is time to move forward and let go of 2006 and 32 bit.

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22 minutes ago, MikeT707 said:

I would hope that developers start producing 64-bit only content that takes advantage of the new features available to developers on the v4 platform. This is the best way for flight sim to progress into modern times. If development has to reach way back to 2006 and cater to 2006, then flight sim will be stuck in 2006.

It is 2017 and it is time to move forward and let go of 2006 and 32 bit.

Exactly this. Well said. 

There is nothing preventing users from keeping their favorite sim running. If you want to be stuck on FS9 or FSX then go for it, but all of this release for FSX first etc is just holding back everything. It takes tremendous time and resources to deal with all these platforms. If its narrowed down and focused to 1-2 platforms max, devs would be alot better off and we would see faster production of releases. Aerosoft alluded that V3 may be dropped. Sounds like it would be in a year or so. I think others echo that sentiment. They realize all the nifty things that can be done in V4 and are excited to move forward without the hard 32 bit restriction. As with nearly everything in life, eventually things get dropped to make way for better things. Examples like VHS, DVD, Blueray, streaming, CRT-HD-4k etc. 

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56 minutes ago, Christopher Low said:

Dumping support for P3D v3 at this point in time seems somewhat premature.

I agree, there are many people ( including me) that will be using version 3.4 for quite awhile, since my most used add ons might not ever work in 3.4 ( copters mainly). Kind of like MS dropping support for Windows 7 when 10 was released. 

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Actually I don't think it is. The gap between Prepar3D V3.x and Prepar3D V4 is becoming larger and larger and it's going to take more and more resources of developers to maintain all of them. Quite frankly I would think it would refreshing to see a line drawn and just leave the older technologies behind and focus solely on the new platform ... and the sooner the better, to be so brutally honest.

Of course, this is just my opinion... 

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12 minutes ago, Anders Bermann said:

Actually I don't think it is. The gap between Prepar3D V3.x and Prepar3D V4 is becoming larger and larger and it's going to take more and more resources of developers to maintain all of them.

To add to that, most developers who made P3D V3 specific scenery have already released or are actively working on V4 updates for their products for minimal or no charge. So really the upgrade to V4 is pretty much the price of your licence. For those FSX addons that just worked in P3D without being updated for it that's a different story. 

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As Bob has stated, not everyone is jumping immediately on the P3D v4 64bit bandwagon. At the moment, it would be rather stupid of me to upgrade to v4, since not all of the addons that I use would work. Yes, some people don't mind losing a few addons or (God forbid) flying around over default scenery, but I do not belong to that club.

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1 hour ago, Anders Bermann said:

Actually I don't think it is. The gap between Prepar3D V3.x and Prepar3D V4 is becoming larger and larger and it's going to take more and more resources of developers to maintain all of them. Quite frankly I would think it would refreshing to see a line drawn and just leave the older technologies behind and focus solely on the new platform ... and the sooner the better, to be so brutally honest.

Of course, this is just my opinion... 

This is just not your opinion.  And I think it is a good thing.

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14 minutes ago, PDX Flyer said:

This is just not your opinion.  And I think it is a good thing.

What exactly do you mean by that?

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6 minutes ago, Anders Bermann said:

What exactly do you mean by that?

Opps.  A Big typo on my part.  I meant to say that this is not "just" your opinion.  I agree with you 100%.  I have to be more careful and proofread my stuff before hitting the send button.

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Nothing mention about good old economics. Just as long as it's economical to make add-ons for FSX, they will make add-ons for FSX.

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4 hours ago, greggerm said:

There's the potential for 4 different "MSFS-like" SDK's which would need to be built against in this new era...

From the point of view of programmatic addons, that makes 5, not counting FSW. FSX Boxed and FSX SE SimConnect are different as well, and if you want to do it right, you have to compile different versions for them using the correct libraries.

The real problems start when you want to use the current functionality for your addon, but that functionality is not present in the earlier versions. You have to split development into several streams, and you end up with several almost identical versions of the same source code. And you have to write different user manuals for each version, because the feature sets are different. Just imagine how much fun it is to find a bug in there - you don't even know if the same bug exists in all versions, so you have to test them all. If things go really sideways, more time is spent on these purely maintenance related chores than on development itself...

Best regards

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I would like to make a real world example of what might seem a minor thing, that can have a big impact on the user's experience.

Today, a user reported a problem with microstutters happening at KIAH when switching visuals. So, as usual after users report a problem, I checked and yes, it wasn't entirely smooth as I would like to be but, there wasn't anything special in the scenery that could cause this, but enabling the simconnect diagnostics, I found the stuttering to be happening when we used the official way to ask the camera eyepoint, which is needed by our software for a lot of things, like positional sounds effect, for example (the eyepoint can be assumed to be the listener ears), using a fairly recent Simconnect call that has been added in P3D V3.

Before P3D V3, we used undocumented hacks, since that variable wasn't exposed, so we just read the values directly from RAM.

Of course, accessing the memory using undocumented hacks is messy and dangerous, and would require updating the software each time a new build or hotfix of the simulator comes out to updated the memory pointers which change with every build so, when LM added the official Simconnect call to get the position of the eyepoint, I jumped at the chance to remove one point in the software dependent on undocumented hacks, to make it simpler, safer and more "proper".

However, as evil and possibly dangerous direct memory access is, there's *nothing* FASTER that that!

So, by gaining safety and compatiblity, I lost some speed and, apparently, using the official Simconnect method to retrieve the eyepoint, can cause a bit of stuttering when called 6 times per second, which is not that much, and it's the minimum that is required to support positional sound (the listener position should be ideally updated every frame).

Fortunately, P3D V4 comes to the rescue and now, there's an even better way to get that data, which is both official AND fast, which is the PDK, an API more low-level than Simconnect, which allows direct memory access in a safe and documented way, which has a nice call to get the camera position.

So, it was enough to update the software to this method and, guess what, stutters were gone!

Unfortunately, this method has changed quite a bit between P3D V3 and V4, since the whole API has been greatly revised in V4 and lots of changes were made the way you call it so, if we had to support both versions, it would be very difficult to maintain the software, considering the V4 version does *A LOT* more and better.

And that's just one, small, example of why, supporting older sims is becoming more and more like a burden, which also hampers our ability, as developers, of doing BETTER things or just doing the same things we always did, but in a better way.

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Turbulent designs have posted the same thing today. Moving towards V4 and Xp11 only 

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MikeT said it best and completely agree.  To me this announcement isn't a surprise as it was just a matter of time.  Shouldn't be a big deal for a sim that's been around for as long as FSX has.  The existing add on library available for FSX is vast enough to keep folks who aren't interested in either switching or just can't stomach the cost of transitioning very busy for a long time.  

 

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Well I am ready to toss all that 32 bit stuff in the trash. We need to let it go and accept the future in front of us. 

I understand why developers will want to stop supporting the old sim platforms and focus their attention and resources towards the new platforms. FSX has been fun but all good things come to an end.....to make room for something better.

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I think it's time. Nothing stops people from continuing to use their old sims with their old add ons if they want. But it's time to take advantage of the new technology and features instead of holding everyone back just so someone still stuck in FSX can have the same add-on. 

At this point P3Dv4 should be the focus within the next 6 months or so. There will be no reason not to upgrade at that point and if you've got some very old add ons that will never be updated, that's just part of the cost of entry. 

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Hi there,

it still makes me smile when i read such threads like this or "FSX or P3Dv4" If a user likes to have its older sim so be it. If he/she never had probs with OOM,CTD, BSOD etc fine. IMHO since the release of P3Dv2 everybody seemed to crave for a 64bit FSX code based sim with backwards compatibility. Now P3D[6]4 arrived with more than just a simple backwards compatibility, a way more advanced sim than FS9/FSX could ever be and there are still folks who want to stay with FSX. Why?

Of course it would be a pain to pay extra charge for a 64bit updated add on version but hey it is work that must be done by the devs. Work means time that is spent on a legacy version and not on a new modern add ons. Time means money that is not earned when working on old stuff. Getting free updates for our 32bit FSX/P3Dv1-v3 is great for us and much appreciated but bad for the devs. At this point i´d like to say thanks to all 3rd party devs that gives me free 64bit updates to my thounsands of payware add ons. So lets support the people by buying their products to keep em working on new stuff.

Anyway it is time for us to move on and face the future of 64bit FSX based simulation. Maybe it is nice to have a piece of historical simulation software on the SSD, ah wait isnt it the case that FSX must be on an old slow HDD instead of a fast modern  SSD? Sticking with FSX and claiming new products for it slows down innovation, development and evolution for new products.

I for myself dropped FS9 and FSX/P3Dv1+v2 long time ago. v3 is only in use when flying in VR. But it will follow the other version as soon as all my add ons lifted to 64bit and Flyinside find itself to 64bit as well.

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Everyone who is serious about this hobby should buy V4 or XP11

My theory is while LM aren't short on cash flow, the 3rd party developers need to know there is plenty of V4 customers to support the platform 

I feel the same about XP11. Cash flow maybe more important to them then LM but they need as much community support as possible, while it's not my sim of choice I still fly it once or so a week it has great potential 

We need to get out of this mindset that "I'll buy V4 64bit it when most of my addons are compatible" 

If 3rd party developers drop support for 32bit platforms and there is no substantial market base after the first wave of V4 addons make it to market that could be detrimental to some 3rd party companies 

In short and I say it with respect for the community, get off the fence and buy V4 even if it is just going to sit on your hard drive for the next 6 months and supply a solid market base for the community to thrive

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