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Flytampa, Flightbeam, FSDT and 29Palms future products to be P3D4 only

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Dear Flight Simmers,

For the past 11 years, FSX has been our simulator platform of choice. It served us well, and we saw amazing things being done with it by 3rd party developers, offering us very complex airplane simulations, very detailed sceneries, and clever utilities that extended the simulator’s capabilities far beyond what we thought to be possible years ago.

Lately we, developers, start feeling more and more restrained by the underlying platform limitations. While 4GB of maximum ram would seem adequate in 2006, when FSX was originally released, and no PC could handle the detail that consumed that amount of memory, in 2017 we have hardware far more capable, but we just cannot use it because of the software limitations.

The most aggravating problem is the 32bit memory limit, which no hardware can fix, since it’s a core software problem. This not only is the cause of OOMs, but it also forces developers to design a product taking into account this limitation. Some optimizations that might be good for fps, like LOD levels, have a side effect of taking more RAM, so we are often forced to choose between the lesser of two evils, either having a good frame rate and smoothness (risking OOMs), or losing fps and smoothness, trying to save up to the last byte of memory, to prevent crashes.

FSX was born with issues that, after the latest patch in 2007, nobody could have addressed, because the traditional cycle of a new sim every 2-3 years has been interrupted, so we had to live with it, and found ways to overcome it. We found very creative ways to bypass several underlying limitations of the sim, a common example of which is the complexity of creating convincing ground textures, by layering lots of different materials over the FSX round earth model, and other ‘hacks’ which wasted lots of our time in developing and offering support for, and that would have been surely better spent perfecting the art, instead of finding solutions to problems that shouldn’t exist. Airplane developers have been also very limited in their options, and many of them had to reverse-engineer the sim, to hack into it at the deepest level, for example to simply get a more realistic lighting of the cockpit.

But we got used to it, and made good products, which are loved by users.

Recently, the discontinuity between what the FSX engine can do, and what other game engines are capable of, has become a real burden, and it’s hampering our chances for future advancements. 

In the past years, we have seen the rise of Prepar3D, which was initially based on the FSX graphic engine, but it has now evolved on its own path, while still maintaining a surprisingly high rate of backward compatibility with FSX.

Prepar3D has a lot more to offer to developers, and therefore to its users, than just backward compatibility. The native SDK is being constantly improved, and it has grown so much, that we are more and more frustrated by the FSX limitations.

But until today, Prepar3D was still a 32 bit application, which means it might have not been possible to look at the native SDK, because many of the things it has to offer, would likely not be possible due to memory limitations. Today, the release of Prepar3D 4 changes everything. Not only we might not be constrained by an SDK made in 2006, but the better features that Prepar3D always offered to us, become now really feasible, for the first time. 

Take some of the examples below:

- No "hard" Memory limitations which might cause OOM errors.

- Dynamic Lighting

- Improved human Animations

- Creation of more advanced SimObjects

- Conditional display of objects/textures

- More realistic and reliable ground models

- Improved compatibility between different add-ons (and autogen), due to the new installation method.
Today, if you compare FSX with Prepar3D V4, you have the new sim which offers a solution to a problem (memory) that can only get worse as add-ons get more complex and the hardware more powerful to support them and you also get a generally smoother flying experience and better fps too. And if you buy more hardware, you will get your money’s worth of it, because buying a faster video card or adding more memory will actually be reflected on your sim’s performance.

We believe the platform that will stay for us as the main sim for the next years, is Prepar3D, so we decided to make public a decision that we have been considering for several months already, since the first time we got to see the new sim:

In the next months, we’ll all stop developing new products for FSX.

Some of our products that are already very close to release, such as Flightbeam KMSP or Fsdreameam KSDF, will still be offered for FSX too, and we’ll of course continue to support all our existing releases with bug fixes, but the new products we’ll work from now on, will be designed for Prepar3D 4 and future versions.

We all agree this is the best decision for the future of the community moving forward, and we can only hope that our stance would result in other developers considering the same move. But we also need you, the users, to make this work.


undersigned,

Umberto Colapicchioni - Fsdreamteam
Alessandro Cucinotta - Fsdreamteam
Amir Salehi - Flightbeam
Lars Pinkenburg - 29Palms
George Grimshaw - FlyTampa
Martin Brunken - FlyTampa
Emilios Gemenetzidis - FlyTampa

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A good decision!

The move into the future of flightsim, especially for us end users where we will need to leave behind beloved add-ons, will definitely not be a walk in the park; but letting behind the mountains of pains with the 32bit platform is worth every effort.

Good luck and keep up the great work on your add-ons!

Frank

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Super! Great you are taking this step together, I am sure that others will follow.

That is exactly what I wanted to read!

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Despite sticking with P3D v3 for the moment, I completely agree with this decision.

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Great news.  The only way forward is forward.

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Great job! I look forward to continuing to purchase your products for years to come!

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This is the only decision that makes any sense.  With both xplane and p3d as 64 bit platforms, there is absolutely no reason to use the 32-bit platforms any more.  FSX you provided me with countless hours of entertainment, you did your job well, so long old stalwart.  P3Dv3, you were a great improvement over FSX - you signalled the death of FSX for me, but 32-bit limitations bruh!!

I currently have both V3 and V4 installed but honestly, I as more and more products get released for V4, V3 will be relegated to history.

Aaron

-oOo-

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I can see where you guys are coming from, so you guys do what you have to do. Unfortunately, I won't be shifting over to P3D V4 anytime soon, as having been on the PMDG forums, it would appear as though there are issues with their Boeing 747-400 that still remain unresolved at the present time, and I will definitely need to get a new computer to run it. With the very limited time I have available to fly, I don't want to be spending it trying to troubleshoot things. Once I am satisfied that the issues have been resolved, I will then consider getting said computer to run P3D V4.

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Wholeheartedly agree and applaud the decision. Time to move into a new era of flight simming. Means shedding the old. 

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At long last we're breaking up with legacy code and all the nonsense that has been dragging for years.

Well done, applause!

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Makes sense.  Best wishes.  I also look forward to more clarifications, maybe sticky posts, listing which of your products have been updated and compiled with the 64-bit P3Dv4 SDK, versus just having updated installers.  

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Awesome!  Now if only in that meeting you could convince the flytampa guys to offer a sale every now and then... :P

 

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Thank you so much for this.... best step in flightsim history probably. 

Of course this subject is not an easy one, flightsim is a VERY expensive hobby if one want to max it out or even on a medium range. So its very understandable that people search for ways to make "old" customers pleased. But it doesnt work anymore. We have the year 2017 and the tech world is moving very fast. Just have a look at what other game (yeah i know... game is not flightsim) engines can do and one can only shake the head when looking at the old SDKs of fsx/p3d.
Sure, at the time they were there it was nice. But like said, we have 2017 now and if the fsx side of flightsim dont want to look at other products overtake them they have to do something.

And with all the hassle people had from old airports its about time to make this move. Again, thank you.... and i say that as someone with little money.

PS: but i also think that now you devs really have to deliver too... waiting for over a month now for some fixes that are done in 25 mins is not really a good thing too....

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2 hours ago, Captain Kevin said:

, and I will definitely need to get a new computer to run it.

That souds surprising, because on my medium rig (i5 7400 with a geforce 1060 and 16 GB Ram) v4 acutally runs noticably smoother as v3. Same planes, same airports and even added visual settings. Until now this is what i thought is that others experienced too, from "listening" into the discussions in the community. Maybe i just understand wrong what you meant, sorry :-)

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Very cool to see them do this together. This will help drive resources towards developing for one platform rather than continuing the process of fragmented development.

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YES YES YES YES! I want not just airport, I want the entire airport eco system, autogens and crowded action sceneries around the airport....Cities etc...  No more black textures when I look away and come back.

The DD's New York is fantastic but totally messed up with textures going black.. I am guessing they are trying to save VAS here ? Not sure... 

 

:P 

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A great decision. I've been on Prepar3d since 2012 (version 1.2) and always seen it as the future, despite it's been plagued by the diseases named above. 

Given these have been cured now - and adding the huge success Prepar3d4 seems to be from a glance through fora -  I am completely happy with this decision.

Moreover, I am happy to see there is potential for understanding between developers.

Kind regards, Michael

 

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Time for a new era to finally begin.

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+1 also

comes after the painters of AI planes finally stopped painting AI planes for FS9. 

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Good decision. And yes, it is indeed wise to see at least some developers working toward mutual understanding and hopefully helping one another,

Clayton

 

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2 hours ago, SaenchaySor said:

That souds surprising, because on my medium rig (i5 7400 with a geforce 1060 and 16 GB Ram) v4 acutally runs noticably smoother as v3. Same planes, same airports and even added visual settings. Until now this is what i thought is that others experienced too, from "listening" into the discussions in the community. Maybe i just understand wrong what you meant, sorry :-)

I'm not surprised since you don't really know the setup I have at all. At the present time, all I have is a laptop running an i7-6700HQ, GeForce GTX 960M with 16 gigabytes of RAM and a 1 terabyte hard drive. With that laptop having everything I own, including pictures, documents, and videos, and considering the fact that I shoot a lot of videos, there isn't really a whole lot of hard drive space left, and short of me using an external hard drive, there's no hope for me to get any additional hard drive space. Considering that I take this laptop everywhere I go, with the physical space I have available at my job, getting an external hard drive is not exactly convenient. I would prefer to be running P3D off a powerful desktop, which I would be leaving at home.

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11 hours ago, Luis_KMIA said:

Makes sense.  Best wishes.  I also look forward to more clarifications, maybe sticky posts, listing which of your products have been updated and compiled with the 64-bit P3Dv4 SDK, versus just having updated installers.  

You realise that none of the base scenery provided by Lockheed Martin is compiled with anything newer than the FSX SDK (with *very* few exceptions), right?

These "v4 SDK" posts really don't mean much at all when it comes to graphical assets. A texture or model is neither 32 or 64 bit, and the actual decision of which tools are best to produce those assets isn't always that simple (which is why end users repeatedly asking about it isn't helpful to anyone)

It's possible to compile a model with the latest tools that runs like garbage in v4, and it's equally possible to have a model compiled with the FSX tools that runs flawlessly in v4.  How's about we just leave it to the experts to do their jobs rather than second guessing them?

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I am thrilled to hear this!  Change is good!  My wife and I were talking tonight about how much music and media that carried it has changed in our lifetimes, from 8-track cartridges, to cassettes, to CDs and thumb drives, and now infinite streaming of every musical track ever made to our phones for micro-pennies on the dollar.  Amazing.

So, hitching a ride on Prepar3D is a wise choice, but it will still be bittersweet considering all FSX has meant to this crowd since 2006.  But, no looking back, onward and upward.  Thanks for laying the groundwork for others to follow!

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