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2017 was the best year in FS history - some considerations of current market trends (P3D, XP11, FSX, etc)

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3 minutes ago, dmiannay said:

Their agreement with Microsoft doesn't permit developing for the "personal entertainment" world, so no advertising to that community.  Having just retired from LM, I can assure you Prepar3D is "advertised" widely to the military aviation communit

Good point, I forgot that. Which LM Company did you work for? I was Mission Systems in Maryland. I retired before LM introduced P3D so was not aware of its development at the time.


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16 minutes ago, AviatorMan said:

Which LM Company did you work for? I was Mission Systems in Maryland. I retired before LM introduced P3D so was not aware of its development at the time.

Aeronautics in Marietta, GA.  I was in the commercial training business, primarily for the C-130J, and we used Prepar3D in one of our part task trainers.  Although I worked with the Lockheed Sector that produces Prepar3D, I never met any of the development team.

Edit: To the OP, I apologize for getting this thread off topic.  To bring it back around, I am firmly entrenched in the P3D world (FSX/FS9/etc., prior to that) and don't have the inclination to move to anything else at this time.  I'm the older, more mature simmer and likely a bit set in my ways.  And, I'm not a fan of photo-real sceneries and how distorted they get at low altitudes, so don't prefer platforms that use this exclusively.

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Doug Miannay

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2 hours ago, HumptyDumpty said:

Is that all ?

No, you also get the following features that are NOT in FSX/FSX-SE:

1.  Bug fixes (many many many of them that were in the FSX-SP2 code base used for ESP).

2.  Dynamic Reflections

3.  Dynamic Lights

4.  Cloud Shadows

5.  HDR providing much more vibrant lighting and color (and "maybe" PBR in future release)

6.  Increased Autogen density and view distance that goes considerably further than any flight sim currently on the market, even AF2 (mind boggling far if you make a couple of Prepar3d.cfg changes and have the processing power to work with it)

7.  Tessellation that brings more geometry subdivisions to terrain providing a subtle but more granular world 

8.  Additional shadow options and quality settings 

9.  Better "native" AA support with SSAA 

10.  Better performance when "similar" graphics settings are used even on older hardware 

11.  Improved threading support for gauges, terrain, and more

12.  Additional Reflection options 

13.  New SDK features and functionality from SpeedTrees creation (true 3D dynamic trees that move based on wind speed) to controller options to ScaleForm objects in the VC to many other new SDK options we've yet to see be implemented by 3rd party.

14.  Avatar mode (that keeps improving with ability to interact with aircraft/vehicles)

15.  GPS data broadcasting

16.  True volumetric water that responds to weather

17.  Much improved snow/rain effects (detailed precipitation option)

18.  Ability to calibrate controllers natively in P3D and options to use RAW input or Direct input

19.  Improve visibility and weather features with Volumetric Fog

20.  Windshield effects (enabled via SDK also)

21.  Move from DX9 to a much more efficient DX11 graphics API

22.  Continued development and NOT static

I could go one, but  you did ask :)  

Like I said earlier, myself (not young), Vic, Jim, and many other "old folk" have moved on and use newer platforms, so it's really NOT age related at all.  But a very good point was "hassle" to switch, which is completely understandable ... all of those new features I listed above and 64bit may simply not be enough for some FSX/FSX-SE users to migrate to a newer platform, I can certainly respect that decision and to each his or her own.

I enjoy all the platforms I use (P3D, XP11, AF2, FSW).

Cheers, Rob.

 

 

 

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40 minutes ago, dmiannay said:

Aeronautics in Marietta, GA.  I was in the commercial training business, primarily for the C-130J, and we used Prepar3D in one of our part task trainers.  Although I worked with the Lockheed Sector that produces Prepar3D, I never met any of the development team.

Edit: To the OP, I apologize for getting this thread off topic.  To bring it back around, I am firmly entrenched in the P3D world (FSX/FS9/etc., prior to that) and don't have the inclination to move to anything else at this time.  I'm the older, more mature simmer and likely a bit set in my ways.  And, I'm not a fan of photo-real sceneries and how distorted they get at low altitudes, so don't prefer platforms that use this exclusively.

No need to apologize, this is the Hangar Chat after all. Just a small correction, XP11 does not use orthophoto exclusively. Besides the default textures and mesh, which are good for a stock solution, there are improved, freeware, HD meshes and textures that look pretty nice. Hopefully Orbx will start porting some of their regions soon as well. 


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11 minutes ago, GCBraun said:

Just a small correction, XP11 does not use orthophoto exclusively. Besides the default textures and mesh, which are good for a stock solution, there are improved, freeware, HD meshes and textures that look pretty nice. Hopefully Orbx will start porting some of their regions soon as well. 

Fair enough. Most of my opinion comes from the many screenshots in the Screenshots Forum.  



Doug Miannay

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3 minutes ago, GCBraun said:

freeware, HD meshes

Yes, HD Mesh V4 (116GB worth of data) by Andras Fabian ... covers a good chunk of the globe, not all, but much of it ... I certainly donate to his work.  Agree that XP11 is not PR based out of the box and I doubt many have actually tried to make all of XP11 world PR (thinking they'll need a PB worth of high speed SSD based data) based on OrthoXP.  I use OrhtoXP to do just small areas due to it's high consumption of SSD space.  I would like to see Orbx Regions in XP11, but I thought Orbx weren't going to do that and just focus on Airports for XP11?

OrthoXP is great, but it's incredibly time consuming (color correction, mesh issues, etc. etc.) ... I'd love to see a 3rd party company just let me download and install and forget about it and/or provide support for any issues that come up (and they will come up).

Cheers, Rob.

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28 minutes ago, Rob Ainscough said:

Yes, HD Mesh V4 (116GB worth of data) by Andras Fabian ... covers a good chunk of the globe, not all, but much of it ... I certainly donate to his work.  Agree that XP11 is not PR based out of the box and I doubt many have actually tried to make all of XP11 world PR (thinking they'll need a PB worth of high speed SSD based data) based on OrthoXP.  I use OrhtoXP to do just small areas due to it's high consumption of SSD space.  I would like to see Orbx Regions in XP11, but I thought Orbx weren't going to do that and just focus on Airports for XP11?

OrthoXP is great, but it's incredibly time consuming (color correction, mesh issues, etc. etc.) ... I'd love to see a 3rd party company just let me download and install and forget about it and/or provide support for any issues that come up (and they will come up).

Cheers, Rob.

I agree! Even though I have about 4,5tb of Orthos, I would gladly pay to get a hassle free experience, at least in the areas that I fly the most. Regarding Orbx, I am pretty sure they are releasing the incoming Netherlands region for XP11. At least that is how their plan to embrace X-Plane got revealed, when John Venema posted a picture of the project in XP.


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3 hours ago, Rob Ainscough said:

OrthoXP is great, but it's incredibly time consuming (color correction, mesh issues, etc. etc.) ... I'd love to see a 3rd party company just let me download and install and forget about it and/or provide support for any issues that come up (and they will come up).

The only "time consuming" part is the download itself, which can take up to some hours, depending on your Internet connection and the ZL you choose. I normally download my ZL18 tiles in 3 or 4 hours. If I choose ZL17, the required time is significantly lower. Ortho4XP makes the whole conversion process automatic. It is as simple and user friendly that my 8 year old daughter could do it herself. Once the process is completed, you are just 3 clicks away from using it in your scenery.

Color correction is something an average user normally does not need to do. True is that not all areas in the world have the same ortho quality, unfortunately. For some areas, you only get decent orthos for a very high price, which ultimately also explains why Orbx and other scenery developers stay away from the same. Now, while this is true, in most cases the ortho quality is more than decent, not infrequently superb, if you choose the right source. Personally, I give up with a tile whenever the orthophoto quality is lower than a certain level. Unless you are a developer or have specific expectations from your scenery, though, you normally need no color correction. Mesh issues is also something I never met so far. Advanced users can even set "Min_area" and "Curv_tol" options according to their needs. For some countries mesh with high resolution is also available and can be imported in Ortho4XP (although this requires additional steps). 

Ortho4XP is an amazing freeware tool. As any other tool, it requires some basic information at the beginning, but the same also applies to other easy tools like FTX Central (some people have hard time using FTX Central the first time, despite all efforts made by Orbx to make it as much simple and automatic as possible). Finally, I strongly doubt there will be a 3rd party company which will cover all areas in the world by providing a "download, install and forget" solution. 3rd party developers make business. Some areas are simply not profitable, taking into account the cost for orthos, the time required for 3D object placement, mesh handling etc. and the number of potential users. 

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I am pretty much sold on P3Dv4.1 and appreciate Rob Anscough's detail summary of its benefits. However, I see that one can download X-Plane free as a trial, so I might as well give it a go. Does the trial version do a good job of showing off its benefits?


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2 hours ago, AviatorMan said:

I am pretty much sold on P3Dv4.1 and appreciate Rob Anscough's detail summary of its benefits. However, I see that one can download X-Plane free as a trial, so I might as well give it a go. Does the trial version do a good job of showing off its benefits?

Short answer: no.
Long answer. If you only want to try the flight dynamics with the default aircraft or the default GNS 530 and G1000 (the Cessna 172 is an excellent start, in my opinion), then probably yes. The setting process is absolutely easy and intuitive. You need no more than 10 minutes to set your joystick and keyboard settings and go (there is even an option to force key bindings to your usual FSX assignments, in order to make the process easier for people coming from any ESP platform). Now, if you are interested to know more about all the potential benefits, especially scenery setting, more advanced aircraft, libraries, plugins, sky and water textures, light settings, download and creation of orthos etc. that can make X-Plane 11 shine to its best possible capacity, then you should expect to invest some hours. And this is not feasible with the demo version, in my opinion. The good news is that most of things i mentioned above are free, so the license is the only cost you have to account for initially. There are tons of freeware addons you can start with (for example, several freeware airports by MisterX, Tony and others, not to mention the freeware 737 zibomod). Finally, bear in mind that lot of new high-quality payware aircraft (both liners and GA) and sceneries have been released in the last months and many others have been announced for 2018. Several developers like Turbulent Designs, iBlueYonder, JustFlight, in the future HiFi, REX and possibly Orbx, are already devoloping or announced incoming products for X-Plane 11 in the next future. The quality bar in X-Plane is raising dramatically. However, in order to get the most out of it, I am afraid you'll need to buy a full license and invest some hours. 
Hope this helps.

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7 hours ago, AviatorMan said:

How does LM promote its product outside of these web sites? I expect sells some of P3D on government contracts, and I know how they do that (I used to work for LM as a program manager, so I know how they do the defense and NASA side of marketing, but commercial products, don't know.) Anyone up to speed on this?

I strongly suspect that the majority of P3D licenses are sold to third-party "solution providers" such as RedBird Simulations and others of that ilk. I mention RedBird simply because it is the one I'm most familiar with. Every RedBird is powered by P3D.


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16 hours ago, Rob Ainscough said:

No, you also get the following features that are NOT in FSX/FSX-SE:

1.  Bug fixes (many many many of them that were in the FSX-SP2 code base used for ESP).

2.  Dynamic Reflections

3.  Dynamic Lights

4.  Cloud Shadows

5.  HDR providing much more vibrant lighting and color (and "maybe" PBR in future release)

6.  Increased Autogen density and view distance that goes considerably further than any flight sim currently on the market, even AF2 (mind boggling far if you make a couple of Prepar3d.cfg changes and have the processing power to work with it)

7.  Tessellation that brings more geometry subdivisions to terrain providing a subtle but more granular world 

8.  Additional shadow options and quality settings 

9.  Better "native" AA support with SSAA 

10.  Better performance when "similar" graphics settings are used even on older hardware 

11.  Improved threading support for gauges, terrain, and more

12.  Additional Reflection options 

13.  New SDK features and functionality from SpeedTrees creation (true 3D dynamic trees that move based on wind speed) to controller options to ScaleForm objects in the VC to many other new SDK options we've yet to see be implemented by 3rd party.

14.  Avatar mode (that keeps improving with ability to interact with aircraft/vehicles)

15.  GPS data broadcasting

16.  True volumetric water that responds to weather

17.  Much improved snow/rain effects (detailed precipitation option)

18.  Ability to calibrate controllers natively in P3D and options to use RAW input or Direct input

19.  Improve visibility and weather features with Volumetric Fog

20.  Windshield effects (enabled via SDK also)

21.  Move from DX9 to a much more efficient DX11 graphics API

22.  Continued development and NOT static

I could go one, but  you did ask :)  

Like I said earlier, myself (not young), Vic, Jim, and many other "old folk" have moved on and use newer platforms, so it's really NOT age related at all.  But a very good point was "hassle" to switch, which is completely understandable ... all of those new features I listed above and 64bit may simply not be enough for some FSX/FSX-SE users to migrate to a newer platform, I can certainly respect that decision and to each his or her own.

I enjoy all the platforms I use (P3D, XP11, AF2, FSW).

Cheers, Rob.

 

 

 

 

Hi Rob,

I am 45 now :biggrin:,  I like your answer not that i understand some of it , just wondering what kinda rig would it require and what performance would be expected ? Will it goto Vulkan ? there are questions ................... but i will abstain from that else this thread will derail.

Honestly i don't care what anyone uses but there has been a trend recently about sims getting bashed around and that is superior or this is superior and you only get biased answers  , well my sim is better than yours :biggrin:

 

 

 

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12 hours ago, barrel_owl said:

The only "time consuming" part is the download itself, which can take up to some hours, depending on your Internet connection and the ZL you choose. I normally download my ZL18 tiles in 3 or 4 hours. If I choose ZL17, the required time is significantly lower. Ortho4XP makes the whole conversion process automatic. It is as simple and user friendly that my 8 year old daughter could do it herself. Once the process is completed, you are just 3 clicks away from using it in your scenery.

Color correction is something an average user normally does not need to do. True is that not all areas in the world have the same ortho quality, unfortunately. For some areas, you only get decent orthos for a very high price, which ultimately also explains why Orbx and other scenery developers stay away from the same. Now, while this is true, in most cases the ortho quality is more than decent, not infrequently superb, if you choose the right source. Personally, I give up with a tile whenever the orthophoto quality is lower than a certain level. Unless you are a developer or have specific expectations from your scenery, though, you normally need no color correction. Mesh issues is also something I never met so far. Advanced users can even set "Min_area" and "Curv_tol" options according to their needs. For some countries mesh with high resolution is also available and can be imported in Ortho4XP (although this requires additional steps). 

Ortho4XP is an amazing freeware tool. As any other tool, it requires some basic information at the beginning, but the same also applies to other easy tools like FTX Central (some people have hard time using FTX Central the first time, despite all efforts made by Orbx to make it as much simple and automatic as possible). Finally, I strongly doubt there will be a 3rd party company which will cover all areas in the world by providing a "download, install and forget" solution. 3rd party developers make business. Some areas are simply not profitable, taking into account the cost for orthos, the time required for 3D object placement, mesh handling etc. and the number of potential users. 

 

Completely agree , there ways to color correct or ortho rectify if you have the talent , a free tool and it's the most simple to use.

For me Z17 takes an hour because the conversion is kinda heavy on the CPU. I use a 5 km radius around airports for Z18.

Many areas not good but the US / Europe seems to be nice. I got southern India done and its fantastic and used a differnt DEM. I did Southern Africa (around Kruger area ) it's great though some color mismatch but i can't complain.

It's a simple 5 click app.

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5 hours ago, HumptyDumpty said:

just wondering what kinda rig would it require and what performance would be expected ?

If you have a DX11 card now and a 64bit OS, then performance (using equivalent setting as that in FSX) would be better and you would need to care about OOMs.  As you increase and enable features in P3D V4.x that are NOT in FSX, you'll increase CPU/GPU load.  But it's unlikely you'll need a "new" rig if you have purchased or upgraded your computer within the last 5 years or so ... but the choice/control is yours.  I was just answering your question because like you say, people have preconceived ideas about platform X without every using platform X or understanding what it has to offer.

5 hours ago, HumptyDumpty said:

well my sim is better than yours

A sim being "better" than another sim really depends on what's important to the individual.  If you want to just go down the "feature" list and "add-on" support as the only criteria, then yes there is a very clear winner ... but that's setting the stage by defining the criteria ... end users are really the only ones that can "set the stage" with their own criteria.  So define the criteria then you'll be able to determine what is "better" for you.

Cheers, Rob.

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