Ray Proudfoot

Are “Professional” v4 only Airports really that different?

Recommended Posts

P3D v4 finally removed that 4Gb VAS limit that must have been so frustrating for developers. Now they can add many more objects and not have to worry about memory running out.

Having recently bought Milan Malpensa I was hoping for a spectacular airport but if I’m honest I don’t see a huge difference from earlier versions.

Maybe I’ve just been unlucky or I’m expecting too much and there are plenty of airports exclusively for v4 that will be impressive. Do others share my view or can you recommend any airports that genuinely are ground-breaking?

Share this post


Link to post
Help AVSIM continue to serve you!
Please donate today!

I think the key difference is that these airports have been compiled using the V4 SKD, which I consider a step forward. But otherwise I have not seen any "impressive"  differences. It seems the first glimpse we will get of what V4 can do will be with KORD from the Dream Team.

Share this post


Link to post

@Cognita, but these are generally more expensive or maybe that’s down to the UKP exchange rate. A simple compile is a bit of a cheat I think.

Anyway, I’ll watch out for FSDT O’Hare and see the reaction.

Share this post


Link to post

I would guess that custom runway lighting, and dynamic lighting compatibility are about the only real differences that you will see, Ray. Having said that, I paid peanuts to upgrade to the professional versions of SimWings London Heathrow and Gibraltar for P3D v4, so I can't expect the world! :smile:

Share this post


Link to post
Posted (edited)

The term 'Professional' being tagged onto a product has long been overused in marketing to the point that simply adding it to the name of a product largely means nothing these days. Certainly the frivolous and frequent use of the term washes over me in terms of marketing and instead I'll personally regard something as 'Pro' if it adheres to the dictionary definition of the word when I look at its features, that is to say: 'Worthy of, or appropriate to a professional person'.

By way of example, Adobe added the term 'Pro' to its Premiere video editing software package way back in 2003, when they re-wrote the base code for it, but the nomenclature was more a case of wishful thinking on their part because at that point, most movies were edited in Apple's Final Cut and not in Premiere. What really changed Adobe's product to being worthy of the addition of the 'Pro' tag, and subsequently resulted in it actually being used by pros on a fairly wide basis some years after the mere name change, was when Adobe added features such as the ability for it to work with a vast array of codecs and import a lot of professional camera fomats, i.e. things which a 'pro' would genuinely find desirable features that might make them consider using it. As a result, it wasn't long after Adobe started to really make it worthy of a 'pro' that it started genuinely being used by professionals in the movie industry to edit genuine blockbuster movies such as Deadpool, Gone Girl etc.

So in relation to P3D airports, I would regard the term in the same way, and hold it to the same standards. Companies can stick that 'pro' bit on their product name all they like, but I'll be the judge of that when it comes to deciding where my money goes.

An airport scenery where I do indeed think could be described as ground breaking and worthy of a pro using it, would be Aerosoft's recent Cologne/Bonn Professional. That is to say, beyond the fact that it has a lot of very accurately observed detail, some of which is animated, or the fact that it has the major geographical features of the terrain around the airport included with it, the most important of all is that it runs extremely well in spite of the detail (that's the groundbreaking bit), it being incredibly well optimised. This, over everything else, is what would make me regard it as 'pro', in that you can use it with a number of other add-ons which a 'pro' genuinely might use to practice with, yet not suffer from poor frame rates when using many such add-ons, thanks to that very good optimisation. Another one I'd place in the same category would be Latinwings/Pilots Almeria airport scenery, for which all of the preceding plus points similarly apply.

Pro is as pro does.

 

Edited by Chock
  • Like 3
  • Upvote 7

Share this post


Link to post

@Christopher Low, I still have the non-pro Heathrow and it still looks pretty good. Don’t have Gib. The fact the upgrade prices were minimal suggests very little was added. And as I rarely fly at night dynamic lighting is not really something I need.

@Chock, agreed. Professional just means the person was paid to produce the prod. It’s no guarantee of quality but it’s encouraging you rate Cologne/Bonn and Almeria so highly.

Do any of these offerings have moving humans either on the ground or in buildings?

 

Share this post


Link to post
Just now, Ray Proudfoot said:

Do any of these offerings have moving humans either on the ground or in buildings?

Both Pilots/Latinwings Almeria and Aerosoft's Cologne/Bonn have animated people moving about on either the ramp or inside the terminal.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Ray Proudfoot said:

Having recently bought Milan Malpensa I was hoping for a spectacular airport but if I’m honest I don’t see a huge difference from earlier versions.

Maybe I’ve just been unlucky or I’m expecting too much and there are plenty of airports exclusively for v4 that will be impressive. Do others share my view or can you recommend any airports that genuinely are ground-breaking?

That publisher has been called out in an online article back in November for charging an upgrade fee for legacy buyers or higher than the original price for what was basically a port, but compiled through the P3D4 SDK and a few added dynamic lights.

Quote

I would guess that custom runway lighting, and dynamic lighting compatibility are about the only real differences that you will see, Ray. Having said that, I paid peanuts to upgrade to the professional versions of SimWings London Heathrow and Gibraltar for P3D v4, so I can't expect the world!

Other than Barcelona, I consider Sim-Wings developed scenery offerings as middling to good, but not great.

What upset a lot of people was that some other developers, such as FlyTampa, are still currently upgrading to P3D4 standard and updating their airports to match the current real world equivalents, all for free.

Noteworthy new airport products for P3D4 IMHO include:

  • Flightbeam Studios' EDDN
  • Jo Erlend Sund's (Aerosoft) EDDK
  • LatinVFR's SECL v2 - first to use PBR


Ones to watch out for are:

  • FlyTampa's KLAS
  • FSDreamteam's KORD

Based on pictures and videos, KORD looks fantastic.

KLAS is taking an extra long development period probably because of PBR being introduced. There is a YouTube video showing FlyTampa's testing of PBR in-sim.

Other than that, it's still the usual pick the quality based on the developer's you trust the most.

Edited by F737NG
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

@F737NG, excellent post, many thanks. So I’m not missing anything. Nothing new in Malpensa v4.

The smaller developers do a very good job mainly because they don’t have a multitude of packages. Aerosoft does and because they not developers, just a shop, standards can differ.

Share this post


Link to post
Posted (edited)

A dev that puts out some very nice and reasonably priced scenery is JustSim. While they aren't "Pro" versions I have found them quite good, plenty of detail, and easy on frame rates.

I have JustSim EDDL and LOWI and I'm very happy with them, nice scenery's and a great value for the money IMHO.

You don't hear them talked about much in these add on airport discussions, but you might want to take a peek and just see what they've got. Simmarket carries the full line, put justsim in the search box at Simmarket and go. They are on sale right now as well...

These aren't in the same league as the "big names" we've become accustomed to for P3D payware add on airport scenery, but they're hard to beat for the money, and way better than the equivalent default airports in P3D.

Edited by SunDevil56
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

Thanks @SunDevil56, looks to be a few decent v4 only airports there and the sale is very welcome.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Just now, Ray Proudfoot said:

Thanks @SunDevil56, looks to be a few decent v4 only airports there and the sale is very welcome.

No worries, Ray...😎

I just added EBBR (V.4 only) and EDDH (FSX/P3D) for $36, not bad for two nice airports. 

Oh, I forget to mention.. These have beautiful animated SODE jetways...

Share this post


Link to post

The use of "pro", "professional", "X" , "Extreme", and other ridiculous additions to product descriptions is of course just a marketing ploy to justify a price hike. Lately, the hilarious use of the even more ridiculous "study level"  to describe stuff that has a bit more detail than normal has further expanded the wierd and wonderful ways producers of a range of software (not just flight sim products) express their jostling for market position. I think it's ok to say a product is highly detailed (if it's true), but mostly it is just a meaningless tag. 

It's quite hard to avoid nowadays because the perception is that unless you use one of these absurd tacked on descriptions somehow you are considered not a worthy developer. But the truth is that often, you are going to get more out of a simpler product (aircraft in particular) that flies smoothly at 40 fps than struggling with a product that barely achieves 15 frames a second (when the flight model I assure you completely breaks down) yet has all the nice buttons to press.

It is a kind of reflection of real world aviation that has seen in the past ten years the most bizarre accidents despite unprecedented hand holding equipment and multiple redundancies, but somehow all that still doesn't prevent a lack of basic flying skills from downing an aircraft through non recognition of a stall, or poor decision making despite the cockpit being festooned with a huge suite of avionics.

The concept of "pro" or "professional" lies not in the sophistication of a flying sim product but in the acquired pilot knowledge and skill which safely navigates an addon aircraft to the destination, and those skllls are applicable as much to a simple Cessna single as they are to a "study level" Airbus.

  • Like 2
  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post

One has to be constantly on the look out for the Emperor's new cloths!

Share this post


Link to post

@robert young, I agree to a certain extent with your post. You went on to talk about aircraft rather than airport scenery which was the point of my post.

In regard to aircraft I don't have a problem with "study level". It shows the aircraft has been developed so as to be as close to the real thing as a computer program allows.

The classic example for me is FS Labs Concorde-X. In terms of how accurately it flies compared to the one produced many years ago by PSS it's leaps and bounds ahead. The FSL offering is certain;y study level.

That tag can't be applied to airports. It's always a bit of a gamble buying them as you're never sure of what you're going to get. As the saying goes... buyer beware.

I've just purchased Brussels and Rhodes by JustSim. Both are for v4 only so should have the extra features only available in that sim.

@Avidean, how true!

Share this post


Link to post
Posted (edited)

The airport you bought Ray I disliked it to the point I’ve deleted it.

LIME is a wonderful airport and worth every penny.

Just ask on here before buying an airport you will get all the feedback you need.

As for there “professional” label, well what a joke that is. Can you amazing being new to P3D and your spending a lot of money because you training to become type rated on a A320. You see 2 version FSL A320 or the “professional” A320 from Aerosoft.

They came out with the name just to show it’s P3D v4....well the joke is on them. Better to leave it there lol. Shameful.

 BTW to be fair a lot of the airports they sell, are done my great developers.

Fantastic airports bought through them would include EDDF EDDK to name just two. You just sadly bought a horrible one.

Edited by Nyxx

Share this post


Link to post
Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, Ray Proudfoot said:

Having recently bought Milan Malpensa I was hoping for a spectacular airport but if I’m honest I don’t see a huge difference from earlier versions.

I'm not sure about other airports, but FlightBeam's KPDX is that different, they make use a material scripts in V4.4 ... for example when raining the surrounding airport ground textures will change to have a more "wet" look.  I don't believe KPDX is PBR, but other vendors like LatinVFR have done some PBR work on their new releases (CSEL) and other vendors lining up to do new PBR releases.  And of course there is Dynamic Lighting ... if done well this can be rather dramatic to the dawn, dusk, night time look but does require some "tuning" from the content providers to minimize FPS impact (but there are many titles that have successfully added DL support without too much of an FPS hit).  And then their is adding Dynamic Reflection support ... so you actually see correct AI aircraft reflecting off the airport terminal windows and not just some static reflection map that doesn't represent what is actually being reflected.

I can usually tell an airport compiled with FSX exclusively and sold for P3D, it will often stutter and be missing many of the finer details.  Aerosoft have done a great job in some of their Pro series and getting them compiled and working with the P3D SDK and it shows, performance is much better and far few long frames (stutters).  A lot of the work isn't "in your face", it's subtle which is good ... you're NOT distracted by something that doesn't look right.  It's like music, the silence between notes is just as important as the notes/sound.

The "Professional" tag is just a means to market the work for a small upgrade fee ... it takes additional work to convert an FSX lighting system to a P3D one and/or same for reflections.  Conversion to PBR is going to take a lot more work pending the airport and what materials it uses ... i.e. concrete less so, but metal beams and shiny surfaces then more so) so it will be interesting to see if anyone attempts to "retro-fit" titles to "Pro Plus" 😉  I hope they do, I have no problems paying for additional work beyond the products "sold as" specification.  I'm not sure of where the idea that infinite free updates came from originally ... from a business perspective I don't see how that is possible even if "some" updates costs are factored into the original cost of the product ... how is a developer and/or content provider going to know or predict the future of a regularly changing platform?  So it would be impossible for them to determine future costs for "updates".

Cheers, Rob. 

Edited by Guest

Share this post


Link to post
9 minutes ago, Nyxx said:

The airport you bought Ray I disliked it to the point I’ve deleted it.

LIME is a wonderful airport and worth every penny.

Just ask on here before buying an airport you will get all the feedback you need.

As for there “professional” label, well what a joke that is. Can you amazing being new to P3D and your spending a lot of money because you training to become type rated on a A320. You see 2 version FSL A320 or the “professional” A320 from Aerosoft.

They came out with the name just to show it’s P3D v4....well the joke is on them. Better to leave it there lol. Shameful.

 BTW to be fair a lot of the airports they sell, are done my great developers.

Fantastic airports bought through them would include EDDF EDDK to name just two. You just sadly bought a horrible one.

I've never deleted anything I've bought. I don't consider Malpensa 'horrible'. Just lacking in features I would expect for a 64-bit sim.

I've been around long enough to know the decent developers from those who should be avoided. Nassau courtesy of Aerosoft remains the worst I ever bought not helped by the developers continually lying about their intentions.

I shall treat the label 'professional' with caution from now on.

Share this post


Link to post

@Rob Ainscough, good points Rob and looking at KPDX it does have a quality look to it.

Most of the enhancements you mention appear related to lighting. Not always appreciated or visible for daytime pilots. Are you aware of any further enhancements that could / will be introduced for v4.x? Or perhaps the limitations of the underlying ESP engine prevent that.

I'm just disappointed I'm not seeing a ground shift in how airports look after P3D v4 has been with us for nearly 2 years. Just more of the same with improvements more subtle than eye-catching.

Share this post


Link to post
43 minutes ago, Ray Proudfoot said:

@robert young, I agree to a certain extent with your post. You went on to talk about aircraft rather than airport scenery which was the point of my post.

In regard to aircraft I don't have a problem with "study level". It shows the aircraft has been developed so as to be as close to the real thing as a computer program allows.

The classic example for me is FS Labs Concorde-X. In terms of how accurately it flies compared to the one produced many years ago by PSS it's leaps and bounds ahead. The FSL offering is certain;y study level.

That tag can't be applied to airports. It's always a bit of a gamble buying them as you're never sure of what you're going to get. As the saying goes... buyer beware.

I've just purchased Brussels and Rhodes by JustSim. Both are for v4 only so should have the extra features only available in that sim.

@Avidean, how true!

I agree Ray, and forgive me for slightly diverting your point which was about airports/scenery rather than aircraft. But the salient point is about the descriptions of software which I acknowledge becomes a pressure on all developers to describe their products in a hyperbolic way in order to gain a perceived advantage against other products. I'm sure I have been guilty of this also. It's a drip, drip imperative which in the end is self defeating.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
2 minutes ago, robert young said:

I agree Ray, and forgive me for slightly diverting your point which was about airports/scenery rather than aircraft. But the salient point is about the descriptions of software which I acknowledge becomes a pressure on all developers to describe their products in a hyperbolic way in order to gain a perceived advantage against other products. I'm sure I have been guilty of this also. It's a drip, drip imperative which in the end is self defeating.

No worries Robert. It happens in many walks of life. Harmony range of remote controls included 'Ultimate'. That suggests it cannot be beaten. Then they release 'Elite'. They're stuffed if they need to name its replacement. Ultimate Elite Max perhaps? :biggrin:

Share this post


Link to post

It'll be interesting to see what new superlative they'll be adding to products when everyone is either adding 'pro' to their product name and/or it no longer registers with people. The funniest one I think I ever saw, was for some washing up liquid called 'Optimum', after a while it became 'New improved Optimum' which I'm fairly sure isn't possible, at least in literary terms.

So, here's some suggestions:

'I Can't Believe It's Not Heathrow'

'Utterly Heathrow'

'New Improved Ultimate Heathrow'

'Super Mega God-like Heathrow'

'Now That's What I Call Heathrow'

'Heathrow 2: This Time It's Personal'

'By Golly It's Heathrow'

'This is Heathrow: And We'll Fight Anyone In The Room Who Says It Isn't'

  • Like 8
  • Upvote 3

Share this post


Link to post
Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Rob Ainscough said:

The "Professional" tag is just a means to market the work for a small upgrade fee ... it takes additional work to convert an FSX lighting system to a P3D one and/or same for reflections.  Conversion to PBR is going to take a lot more work pending the airport and what materials it uses ... i.e. concrete less so, but metal beams and shiny surfaces then more so) so it will be interesting to see if anyone attempts to "retro-fit" titles to "Pro Plus" 😉  I hope they do, I have no problems paying for additional work beyond the products "sold as" specification.  I'm not sure of where the idea that infinite free updates came from originally ... from a business perspective I don't see how that is possible even if "some" updates costs are factored into the original cost of the product ... how is a developer and/or content provider going to know or predict the future of a regularly changing platform?  So it would be impossible for them to determine future costs for "updates".

Cheers, Rob. 

Hi Rob. I broadly agree with your post. However I don't agree that its a small upgrade fee. I won't name names but some developers impose a very high premium for a product that is virtually the same product they describe as "academic".   I cannot see any difference between the two products. I do understand that developers need to differentiate between versions occasionally, and especially when a lot of work is involved, but some developers are clearly using this as an excuse to create a double market without justification (I won't name names again but we all know who they are). I will name another for opposite reasons. To their credit Aerosoft broadly does not have this policy. They do tag on meaningless phrases like "professional" but they also provide global installers that enable installation into any version of any simulator without penalty. I applaud them for that.

In my time at ReallAir we had examples of the Paris Airshow and other airshows throughout Europe, where exhibitors based an entire full motion sim on our product and didn't even let us know they were doing so. They made a tidy sum in profit and never paid us a penny for the sim they handsomely charge the public based on a sim we produced.

But that is rather different from charging an individual sim customer who wants private use of an aircraft or scenery. I am a bit concerned about this tagged on description of "pro", etc, but I appreciate it is probably rooted in a desperation to survive in an aggressively competitive market. I just wish customers would look through the BS and see what they are actually buying.

Edited by robert young
  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
27 minutes ago, Ray Proudfoot said:

No worries Robert. It happens in many walks of life. Harmony range of remote controls included 'Ultimate'. That suggests it cannot be beaten. Then they release 'Elite'. They're stuffed if they need to name its replacement. Ultimate Elite Max perhaps? :biggrin:

Indeed so!

Share this post


Link to post
Quote

In my time at ReallAir we had examples of the Paris Airshow and other airshows throughout Europe, where exhibitors based an entire full motion sim on our product and didn't even let us know they were doing so. They made hundreds of thousands in profit and never paid us a penny for the sim they handsomely charge the public based on a sim we produced.

OMG, that is shocking :ohmy:

  • Like 1
  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now