Reported by Doug Horton. The Prepar3D development staff is very responsive to adding and updating features, including suggestions from users, as well as updating the Learning Center and SDK for users and developers. In September 2011, Prepar3D® version 1.2 was launched. According to Lockheed Martin:
“The (version 1.2) software release offers users full Windows 7 support in addition to several enhancements and new features. In this iteration, the multi-player experience is redesigned and improved, the multi-channel capability is extended, and rendering performance has been improved. Developers also have access to new resources, making training scenarios even easier to customize or create from scratch.”
Prepar3D can be used by private pilots, commercial organizations, the military and academic users as a licensed software training program for virtually any scenario imaginable. Users can practice a mission or flight before it happens, to increase effectiveness during real-world operations. In a recent discussion, a senior executive of a chain of nine U.S. flight schools indicated that students learn faster and require fewer in-air training hours when they use computer flight simulator training in conjunction with flight school training.
One of my favorite features of Prepar3D is that locations of undocked control panel, subpanels, and scenery windows on multiple monitors are saved with flight files and reappear when flights are reloaded.
Prepar3D saves and loads assignments of undocked control panel and scenery views to multiple monitors in flight files.
The complete list of updates and improvements in Prepar3D version 1.2 includes:
Full Windows 7 Support
User interface redesign:
- New interface and extended multiplayer experience
- Observer view camera management redesigned and expanded
- Save flight user interface redesigned
Redesigned user interface for Save Flight
- Alert system and progress dialogs redesigned for continuity
- End flight interface redesigned and clarification added
Additional Flyable Aircraft Added to Standard Vehicle Set
These aircraft were previously included as AI aircraft only, and they’re now flyable.
- Beechcraft Baron 58 – in four liveries, plus G1000 model
- Beechcraft King Air 350, in four liveries
Below is an excerpt of the Select Vehicle menu showing the flyable Beechcraft airplanes, followed by two images of the airplanes.
Added Beechcraft airplane models and livery options
King Air 350 – lined up and waiting
External view into Beech Baron, showing G1000 “glass cockpit” display
Multiplayer Experience Redesigned and Improved
Redesigned, streamlined multiplayer user interface
- All multiplayer screens have been redesigned including the mission resolution and racing results windows
- Multiplayer feature simplified and streamlined for users
- Connect to IP now works on a global scale
Several improvements to the internal voice communication system
- Removed local echo
- No longer sends communication data packets when no one is talking
- Able to select a sound device other than your default system sound device for multiplayer voice communication
- Submersible and other SimObject categories are now supported by multiplayer
- Multiplayer chat is redesigned and can to be maximized and resized
Other miscellaneous multiplayer updates
- When ending a multiplayer session, user is no longer placed back to their default flight
- Add-on scenery is now an allowable option in multiplayer sessions
- Tower controls now have access to the map feature
- The ‘Join Aircraft’ button now swaps to ‘Leave Aircraft’ when joining a shared aircraft
- If the map is chosen to be disabled, users can now not access it via the map button on certain aircraft panels
Other New Features in v1.2
- Users can specify from where flight plans are saved and loaded
Enhancements to the Submersible SimObject Class
- Animations and lighting support added to submersibles
- Proper lighting at depth
- Submersibles are properly rendered on the ground
Observer view system enhancements
- User interface redesigned for clarity and ease of use
- Observer views can be easily configured with sensor and color views
- Users are prompted when they attempt to load an incomplete or incorrect mission file
- Users can sort the columns of data in the Select Airport user interface.
The Select Airport interface has enhanced sorting features.
- Tail number, call sign and flight number can be set on an aircraft’s “View details” screen.
- Underwater scenery is now visible from above water if appropriate detail settings are selected.
- Menu system font has been changed for increased visibility and readability.
The Scenery Library dialog now defaults to a user’s Prepar3D installation directory, not the desktop.
- The Use Directly and Cache Scenery radio buttons have been further explained with tooltip text
- Rendering pipeline performance improvements show a marked performance improvement in all cases.
- Enhancements to water detail effects and rendering settings:
a. Water effects settings are now divided into two sliders, Reflection Detail and Refraction Detail, which are clearly labeled
- The Low, Med, High names have been replaced with text describing what scenery elements are rendered at each setting
- The Water Clarity slider controls the transparency of the water surface
- Learning Center article is expanded, to further explain details of each setting
Scenery settings include reordered Water and Bathymetry parameters in version 1.2 and beyond.
Multichannel Capability Extended
- Expanded field of views able to support up to a 360 degree field of view
- Documentation and samples expanded in the Learning Center and further examples added to the Software Development Kit
Learning Center Documentation Enhanced
- Additional examples for new multichannel 360 degree field of view support
Multichannel example from Prepar3D Learning Center
- Additional articles added including navigation section and glossary
New user interface for the Flight Planner in Prepar3D
- Multiplayer learning center article expanded for new features
Software Development Kit Enhancements for Developers
- Modeling tools have been updated to support 3D Studio Max 2010, 2011 and 2012
Configurable ground clamping capability:
- Added ability for SimConnect to "tag" the SimObjects that it creates
- Added new API, AISetGroundClamp, that allows turning on the ground clamping facility, which will push objects that are underground back up to ground level
Additional ExternalSim capabilities:
- Additional SimVar support to External Sim
- Added fallback support for any SimVar not natively supported by the current Category Sim Class, so all SimObjects inherit this ability
- New example and article documentation on leveraging the new ExternalSim APIs to run the user’s own aerodynamic model and simulation through SimConnect in Prepar3D
The Prepar3D team and developer community continue to enhance Prepar3D’s capabilities and features, and subsequent articles will describe updates beyond version 1.2. Additional information can be found at the Prepar3D website.
Original Release Notes, revision 1.2, Copyright © 2011 Lockheed Martin Corporation.
All Rights Reserved.
Reformatted and supplemented with images for AVSIM Online – used with permission.