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After years of quietness...


Burkhard
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Dear friends, after many quiet years with one state of the art flight simulator, FSX, now we see a multitude of newcomers in this market. As an addon developper this means much more work has to be done - sometimes over years before a product can be given to the users. So we need to know very early where you think you will go.

I see the following serious offers now on the market:

  • FSX as SP2 or Acceleration - finally normal computers can handle it, there is a multitude of addons, we know it and sometimes hate it. It is dead, no new development from ACES.
  • Lockheed Martin Prepar3D - the continuation of FSX with as it looks a hand full of very professional programmers developping it further. Many FSX bugs are gone - I installed P3D 1.2 a few days ago and must day I like it from the professional appearence to the smooth flight and correction of the visual bugs - but even the developper subscription of 10€ per month makes it an expensive product. Most FSX addons can be brought to run with P3D.
  • X Plane 10, with some stunning grafics and very realistic flight behaviour is the newest kid in town. Addons may be portable, but a lot of severe problems remain so that might take years to get a comparable richness of addons
  • Microsoft Flight we heared nothing about lately and know very little about but that it will not be possible to modify and add contents the way like with former versions. And now we know it was short living...

So please answer and discuss and help me to focus the available ressouce of two hands where you will go...

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Way too early to tell. Will take a lot of proven enhancements to offset dumping a large investment in FSX, even if there is some portability. MS Flight appears to be leaning from a flight simulation to a PC/Xbox game. LockMart develops professional-grade simulations, but has a spotty development record across its product lines. X-Plane shows promise, but needs to be thoroughly vetted/tested across platforms and configurations. I, for one, will sit on the sidelines for a while and digest the user experiences of others before making a leap. I've been an early-adopter on other technologies, but this time I'll risk being left behind for a while until there's enough data to spot the real deal in future flight simulation.

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I understand that fully, and just want to motivate a lot of discussion here to give me as developper some guidance - since we put out development efforts onto the wrong horse you will be the one to suffer because once you have decided the addons will be written for another sim...

I know many users want to have the same addon for every sim for the price of one... which means the quality and quantity may be one fourth of what it could be for one.

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I am a real world private pilot, so I tend to fly only general aviation stuff, mostly over areas of the US that I know. I have added many GA types to my installation of My Traffic 5.3b, upgraded many GA airports to be more realistic based on personal knowledge, and added some of my own flight plans, based on real world activities. I plan to stay with FSX, and upgrade My Traffic to version 4 soon, so will have to make those same changes to the new version myself.

I fear that Microsoft Flight will degenerate into a ""Call of Duty" for pilots and remain in the XBox genre.

LockMart is not in the business of selling/upgrading/supporting consumer grade software, so I suspect Prepare 3D will either languish as a stepchild of the commercial product or stay ridiculously expensive for the average consumer.

Never been a fan of X-Plane, since day one.

I'll stick with FSX for awhile.

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hi,

I just pre-ordered x-plane 10 from Aerosoft.

I never managed to get FSX running really fluently whatever i tried in the last 5 years.

The lack of support from microsoft for this unfinished product made me sometimes crazy and kicked me out of this hobby for a year or so.

It's time to try something new and i think x-plane 10 has potential...

Regards,

Heiko

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Well Burkhard, after years of quietness...the big bang!

I hesitate to predict the future but if I had to make a bet I'd look to whom is actively courting the individual retail PC user.

Obviously Microsoft abandoned Flight Simulator with the firing of Aces and Microsoft Flight apparently is a console thing. . Prepar3d is very expensive and the licensing is for professional use.

From what I can see that would leave X-Plane as the real contender for the market I think you are looking for. And Aerosoft seems to know something about which way this might be going.

Again, this is pure speculation, I use FSX and probably will for a while, but if I had to right now, I would bet on X-Plane for the future.

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Unfortunately in spite of the (very misleading at times) advertising, people who are expecting X-Plane 10 to be a direct replacement for FSX will be sorely disappointed. The two sims are very, very, different indeed. Note not "better" or "worse", just different.

If what you want is FSX that runs more fluidly, set up FSX better and turn some sliders down or buy a faster CPU/more RAM for your system. If what you want is X-Plane then get X-Plane, but the two sims have different plus and minus points. Expecting them to be directly comparable is never going to work.

Ian P.

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Hi Ian,

I thought we were talking about the future here, so not intended to be fan mail. But we must face it, FSX is written in code from 2004, before DX11, before multi core processors, etc. It is going to be replaced. I believe Bernhard's question is, with what? How should he prepare? Pun intended. :razz:

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It is going to be replaced.

A lot of developers disagree. For instance A2A's Scott Gentile describes the future for FSX as "very bright" in their latest press releases.

A2A, amongst many others, view Prepar3d and FSX as parallel lines of development, which can be developed for as such. Others are moving to X-Plane or developing for that in parallel (Aerosoft, Carenado), so all three lines have a future. However please remember that FS9 is still selling - and being expanded all the time - so considering that FS9 is now using almost 10 year old code and people are still using it for preference, why should FSX be classed as "dead" at this point?

The future is multi-platform. FS9, FSX, Prepar3d, X-Plane 9, X-Plane 10. Others will still use Looking Glass Flight Unlimited II and III.

Where Burkhard positions himself is an interesting question. XP10's AI is still very much a new thing and we won't know anything about it, really, until it is documented and people have broken it a few times and worked out how to fix it again. It does seem VERY resource heavy in the demo, but again we won't know how resource heavy until people have overloaded their systems and brought them back under control.

Basically, until XP10 *and* Flight are both out, it's simply not possible to know what platform will be the most appropriate to develop for. Given the fact that MTX already works in Prepar3d, I'd say that continuing support for that would be a starting point, but it won't become a major player to compete with XP and MSFS until the price comes down a lot!

Ian P.

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Indeed, a lot of developers have an understandably vested financial interested as do users (including myself) in maintaining the FSX status quo. To that end, yes, FSX has a future. After all, folks are still using FS9.

And yes, Prepar3d might carry the Microsoft banner and get renamed Prepar$d. :roll: :D

X-Plane has never persuaded me. None the less, the developer community (Carenado, Aerosoft spring to mind) does appear to be making note of it's emergence.

But I think my excited electrons feel it is time for a quantum leap. :idea: And as such, the uncertainty principal is in play.

Do we really know where we are,,?.. or where we aren't? Perhaps something completely secret is being developed. I certainly don't know.

Anyway, Burkhard, sincere thanks for MTX Pro 5.4 and the mind boggling work you do,

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I believe we will start to see signs of which direction things will take in the next year or so. For now, I think it will be unlikely we will get much constructive information from the community.

I have spent much time viewing, scanning, and interpreting comments on the multitude of forums on the subject.

Sadly I can conclude only certain things.

1) A lot of people failed miserably in reading and comprehension exercises and tests.

2) Folks love to speculate and comment on issues on topics they know little or nothing about.

3) People usually dislike and are often suspicious of change.

4) When people fear something, the fist instinct is to kill it.

5) Few individuals fall into the category of "pragmatism"

Already posts in challenge of Burkhard's comment that FSX is dead. In his comment as he wrote it, he is 100% correct. The same is true for all previous version of MSFS. None of these platforms are supported any longer by their developers, hence they are "dead".

FSX will live for a very very long time. Companies will still support making material for it, for quite some time to come. There';s only one common issue that creates the proverbial bee in the bonnet, it's buggy. Even if a 3rd party developer does everything right, there is still no guarantee FSX will like it. This fact has and will always remain to be the Achilles heel of FSX. It's stable just enough, most of the time for us to tolerate it's use. We have also been using it for so long we are comfortable with it, despite its shortcomings.

The same rules will apply to future platforms that apply to any current offerings. A platform with no 3rd party development is going to be less than stellar. Even if MS Flight is good, if no one is making content for it, or the content users seek, it will be a quick disappointment.

Many large developers have already stated, they have no plans, or will not be developing for MS Flight. Burkhard's opening statements have already alluded as to why. If you like Orbix material, kiss it goodbye with MS Flight. If you like PMDG, kiss them goodbye as well. Last statement from it's President and CEO is they will not be moving into the MS Flight market. Aerosoft has also stated they are less likely to be supporting MS Flight in the future based on what they have seen and know of it's offerings. I'm sure developers such as CLS, Flight1, and JustFlight will continue to publish with it as they take the simple aircraft approach, what we all know as the "Lite" versions. The fact these companies are stepping away from the MS Flight table set a lot of individuals on the quest of finding the next viable platform. It was these companies that exposed me to the available options.

Misinformed comments run amok. One user who answered a persons question with regards to "FSX vs Prepar3D, is it worth it?", felt it all right to make comments that the flight dynamics in P3D are "identical" to FSX. Those of us who have tinkered with aircraft dynamics between the two platforms can see this is not the case, yet this individual presented it as "FACT". Sadly, many readers will take it as such, and pass it on as "learned" knowledge for them to comment on other forums about. Forum information or misinformation is like a greedy cancer or virus, and likewise is very difficult to kill. Statements that "Lockheed Martin will provide no support", are very laughable. Perhaps these same individuals should head over to the Prepar3D forums and see the ongoing conversations between developers and the P3D development team, if their sensibilities allow them to. Spending a few hours looking over the posts would quickly dispel any misinformed comments. Shame on those who make such uninformed claims. Sadly it is such comments that may deny potential users and they themselves from a better product experience. The same MS Flight supporter commenting on dynamics, also called P3D "hype". When large popular developers are pulling their support from MS Flight and seriously looking at Prepar3D, you can hardly call it "hype".

Any and all opinions are valid if they are backed by facts, knowledge, and well done research. The answers are out there if folks are willing to spend the time to do the research. If companies continue to make products for FSX, this is good, for the simple reason I can often use them in P3D with improved performance minus the crashes and freezes in FSX. I have no plans to use XPlane as it does not provide me with the experience in which I seek. It also uses extremely different methods for calculating flight dynamics that are not without their problems and limitations, problems that do not exist in the P3D platform. If one wants to go all out on dynamics and systems, P3D is well equipped for such purposes.

As for cost, I personally have no issue with spending $10 per month to pay people to develope a superior product with continual updates and improvements. There is no indication that other platforms will not follow this model as well in the future. Prepar3D is for anyone to enjoy, whether professional or enthusiast. Don't be fooled by the EULA "not for personal/entertainment use". What I know of law, it's very helpful to close a potential loophole for abusers of the product.

What sold me on Prepar3D was first off purchasing a license for it, installing it, and giving it a non-bias chance. The performance improvements were immediately noticeable, as was the changes in the graphics engine. It was smoother, than anything I have used that's modern thus far. I have used it for over 10 hours, without a single CTD or freeze. It follows the same intuitive nature of FSX that I am accustomed to. I don't have to discard most of my 3rd party content. Flight dynamics don't require the old cheats of FSX to get a aircraft to perform as they should. The support from the Development team is second to none. Each issue is answered by it's applicable expert, not just a Frontman or representative. When a issue exists they follow up on it. All third party developers who have interacted with the Development team have very positive comments about the collaboration they receive. When third party developers are happy with a platform and the support behind it, we in the flight simming community reap the benefits. This most certainly is fact.

Cheers,

Cpt. Thad Wheeler

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I started using P3D a few days ago and performance for me is actually slightly down on FSX at the moment and it stutters more than FSX does in fast turns, it's early days but them are the facts for me at the moment. My install is more of a hybrid at the moment too, texture folders have been copied across and some aircraft have been taken from one sim to the other for direct comparison and P3D does still perform just a little bit worse stutter wise.

I do have MTX 5.4 cobbled into P3D do you know it missing models cause stuttering? I know missing textures can have a big impact on frame rates but not so sure if missing models are the same, I'll try disabling traffic in both sims and see how it compares. That's reminded me of another thing too, FSX has more traffic in it as UT2 is installed and active too, in P3D only The MTX UT2 scheds are active and it still performs worse, but maybe the missing models do effect performance that much.

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To do accurate side by side comparisons can be rather difficult Andy.

I have ensured that I have applied the same tweaks on both platforms. I run a external frame limiter in both. I also run both on Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit. With a 64 bit OS, and a good amount of memory, anything that can be pulled out of the 32 bit sim the better. Using the internal frame limiter requires work within the simulations that will cost in performance. If you are running a 32 bit OS you will not see much improvement either way because of memory use limits. P3D also has several improvements that can make better use of processor cores and memory usage. Using Bojote's .cfg tweaking utility found at http://www.venetubo.com/fsx.html will help improve performance within P3D as well.

I'm not sure if missing modules of MTX 5.4 will cause stuttering as I am working with a native P3D solution of MTX called My Traffic 3D. As you have put it "cobbled" software can give all kinds of unpredictable results. Using a hybrid of P3D is also not giving a accurate portrayal of the platform, as all kinds of serious conflicts can arise. MTX uses some code that is based on VS2007. P3D requires VS2010 in order to function. VS2007 and VS2010 can not reside within the same OS. When you installed Prepar3D, it will install VS2010. Moving MTX folders into P3D will "import" several of these problems. In the beta version I am testing, these offending parts are not present, so I have seen no performance hit outside of what would be normal for such an add on. In fact MTX looks outstanding within P3D when properly installed.

I would suggest you remove any programs or add on's that you have migrated into P3D. Start with a fresh install if needed, but a "virgin" platform is the best start. Apply the tweaks to the P3D .cfg file as the platform can take advantage of many of these changes. Install simple aircraft, such as the available aircraft from the Prepar3D download section or something simple like Carenado's aircraft if you have them. These aircraft transfer relatively easy if you ensure you transfer the applicable effects and gauges folders that need to go with it. Run P3D from any default airport of your choosing. Enter into the various simulation settings and set to simular parameters as your FSX setup. Turn off the "Bathymetry" function as this can have a performance cost, in particular around coastal regions. Take your selected aircraft for a spin. You should see a significant improvement in performance over FSX.

If you wish to import material from FSX, I recommend doing it one item at a time and then testing thoroughly within the simulation before installing anything else. This will go a long way to help with determining which add on's bog down the system, and I have no doubt some will. Although FSX and P3D are simular, they are not identically the same. Software that has not been optimized for use in P3D that functions flawlessly in FSX, may have detrimental performance hits within P3D. This is not a fault of Prepar3D, so one must be fair about claiming it performs poorly under such conditions. I have a system composed of an i7 980X processor overclocked to 4.2 Ghz with 24 Gb of ram, and 2 GTX480 graphics cards, and I am getting much better performance over FSX and so far have had zero stability issues with Prepar3D, something I have yet to achieve within FSX. With lesser capable systems, the performance change may not be as great or in some cases may even be worse if Prepar3D can't find the resources it needs.

Cheers,

Cpt T. Wheeler

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Comparing P3D and FSX when placed at HHN, with MyTraffic as only addon, I get

P3D 532 AI aircraft around me 53 frames paused 34 frames running

FSX 648 AI aircraft around me 62 frames paused 37 frames running

So I see FSX to be a bit faster, but we know how long we optimzed for it. P3D for me gives faster startups.

All this on an i7-860 ATI 5770, so a good consumer system. Performance neither is an issue for FSX nor for P3D.

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Hi,

FSX is indeed very old now, but has reached, together with addons (scenery, aircraft, traffic), a development stage, that will be difficult to outclass; even by a completely new product. Maybe, X-Plane 10 is the most realistic simulation with reference to flight dynamics, but it still does not convince, me, with its scenery representation. Referring to Microsoft Flight; we do not know much. All preview screenshots are looking to me very “tactically”. A WWII battleship in Pearl Harbor is nice, but does not make a flight simulation. I am curious, what MS Flight will bring. P3D sounds interesting and I would basically be prepared to pay its price, but its too uncertain to me, which FSX Addons will work and which ones not. Paying 500 $ for the very best flight dynamics and some improvement in graphical representation is too much to me for a otherwise "very basic" FSX.

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FSX is not old, it is by far the most advanced sim available today from point of view of grafics. XPlane still is based on OpenGL grafics and packs these into DX9 calls, there is no way for it to be as fast as FSX if it displays the same amount of data on screen. But since it does not mind the scenery much, so can live with it, because the environment of the pilot isn't its main mission, the activity of the pilot is their mission. ANd scenery today is in a state that in order to have a visible improvement the amount of data goes up an order of magnitude.

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XPlane still is based on OpenGL grafics and packs these into DX9 calls, there is no way for it to be as fast as FSX if it displays the same amount of data on screen.

I am afraid OpenGL has stayed underdeveloped for many years compared to DirectX. This applies to both the software and the hardware -- video card manufacturers have striven for years to design explicitly for best performance with each new generation of DirectX. And all this time OpenGL has not moved -- though at one time, back in the late 90's and early 00's it was most certainly the better system.

It is a pity that some otherwise excellent programs are still so rooted in that past glory -- and it isn't only X-Plane.

Regards

Pete

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Hi,

X-plane invests quite a bit into ATC.. Check this:

http://www.x-plane.com/blog/2011/12/notes-about-the-atc-system/

Current default planes as AI aicrafts have a huge impact in framerate, so there might be demand for stripped down specialized AI aircrafts and traffic. http://forum.avsim.net/topic/357114-xp10-ai-traffic-question/

Regards,

Heiko

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Yes, I'm aware there are many requests, but reading blogs by the developpers they have ruled out to change from the concept of multiple full flying aircraft to an active scenery that we have in the end, and have up to now be very immune to any user requests. I have written a detailed document about AI traffic requirements and forwarded it to them using a good channel, but even this good channel did not get a reply up to now - and when you look into the general state of scenery, especially airports, in X-Plane 10, there are many more things to be basically fixed before they can think of AI traffic...

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