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Prepar3D

Setting our Expectations for the Upcoming Prepar3D V4

Update: Changed the title a little to better reflect the article.

Without delving into speculation too much, we’re fairly confident official information from Lockheed Martin is just days away. We’re reported on rumours, facts, insider knowledge and even some accidental leaks over the past few months – giving as much information as we can to you from Lockheed Martin’s worst kept secret. But what should simmers expect when the announcement is made? I’m hoping to set some expectations here based on my knowledge, some fact-finding and other key pieces of information from various developers and resources around the web.

I would also like to point out, this article is based purely on the speculation of a 64-bit platform. If you don’t believe this will be the case for the next sim, I suggest you close the article now.

There, with that out of the way, let’s continue.

So 64-bit is certainly a bit of a marketing buzz-word for the flight sim community right now. X-Plane has been in the 64-bit era for some time now, and Dovetail have released their full-fledged sim, Flight Sim World, with a heavy emphasis on the fact it’s using 64-bit architecture. But what is 64-bit and why does the flight sim community care so much?

In the simplest of terms, a 64-bit application can use much more memory allocation than a 32-bit program can. In fact, 64-bit applications can in theory use 16 exabytes, which completely destroys the 4gb limit of a 32-bit piece of software. Of course, this is also limited by physical memory available. So if you have 16gb of RAM, your application won’t be able to exceed this limit. So yes, you would have “unlimited” memory space available, you’ll all always be limited by your hardware. Additionally, if a developer doesn’t optimise their software or has bugs which leads to memory leakage, then you’ll still eventually hit your “OOM” limit.

64-bit won’t fix all OOM issues, but it will certainly give a LOT more breathing space than a 32-bit program will.

Keep Reading

JustFlight cancels 787

In the latest JustFlight newsletter, which you can sign up for here, JustFlight announced that their upcoming 787 in the F-Lite series of aircraft has unfortunately been cancelled.

The 787 was cancelled because of “We have been unable to achieve an acceptable balance between functionality and performance in FSX and Prepar3D”

This caused the team at JustFlight to cancel the 787 rather than releasing an unfinished product that would not meet the JustFlight standards.

The JustFlight 787 would have been a part of the F-Lite series, aimed at new simmers. The systems in the F-Lite series are basic, but a level or two above the default aircraft. Giving new simmers an opportunity to get more familiar with complex aircraft when stepping up from the default aircraft without jumping straight into a product like the PMDG NGX or the FSLabs A320X.

P3D Nvidia VAS Leak Fixed?

Nvidia released a driver update for their GeForce graphics cards, version 378.49 which was reported to leak VAS. They later released another update, version 378.66 which fixed the leak but still had P3D running high VAS usage. The only solution was to roll back to version 376.33 and hope Nvidia fixed the issue.

After being a little annoyed, I actually took it upon myself to simply report this issue to Nvidia using their forums. Prepar3d doesn’t get much, if any, attention in the GeForce forums so it isn’t any surprise the problem existed in two driver builds. After posting the issue with links to the Prepar3d forums I was asked to try the hotfix 378.72 driver to see if the problem was fixed.

I’m happy to say the hotfix driver solved everything and appears to be stable with P3D! In addition, I am actually seeing better VAS results than I was on the 378.66 build. So, if you’d like to update your drivers, go ahead and grab the 378.72 build and see how it goes for you.

Vidan Design release Billund X

Vidan Design can add another airport to their long list of Danish airports. Billund, Denmarks second largest airport and one of its busiest cargo centres is now available for FSX and P3D. Vidan Design have put a lot of effort into the features for this scenery: there are a lot of custom buildings, vehicles and vegetation, there are photorealistic ground textures, animating traffic, SODE jetways and much more. They have even gone as far as modelling the city of Billund itself! You can pick up this scenery for €15,96 from SimMarket right now, or wait for our review that will come soon!

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Virtavia update C-17 and B-29 for Prepar3d

Are you a big fan of the huge military aircrafts C-17 and B-29 but were always a little bummed out because these weren’t available in Prepar3d? Be sad no longer! Virtavia has updated their amazing and detailed renditions of these iconic aircraft to Prepar3d. Both aircraft come with a very high quality model and textures, several liveries, 3D cockpits and a huge list of detailed and accurate animations.

You can find these products on the homepage of Virtavia and purchase them through several retailers. The B-29 goes for €30,- whereas the C-17 goes for €37,-. If you have previously purchased these products you can email Virtavia with your product details and get the upgrade for free.

That’s not all the good news from Virtavia however. They have also let us know that they will be working on bringing more of their aircraft over to Prepar3d.

REX Environment Force status update

I’m sure that many of you are wondering whatever happened to REX Environment Force just as much as we are. It has been pretty quiet around the product for a long time. Only a few updates back in December 2016 were given. These announced the products moving from a development phase to a beta testing phase. But a few hours ago REX finally gave us an update again!

In a small forum post REX announced that Environment Force has gone back to the development phase. They say that they are about 85% done with beta testing, but there are still a few things that need to be changed for both FSX and Prepar3d. Once these things are integrated and tested the product will continue testing before being integrated with its user interface.

Active Sky 16 and Active Sky Cloud Art for P3D updated

As we all know P3D got a hotfix yesterday. One of the things that usually holds people back from updating straight away, is Active Sky.

Not this time though. Soon after Lockheed Martin released the hotfix, Hifi Simtech released the update required for Active Sky 16 and Active Sky Cloud Art to work with the new hotfix.

The full changelog can be found on the Active Sky forums. For the sake of convenience it has also been pasted in this article.

Changelog:AS16
– Fixed an issue where custom weather METAR was not included in current_wx_snapshot.txt
– Added functionality where Disabling cloud motion effect (cloud options) now prevents all high-res cloud detection and should improve performance when in/near clouds
– Attempted improved P3D volumetric fog visibility blending to prevent visibility from rendering too low in certain cases as well as improving performance
– Fixed a get runway API issue
– P3D Compatibility Updates for version 3.4.22.19868
– Added new Random Light Chop Percentage option, default 25%, which controls the frequency of experience random light chop turbulence independent of weather conditions
– Adjusted wind/jet layer boundary turbulence triggers to be less severe based on user feedback
– Fixed annoyance issue where AS wx theme would not be selected in saved flights as a BMP theme file was missing (did not affect weather depiction, only wx theme name shown in saved flights)
– Added reference to FSX:SE with explanation of potential path names within Simconnect chapters of the user’s guide
– Improved documentation regarding maximum wind shear setting affecting gusts, and added this notation in the options detail (options UI)ASCA
– Adjusted all overcast models for increased performance
– Added new Overcast Quality slider setting providing 3 options: High Performance (full left), Balanced (middle) and High Quality (right). Higher performance = less coverage and higher frame rates. Higher quality = more coverage and lower frame rates. Defaults to Balanced, which is improved in frames approximately 20% from previous SP1 overcast, with minimal coverage loss.
– Updated documentation to reflect changes, and added a Performance Considerations section which is a recommended read for all ASCA users.

For more information, stay tuned to FSElite and the Active Sky forums.

PMDG 747 v3 release imminent

So just a few minutes ago, Robert Randazzo posted another update regarding the new 747 v3 on the PMDG General Forum over on Avsim. Boy is this a big one.

The update reads:

“Captains,

“Ladies and gentlemen, we will begin boarding PMDG Flight Operations, flight number 1 shortly.  Your flight today will operated onboard our brand new flagship 747-400 Queen of the Skies II, flagship.  We are just waiting on the crew to finish their preflight checks… We will have more information for you shortly!””

For more information, stay tuned to FSElite.

TFDi announce Community Beta

A lot of news over from the guys at TFDi design on their recently released Boeing 717. In a post on their blog they announce that they are working on a new update for this product. This update, named 1.0.6.0, will bring introduce many requested features such as pop-up 2D displays and panels and the ability to hide the yoke. This update will also bring new tools with it that TFDi will use to analyse some of the edge-cases and issues that people have been reporting. It is yet unknown when this update will go live.

Wanna get access to this update already though? TFDi also announced to be working with a new way of distribution that just so happens to allow you to! Their Community Opt-In Beta project has gone live and will allow you to download 1.0.6.0. Keep in mind that this is a beta and everything is subject to change. This will allow TFDi to work on perfecting the next update for everyone while being able to get some test-results directly from you.

Interested in the TFDi Boeing 717 and want to know more? Recently we took our time to make a great review on it which you can read here. Or head over to our YouTube to check out our video on it!