• Which the release of FS2020 we see an explosition of activity on the forun and of course we are very happy to see this. But having all questions about FS2020 in one forum becomes a bit messy. So therefore we would like to ask you all to use the following guidelines when posting your questions:

    • Tag FS2020 specific questions with the MSFS2020 tag.
    • Questions about making 3D assets can be posted in the 3D asset design forum. Either post them in the subforum of the modelling tool you use or in the general forum if they are general.
    • Questions about aircraft design can be posted in the Aircraft design forum
    • Questions about airport design can be posted in the FS2020 airport design forum. Once airport development tools have been updated for FS2020 you can post tool speciifc questions in the subforums of those tools as well of course.
    • Questions about terrain design can be posted in the FS2020 terrain design forum.
    • Questions about SimConnect can be posted in the SimConnect forum.

    Any other question that is not specific to an aspect of development or tool can be posted in the General chat forum.

    By following these guidelines we make sure that the forums remain easy to read for everybody and also that the right people can find your post to answer it.

Keeping Prepar3D Competitive with MSFS

There are surely a lot of people out there that are going to stick with P3D. It is a good sim and with a little work, could continue on for many years without users having to leave behind all the money they paid for planes, utilities, and scenery. If anyone is interested, I am working on upgrading the sim by adding improved 10m terrain mesh (the continental United States is about 1/3 finished, see link below).

Other projects include:
  • water vectors (to include dams, streams, wetland textures, beaches, and glaciers);
  • transportation vectors (road, rail, traffic);
  • wind turbines, utilities, and electric substations;
  • woodland polys;
  • accurate airports;
  • accurate autogen buildings from real-world footprints;
  • photoreal scenery and other improvements
If anyone is interested in helping, please contact me via private message.

Best regards,
 
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Having flown MSFS for the first time, I think that the improvements I have made to my P3D (v4.5) are as good -- or actually better in spots -- than MSFS. Granted, I have put in months of work and am limited to certain areas of the United States, given that I am using taxpayer-funded source data, and I could fly anywhere in the world with the new sim. But I still think it's possible to have a P3D equivalent of Benchmark Sims' Falcon simulator. It's a heavily modded version of the Falcon 4.0 game released in the mid-to-late 1990s that makes for a spectacular combat sim. With a team of contributors, we could revitalize our P3D and keep flying.

Any thoughts?
 
Hey Chris, I have a ton of Data that may be useful for you for the USA and updates, I just got bogged down with life the last few years but I have huge amounts of upgrades ready to go. Mostly code complete too although they could use extra TLC on the autogen side.
 
@crushnik
little confused with regards to the scope mentioned above,
in v5 LM already implemented many of your wish list features,
granted its not ironed out yet but its there from the technical aspect,
 
Well my 10m terrain mesh for the United States is almost complete and getting ready for official release.
I've nearly got the workflow ironed out so that I have photoreal scenery that has accurately placed trees and buildings, although there is room for improvement to the scripts for both.
Water shows through the imagery where it's supposed to.
Airports are being modified to go where they belong, although I haven't had time to learn sloped runways yet (the only thing I knew that version 5 had implemented).
I have accurate utility lines, substations, and wind turbines. Working on other obstacles like grain elevators, cranes, and so on.

It's a lot of work for one person who has to learn all this as he goes, so with a team of people working on this it can compete with the new Flight Simulator and people wouldn't have to leave behind planes and other content that they have spent a lot of money on. There are some aspects that the new flight sim has it beat on, like flight dynamics and so on, but with all the changes I've made to my P3D (v4), I actually prefer it to Microsoft's. I may just have to leave P3D behind and convert my work to FS2020 but I wanted to see if there was an interest, given that there are actually still a lot of people flying sims older than FSX.
 
have you looked into v5 data set yet?
most of what you listed has been implemented in v5 including new DEM's worldwide!
v5 is compatible with all earlier add-ons etc.
  • water vectors (to include dams, streams, wetland textures, beaches, and glaciers);
  • transportation vectors (road, rail, traffic);
  • wind turbines, utilities, and electric substations;
  • woodland polys;
 
Well that's a plus.

Switching to P3D (v4.5) was a huge leap forward from FSX for me, but I could tell they didn't put a lot of work into parts of it. With the new Microsoft flight sim coming out, and since I didn't hear much of anything from users that upgraded to v5, I didn't know if they changed much for v5 other than just enough to give them something "new" to release. And most importantly, I hadn't heard much of anything positive from users since most people that could upgrade to the new sim were planning on doing that and not sinking more money into P3D.
 
As I lightly mentioned in PM, I have half of the USA already built with photoscenery, full water maps, full USA wide autogen and full night lights, it just got to be a pain updating installers and the sim chokes with the autogen system once you scale it to that level. Think 3 day load time for over 10 million autogen files nation wide each at 1kb or so. So for a few states autogen will work fine, but once you have the entire country you can't basically open up the sim. Unless LM updates the autogen system to load large chunks of data trust me, it's not worth pursuing, you'll run into the same roadblocks. Even on an NVMe M.2, 5 GB/s PCIe 4 SSD you just can't load that data in, it'll read at a few kb/s you're talking days to load up the sim. I spent 14 years developing the entire system, and finally v4.5 could do all I needed in terms of night lights, but the autogen system finally broke it's back, even with v5. I've been trying to get in the ear of LM's team but haven't pursued it any further after MSFS was announced.

I have water mapping (to a very very very high level of detail, even seasonal variations), full autogen buildings and forests for all of the USA, and full USA wide night lighting that I started developing in 2007 (first experiments were working with Allen Kriesman's Ultimate Traffic Lights Data to add light pools on the ground).

I am about to re-launch the Photoscenery line for P3D v4.5 and up but there's still a bug that is killing frame rates between 0-500 ft AGL. Until LM fix that it's not usable.
 
Hi Dean:

I do not have P3Dv5 to test, but AFAIK, loading of LOD-13 Autogen tiles is still controlled by the Geographic coordinates of a user aircraft and the user-assigned LOD Radius (whether Horizontal, Vertical, (or tangential) relative to a coincident terrain surface of the FS 3D world as rendered at run time.

Could you please explain in more detail what you allude to above ? :oops:

IIUC, the post as currently worded seems to infer one must necessarily load all LOD-13 Autogen tiles into a local P3D flight session, regardless of the Geographic coordinates of a user aircraft and the user-assigned LOD Radius setting ...relative to a coincident terrain surface of the rendered FS 3D world. :scratchch

Thanks in advance for any clarification you might provide on this intriguing related sub-topic. :)

GaryGB
 
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H
Hi Dean:

I do not have P3Dv5 to test, but AFAIK, loading of LOD-13 Autogen tiles is still controlled by the Geographic coordinates of a user aircraft and the user-assigned LOD Radius (whether Horizontal, Vertical, (or tangential) relative to a coincident terrain surface of the FS 3D world as rendered at run time.

Could you please explain in more detail what you allude to above ? :oops:

IIUC, the post as currently worded seems to infer one must necessarily load all LOD-13 Autogen tiles into a local P3D flight session, regardless of the Geographic coordinates of a user aircraft and the user-assigned LOD Radius setting ...relative to a coincident terrain surface of the rendered FS 3D world. :scratchch

Thanks in advance for any clarification you might provide on this intriguing related sub-topic. :)

GaryGB
Hi Gary,

When you install the scenery and assign them P3D/FSX have to track down every file to reference it, it's not about display but loading the data into the sim, I have a 5 GB/s NVMe SSD, the problem is the AGN files are all 1-10 KB, multiply that by over a million (I'll get an exact count for you), the sim literally chokes for days, I can't load the autogen in. Doesn't matter what version it's how hard drives read that number of files. It's the same as generating each photoscenery tile to it's own LOD, you end up with hundreds of thousands or even millions of tiles. I learned that one the hard way back in 2007.

LM need to make it so that AGN files cover more than a 256x256 5m per pixel tile, the AGN tech goes way back to FS2000 or 2002 I think and having that many files chokes the system, we need AGN files that are merged into a massive file like photoscenery BGL's can be so it's not loading a billion micro AGN files, ideally being able to have one AGN file with statewide data would help.

[EDIT: how I know this is because I have USA wide autogen, and watched the process of it reading in the files, I did about 1/2 the USA at once and it took about 12-24 hours for the sim to boot up and get to the main menu as it loaded all the data in, it's why I never finished up Ultimate VFR USA because at the end of the day people wouldn't be able to load it]

[EDIT 2: I'd be happy to demo what happens in a video sometime :D ]
 
I would indeed welcome seeing more info on what you described above.
Me too... Just spit-balling ideas since I'd love to see some of Dean's handiwork in action:

I install autogen vegetation for my scenery one 1-degree tile at a time, and that is just woodland shapefiles -- not individual trees. So the amount of data you're working with is staggering. I wonder if it could work if the sim wasn't trying to import everything all at once, like if the autogen was installed on a state-by-state basis. It would be a lot of work for the user, but surely there could be some kind of installer program that could help with the workload. Plus, you might spend most of your time over Missouri or California and you wouldn't necessarily need significant portions of the rest of the country.

Or maybe another program might make the difference. I ran into serious problems with excluding hydro shapefiles that cut major portions of the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico out off the Florida coast when using SBuilderX, but now I have learned how to script a good deal of things using Arno's wonderful and constantly improving ScenProc program and I don't have that issue any more. Maybe some fresh eyes and a different program would make a major difference.
 
@=Hollywood=
from my experience anything above 250k - 500k file count sim will choke,
3/4 to 1 million and up is just not practical or feasible atm with any open simulation platform!

small allocation blocks may help speed loading/reading small autogen files,

alloc.jpg
 
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