Yesterday I discussed the latest version of Prepar3D. Within about 15 minutes of publishing that article, I went ahead and pulled the trigger on P3Dv5 along with FSUIPC 6. If you’re not familiar with FSUIPC (and many flight simmers are not), well FSUIPC is a little utility which allows many add-ons to connect to P3D and also allows for better external flight control support in the sim. Most users can get by with the freeware version of FSUIPC. However, if you are like me and want to customize your 3rd party add-on hardware (throttles, joysticks, yokes etc.) then you need FSUIPC. But I digress…
It Is EVERYTHING and a box of chocolates
Of course, at this very instance the only thing installed into my new P3Dv5 setup is of course P3Dv5, FSUIPC and ActiveSky. As a matter of fact, ActiveSky is the main reason I went ahead and pulled the trigger on P3Dv5 now. Currently, ActiveSky for Prepar3D v5 is available as a beta at zero upgrade cost. The new version of ActiveSky is called ActiveSky P3D and if you owned the previous version for P3Dv4 (ASP4) then for the next 2-3 weeks you can upgrade to ActiveSky P3D at no cost. ActiveSky P3D will work for both P3Dv4 and P3Dv5. Once installed, it will prompt you to choose which simulator you want to use. Pretty slick.
But back to my statement, “It Is EVERYTHING and a box of chocolates”, the new Prepar3D v5 is truly amazing. While even in its vanilla state, I can see the benefits of the upgrade and I’m very pleased to have made the purchase.
One Step at a time
As I’ve mentioned before in other blog postings. If you truly want the best out of your sim experience, only install 3rd party add-ons which have been ported over by the developers. Don’t try to hack something into P3Dv5 which hasn’t been updated as you’ll likely only cause yourself issues and a lot of headaches.
All major developers are working as quickly as they can to get their add-ons available for P3Dv5. Spend some time just enjoying the vanilla sim and as add-ons are made available, install them. Until that time…continue flying in P3Dv4. This is my plan.
If I were to guess (and a lot of this is based on my move from P3Dv3 to v4) it could be several more weeks before we have everything available from the devs. Just be patient.
If you yourself are currently making the move to P3Dv5 or planning to, FSElite has a really good P3Dv5 Compatibility Database. They are documenting everything from add-on aircraft, airports, scenery and utilities.
More to Come
I’ll provide updates as more add-ons have been made available to P3Dv5. I’ll also share my settings as well. Currently, I have my P3Dv5 settings adjusted to mirror what I have set in P3Dv4. I figure this was a good starting point. I’ll tweak to get the very best performance and will share them.
Of course, at this very moment my FPS is phenomenal. But this is expected in a vanilla sim. As more add-ons are installed including scenery, airports and aircraft…the FPS will drop. As I’ve always said….don’t drive yourself crazy chasing 60FPS. I’ll be happy if DX12 and the enhancements made to v5 will give me a solid, smooth experience. This is what I have with v4 and it’s all I need in v5. Once I have made my tweaks, I’ll not pay much attention to FPS.
Thanks for taking the time to read my blog postings.
Until next time….
Somewhat off the heels of my recent The Basics of VATSIM tutorial, an updated tutorial on updating Prepar3D to version 4.5 and another little ditty on To Update or Not to Update Prepar3D, I’m going to discuss a few things related to VATSIM that has me slightly concerned. Most likely this will end up being more or less an opinion piece. Just remember, we’re all entitled to our own opinions. Your opinion may differ from mine and while I welcome you to comment…just keep your response civil. Thank you!
I was perusing the FSElite site earlier this morning and found an article dated 11 April of this year regarding a new FCOM VATSIM/IVAO Message Forwarding System which has been in testing and is now generally available.
In a nutshell, FCOM is designed to forward messages received through either the VATSIM or IVAO clients to a users Discord via private message. In the FSElite article on the subject of FCOM there is a short demo video which demonstrates the system working.
Anyone reading this posting or even the original at FSElite might be asking themselves, “What’s the Big Deal?” “This is pretty cool” and “this is just what I’ve been needing”. Sigh…
The VATSIM Code of Conduct clearly states, (Section A. 9) “When logging on to the VATSIM.net network, a member is not permitted to leave his or her connection unattended for a period in excess of thirty (30) minutes. If a member is unable to comply with this requirement, then he or she must log off of the VATSIM.net network. A member who is found to be unresponsive for more than thirty (30) minutes is subject to immediate removal from the network. Members who are found to repeatedly leave their connections unattended are subject to the terms of Article VI. of the VATSIM.net Code of Regulations.”
In my 18 years of being a member of VATSIM, belonging to and holding various staff positions in many virtual airlines and also running my very own for a few years, I’ve witnessed first hand and heard many accounts of this rule being broken. I’ve even witnessed this rule blatantly being abused by some prominent YouTube/Twitch Flight Simmers.
Of course, the punishment can be costly for those who repeatedly abuse this policy as mentioned above and documented in the VATSIM Code of Regulations. Specifically Article VI which discusses suspension and expulsion from the network. As I mentioned in the recent “The Basics of VATSIM tutorial”, VATSIM is serious about ensuring their network doesn’t turn into a wasteland of abusers like other multiplayer networks we may know about. Again, I’m looking at TruckersMP.
Here’s my concern with this. First, this is an already existing problem on the network. Many users will fire up a “Cross the Pond”flight just before going to bed and gamble that ATC won’t contact them or that they’ll hear the “ping” when they are sleeping just to get some hours in the system. You can read the sob stories of these same pilots on the VATSIM forums, Facebook groups etc. where they didn’t hear the ping and they promise never to do it again. So now a third party FCOM solution is introduced which will direct any messages a pilot might receive to their Discord via a private message. I can hear/see the sob stories of “I didn’t get a message”…please unsuspend me.
Look, I’m a busy guy. While I’ve been a VATSIM member from the beginning (18 years ago), I’ve racked up a total of 1,950 hours. While I realize this number only averages out to just over 100 hours per year…the vast majority of these hours are what I call “Butt in Seat” hours. Meaning, my rear end was in my chair with my headset on my head and me at the controls of my aircraft. Plus….and this is what I’m most proud of…in 18 years being a VATSIM member and accumulating almost 2000 flight hours on the network…I’ve never been suspended and I’ve never received a warning from a supervisor.
Yes, I do other things when I’m flying long flights. I get up to stretch my legs, I get up to go to the bathroom, I get up to go upstairs to get food or drink (as my wife refuses to be my trolley dolly) and yes I even occasionally will do tasks such as clean my office and even do laundry. What? You mean your Boeing 747 doesn’t have a washer and dryer in the back? But the time away from the virtual flight deck is generally no more than 10-15 minutes at a time.
Bottom line…if you’re going to enjoy the hobby of flight simulation, then be there for all the fun and adventure. Not somewhere else with your eyes/ears glued to your smartphone and Discord.
My God I can ‘bang on’ about stuff can’t I? OK…so for those who may not know, VATSIM will soon enable voice Unicom. For those who may not be fully aware of how Unicom works, I’ll tell you. When you are logged onto the VATSIM network and you are flying in uncontrolled airspace, we dial up the Unicom VHF frequency of 122.80. This allows the virtual pilot to type text messages which other pilots will see (within a short range of each other) so we can announce our intentions. This is specifically useful when you are either going to depart or land at an uncontrolled airport. Typically the type of messages I’ll send are as follows:
“KDFW Traffic, American 1066 push/start from gate C17, taxi to rwy 17R”. Then once I reach the runway, I’ll text “KDFW Traffic, American 1066 departing 17R via the MRSSH2 Departure to the SE”. Finally, “American 1066 clear rwy 17R”
“KDEN Traffic, American 1066 is inbound on the HUDAD2 Arrival, Crossing XXX and leaving FL380, expecting rwy 35L” Once I’m closer to the field I’ll message saying “KDEN Traffic, American 1066 is on 11nm final for rwy 35L” Finally, “KDEN Traffic, American 1066 clr 35L, taxi to A50”
While I will agree that texting on Unicom breaks the immersion, so does departing or landing at either DFW or DEN with no ATC.
For the past 18 years, the Unicom frequency of 122.80 has been text only. Even with this frequency being “text only” it does get abused from time to time. The purpose of Unicom (as I described above) is merely to announce your intensions so other pilots are aware and to avoid (if possible) any issues. This often is abused with pilots using Unicom as an instant message/chat platform. However, even when it’s being abused…it’s not as annoying as I can imagine it will be on voice.
From what I understand, once implemented…the voice Unicom frequency will behave very similar to how it does today with text. The range will be slightly higher when in the air and much less when on the ground. But my main concern is when voice Unicom is abused (and it will be) it’s going to be a royal pain in the backside.
While I do enjoy having gate to gate ATC, generally when I’m flying on VATSIM it’s either early in the morning or late at night and I can’t always be guaranteed ATC coverage. I’m a bit strange when it comes to picking my flights as I rarely hop around. I typically resume my flight from the airport I last landed. After all, in the real world our teleport capabilities just aren’t ready for prime time. So having said that, I tend to fly A LOT in uncontrolled airspace. When I’m sitting at the flight deck I might be reading, watching TV or even typing a blog article as I happen to be doing now high above the Gulf of Mexico as I fly my American Airlines PMDG Boeing 737-800 from the Big Easy (KMSY) down to Miami (KMIA) to setup for a trip later down to Princes Juliana International Airport (TNCM) on the beautiful island of St. Maarten. The last thing I want to experience is someone else abusing the frequency with discussions about what they are eating for dinner. If I wanted to hear that, I would fire up my ham radios (which by the way, I do often have them on and listening to a traffic net). Anyway….
My wife tells me I’m turning into a grumpy old man. Well I’ve earned it! LOL Of course, VATSIM has stated that they’ll monitor Unicom and handle any abuse of the frequency with swift action. If it becomes a wasteland of abuse, VATSIM has stated they will switch it off. We’ll see and I’m hopefully optimistic all will function as they hope. After all, yes….I will agree that announcing your intentions or hearing from other pilots is much, much easier than typing. Just don’t wreck my tranquil environment.
OK…I’ve gotta go now. I’m less than 50nm from Miami and I need to pay attention to what I’m doing here. Plus I need to announce my intentions on Unicom since there’s no ATC and many other aircraft in the vicinity.
Until next time…