Money Down the Drain

Over the past several weeks I’ve been catching up on the latest information regarding all things Flight Sim.  I can’t help but notice so many people are just throwing their hard earned money down the drain.  I simply don’t understand it.  What am I talking about?  I’m talking about my fellow flight simmers who are wasting their money on Prepar3d v4.  Allow me to explain.

History Repeating Itself?

Going back to the early days of FSX, we flight simmers spent a lot of time tweaking just about everything we could tweak in an effort to eek out an additional few FPS and also do our level best to avoid the dreaded OOM or Out of Memory error.  Those were fun times…NOT!

Initially the process went something like this.  Run FSX (same applied for P3D v1, v2 and v3) on a 64 bit OS to take advantage of the full 4GB of VAS (virtual address space).  In comparison, a 32 bit OS would only allow you 2GB of VAS.  But you still had to pray constantly that your payware departure airport, your payware aircraft and your payware arrival airport (plus all the scenery in between) didn’t produce an OOM on final approach.  How frustrating to spend 2, 4, 8 or more hours flying to experience that annoying dinging sound in the final 5-10 minutes of flight then ***POOF*** the OOM error and then CTD.

As more time progressed, additional tweaks were discovered which would gain you a very small percentage of performance.   Tweaks to the .cfg file and tweaks using Nvidia Inspector would gain you even more performance.  It was all worth it, because even the smallest performance gain could mean the difference between success or failure.

I must give credit to both Dovetail Games and Lockheed Martin.  First Dovetail, DTG were successful at improving their FSX: Steam Edition.  FSX: SE performed much, much better than the older FSX Boxed Edition.  Likewise, with the release of Lockheed Martin’s Prepar3d v3.x, even more performance related changes were made which reduced the OOM’s and CTD’s considerably, unfortunately….not completely.

A Brand New Day

About a year ago, I wrote a piece titled “The Last OOM?” The very next day I followed that article up with another piece titled “Flight Simulator 11 is finally here”.  Both articles were focused on the much anticipated release of Prepar3D v4.  P3D v4 was the first 64 bit flight sim platform based on the ESP platform and we all held our breath as we installed it, loaded it up with our add-ons and took the skies.

Bad Habits are hard to break

Unfortunately, they really are.  I’ve mentioned many times about the large investment I’ve made over the years in my flight simulation hobby.  During the time between the release of FSX, P3D v2 and P3D v3…I had accumulated a great deal of 3rd party add-ons for the platform.  I’ve been extremely fortunate, that so much of my investment (especially with airport scenery) I made in the early days have been able to carry forward into the 64 bit world with no need to repurchase anything.  A few aircraft (PMDG, A2A) I’ve repurchased due to the change in license agreements…but I’ve gladly done this because I really enjoy this hobby.  But I made a decision the day I spent my $199 for the professional version of P3D v4, that only…AND I MEAN ONLY…add-ons 100% compatible with v4 would be installed into the sim.  Anything else is truly a waste of money.

Don’t Waste Money

This sort of ties back into the title of this blog posting.  This morning I was perusing through a few Facebook groups and saw multiple discussions regarding problems some folks are having with Prepar3D v4.x.  Everything I read could be summed up into one category and that would be “self-inflicted stupidity”.  Perhaps I’ve just coined a brand new term, but I doubt it as I often group some folks in my real world IT day job into that category.  Just stop the madness.

If you’ve spent your hard earned money to purchase Prepar3D v4, and you want the very best performance….just download it, install it and pretty much leave it alone.  You don’t need to spend a lot of time tweaking it and you most certainly don’t need Nvidia Inspector.  Install add-ons which are P3D v4 compatible, wait patiently (along with the rest of us) for others to be updated and made compatible and by all means, stop trying to hack old FS9 and early FSX add-ons into v4.  Just stop it!

Final Thoughts

Prepar3D v4 (currently v4.5) has been out almost one year.  During the past twelve months, dozens of 3rd party add-ons have been made v4 compatible with many more on the way (including the Aerosoft Airbus).  If you are a fan of the Microsoft ESP platform (like me), then P3D v4 is absolutely worth the cost and it will give you hours and hours and hours of rock solid performance with no OOM’s, CTD’s or other annoying issues which make you want to pull your hair out.  And it will do all this without spending hours, and hours and even more hours tweaking.

Until next time….

More flying….less tweaking!

Jerry

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