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New In Version 3
04-20-2017, 03:38 AM
Post: #1
New In Version 3
Despite all the previous stuff, Prepar3D v3 is not without new features. It’s not only fixes or small updates. The first and most visible of these, is a tuned graphical user interface. Not too important a change, but I like it. The blue is a bit darker in both the desktop icon, the splash screen and the menus. Overall, a good looking and professional layout. Many other new features are much less visible, basically being ‘under the hood’. One of these is the tweaked memory handing. While still being a 32-bit application (and as such, limited to 4GB of memory usage), its memory system received quite a big update, with unused memory items now being unloaded much, much more efficiently, something especially long-haul virtual pilots will appreciate to great extent.

Another ‘under the hood’ change is that P3D now supports Adobe Flash content, using the Autodesk Scaleform middleware to integrate it into the simulator environment. In fact, several parts of the User Interface in P3Dv3 were rebuilt to use this technology. I’m not sure how much the general flight simulation community is going to notice of this new possibility in third-party add-ons, because it’s something that will limit backwards compatibility with FSX or previous versions of P3D. It is very interesting however, for more specialised applications, or when a developer is not concerned with backwards compatibility.
Another change is that P3D now aims to have most third party content installed outside the main installation folder. It’ll still work just fine the old way though, so no need to worry if third party content creators don’t follow just yet.
The most visible new gameplay feature is the Avatar mode. This mode allows you to walk around your aircraft with a completely modelled and animated human figure. Some might call this an unnecessary visual gimmick. But in my opinion it’s a nice addition. Think about the possibility of doing an exterior pre-flight walk around, or walking up to your aircraft on the flight line in a scenario.
Another new feature mentioned is the support for the so-called SpeedTrees. These are high detail, animated 3D trees. Especially the ‘animated’ part begs attention here.

That’s enough of the theory. Let’s see how this new version handles. For this part of the review, I’ll stick to the simulator in stock condition, with no third party add-ons whatsoever.

Whatever version you decide to go for, buying a license is actually quite a simple process on the prepar3d.com website. One slight downside is that the only payment option is to use a credit card. Whereas more ‘general public’ aimed websites are now offering other payment methods like Paypal, bank transfer or others in addition to credit cards, this is not the case here.

Installation is a simple case of first downloading the installer, running it, and entering your serial the first time you run the simulator. The download is not insignificant though, a 10GB zip-file. If you have a slow or unreliable internet connection, this might be a troublesome. Luckily, there’s also the option to download the required files separately. The total size is the same, but the individual parts are much more manageable.
Actually running the installer was simple and straightforward. No issues here. I would still recommend installing outside the ‘program files’ folder on your pc, but the reasons for that are Windows related, not specific to P3D. One major change compared to older versions, is that v3 now splits the application in 3 parts: client, content and scenery. Each of these parts can be installed and uninstalled separately, and thus also updated seperately. You do need all of them combined to run the sim though, obviously.
Activation happens when you first run P3D v3. You get the option to either activate online, or use another computer to activate. I just used the online option, and this worked without a hassle.

Lockheed Martin released a first update for P3D v3 while I was writing this review. The update to v3.1 doesn’t change anything in the installation process if you’re new to version 3. If you had version 3.0 installed, the update to 3.1 gives the first insight into the upsides of the new installation structure. The only required update is for the P3D v3 client application, and is less than 200MB in size. Updating the content and scenery is possible, but not required. Those will deliver some fixes and updates, but nothing too significant.

courtesy of simflight
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