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Tutorial Getting the most out of P3D and your Sim.

Discussion in 'Prepar3D' started by Archie, May 19, 2015.

  1. Archie

    Archie Eternal tinkerer

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    First, I have to thank @noorbeast for re-igniting my interest in Flight sims with his recommendation of Prepar3D!

    I can't afford flying sessions, but my friend has his private pilot license so I have been for a few
    circuits in a Cessna at my local strip with me at the controls. (YWOL)

    While I love a good racing Sim, flight sims was my passion, however FSX was never very stable and had a
    few issues, not least being a 32bit application in a 64bit world - So I lost interest years ago...

    Then came along Prepar3D. (v2.5 the latest (and best) iteration)

    If you are even remotely interested in taking to the virtual skies, this is the software for you.
    It's based on the FSX engine, but they started again from the ground up to give a good flying experience
    on even the most modest of systems.

    My system is not a beast by any stretch, but I can max out most of the sliders and get good frame rates (25+)
    (I can see racing players shaking their heads at less than 60fps,
    but for a Flight sim anything around 25fps and above is fine :) )

    My systems specs:
    i7-4770 3.4Ghz
    GB Z87M-D3HP Motherboard
    16 GB RAM
    GTX 750Ti.

    If I could recommend one hardware upgrade...
    Dedicate an SSD to Prepar3D (240GB) and install it and all the add-ons to this drive.
    Each time you move airports the shaders and textures regenerate which on a
    standard SATA disk can take some time. On an SSD it's seconds.

    Setting up for Simtools:
    @value1 changed this plugin to behave more like the Elite Dangerous plugin and the you get a far better
    flight experience because of it.

    If you use traditional roll and pitch (as you would for Racing games) when you do a 180 roll in an aircraft
    the sim will reset the Roll axis and "snap" the simulator back to the opposite angle, so you get "rocked" around when it should
    be a lean to the right or left, not "bounced" left and right.

    To fix this, you use EXTRA2 for ROLL and EXTRA1 for Pitch.
    The behaviour has changed so that as you lean into a right roll for example, the sim will lean to the right, but as you
    make the roll faster, the sim will take advantage of the axis and lean even further. As you exit the roll, the sim will slowly
    level out (using smoothing.. will get to that soon) and the roll feels much more natural.

    I can't give screen shots unfortunately as I'm not at home at the moment, but My settings for Prepar3D are:

    Extra 2 - 90% - Smoothing 25% (ROLL)
    Extra 1 - 90% - Smoothing 25% (PITCH)
    Heave - 20% - No smoothing
    Surge - 20% - No smoothing

    Now, those numbers don't add up to 100%, however in a flight sim the axis movements are much more subtle, so in a roll or climb
    I want to get the full range from my sim, so I have it set to 90% and then tune the "tuning centre" to get the feel
    that I want. This is a personal choice and you will need to experiment.

    In short, if you are using 90% pitch and 90% roll at the same time in a plane, you're likely in trouble!!

    (I don't use Sway, but might experiment with it soon to give the sideways movement you feel in turbulence.)

    The smoothing enables the sim to return to "level" in a controlled manner. This makes a huge difference to pitch because
    if you get this value right along with heave it will give the sensation of the plane "settling" as you level off. Planes don't
    reach height and just stop, they reach an altitude and then level off, in a curve. These two settings help with that sensation.

    Thankfully I had a few of the good add-ons for FSX which I can install into Prepar3D, otherwise it can get expensive!!

    These are the add on's I have and their rough costs.
    (I have got these over the years, but if you had to get these all at once,
    it would be expensive... But we are SIM BUILDERS!! Cost is secondary!! ;) )

    Software
    Prepar3D US$60

    Add-ons
    A2A Cessna 172R AU$40
    ORBX FTX Global AU$40
    ORBX FTX Vector AU$40 (Recent purchase)
    ORBX FTX England AU$30
    ORBX FTX Australia AU$30
    ORBX FTX Europe OpenLC AU$45
    ORBX FTX YWOL Airport AU$20 (My local strip)
    ORBX FTX Tress HD AU$20
    Active Sky Next AU$50 (Realtime Weather Engine)
    REX 4 Texture Direct + Soft Clouds AU$50 (Environment Textures like Water / Sea / Grass)

    Hardware
    Cessna Pro Yoke and Throttle Quadrant AU$200
    Home made rudder pedals ($$ no idea)
    ROCCAT flight Panel (Home made / free) (Controls Gears / Flaps / Auto Pilot / Radio / NAV / Map / GPS / ILS )
    TrackIR5 ($$ can't recall)

    I will likely add more to the thread as I tinker and prod with various settings.
    I'm new to Active Sky Next so still tinkering with the best settings for that.

    With all of the above installed and most sliders maxed, I still get good FPS.

    If anyone is interested in my settings, I will post screenshots when I am able.

    Thanks for reading!

    Archie.
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  2. noorbeast

    noorbeast VR - The Next Generation Staff Member Moderator

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    Thanks so much for the extensive introduction, overview and tips @Archie, it is nice to see flight simming getting specific attention on how to best set it up for motion sims, and how to get the most out of it. I really like your SSD recommendation.

    I hope we can have similar plugin functionality added to other flight titles in future upgrades, as it makes such a difference in realism. What it means is that with Extra2 and the settings you describe you can do an 8 point roll and between each of the 8 points the sim is actually giving the sensation of moving to the right each time, as the pause between each is enough for the smoothing to kick in. If you do a fast roll to the right with something like the Raptor jet the sim remains to the right and the smoothing will washout to level once the stick is released, so it feels far more realistic, particularly with the Rift as you also see the visual in game cues matching the motion sensation.

    While Prepar3D looks great on monitors it is just awesome in VR, that takes it to a whole other level of realism...so for serious flight simmers start saving your pennies, VR is expensive for the headset and beefy computer to maintain high FPS, but it is worth every cent!
    • Agree Agree x 2
  3. SilentChill

    SilentChill Problem Maker

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    Well I have finally got my P3D working really well I don't know if it was a mixture of the new oculus runtime or the new nVidia drivers but I have it working nicely in the Rift using DCOC. Still using 2.4 as 2.5 is terrible in the rift.

    I have Just installed MyTraffic 6 and the traffic management program from avsim which increases my FPS by 10 with the traffic set to 50% the airports are really alive also I have got TrafficSound 3D and with the help of the author I have the nice sound of real engines on all the AI Planes.

    I like flying around Florida for nostalgia more than anything but I do a run from KMCO and KMIA. I have the taxi2gate Orlando airport scenery installed and also Latin Miami both are really great additions.

    I have Rex with soft clouds and also orbx global and vector installed.

    I use the PMDG 737 this is the only aircraft I have got other than the default but it's good enough for short haul. I'm thinking of getting the 777 for some longhaul or maybe the ifly 747 I don't know yet will have to see.


    I really want to get "Active Sky Next" next which I probably will but I can see it killing my frame rate. I need to get the demo installed and give it a try.

    Now the biggest problem I have using the rift is that no cockpit sounds are played unles you click on the dead window for DCOC then you can hear everything but you can not adjust any instruments because as soon as you click back into the main VR window it loses focus of the other window and all the sounds are muted again. I have emailed CrazyNorman to see if there is a work around but I can't figure it out at all. I have tried editing aircraft sound.cfg files but to no avail as yet. And also if you have your speakers set to anything more than stereo the sound of the engines are really bad you can only hear them when you turn your head left or right which is very unrealistic as when you face straight forward put the throttle to 100% you can't hear a thing till you twist your head.

    Has anyone else got around this problem with the cockpit sounds ?


    If it wasn't for the sound issues this would be a perfect implementation for the rift in P3D.

    And soon I will be destroying my 3DOF and creating my 6DOF because I really need proper sway and heave for flightsimming.
  4. noorbeast

    noorbeast VR - The Next Generation Staff Member Moderator

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    Sorry my sim is in bits, and I just destroyed another JRK, so it will be for a while, so I cant test directly @SilentChill.

    But from recollection I had sound when looking forward but it did change as you moved your head left and right, so it was louder in the ear closest to the front, which is what you would expect. However, it seems how sound is implemented for a model can result in problems, see here re heli sound issues: http://www.reddit.com/r/oculus/comments/32ewh0/sound_issues_with_dcocprepar3d_and_dodosim_206/

    So my first suggestion is try different planes and check if the sound issue is constant or varies between models.
  5. Archie

    Archie Eternal tinkerer

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    I'm not sure about the Rift, but for me Active Sky Next has not really had that much of a hit on my FPS. When I hit a massive storm, I can lose maybe 2-6FPS, but nothing too drastic. I was very surprised how little impact ASN has on overall FPS given the massive improvement in cloud textures and volumetric fog when combined with REX4 TD / Soft Clouds. It's worth it just to see a distant storm building with lightning effects and distant thunder sounds.

    I mainly fly the A320/A318 now as I like learning the systems and the FMC. How does the PMDG 737 behave for you @SilentChill - I've heard the VC view on this is a frame killer?!?

    I tend to fly the commercial airliners from cold and dark to get the "full effect"
    CAT3 ILS approaches with the A320 are awesome, and I am tempted to try my hand at the 737.

    Is MyTraffic 6 good? I miss having living Airports to land at, but like you I was worried about frame rate.

    What's the best add-on for Ground Systems, like airbridges and push-back etc?
  6. cthiggin

    cthiggin Active Member

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    My Motion Simulator:
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    Yes, PMDG 737 cuts your frame rates in v2.5...............but on my system, not enough to cause problems.
    MT6 Professional is just super..........installed with no burps...........run my traffic slider on 50 and with that, it doesn't appear to hurt me at all.
    I use the DreamTeam for Ground Systems...have for about 3 years and it does a very good job.....
    Along with ECZA, FSUIPC Purchased edition, AccuFeel.............Most Orbx-FTX Sceneries + Global & Vector, REX products.....
    I'm very happy with Prepar3d.............it's just getting better and better.................

    I am really looking forward to the RTM Rift.............I've tried several 3D setups, including a true 3D Monitor several years ago...............they all were "just OK" for me, but none where I had
    hoped to be...........
  7. Archie

    Archie Eternal tinkerer

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    Thanks @cthiggin - I will check out MT6 and DreamTeam for Ground...

    EZCA is awesome. I never really played with it before. Shame the WorldCam seems impossible to set up, the other views are excellent however.
  8. noorbeast

    noorbeast VR - The Next Generation Staff Member Moderator

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    My Motion Simulator:
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    Other than licensing I have been happy with Prepar3D, but already notice the VR performance hit of addons with the overclocked GTX 970, which for me is OrbX base, Vector, AU, Tasmania, tree pack, airports, plus extra aircraft. I can run everything maxed out on a monitor, but not on the Rift.

    There will likely be tradeoffs between how high we can push the visual settings with consumer VR, 90fps is a fair target even with Oculus VR Direct, Asynchronous timewarp, and Late Latching. Valve is not going with Asynchronous timewarp but that doe not necessarily mean it will be disadvantaged performance wise: http://www.reddit.com/r/oculus/comments/2yp10s/valve_opts_out_of_time_warp/

    It is yet unknown what DX12 and Nvidia/AMD will contribute in terms of VR performance enhancement, it will be significant but may well have a few development bumps in the road.

    Hence, I am holding off on further Prepar3D enhancements until consumer VR and the next gen graphics cards have landed.
  9. SilentChill

    SilentChill Problem Maker

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    I have used the PMDG 737 for a long time and the VR cockpit is no worse than others I have tried. One good thing most of the instruments are easily readable in the Rift.

    Opusfsi are currently trying to implement the Rift so I am looking out for them releasing the beta version and as soon as they do I think I may purchase it.

    I downloaded active sky next last night and I may try ground services too but I don't know how that will work in the Rift if it works at all.

    I have to trade off a lot of gfx to get half decent frame rate In the Rift. I have textures on High, 4 x smaa and 16 x anisotropic. I have mesh on 5m I think and texture 30cm Tessellation on medium LOD on medium and water on high. I have all effects turned down low and all shadows turned off , clouds on 80m with medium density. Autogen is dense for airport normal for vegetation and dense for buildings. Traffic is 50% ai and 10% GA and no cars or boats, ships and ferries on 40% Its still not super smooth but its good enough for the moment. Can't remember exact settings as I'm at work now but they are something like that Lol.

    I have my GTX970 over clocked as fast as it can be before it throttles for power and my cpu Is a 3570k oc'd from 3.4 to 4.6. I only have 8gig of ram but since the new runtime and running P3d in direct mode I have not had one OOM error which is good.

    @noorbeast the sound issue is deffinately something to do with the add on aircraft as the pre installed ones the sounds are all ok. It's a right pain in the butt can't do anything to get them to work right.
  10. noorbeast

    noorbeast VR - The Next Generation Staff Member Moderator

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    Just wild speculation here but the sound issue for addon planes may have to do with the wider changes to the P3D file structure, there have been quite a few of those over the last couple of updates.
  11. Archie

    Archie Eternal tinkerer

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    @SilentChill - forgot to mention, with Active Sky Next you get thermals, wind shear and cloud turbulence. For a motion sim on P3D it's a must! :D
    • Informative Informative x 2
  12. SilentChill

    SilentChill Problem Maker

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    I'm going to hold out for opus for a a bit see how they implement the DK2 . Hopefully it will be sooner rather than later
  13. Archie

    Archie Eternal tinkerer

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    Been reading a lot recently about a tool called "Process Lasso" (Free version)

    It has many features, most notably the ability to trim VRAM (Virtual Space) for a given process.
    However the best feature for me is the CPU affinity.

    If you have a current gen i-processor (or AMD) you will have multiple cores, each with it's own HT Core (if your systems supports Hyperthreading)

    What Project Lasso lets you do is move your P3D process away from CPU 0 and 1 and limit to remaining CPU cores.

    Windows predominately uses CPU core 0 for all it grunt work, and flows into HT 1 if needed. So on my system (4 core, 4 HT), I can move the P3D process to cores 2-7 and not be slowed down by Windows grinding away.

    Before I did this P3D would jump around at 23-28 FPS. Once I did this, I get a solid 29.9 frame per second. I dial it down to 25 FPS to ensure it's smooth.

    Worth a mention I thought, and best of all it is free.

    Some screenshots from my local field (YWOL) running everything at Max (except Autogen Building and Veg - They are normal) and with Active Sky Next / REX 4 HD

    Captujkre.JPG
    Capture.JPG
    gfhgfh.JPG
    hjghjghjg.JPG
    jkhjkhjk.JPG
    jkjjkhjk.JPG
    jkkjkk.JPG
    jklkljkl.JPG
    khjk.JPG
    kljljkljkl.JPG
    lklkljkl.JPG
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  14. noorbeast

    noorbeast VR - The Next Generation Staff Member Moderator

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    Thanks for that tip @Archie.

    With VR I am looking for maximising FPS anyway I can, so will be looking forward to trying this when I get my sim back together.
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  15. T-Man

    T-Man New Member Gold Contributor

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    Hi Archie or someone who has this working correctly. Not sure if I have the wrong setup, I am running a Frex setup 2 x SCN5's. I loaded this profile and changes the presets as above and as per normal launched P3D went into the kitchen to get a coffee and let it all load. I heard this sound like someone was performing a reno in the study. The rig was attempting to the leave the room via the plasterboard wall :). I hit the emergency stop button, first time I have seriously had to use it. I loaded again with stop still on and checked virtual output and Extra 1 and Extra 2 are sliding continuously from Left to right up to as far as 3/4 stroke in both directions. This is with the aircraft parked at the gate no throttle and hand brake on. Am i doing something wrong?
  16. noorbeast

    noorbeast VR - The Next Generation Staff Member Moderator

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  17. T-Man

    T-Man New Member Gold Contributor

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    Thankyou I was about to come back and advise I found the issue. I checked the MaxMin and both the Extra 1 and 2 were set at 0, -0. I changed them both to 20, -20 I will run the tuning center at some stage and get this more accurate, but this definitely adds to the immersion. I am also flying the light stuff Jabiru and Eaglet great fun.
    • Like Like x 1
  18. wannabeaflyer2

    wannabeaflyer2 Well-Known Member

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    my Xmas present to self LOL , better start saving from now .. Wow P3D seems to be what we have been waiting for from FSX . Cheer guys
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  19. Archie

    Archie Eternal tinkerer

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    @T-Man - Just a quick tip I found helpful on settings up P3D for motion was to set the Game Manager profile to <=10% , and then in the Tuning centre, reset all values to 0 and then start a Capture as you taxi and then take off, fly around for a bit. Then save the settings and click "stop capture". You can then lower or raise the saved settings to suit the forces you want to feel more in the Tuning centre.

    It's important to set the Main level to 10% to avoid your Sim shaking itself to bits when the Max/Min output values are 0.

    I use this technique for all my profiles now as it lets me see what the Max/Min values can reach without damaging my Sim, then I work back on the Tuning centre values from there. I find I can dial in some excellent profiles for very low percentage values per axis.

    Once you have everything setup, flick the main value back to 100%.
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  20. T-Man

    T-Man New Member Gold Contributor

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    Awesome Tip thanks again Archie although you realize now I have to rebuild all my presets :) Also another issue if you can offer any advise. I experience in P3D Extra 2 (ROLL) but also happens in driving sims with Sway. If I try and bank hard or roll the seat turns further and further depending on how aggressive I am turning or rolling as it should, but I find this sometimes causes the rig to almost stay locked in that position either almost full left or right. Even when I bank the other direction sometimes it will go back to center and the other direction or sometimes I almost have to force the seat back to center with my shoulder blades, this happens much more often in P3D due to the seat going to almost full travel each way. but can happen in driving sims also. I have set Axis 1 and 2 at 90% limit. I also run the P3D profile at 90% and your setting above but slightly lower. Any tips or heard of this. Will applying with washout or boundary fix this issue?