P3D2: FSX on Steroids?

“Here’s much to do with hate, but more with love. Why then, O brawling love! O loving hate!”

This passage of Romeo and Juliet illustrates well that quite often the antonyms love/hate walk together to describe the same feeling. How this applies to flightsim? Indeed it does! Let us analyse for example the binomial  FSX vs Prepar3D. Nothing illustrates better the feelings people have about these (similar) simulators than to quote some sentences posted in different forums.


“…I am another who considered the switch to P3D but I have stuck so far with FSX. This is mainly because P3D is still a relatively new simulator which is yet to be supported by addon makers….”

“…I tried P3D and found out that I need a new video card to enjoy the new features and most of my addons don’t work. So, I’ll stick with FSX.”

” .. P3D stutters – FSX does not (given similar hardware and settings).  That said, P3D has more visual potential. Once the stuttering is resolved I would say there will be no reason to be on FSX anymore, save for any add ons that aren’t yet P3D ready.”

“…Stutters? My P3dV2.2 does not stutter and just looks far superior to FSX – no oom, no crashes, no graphic issues at all …. when I used FSX I  had lots of crashes and blue screens …”

“…I bought P3D2 three weeks ago and I can’t help but feeling a bit disappointed in it.”

“…P3D is a game changer, in the way you will view flight simulation products into the future…”

“…For me the main advantages of P3D are superior performance …the shadow system (incredible!), popup free autogen (priceless!) and the overall color and mood.”

“...Fantastic clouds and shadows, but I would need better looking terrain graphics.”

“…Right now, P3Dv2.2 IS the next best thing.”

“… FSX is Entertainment software and P3D is not.”

“… I am back to FSX. Why? Prepar3d 2.2 give me no more than 3 to 12 FPS. FSX 30 FPS steady FPS… Prepar3d better graphics but very blurry and very low FPS….”.

“…I’m very satisfied with Prepar3d V2.2 and will never go back to FSX.”


As you can read…some people love it, other hate it! But of course, as everything in life, P3D2 have pros and cons. The latter includes volumetric fog, no autogen popping, new features notably cloud and terrain shadows, etc. For the cons one may note that, contrarily to FSX, P3D2 has restrictions in its use (it shouldn’t be used for entertainment purposes – but please, don´t discuss this issue here!) and there are still a bunch of prime addons (PMDG aircraft, Majestic Q400, etc.) that are yet to be available for P3D2. Yet, addon compatibility with the LM simulator is definitively increasing day by day.  Moreover, in terms of development, FSX is moribund and the developers of P3D2 are quite active and they prepare updates on a regular basis.


So, what is the verdict? It is certainly not clear from the text above (sorry…) and it is not certainly a collective opinion that P3D2 is the future. But it may not be now, but it will undoubtedly be in a not long distant future! In addition, there is a hope that LM may prepare a 64-bit P3D edition and  re-engineers the entire simulator – P3D will then be the perfect and obvious choice for us all (at least for those who can get any of P3D license options)!


0 Responses

  1. “…P3D will then be the perfect and obvious choice for us all ”

    I’m sorry ,but why (again) this “for us all” ? I’ll let you know that XP10 is already 64bit, and like P3D it is certainly not “moribund”.
    This is the second time you’re doing this: it is either FSX or P3D2, and in your eyes other flight simulators apparently do not seem to exist.
    I would not be offended if you clearly indicated at the beginning that your post is only directed at those that – for some reason or other – insist that a flight simulator has to built around the MS ESP engine (although you seem to contradict that near the end of your post).

    PS: I sincerely hope this won’t deteriorate into the childish “my sim is better than yours”, because that is certainly NOT the point I’m making.

    1. Unfortunately, I get seriously offended when a development team tell me that my opinions and suggestions are irrelevant because they know what I want from their product. Both Microsoft and Laminar Research have been absolutely appalling at that attitude, with Laminar continuing to be so in spite of thread after thread after thread of people telling them that actually no, their approach is more complex and less usable, not what they claim. Lockheed-Martin seem less so and are listening. That said, though, I still very much believe that peoples’ wilful ignorance of the P3D licensing will come back to haunt them at some point. It already is in many cases (PMDG, A2A to name but two)

      No sim is perfect. Certainly P3D and XP10 aren’t. They both have strengths and weaknesses and, in my opinion right now, they compliment each other without either being “the killer app” to end the competition. Personally, although I have and use P3D, XP10, FSX and a lot of other sims, P3D and XP10 are the ones that are launched least often, not most.

      1. As it is so boring to agree with someone, I’ll say this: “I’m not disagreeing with you” Yes, Austin is getting on a lot of X-planers’ nerves. Wouldn’t know about LM, as P3D is one of the few sims I do not (yet) own. Still, if we’re talking about the long term future of flightsimming, I really can’t see the relevance of FSX. But I’ve been known to be wrong before.

  2. Johan. when X-Plane get’s away from just visuals it can join the party. As of now real world weather and ATC isn’t fully realized. It can’t compete without these things addressed…

    1. Dillon, I would not have reacted, until I read the last paragraph. Here, Edmundo is basically saying that, well, if LM buids a completely new flight sim (because that is what 64bit and re-engineering really means), than finally we no longer have to choose as we will have our one and only “perfect” flightsim. Well, LM may certainly do that, who knows (then again, they may not)? But as you so correctly point out, who says XP11 (or XP12 for that matter), won’t fully realize real world weather and ATC? Once you start talking about the long term future of “serious” civilian flight sims, the comparison is not between FSX vs P3D2, but between the two current sims under development, P3D and XP. And that is my point (and NOT, as I repeat, which of the two at this time is the better sim).

  3. It is an improved version of FSX, everyone saying otherwise just doesn’t understand much about the engine itself.

    Sure, it looks better, it has better visuals and new features, but it is still based on the FSX engine (which is based on the fs9 engine, which is based on.. you know the drill).
    If we want a new solid simulator i think we also need a new proper engine, optimized like it should for new video cards AND new cpus.

  4. Johan,
    Thanks for your comment. I was about to mention XP10 (that I don’t own) in the article but the title says it all – it is P3D as an improved version of FSX and not a comparison of simulators. But of course I am (aren’t we all?) well aware that those who fly XP10 do really enjoy it. May be I will buy a copy one of these days….

    1. Edmundo, please don’t get me wrong. I like what you do around here! I understand that the comparison was between FSX and P3D2, and you certainly did a good job of that. But my hope is that in future we will have a healthy competition between P3D and other flight sims (amongst which XP11 or XP12, and hopefully others too). I really don’t think there will ever be a “perfect” sim. 🙂

      1. I’d have to agree with Johan in that – simply because different developers will have different approaches and targets – there will never be a “perfect” sim.

        My use of P3D is development oriented – I have to make sure that things work in it and I have to keep abreast of it because of my role here. Likewise, I have to keep abreast of what X-Plane is doing (and DCS World, Flightgear, even the various IL-2s… Heck, the last “sim” I ran today was to patch War Thunder!)

        Right now, I really don’t like some of the graphical effects that L-M have put into P3D. It looks like constant twilight to me and personally, as someone who would really like to use it to expand on the seaplane flying I have done in real life, they have grossly underplayed the air/water/land interface element of the sim that they added right at the very beginning.

        FSX is far from dead. It is, in fact, considerably highly thought of by developers as it is the only stable platform, which will not change and create massive new problems with each release. It is also, still, a very capable platform. Heck, so is FS9 for that matter.

        The big question is what do we – the community – want from a sim. And there’s the rub. In the same way that every developer wants something different, so does every little camp, clique and subgenre within the potential user base. I don’t think that can ever be resolved.

  5. These comments make fascinating reading but doesn’t anyone realise that to use P3D for entertainment purposes is against LM’s EULA and is therefore illegal?

    1. I just don’t understand these posts. What are you trying to say? That you are smarter than everyone else? Lockheed Martin is happy to sell its software to anyone with an interest in simulation and they have made it quite clear that they don’t consider this community the “entertainment” community. Can we finally put an moratorium on these ridiculous posts and instead just discuss if the sim is worth the cost vs. other options. If you want to pick nits, go to law school or something…

    2. Heck, they even participate openly in the AVSIM forums…they know who is buying the software. There is nothing going on here that is in any way secret.

  6. The use of P3D for entertainment purposes is not illegal Dijvid,- it is “use in breach of license”. While both legal terms, “in breach of license” and “illegal” mean very different things and have very different results.

    Also, many of us are not using P3D in breach of the license. I am a licensed Private Pilot who, as I cannot currently fly for several reasons, finds a desktop simulator very useful to maintain skills. I also develop add-ons that are designed to be compatible with both FSX and P3D, Additionally, I have a direct professional commercial interest in the sim, because I have to report on it for simFlight. All of these lie within the terms of the P3D license.

    However. This conversation is about technical differences between the sims and Edmundo has specifically asked that this not become a discussion dominated by the never ending licensing argument so, while invariably the respective licenses will always be part of the discussion, please, can we try and keep it both civil and only referred to when necessary to support another technical or comparison point?


  7. Thanks for your reply, Bob. I am greatly reassured that I can now pass on some of my sim software to friends and not be in trouble with the developers as I will only be in breach of license. I didn’t realise this before.

  8. A lot of console software developers would dearly love it to be illegal to sell or pass on “pre-owned” software. It isn’t. But, if the license you agree to says “non-transferable” then if you try to transfer it, your break the licensing agreement and the software you pass on may well become unusable as a result.

    It is usually illegal to reverse engineer software and, in many countries, it is now illegal to bypass protection which enforces licensing. However, you aren’t going to end up in jail just because you happened to use P3D to fly under the Golden Gate Bridge for fun, even if doing so would, technically, be breaching your license with L-M. If they caught you doing it, in theory, they could cancel your license and prevent you using the software again. They could also claim damages through civil proceedings. I somehow doubt they would, however, unless you really did something quite spectacular in breach of the license!.

    Now. If you want to discuss this further, please move it to the forums. This thread is emphatically NOT about licensing of various sims, or other software.

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