Author Topic: P3D v5 Announced  (Read 31469 times)

pgde

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P3D v5 Announced
« on: April 08, 2020, 12:30:59 am »
Hi Umberto:  Now that v5 has been announced, can you let us know what your plans are for updates, etc? I know you can't get specific but generally what can we expect?

Many thanks and stay well!

P.
« Last Edit: April 08, 2020, 12:02:24 pm by virtuali »
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virtuali

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Re: P3D v5 Announced
« Reply #1 on: April 08, 2020, 12:01:57 pm »
Thanks for asking, so I don't have to open a new post...

We have been working with P3D V5 for a while, in case someone might have wondered why the usually constant flow of updates seemed to have slowed down recently and, of course, we couldn't even tell, because an NDA was in place until yesterday.

In general, the sim offers a fairly good backward compatibility with add-ons, which means you can expect lots of stuff will work without too many issues, requiring minimal updates. Sure, we'll have to update all installers, but this is not really a problem, so you should expect to see updated installers for all FSDT products on release day, or very shortly after that.

And yes, every FSDT update for P3D5 will be FREE. Nothing to do, other than installing the updates, no reactivation needed, unless you also take the chance to reformat Windows in the process...

This would be a first step, to let users USE the products, without costing anything extra.

However, the change to DirectX 12 and other changes LM did to the basic rendering engine, have some impact on our products, which will require quite a bit of work on our side, which has been undergoing for some time, and is still is right now, because we are one of the few developers who used the sim PDK quite extensively and, in this specific case, we used DirectX 11 for the "Render To Texture" option, which allows us those basic features:

- Drawing text in the scenery using any Windows font you have installed. Some examples are the customizable Jetway numbers in GSX L2, the GSX Marshaller distance readout, the GSX Fuel counter display, the Active Info Panels and the AI displays in KORD V2, the ULD with their own individual ID codes.

- Drawing textures inside textures. This is likely the most important one, which allows you to customize ground operators and jetway logos in GSX by simply picking up an image, without having to configure a repaint. And, not using a repaint, meant we reduced the number of objects in GSX by about 7000 compared to the FSX version, thanks to this feature.

These two main features were made with DirectX 11, so they'll have to be rewritten for DirectX 12. And this is not easy as it sounds, since while DirectX 11 was a moderately/highly complex API, but still reasonably manageable to learn, DirectX 12 is a completely different kind of animal. Yes, the performance gains are REAL and not only that, they can get better and better with time, the better the code becomes in using them. This is no place to explain how DirectX 12 works but, in general, the main differences with DirectX 11 are:

- DirectX 12 is designed around multi-core CPUs, because it's way more efficient in using all cores to send more commands to the GPU at the same time, so you should finally see your precious GPU being used more, to do actual stuff, instead of waiting for the CPU to send data. This has increased complexity for developers, A LOT.

- DirectX 12 moves a lot of the responsibility in managing resources to the developer. With DX11, lots of memory management ( what goes in and out from RAM to VRAM ) happened inside DX11 itself or the video driver, nobody really knew and nobody had to care about it. Which means, if you had your settings too high, even more than your actual VRAM, the sim would just become slower and start to stutter, textures would start to appear slower than usual, but nothing worse than that could happen. With DX12, you have a budget, which the OS sets up for you ( I'd guess it's about 80% of your entire VRAM, since Windows still needs some for itself ), and you MUST stay within, and if your app needs more, you are supposed to manage memory in your own code. This clearly have a performance advantage, because none the developer of the graphic engine surely knows better when and how HIS app needs more memory, surely better than the video driver or the OS. This, again, causes an increase in complexity, and the potential for developers to mess up, but also to get better performances.

If you see uninformed people saying "DX12, no big deal, it looks the same to me" or "I have this DX12 game, it's just 5% increase in fps compare to DX11, so what ?", it's because DX12 is so complex compared to DX11, that even the high-end games still haven't used it as they could. Just to put things in perspective, I think it has been YEARS since X-Plane developers discussed moving to Vulkan, and it came out just now, and it's still in Beta, and it doesn't provide ANY visual enhancement, just an fps increase.

Am I talking about DX12 so much, because I'm going to say in order to get all these new features back, you'll have to eventually pay for an upgrade, when they'll be available ?

Absolutely not. As I've said before, All our updates for P3D V5 will be and will always be FREE, I only wanted to explain quite clearly that, even if the sim is very similar to V4 when backward compatibility is concerned, in OUR case, with some products, the amount of work required to make them compatible with all their features, is quite significant and, because DirectX access is something that can potentially crash the sim, we need to test it, to be sure it's safe.

All of this to explain that, while all our updates will be free, even in their final version, we'll likely proceed in steps, like this:

- On P3D V5 release date, or very shortly after that, we'll have updated installers, which will let you USE our products as soon as possible.

- The "Render to Texture" feature will likely be initially DISABLED. This basically means no Logo on Jetways or ground vehicles, they'll be generic with only their base colors. And no Font, so no distance readout for the Marshaller and no Fuel Counters. Other than that, the program will continue to work exactly as before. KORD V2 requires DirectX/RTT for the Info and AI panels, so those won't work either, initially.

In the following weeks, we'll work on restoring RTT using DX12 first, and provide small updates to sceneries that might require them. P3D V5 renders objects a bit differently than V4, especially in relationship with Transparency and Dynamic Lights, so we might have to adjust some textures for some of our products.

- One of the main difference in the V5 graphic engine, is that now almost everything is PBR, including the base Terrain/Landclass. This was a bit of a problem in V4 when doing airports, since we couldn't make a 100% PBR airport before, it was more like 90%, because for ground polygons, we generally use PBR only for Aprons, since the other background ( grass, snow, etc. ) had to offer a visual continuity with the surrounding scenery, which didn't use PBR so, it was as if they were living in different worlds, and if we did everything in PBR, it would look very weird, since the ground from the airport would react to the light in a different way than the ground outside.

In V5, the base Terrain is PBR as well, which means it looks better over different times of the day, it's more integrated with the sky lighting, so now it's possible to make an airport 100% PBR and wouldn't stick out so badly as it would have in V4.

We already have an update ready for KORD V2, which will be released in the next weeks, and we'll release a similar one for LFSB. These are our two "90% PBR" products that requires it, older sceneries that ran in FSX too are less affected, since they weren't using PBR.

We plan to continue to offer updates in steps, when issues are found, and when the inevitable Hotfixes for the sim will come out, another area that might require some work are Dynamic Lights over PBR textures, we already updated most of them for KORD V2 and LFSB, but it's still something that might change, even this week of final testing.

Again, all of this will continue to be free for the whole P3D V5 lifetime.

And yes, we are also working in parallel to a big feature in GSX L2 that many users asked for...
« Last Edit: April 08, 2020, 02:34:42 pm by virtuali »

rick66

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Re: P3D v5 Announced
« Reply #2 on: April 08, 2020, 12:16:50 pm »
Fantastic news. Thank you very much.

Paulo92

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Re: P3D v5 Announced
« Reply #3 on: April 08, 2020, 12:21:17 pm »
Many thanks for the update !

And yes, we are also working in parallel to a big feature in GSX L2 that many users asked for...

What could it be ?  ;D ???

Ifikratis

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Re: P3D v5 Announced
« Reply #4 on: April 08, 2020, 01:04:19 pm »
Amazing news and super amazing explanation! Thank you so much Umberto for taking the time to give us details about what DX12 means for the sim and sceneries.

pgde

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Re: P3D v5 Announced
« Reply #5 on: April 08, 2020, 01:16:45 pm »
Thanks Umberto for the reply to my post!!!
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Beat578

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Re: P3D v5 Announced
« Reply #6 on: April 08, 2020, 01:45:03 pm »
Oh, finally the people walking to the plane from the gate are coming? :)
Thanks umberto, great news.
Stay safe and have a great Easterbreak!
Beat578

c912039

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Re: P3D v5 Announced
« Reply #7 on: April 08, 2020, 02:09:53 pm »
Will we be able to have P3Dv4 and P3Dv5 installed side by side and have GSX/GSXL2 work with both?

If so, will GSX be able to turn fn and on features automatically, depending on which P3D is running? (like interim disabling render to texture functionality with DX12/P3Dv5)

virtuali

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Re: P3D v5 Announced
« Reply #8 on: April 08, 2020, 02:14:52 pm »
Will we be able to have P3Dv4 and P3Dv5 installed side by side and have GSX/GSXL2 work with both?

Sure, just as you were able to install GSX in FSX and P3D 1, 2, 3 and 4, side-by-side.

Quote
If so, will GSX be able to turn fn and on features automatically, depending on which P3D is running? (like interim disabling render to texture functionality with DX12/P3Dv5)

Of course.

ols500

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Re: P3D v5 Announced
« Reply #9 on: April 08, 2020, 02:37:58 pm »
Will the FPS hit be gone from when people load onto the plane with GSX in DX12 ? It normally goes from like 35-25fps when all those models of people render in.

sbucknerbcs

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Re: P3D v5 Announced
« Reply #10 on: April 08, 2020, 04:10:05 pm »
Is there any way to produce an Update to KMDW?






Thank You,


Steve
sbucknerbcs@yahoo.com

virtuali

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Re: P3D v5 Announced
« Reply #11 on: April 08, 2020, 04:17:36 pm »
Is there any way to produce an Update to KMDW?

We might first have to do the scenery, before being able to do an update...

c-mattio

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Re: P3D v5 Announced
« Reply #12 on: April 08, 2020, 04:58:55 pm »
Amazing news, really looking forward to trying out all your products in P3D v5 - the video from Rob Ainscough looked incredible.

From the changelog:

"Added sloped runway support including AI takeoff and landing capabilities."

Is this something you'll be adding to existing airports of is it too much additional work?

Thanks,

Matt

virtuali

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Re: P3D v5 Announced
« Reply #13 on: April 08, 2020, 06:39:20 pm »
Is this something you'll be adding to existing airports of is it too much additional work?

When it makes sense, meaning if the airport runway slope is significant. There's an fps cost to it, we haven't really tried, but the V5 SDK is quite clear about this: only use if really required, because it comes with a cost in performance.

mark767

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Re: P3D v5 Announced
« Reply #14 on: April 08, 2020, 07:24:57 pm »

Great support from FSDT, thank you.

Just out of interest, what is the impact for you on the addition of sloped runways to P3D v5.  Will these be available with your updated product?