EDIT: That's all the time we have for today. Thank you for all the great questions!

Hey Reddit! We are part of the Lockheed Martin Prepar3D® team. Prepar3D (pronounced "prepared") is a visual simulation platform that allows users to create training scenarios across aviation, maritime and ground domains. Prepar3D engages users in immersive training through realistic environments. Prepar3D can be used to quickly create learning scenarios anywhere in the virtual world, from under water to sub orbital space.

The enhancements we have made in our Prepar3D v4 platform completely changes the simulation landscape with improved virtual reality features, unbelievable realism, and improved performance for commercial, educational, military use and aviation enthusiasts.

It’s been really exciting to see pictures and videos of Prepar3D v4 shared and discussed by the Reddit community since our launch in May!

PC Pilot Magazine just published an in-depth user review and we just released v4, so we thought this would be a great time to answer any questions you all might have.

Answering your questions here today are:

Adam Breed, Prepar3D Engineering Project Manager

Howell “Beau” Hollis, Prepar3D Rendering Lead and Architect

Robert McCarthy, Prepar3D Commercial Product Lead

For more information and to download your own copy of Prepar3D check out these links:

Visit our website: Prepar3D.com

Check out videos and tutorials: https://www.prepar3d.com/videos-and-tutorials

Go Around the World in Prepar3D: https://www.prepar3d.com/experience

If you're interested in Software Engineer jobs, check out this link: http://jobs.lmt.co/3sFnE

Proof: Twitter

Comments: 349 • Responses: 25  • Date: 

YallDownHere172 karma

I'd like to know why updating databases is such a seeming difficult thing to do? P3Dv4 still has airports in its scenery that have been closed nearly ten years..is it a problem with compatibility?

LockheedMartin52 karma

Robert: We recognize this is a much requested update for the platform. The globe and associated NAVAIDs are something we are focused on improving moving forward. We will have more specific information on this in the future. We’re also privileged to have such talented third-party developers constantly making new content and enhancements to the platform.

r0guetrader99 karma

Are there any plans to add Navigraph functionality, so we could easily keep the P3D database up to date with the current AIRAC?

LockheedMartin59 karma

Adam: Navigraph is listed on our Featured Developers page, and we definitely recommend reaching out to them for any development and future Prepar3D compatibility questions. 

aceridgey49 karma

Hey guys,

Couple of questions from me

1) Are there any plans to improve the perseption of speed, i.e going through clouds in fsx/p3d is very slow compared to other products

2) Wet /Dry runway modelling?

3) Sloped Runways?

4) VC rain on the windshield

5) More efforts to make the software more dependant on GPU rather than CPU?

Thanks guys

LockheedMartin45 karma

Adam: Hi aceridgey, To all of your questions, the answer is yes, we look for ways to continue to improve each of those capabilities with each release. You’ll see some first steps for #4 in the upcoming v4.1 release.

frosteeboi48 karma

From my understanding, the flight modeling is similar to that of FSX. Just how similar is it, and do you plan on creating your own flight model system in the future(if you haven't already)?

LockheedMartin45 karma

Beau: We have made improvements over the years and will continue to do so. Since every aircraft is unique and flight modeling specifics are often proprietary, our primary focus has been on extensibility via the Prepar3D SDK. Using the SDK, developers can create completely custom flight modeling from scratch. Check out the ISimObject samples in the SDK for more details.

mackeaim45 karma

Are there any long term plans to improve ATC?

LockheedMartin43 karma

Adam: Mackeaim, Prepar3D is under constant development and ATC is something we are interested in improving. We are also aware of many ATC ecosystem developers that have made some outstanding add-ons that enhance the default offering. Is there anything specific you are interested in seeing improved?

mackeaim18 karma

Voice recognition would be a dream come true to improve immersion of the sim.

LockheedMartin26 karma

Adam: Thanks for the feedback. We agree, that would be awesome.

w6kd35 karma

How does L-M view the non-military, non-governmental user community? Are we a testbed for finding/working out bugs for the primary target clientele, a cottage industry for sim environment/scenario development, or something else? How does our patronage and third-party development fit in to L-M's strategic goals for microsimulation?

LockheedMartin32 karma

Adam: Hi w6kd, the user community is the lifeblood of Prepar3D and is critical to our success. In fact, we collaborate with the community as a partner and often work with specific developers when fielding training solutions. It is a mutually beneficial relationship. The user community is a major focus and many improvements to the platform are a direct result of forum input and feedback.  

tenin2010br15 karma

What is the best way to get a job with you guys straight out of college? Any projects or hobbies we should have that would look good on resumes?

LockheedMartin23 karma

Robert: The core team is primarily software focused. A degree in Computer Science or Software Engineering is a major requirement along with c++ experience and game engine knowledge. Additionally, a passion for gaming technology and familiarity with flight simulation definitely helps. Lockheed Martin regularly hosts events on campuses nationwide. We were just at Penn State last week and talked to students interested in working for Lockheed Martin. We are actively looking for new team members, so I encourage you to apply online at LM Careers: https://search.lockheedmartinjobs.com/ 

JSilva3212 karma

Are there plans to support Sloped Runways with AI traffic usable?

LockheedMartin20 karma

Adam: Hi JSilva32, Contoured/sloping runways have been the second most common request (right after 64-bit) since we started work on Prepar3D. It is something we know there is strong desire for and continue to look for ways to include it in future versions.

zwilk1812 karma

Is there going to be a change to the Eula at some point, and if not, does your team plan to make a more enthusiast geared flight sim?

LockheedMartin14 karma

Adam: Lockheed Martin is focused on advancing mission readiness for militaries and commercial aviation pilots through simulation and training – and is not an entertainment company. We don’t anticipate any significant changes to the EULA in the near-term. While Prepar3D offers an immersive and fun way to train, we have no plans to enter the entertainment space. The acceptable use is outlined at the bottom of our license comparison page: https://prepar3d.com/product-overview/prepar3d-license-comparison/ 

Hornet99111 karma

Well, first things first: v4 is a real advantage in comparison to v3 and really made me feel like flying. Question is: how's development progress going on, speaking about 4.1, dynamic lightning updates and all the AddOns that might come with it's release, like FSLabs A320 and Majestics Dash 8? Edit: typos

LockheedMartin13 karma

Adam: Thanks! We are extremely happy to see how well received Prepar3D v4 is – it has been huge! The dynamic lightning system in v4.0 is definitely a starting point, and add-on developers are doing amazing things with it, and in future releases we will continue to refine the capability. As for add-ons, we work extremely close with developers, and we are aware that there will be a few big product releases on or very close to the v4.1 release. We’d have to let them address their plans!

french_do_it_better11 karma

Are we getting v4.1 today ?

LockheedMartin46 karma

Adam: We are proud to announce Prepar3D v4.1 will release on Oct. 10, 2017 at 3 p.m. EST

rocknstones11 karma

Hey Prepar3d Team, excellent job on pushing out an x64 version of our beloved ESP flight engine. Whats next on LM's project milestone? Where does P3D v4 go from here?

LockheedMartin19 karma

Adam: We definitely agree – 64-bit has been a game changer. As for future plans, we will be releasing a point release, v4.1, very shortly. As for the road map, we have a strong team focus on immersive technology and virtual reality. You will see the first steps to support that vision better with v4.1. A big positive, everything we do to make the VR experience better, will also make the general sim usage better. This includes performance improvements and visual improvements.

Thomas_Zottos7 karma

I am a long time prepa3d user and I just recently got into virtual reality. How can I optimize P3D v4 for VR? I have a pretty good PC that runs everything very well. What are your thoughts on the future of virtual reality in flight simulation? Thanks!

LockheedMartin11 karma

Beau: We believe the future of VR is bright, especially in the training and simulation space. We are excited to see where things go from here. One of our primary goals has always been providing the most immersive training experience possible. VR takes immersion to the next level. We’ve got some big updates to VR coming in 4.1, so stay tuned.

As for performance, we recommend tuning the settings down for the best possible frame-rate to keep your VR experience comfortable. For example, reducing autogen draw distance, shadows, and dynamic lighting settings can help. Once it’s running comfortably, you can tune things back up as desired. We will continue to work on performance improvements as the platform develops.

AG_Nex6 karma

Right now dynamic lighting has a pretty big performance hit. Especially if several light cones are overlapping each other. Is it possible to improve this in the current engine or is it planned to rework the engine to use for example defered rendering techniques which have basically zero performance impact even with thousands of lights active?

LockheedMartin8 karma

Beau: The dynamic lightning system in v4.0 is laying the groundwork for future development. Add-on developers are doing amazing things with it, and in future releases we will continue to refine the capability and work to improve dynamic lighting performance. 

AG_Nex5 karma

Are there any plans to update the rendering engine to DirectX 12 or Vulkan?

LockheedMartin8 karma

Beau: DirectX 12 is on our minds for the long term, but we have nothing specific to announce at this time.

french_do_it_better4 karma

Hi, I've been using P3D since v3 and recentely bought a high end PC and still can't get performances comparable to modern games.

Is performance in P3D something that can be solved with better multithreading support from P3D or is it something that we will have to live with as long as the core of P3D isn't rewritten from scratch ?

LockheedMartin7 karma

Beau: Performance is very important to us, and we work hard to improve performance with every release. There are a number of improvements in v.4, so you may want to check it out. One big difference between a simulation platform and a game is how settings and content work. In a game, settings and content are usually designed such that max settings run smooth on a high end gaming machine. We provide many advanced settings because there are a wide variation of use cases. Some users are training with just the cockpit, while others only want to see the terrain, and some want to see it all in multiple views. Each user wants to max out their hardware for their specific training use case. Our settings allow for this. We also support a great deal of 3rd party content, and the content on the screen plays a big role in the final performance.

Terrydew4 karma

What are the prospects for further utilization of multi core cpus such that more cores generate better performance even if the cpu clock rate is lower?

LockheedMartin9 karma

Beau: Every release features more multicore threading to improve performance. Overall, Prepar3D is already threaded in some of the most important areas. Still, we continue to improve on this as we progress with optimizing the baseline. For example, in Prepar3D v4, the functions that draw maps for gauges were threaded out. So, while we continue to look for ways to improve, Prepar3D has already made some significant progress compared to previous releases.

Gyzis3 karma

How, in your opinion, will such applications shape the future of military training?

LockheedMartin4 karma

Robert: A big differentiator Prepar3D offers is affordability. In the past full simulation platforms were built from scratch for each specific situation with little reuse between efforts. Prepar3D offers a flexible platform that has most of the common capabilities already fully functional that these programs require. We also offer a robust SDK and open development environment enabling specific capabilities to be built much quicker without having to worry about additional development overhead for the features already included in the core simulation.

Laseey3 karma

Hey P3D team,

Really love what you've done with v4, its taking my learning to the next level. My question is, I've recently picked up an Oculus Rift, so VR is something I'm very excited for, however now, the native support is flaky at best, over the next few years in your road map, what can I, a VR user expect to see?

LockheedMartin4 karma

Adam: Thanks for the v4 comment! Flight simulations are definitely an ideal situation for VR and Prepar3D is focused on being the best flight simulation VR platform available. You will continue to see updates as part of v4 that further differentiate the Prepar3D VR experience.

LlamaExtravaganza2 karma

Longtime fan here, but serious question:

As good as the platform is, how long will the old MSFS engine be running the show? It's been around since (and correct me if I'm wrong) FS2002.

Is there a ground-up replacement being planned at any point?

LockheedMartin6 karma

Robert: While Prepar3D was built off of the MSFS engine we have completely overhauled the engine from the ground up since we started development. From rewriting the rendering engine to support DirectX 11 to upgrading the platform to 64 bit and Unicode, the entire engine has been completely reworked and modernized.

Fighter23092 karma

Hi P3D Team,

nice to get a chance to ask you things directly! My question: Is there anything planned to sync the P3D time live with the PC-time? Maybe a function to choose if you want to fly real-time.

2: Are you going to work on the night-environment? P3D v4 looks good, but during night its just loosing against X-Plane. As well as the World-Terrain/Mesh. This could be get a huge change in the future.

Thanks a lot for your work!! Timm

LockheedMartin1 karma

Adam: Thanks for your questions. Good news, Prepar3D already supports following the real-world time with the PC – it should be under the “Time and Season” menu with “Reset to System Time”.

As for the Night Environment, I’d recommend reaching out to them directly about future compatibility plans. Our new dynamic lighting capability really opens the doors for immersive night capabilities and we are encouraged by what developers have already done.

HenkDeVries62 karma

What is the strangest or funniest feature request from a user or 3rd party developer the team has received so far?

LockheedMartin14 karma

Adam: Hi HenkDeVries6, One of the more interesting ones was if we could include Iron Man as a selectable vehicle. We’d probably have to talk to Marvel about that one! They did use a F-22 in the first movie, so maybe they would be open to it. :)

flexxxHD1 karma

Do you still use this software for the real millitary sims? And what's the difference between the consumer version?

LockheedMartin8 karma

Adam: Absolutely, Prepar3D is used by various militaries worldwide for flight training. The commercial version is often enhanced with add-ons or custom modifications specific to their training goals.