Interesting times

Well, there's plenty going on in the flightsim scene at the moment, with recent updates to our favourite simulators, and the announcement that Microsoft Flight Simulator will release 18th August. I'm also aware that I'm still finding it difficult to keep up with the changes, with ongoing personal issues to deal with. The FSX version of NZCH is the most affected, although it is on the last stretch, and it should be less than a month now.

I have also committed to updating the installers for the current products in the Godzone Store for version 5 of Prepar3d. This won't be a major update, simply getting the scenery to display nicely is the goal.

Be aware that at the moment the installers in the Store support Prepar3d v3 and v4, and Real NZ Nelson and Real NZ Dunedin also support FSX, with the FSX version of NZCH just a few weeks away, and Prepar3d v5 versions will follow soon after that.

The future is still a bit hazy, like most developers I need to review the impact of the new Microsoft simulator, but I will say that I am a big fan. The software development kit is still not as feature-packed as it should be, but I would be very keen to support it if we get the tools necessary to build great addons. If I actually cover my bills this month, I hope to sign up as a developer (there's a small cost involved, hence the timely sale...) and I have had access to the SDK for some time now, so at the moment supporting this sim seems like the way to go!

What about Prepar3d v5?

I'm getting plenty of queries, so I'll outline the plans I have for Prepar3d v5 compatibility with the existing Real New Zealand scenery products, and any future products. By 'existing', I mean the three sceneries currently in the Godzone Store.

I plan to update the Real NZ installers shortly, but first there are a few things I need to tweak. Although the scenery works well in v5, there are some changes to the way in which Prepar3d displays objects, especially transparency, so I am hoping to come up with a solution in the short term -- however this many be a few weeks away at the moment.

For those with Real NZ scenery already installed in Prepar3d v4, you could take the quick-hack way out, and simply copy the add-on.xml files from Prepar3d v4 to v5.

This is recommended only for those with a good understanding of Windows files, and Prepar3d add-ons!

These files are located in Documents\Prepar3D v4 Add-ons, and there is a separate sub-folder for each add-on. The relevant Godzone folders are highlighted here, although you may not have all of them, and the contents of your folder may differ a lot!

I simply selected each folder as shown, Ctrl-C to copy them, then navigated to Documents\Prepar3d v5 Addon-ons, and pasted them there. Once you start Prepar3d, you will be asked if you wish to activate each new add-on.

However things get a bit complicated if you use Orbx NZSI, as the Real NZ installers attempt to tweak compatibility by disabling conflicting Orbx NZSI files, so you would need to do this manually, by comparing the v4 Orbx NZSI installation with v5.

There are other issues with Orbx compatibility, for example if you have used Orbx Central to 'migrate' Orbx NZSI to a location separate from Prepar3d v5, then Orbx Central will have edited all my add-on.xml files, for some reason. If so, there will be two files in each add-on.xml file, one the actual xml file and the other a backup of the original.

If you see these two files, you should delete the xml file, and rename the backup file as 'add-on.xml'.

This procedure should be considered a temporary measure only, and once the updated installers are ready, you should consider redownloading to give an up-to-date installation which complies with the normal Real NZ/Godzone standard.

Of course you will also need to update SODE to the latest version to get the jetways/windsocks etc working!

Here's NZCH in Prepar3d v5, just to show that it does work....

The trees to the right show the sort of issue which needs to be fixed, showing pronounced haloes.

I'm not yet ready to decide about long-term support of Prepar3d v5, as this will depend on how the community reacts to Microsoft Flight Simulator when it is released. I do like what I've seen of Prepar3d v5 so far, in the few days that I've had it installed. However I love what I've seen of Microsoft Flight Simulator, even in it's Alpha form.