453: Switching to P3Dv4 Q&A

A friend who sent me an email asking my opinion about making the jump from Prepar3D v3 to v4.

One of the biggest reasons he has not yet switching, is that he has TONS of addons for v3, and TONS of modifications that he has made.   And he really loathes the thought of having to set everything up again from scratch because he has spent many, many, many hours, getting p3d v3 to the way he has it now.

I guess there are still friends who have similar questions in mind about the switching.  So I am posting my replies to him below:

Q: Are v3 aircrafts compatible in v4?

A: In theory yes, at least for those I am using.  Many vendors are providing updated installer.   However, do note that some aircraft (e.g. A2A) with the new installer are no more installed onto the SimObjects folder but onto a new Add-ons folder under Documents directory.   That’s a bit odd to me and I don’t quite understand the logic behind.

Q: I have Orbx, and some Flytampa sceneries, are they compatable with v4 (or do I need to rebuy them from scratch again?)

A:  In a way, yes.   But you cannot simply move the Orbx scenery from v3 to v4, especially Orbx’s addons now mainly be installed via the FTXCentral.   Although the big regional products have been converted but only a few airports are v4 ready so far.

No one (including the company) knows how long it will take to convert them all to v4.    Just like their previous conversion from v2 to v3, I don’t think it hasn’t ended before the v4 arrival, if I remember correctly.

For the Flytampa, I haven’t tried them on the v4 yet.   But it should be manageable according to what it was from v2 to v3.

Updates from Orbx and most other vendors are free.

Q: Are A2A aircraft compatible? (or do I need to rebuy them from scratch again?)

A: A2A are providing v4 updates for free.    You don’t have to buy them again.    But as said, the v4 version now installs onto the Add-ons folder rather than the SimObjects folder.

BTW, upgrading to P3Dv4 means that you’ll also need the new FSUIPC 5.  There’s no more free version.

Q: Do you see a big performance difference now that it is 64 bit?

A: Frankly speaking, after the excitement in the beginning, I don’t find much performance difference between the two after all.

The 64-bit is supposed to help eliminate CTD (crash-to-desktop) and to allow better use of memory and cpu.   However, since I rarely encountered CTD before so it doesn’t have any meaning to me.

For the memory and cpu improvements, I don’t quite feel it yet.

Q: Can you have v3 and v4 installed on the same PC (on the same harddrive)

A: Yes, that’s for sure.  I have v3 and v4 installed onto the same P:\ drive under Prepar3Dv3 and Prepar3Dv4 directories.  No conflict at all.

Q: And most importantly, is it worth it to switch over to v4? (knowing full well there will be many hours worth of time spent to customize everything).

A: If you are happy with your current set up so far, especially you have done tons of modifications, I wouldn’t recommend you to switch right now.

It simply doesn’t worth the effort because there wouldn’t be much difference and advantages you can enjoy immediately but a lot of “obstacles” you’ll have to overcome.

For one reason, there are still many addons waiting to be updated.  You are very likely getting stuck in this transition.   I am one example.

I expect the transition will take about 6 to 8 months to have most popular addons to be v4 compatible.

Moreover, according to the upgrade path of P3D in the past, we should be expecting the next v5 coming in about 18 to 24 months.   By that time, the product should be more mature with fuller supporting addons available.

Going 64-bit is something we all should do in the end, but not necessarily now.


6 thoughts on “453: Switching to P3Dv4 Q&A

  1. Tom, I agree with you and your friend. There really isn’t anyway around a clean v4 install and working your way through the compatibility issue for add-ons right now. I have just about all the Orbx airport scenery and also don’t like the idea of having to focus on the no-fun reinstall and configure routine. I guess it could be seen as, “hours and hours of waisted “hobby” time. I guess that my point though….It’s “hobby” time regardless of how I spend it really, even if I’d rather be flying….so, I made the upgrade to v4 from v3 anyway. I looked at it like I did moving from Win7 to Win10, a necessary step to open the door for continued flight simulation development, again, from a hobby standpoint.

    Is it worth it? I too do not see any real great improvements between a tweaked v3 install and a baseline v4 install. I too did not see any VAS issues before, but just knowing that after all the prep and time spent during my 2-3 hour hobby window on a Saturday afternoon flying that with v4 I’m more assured to be able to land at my destination crash free and achieve the simulation “payoff” landing the big bird… is worth the upgrade time to me.

    Another point: I fly a JetMax setup for my 737 and have v4 running. Because of the large airport to large airport flightplanning and higher Flight Levels, just reinstalling the Global package from Orbx via FTXCentral was all I required. However, like your friend, on my GA Sim (low and slow eye candy) I’ve keep the tweaked v3 version installed and running well. But, when Orbx finally updates all their North America scenery, I’m likely then to upgrade my GA Sim to v4

    I try to keep in mind, its my hobby, I’m not on a time table. One minute I may be tweaking hardware, the other, I may be installing and trying some new software or tweaking windows, etc. The payoff of time vs. effort is always a concern in any endeavor, but with flight simulation always evolving, getting to the next level its truly the adventure for me, not just the flying. Happy Upgrades!


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