As part of their regular briefings on progress on their various aircraft projects, today PMDG has announced their involvement with the recently announced Prepar3D v5 and how it will affect their aircraft customers.
Prepar3D v5: (P5D)
We have been guests of Lockheed Martin in their testing program now for some years, and with the public pronouncement of the arrival of P5D I want to give you some clarity on how we plan to handle the transition:
Prepar3D v5 is a major version change for Prepar3D as evidenced by their decision to change from 4.x to 5.x. When we first entered the Prepar3D marketplace, we indicated that pricing on our products would be higher in part because the platform is evolving and this will require development time and management to keep products up-to-date moving forward. The benefits of this have been realized as Prepare3D moved from v3 to v4, and from v4 to V4.4 with PBR, and now to v5. We continue to keep the product line in step with the changes, and we are continuing to roll those changes to you so that you can also keep in step with the platform changes.
What'll It Cost?: At this time we do not see any compelling reason for additional costs to our Prepar3D customer base.
P5D Product Updates: As of this moment, to the best of our knowledge, our core products are compatible with the new version of Prepar3D right out of the box, excepting of course that we do not yet have installers available for customers who wish to upgrade to P5D. We will be rolling out installation updates to our existing Prepar3D product line during the coming days/weeks/months that will allow customers to utilize our products in both the P4D and P5D environments.
How will I get the Update? Details are pending, but the plan we are currently evaluating is to update the existing installers to recognize and handle installation for P5D. There are a few complexities here in terms of file size, a decision on whether to remove the P3D (version 3, for clarity) to its own installer, leaving P4D/P5D in the same installer, or to make a brand new P5D installer that is unique to the platform. We are working with a couple of test units to see which we like more and which is more sustainable long term.
Are My Existing Products Already Compatible? To the best of our knowledge thus far, yes, which means only that our initial testing has shown that they are but we might find a few knee-knockers later on that will need to be resolved. The issue of course is installation, and some users will be comfortable doing a hand installation of an existing product, others will not... We cannot/will not support anyone doing a hand-installation simply because there are too many ways a user can goof it up, but hopefully we'll have new installer mechanisms for you before you need to worry about taking matters into your own hands.
Will we be adding new P5D features? Yes, of course. That being said, P5D really is evolutionary on the airplane side. While I don't speak for Lockheed Martin, I suspect their focus was on the engine, rendering and efficiency, thus leaving most of the airplane feature side static except for some minor evolutionary changes. That benefits all of us right now with a faster pivot-to-P5D.
When will the new P5D installers be ready? Just as soon as we can have them available. It may take a few days, to a few weeks to get all of them done. In a perfect world they will be ready for you on 14APR20... It has been my experience that the world is rarely perfect, but that doesn't stop us from trying.
How Long will we develop for P4D? That remains to be seen. Right now from our perspective P4D/P5D are really very very similar so supporting them both is quite easy. Over time I anticipate P5D will separate itself from P4D and that may cause us to decide end development specifically for the P4D platform. Right now we do not see anything on the event horizon that causes us concern in this regard.