We are aware of the statement made by Robert Randazzo of PMDG on the 14th of June 2017. The statement made was about developers simply changing their installers to work with Prepar3D V4. We gave been getting questions about it and that is why we thought it good to clarify our position on this.
We are not going to repeat the full statement here, but suffice to say, the most important part of the statement was this:
“Before you install ANYTHING into Prepar3D v4, you should take the time to research whether the developer merely adjusted their installer to account for Prepar3D v4, or whether the developer actually took the time to re-export BOTH the code elements AND the model elements of a product using the developer/SDK tools that were provided by Lockheed Martin for use with Prepar3D v4.”
Needless to say, this statement has shaken up quite a few people!
Where does that leave us? Lockheed Martin has been waring developers that this is going to happen since Prepar3D V2. They have been systematically removing support for FS2004 code since Prepar3D V2 and now, with V4, all support for FS2004 code has been removed.
With the above in mind, this is where the problems started. We tried to copy an AI Traffic package into Prepar3D V4 to see if it will work. It must be noted that the models for AI Traffic packages where designed for FS2004. These AI models have been copied from FS2004, to FSX, to FSX-SE, to Prepar3D V1 to V3 over the years. Never were there any issues, but if you try that in Prepar3D V4, then Prepar3D becomes unstable and crash. That is what happened to us during experimentation. The only solution was to remove all the AI Traffic Files and that fixed Prepar3D again.
If you purchased the Migration Tool from Flight Sim Estonia, then it will be very easy for anyone to install stuff into Prepar3D that was never meant for it. You could without knowing cause your Prepar3D V4 to start stuttering and even crash. It is now easier to understand why Robert Randazzo made the statement he made!
The problem is not as much with the scenery, but with the models. With models, we refer to objects such as the terminal buildings, hangars, vehicles so forth. The backwards compatibility that was there for the older FS2004 models no longer exist. Prepar3D now tries it’s best to interpret these older models, but it fails miserably, so it becomes unstable and crashes.
If your scenery consists of pure FSX scenery, that is scenery with NO FS2004 coding at all, then you should be reasonably ok. According to the Prepar3D website, most aircraft and scenery add-ons will be compatible with Prepar3D v4, but it is stated that an update may be needed to fit in with the new standard.
Our Prepar3D scenery seems to be working fine. It has been compiled by the 64-bit Prepar3D V2 compiler. It may not be the latest standard, but it works and it can be used safely without any issues in Prepar3D V4. That is what is why we can adjust our installers for Prepar3D V4 without fear. Our goal is to update all our scenery models to pure Prepar3D V4 coding, but due to time constraints and the lack of proper tools, we cannot do that just yet. What the public do not understand is that we do not use just the SDK when we design scenery. We use tools to make the design process easier and to simplify repetitive work. Those still need to be updated and that is why we cannot go full Prepar3D V4 just yet.
You will notice the we are added a point and a number behind our product version numbers such as V1.2.1. That is to indicate that it is just the installer that has been updated. As soon as we update the package to be 100% compatible, we will update it to the next higher number such as V1.3, instead of V1.2.1.
If, however, you feel uncomfortable with this approach of ours, then you are more than welcome to wait for us to fully update the package to the new standard. We cannot give you a time estimate on this as we are dependent on others to update their tools first!
We do however test every package in Prepar3D V4 before it is released to you and so far, we have found no issues of any kind. It is therefore safe to say that you should not experience any problems using our updated installers with Prepar3D V4.