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Why I moved from the new MSFS to the old P3D just for FS Labs!


Mike Mortimer

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Mike Mortimer

Hey all - this is my first foray with the FS Labs community and products, and just wanted to share my journey to FS Labs which actually started with MSFS, mainly for other simmers on the fence about FS Labs and P3D, especially with the new lure & beauty of MSFS.

I'm a hardcore sim genre fan, not a pilot by a long shot, but absolutely require depth and realism - I spend most of my time in racing sims, mainly rFactor 2 on a $5,000 sim racing rig. I had FS2004 and hadn't returned to flight sims since - then the MSFS launch got me back into it.

Anyway, the headline is - I had never previously used FSX, P3D, XPL- but even with MSFS's dream VFR environment (weather, cloud rendering, lighting, cockpit visuals, incredible world modelling tech, sloped runways, etc), I went ahead and purchased P3D last night, along with FSL A320-X, just for this single airliner, here's my reasoning and comparison:

Reasoning

  • Technical Challenge - the main reason I went and purchased relatively 'old' technology (P3D), was for the technical challenge and the resultant joy of flying that comes from that - I'm not talking IFR specifically here, I'm talking all the technicalities of getting in the air, landing and flying in general - like dealing with starting a plane from cold and dark, managing / preparing backup systems in failure scenarios, and navigating / landing a plane with IFR / ILS.
  • Deeply Engaging Experiences - knowing that the flight computers, fuel systems, engine spooling, oil temps, icing issues and navigation systems are life-like is important to me, because it brings with it the ability to watch real world pilots in action (i.e. on YouTube), learn from them, and test your knowledge and resolve in reference to them (much more diverse and engaging than the simple scenarios / challenges pre-packaged by many modern flight sim titles)
  • IFR - it's clear to me now (and from a week of research) that if you want to fly IFR and really enjoy that aspect of flying (which has always fascinated me to watch) - the pinnacle is FS Labs + Navigraph. (Full disclosure, I have not flown PMDG).

Comparison

  • General Comparison - I'll use driving / sim racing as an analogy here as most know the physical feeling - we've all felt wheelspin / slip in a car, either driving in the rain or on ice, or on the track if you're lucky, and the associated spike of adrenaline you get when you feel the car going in a direction you didn't want it to... There is only one racing sim title I can use to get a similar spike in adrenaline and that is rFactor 2 - many don't know it, or use it, because it is obscure and the 3D rendering engine looks bland when compared with Gran Turismo Sport, Assetto Corsa Competizione or Formula 1 2020. Very similar to FS Labs versus MSFS. However these 3 racing titles are still considered sims, and I agree, they are, but they don't give me the spike of adrenaline when I'm all out of grip that rFactor does. The tire model alone is so well implemented, that it provides more immersion than the visual beauty, sound quality, racing leagues and multiplayer experiences combined, in the other sim racing titles. I can confirm this is exactly the same feeling I get from FS Labs versus MSFS (except FS Labs has fantastic sound too).
  • Airliners - flying the A320neo in MSFS was the primary reason I went and purchased P3D & FS Labs a couple days later. It's gorgeous, but to put it in perspective, it feels no different flying the A320neo, the 787 or the 747-8, all of which I have tried in MSFS. To put it another way, there is no character to the airliners - going from cold and dark in all 3 feels the same, just with switch placements in slightly different positions, and a different 'theme' applied to the PFD and other displays. Even though autopilot is different to use, it doesn't really have enough detail to set Airbus and Boeing apart. Here's hoping that MS allow third-parties to use their amazing models to implement study-level systems - or at the very least, shortcut the texturing process...
  • VFR - I will never fly GA or VFR in P3D when MSFS is available, and for me, MSFS is definitely stable enough to enjoy a 2 - 3 hour GA flight with Virpil, Honeycomb and MFG Crosswind hardware.
  • Environment - because MSFS is out now, it goes without saying that P3D is comparatively awful - in menu intuitiveness, in rendering quality, in weather effects, etc. But it is worth swallowing that pill just to get inside the FS Labs A320!

In summary, I use rFactor 2 when I want to experience pure racing joy (and feel like I've earnt it), but regularly go back to the other titles to enjoy racing leagues and the visual beauty of a race car. The same now applies to FS Labs and MSFS - I will use them both in tandem, one for the technical joy of flying, one for the visual beauty of flying.

 

That is... Until FS Labs release the A320 with sharklets on MSFS... ;) 

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Koen Meier

first of all welcome to the community,

i really enjoyed reading your comparison of two very distinct simulators. being aircraft vs cars. as a owner of all three fslabs aircraft with soon sharklets  i can attest to the level of detail they achieve. each bird be that the a319 to the a321 all feel different in their responses. and the sharklets on the a320 and a321 will be no different. not to forget all the little details that are addeed like the effect of icing on the wings or the fuel factor on mcdu fuel calculations.

for a proper fslabs experience i will say that fslabs(including navigraph fgor navdata and soon efb charts, scenery and airports) with vatsim and gsx is just like IRL. with gsx level 1 you can simulate the whole boarding process with the ATSU AOC system. vatsim allows not only for online flying with others and air traffic controllers but also allows for the use of a fantastic little implementation called cpdlc through hoppie. this mimicks the real datalink between pilots and atc. and more recently the use of integration with a planning tool called simbrief. 

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Mike Mortimer

Glad you enjoyed the comparison Koen - thanks for the feedback.

Looks like GSX and VATSIM are now my next stop on the flight sim journey. And yes, already using Simbrief and also SimToolkit Pro (free) - wouldn't plan a flight without them now!

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Sven Sappa

Note: Personal opinion.
Many people seem to forget what simulating is actually about, or are new to it and don't realize what it's actually about/don't want to 'simulate'. 

On 8/26/2020 at 7:55 PM, Mike Mortimer said:

watch real world pilots in action, learn from them, and test your knowledge and resolve in reference to them

I don't remember who but someone on the Avsim forum summed the current experience in MSFS up very nicely:
"If you think it will match your current P3D add-on experience, you are in for a big disappointment, albeit a nice looking one."

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Stu Antonio
On 8/26/2020 at 7:55 PM, Mike Mortimer said:

P3D is comparatively awful - in menu intuitiveness, in rendering quality, in weather effects, etc. But it is worth swallowing that pill just to get inside the FS Labs A320!

I tend to respectfully disagree.
After spending several days with MSFS, checking off all the things and places I was very curious to visit (yes, my house is in there, although an older version from 10 years ago, before we expanded a bit), I did a FSL-flight in P3D, and boy do I love those framerates, the crispy visuals, the sharp ASCA clouds, the great ORBX textures and beautiful v5 add-on airports.... not to mention the best A320 there is: the FSLabs. It just feels so precise, looks so straight forward, runs so smoothly.

Don't get me wrong, MSFS is impressive and I think it will be the platform of the future... But I neither think P3Dv5 is awful nor a "pill to swollow". It's still my favorite sim and it will take some serious time until MSFS can change that. Even if they would present a FSLabs for it tomorrow.  

 

5 hours ago, Sven Sappa said:

Many people seem to forget what simulating is actually about, or are new to it and don't realize what it's actually about/don't want to 'simulate'. 

My thoughts exactly. I'm in for the systems, the ops, the accuacy, the SOPs. MSFS feels kinda like "GoogleEarth with sound".  :) 

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Holger Teutsch

 

On 8/29/2020 at 6:28 PM, Sven Sappa said:

I don't remember who but someone on the Avsim forum summed the current experience in MSFS up very nicely:
"If you think it will match your current P3D add-on experience, you are in for a big disappointment, albeit a nice looking one."

Even I'm no longer sure when it comes to visuals. Today I did one of my favorite short flights LOWI - LOWS in real time/weather.

Now that summer comes to and end, in p3d first leaves turn brown, higher mountains get a topping of white while MSFS has eternal early summer.

I admit that I've spent a huge amount of €€ for add-ons for p3d and MSFS is just the base package.

BTW:

By rdpresets's guide for MSFS I was made aware of Nvidias new "sharpening" parameter and I highly recommend to play around with this. I have it on 0.5 now and it adds a fantastic crispness to p3d without hurting fps.

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Mike Mortimer
On 8/29/2020 at 2:55 PM, Stu Antonio said:

But I neither think P3Dv5 is awful nor a "pill to swollow". 

Ok, that's a fair point, maybe I was a little too harsh in the comparison, which I agree, is more marginal once you've applied packages - however, getting as close to an 'objective' statement as we can, MSFS is better in visual / rendering quality, by 1% or by 50%, however you look at it.

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Mike Mortimer
On 8/29/2020 at 9:28 AM, Sven Sappa said:

Note: Personal opinion.
Many people seem to forget what simulating is actually about, or are new to it and don't realize what it's actually about/don't want to 'simulate'.

Makes sense Sven -  and can you provide a definitive statement on what simulation is, for registered and unregistered visitors alike?

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Matthew Webb

I'm loving both sims.   P3D is now purely for FSLabs  IFR flying, so my settings a tweaked for that.   MSFS is for VFR and the occasional IFR.   Loving both. :)

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Stu Antonio

I can‘t get much out of the MSFS „VFR-aspect“ to be honest. I reallly thought I would, but to my utter surprise I‘m getting bored by it pretty quickly. I mostly do quick flights to check out some places, but then I‘m looking outside the window or fly in external view most of the time. The flying aspect (speed, altitude, AoA etc.) I somewhat just ignore (the strange wobbly handling and constant turbulence doesn‘t help either). I don‘t even bother taking off or landing (Alt F4). :rolleyes:

To put it another way: MSFS made me realize how important the numbers, the plane systems, the planning, the programming, the procedures in the cockpit and the IFR procedures are for my personal satisfaction and enjoyment of a flight simulator.

But I‘m sure MSFS will grow and evolve and eventually get us FSLabs-Nerds some day :)

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Sven Sappa
8 hours ago, Mike Mortimer said:

can you provide a definitive statement on what simulation is, for registered and unregistered visitors alike?

You summed it up pretty well already as I already quoted above:

On 8/26/2020 at 7:55 PM, Mike Mortimer said:

the ability to watch real world pilots in action (i.e. on YouTube), learn from them, and test your knowledge and resolve in reference to them

Sure simulation might not be the same for everyone, some just like to go full throttle and do loopings for fun but in my opinion, as you said, simulating is about applying real world procedures and recreate real world flights as close as possible. (For example by running literally a complete A320 simulation by FSLabs, flying with real world flightplans parallel to the real flight, studying documentation about the aircraft and applying that in-sim, etc.)

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Stu Antonio
36 minutes ago, Sven Sappa said:

For example by running literally a complete A320 simulation by FSLabs, flying with real world flightplans parallel to the real flight, studying documentation about the aircraft and applying that in-sim, etc.)

100% the same here.

And if I spot just one more youtube video titled „REAL PILOT trying Microsoft Flight Simulator“ I go nuts..... :P

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Nuno M Pinto
10 hours ago, Stu Antonio said:

I can‘t get much out of the MSFS „VFR-aspect“ to be honest. I reall thought I would, but to my utter surprise I‘m getting bored by it pretty quickly (...)

Yeah, this. I even asked for a refund to let the thing mature time enough so i can take another look in a year or so. It just bothers me to death after a few minutes.

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Lefteris Kalamaras
12 hours ago, Nuno M Pinto said:

Yeah, this. I even asked for a refund to let the thing mature time enough so i can take another look in a year or so. It just bothers me to death after a few minutes.

Asking for a refund to let the thing mature is the absolutely wrong thing to do, isn't it. Even though Microsoft is not money starved - far from it, it means that you're signaling their product is not good and you want your money back. While that is a respected opinion, it does NOT let the thing mature - Asobo is an independent studio and the bottom line makes all the difference in the world so if everyone did what you did, they would cancel the title, rather than continue working on it.

Imagine if all our early adopters decided to ask for refunds to let our thing mature - were we even close to where we are today in our A320-X back when it was first released?

Just my opinion, of course.

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Nuno M Pinto

You're right in the way of thinking, but i am not going to use the product at all for a long long time (i am not a VFR flyer and we all know how the "airliners" behave), so i had to do this. I fly your A320 weekly (because the 319 is not out yet :P) for many many hours, so it doesn't really bother me the high price i paid for it, it pays for itself - Now MSFS is a whole different story, i don't even know yet if i want to embark on the ride, it looks like an airplane game at the moment.

EDIT: Also, your A320 was very much usable from day zero whereas MSFS... well, don't get me started.

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Henrik Witbaard

MSFS has had a pretty rough start, there are Bugs and things that dont work as they should right now, but im sure that Asobo and Microsoft will fix them eventually.
Same goes with the completion of the SDK. The developers are really enthusiastic about their new sim and listens to the community.
But it will take some time to make things right.
Once you got everything set up and get used to the new controlls, the overall experience in the MSFS is pretty amazing (well, apart from the default airliners...) and it becomes really hard to open P3D again, even though i have invested so much in it, to fly some decent planes.
The Weatherengine, lighting, scenery etc. are just on a completly different level. (Can't really say much about the Physics as i dont have any real world experience on that matter)
I am pretty certain that the new sim will become the standard once the study-level addons, planes and tools have been released. Just give it another year or two.

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Nuno M Pinto
7 hours ago, Henrik Witbaard said:

(...) 
I am pretty certain that the new sim will become the standard once the study-level addons, planes and tools have been released. Just give it another year or two.

This.

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  • 4 weeks later...
Raphael_Chacon

Funny im reading this now jejeje, exactly what im going to do....Back to P3DV4.5 for my A320!

 Comparison was really precise to me.... but even for GA, im not sure MSFS is prepared yet, lot of trimming/calibration problems yet, recent update disabled the option to manage curves, etc, weather issues, no FSUIPC to help except for a beta version yet...... well i just cant concentrate performing my procedures for different maneuvers, but consume time by dealing with some MSFS problems and workarounds....  Not my goal for now.... the sim feels good, looks awesome but ill give it some rest and undust my P3D....  specially due to the 320, i mean, Come on!

Im trying to update my A320 for P3DV4.5 instead of continuing flying the model from MSFS, which is really dissapointing!

I do preffer to go in deep realism instead of fancy views and broken procedures...  I mean, looks good, but....  this is about flying right?

Nice thoughts Cp Mike.... B)

Happy Flying!

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Marc Fuolega
On 9/6/2020 at 1:18 AM, Henrik Witbaard said:

The Weatherengine, lighting, scenery etc. are just on a completly different level.

I fly on VATSIM usually. You can’t even rely on that “fabled” weather engine to give you the same barometric pressure as expected in the VATSIM ATIS because it’s not based on METARs but models and predictions. 
 

The scenery is... good and bad. Many places have very low resolution scenery, so they somewhat cover that by placing armies of trees everywhere. 
 

The photo scenery looks awful and blurry from high above at airliner cruise altitude. Which is by design and unlikely to change since you can’t really stream actual high resolution orthos. 
 

The flight dynamics and response to turbulence and wind is absolutely laughable. 

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