I think it’s fair to say that a large portion of the flight SIM community has been caught off guard by the revelations flowing onto and out of the forums today concerning a “new” flight SIM that has been quietly under development since 2009.
The product? PREPAR3D. Pronounced “prepared”. And the SIM is a total earth environment simulator, down to and including submersible objects. Yes, as in submarines. This is hardly surprising given that the developer is Lockheed Martin, the huge aerospace/defense contractor.
So, what makes PREPAR3D such a big deal?
Well, the core technology is Microsoft’s own ESP technology, developed by the ACES team. This is the team replaced by Microsoft when MsFlight went into development. Remember about a year ago when recruitment ads were spotted looking for MsFS SIM developers? Everyone thought this was proof positive that Aerosoft was in the SIM business. Now, you wanna guess who placed those ads?
So, what does it all mean?
Well, simply put, all of those who’ve invested tons of money on FsX add-ons and who’ve been fretting about: 1) the lack of future development for the core SIM by MicroSoft, and; 2) the continued nagging voice in the back of your head telling you that the flight physics in MsFS’s core is not really the best – now have cause to rejoice. It’s only assumption at this point but fair to assume that if an aerospace contractor is putting together a SIM based on existing FsX tech that item number one is to clean up MsFs’s questionable physics. That this might be accomplished while at the same time utilizing the vast pool of add-ons now available for FsX? Well, your investment just received a massive transfusion of high powered technological life support. There’s simply no other way to look at this right now, and perhaps because – right now – the FsX community is riding on the building crest of a very large wave of emotional energy. A lot of questions appear to have an answer, and the answers floating around look very good indeed.
But the truth of the matter is we simply don’t have answers to all these questions and hypotheticals right now. This is an evolving story!
Yes, but not for everyone. Obviously a great many people are working on this, and images are coming out. There’s no end in sight right now, but given that a picture is worth a thousand words let’s look at nine thousand of ‘em! Nine images taken from within PREPAR3D and up on their site. The first thing you’ll undoubtedly notice is that Orbx and REX are apparently already strategic partners in this venture, and that Lockheed aircraft feature prominently. Take a look at just a few of the images available:
And yes, there are already Lockheed Constellations and Electras available as free downloads.
Once again, this is an evolving story, and we’ll be adding what we can, when we can.
Stay tuned, and thanks for coming along. C & S