Sunday, September 15, 2013

Why I'd Pay Anything! A reader rant!

[Reader Rant] Just a reminder folks, AirDailyX is always open for you! If you have an editorial or rant you would like to submit, you are always free to do so! Today's rant comes from ADX reader James Long who is just going crazy over the blasted OOM's and CTD's. So settle back, get a cup of coffee and join us for a good Sunday rant!

"Why I'd Pay Double/Triple/Anything for a PMDG 777 that Works in Prepar3d (or X Plane)"

I abandoned FSX late last year. I had bought a brand new computer specifically to use for FSX. It's powerful and can easily get it running at a high level of detail and info, the only thing not perfect being that I opted for an ATI graphics card rather than the recommend for FSX NVidia. I followed Nick's bible on set up and looked through Kosta's tweaks but kept things simple not wanting to create problems. I loaded up my PMDG's (I had all that had been released at that time) and set off to fly around my Orbx and FlyTampa scenery. About a month later following crash after fatal error after reinstall I decided to give up. I was spending more time fixing problems (75% tweaking vs 25% flying according to Pete Dowson sounds about right) than flying.

You all know that soul destroying moment when you have spent 30 mins setting up a flight, 15 mins taxiing, getting clearance and then taking off only for FSX to decide to throw a fit and crash. You want to scream.

So I gave up. I followed PMDG's FSX uninstall guide, lost my favourite aircraft but ultimately I'd been fighting with FSX for years now, I couldn't stand it any more.

So what next? Someone pointed me to X Plane but it just didn't feel quite right - I can't put my finger on why. Someone then suggested I try Prepa3D so I bought an academic license. Booting things up (minus my beloved PMDG's) I found a rejigged FSX. Admittedly I couldn't load from a start screen (which is still an a£&e) and the graphics had been tweaked for the worst I thought - performance seemed better but honestly I don't think it's a beautiful as FSX for some reason. I installed my compatible scenery and some compatible aircraft and started flying again. Actually flying! What was this miracle? How had Lockheed Martin found this stability with the FSX code? It was brilliant and performed really well on my system and I was happy. It didn't crash, not once! Well once but that was during a power cut.

Scenery and aircraft have since come out that work with P3D and my system was set up well. But I was missing my PMDG's. The only aircraft (in my opinion) comparable in complexity (which is the type I prefer) has been Majestic's Dash 8. But it won't get me on a long haul flight like PMDG's 747 or MD-11. I have sat quietly pretending it doesn't matter but then the 777 came out. I tried to ignore it and the clamour and videos but it's been impossible.

So I took the painful decision last week to buy a new hard drive for a fresh, separate, clean FSX installation specifically for the 777. I bought the 777 too. I vowed to do things right this time. A bare bones set up that couldn't possibly cause me problems. I would add FTX Global and a couple of their regions plus one or two Flight Beam and FlyTampa sceneries. But that would be it. Maybe I'd add the Airbus X (as I had struggled with this in P3D) but that would definitely be it. I followed Nicks guide to the letter. I didn't tweak any of the fsx.cfg other than what he said to do. I didn't bloat it with traffic or other add-ons other than FSUIPC. I wanted the 777 and if all was well there I would slowly add the other PMDG's in time.

With graphics set I loaded up FSX. The menu music played, my girlfriend rolled her eyes and I fired up the 777 at New Chitose Airport (not taxing scenery). Amazing! It looked amazing! I went in to set up the controls making sure all worked ok and took off. It worked! And then it didn't. Something went wrong, the controls disconnected (Windows 8 grrr) and I fell from the sky. Except I didn't as before I crashed FSX crashed. Here we go again I thought. My next flight was more successful and I did a hop over Japan. I really loved the 777 and FSX was behaving itself it seemed. The next couple seemed ok too, maybe all would be well.

Then something went awry with control settings. Auto throttles didn't work so I followed the forums solutions to make sure FSUiPC didn't calibrate them. That worked. For a while. Then I loaded up FSX without having changed anything since the last shutdown and now the text around the dials in the VC was blurry, Why?! How can FSX do this? Solutions were forthcoming (see my last posts on the support forums) and tweaking the graphics settings with RadeonPro (instead of NVidia Inspector) fixed things. But then FSX suddenly took a dislike to RadeonPro so I searched for a solution which suggested......and so it goes on. I was tweaking again but worse still, FSX was not playing ball again.

Finally I gave up tweaking and set up my 777 for a hop across Australia. I left the blurry dials, I just wanted to fly. I programmed the FMC, started her up and taxied out. I lined up, advance throttles and took to the skies. Oops I caused a tail strike but we would ignore that. I was on track and settled back for a 3 hour flight. After reaching cruise I popped downstairs to get a drink (of water!) and that's when I heard the most awful noise. What the hell was that? I rushed back upstairs to find the OOM bing noise on repeated loop (it wasn't an OOM, just the noise) and FSX frozen. Nooooooo! As I reached to salvage something FSX laughed at me (I heard her) and restarted my computer, flight over. I couldn't believe it.

So here I am writing on this forum my tale of woe. I love you PMDG but I hate you FSX. Why can't you work for me? Granted I may be doing something basic wrong but I haven't got any more time in my life to try and figure out what it may be. It could be anything! So I'm abandoning a new hard drive, a new 777 and other PMDG's and loading up my P3D. Right now I'm cruising at 25,000ft in my Dash 8 and will be landing soon. I know I will land too. And takeoff the next time and land the next time. Because P3D works. I don't have the FSX crash fear anymore.

And that my friends is why I would pay anything to have my PMDG's working in P3D. I understand the EULA stance you've taken and respect your decision not to support P3D. I'm also sure there are some who have FSX flying (pun intended) beautifully with the 777 and to them I say good for I cry into my water glass. None of this is PMDG's fault, it's FSX. It's old and needs updating and we all know that to get it working requires an investment of time and money. But I'm not doing it any more. My PMDG's will remain in storage in my hard disk hangar and that makes me sad. I will even try X Plane when PMDG move there but that is a long way off. So I repeat, that is why I would pay anything to have PMDG in P3D. It probably will never happen but if you do decide to give it a bash, let me know will you? I'll be waiting.

Rant over :-)

James Long

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Unknown said...

I have had the biggest respect for PMDG, but with them actually deliberately "sabotaging" their 777 to not work with Prepar3D, I have lost all respect for them.

The 777 is sold with a EULA for entertainment use only and I cannot for the life of me understand what difference it would make to PMDG if someone uses their 777 on a home PC running Prepar3D.

Selling a software product without official support for Prepar3D is one thing, but making sure your product is crippled for Prepar3D is a totally different path, one that has made me lose all respect for PMDG.

Unknown said...

FSX does have terrible quirks sometimes. After a while though, your learning curve is reaching saturation. It also helps if you are the 'understanding the inner workings" kind of guy. It surely helps when small things get in the way. Once you reach saturation with fsx crashes and errors, you will know better how to handle it and improve your methods to avoid them with new add-ons, etc'. Saying this is solely from my experience so far, which is just less than a year of messing around fsx and the lot. I can't remember the last time I had an error I couldn't figure out.

Building a rig for fsx, you should have known it's better to go with NV. Actually, it's better to go with NV anyway because they continue to lead the market like a boss for the past couple of years. ;)

Ypaul123 said...

I wouldn't read much into what that Adi guy says. <-- he's can't even connect PSU cables to his videocard properly :(

Dave W said...

I currently have no PMDG products so do not feel qualified to comment on the EULA or compatibility of their products.

I do however, have to agree with Adi, anyone who proffesses to have any knowledge of FSX, even a little as in my case, knows that the only card to use with it is an Nvidia - this really is a schoolboy error and leads me to question whether the author truly has sufficient skills to tweak FSX to run with such a complex addon....

Unfortunately due to FSX's age and limitations tweaking is a necessary evil to run anything more than the very basic FSX with few or zero addons so a response of "We shouldn't have to tweak it" is insufficient. FSX is a labour of love these days, no doubt about it - I am amazed at the wealth of superb addons that continue to be produced for it, unfortunately running them all together will undoubtedly cause problems..

With kind regards and sympathy/empathy with all who try!

Dave W from the UK (average fps - 15)

fridberg said...

What I don't understand is PMDGs decision to go into X Plane and leaving P3D alone in the dark, where P3D is basically FSX but more stable.

Phantom said...

I don't agree that the only card to have for FSX must be Nvidia. I've been using AMD for ages on FSX, never had a problem (they perform great and of course they need settings optimizations just the same way as NV needs them in order to make FSX to work/look great), i even know a lot of users with AMD radeon cards.

And this is coming from a guy who has buy/used nvidia cards also.

Dave W said...

A fair point Phantom - only card is too strong a statement, "better card" may have been a better phrase.

Whichever card - or system specs, tweaking and realistic expectations is the road to Nirvana where FSX is concerned

All the best and happy landings!

Dave W

Unknown said...


In a way James I feel sorry for you, in another way I do not.

Cursed is the folly that one follows in believing if we let our FSX install disks sit on the shelf for a year they will magically "heal" themselves, ready for a fresh retry when some conclude this process has surely occurred. I discovered this myself when in my delusional belief I did much as yourself, a brand spanking new clean install. I laughed as I loaded in the Acceleration pack and restarted FSX only to have it lock up 4 minutes into the default flight with the Air Trike. Hours of "tweaking" (I have learned to hate this term), later it would run longer than I had a desire to use it. Then as I spent more time installing + more time problem solving I had had enough. Even some of the suggestions raved about by the FSX gods of mods started showing that not all spoken was truth in regards to all systems. Airtight solutions invoked by these gods often wreaked havoc on other users systems causing more problems, further confusion etc, etc. FSX was wiped from my system 2 years ago and I never looked back.

I too was held captive by the works of PMDG as one may be by the sight of a beautiful woman, but that spell was vaporized faster than jet fuel in a turbines combustion chamber when I recall reading the first post by Mr. Randazzo with regards to Prepar3D. The tone to me was that he clearly hated it. This was even before the EULA hoopla that has long worn out many a forum. PMDG over the course of time has now become synonymous with Promoting Microsoft's Dead Garbage. This is no bash against PMDG, they can produce for whatever platform they so please, but then again, the masses see the beautiful woman and can not resist.

I feel no pity towards those who purchased the 777 and believed it would work. Nor for those who reinstalled FSX to use it and now lament on how crappy FSX performs. Siting on the shelf didn't help it. Shame on those who had an opportunity to speak with their wallet and voice their desire to make Prepar3D their sim of choice. PMDG knew users would get the fine scent of perfume from the beautiful woman and come strolling on back hat in hand apologizing for abandoning the FSX flock if only to fly their newest offering the 777. I have no doubt PMDG counted on it, and they are very smart, because they were right. Those who purchased it to work in Prepar3D just took the "need" for developers to rethink the whole Prepar3D strategy 2 steps back. Those who have used P3D over any time know what we have and it saddens me to see folks folding like cheap lawn chairs to the monolith that PMDG is in the flight simulator community. A position which I agree has been well earned, but as the saying goes, when one is at the top, there is only one way to go if one missteps.

For myself, PMDG is off my radar and will remain so for any future releases. There are now a growing number of developers producing great aircraft for P3D and I have no doubt it will grow. I can therefore stick with a rock solid platform that actually has team members working on it as we speak, than operate a great product in a buggy program that you'll spend more time further "tweaking" (there it is again), than getting your moneys worth out of. I saved my $90 for other developers who support Prepar3D. I wished other P3D users did as well. It's pretty hard to complain to PMDG that they did not support and actually inhibited their product to work in Prepar3D when you purchased it as an FSX only product and further knowing the stance PMDG has taken with regard to Prepar3D. In the end you lost. Your gamble did not pay off. You're now out of pocket for an airplane you can't use, in a superior sim you can't use, so the only way to try to recoup your loss is to install FSX and repeat the first two statements.

I'll go back to flying my Majestic Dash8, Aerosoft Twin Otter, A2A Cessna 172 etc, etc, in Prepar3D now... ;)

Unknown said...

pathetic troll fail... you probably consider yourself 'einstein' for googling my nickname too.

If anyone cares for this troll, you can go to the link he posted and see that I helped a guy who had confused his seasonic platinum peripheral 6-pin cable with his psu pcie 6-pin cable.

Wonderful website like this doesn't need idiots like you around.

Unknown said...

I also find this very odd. I mean, if you look at it, most developers don't even think on skipping the p3d option in their installers, as p3d being the current future for flight sim. I can only guess there is some kind of marketing decision behind this. Probably an extra charge to get it running on p3d 2.0 or something like that. Time will tell.

Unknown said...

Of course it doesn't have to be NV. I'm a former AMD user. :)

The thing is, if you check, then the majority use NV with fsx. The reason being, mostly because of how the driver configuration works, referring mainly to nv inspector, being a very useful tool and widely popular in configuration guides.

For other stuff, AMD is just fine. The only thing I'd seriously check before buying is SLI. NV almost always has the upper hand in array support and performance. Needless to say, fsx doesn't benefit much from sli. I mean, people make amazing, smooth videos with a single gtx 560 lol.

Unknown said...

What I do, I run RAZER game booster as 'administrator'. I also reduce my cloud textures to 2048. Traffic at 40%. On the scenery menu, I deselect any addon airports that I'm not flying to and finally, I run an external FPS limiter. FSX is an absolute pain in the asphalt but if you try to minimize addons that can hurt your performance and only use them when being used, you could have a sucessful flight. Trust me on this because I deal with it every day. Its just something you have to mess with. Oh and make sure you don't mix nicks tweaks and Kostas tweaks together. Something is bound to go wrong. Just put "highmemfix1" and mess with the scenery sliders in the settings area. Dont set things too high unless a certain addon requires it.

IFR7700 said...

For me, AVSIM tweaking guide, 4.7 GHz overclock, DX 10 and scenery selection allow me to fly anything, anywhere at 30 FPS locked. FSX is far from dead. Two years ago, I knew nothing about flight sim.

PMDG has made a business decision based on liability and other factors. It is their right.

If you truly would pay "anything", put me on a plane to your house, with an account at Newegg, and I guarantee I could get your system running smooth as silk with no OOM's and no CTD's. It really is not that difficult if you are willing to invest a little time and a lot of money.


Elliot Westacott said...

They wont be leaving P3D in the dark. The main reason to sabotage a product from working on the platform is because they are probably going to release a commercial only version for P3D which will cost substantially more. This will force people to only use the commercial product on the commercial platform - like it is intended for. Infact, you can actually already buy commercial license use in P3D for some PMDG products.

Airspeed said...

ON topic, is PMDG to blame for not going to P3D?
Is Boeing a major contributor in the NGX and the T7.
Maybe Boeing told PMDG that would not have anything to do with P3D. It's no secret than Boeing and Lockheed have gone head to head on big contracts.
Just my thoughts. Anyway, I do not own any PMDG products and stay away from the Neutered Avsim forums. Good luck to all getting them on board with P3D.

Unknown said...

No offence to you Airspeed, but this Boeing vs Lockheed statement I keep seeing used as reason is getting tiresome. Especially if you know the facts. I have family that work in management at Boeing, and I can assure you no such hostility exists. Boeing and Lockheed Martin have a very good relationship, and contrary to some folks with tin foil hats on their heads, often help each other out on some issues. More projects are collaborations than hostile competition. Mr. Randazzo himself had even stated this within the PMDG forums.

Boeing does not reject the likeness of it's products being used in Lockheed Martin's Prepar3D. Simple as that.

Unknown said...

Hi all, loving the various comments. IFR7700 wins with the best offer though...I'll think about it! haha

Hopefully you can see my rant for what it was - a bit of humorous therapy having had issue after issue with FSX over the years. I am pretty technically minded when it comes to FSX (and have a degree in Aerospace Engineering!) having bought it on the day it was released - it was even worse then before the fixes! I have now had it set up on probably 3 different machines.

I'm aware ATI isn't perfect and Windows 8 is probably a big no but FSX needs to work for me now not the other way round. 7 years of tweaking has driven me mad! It's P3D all the way - P3D on Windows 8 with my ATI is stable, smooth and enjoyable. I feel it misses the great long haul tube-liners though which is why the 777 tempted me back. Yes, I know that FSX after a year on a shelf won't have fixed itself. Yes, I'm aware it needs setting up carefully. Hence I only installed the bare minimums and still had issues. If I'm doing something wrong then so be it. So are many others it seems! Have you seen the forums for our hobby??!!

In the follow ups to my original forum post I made one other comment that I'd like to hear views on. I said that an Apple like design philosophy, whereby software and hardware are designed specifically to work together could be a huge benefit to our hobby. Imagine a custom built affordable home sim that integrated only flight sim software with the hardware - I suggested a modded PS4 or X Box One as examples (I know very unlikely but just examples at around $500 US) whereby you turned it on and just flew. Your peripherals just worked and maybe you could add up to 3 monitors. A kickstarter type project could help fund it (e.g. Oculus Rift style) and imagine what the likes of Orbx for scenery combined with the Carenado's, PMDG's, REX's could come up with. I appreciate it is a fantasy but just imagine! Someone suggested some of the Russian programmers responsible for DCS and the like - perfect! I'd definitely think about investing if it just worked out of the box. Wonder what John V and Mr Randazzo would say...haha.

Those that say our hobby is a small niche though and it wouldn't have enough of a following are wrong I think. This blog shows that the following is strong and the many thousands of forum subscribers and contributors shows the demand for a good sim product exists. Maybe we should sign a petition to the developers? Become flight sim activists until we get what we want?

Martin said...


Martin said...

Disclaimer: I'm sorry NickN...

Have you actually tried, without tweaking your Windows, your fsx.cfg, etc, to run your FSX with serious addon? I guess not. Well here's the thing, there is no systems alike, especially with us the simmers. And it's one of the main reasons why a tweak for me won't work for you and opposite...

I used to do the same, follow someone's tweak guide by the letter and getting miserable results, OOMs, CTDs, the whole 9 yards. Then I was frustrated, then I divorced FSX...then I came back and started to learn and gradually build my set of tweaks. Apparently it turned out after few months of trial, testing and crashing, that the truth is somewhere in the middle, I had to tailor the tweaks for my machine. And at the end it got a nice bundle of various tweaks suggested by different users. Happily my FSX is running stable now, with some occasional OOMs of course...

I would advise you to go slow. Install W7x64 (not 8), and don't touch it (I've been observing some weird behavior touching things were not supposed to). Install FSX on a different drive, do the HIGHMEM=1 tweak and that's it. Start changing things one at a time, fly the T7 and tweak your performance with small steps. In my fsx.cfg I have only 6 or 7 tweaked lines and they are strictly personalized for my setup...

Good luck.

fridberg said...

Airspeed said...

I take no offense Thad, it is just a thought. As for the reasoning, well does it matter?
PMDG at this point for whatever reason, decided not to support P3D. I am glad have FSX working at it's best and have made a decision to not support PMDG regardless.

Todd said...

This is a boring debate that gets us nowhere and makes more enemies than friends. I like my P3D, and just don't lose any sleep over what PMDG does. I certainly won't pay more money for a commercial license for a product that will still be labelled as "entertainment only."
The decision is simple really. If you want PMDG products, use FSX. If you are like me and find more enjoyment in actually flying other addons, get P3D. In the end, this is a hobby we are meant to enjoy.

Unknown said...

Todd says it as it is.

However if we all fly 100% of the time without having to be bothered with installs, tweaks, updates, upgrades and so on, we would not have all that any hobby provides, alzheimer's, headaches, heartburn, malnutrition, alcoholism, elation/depression mix, divorce, the dole, repetitive strain injuries, overdrafts, and not forgetting alzheimer's.

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