Requested Features and Enhancements Implemented in Prepar3D 2.0

Prepar3D v2.0 brings many exciting updates to the Prepar3D simulation platform

Rendering and Performance Improvements

The core rendering system in Prepar3D has been completely overhauled and updated from DirectX 9 to DirectX 11. Prepar3D is now able to better take advantage of modern graphics hardware. This has two main benefits to the user, increased performance and control over what is displayed, as well as the ability to have modern rendering features added to the rendering engine.

Performance Improvements

Object Instancing

  • Instancing allows the rendering system to have graphics cards draw multiple copies of the same entity just once. This greatly improves autogen building and tree performance.

GPU Particle and Effect System

  • Effects are now simulated through the new GPU (graphics card) particle system
  • Training scenarios with much more effects rendered on the scene are now possible

Tessellated Terrain on the Graphics Card

  • The previous work being done to generate terrain mesh is now done on the graphics card.
  • Fully dynamic night and day light cycles
    • Terrain lighting is now able to be done dynamically on the card, whereas previous shadows and lighting had to be baked into the textures and reloaded when time changed
  • Terrain paging performance greatly improved
    • Trainees in fast flight scenarios will see their terrain paged in much quicker as it is being done on the graphics card

Multi-Threading Support

  • Visual scene and rendering optimizations are now be done on background threads
  • Shader compilation is now threaded out which greatly reduces stuttering effects that some users had with previous versions
  • Resources are now able to be shared between views
    • A single update can be shared across virtual cockpit views greatly increasing performance with multiple views open
    • Round world coordinate conversion now able to be done on the GPU

Visual Rendering Engine Improvements

Prepar3D Now Has an Updated Real-Time Shadow System

  • Fully dynamic variance cascaded shadow maps
  • Supporting an unlimited number of objects receiving and casting shadows inside shadow range
  • Full support for object self-occlusion, including virtual cockpit self-shadowing
  • Terrain able to receive and cast shadows in real-time
  • Soft shadows support through separable blur pass filters
  • Day and night cycle support within the shadow system
  • Weather support (lightning able to affect shadows)

A Modernized Lighting System

  • Through tone mapping, views are now able simulate the effect of your eyes adjusting to the brightness of a scene
  • Improved simulation of night visibility
  • Bloom lighting effects greatly improved

A Vibrant New 3D Living Water Surface

  • Dynamic 3D waves and water surface based on weather conditions and wind speed
  • Water lighting and shading improved for greater realism

Volumetric Fog and Cloud and Weather Improvements

  • The appearance of flying through fog and clouds has been greatly improved
  • Light is now simulated as it passes through visibility and cloud layers defined in the Prepar3D weather system

Specular Lighting Terrain Support Enabled

  • Land classes now have specular values that will affect how they reflect light (for example, snow and roads now reflect light differently, snow is shinier, etc.)

Improved control over anti-aliasing up to 8x MSAA and FXAA support

Global anisotropic filtering support up to 16x

A Modernized Full-Screen Mode

Fullscreen mode is now non-exclusive

  • The mode switch is much faster
  • Windows can span more than one monitor in full-screen mode
  • Plug-ins can create their own windows
  • Bringing up the kneeboard or ATC windows won't cause delays in fullscreen mode as they used to

Prepar3D Professional Plus for Advanced Training

In addition to the academic and professional licenses of Prepar3D, a new Professional Plus license has been released to support advanced training. Professional Plus brings an extensible weapons training capability, as well as Learning Management System interfaces.

A fully-configurable, dynamic weapons system has been added to Prepar3D to allow our military-focused customers the ability to develop training using Prepar3D. Support for targeting, bombs, missiles, guns, and countermeasures are included, as are examples to show you how to implement features in your training.

Generic and Extensible Weapon System Functionality

  • Add weapons features to existing vehicles or build features into newly developed vehicles
  • Weapons can be generic or implemented through the new SimObject API
  • Targeting can be accomplished programmatically or through mouse-clicking
  • Attached objects dynamically influence the owner object until release
  • Dynamic scoring and object health system implemented
    • Including damage to objects in the area surrounding a point of weapon impact
  • Weapon Control system implemented
    • Includes aiming, safety enable/disable, and weapon select added
    • Supports Manual and Automatic Aiming/Targeting

Two new SimObject types have been implemented

Weapon SimObjects: Projectiles, Missiles, Bombs, etc.

  • Configurable Propulsion and Aerodynamics xml files to quickly develop and configure created weapons
  • Easily attachable to parent SimObjects through xml
  • Externally to a modeled pylon or right to the vehicle model
  • Internally to a modeled weapons bay

Countermeasure SimObjects

  • System implemented for measures or actions taken to counter or offset another one (i.e. chaff and flare)
  • Countermeasures affect weapon targeting


  • Manual and Automatic Turret aiming
  • Configurable Ballistics Tables for customization of ballistic characteristics
  • Configurable impact effects based on impacted object type

Included Weapons Gauge Sample

  • Example Gauge interface to weapons, guns and countermeasures
  • All Weapons controls integrated into gauge
  • Populate and display nearest targets
  • Show weapon configuration for specific SimObject (station and load out information)

AI Behaviors Added

  • Attacker
  • Combat Air Patrol
  • Combat Air Support
  • Pursue
  • Search and Track
  • Wingman Formation Flight

Learning Management System Tools

  • Implemented interface for launching flights
  • Created services for Flight/Lesson Status

Updates to the Digital Rights Management and Licensing process

The Prepar3D licensing and digital rights management (DRM) has been updated to allow users greater control over their licenses and to make the process easier for users to uninstall and reinstall or change their computer hardware.

New digital rights management (DRM/licensing) control:

User Interface Updates

We have received a lot of feedback on the user interface of Prepar3D and have made many changes to improve the layout, the functionality, and the look and feel of how you configure Prepar3D.

  • A startup screen option has been introduced that allows trainees to pick initial conditions and graphical profile settings
  • The graphical user interface design has been refreshed for version 2.0
  • The default graphical setting profiles have been removed, and users now have the ability to configure and name their own custom graphical setting profiles
  • A new Quick Time menu option that lets the trainee dynamically change the time of day of their training
  • The select vehicle screen has been redesigned with a 3D preview, a new way to browse, and the ability to add favorites
  • The load and save flight screens have been redesigned to make it much easier to organize large collections of flights
  • Controls Settings Interface Update
    • Added a search capability to quickly find relevant controls
    • Added sorting for SimObject Events
    • Added sorting for Weapon Events

Additional General Updates to the Platform

  • Added the ability for customers to customize the menu and context menu items that trainees see and are able to access by allowing them to remove menu options via a config file or the command line
  • Added a new pause mode "Host Freeze" where only the position of the ownship is frozen
  • Added a new pause mode "Entities Freeze" where the position of all entities in the simulation are frozen
  • Consolidated the in-app Learning Center and the SDK Learning Center into a more friendly windows help format
  • Scenario File (.flt) is replaced with an XML wrapped version (.FXML) to support great flexibility and customization
  • An error is now displayed to the user when their dll.xml is corrupt and cannot be loaded

Across the board updates to the windows and panels system

  • Users can now create and customize cameras at run time through a dedicated user interface
  • The Virtual Cockpit can now be made transparent
  • Cameras can now pan to defined points of interest
  • Per-view Render able Object Filtering has been added so users can filter out what should be and shouldn't be drawn in specific views
  • Field of View settings for Cameras have been added and can be configured in the camera.cfg entries
  • Camera definition options in the camera.cfg have been streamlined
  • Custom post-process effects can now be added to windows and chained together via the Camera.cfg or at runtime

SimDirector: Mission Creation Tool Suite

A new set of tools was required for the rapid creation of training scenarios. SimDirector eclipses the legacy Object Placement Tool and adds drag-and-drop support and a new virtual instructor for more dynamic delivery of training feedback to trainees using Prepar3D.

General Information

  • A WYSIWG Modernized User Interface
    • Ribbon Interface for tool organization
    • Dock-able Framework to enable a user customizable workspace
    • Objects and actions and triggers are able to be dragged and dropped into the world
  • Dynamic Mission Validation Provides Feedback as Missions are Created
  • Areas of Interest support for quick navigation of the Prepar3D world
  • Object Transform Gizmos for translation, rotation, and scaling of Mission Objects
  • Snap to selected object button to enable quick object editing

Mission Object and Logic Property Editing

  • Attributes including description and location
  • Mission Object and Logic references are easily accessible and updated

Mission Object List Interface

  • Separate Lists for Library and Mission Objects
  • Expandable Tree view based on object type for quick navigation through lists
  • Text based filtering based on Object Title
  • Object placement using Drag-and-Drop (with drag gable previews)
  • Preview object in thumbnail so reviewing objects is accessible

Two Separate Views for editing the world

Map View

  • Mouse wheel zoom and pan for effortless world navigation
  • Icons for mission objects when zoomed out

Object view

  • 3D view of placed Objects

Waypoint Editor Interface

  • Dynamically create multiple Waypoint Lists
  • Create waypoints by clicking on Map view or from user interface
  • Waypoint connectivity visualized for manageable list editing
  • Waypoints are draggable for effortless list creation
  • Move Waypoints from one list to another
  • Easily assign Waypoint lists to AI Objects

Two Separate Modes for Mission Creation

World Editor Mode: Object Placement and Interaction

  • Allows for free movement around the world detached from own ship

Preview Mode: Preview Mission and use the Virtual Instructor

  • Dynamically change simulation speed
  • Pause AI Objects during Mission Preview
  • Monitor simulation variables to support debugging missions

Mission Step Recorder

  • Configurable recording of flight and user inputs
  • Converts user inputs (discrete and continuous) to Mission Steps

Mission Environment Editing enabled from within SimDirector

  • Own ship
  • Location
  • Weather (User-defined or theme)
  • Time and Season

Software Development Kit (SDK) Enhancements for Developers

The Prepar3D software development kit (SDK) has been greatly enhanced for v2.0. A new iSimObject API has been created to allow developers full control over the SimObject implementations. Several enhancements have also been made to the modeling tools, the gauges and panels system, as well as requested additions from our developer network and forum users to the SimConnect interface.

General Updates

  • Streamlined the SDK content and examples to make it easier to find relevant information
  • External SimObjects can now participate in ATC

SimObject API Implementation

  • Create a simulation object (SimObject) complete with customized behaviors, input properties (also referred to as events or triggers), and state properties (also referred to as simvars or simply properties)
  • Custom events created for your simobject implementation can be configured for joystick, keyboard, and mouse use
  • Samples and Prototypes Included in the SDK
    • SimpleCar: Basic SimObject implementation
    • Car: Medium Complexity SimObject implementation
    • SimpleAirplane: Flight Dynamics Example
    • Professional Plus Specific Samples:
      • Countermeasure: Countermeasure Object implementation
      • Missile: Missile Object implementation
      • WheeledTank: SimObject with weapons

SimConnect interface enhancements

  • Added METAR readable parameters to SimConnect weather requests
    • Added -RA, RA, +RA, -SN, SN, +SN, TS, TSRA, +TSRA, -FZRA, FZRA, +FZRA to METAR output that will readable be between winds and clouds data
  • Added additional interfaces to read
    • Aircraft carrier properties
    • Scenery Complexity slider settings
    • Shadow settings
    • The actual eyeposition in LLA PBH
    • Joystick controller enable/disable functionality to SimConnect
    • Prepar3D version and license type information
  • SimConnect can interface with camera views and can now move, size, undock, dock, zoom, rotate, open, close, change and update the FOV.

Gauges and Panel SDK updates

  • XML gauges can now draw curved paths
  • LUA scripting can now be used for Gauges and Panels
  • Added the ability to create custom Render Textures and Post Processing for Windows and Cameras.
    • Plug-ins can define a texture and render into it using D3D11
    • Plug-ins can apply custom D3D11 Rendering to the output of a view
    • Custom post process can be defined via XML and XLSL without requiring a plug-in
  • Added Render To Texture Gauge type and Removed DirectX 9 C gauges. (Replaced by Render To Texture Gauges)
  • Added Prepar3D Development Kit (PDK) interface for window and camera control.
    • Window Control: Open, Close, Resize, Move, etc.
    • Camera Control: Position, Orientation, Field of View, etc.

Modeling SDK Updates

  • Modeling tools updated to include 64-bit support
  • 3D Studio Max 2012 and 2014 modeling tools support
  • XtoMDL tool updated to allow more than 65,000 polygons

RadarSignatures can now be used as an object filter for gauges

  • XML Gauge Maps: ObjectDetailLayerVehicles - 0x10 = Vehicles with a Radar Signature
  • ITrafficInfo:Filter - TRAFFIC_FILTER_RADAR_SIGNATURE = 128 (Takes precedence over all other filters)

Field of View (FOV) can now be defined in the Camera.cfg

Terrain Import Tutorial Added

Known Issues Resolved

The Prepar3D development team constantly monitors the support forums for improvements to the platform, as well as leveraged feedback from the Prepar3D developer network. The issues below were brought up by various developers or forum members.