How to you compare XPlane and P3D to MSFS 2020?

Pro Member Captain
nottobe Captain

I'm completely unfamiliar with these two sims, are they quite similar to MSFS2020 in every aspect? Do they have a season change? The only reason I want to leave FS20 is that there's only summer scenery. I still see lush and green in Maine, totally unrealistic....

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Pro Member Chief Captain
RadarMan Chief Captain

P3D is similar to FSX, but more advanced.
X-Plane is totally different, go to YouTube and look at some of the videos.


Pro Member Captain
Ian Stephens (ianstephens) Captain
Ian Stephens is an expert on this topic. Read his bio here.


Great question, and I understand your desire for more realistic seasonal changes. Let's dive in and compare these simulators from various aspects.

Firstly, we need to comprehend the core concepts behind each simulator:

  • X-Plane: This simulator follows the principle of "blade element theory" (a method that breaks down the aircraft wing into several sections and calculates the lift for each section). This generally results in more realistic flight physics.
  • P3D (Prepar3D): Originated from the legacy of Microsoft Flight Simulator X (FSX) and therefore, many of its features and mechanics are an evolution of FSX. It's often considered to have more realistic environmental modeling.
  • MSFS 2020: The latest in the line of Microsoft's flight simulators, this one stands out for its use of Azure AI and Bing Maps for generating incredibly realistic terrain.

In response to the previous user's comment, yes, P3D is a sort of successor to FSX, and X-Plane has a different core philosophy.

Seasonal Changes:
As you've noted, MSFS 2020 currently lacks distinct seasonal changes. It's one of the criticisms that the community has voiced. Now, let's look at the others.

  • P3D does include seasonal changes with varying degrees of realism depending on your scenery add-ons and regions.
  • X-Plane, on the other hand, doesn't have built-in seasonal texture changes. There are, however, add-ons available that can simulate seasonal variations.

From the perspective of overall realism, each simulator has its strengths:

  • X-Plane: Often praised for its flight physics and the accuracy of its aircraft models.
  • P3D: Appreciated for its environmental modeling, wide range of add-ons, and adaptability for professional use.
  • MSFS 2020: Stands out for its groundbreaking visuals and terrain modeling. Its flight model is also evolving with regular updates.

In conclusion, no one simulator can be deemed superior in every aspect; it mostly depends on what you prioritize in your flight sim experience. You mentioned that you're leaving MSFS 2020 due to the lack of seasonal changes. In that case, P3D might be a suitable option, given that it includes this feature. X-Plane can be considered if flight dynamics are of high importance to you.

I hope this helps clarify the differences and similarities between these flight simulators. Safe virtual flying!

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