SimDirector Course

What is SimDirector?

Prepar3D is used around world by pilots, academics, militaries, and hobbyists. It is known for its:

SimDirector taps into this potential and allows developers to create scenarios based around the Prepar3D simulation and world.

Scenarios created in SimDirector can be classified into various categories:

SimDirector is accessible to scenario developers of all levels:

SimDirector is included in every copy of Prepar3D for no additional cost!

Course Objectives

First Scenario (Plan and Set Up Initial Conditions)

Planning Phase

  1. Decide on the purpose. Consider:
    • Domain
    • Objectives
    • Proficiency Level


We will target the academic aviation domain. Our objectives are to:
  1. Perform a successful takeoff on the active runway
  2. Navigate to specific areas to observe physical entities and scenery
  3. Optionally, perform a successful landing at the same airport
  1. Decide on the location. Given aviation scenario, consider:
    • Are we mid-flight?
      • At what altitude?
      • Are we following a flight plan to a destination?
    • Are we starting at a desired airport?
      • Does our scenario purpose dictate approximately where we should be?
      • Does weather of our situation dictate how we will takeoff?


We could aerially explore downtown Los Angeles in a plane that would be used by a private pilot.

For ease, we can start at Los Angeles Intl (ICAO: KLAX).
  1. Decide on the Time and Season. Consider:
    • Should the time and season add training value?
    • Is the time and season being used for aesthetics?


  1. Decide on the weather conditions. Consider:
    • Should the weather add training value?
    • Is the weather being used for aesthetics?


The complete planning phase gives us the following plan:


Set Up Scenario

Open SimDirector. Once in SimDirector, set up a new scenario based on our Planning Phase:


Navigate the area using the following controls:

Navigation Exercises

  • Explore the city and find key landmarks by using Mouse Controls to:
  • If game controllers are available, try the above exercise and decide on a preference!
  • Zoom out until the entire world is in view!

  • Recap

    End of scenario set up, What's next?

    We're ready to build our scenario!

    Let's learn about objects through hands-on exercises.

    Overview of Objects (Part 1 of 4)

    What are Objects?

    Structured scenarios are composed of building blocks called Objects.

    Catalog Window

    Creating Objects

    Objects are primarily created via the Catalog window.

    To create Objects, use the following methods:

    Filtering Objects

    The Catalog window can be filtered by:
    1. Category: primarily the object's type
    2. Subcategory: primarily the object's purpose
    3. Name: match by a subset of the object's name

    Efficient Workflows

    An efficient workflow for adding objects from the catalog is as follows:

    Catalog Object Exercises

    Exercise Problems:

    1. How would you find objects that play sounds?
    2. How would you find Scenery Objects that are landmarks?
    3. How would you find boats?
    4. How would you find trees?

    Exercise Solutions:

    1. How would you find objects that play sounds?
      • Answer: Apply the subcategory filter for sound
    2. How would you find Scenery Objects that are landmarks?
      • Answer: Apply the category filter for Scenery then the subcategory filter: Landmarks. Additional landmarks may be able to be found in other scenery files.
    3. How would you find boats?
      • Answer: Apply the category filter for Entity and Scenery then use the Name filter (e.g. boat, ship, yacht) or use Scenery Subcategory filter: vehicles_water
    4. How would you find trees?
      • Answer: Apply the category filter for Scenery then use Name filter (e.g. tree, oak, maple) or use any Scenery Subcategory that starts with vegetation

    Objects Window

    Managing Objects

    Properties Window

    Configuring Objects

    Naming Objects

    Property Types

    Some different types of properties you may encounter:

    Scenery Objects

    To place scenery with different locations, sizes, and positions we need to learn how to manipulate objects!

    Object Manipulation


    Translation Gizmo

    Rotation Gizmo

    Scale Gizmo




    Scenery Object Exercises

    Exercise Problems:

    Create a small town area using Scenery Objects. Some ideas include:
    1. Wind mill farm
    2. Hotel complex (HINT: use name filter: gen_tropical) or groups of other related buildings
    3. Small forest of acacia and olive trees
    Utilize Object Manipulation such as:

    Mobile Scenery

    To assign mobile scenery a path, we need to learn about placing and assigning waypoints!


    Waypoint Editor

    Preview Mode

    Mobile Scenery Object Exercises


    1. Create a Mobile Scenery animal that walks along multiple Waypoints, and comes to a complete stop at the last point.

    2. Create a Mobile Scenery ground vehicle that drives in a circle at 45km/h continuously using Waypoints.

    3. Create a Mobile Scenery racing boat that sails a zig zag pattern at 55km/h (30 knots).


    First Scenario (Basic Scenario Building)




    Add your own ideas!



    End of basic scenario building, What's Next?

    Let's learn about more advanced objects through more hands-on lecture and exercises.

    Overview of Objects (Part 2 of 4)

    Introducing Action Objects

    Glossary of Basic Action Objects

    Basic Action Object Reference Manual

    Object Activation Action

    Object Activation Actions are the primary way of turning on and off objects that have the Activated Property. These control the flow of the scenario.

    Dialog Action

    Dialog Actions are the primary way of narrating your scenario. Choose the type of dialog sound using the List Property called Sound Type.

    Delay Action

    Delay Actions are the primary way of creating delay between serial chains of actions.

    Attach Effect Action

    Attach Effect Actions allow the user to spawn effects such as fireworks, smoke, and sparks on objects.

    Change Object Type Action

    Change Object Type Actions can change the user's vehicle during the scenario.

    Activate Waypoints Action

    Activate Waypoint Actions can assign a waypoint list to an object or cancel an active waypoint list.

    User Input Activation Action

    User Input Activation Action enables or disables whether the user has keyboard or joystick control. This can be useful for demonstrations or cinematic sequences!

    Set Pause Action

    Set Pause Action can control whether the user is paused or vehicles are frozen. User may need to read content before continuing!

    Play List Action

    Play List Action can create a list of sounds that will play as the background audio track - which can be randomized!

    One Shot Sound Action

    Sound can create a sound effect utilizing any of the sounds in the sound library!

    Random Action

    Random Action chooses an action at random from a list of selected actions. Optionally, the action can choose what percentage of the time an action will fire.

    Entity Simulation Action

    Entity Simulation Actions are used to control the simulation state of entity objects.

    Visualization Window


    Similar to world navigation controls:


    Graph is interactive!

    Validation Window

    Progress Log Window

    Action Object Exercises


    Create and configure the following actions or groups of actions.

    Do not connect Triggers to fire Actions.

    Instead, use the Execute Action with Children button in Preview Mode.
    1. Create a series of 3-5 effects that are attached to the user's vehicle. The effects should execute sequentially with varying degrees of delays between them.
      • Only use effects that start with "fx_"

    2. Create a series of actions connected together that perform the following task: turn off multiple scenery objects, wait several seconds, then turn on the scenery objects

    3. Create a scenario where a mobile scenery object (e.g. truck) is assigned waypoints that instruct it to drive in a circle (infinitely). After 30 seconds, instruct the mobile scenery object to stop following the waypoints.

    4. Create a scenario that cycles between 3 different vehicles with 10 seconds between each switch.

    5. Create a series of narrations that utilize text to speech. Optionally, use the record functionality to record yourself narrating the text. Example:
      • "This is the first dialog"
      • "This is the second dialog"
      • "This is the last dialog"

    6. Create a scenario that freezes and takes away user input after 10 seconds and then restores it after another 10 seconds. Use a dialog to let the user know what state they are in.

    7. Create a play list of background audio and then play a series of one-time sound effects over the background audio

    Introducing Trigger Objects

    Glossary of Basic Trigger Objects

    Basic Trigger Object Reference Manual

    Timer Trigger

    Timer Trigger is a timer that counts up or down to a specified time and then fires referenced actions.

    Menu Prompt Trigger

    Menu Prompt Trigger is a menu with configurable items that can be selected. When an item is selected, it fires its referenced action.

    Collision Trigger Reference

    Collision Trigger is a condition that can be set up to fire actions when a specified object collides with another specified object.

    Counter Trigger Reference

    Counter Trigger is a counter that can be set up to fire when the accumulated count reaches the Stop Count.

    Count Action

    Count Action is an object that increments or decrements the counter trigger's accumulated count.

    Trigger Object Exercises


    Create and configure the following scenario using triggers and actions.
    1. Repeat Action Exercise #2 with modifications: "Create a series of actions connected together that perform the following task: turn off multiple scenery objects, wait several seconds, and then turn on the scenery objects"

      Use a Timer Trigger instead of a Delay Action. Show the timer on the screen. Repeat on/off behavior indefinitely.

    2. Count from 0 up to 5 using Count Trigger and Action. Increment the count every time a timer trigger elapses one second.

      Hint: Set timer's OneShot Property to false.

    3. Place 5 pylon scenery objects on the runway. Every time the user collides with the scenery object, deactivate it.

      Hint: Use Name filter and search for "Pylon"

    4. Use a menu prompt to ask which of the three scenery objects they want to see in front of them.
      • Menu should stay open after each choice
      • When an option is chosen, the other scenery objects should disappear

    Introducing Area Objects

    Glossary of Basic Area and Related Objects


    Basic Area and Related Object Reference Manual

    Rectangle Area

    Rectangle Area defines a rectangular volume defined by a length, width, and height.

    Sphere Area

    Sphere Area defines a spherical volume defined by a radius.

    Cylinder Area

    Cylinder Area defines a cylindrical volume defined by a radius and height.

    Cylinder Path Area

    Cylinder Path Area defines a series of cylinders with a radius. Each end point of the cylinder list is defined using the Cylinder Position configurable list property.

    Proximity Trigger

    Proximity Trigger defines an object that fires actions when specified objects enter a referenced area.

    Area Landing Trigger

    Area Landing Trigger defines an object that fires actions when the user lands at a referenced area.

    Airport Landing Trigger

    Airport Landing Trigger defines an object that fires actions when the user lands at a specified airport.

    Area Object Exercises


    Create and configure the following scenario using area objects.
    1. Define two waypoint lists that a ground vehicle should drive.
      • The first waypoint list should be assigned to the mobile scenery object.
      • The second waypoint list should be assigned when the vehicle reaches the end of the first list.
      Hint: Use a proximity trigger and a rectangle area to detect when entity is finished with first waypoint list.

    2. Use a cylinder path to define a path that the user should taxi within. Display a dialog if they leave the area.

    3. Define obstacles on taxiway. Display a dialog if the user gets too close to any of the obstacles.

      Hint: Use a sphere area attached to the user and then detect when objects enter.

    4. [Bonus] Set up either a basic area landing or airport landing.

    Overview of Objects (Part 3 of 4)

    Introducing Goal Objects

    Glossary of Goal Objects

    Goal Object Reference Manual


    Goal Resolution Action

    Goal Resolution Action changes a goal's state to pass or fail.

    Group Goal

    Group Goal defines a goal that references other goals to create a hierarchy. The group goal either passes or fails by accumulating enough points or when told or via goal resolution

    Goal Object Exercises


    Create and configure the following scenario using goal objects.
    1. Create a scenario where a user must either collide with 2 pylons or enter 2 areas within 30 seconds.
      • If they hit the pylons or enter the areas, pass the scenario
      • If time runs out, fail the scenario

    2. Create a hierarchy of goals made up of one group goal containing multiple child goals. Create menu prompt that can complete each child goal. When all child goals are completed, the group goal should pass.
      • Use Kneeboard Window to watch goals complete

    Introducing Scenario Objects

    Scenario Objects Glossary

    Scenario Object Reference Manual

    Point Of Interest

    Point Of Interest defines a location of interest for the scenario. User may view all of the active points of interest. The active point of interest displays on the screen.

    Point Of Interest Activation Action

    Point Of Interest Activation Action activates or deactivates a point of interest. Upon activating, makes point of interest the active selection.

    On Screen Text

    On Screen Text displays persistent text on the screen that can be configured to different locations, sizes, and styles.


    Camera creates a new camera definition that provides properties such as the camera location and orientation. Camera view can be opened or closed using activations.

    Scenario Metadata

    Scenario Metadata sets up basic information about the scenario which the application can display such as whether the scenario is multiplayer or a briefing about the scenario.

    Realism Overrides

    Realism Override can override the user settings to control the experience of the scenario.

    Scenario Object Exercises


    Create and configure the following scenario using scenario objects.
    1. Create a scenario where scenery toggles between being shown and hidden every 5 seconds. Display text in the corner of the screen showing its current state.
      • If it is on, show green text. If it is off, show red text.
    2. Create several points of interest at an airport.
      • Show one point of interest at a time.
      • Activate next point of interest when the user is close enough to each one
    3. Create a camera that is attached to the wing of the aircraft and looks in the direction of a nearby scenery object.
    4. Create a camera cut scene that shows fireworks in the sky.
    5. Create a scenario with an HTML scenario briefing and scenario image.
      • Verify that it is displayed when scenario is selected in Prepar3D.
    6. Configure scenario to:
      • Ignore crashes, slew their aircraft, and set their location
      • Allow weather and time of day changes


    Multiplayer opens up a wide new world of opportunities for pilots, vehicle operators, and Air Traffic Controllers to either work together or against each other (e.g. Racing) in a collective scenario. Multiplayer scenarios created using SimDirector can be hosted and joined through the Network menu in Prepar3D. Refer to the Multiplayer Overview for more information.
    Additionally, SimOperator offers advanced control over multiplayer scenarios including live scenario changes. SimOperator is only available with the Professional Plus variant. Refer to the SimOperator Overview for more information.

    First Scenario (Building an Immersive Scenario)



    1. Select desired types of interactions. For each interaction:
      • What objects are necessary?
      • What objects should be connected together?
    2. Determine any goals of the scenario
      • When is the scenario over?
      • How many goals must the user complete and in what order?





    End of immersive scenario building, What's Next?
    We've mastered the basics of building scenarios!

    Overview of Objects (Part 4 of 4)

    Introducing Entity Objects

    Ground Vehicle / Boat


    Entity AI Behaviors

    SimDirector supports the following AI Behaviors for entities.

    To learn more about AI Behaviors, visit the AI Behaviors page in the Learning Center

    Entity Exercises


    Create and configure the following entities.
    1. Create several small entity boats on waypoints cruising on the open ocean. Turn water settings to Ultra in graphics settings and watch them react on the 3D waves.

    2. Create an entity aircraft that flies around in a large circle at 1500 meters (approx. 5000 ft).

    3. Hints:
      • Use camera object looking at entity to diagnose or use visual path - to be discussed!
      • Don't forget to set the AI Type to Airplane and the Aircraft AI to SIMPLE_FLIGHT

    4. [BONUS] Create an aircraft entity that taxis from a parking spot just short of an active runway.

    5. [BONUS] Start with Exercise #3 and have the aircraft entity perform a takeoff.

    6. Create an entity object that targets and attacks an enemy object

    7. Hints:
      • SetTargetAction can be used to target an enemy

    Introducing Simulation Action Objects

    Glossary of Simulation Action Objects

    Simulation Object Reference Manual

    Set Property Action

    Set Property Action sets the value of a specified simulation property to the given value.

    Property Trigger

    Property Trigger evaluates an expression and fires referenced actions if the expression evaluates to true.

    Set Gauge Variable Action

    Set Gauge Variable Action sets the value of one of the user's local gauge properties to the given value.

    Failure Action

    Failure Action sets the life status of a vehicle's systems which can either induce a failure or counteract a failure.

    Open Window Action

    Open Window Action can open an interactive gauge window in the location specified. It can also open other kinds of windows such as View Windows or Scaleform Windows.

    Panel Window

    Panel defines a reference to a specified gauge.

    Close Window Action

    Close Window Action can close a referenced interactive gauge window. It can also close other kinds of windows such as View Windows or Scaleform Windows.

    Simulation Object Action Exercises


    Create and configure the following actions.
    1. Create a scenario, in the Mooney Bravo with G1000, that:
      • Freezes the user
      • Opens up the PFD panel in the middle of the screen
      • Changes the indicated altitude from 250 to 500 to 1000 with 2 second delays in between
      • Closes the PFD panel
      • Assigns an indicated airspeed of 100 knots
      • Unfreezes the user
    2. Using Exercise #1, add a complete failure to the first engine mid-air.
    3. Create actions that attach and detach the avatar and execute these actions in Preview Mode manually.

      Hint: Variable is named Avatar Mode Is Attached

    SimDirector White List

    The SimDirector White List allows the user to choose what objects are shown in the SimDirector catalog.

    White List Exercises


    1. Configure the white list to only show the specified items in the catalog:
      • DialogAction
      • SetPropertyAction
      • Lockheed Martin F-16C - USAF Gray
      • RectangleArea
      • Camera
      • Acacia
      • Chestnut
      • fuel_truck2
      • ProximityTrigger
      Restart Prepar3D to see objects in catalog

    2. Reconfigure the white list back to default to show all objects in the catalog

    Conditional Logic Window

    The Conditional Logic window allows the user to create a tree of logical expressions that evaluates to a single value.

    Monitoring Window

    Monitoring Profiles

    Monitoring Properties

    Creating Courseware Content:

    Developing High-Quality Training Material

    Virtual Instructor

    Virtual Instructor Exercises

    Guided Exercises

    1. Using the Mooney Bravo, create a VI Session that turns on the autopilot functionality and holds the heading at 1000ft (approx. 304.8m)
    2. Create a self-contained VI Session that does the following:
      • Turns off user input
      • Activates a focal point
      • Tells user that the parking brake will be turned off
      • Pulls the parking brake
      • Turns off focal point
      • Turns on user input
    3. Add a view change to look at the parking brake, then look back to out the window
    4. Annotate Exercise #1 by adding the following:
      • Turn on focal point
      • Open panel
      • Recorded properties from Exercise #1
      • Add dialogs
      • Turn off focal point
      • Close panel

    Flight Instructor

    Recording a Flight

    Viewing a Recording

    Playing Back a Recording

    Flight Segments

    Flight Instructor Exercises


    1. Record several procedures:
      • Record a takeoff
      • Record a landing
      • Record a barrel roll
    2. Assign an aircraft entity one of the above recordings.
      • Hint: Entity should use Airplane Playback AI Type. To assign the recording to the entity use the Play Recording Action.
    3. Create a flight segment which plays back one of the above recordings and is annotated with narration using sequenced actions.
    4. [BONUS] Create a flight segment which shows the user where to fly and lets them know if their airspeed or altitude varies by 25% at any point.
    5. [BONUS] In another scenario, create a visual path that should be flown. Record flying the path in Prepar3D. Import that recording into your scenario.

    Capstone Project





    Exciting Challenges