PMDG 747 onderweg naar Microsoft Flight Simulator

Wat een geweldig nieuws zeg! Robert S. Randazzo van ontwikkelaar PMDG heeft bekend gemaakt dat hun ‘Boeing 747 ”Queen of the Skies” in de maak is voor de aankomende ”’Flightsimulator” van Microsoft. Dit houdt dus in dat we ook in deze nieuwe sim diepgaande ”study level” systemen zullen gaan krijgen. combineer dit met de prachtige graphics, geweldige framerates en we hebben misschien wel eens een winnaar voor de aankomende jaren. Voordat ik het vergeet, er is meer nieuws over o.a. P3D V5 en de upgrade naar deze sim van de PMDG lijn addons. U leest er hieronder alles over:

 

[12APR20] Easter Morning with a Social Distancing Bunny… Your PMDG Weekend Update.

Captains,

Like most weekends, this has been a heavy working weekend for most of us at PMDG. Not necessarily because we have some compelling need to work on a weekend, but because with the current state of world affairs, there doesn’t seem much else to do, does there?

Some quick topical updates for you- and as always- if I don’t mention your particular favorite topic, it simply means I have nothing to tell you on that topic at this time…

Pending 747 QOTSII Update Cycle:
This has been a pretty significant update cycle for the 747 family- and with the update has come a protracted testing cycle as we work hard to iron out a few items that have popped up along the way. Issues related to model animations, PBR, sound processing, cL/cD models, ground effect, ground physics, navdata and a bunch of others… I think we turned a corner in testing late this afternoon with a handful of really difficult items suddenly falling into the “resolved” category- and that has generally improved the mood of both the testing team and the dev team.

We just now pushed another new version to the testers- and provided we didn’t break anything new (it happens) this may well be stable enough to push to release once they have had sufficient time to satisfy their curiosity that we indeed tacked down the loose edges and have things polished up the way we like.

Just as a word of warning, we are chasing down one item that nobody on the dev team has succeeded in reproducing, but that we suspect is a negative interaction between the 747 and a non-PMDG product. We are still trying to decide how to positively confirm this- and our inability to do so is slowing down any movement toward release of this update. The negative interaction is rather disruptive and you will understand that I am not describing it, or naming products because right now we are still operating in investigatory mode and we need to find a replication case that allows us to prove the theory before we reach out to another developer with data. Stay tuned- we think this is a very exciting update for the 747 product line.

A few folks have been asking us if/when we will add the EFB to the 747-400. We have begun to evaluate when this will take place, which is not the same as saying we are in the process of doing it. If I were to guess, I would say it will get added during the next major work cycle on the 747-400, which will revolve around moving that product line into Microsoft Flight Simulator. On the face of it, I think we would push the EFB into the 744 across both MSFS and Prepar3D platforms simultaneously **if** this is when we elect to add such a thing. (We haven’t decided- but we are evaluating..) Putting the EFB into the 744 is a pretty complex affair because of the number of variants of that airplane. It is a massive amount of data that has to be created and tabulated for use in that environment…

Pending 737 NGXu Update Cycle:
This update has now been moved back ahead of the 777 (I hinted at this in the last update a few weeks ago!) due to some difficulties we are running into pushing some of the newer technology we have developed backward into the 777 product line. The update for NGXu is more of a maintenance and upkeep cycle, but it will include pretty significant upgrade on a bunch of things related to wheels and brakes. (Ground physics, manual braking, automatic braking, etc) All of these changes are being brought back to Xu from the development work that is wrapping up on the 747 update- as we were able to resolve a number of items on the bigger airplane that also afflict the smaller airplane and by design they share common code so the fixes benefit multiple product lines.

A number of folks have been wondering about over aggressive braking in both automatic and manual modes and this has finally been solved. We have some pretty fancy diagnostic tools that we use to test data performance by outputting information on the performance of these systems in real time- and after chasing my tail on reports of over-aggressive autobrake behavior for the better part of a year- I discovered that disabling the diagnostic capabilities was actually breaking a feedback process from the IRUs, resulting in breaking computations going completely off chart in automatic modes… The good news is that we know the bit failure modes work…

We have a gaggle of other, smaller items coming to you on the 737 update as well- but off the top of my head i don’t recall all of them. Look for this update to roll out after the 747 update.

PMDG 777 Update:
This update is having a difficult gestation period because of the sheer bulk of new technology we are adding to the airplane. The work is slow, but progressing- and it will benefit mightily from some of the advances we finally made on the 747 this week. Look for a bit more information on this update cycle as we get the other two off of our plates.

Prepar3D v5:
We have been guests of Lockheed Martin in their testing program now for some years, and with the public pronouncement of the arrival of P5D I want to give you some clarity on how we plan to handle the transition:

Prepar3D v5 is a major version change for Prepar3D as evidenced by their decision to change from 4.x to 5.x. When we first entered the Prepar3D marketplace, we indicated that pricing on our products would be higher in part because the platform is evolving and this will require development time and management to keep products up-to-date moving forward. The benefits of this have been realized as Prepare3D moved from v3 to v4, and from v4 to V4.4 with PBR, and now to v5. We continue to keep the product line in step with the changes, and we are continuing to roll those changes to you so that you can also keep in step with the platform changes.

What’ll It Cost?:
At this time we do not see any compelling reason for additional costs to our Prepar3D customer base.

P5D Product Updates:
As of this moment, to the best of our knowledge, our core products are compatible with the new version of Prepar3D right out of the box- excepting of course that we do not yet have installers available for customers who wish to upgrade to P5D. We will be rolling out installation updates to our existing Prepar3D product line during the coming days/weeks/months that will allow customers to utilize our products in both the P4D and P5D environments.

How will I get the Update?:
Details are pending- but the plan we are currently evaluating is to update the existing installers to recognize and handle installation for P5D. There are a few complexities here in terms of file size, a decision on whether to remove the P3D (version 3, for clarity) to it’s own installer, leaving P4D/P5D in the same installer, or to make a brand new P5D installer that is unique to the platform. We are working with a couple of test units to see which we like more and which is more sustainable long term.

Are My Existing Products Already Compatible?:
To the best of our knowledge thus far, yes- which means only that our initial testing has shown that they are but we might find a few knee-knockers later on that will need to be resolved. The issue of course is installation- and some users will be comfortable doing a hand installation of an existing product- others will not… We cannot/will not support anyone doing a hand-installation simply because there are too many ways a user can goof it up- but hopefully we’ll have new installer mechanisms for you before you need to worry about taking matters into your own hands.

Will we be adding new P5D features?: Yes- of course. That being said, P5D really is evolutionary on the airplane side. While I don’t speak for Lockheed Martin, I suspect their focus was on the engine, rendering and efficiency, thus leaving most of the airplane feature side static except for some minor evolutionary changes. That benefits all of us right now with a faster pivot-to-P5D.

When will the new P5D installers be ready?: Just as soon as we can have them available. It may take a few days, to a few weeks to get all of them done. In a perfect world they will be ready for you on 14APR20… It has been my experience that the world is rarely perfect- but that doesn’t stop us from trying.

How Long will we develop for P4D?: That remains to be seen. Right now from *our* perspective P4D/P5D are really very very similar so supporting them both is quite easy. Over time I anticipate P5D will separate itself from P4D and that may cause us to decide end development specifically for the P4D platform. Right now we do not see anything on the event horizon that causes us concern in this regard.

If I buy the 747 or 777 or DC-6 on sale before the 14th?: Yup. You get yourself a fantastic simulation you can use immediately in P4D, and the moment we have the updated installers that recognize P5D, you can use them in the new platform too… without any hassle, hoops or hostage payments.

Okay- I think that covers us for today… I have more debugging work to accomplish tomorrow on the 737, but I am sure I’ll be checking on a bit later in the day.

Robert S. Randazzo