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[20MAR21] A glimpse of the Road Ahead

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    [20MAR21] A glimpse of the Road Ahead

    Captains,

    Our close friends at Aerosoft released their new CRJ for Asobo's MSFS this week- (congratulations, Hans!) and this has of course set off an expected flurry of anticipation, desire, speculation and unfortunately, conjecture, as to when more complex aircraft will be made available by other developers including PMDG.

    In my (more-or-less) weekly updates, I try to give you a view that focuses on the product that is about to, or has just released, and then shift back to a higher-level view to give you a sense of the broader what is happening longer term in our development agenda. I think most of our customers track these updates easily enough, but occasionally it does sew some confusion because very little of what we share with you is linear. What I mean by "linear" is that we only very rarely tell you "we will do A, then B, then C."

    There is a very specific reason for this: The workload of developers on the PMDG team can fluctuate quite dramatically throughout the development cycle, and thus we very frequently move tasks around on the calendar in order to maximize productivity and minimize down-time. If a project gets hung up due to a modeling problem, we won't let the downstream coders sit idle while the modeling problem gets resolved- we simply move them on to some other task in order to keep the general ship-of-progress moving in the right direction.

    Likewise- sometimes we simply find that it is necessary to adjust the development schedule due to some external factor and this can open up a gap in the schedule that wasn't planned. We can insert a project, part of a project, an expansion package or some new feature into that down time, thus improving the overall quality of our product line.

    Which brings me to the subject of MSFS.

    PMDG Products for MSFS:
    =====================

    This week, with the flurry of excitement about the CRJ, we have gotten a bunch of folks asking "well, where is PMDG?"

    We're right here.

    We are at work converting our entire product lineup into MSFS. It is taking some time, primarily because we have to completely reinvent our development process. It isn't simply a matter of adjusting a few lines of code and throwing a new model and texture exporter at the mix and calling it complete. We are building new development tools, shuffling around our entire development process, and turning our products upside down in order to make them as real and lustrous and lifelike as the new platform will allow. We aren't simply porting products in, using the same models and textures and animations. We are completely re-imagining them in order to leverage every ounce of what the new MSFS engine will give us. This means all-new models, all new texturing, new sound recordings (which are expensive and time consuming to make) entirely new lighting capabilities, in some cases requiring entirely new photo-surveys and the rebuilding of source material in order to bring you cockpits that don't look like we dragged an FSX cockpit across twenty years and stuffed it into a really nice rendering engine. We are bringing you incredible, new, feature-rich environments that really shine in the new MSFS platform.

    For a while now I have been giving guidance on the release of PMDG 737NG3 as "very late 2021" and even hinted that it might drag into 1Q22. This guidance is a bit softer now- as we are really starting to see our work accelerate in MSFS. I'm going to hold off offering any projection right at this moment, as there are some things that have to happen before I become comfortable saying "yeah- we have cleared all of the hurdles." We have hit our share of knee-knockers, worked through them with some help from our friends at Aerosoft and Asobo- among others- and I fully expect we will hit a few more before we are finished.

    This is our first, full, jetliner product in the MSFS platform after all- so we don't entirely know what to expect from beginning to end. But things are beginning to accelerate nicely.

    On the topic of MSFS and PMDG:

    I have been mostly-mis-quoted ten thousand times this week as having said something along the lines of "the MSFS SDK isn't capable of supporting what we do" or "MSFS isn't capable of supporting what we do." I want to be very clear in stating that this new sim is highly dynamic and changing continually. What may have been true in June of 2020 is not necessarily true any longer. From the standpoint of development, we are not currently seeing any major limitations to prevent us from bringing our product catalog into MSFS.

    To put that another way, quoting me as saying "MSFS isn't ready for PMDG" is a bit like someone in 1971 using a 1959 quote of the NASA administrator saying "We don't have the technology to land on the moon." Sure- that was true at the time it was uttered- but no longer a factor.


    PMDG 747 and PMDG 737 Product Line Updates:
    ======================================

    As we have been working on the 777 product line, there are a number of small changes that we made to some core logic that is common to two or more of the airliner product lines. For example, we have a bug that is in all three product lines that got cured during the 777 development cycle, so we push those changes to the other product lines immediately in order to ensure that the problem gets exterminated all through the product catalog. For this reason we will be pushing a series of updates for the 747 and 737 product lines over the next couple of weeks.

    You will know those updates have pushed because we will announce them here, and/or you will see a notification in the PMDG Operations Center.



    PMDG Global Flight Operations:
    =========================

    We are currently refining the public-facing aspects of our new simulation environment. We have had our beta teams for the 737, 747 and 777 programs working in the Global Flight Operations environment for some time and effective with the release of the updated 777, all three main PMDG products lines are connected and able to use the data interchange appropriately. Much of the work taking place here has been un-glamorous and related to server load sharing, active load balancing and those sorts of critical-but-boring tasks. The good news is that you don't generally worry about those until you have a full product specification in place and know what to expect of it in terms of use. Read into that what you will.

    I have been promising a preview of what the environment is like but just haven't gotten around to creating it... I'll chat with the team and see what we are prepared to show you as we start rolling toward moving Global Flight Operations into the live environment cycle.


    Updating LNAV, Flight Director and NAVDATA:
    ====================================

    Now that the 777 is finally out of the hangar, we are preparing to roll a test-case airplane out to our beta teams so that they can begin working with our LNAV 2.0 process. This long-awaited update will replace the LNAV module currently in the 737, 747 and 777 product lines with a new, refined version based upon years of research, industry input, client feedback and improved modeling techniques. Coupled with an updated flight director, we will give providing you with an industry leading lateral navigation process that will bring this aspect of our simulations up to the level of refinement we have been seeking for all of our products. In conjunction with this change, or immediately following this change, we will also change the navdata process in our 737, 747 and 777 product lines to use a database driven system provided by Navigraph, rather than the outdated, customized structure we have relied upon for 20 years. This will allow us to implement a number of modern navigation practices that our products don't currently support gracefully. We'll have more show-and-tell on this as it gets into testing with our beta teams.



    PMDG DC-6:
    ==========

    If you have hung around the PMDG forum for any length of time, you know by now that I am a sucker for vintage airplanes. Of all of our products, the one nearest and dearest to my heart is the DC-6, as this product represents a hard-working, classic era of aviation where the mere act of intercontinental flying was barely short of a miracle. The sights, sounds, smells of this era of aviation have long since departed the common travel scene, but our DC-6 keeps them alive by giving PMDG customers the finest Douglas propliner simulation available.

    We have not pushed any updates for this product due in large part to the fact that it wasn't in **need** of immediate attention with all of the larger products going on. This has caused some users to wonder if the product line had been ended, and I assure you it has not. (Internally at PMDG, there is a constant discussion about adding the PMDG DC-3 to the classic propliner hangar, since PMDG allegedly knows some guy who operates one and might actually give access to it if asked nicely... I dunno, tho... )

    We have been hard at work on the DC-6 of late we think you will be blown away by the improvements. I promised the team that I would do a bit of flight testing with it this weekend, so here is a quick screen grab from my desktop of the DC-6 of her awaiting an evening test flight...

    And with that I am off to join my four-engine, fire breathing, smoke belching, oil dripping mistress... I hope you all have a very nice weekend!

    -RSR

    DC6_moody.jpg




    Robert S. Randazzo
    PMDG Simulations
    http://www.pmdg.com



    #2
    Awesome Robert! Hope all is well, loving the T7! Good things to come for sure. πŸ™‚
    Kendall T. Carlile

    Comment


      #3
      So your sayin’ there is a chance

      John C
      John C

      Comment


        #4
        Thanks for the info Robert, looking forward to the Lnav update. Your oil dripping mistress shot reminds me of the movie Alien, when the mother ship lands on LV-426
        Zsolt Szivak

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by Freightdawg View Post
          So your sayin’ there is a chance

          John C
          I think there is a chance.

          Nice update Robert. I respect the transparency about the development process and saying what you said about it.

          FYI. The forum rules do state first and last name. I do not think initial counts as that but you can do with that as you want too.
          Tim Barker
          FAA Air Traffic Control Specialist

          Comment


          • CoyoteLoco
            CoyoteLoco commented
            Editing a comment
            Tim...I really have to second the motion about Robert's transparency about up coming projects. It is awesome to have a company that cares enough to keep us informed.

          #6
          Originally posted by Freightdawg View Post
          So your sayin’ there is a chance

          John C
          Of course there is a chance. We just don’t know when it’s going to hit us. πŸ˜‚
          Ivan Majetic

          Comment


            #7
            Yeah I heard too there was some guy giving his airplanes girlfriend names and then travel the colder parts of the planet and even taking them to wet England *shiver* just to be the hero who keeps her warm at night :P

            just do it! 😍
            i7-6700k, GTX 1080TI, 32GB DDR4 RAM @2666MHz, 4k
            Marc Ehnle

            Comment


              #8
              Very much one of those few looking forward to the DC-6 update above almost all the other work you guys do. She's such a lovely machine and symbolic of an age long gone. Sure the 777 is considerably faster, more comfortable and easier to fly, but that's also what makes it in a way to me kinda boring. The challenge of early aviation is what makes it so enjoyable in my opinion.

              It's also why I've bought pretty much every propliner that's ever come out. The sound of radials is hard to beat and with the new technologies of PBR on aircraft in an era where bare or polished metal liveries were abundant, they look simply stunning these days.
              Adem Hull

              Comment


                #9
                So excited for the DC6 in P3D V5. Keep up the great work PMDG!

                James Lees - ATPL
                i9 10900k, 2080TI. P3D v5, MSFS, X Plane

                Comment


                  #10
                  Hi ,

                  Awesome update Robert.

                  Since you had mentioned Navigraph, I was stunned that the product is almost 20 years old.
                  I had remembered when Navigraph initially found, the NAVData service was free.
                  After a few years, the service is no longer free, but as paid-subscription.


                  Cheers,
                  Chris Truong
                  Chris Truong

                  System: i7-9700 @ 3.00 GHz, ASUS TUF B360M-E GAMING motherboard, 32GB of 3200 MHz DDR4 RAM, nVidia NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 SUPER graphics w/ 8GB GDDR6 VRAM, Windows 10 Professional.

                  Comment


                    #11
                    With the improvements in LNAV internally, will that also spill into your VNAV? Right now VNAV is calculated point-to-point rather than include any curves and this is quite a noticeable jump on the vertical profile when a turn is approaching 90 degrees or more.
                    - Karl Brooker

                    Comment


                      #12
                      Thanks Robert for the update!

                      I am really looking forward to MSFS line up, the future is in MSFS indeed .

                      Regards
                      Omar Al-Safi

                      Comment


                        #13
                        Thanks for the update. I hope the 737MAX is coming for P3D as well.
                        Paul Gugliotta

                        Comment


                          #14
                          Thx for the update.

                          I hope the 777 VC update for later this year is still on the roadmap, even if not mentioned in this update.
                          Tony Argaud LFPG - P3Dv4.5

                          Comment


                            #15
                            Originally posted by Tbarker1989 View Post
                            FYI. The forum rules do state first and last name. I do not think initial counts as that but you can do with that as you want too.
                            You would be correct with that assessment.
                            Captain Kevin

                            Kevin Yang

                            Comment


                              #16
                              Thanks for the update, Robert! Hope this means GFO will be soon, and that the NDA will finally be lifted so then we can get a glimpse into what we can expect.
                              Craig Norman

                              Comment


                                #17
                                rsrandazzo

                                WHAT!

                                Are you trying to tell me that Propeller Manufacturers and Dissipaters of Grease make aeroplanes other than the DC-6 and JS-41?

                                Who knew!
                                Last edited by cavaricooper; 20Mar2021, 13:03.
                                Best- Carl Avari-Cooper

                                Comment


                                  #18
                                  Thank you Robert!

                                  The aviation simulation future sounds and looks very bright!

                                  We know (I do!), that the wait is always worth it!

                                  Many regards and keep safe, everybody!

                                  Roberto

                                  PS: My only concern with the DC-6, is that like in the past (X-Plane and earlier P3D), when I finally get to my coffee, it will always be cold.

                                  Unlike the hot one I drink in the 737, 747, 777, where:

                                  V1 - Rotate - Gear UP - A/P - LNAV - VNAV - Coffee!

                                  But the smile on my face in the DC-6, doesn't seem to mind!

                                  Nor will it in a DC-3, maybe even a 727?
                                  πŸ˜‰πŸ˜‰
                                  Roberto Stopnicki
                                  Toronto, Canada

                                  Comment


                                  • rsrandazzo
                                    rsrandazzo commented
                                    Editing a comment
                                    Roberto- This is why, when operating the DC-3 with a heavy crew I *always* take the first crew rest... First access to the coffee... -RSR

                                  • stopnicki
                                    stopnicki commented
                                    Editing a comment
                                    Ha! Rob!
                                    My problem is that my "crew" always "suggests" that I go and get the coffee myself :-) :-)

                                  #19
                                  rsrandazzo would you be so kind as to divulge something on the secret projects?
                                  Ilari Kousa, Finland

                                  Comment


                                  • rsrandazzo
                                    rsrandazzo commented
                                    Editing a comment
                                    Ilari- Yes- I completely forgot to mention... They are still secret. And still progressing. :-) -RSR

                                  #20
                                  Looking forward to the DC6. I flew the R2800 on the CL215 water bomber and there is nothing like the sound of those engines starting up especially early in the morning, sun coming up, a mile viz in morning fog burning off....... I am hoping to see the "time acceleration" feature added here.
                                  Dave Wilton

                                  Comment


                                    #21
                                    Thank you for the update Robert!

                                    Looking forward to the NG3, and in the meantime I just finished a flawless MIA-SCL after the latest -200ER update.

                                    Best,

                                    Luis
                                    162716632_10225497768694150_8962480103964822899_o.jpg?_nc_cat=100&ccb=1-3&_nc_sid=b9115d&_nc_ohc=s1eaP2niDw4AX9wOj2m&_nc_ht=scontent-lga3-1.xx&oh=98ba9191b0ddb8f938ad2aaf7e21cbc2&oe=607BD89D.jpg
                                    Luis Linares

                                    Comment


                                      #22
                                      This is great news. Looking forwards to that NG3.
                                      Cristi Neagu

                                      Comment


                                        #23
                                        Originally posted by Paulyg123 View Post
                                        Thanks for the update. I hope the 737MAX is coming for P3D as well.
                                        I had hoped for an update on the MAX as well, given quite a few airlines have started flying it again (or are in preparations to do so).

                                        Still a nice update and I am delighted to hear the new LNAV capabilities are making progress.
                                        Last edited by StachM; 20Mar2021, 17:47.

                                        Comment


                                          #24
                                          Originally posted by rsrandazzo View Post
                                          On the topic of MSFS and PMDG:

                                          I have been mostly-mis-quoted ten thousand times this week as having said something along the lines of "the MSFS SDK isn't capable of supporting what we do" or "MSFS isn't capable of supporting what we do." I want to be very clear in stating that this new sim is highly dynamic and changing continually. What may have been true in June of 2020 is not necessarily true any longer. From the standpoint of development, we are not currently seeing any major limitations to prevent us from bringing our product catalog into MSFS.

                                          To put that another way, quoting me as saying "MSFS isn't ready for PMDG" is a bit like someone in 1971 using a 1959 quote of the NASA administrator saying "We don't have the technology to land on the moon." Sure- that was true at the time it was uttered- but no longer a factor.
                                          Hear hear. It's nice to be proven right. Guess we should start cooking some of these big servings of crow I mentioned yesterday. We'll put some ketchup on em to make them a bit more palatable, but not too much. πŸ˜‚
                                          Giuseppe Nelva

                                          Comment


                                          • micstatic
                                            micstatic commented
                                            Editing a comment
                                            after reading thru the other threads I should point out something to you. It seems in your world somebody is either a P3D fanboy or an MSFS fanboy. But I should mention that the majority of people who have tried MSFS and chosen to not use it do not favor it's demise. Actually we just await things like better aircraft, weather, camera system, GSX, home cockpit compatibility etc. The other thread that was rightfully locked got way too personal. I would love nothing more than a new gen simulator that enables all these things. Looks like there is a decent chance we will get it.

                                          #25
                                          Originally posted by Abriael View Post

                                          Hear hear. It's nice to be proven right. Guess we should start cooking some of these big servings of crow I mentioned yesterday. We'll put some ketchup on em to make them a bit more palatable, but not too much. πŸ˜‚
                                          Glad you're happy, as what you completely missed was that the whole topic was about the CRJ using the sim features. Using these features only like AS does would still not be possible. That was the whole point which you created a drama around. Luckily developers like PMDG (or A2A too) don't need to use these features but code their aircraft to circumvent them. I don't think PMDG have their own name for what they do, at A2A it's Accusim. Without doing this they would have the same problems as AS. Of course they would have had these problems with P3D too and that's what makes these developers so special. The problem was that MSFS wasn't able to handle this code, their systems couldn't communicate with the simulator. Scott at A2A explained it a bit more than Robert did, but the topic is the same. And it was the same with X-Plane too. Apparently MSFS has evolved enough now for PMDG (and A2A for that matter) to join "soon" too. Hopefully sooner than later.
                                          i7-6700k, GTX 1080TI, 32GB DDR4 RAM @2666MHz, 4k
                                          Marc Ehnle

                                          Comment


                                          • Abriael
                                            Abriael commented
                                            Editing a comment
                                            Oh, I haven't missed anything. What you mention disproves nothing of what I said. As a matter of fact, I'm not sure how it even relates to what I said.πŸ€”
                                            Last edited by Abriael; 20Mar2021, 19:10.

                                          #26
                                          Great update! Big fan of all your work and especially the DC-6, had it for XPlane! Was just wondering if the DC-6 update above was regarding to MSFS as well? Or just the current product for P3D?

                                          Comment


                                          • Ephedrin
                                            Ephedrin commented
                                            Editing a comment
                                            If I'm not completely wrong Robert said in another status update that they want to bring the complete 64bit fleet (so 737, 747, 777 and DC-6) to MSFS eventually.

                                          #27
                                          Thank you for the update! I am looking forward to the products moving to MSFS - you are A2A are the reasons I still have P3D. Once you two come over to MSFS, there is literally no reason to keep it anymore. It is the future. I am confident your products will live up to your reputation regardless of the platform.
                                          Jeremy Smirnov

                                          Comment


                                            #28
                                            Originally posted by rsrandazzo View Post
                                            to use a database driven system provided by Navigraph, rather than the outdated, customized structure we have relied upon for 20 years.
                                            That only refers to the database structure and does not mean that NavdataPro is not supported anymore, right?
                                            Have you already been in touch with Aerosoft regarding the support of the new structure?
                                            Posts focus on LNAV at the moment (most visible change for non ARINC 424 experts) but VNAV also needs to be updated at the same time as they are dependend on each other. (e.g. coded VNAV angles)
                                            Last edited by jpschuchna; 20Mar2021, 21:15.
                                            Jan-Paul Schuchna

                                            Comment


                                            • rsrandazzo
                                              rsrandazzo commented
                                              Editing a comment
                                              Jan: All of which we are quite well aware of. Please don't tell us that we must rotate the doorknob to open the door. The functionality of the doorknob is implied. - RSR

                                            • jpschuchna
                                              jpschuchna commented
                                              Editing a comment
                                              Tanks for the answer Robert, just wanted to be sure that I interpreted it the right way.

                                            #29
                                            Please, RSR, a DC3. Wonderful and excellent aircraft. The basic aircraft responsible for commercial aviation. I for one, am ready for an excellent DC3.

                                            Thank you for even considering it.
                                            Harry Nelson

                                            Comment


                                              #30
                                              Originally posted by Paulyg123 View Post
                                              Thanks for the update. I hope the 737MAX is coming for P3D as well.
                                              I'm too! I am very anxious by Max for P3D.
                                              Gustavo M. Aguiar

                                              Comment

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