New Details on A380X Showcased on Flight Sim Podcast

Mike joins the Blu XPerience to lift the lid on more cockpit details.

Posted: 25-Mar-2023 @ 22:20z

Some new details surrounding the highly anticipated A380X currently being developed by FlyByWire have been shown on a popular flight simulation podcast.

The BluXPerience hosted guests from FlyByWire in a recent edition of his podcast, where the freeware developers showed off some of the microscopic detailing that simmers can expect to find on the A380X when it releases.

Among other things, Blu and his guests got to see the pilot’s in-flight meal tray, which folds out in front of the PFD. Upon closer inspection we also got to see that FlyByWire have included tiny details like a coffee stain, which reflects differently depending on the light in the cockpit. This has been made possible thanks to the roughness map which was covered in great detail by lead texture artist Mike in another FlyByWire video which we covered here on FSElite back in February.

New Details on A380X Showcased on Flight Sim Podcast
Thanks to Mike from FlyByWire for reaching out to us and providing high-resolution images for this article!

Mike, who was one of the developers on Blu’s podcast, also revealed that the roughness map will allow other minute details such as your thumbprint on the joystick. The grunge and dirt which we’ve already seen showcased extends all the way to the EFIS panel, where Mike explains that the team wanted to have thumbprints and wear impact the brightness of the green light which shines through the button.

To get to a point where the team could achieve this, they got their hands on a button from the real world aircraft and “destroyed [it] with a hammer” to “figure out how its physically put together”. They then recreated the button in 3D modelling software, such that the version we see in the A380X has the actual button itself, with the lights inside the button (three green lines) having height details in their own right, the white arrow being a decal, and then a glass-like texture applied over the top of the whole thing with a roughness map on top of it containing the dirt and grime. All this just for a single button in a cockpit of hundreds!

Mike explains that all this work means that it will appear as if the lights are actually behind or underneath the button, and that were FlyByWire to simply but the green light in front of the button, it would be too obvious that the light had been stuck on after all the detailing had finished. Each individual green light from the buttons also reflects onto the panels surrounding them, again given the right lighting conditions.

Blu himself also picked up on the fact that the lights operated by the VOR/NAV knob are somewhat pixelated. The FlyByWire team achieved that this was a real effect they had achieved, this time by placing the green light in multiple parralel lines behind the triangle which is illuminated by the knob, rather than simply sticking a green triangle onto the existing texture. The result is that when zoomed in enough you can see the tiny gaps between each individual lit pixel on the triangle.

There are also tiny little circular rings around each triangle, which another developed explained was down to the fact that when the display is made by a machine in the factory, it leaves behind some engraved grooves from where the LEDs have been inserted. Even these circular grooves have been modelled accurately in the sim. They must only be a fraction of a millimetre deep, but still reflect light.

The stream also gave us a closer look at the parking brake handle and flight clock, with Mike saying that it was only because of the access he’d had to very high resolution images and real-world parts that he knew what was under the paint in all the high-wear parts of the aircraft, and allowed him and his team to model the wear and tear to an as yet unmatched level of detail for a virtual aircraft. He even quipped that he had panels from the real world aircraft with him at the time of recording, and it was “sad” to have to take a hammer to them. However, the result of that process is the detail we see in the cockpit.

The A380X is being developed by FlyByWire as a freeware aircraft for Microsoft Flight Simulator. For the latest news on it’s development, make sure to keep an eye on our news feed here at!

Addendum: Originally this article went out with low-resolution images taken from Blu’s livestream. Thank you very much, however, to Mike from FlyByWire for getting in touch and sending us higher-resolution versions of these images to share with you, our readers! Higher res images are marked with a caption.

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Matthew Kiff
Matt only discovered his love of flight sim with MSFS 2020, but has since made a career in aviation. As well as contributing to FSElite, he works as a flight data analyst, aiding pilots and operators worldwide in improving their flight safety.

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