A new forum post was shared on the PMDG forums where Robert discussed many topics at hand. Those topics include the PMDG 747 Queen of the Skies’ new LNAV updates, the DC-6 for MSFS and the recent Marketplace release, future P3D Development, and also the 737 for Microsoft Flight Simulator.
Robert began with an update on how the new LNAV and Flight Director updates are progressing for the PMDG 747 Queen of the Skies II. He said that that progress has been slow as of late due to the focus on Microsoft Flight Simulator development. The developer working on the new LNAV functionality has had to split their time between the platforms but has also been working on changes to the flight director logic. There is no clear timeline for when the update will be released on 64-bit platforms.
This functionality also links in nicely with the NAVDATA Source update. Since 2002, PMDG has used the same format to implement navdata, but with a more modern format from Navigraph, PMDG is adapting to this new way. Development of this has moved to being initially rolled out on the 737 for MSFS, but will be rolled out across all products for MSFS and P3D in the future. The vast majority of users won’t even notice anything, but PMDG is looking forward to the change.
Future P3D Development
Speaking of Prepar3D, Robert gave an update on product updates on that platform and what future development may look like. Currently, PMDG is not actively developing any updates for the 777, 737, DC-6, J-41 on P3D. That said, there are plans for a number of items for these products, including LNAV, Navdata and Flight Director updates for the 777 and 737, a platforming update for J-41 and DC-6 and some harmonization between P3D DC-6 functionality and MSFS DC-6. As for the future of Prepar3D, Robert said that making any decisions would “be premature at this point and hasn’t really been discussed internally.” He added that “a good portion of our testing still takes place in P3D and any new feature development is absolutely taking place in P3D… So while we might not be talking much about P3D, this is the foundation of the process still.“
PMDG DC-6 and Marketplace Rollout
A few weeks ago, PMDG entered the in-sim Marketplace with the PMDG DC-6. It was released for both the PC and Xbox versions of the simulator and has been a mostly trouble-free experience. A full explanation was made on the forums, but the long story short is that a few issues cropped up as a result of the team being unable to test a few components that are locked to developers outside of Microsoft. PMDG had assumed a number of things, but admitted they were incorrect and need to fix a few things. For Xbox users, further updates from Microsoft and Asobo are required in order to unblock Xbox users having issues with the DC-6.
PMDG Global Flight Operations
Having not heard anything regarding PMDG’s Global Flight Operations for quite some time, it was nice to get a brief update on its progress. As with some other projects within PMDG HQ, GFO has been the victim of development resources being poured into the 737 for MSFS. Despite the slowdown in development, Robert said that “we have managed to add in some interesting new features that I am not quite ready to share- and we are also working on a few others that will really make the product pop for users in the way we want.“
Sadly, that’s all we learned about GFO in today’s update.
PMDG 737 for MSFS – Timeline
Last month, Robert was talking to Sky Blue Radio and of course, the subject of release dates came up. During the interview, it was said that the original plan was to try and get the PMDG 737 for MSFS out by the end of the year. This was again confirmed in today’s forum post. However, during the Sky Blue Radio interview, it was said that a release in hopeful for January but did say “it might slide.” Whilst Robert did not say a January release might not happen, the reality is PMDG simply don’t know when the 737 will be in your hands.
“How can they not know”you may ask. Well, the long and short of it is that there are some changes and fixes required for the simulator that need to be made in order to release the 737. At present, Robert does not know when this will happen. To be clear, Robert isn’t announcing a delay, per se, but they are putting a temporary hold on giving any expectations on when a release may happen. Right now, PMDG is dependant on changes being made, tested and then pushed out via a simulator update in the future.
Continuing on with transparency around the development process, Robert said that there have been some key areas with the 737 that have proven challenging – in particular debugging. This was combined with a series of problems introduced with SU7 that caused long build times and CTD in the development environment of the simulator. This basically stopped any 737 development from happening.
Robert continued with another candid statement: “I must be honest though and say that we are very concerned about continued disruptions to forward progress because of problems introduced by updates in this manner. The worst that might happen is that all development stops while we wait for the next update cycle to roll around so that we can get a fix for a breaking change- and that truly is a worst-case scenario that I didn’t worry about until this last update cycle.”
New Previews for the PMDG 737
It’s not all doom and gloom, however, as PMDG has said that the development of the 737 is picking up pace again. Work has begun on the EFB, along with other areas of clean up to bring the product closer to the finishing line. One area that PMDG is evaluating is the airport map display on the EFB. As this technology is locked to third-party developers, PMDG is finding ways to hopefully retain this functionality.
The flight model, animations and cockpit modelling are all being “dialled in” and progress is coming along nicely. To help demonstrate the visual quality, Robert shared this image of the 737 MCP. Notice the reflection of the LED lights reflecting on the cover above.
To wrap up, Robert said that we can expect a number of other image previews of the plane soon. He said that there will be more information on that come 17:00z today when a “friend of mine is going to help out in showing them to you.” We’ll keep you posted on what they may be later this evening.
If you want to see a range of other previews for the PMDG 737 in MSFS, then check out our previous posts.
Thanks to Enzo_ for the tip.