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rsrandazzo

Some Dirt on the PMDG 737 NGX

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Captains-Okay- a few nights ago, I told you that we were ready to start giving you some of the dirt on the NGX...Tonight, I present to you the first in a series of updates leading up to the NGX release- and, we hope- the most true-to-life simming experience you can have without buying a full motion simulator!Now, before we begin- a number of you have asked why we have only been showing you the VC in very small slivers. This was a decision we made a number of months ago- because we want to direct your attention to just tiny pieces- in order to show them to you in detail.A few of you have picked up on this- and a few of you really get annoyed by it- but we are going to stick with this format just a LITTLE while longer, as we are very close to showing you the entire cockpit in one image- but we want to save it a bit for maximum impact! (Oh- and we're still tidying up a few things- so... we'll just look at it with a microscope for a bit longer! :( )During the course of this little series of presentations, I am going to pick one area to focus in on- and give you some details and hints about the things we are working on... Special adaptations of technology, etc. You will recall that when we announced the PMDG BAe JS4100, we described that airplane as a technology development platform for the VC- and the end result was pretty spectacular, we thought.With the JS4100 we were able to obtain an incredibly detailed cockpit environment which, we feel, is the main reason why this airplane has become so popular with simmers. Sitting in the Virtual Cockpit of the JS4100, and more importantly, FLYING the airplane from that virtual cockpit is visually convincing, and gives you a real sense of space and motion. We learned a number of lessons while building that VC- and we have carried that new design technology forward to the NGX.One of the design decisions that had to be made early on was: To what degree do we want to show "wear" in the cockpit. After much discussion, we decided to go for a more "lived in" look than we had in previous cockpits, because cockpits tend to be dirty places that show the constant use, wear and tear. (Actually- in full disclosure- I was the only holdout because I can't stand dirt on my flight-decks... but Vin won the day...)So the challenge then is to accurately build a flight deck that has the look and FEEL of a working 737NG.As you can see from this image- Vin has attained a nearly photographic quality, even when viewed up-close...NOTE: CLICK ON THE IMAGES TO SEE THEM IN NORMAL RESOLUTION. (I just learned this.)There are some detail here I want to draw your attention to... First, I'm running this sim on a 30" flat panel, and to take this image I zoomed WAY in... Other than using photoshop to put this image in the "PMDG logo frame" it hasn't been altered. In many previous products, you'd wind up with a blurry mess if you tried this. In the NGX, the image clarity remains- and you wind up with a magnificent clarity and depth that gives you a true feel of 3D space.Now look around the buttons and keys on the FMS... See the dust and dirt around the buttons? They look like they get used regularly, don't they?Notice the brass screws on the rudder pedal adjustment handle fitting. (Far right in the image.) See the dust? The grime? The grease spots?Look at the left side of the throttle column... See the grime around the decal? (which I think is backward... We'll have Vin beaten for it...) It is these little details that, when you are in the sim, make this cockpit feel more REAL than anything we've ever produced.Okay- our next image is in the same general area- and gives you a better idea of what I mean when I talk about the depth of 3D space, combined with wear and "dirt" that becomes very pleasing to the eye. (Please don't tell Vin I used the word "dirt" and "pleasing" in the same sentence. He'll think I've given in and he's won...)In this image, moving from left to right: you can see the dirt and grime that has accumulated around the edges of the kick-plate where we rest our feet during flight. You can also see that the kick plate is nicely worn where the boot rests- through the fiber cover, the adhesive, the gray paint, the primer coat, down to polished metal... Notice the chips around the base of the FMS? This happen when they swap them in and out- and our airplane is a well worn bird, after all- so she shows signs of wear!And look at all that GRIME around the base of the FMS to the left of the MENU button... Can't you just feel that under your fingernails? (Someone give me a handiwipe.....)Okay- now for my last image- (again, keeping in mind that I've zoomed WAY in to take this image- and the displays remain crisp and sharp!) notice all the dust on the base of the displays? The horizontal areas have accumulated their share of general dust, and the vertical spaces are suffering from years of fingerprints. look closely, and you can see someone's fingernail scrape just to the right of the hinge... These are in-game images... and they represent the clarity you will have in the VC.Not bad eh?Now- I know you all want to hear something technical about the airplane- and since I've shown you absolutely NOTHING technical about the airplane... (were you paying attention? If not- you missed it!) let me give you just a tiny preview of something that we are working on...Framerates...We all live and die by them, don't we?We are very far along in terms of loading all the "heavy" stuff into this airplane- and we've been meticulous about preserving performance. I have a moderately strong machine, running a moderately powerful nVidia 260 card, powering two 30" Apple Cinema Displays. (Yes- it's overkill... but when you have to code, debug and manage sometimes as many as 17 chat windows from various members of the team... you need that much real estate.)While flying around turning things off and on, I captured the following image trying to show off the "reflective quality" of the tape attached to the panel in the upper left as well as the brightness of the visible annunciators while in test mode. Then I decided not to use this image because I had accidentally left the FPS counter running...Yeah... This is flying over KTRK (Truckee, CA) on the downwind leg... I've got MegaScenery Earth installed here... and not much else. My traffic settings are mid range... and I'm not running any weather programs...This number is going to come south during the completion of development- I'm SURE of it... But in this same location with the PMDG 747-400X, I'd be lucky to see 30fps. Right now everyone on the development team is seeing exceptional frame rates- but we still have a few more items to add that will weigh in a bit of drag. The ones we thought would kill FPS are already in, however- so there is some room for excitement.Your mileage may vary- but I'll make this my normal test location- and we'll keep you posted on how the number does. I don't know about you- but I find the results thus far pretty darned exciting!Okay- well, thats all the DIRT I have for you tonight! :( We have quite a bit more to show you- and systems to get you acquainted with... We think you are going to fall in love with our new (but well used) airplane.

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Oh, there's an announcement about the NGX!

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Great, although I feel the "AUTO TAKE OFF & GO AROUND" sign might need to be looked at with the microscope again! :( Seriously, looks awesome!sig.gifEdit: Oh ok, kinda missed the "decal" point in your post hahah... was rushing thru the pics too quick I guess! Never mind!

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"The Great RSR" do you want me to come over your house and fix that keyboard for you so I can zoom out for ya? LOL Hopefully we get more news everynight!

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sweet!Thanks for the info.. now back to the LCF :)

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Looking great Robert!You guys are so dedicated, it amazes me. cant wait for release.

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Very exciting stuff here....Looks fantastic and I can't wait for a quality 737!:(

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Yipee! Thanks Robert, 90FPS? Can I ask what your CPU and RAM is?

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I cant wait until we hear more about some of the other features like the push back, VC rain/ice, config manager, call out/voice features, etc.Looks great so far though, I cant wait.Sean Campbell

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Awesome! I feel dirty just looking at these...i've got to take a shower, no seriously....Rhydian Yeoman

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Yipee! Thanks Robert, 90FPS? Can I ask what your CPU and RAM is?
He's running an i7 965 Extreme Edition @ 3.4GHz and has 6GB of DDR3 1600. I see similar performance over sparsely populated areas like this on my i7 860 @ 3.8GHz w/ 4GB of DDR3 1600.

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All this talk of i7's has got me concerned. Will my overclocked Q9550 be able to handle this plane? :Straight Face:I guess there's no real way to answer that until it comes out!

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