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rsrandazzo

Re: NGX impending release: Are we there yet?

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Captains-As you have no doubt noticed, we have slowed the tempo of what can best be described as: "PMDG 737NGX Show and Tell" during the first part of 2011...This is a deliberate decision in part because we are so darn busy with wrap-up, and also in part because we decided to play our cards a bit closer to the vest in order to roll out some really stunning finish details right before we tell you that you can pick up your new PMDG 737NGX and launch off on your first post-delivery flight.I thought I'd give you a short update on what exactly we are doing as we wrap the PMDG 737NGX up for release.STATUS OF THE AIRPLANE:=======================At this point, I think it is safe to say that from an aircraft functionality standpoint, the NGX is largely finished. The list of outstanding items to be added and/or completed has shrunk dramatically during the past few weeks and we are seeing developer time shifting away from pure "development" and more toward the kinds of activities that get the product ready for release. These activities include validation of logic, tuning of predictive methods, optimization for drawing routines, documentation of features, etc...Over the past few days, you have actually started hearing members of the team talk openly about release schedules- which is something that we really don't talk much about until very near the end of the cycle.So- we aren't quite finished yet- but the airplane is looking more and more polished every day- and the outcome is simply spectacular.SO, WHEN WILL IT RELEASE?==========================Well- as always, we aren't going to say- but I will say this: We are very close to telling you when to schedule your delivery flight!I recognize that our "no release date announcements" policy drives a few folks nuts- but I have to tell you that it is the only policy that allows us to produce the kind of product you will receive with the NGX. It may seem counter intuitive, but we do not operate development with a clear timeline for tasks to be accomplished. We are able to do this because the developers working on the PMDG team are responsible and dedicated to the highest quality outcome of the development work. As such, we take the time that is required to accomplish the given development task without having to worry about a promised release date that is essentially nothing more than marketing hype...As an example, a few months ago I dedicated WEEKS to tracing through the wiring schema on this airplane to determine the electrical source of every light-bulb on the airplane. When I started the process, I figured it would take a few days. A week at the most... It took almost two full weeks (7 day weeks, not the easy 5 day business weeks...)Had I been under deadline pressure based on promised release time-lines- I wouldn't have had the ability to spend the time that was necessary to get the bulb-wiring job done correctly...I could give you thousands of examples of exactly this type of behavior with any developer on the team.Our goal is really quite simple: We want to push this airplane out to you when she is ready, without excuses, and without any obvious "oh well just ignore that for now and patch it a few weeks after release" items. We are rabid consumers of FS products, and it drives us nuts when developers push products out that clearly weren't ready- so we are hoping to avoid the need for service pack after service pack just to make the product functional!WHAT ARE WE WORKING ON RIGHT NOW?=================================Well, it depends on which developer you spy on. Dr. Vaos (he hates it when I call him "Dr." in the forum, which is why I always refer to Dr. Vaos as Dr Vaos... Referring to Dr. Vaos in any other way simply wouldn't be respectful of Dr. Vaos, you know? :-p) is spending 18+ hours per day tuning/tweaking and adapting the autoflight and FMS behaviors under LNAV/VNAV. This new LNAV/VNAV model is a ground-up rewrite that is constantly being compared to output from the simulator in order to ensure its accuracy... The FMS has survived the "lets see if we can break it" tests with flying colors, and we are now doing the same for lateral and vertical predictions, magenta line drawing and aircraft performance computations.We cannot wait to show you the results, as this model is far more accurate to real world behaviors than anything yet produced for the FS market.Alex is cleaning up last minute details in the options and sim functionality areas of the FMS. He is currently working through the methods used to load and unload the airplane in order to have them correctly handle a variety of options and functions to make your flight planning life a little easier...Vin is heavily engaged in optimization, working in conjunction with Michael and Alex to squeeze greater and greater performance out of the airplane. To give you an idea how optimization is going, we have improved FPS in the airplane 30% just this week alone. That isn't to say that we are finished- or that we have performance where we think it should be... but the fact that we have so much development time dedicated to optimization means that we are prepping for release...On my end, I am going through approximately 12,000 pages of documentation on the airplane, one page at a time, validating the behavior of every light, switch, system and operation on the aircraft. For example, I have just spent two full days validating every aspect of the Ice/Rain protection systems on the airplane... This involves validating every measurable temperature, pressure, rate, operation, reversionary mode, failure, QRH procedure and failure reset mode in the Ice/Rain protection system...You see, we have the documentation, so we are using it to great effect. It is one thing to read the Aircraft Flight Manual and see that flipping Switch X should cause Light Y to turn on/off... It is something else entirely to compute the pressures, temperatures, rates of change and behaviors that go on in-between that switch and that light... but that is what we have done with the NGX.Our relationship with the folks who build this fine airplane has given us a level of insight that is hard to over-state. If we can't find answers in the engineering specs, then we consult the maintenance guides. If we don't find it there, we look at the training documents. If we still need an answer we consult the AFM... If we still can't find it, one of us is on the phone, or in the simulator verifying, documenting and proofing...The PMDG NGX is, hands-down the most complex system simulation of any airliner yet produced for FSX- whether you look at the detail of the airplane model, the cockpit, the behaviors of the FMS, or the way the aircraft systems are tied together into a living, breathing airplane- this simulation is unlike anything you have ever experienced in FSX. In addition, the airplane has nuances... Nuances that any experienced NG pilot will immediately recognize as a hallmark of completeness in the simulation we are creating...I am going to withhold examples so that we can show them to you instead... After all, it wouldn't be any fun to write a segment called "Nuances and Quirks of the NG Airplane" if you knew about them ahead of time, would it?!So- let me conclude by saying: We are darn close... not much longer... We appreciate your patience- we have enjoyed sharing our enthusiasm for the development of this airplane with your enthusiasm for flying it. We promise the wait will be worth your time!Now don't go planning any short-term vacations... You wouldn't want to miss release day!


Robert S. Randazzo coolcap.gif

PLEASE NOTE THAT PMDG HAS DEPARTED AVSIM

You can find us at:  http://forum.pmdg.com

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Thanks for the update. The 737NGX is going to be the must-have Flight Simulator add-on. How far PMDG has come from the days of Fly!. Incredible.

.... We promise the wait will be worth your time! ....
That, I have no doubts about!

Matthew Murray

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Thanks for the update Robert! I'm thoroughly looking forward to the quirks post.


Joe Sherrill

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Thanks for the update Robert! I'm thoroughly looking forward to the quirks post.
That's going to be an actual section of the manual!

Ryan Maziarz
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For fastest support, please submit a ticket at http://support.precisionmanuals.com

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Sounds great Mr. Randazzo! Good luck ahead.


Eric Bocaneanu

ROvACC Director

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glad to see you back, robert! does this mean we are in beta now?


best regards,

Michael K N I T T L

PC Specs: i7950@4ghz, ASUS PTV2 Deluxe, nVidia GTX580, 12GB DD3 1600 Corsair

Controls: Saitek Yoke & Rudder Pedals, TackIR5

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...Now don't go planning any short-term vacations... You wouldn't want to miss release day!
You've got to like the sound of that advise. :( Details and nuances sound great as well - can't wait! :(

Regards,
Al Jordan
------------
KMLB

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Thanks for the update Robert the dedication to perfection that PMDG show is astonishing. You guys keep raising the bar with each release.Looking forward to seeing the final product.


Paul McMahon

Ireland

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Haha nice update. I am getting grey hair waiting for this thing.....should be good tho.


Cameron Lett :)

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Sorry, had to do it. :( On a more serious note, thanks for the update. I'll be glad to see this bird roll out of the hangar.


Lee Barber - Rochester, NY

PPL-G

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Thanks for the Status Robert.I guess I have to reinstall my Windows Maschine in the next weeks in preparatiuon of the 737 NGX :(


best regards,
Alexander Barger

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Sorry, had to do it. :( On a more serious note, thanks for the update. I'll be glad to see this bird roll out of the hangar.
Haha cant have everything.....although I can see some nasty replies in reply to your post including comments such as:"get over it!. Let them finish the plane""Ungrateful prat!""How dare you!""be patient. Stop being an egg"........

Cameron Lett :)

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Robert, you miss one thing in your post...How is your stomach?? lol ;)Nice updates guys cant wait!! (release mid april) :PRemco


Remco

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Robert, you miss one thing in your post...How is your stomach?? lol ;)Remco
Remco-ahahahahah... much better now, finally....Skip this bug if you can. I test drove- and it wasn't any good.

Robert S. Randazzo coolcap.gif

PLEASE NOTE THAT PMDG HAS DEPARTED AVSIM

You can find us at:  http://forum.pmdg.com

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