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rsrandazzo

A bit of Candy...

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Captains-Now and then, those of us on the development team start to lament that "this development cycle feels like it is going on forever" or we start to lose perspective on just how incredible this simulation of the 737 truly is.After all, we have been spending 10-18hrs per day for months on end looking at the same details over and over. So much time in fact, that the details tend to fade to the background and we see only the things that we still feel need polish.During these periods, it isn't uncommon to see our Tech Team members step in with polite reminders that the NGX is simply an incredible simulation of the Boeing 737, and that you, our customers are going to be blown away by what you see.A few days ago I was conducting what is best described as a "detail" search within the Virtual Cockpit of the PMDG 737NGX looking for texture issues, polygon issues, blurries or missing/mis-aligned click-spots. Part of this type of check involves getting into unusual angles to view the cockpit in such a way that any issues still out there will be noticeable.During one of my "lean in and look closely" efforts- I found myself coming back to one particular view. There was just something about this particular viewing location that really caused the virtual cockpit of the PMDG 737NGX to come alive...So I thought I'd share it with you- since my last few updates have been "all text."Check this out:VC_Shot_High.jpg(You can get an even higher resolution version here: Higher Resolution Image )I think this image does a really nice job of showing you how truly detailed and accurate we have made the virtual cockpit in the PMDG 737NGX. You can see from the shapes and sizes of knobs, to the texture of their surfaces that painstaking efforts have been made to ensure accuracy.Notice the little things like the holes for tightening the knobs fasteners? The subtle wearing around the edges of the knobs and the rudder trim control?Check out the clarity of the text on the parking brake, the shape and surface qualities of the throttle grips, the color differences in the clear portions of the audio panel volume selectors, the shape and surface definition of the trim wheels....I could go on and on... Somehow this image is really exciting to me!Okay enough babble about the eye candy- lets get to the brain-candy, shall we?The last few weeks have been interesting, and in the software development version of the movie "Groundhog's Day" I have found myself making the same decision every Monday to push back final testing "just one more week" to facilitate the cleanup and completion of some items that don't quite meet our "sniff-test" for completion.This afternoon was more of the same, with Dr. Vaos (of Dr. Vaos fame.. you know- the one who gets annoyed when I call him Dr. Vaos in the forum? :( ) and I discussing the timing of final testing and the implications on our release schedule.The good news is that we really do think this will be the last time we kick the final testing out one more week. The bad news is that we did it again... but it had to be done.Right now we are tuning/tweaking the VNAV model to make certain that it is ready for prime-time. This means flying the airplane through some very punishing departure and arrival sequences while simultaneously making a significant effort to "break" the functionality by manner of constant changes in routing and restrictions in order to see if there are any areas where VNAV falls apart.I am happy to report that the new VNAV model designed for the PMDG 737NGX is performing exceptionally well, and we are just doing some cleanup work with it now. This is important, because 95% of airline flying is conducted in LNAV/VNAV, so VNAV "just needs to work." When VNAV is done correctly, it requires no excuses- and in this particular area of the PMDG 737NGX we are very happy with the version we are working with.There are still some areas that are being tuned a bit- and we are deep into testing the offset and missed approach behavior as well!On the systems side, the airplane is essentially completed and has been for a few weeks. We are now working on some refinements and chasing down one or two items that are still nagging at us. For example we have a condition in the pressurization system that nobody on the Tech Team has been able to reproduce with certainty, but it is disruptive- so the research continues...Other than pressurization debugging- the system are ready for prime-time and have been checked against many of the same processes that are used when bringing an airplane out of a heavy maintenance check to verify that system operations are correct.While we finish up testing on VNAV, Armen is using the time to continue refining the sound set for the airplane with absolutely spectacular results. We have hundrdeds upon hundreds of unique switch/knob/button/ambient sounds to really put you in the cockpit of the NG airplane. We are using some very interesting techniques to make certain that the sound immersion is the best it can possibly be.Since the systems logic is essentially finished, I have spent the past week or so wrapping up an introduction document that will give you some insight into various aspects of the simulation from equipment options on the airplane and in the cockpit to operation of the failures system, aircraft maintenance, loading, fueling and customization. That document is currently 80 pages and will probably be closer to 100 before I finish. (Hopefully on Tuesday?)We are in the final decision making states for the release plan, to include pricing and final product release specs. I'll be giving you more information on these two items a bit later...So all-in-all the final pieces are in place and very little remains to be accomplished. We are currently looking at final testing to commence on Monday, next (current plan as of today) and while we are not predicting an end-date to final testing, I do not anticipate the process taking very long. Why? The Tech Team we have assembled has given this airplane such an incredibly thorough workout that very little remains to be done!Thank you again for your patience- we promise you that the PMDG 737NGX will be worth the wait!(And we cannot wait for you to have her- because that will mean you can finally begin to see this airplane that we have been staring at for so long...)

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Great update! Really it's so unbelieveable how much work you guys put in creating this add-on. The cockpit looks so detailed. I am almost fully prepared for the product, just bought a few new scenery add-ons and soon to update my computer, I will be fully ready from day one I'm sure!

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Robert, with regard to the programming for VNAV/LNAV, etc is it possible to get any code from Boeing to assist in making this product "as real as it gets" and to ensure accuracy, etc?

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Holly #*%&*$#@ That's awsome!!! Thanks for the update! I cannot wait to fire up this bird and take her out of EHAM for a long flight!Cheers!

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Such an anticipated "work of art" has never felt more ready to be appreciated in all it's glory.Thank you to everyone concerned with the development.Fozzie

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Robert, with regard to the programming for VNAV/LNAV, etc is it possible to get any code from Boeing to assist in making this product "as real as it gets" and to ensure accuracy, etc?
No (Honeywell/Smiths actually makes the FMC), but it wouldn't be of much use most likely anyway - that stuff is very likely written in pure machine code for maximum speed/efficiency on the actual processors that run the FMCs, the symbol generators on the PFD and ND etc. What we're doing uses very similar algorithmic techniques to how the real thing works though - it's extremely complicated math. Nothing else comes anywhere close to the level of detail we've got here - example: anyone know what a BYPASS prompt above a waypoint on the LEGS page means in terms of what's actually happening to the flight path? I've seen no other LNAV model that has this.Btw in case anyone's wondering - two absolutely crazy STARs and approaches I've been using to test with are the TNP.SEAVU2 STAR transitioning onto the ILS 25L at Los Angeles KLAX and the LLZ/DME EAST with the visual to Runway 08 at Innsbruck LOWI. Both of these will likely make appearances at some point in the tutorial flights I'm writing for the NGX - they're excellent examples of just how superb the FMC algorithms are. The KLAX STAR has a huge number of restrictions of every type in very short succession - hard altitudes, block altitudes, soft at or above or at or below constraints, all of them. If the FMC doesn't accurately predict where you should slow down to be able to make the restrictions, you end up busting them and having a nice chat with the FAA afterwards - the NGX saves you from that particular embarrassment. The LOWI approach is very steep as well (again speed control and getting configured early are absolutely critical) and makes excellent use of the EGPWS terrain display for situational awareness in the mountain valley. The HGS is also very useful for aligning yourself visually for 08 after making the 180 degree turn at the end of the valley.

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By paying for brand new software I thought we were going to get a brand new aircraft, not a worn out one!!! :biggrin:The detail in the knobs is at the level of the highest resolution macro photography....

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Nice update :) Hope you'll get everything right until next monday :(

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The detail in the knobs is at the level of the highest resolution macro photography....
That's because it basically is... tongue.gif I took 1600 photos on the survey trip and RSR's camera had some 800 or so more.

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Thanks for the update Robert. The ends in sight congrats to you and the PMDG team! Looking forward to getting my hands on it!

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Can't wait. Thanks for the update Robert. It sounds like Dr Vaos has done an excellent job on the maths of VNAV/LNAV.Here's hoping next Monday will be a good day for all of us who are one hissy fit away from going insane with anticipation :(

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The post at the beginning of the mouth "Some days progress just doesn't come easily" was all about how you got VNAV working right and implied that was sorted this update is reading much the same as that one and you hint your still working on it."So all-in-all the final pieces are in place and very little remains to be accomplished. We are currently looking at final testing to commence on Monday, next (current plan as of today) and while we are not predicting an end-date to final testing, I do not anticipate the process taking very long. Why? The Tech Team we have assembled has given this airplane such an incredibly thorough workout that very little remains to be done!Thank you again for your patience- we promise you that the PMDG 737NGX will be worth the wait!"Is this "Monday" you talk about the coming one? the 27th? Patience is all we can be............... but some straight talking from your side 6 months ago would have been greatly recieved and I beg you please no more "going to wide beta next week" there are only so many times you can tell us these things.As of a year last Jan, I am very much looking forward to this and like everyone, we know/see how good it will be.

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I really can't wait for this plane. I received my Captains Manuals set on the weekend, and it gives me goosebumps that all these systems that I'm reading about, the little quirks in the airplane, will be present in the sim.Great work guys

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Nice picture of some great details. :Big Grin:Looking forward to this one, yes... :( Thank's for this update.

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This is like standing at the top of the stairs on Christmas morning. You can see where the tree is along with the presents, but you must wait to the rest of the family gets up. Can't wait to start down the stairs. As usual great update Robert, I have a sneaking suspicion that you cannot wait to the release either.

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Will someone please clean that flightdeck before delivery!!! :(

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David-Your comment about "Straight Talk" seems to imply that there is some intent to be dishonest- and I find it patently offensive.At the time any member of this team provides any kind of update- we are giving you the facts as we see them at that time. If we presume that once we discuss such facts in public that we surrender the ability to change our minds or our approach- then we would simply stop telling you anything at all.And we've seen how poorly that is received.A point that you appear not to understand is that this type of development is incredibly complex. When the team sat down to discuss final testing plans back in March, we thought we would be in final testing in weeks. When we had a similar discussion in early May, we felt we were a week away...This morning, we *still* feel that we are a week away...If I get to next monday and decide we need more time- then the project will get more time. I am not going to cram a deadline down a developer's throat simply because someone might decide to play "Forum Lawyer" with the previous week's post.So lets just set a few things straight:1) I will continue to make decisions in the best interest of the product without regard to anyone's feelings.2) I will continue to communicate those decisions as, and when I see fit.3) If any of this is bothersome to you, I am sorry- but this is the way good products are developed.

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Thanks for the update. Really looking forward to the release soon and info on the pricing.Btw, that screenshot is amazing! Text is VERY clear and sharp, which is what I like.

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It looks good, but I hope that the FPS will remain stable!Greetings, Momo
Momo-We are quite happy with performance in terms of FPS in the current version. I do not anticipate this changing between now and release!

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