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24JUN13 - PMDG 777 Virtual Cockpit Preview!

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It has been seven weeks since my last preview....  (A little Catholic humor for those subjected to it...)  :P


Today I have for you a nice preview tour of the PMDG 777-200LR/F virtual cockpit for you, along with some general commentary on where we are with this pending release!


I had planned this visual feast to be rolled out to you five weeks ago- but we forgot to give Vin his usual dose of meds through the office coffee maker that morning, and his O.C.P.T. (Obsessive Compulsive Perfectionist Tendency) took over- resulting in a few minor tweaks that turned into Not-So-Minor-Tweaks that turned into a pretty significant overall update of the non-panel portions of the virtual cockpit surroundings...  The results were definitely worth the wait- and we did manage to save quite a bit of money on those meds we keep feeding him...


All joking aside- Vin had been chasing some pieces of the flight deck that just didn't fit well- and our experience building such complex models caused him to conclude that something wasn't quite right.  Rather than just mashing parts to fit- he slowly started picking away at the parts that didn't seem to work, and eventually had that "ah-HA!" moment where the whole flight deck went back together as it should.  The results are absolutely stunning- as you shall see below.


Okay- so let us dive right in with a nice evening shot, since I usually save these for last...  (Time to shake things up a bit!)





This is currently my favorite shot of the 777 flight deck.  You can get a really good feel for the size of this airplane when you look at how much working space the crew has available to them.  You can also get a good feel for the level of fidelity and detail quality when you look at the little details such as the angled outer columns of the overhead panel (they are ever so slightly angled so the overhead panel is not a flat surface, but a gently curved one instead.)


You also get a good preview of the fit and finish around the panels, with all of the various cockpit panel fillets fitting neatly together, presenting a clean, well engineered and solid feel to the overall flight deck.


The panel back-lighting is prominent in this image as well, and it should be noted that the cockpit is illuminated with interior lighting, but we have left the flood/wash lighting off to give you a good feel for the quality of the lighting environment- something we have been pushing to greater and greater quality levels for a number of years now...


I would be remiss if I didn't comment on the exterior lighting here: You can see for yourself out the cockpit window...








Speaking of flood and wash lighting- this image will give you a decent idea of how we are approaching that technology in the 777.  We have improved a bit more on the techniques we brought you in the NGX- this time focusing on some of the subtle shading that you see around switches, knobs and changes in the panel surface.  If you look down along the top of the pedestal where the left FMS buts up against the main panel, you will see some rather complex shading taking place.


None of this adds true functionality to the airplane- but we think you will find that such subtle changes in lighting and shadow make for an extremely convincing cockpit environment when flying in the dark!


And of course- as we have done for years- the displays themselves are back-lit, resulting in a high quality visual image whether you are seeing them in bright daylight or at night.


One fun technical note:  The 777 has a nifty feature in the lighting control that allows you to control ALL of the dimmers from a single knob if you choose.  We have modeled this functionality- including the ability to "leave some dimmers out" of the master dimming loop by simply adjusting them to their desired manual position outside of the slave-dim position on the knob.  (You can slave a dimmer to the master dim switch by aligning the dimmer index line on the knob with a small dot located adjacent to each dimmer...  This tells the system to give dimming control of that item to the master knob.  If you set the dimmer away from the slave position, then the master will not override the manual position you have selected.)


This works for every dimable (is that a word?!) item on the flight deck...  ALL OF THEM!






Here is another of my favorite images in this set.  Something about this view makes the airplane feel BIG...  When you are used to looking at the NGX- you get a real sense that the 777 is an enormous airplane.  We certainly had this impression at my line in the mid 90's when we were bringing the first 777s into revenue service.  Everything about this airplane was large, well engineered and thoughtfully put together.


This image gives you a bit more detail on the overhead panel up close.  Compared to the 744, for example- this panel is actually quite small and uncluttered.  The back-lighting provides for a nice neat display even during day/night transitions as we have imaged here.


Once again we have used our proprietary technique to provide ultra crisp text and graphics on the panels.  Whether zoomed out or zoomed way in for detail, our panels maintain an incredible degree if crispness and clarity in the markings.


In addition we have fabricated all of the various fittings, fasteners and lock screws that hold everything in place from the panel faces themselves to the individual knobs.  (Knobs have lock screws- which some of you noticed on the NGX for the first time.  These help to lock the knob to the panel so that they don't fall off in your hand during operation!)


We asked one of our resident maintenance inspectors to follow up with Vin to make sure all of the locking screws line up correctly this time too....  (qavion: that one is for you!)  :ph34r:








Another up-close-and-personal shot to let you see the extraordinary detail and crispness that you will be getting with the 777.  Take a good close look at the rudder trim knob and the aileron trim switches.  All of the little, subtle defects in the paint surface, the clarity of the text, the accuracy of the markings even down to the wear on the rudder trim knob...  It is all there.  (I've never been able to understand why the rudder trim knobs wear so badly in modern jets... they are hardly EVER used!)


Take a look at the red switch guard cover just to the left of the PMDG logo in the lower right corner of this image...  You can even make out the seem from the mold-casting used to create this switch guard...  


As usual- no detail has gone unnoticed for you!






Another close in detail shot- this time of the overhead panel.  This image is designed to give you an idea what that overhead panel looks like from the Seat of Kings. 


Once again notice how clear and readable the switch labels are- and how crisp and accurate the markings on the panel face remain, regardless of distance and offset angle.  You can also see that we have modeled the Korrey switches (the square black ones) in great 3D detail- including the moving mechanical innards that reveal/hide the markings inside the switch itself as needed.  In addition, the "wear" of each switch is modeled so that you can tell someone else has been working this cockpit before you...  It all makes for a very nice, convincing visual experience when flying the PMDG 777-200LR!







This image gives you a nice view of the center pedestal with the throttles, speed brake and flap selector track...  Once again all the various switches, knobs and levers have custom, accurately recorded sounds to bring the flight deck to life.  We took that level of detail a step further with the 777 too:  Armen has been pushing for a few years now to have us record multiple versions of every switch, knob lever, moving them at different speeds and with varying force during the recordings in order to create a library of sounds for each piece that moves on the flight deck.  In the background then, we created a process to subtly randomize these sounds so that you get a nice, slightly different sound each time you click a switch- once again adding to the overall feeling of quality and immersion in the simulation.


Someone is bound to ask this- even though it always makes us laugh:  YES the sounds are recorded in an actual 777... YES the engines will sound like they do from the flight deck of an actual 777...  and YES all the other sounds you hear from the flight deck will also sound like they do on the flight deck.  In fact- Armen has put a tremendous amount of time, research and effort into providing a sound balance that most closely matches what you hear when flying a 777.  So while you won't hear silly things like the sound of the flap jack screws turning during flap deployment- you will hear subtle changes in power as you adjust the throttles, you will hear changes in air flow volume as the packs and cooling systems do their thing to heat/condition the interior spaces of the airplane- and you will come away from it with an audio experience that lets you really "be there" on the flight deck as you fly this great airplane all over the FSX world!





This will be our final image for the night...  This one gives you an idea how clear and crisp the displays are...  Once again we have taken our quality level with the NGX and pushed it up just a bit more- in hopes of bringing you the best airliner simulation possible on the desktop PC!  The 777 is a truly magnificent airplane and we think we have done a really fine job bringing you the most complete and accurate simulation study of the airplane possible without you hitting the lottery for a few hundred million...


(Yes- that checklist system works... and it works really well too...  more on that later!) 


Okay- I think that covers the detail level for tonight..  There isn't anything else you could possibly want to know- so I'll just sign off from here and thank you again for being as excited about this product as we are! 


Oh...  yeah....  when will it be finished?  It practically is.  B)

Robert S. Randazzo coolcap.gif


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

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I am normally not a tubeliner guy but that VC looks beautiful B)


Thank you Rob and Staff for your hard work on this project.

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Wow! Just wow! Thanks for this :-) Made my day (night actually).

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so nice Mr Governor.

as usuall awesome pics.

Fher.... :lol:

ATO VATMEX director, VATNA P1-P2 instructor (spanish), VATSIM 897455, more than 9000 hrs flight.




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Every single tiny issue I sort of had with the old previews and things I prayed that would be fixed or touched up, HAVE been! Seriously - this is so perfect. From someone who's practically looked at this flight deck for longer than a normal human being should, you've done an INCREDIBLE job. Masterpiece is a word worth using here too.


The flood lighting is just exceptional with the stunning displays and textures. I love the depth of all the switches - especially on the throttle and overhead! I cannot wait to get my hands on that smashing ECL too! I've heard it's an absolute dream to work with in the real world. I think I'll leave it there before it starts sounding like I need to find a woman in my life (LOL).


From an extreme B777 fanatic - you've made my year! Definitely, definitely, definitely worth the most tortuous past six weeks.


I cannot wait for the thousands of planned hours in that flight deck! Thank you so much!! ((-:

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Drool.....thanks for the update Robert! Looking very much forward to the "practically finished" T7 ;-)





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Thanks for the update.

"I am the Master of the Fist!" -Akuma

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Wow! Absolutely beautiful. A true piece of art. Will defiantly be worth the long wait. :)

Oliver Benton



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