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rsrandazzo

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About rsrandazzo

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  • Birthday 01/01/1875

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  1. There is almost nothing in the world in which you will find agreement between me and Jim, but his statement that I have quoted here is one of them. There are only two people in the world who have any idea what lead to PMDG's decision to move to our own forum system after 20+ years with AVSim- and we haven't been in the habit of discussing it with you guys because it really isn't anyone's business but ours. That shouldn't give anyone license to fabricate drama where it needn't be. When Tom discovered that he was dying, I spent a lot of time on the phone with him trying to sort out what should happen with AVSim. Tom was adamant that the site should continue and that certain individuals to whom AVSim owed it's success should be given a seat at the table. Jim was one of those guys- and he figured prominently in the conversations. Tom asked me repeatedly to buy AVSim in order to ensure it would survive. He voiced his concern that "an equally strong, equally obstinate, equally opinionated" personality was needed to run it. (yes, his words..[censored synonym for Fatherless Child]) I declined, because I felt that it was improper for PMDG to run a site that **should** be an equal arbiter in the world of simming, and that while yes, I fit Tom's description, it would not be a task that I desired to take on- no matter how much I believed in AVSim as a vehicle. I was also concerned that hanging a "new management" sign out and *not* pushing out the existing leadership team would only set up a conflict that was unneeded and wasteful. Tom was not stupid- he saw the impracticality of it all very quickly- and we dropped the idea from our last conversations. In the end, Tom predicted that Jim and I would have very different opinions about many different topics and we would never communicate as trusted friends and co-combatants the way Tom and I had always interacted. He offered me his blessing to take PMDG in it's own direction when I felt the time was right to do so. It was a very kind thing for a friend to do. Contrary to all of the nitwhitery being bandied about by self-professed experts: There was no boss-level clash in a back room someplace. Jim is in charge, and has a vision for how he wants AVSim to grow and change and progress. Some of those changes are much needed (anyone noticed that the site has been more stable lately?) and some were beginning to increase friction between the PMDG team and the AVSim team. Complex interactions run on relationships- and with the loss of Tom- that left the problem solving to me and Jim and we just couldn't figure out how to communicate well. Sometimes that happens between adults- but to be clear his Original Sin was to be the guy who followed Tom. Nothing more, nothing less. Tom was a dear friend, and I barely know Jim. It is a big change, it happened with almost no warning and no matter how much either of us might try, Jim will never be Tom. Change was hard for all of us to manage. To reiterate: There is nothing more, nothing less. I think it would be disrespectful to everyone involved if PMDG stayed on here, making Jim's task harder, simply in order to satisfy some preconceived notion of how the relationship is supposed to work. When i first agreed to have Tom host a forum for PMDG, i thought it would be a couple months. I was wrong- it turned into a couple of decades and it was great fun for all of us. Those who like to throw acid should really spend some time evaluating their own need for drama. Jim and I are too old to want to waste time bickering over small stuff, and with this move we no longer have to. It is better for AVSim, and for Jim's leadership vision of where AVSim needs to go- and it is better for PMDG's vision for how we want our forum to be run. So stop second guessing something and making up details about which you know nothing. Enjoy AVSim, and come visit us in our new forum. They are different, but in the greater context of things- we are all the same. We come here for the enjoyment of simming.
  2. Captains, In my post last week, I mentioned that we were planning to maintain this forum on AVSim for some time, in an effort to ease the transition from AVSim, a site we have supported and driven traffic toward for twenty years. All of the PMDG moderators have been dumped from moderator status, thus making it impossible for us to do as we promised. For this, I apologize. We invite you to visit with us at our new home: http://forum.pmdg.com I would ask that those who frequent here please help us to point others in that direction- as I will likely not ask the PMDG team to frequent this location so as to not upset the AVSim moderators. I would have preferred that this transition happen in a more familial fashion- but sometimes in life we don't get the choice. I offer my own final farewell to the site begun by my friend Tom. He was a tremendous friend and I still miss him.
  3. Tim, It will. We have to fit that in between a TON of other stuff that is already in motion. I'll see what I can find out about scheduling- but it might be a bit before we know.
  4. Niklas, Patience, young padowan. Patience. 😁
  5. Mike, No reason to wait. The update will not cost you anything when we are done in any case.
  6. Captains, Happy Saturday, everyone. Over the past year, we have been very quiet about our development status and our development agenda. This was a decision made with purpose because we have been adapting to having multiple, concurrent project development teams sharing development resources- and it requires a complete change in the way we approach project development and project management. To put it a bit more candidly, we opted not to set any expectations with you publicly because that reduces our flexibility to decide when and how to shift projects forward or backward in the agenda in order to meet our own worfklow needs. I know, I know.. Simmers are so understanding, patient and accepting of change that it was probably completely unnecessary, ( !!) but we simply felt it was best to play our cards close to the vest in order to give ourselves a bit of running room. We are starting to feel a bit more comfortable with the pace of things and our own timelines are becoming a bit more clear- so we will very gently begin drawing back the curtain so that you can see what we are up to. It will happen a bit at a time... (HA! Software jokes! 🤣) So lets begin with a bit of "so what ARE they up to?" A lot. In fact, I don't think we have ever been this swamped with work in the 21 years of PMDG. Without getting TOO specific, here is what we have: New Shopping Cart system being prepared to be brought on-line. New Forum System being brought online (today! See below!) Migrating all internal systems from precisionmanuals.com to pmdg.com domain. Adding PBR capabilities to the P3D v4.4 products (747 & 777) Upgrading navdata handling to make it compliant with latest navdata technology from Navigraph and Aerosoft. (Will affect all product lines) Rewriting flight director logic to improve aircraft handling. (will affect all product lines) Rebuilding LNAV and Magenta Line drawing to use modern navdata and improved F/D logic in order to improve magenta line drawing routines, allow RNP, etc. (will affect all product lines) Preparing PMDG Global Flight Operations for broader scale testing with PMDG products. Preparing PMDG Global Flight Operations to bring in announced Tier 1 products from developers such as TFDi and Aerosoft. Continued development of NG3 product line (at a furious pace!) so that we can transition to beta testing. Preparing to take the PMDG DC-3 on a European Tour during the May-July period. Prepping another update for the 747 product line. So- if you wonder why we have been quiet, it is because we are too bloody busy to chat. 😎 From my perspective, looking over the workflow for the entire team- we have hit a confluence of work that I would categorize as "un-glamorous-Just-Grind-It-Out" stuff, like the long overdue shopping cart upgrade and the forum system and the navdata/FD/LNAV changes. These aren't fun. They don't bring new products to the table. But we have been using the same shopping cart system for more than a decade and it is time to get on-board with a modern cart that has modern features and is better able to support what we do. Unfortunately that soaks up about 14hrs a week of my time... which means someone else has to cover my development work, which means someone has to add to their workflow- and it just slows us all down. We started this process back in November- so with some luck we will be telling you about a new system cutover here in the weeks ahead. New PMDG Forum System: During the summer, we launched a new PMDG forum system and we have had our beta and technical advisory teams operating within that forum system in order to help us prepare it for all of you. It has received waxing and waning attention as we have faded in and out of the workflow- but last night we decided that what it really needs now are all of you! We want to make the transition a smooth and easy one for everyone involved- so we will still be here and we will also be there. At some point in the future we will announce that the entire PMDG team has migrated to our private forum and we will hand the keys here back to AVSim after 20+ years of use. So if you would like to join the early adopters- head on over to http://forum.pmdg.com and get signed up. We are expecting a few knee-knockers and a some adjusting as we all get used to the new system. We have made an effort to keep the general feel of things familiar to you- but we will begin to make subtle changes to adapt the system to our long term needs as we grow accustomed to managing all of it. As an inducement to get you to try the new system out: I am going to post an announcement regarding our development plans over there... So come on over and check it out!
  7. Captains, What can possibly be said about the Boeing 747 that has not already been said in some form or fashion? Not much, from my perspective. After all, if you are spending time in this particular corner of the internet, chances are you have already read most of the back-story to the airplane's development and heard all of the superlatives related to it's impact on global commerce. I did read something new this week: She has carried the equivalent of 75% of the global population- which really is staggering when you stop to ponder the number. In honor of her birthday, I thought it might be appropriate to share with you another short update on our progress toward pushing an update for Prepar3D v4.4+ users who are eagerly awaiting PBR treatment of The Queen of the Skies. Today, rather than our tongue-firmly-in-cheek PBR demonstration from 29JAN, let us take a look at the original 747-400. Ship 1. Fully tricked out in what we think is our final round of changes to PBR rendering on a fully metallic 747-400. The image above shows you something that most of you probably never realized you were missing, but will completely change your appreciation of just how important reflective and scattered lighting is to the visual quality of in-game imagery. Take a look along the side of the fuselage, above the top of the doors and you will notice that you are seeing the reflection of the tops of the clouds and the faded light blue horizon line as it fades higher into a deeper blue above the opposite side horizon. This is not something you can mimic in a static reflective texture. It requires dynamic reflection to look good- and OH DOES IT LOOK GOOD in the sim. 😎 Now, looking at the above image, taken after a course reversal to put the sun on the camera-side of the airplane, take a look at the reflection of towering cumulus on the back-side of the upper deck structure where it slopes down to meet the roof line of the superstructure above the wing. Yes! You are seeing the active reflection of the clouds behind the airplane, reflected dynamically as the airplane and viewer-angle changes around the airplane. Interestingly, you can also see a difference in the reflective quality of the surfaces around the cockpit windows and the surrounding skin, which is another aspect of this rendering process that really brings the model alive. Another quick course reversal to show you how we have treated the differences in reflective quality along the lap joints and rivet lines in the skin. This has been improved slightly since the previous update and really looks the treat in the sim. Notice also the change in reflective quality right at the wing leading edge root where the hot-spot from the sun reflection is half on polished aluminum and half on painted composite fairing. These types of subtle details really make the airplane look alive in the sim- and we are excited to get them wrapped up and out to you. Now lets take a look at how it all comes together in a standard carrier livery with a mix of metal and paint: In keeping with our test flight theme, we'll use N662US, another one of the first production airframes, as she would have appeared fresh from the paint shop for her promotional photos in preparation for entry to service. You can see how the reflective quality of the gloss paint used on the fuselage has a different quality than the metallic surface when it reflects light from the sun, and you can also see a subtle difference between the fuselage painted surface and the semi-gloss and matte coats used on the wing surfaces. Below, is another rendition of an image we have shown you a few times- but it just looks so darned good, I didn't want to leave it out of the mix. 🤣 Another view, from behind this time, shows off the rivet lines and joins in the fuselage skin. Some areas of the 747 are still constructed using standard round-headed rivets and you can clearly see them, particularly around the APU exhaust duct fairing and along the major structural lines in places where they are used. I'm sure some of the enterprising livery painters will be able to make a very convincing application of grease and oil on that APU exhaust cone, playing off of the rivet heads as it does on the actual airplane. (We're looking at you, Tavendale ) Release Schedule for This Update: We think we are finished with the PBR implementation now, and are preparing to roll it to the testing team this week. While it is a major change in terms of workload, it is not difficult for them to test- so it should be a very short test period and then we will push the update to you via the PMDG Operations Center. Now- a couple of quick items for those who hung on to the end here: Happy Birthday BA! As many of you have heard, British Airways has unveiled a series of legacy liveries that will be applied to their fleet in celebration of the centenary of the airline commencing operation. Pete has created one of these, the BOAC livery to be applied to G-BYGC and we have just made it live in the PMDG Operations Center for those who wish to get a preview of what she will look like when she comes out of the paint hangar sporting her new look. (I had an image of her that I was supposed to use in this post, and <censored> if I didn't lose the darn thing... sorry!) Consolidating Prepar3D v4 Compatibility: Effective with our next update cycle we will be releasing a series of updates for the 747 across all platforms as usual. For users of Prepar3D v4, it will be important that you understand that we are only supporting Prepar3D v4.4+, and that our development and update policy moving forward will keep moving along with updates to the Prepar3D v4 product line. We will publish more information on our requirements as we push the next round of updates, but if you are a Prepar3D v4 user who is not using v4.4 or later, you will need to upgrade your simulator platform. This change has no impact on FSX or Prepar3D v3 users. That is all I have for this update- but I will be back in a few days with information on "what the heck are they up to?" That update will include some information on our new forum system, NG3, Global Flight Operations, and our view related to FSX/P3D development moving forward. I might even slide in a remark or two related to X-Plane, but you will have to come back to find out.
  8. Jack, I know what you mean when you say that you aren't sure you can see it. When Jason started sending progress images over to the rest of the team, I sorta looked at them and made approving noises because I figured everyone else must be seeing something I wasn't... Then he sent over a live model, and I loaded it in the sim expecting to have the same experience- and instead I was blown away. If you walk outside and look at a car driving by- you are entirely unaware of how much light and reflection there is on that car- until you take all of that surface light-play away. I'm not sure I have time to put together comparison images- but when you see it "in sim" I suggest you tie your shoes on extra tight because it will knock your socks off.
  9. Captains, For those of us encroaching on 50 years of age, the acroynm "PBR" has a completely different meaning than it does for younger simmers- which of course has become the root for many a conversation of late here at PMDG. If you listen closely, you almost hear the laughter coming from the dev team when someone posts in this forum, "hey- when are you going to give us some PBR?" Well... It is saturday. Let's throw some steak on the grill and have ourselves some PBR, shall we? Jason has been hard at work revamping the models to accommodate Lockheed Martin's new "Physics Based Rendering" capability. This has required a significant amount of work, especially since our 747 product line includes 14 different airframes that must each be adjusted to account for the new capability. Each airplane takes about two days to get right- and of course there are the inevitable tweaks and touch-ups- so we are seeing a productivity rate of about one airplane every three days or so. But the results... Quite a bit has been written about how PBR enhances the visual quality of the airplane- and I will admit to having been a bit skeptical that this was something that would really improve the visual quality- but after seeing Jason's work in the sim, I am a believer. The scattering of light and the way it plays off of surfaces of different qualities is really convincing- especially when you see it dynamically within the simulator. We chose a polished aluminum 744 as a demonstrator because in the simming world, polished aluminum has always been the "holy grail" of livery capabilities. As your viewpoint moves around the airplane, the reflection of surrounding terrain and structures plays off of the surface, even in windows and off of painted surfaces in a way that you wind up almost not noticing- because it looks so "normal" to your eye. It is this normality of reflection that really brings the shape and surface of the airplane to life- and the results are simply stunning. With any new capability- we have spent some time playing with it in order to come up with the right balance of things. For example, dealing with the various surface qualities in order to make them look correct within the simulator: The winglets on most airliners tend to be a semi-gloss after even a short time in service, and this causes them to reflect light differently than, say, the metallic surfaces on the leading edge. This had to be accounted for, along with the way flush vs. button rivets reflect light differently- and cause the structural lines of the airplane to stand out. These things (like the vapor effects so many simmers seem to love) can be easily over-blown to the point where they look ridiculous, so we had to play with these effects quite a bit before setting in with a version that we feel looks correct. We are planning to give the PBR updates to our beta team next week- and we anticipate a quick turn from testing to release for all of you. The update will cover the entire 747 product line (744/748) and will push via the PMDG Operations Center once it is available. It may take us a few days to get all of the liveries in the PMDG Operations Center updated once we are ready to release- and we will push the updated paintkits so that livery painters can add the necessary bits to their liveries as desired as well. A couple of important notes: Lockheed Martin is still tuning this technology- and while they have done a spectacular job of adding this capability without any discernible impact on performance- there are a few hiccups to be resolved still. Primary in the area of concern for us is that PBR doesn't work properly at night yet- but their fix for this is coming.. We do not anticipate it will require any further updates to our models once they do issue that fix- which is good! Anyway- thanks for hanging out and sharing some PBR. Enjoy your weekend!
  10. Gents, Easter egg has been in there.. gosh... eleven months now. 😎 One of dozens that will occasionally appear and disappear as you fly the airplane.
  11. Gents, we live in a world where folks like to get upset over things that they intentionally misunderstand in order to give themselves something to be upset over. This being the case, I am going to lock this discussion.
  12. Tim, Thanks for the feedback, but I'm going to push back on the "must be the installer" conclusion. If you consider this in terms of scale, if we make so much as a spelling error in our installer related to the DLL.XML, this would cause users to pile up in our support system so fast it would make your head spin. (A quick check of activation history shows that we see multiple thousands of installs/reinstalls per week across all of our product lines, which use the same script file as the NGX for dll.xml editing. Imagine a moment that it was broken... you can see how quickly we would find out about it!) This tells me that you should probably be considering what else you have done and/or installed onto your machine that might cause such a thing to happen. The dll.xml was a flawed design on the part of Microsoft- and more than once we have seen our support team swamped with complaints when some enterprising, but poorly quality controlled product comes on the market and makes a hash out of people's dll.xml. (Last big offender was FeelThere adding corrupt characters all over the bloody file, but that was about five years ago...) So- we are glad to hear you resolved the issue- but the source most likely lies with the person responsible for installing/maintaining your machine. 🤣
  13. James, The initial implementation of RainMaker had visible rain present on the windscreen in all phases of flight without regard to speed. That made me nuts because it isn't what you expect to see in the actual airplane, so I asked Henning and Vin to update it. We figured it would trip up some simmers who have come to expect big, fat, beetle sized water drops to trickle across the window while flying through rain at 200 knots, but it just isn't that way in the real world in most cases- and this is not based on a collection of youtube videos, it is based upon thousands of hours of flying transport category airplanes, bizjets, classic airliners and warbirds- so i have had a bit of time to make the observation. Yes, yes, I know how you love to latch onto specific topics and pound them away- so it is important to note that the characteristics of the window surface, it's maintenance, along with the speed of the airplane, angle of attack, intensity of precipitation, size of the precipitation and temperature of the droplets all play a role here- but by-and-large as you accelerate you are going to see only a slight blurring effect from the motion of water impacting the windscreen and being removed by the boundary layer air. At what speed that will happen will depend **mostly** on droplet size and temperature. The larger/colder the droplet the more likely it is to be visible. These are not discriminators that we can poll for in the sim- so we settled on what we feel (based on MY actual observations in operation) are valid for most experiences- and went with those. FWIW: When you get into the high speed range of takeoff, and in MOST phases of flight, your primary indication that it is raining is a background hissing that sounds like an angry snake from a hollywood movie... If i saw water droplets running individually up my window at that speed, I would consign myself to a drug test upon landing. Simmers are often surprised to learn that windshield wipers are rarely used in jet world, except to clear the view during taxi and during extremely heavy precipitation events at low speed in flight. They are basically useless contraptions designed to allow us pilots to feel that we are doing something helpful without actually having a useful impact- not unlike bringing a Nerf sword to a joust. Heck- some jets don't even have wipers.
  14. Tom, We have arranged to have that done to you NEXT week... Will be the house the week after that. Good you got sorted out. Enjoy!
  15. Hey Rob! Can you describe the "odd DRM" issue? Be glad to help suss it out.
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