• PMDG 737 Dev Update May 28

    PMDG 737-700 Dev Update And Pending Changes

    PMDG consistently keeps their fans well informed on progress, when updates are coming, and planned new features, and this week's dev update is no exception. The update planned for last week unavoidably did not happen, but has been rescheduled:

    In last week's update, I mentioned that we were working to publish an update for the PMDG 737-700 mid-to-late this week. Specifically, I said "There is some chance we might go earlier, some chance we might go later. All depends upon how it goes on Mon/Tue!"

    Now we all get to see why I so often add caveats to timelines.

    At PMDG we run a very lean development team. Because of this, most members of the team serve multiple roles and provide input to multiple projects. All of that is nice, except that occasionally certain people are needed in certain places for certain things to take place. My role is one of those roles when it comes to pushing updates to betas and more importantly releasing updates for customers.

    I was unexpectedly out of place from Monday through late Thursday, and thus none of my requisite tasks could be accomplished in preparation for a product update to go out for testing and then out the door to you. With respect to 737 updates that were supposed to be handed to the testing team for validation, we are in precisely the same condition now as we we were a week ago this very moment.

    So you can take last week's guidance, insert it into this week's update, and pretty much have a good idea what to expect next week. To put that more clearly: Current plan is to hand the beta test team the update on Saturday, and then hand it to you mid-weekish unless they tell us we blew up the sim.

    We did have a brief, carelessly mal-conceived discussion about skipping the test phase and pushing the update to you anyway, but even though we are pretty comfortable with the changes we have made it would be completely irresponsible for us to do that- because breaking the airplane on you is not something we think is an acceptable risk just to keep a schedule promise.

    As I would occasionally say over the PA system (in deep sotto Captain voice of course!) "We apologize for this brief delay."

    I hope you'll understand, and believe me when I say that my absence from the office this week was not of my choosing. Well... I did choose that particular chicken dish from the menu when I took The Lovely Dr. Randazzo out to celebrate our anniversary (a week late) on Sunday, but I would not wish the outcome of that choice on anyone. (Okay... Maybe I do have a short list of folks who would be deserving... but we can talk about that in the debrief after a few drinks.)

    Okay, so let us end on a few high notes, shall we?

    Last week I mentioned that we hadn't yet had a chance to implement a change recommended to us by our friends over at Aerosoft to work around some limitations we thought we hit that were preventing us from allowing our displays to be used as pop-ups for those who desired to do so. Vin and Henning were able to implement the changes Hans and Mathijs at Aerosoft recommended to us, and we can now say with certitude that this issue has been resolved and will come to you in the update next week:

    PMDG 737

    Thank you Hans! Thank you Mathijs! Developer teamwork and recognizing the value in shared success is of tremendous value to this community.

    The list of "other stuff" that has been adapted/adjusted/fixed in the PMDG 737-700 continues to grow, and we'll show you a change list once we have the update finalized. For those of you new to PMDG, you'll find that we wind up making hundreds upon hundreds of small tweaks, changes and improvements all over the airplane because invariably over time and use little things pop up that we decide can use some additional attention.

    It also isn't uncommon for us to receive changes to supporting documentation and input from our own professional backgrounds in the field that prove instructional toward improving the simulation for you. Since a good portion of the PMDG team and many of our developer resources are current industry professionals, we have a level of access that lets us engage in a continual improvement process for our software from nose-totail. There is essentially nothing we cannot adapt when needed, and sometimes the urge hits to dig into those little details that make things even better along the way.

    A couple of other positive notes to start your weekend:

    PMDG Flight Tablet: We haven't been talking much about this device, but I wanted to let you know that it is coming along quite well and is accelerating nicely toward it's testing phase. As previously discussed, this tablet is designed to replace the Boeing-Inspired EFB present in the PMDG 737 product line, but we saw this also as an opportunity to make this new tablet a "home base" of sorts for all of your PMDG products within MSFS, so it will appear in the 747 and 777 product lines as well. The tablet is designed to serve as a home base for controlling the various options/configurations in the 737, which will allow us to give you a more stylized, modern implementation for things we have been doing via the text/descriptor limited FMS for many years.

    The tablet will obviously serve as home for simBrief integration, as previously mentioned, and we have a few other hooks in here that I don't want to share yet because they are more fun to see rather than hear about.

    In our previous Boeings, we modeled the Boeing EFB and did so very realistically. That real-world EFB has its genesis back in the mid 90s, when most of the coders who are today writing User-Interface wrappers around software functions hadn't even learned how to not soil their own nappies, which means it is an unfriendly, clunky, unforgiving and unwieldy tool to use. Which is precisely why real world operators have hired very skilled developers to create entirely new, context driven, flexible human interfaces to simplify the computational processes, smooth workflow and simplify data input.

    There are a vast number of them that can be seen flight crew videos around the internet and some airlines have been brave enough to engineer their own.

    We are bringing you our own iteration of this process which is styled to give you tremendous consistency when moving between the PMDG 737 and 747 and 777 because you will have a single, common layout and functionality set from one airplane to another.

    Unlike our previous Boeing-modeled-EFB, our tablet will also include a number of other fun features that I cannot share yet. (See how creatively I didn't tell you anything about the tablet's features? ) I can't wait to show it to you.

    PMDG 737-600 Previews: Next Week's Update!: I can already tell you that next week's update will be centered around the upcoming PMDG 737-600. The oft unloved, oft overlooked baby guppy, she happens to be one of the favorites of the team because she gets such exemplary operational performance. It makes flying her a bit like playing Maverick.. (Okay- you didn't *really* think PMDG was gonna be the only aviation gaming company to fail to try and squeeze some kind of juice out of that movie release, did you?)

    All kidding (and pandering!) aside, the PMDG 737-600 is sliding along nicely and we will do her unveiling next week.

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