On Wednesday, we are planning to push an update to the PMDG 737NGXu Base Package and simultaneously we anticipate releasing the first expansion package for the PMDG 737NGXu product line. This expansion package will include the 737-600 and 700 series airplanes as well as dozens of liveries available to you freely via the PMDG Operations Center 2.0.
With the entry into the new year, we are starting to realize the benefits of a few years of work that have been going on in the background. This work is designed to simplify the processes we use to track issues, implement fixes and push them to you. Software as complex as an airliner simulation is never really *finished* per se and about four years ago we started evaluating ways that we could move updates to you more quickly. Now that the machinery and software to drive those processes is completely in place, we are starting to adapt the business processes in order to add regularity to the release of updates.
During the course of 2020, you will notice far more frequent updates and the establishment of some "norms" that keep all of our actively-in-development products on a continual improvement program, rather than just an occasional update program.
It will take just about all of 2020 to normalize the developer behavior to support this, but I think the outcome is worth doing, especially as we get into releasing products for microsoft flight simulator .
Our goal is to target Wednesdays as our scheduled update-push day. Once PMDG Global Flight Operations is fully operational, we anticipate you seeing some kind of product update weekly, whether it be for Global Flight Operations or one of our airliner simulations.
Operations Center 2.0 Global Rollout
On Wednesday we are planning to roll out the PMDG Operations Center 2.0 globally. Anyone who has purchased the PMDG 737NGXu product line already has OC2, but for those of you who have not yet purchased NGXu the rollout of OC2 will come to you via the normal Operations Center 1.0 update process.
Please note because this is important: In preparation for this changeover, please open the Operations Center 1.0 and uninstall all of the liveries that you installed from PMDG. (If you downloaded a livery from someplace else and installed it, you can just leave it... This uninstall order only applies to liveries you download directly from PMDG via the OC1.0)
Explanation: The Operations Center (both 1.0 and 2.0) tracks liveries based upon the livery's "title=" line in the aircraft.cfg. In preparation for the release of PMDG Global Flight Operations, we have changed the naming convention for all PMDG liveries (for reasons that will become more obvious when we release Global Flight Operations for your use!) This means that liveries you have installed via the original Operations Center may have a slight change of name when installed via Operations Center 2.0.
If you were to leave all of your PMDG-downloaded liveries in the OC1.0 and upgrade to OC2.0, they will continue to operate normally within the sim, but OC2.0 will not correctly indicate which liveries you have installed and which you do not have installed since OC2 won't recognize the "old OC1" names.
Confused? Don't worry. Even if you completely mess up, all of it can be fixed by manually uninstalling and reinstalling liveries once you get to OC2. You won't do any permanent damage to yourself.
Navdata/Flight-Director/New LNAV Update
I don't often give you updates on this topic, mostly because the progress is slower than poop moving through a turtle on a low fiber diet, but we continue to make progress here. The developer on the team who was designated to do the foundational work on this major centerpiece of our strategic product update process was our dear friend Michael who passed away unexpectedly during the summer. Due to workload on NGXu, it wasn't until later in the year that we were able to regain traction on this with a couple of other developers filling in the role.
The good News is that we are currently testing internally a version of NGXu that uses the new database format from Navigraph to replace all of the existing functionality that we get from the mashup of text files that Navigraph have produced for PMDG products since 2002. The next step is to expand beyond the existing functions and to start reading in all of the various procedural elements that didn't exist/weren't normally used twenty years ago, such as arc-to legs and the various elements of RNP procedures and advanced departure/arrival procedures. Once we have that step completed, we will use all of the new data to begin a complete rebuild of the processes that generate the magenta line/lateral flight path track... and then we are in the home stretch for a strategic upgrade that I have been pushing us to make for more than a decade.
Work continues. I will not make any estimates as to when you will see the results, but this will get pushed into all of the fleet types once we have it ready.
Currently we are working simultaneously on NGXu updates, an additional NGXu expansion pack (BBJs) and collecting data on the cargo variants. (If anyone works with them give us a shout... we have some questions we are having a hard time finding answers for!)
We are prepping an update for the 747 product line for prepar3d v4 users and I am hoping to hand that to testers in the week ahead. Additionally we are looking for a testing slot for an update to 777 for prepar3d v4 users, so that shouldn't follow too far behind.
Robert S. Randazzo