PMDG 747 Updates
The last few weeks, we have been extremely hard at work wrapping up an major update for the PMDG 747 Queen of the Skies II product line. This update covers a massive amount of ground in terms adding some very nice polish and fitness to an already high quality product line, with new wing and tail structural physics, new lift/drag models, updated performance for the GEnX engine type, update ground physics (huge overhaul that I am now pushing backward to NGXu) updated braking physics (we broke all braking across the 747/737 line a few months back... oops) and a ton of other bug fixes, corrections and improvements.
While all of this was going on, we also decided to fold in the required changes for P5D, which were significant. Updated models, updated VCs, updated textures, restructuring of the EFB and Nav display to be able to read the new scenery file layout, and the changes go on and on.
Some have had questions about many of the new features in P5D and whether we will capitalize on them right away. The short answer is: Not until we get all of the product lines compatible. THEN we will start to work in the changes.
This update for the 747 has taken some time or, to put it differently, we have taken our time with it. We made substantial changes to the product in order to bring it up to the modern standard with which we are working in our code base, and these changes needed very thorough testing to be sure we don't leave any problems behind to upset an otherwise smooth simming experience. I think our beta team will agree that we have put no pressure on them at all and we have been cataloging their feedback, pushing fixes at them constantly, and asking them to be very thorough in their efforts to break this airplane. They have succeeded marvelously in that regard, while also giving us feedback on things that they thought could use improving (steering on the tug during pushback for instance) and we have invested a significant amount of time and energy into answering their inquiries.
The good news is that this code is readily portable back to NGXu and stomping out the issues now will make it a MUCH easier port over to the 777 code base which desperately needs some of this new technology for refreshing the product line.
We have pushed a new beta to the test team for the weekend. They have reported back with one significant item that I need to investigate, but once we have that tacked down and re-tested we will be ready to push this update out. If all goes well it should be with you in time for the weekend. DANGER: This expectation could go up in smoke if something major bubbles up, but obviously I'm pretty comfortable that won't happen at this juncture...
One note one how this update will roll out: This will be a full download/uninstall/reinstall. This is made necessary by a combination of broad-based changes in the product line, as well as the P5D compatibility changes that are pending. The good news is that it will get everyone on the same cycle.
PMDG 737 NGXu Updates
Once we have the 747 out of the way, we will begin pushing 737 updates to the testing team for them to suss out. The updates for the 737 are **mostly** already completed and waiting for the 747 to clear the testing circuit so that they can be validated. I don't think we should be looking at more than a few weeks of testing on the 737, and that update will also be a full re-download and will include functionality for P5D as well.
Work on the BBJ expansion continues apace and we hope to give you a preview of that in the not-too-distant future. The product is probably preview ready today, but we are so darned busy that nobody has the time to focus on that just yet. Work also continues on the cargo variants, and we'll have more information on that one for you in a few weeks, I hope.
PMDG 777 Updates
For a while, we had slid the 777 update ahead of the NGXu update, but this reversed itself when we got the P5D release schedule and realized it was sooner than we had originally expected. (Quite a bit sooner, but that was just a bad guess on our part.) I'll be honest and tell you that the 777 update timeline is creating quite a bit of anxiety around PMDG of late, because we are very heavily engaged across multiple platforms and multiple products, and if the 777 update proves to have the gestational problems that the 747 had with these updates, it could really become a drag for all of us waiting for this to get pushed out to you. The good news is that we killed a significant number of problems in moving the new technology into the 747 so that should smooth the path for the 777 a bit, but this is software and things never go smoothly in software...
PMDG Global Flight Operations
We have been quite hush-hush on this topic during the past few months, but we are preparing to begin expanding the testing realm for this product line. We have collected from this forum and from our interaction with simmers in other locations a list of folks that we think would make good, enthusiastic, critical wide-area testers and we anticipate reaching out to them in the near future in order to bring them into the testing process. The purpose of their testing is to drive users through the back-end customer management process and to get an initial batch of users that is larger than our regular testing team in order to proof-check load balancing and a bunch of boring back-end stuff. We are also interested to see what they think of the project structure and direction, since this is a growing platform that will evolve and grow over time.