Third-party developers had a lot of updates to showcased today, on top of a couple of releases, about add-ons for Microsoft Flight Simulator.
We hear about the situation of the beta test and take a look at the weathering work done to make the flight deck look more “lived in.”
We also get the promise of new preview videos made in collaboration with Drzewiecki Design.
“As we turn the corner, entering the fourth week of testing on our new PMDG 737-700 for MSFS product, I wanted to give you just a small view into how things are going. I neglected to update you last weekend as I was coming off a week of flying and was highly engrossed in digging through our tracking system and mapping out strategies for bringing testing to a successful conclusion. It is always amazing to me how quickly two weekend days can slip by when you get into a good work-groove, and Dr. Vaos and I spent pretty much all of the last nine days working hand-in-glove on a battery of issues that have been wrapped up for a new beta build that we just pushed out a few moments ago.
At the end of Week 2 of testing, our beta team had added 145 new taskings to our tracking system, and we had resolved 94 of them by Friday. At the conclusion of Week 3 of testing, our teams had added 110 new items to tasking and 106 of these had been resolved.
To help you understand what these numbers mean, we have in our tracking system, every open, validated bug/service/incident report for our 737 product line dating back to 2003. As our testers find items, they add them into the system along with documentation of how to reproduce issues and then we link these reports to other related items or add developers to them in order to promote discussion, research and resolution. We can see a ton of trend data that tells us the general trend line of product health, and also breakouts of the types of issues testers are finding and the sorts of issues the development team is resolving. It is all very data driven and nerdly- but it gives us a really good site-picture as to what is being found and how things are going.
Right now I would say that the 737 is doing slightly better than I would expect for a new product on a new platform. The number of knee-knockers we are hitting that are related to PMDG-platform interface issues is dropping rapidly, and the number of “this system/functionis behaving incorrectly” reports is rising as a percentage of the whole. This tells me that the platform side of the 737 is really quite stable and that the few issues we know of where there are PMDG-platform interface concerns are well identified and have been mitigated to the greatest extent possible.
On the general system logic/airplane behavior bug side of things, we are right about where I’d expect to be at this phase of development. We continue to work things that come in, while also turning an eye toward improvements that are more focused on visual stimulation and refinement, such as dust, dirt, stains, wear and really focusing on fine detail while dialing up the overall fit and finish of the product and measuring performance carefully.
In these two images, which I must warn you is an untouched, unposed screen grab from my testing efforts earlier tonight, you can see that we have begun to add in some of the dirt layer that we haven’t included up to know, as well as dust, fingerprints and general light wear around this relatively new flight deck.
One of my favorite aspects of this top image is that you can see the turned-up aluminum edge of the backing plate for the right-most dimmer panel just to the left of the captain’s CDU. the edge of this panel backing plate had just the slightest signs of having been removed/reinstalled a few times and the paint along that edge has worn off- leaving a clean aluminum edge shown.
There are literally thousands of such details throughout this cockpit, and they give it a visual quality that really brings the cockpit environment to life.
One of the interesting facets of these two images is that if you compare the image above to the image below, you can see how the dust/oil from fingerprints is visible differently from different angles, which is realistically representative of how it looks on these types of screens in the real world. Also present, but not evident in the image, is that the sun angle and light reflection angles play a role in how he dust layers interact with light to make parts of the screen harder to see in certain lighting conditions. I tried to capture this for you but it is really something that requires video to see well. Still images just don’t cut it for this sort of thing.”
Moving on to airports, Technobrain released a trailer of its promising Osaka Kansai International Airport (RJBB) in Japan.
The release is slated for the spring.
We stay in Japan with Simulación Extrema, which announced Terama Airport (RORT), one of the many small airports on the islands around Okinawa, served by the Dash 8s of Ryukyu Air Commuter.
It should come “very soon” both to PC and Xbox via the official marketplace.
Moving on to releases, FeelThere launched its rendition of Dubai International Airport (OMDB) in the United Arab Emirates.
It can be purchased at the developer’s own store for $24.99. Below you can see what you can expect.
- Modelled buildings with high resolution PBR textures
- Custom animated jetways
- Airport follows real world terrain slope
- Enhanced airport lighting
- Custom taxi signs with emissive lighting
Lastly, Sharm El Sheikh International Airport (HESH) in Egypt has been released by S-Design.
You can find it on SimMarket for approximately $14 plus applicable VAT, including the following.
- 20cm aerial photographs
- Detailed airport buildings
- Using PBR textures in 4k resolution
f you’d like to read more about Microsoft Flight Simulator add-ons, you can enjoy our recent reviews of the Twin Otter, Auckland International Airport, Skiathos Airport, Athens International Airport, Bergamo Orio al Serio Airport, Amami Airport, Bristol Airport, Marrakech Menara Airport, Great Britain Central, Tehran Imam Khomeini Airport, Moscow Sheremetyevo Airport, Shanghai Pudong Airport, Kraków Airport, Fukuoka City & Airport, Fort Lauderdale Airport, Chongqing City & Airport, Manila Airport, Santiago Airport, the Frankfurt City Pack, Key West Airport, the Okavango Delta, Bali Airport, London Oxford Airport, Berlin Brandenburg Airport, the CRJ 550/700, the PA-28R Arrow III, Kristiansand Airport, Macau City & Airport, Bonaire Flamingo Airport, Milano Linate Airport, the Singapore City Pack, Tokyo Narita Airport, Yao Airport, the F-15 Eagle, the Paris City Pack, Greater Moncton Airport, Tweed New Haven Airport, Santorini Airport, Sydney Airport, Helsinki-Vantaa Airport, Reggio Calabria Airport, Bastia Poretta Airport, Munich Airport, Paris Orly Airport, Newcastle International Airport, Sankt Johann Airfield, Dublin International Airport, and Seoul City Wow. We also have a beta preview of Singapore Changi airport.
If you want to learn more about the game itself, you can read our review that will tell you everything you need to know about Asobo Studio’s game.