Following yesterday’s reveal, acclaimed third-party developer PMDG provided more details about the ramp-up to the release of its Boeing 737 for Microsoft Flight Simulator.
The info was provided by CEO Robert Randazzo during an interview on Sky Blue Radio (it’s very interesting, so I definitely recommend listening, if you have the time).
First of all, we get the official confirmation of the order in which the various variants of the 737 will be released and the reasoning behind it.
The first will be the 737-700 (as we already knew), followed by the -600, then the -800, and finally the -900.
The reason behind this decision is that the -600 and the -700 have very similar systems, while the -800 requires considerable additional work. Randazzo has noticed a degree of burnout among PMDG’s developers who have worked very hard for a long time, so he wants to provide them with a period in which they can rest and recuperate before they tackle the additional workload required to release the -800. A while ago, Randazzo mentioned that the plan is to release a version approximately every six weeks.
He also confirmed that he expects to reveal pricing details next week, and mentioned that the price of each version will vary a little bit depending on the work required.
In terms of reveals, Randazzo expects to start meting out the videos he’s been preparing during the course of this weekend, while the embargo for beta testers should be removed next week.
We also hear that he’s “really happy” with the flight model that PMDG has created. It’s entirely custom and it may feel a little different from what veteran customers experienced in previous simulators. It’s “much more real, more fluid, and more dynamic.” This is also thanks to the aerodynamics in Microsoft Flight Simulator spearheaded by Asobo’s CEO Sébastien Wloch, which really allowed PMDG to unlock behaviors in a high altitude swept-wing jet that they haven’t been able to unlock before. Randazzo can’t wait to see this it unfolds in the 747 and he thinks people are going to love how the 737 flies.
The autopilot is also entirely custom. Nothing from the base simulator has been used and LNAV works “great.”
Interestingly, Randazzo recounted that there’s a strange quirk in the nosewheel behavior on previous simulators. When the wheel is turned by about 57 degrees, the numbers reported change almost like they switched from degrees to radians. When that happens, the physics go completely out of whack. PMDG was able to code their way around it with a tremendous amount of physics math while creating their aircraft for older simulators, but in Microsoft Flight Simulator, it works “just fine” out of the box. The documentation created for the 737 will include a guide to set up the tiller axis in order to achieve the best results.
Randazzo also stressed that PMDG really needs Microsoft and Asobo to deliver the debugging tools that have been promised for mid-2022 in order to unlock a much faster development speed for future projects.
We then learn that windshield wipers won’t actually wipe the rain away at release, but PMDG knows that Asobo is working on implementing this at a simulator level, so it’ll eventually work. Randazzo is already aware of approximately when this will happen but he could not share it for obvious reasons.
Incidentally, he also reiterated that he would love to develop a Douglas DC-3 in the future, which he hinted at in the past. This is not too surprising considering that he owns one.
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If you want to learn more about the game itself, you can read our review which will tell you everything you need to know about Asobo Studio’s game.