PMDG Provide Brief Update on Microsoft Flight Simulator Development

March 20, 2021

PMDG has taken to their forum to share an update about their recent progress, particularly around Microsoft Flight Simulator.

Within the update, CEO Robert Randazzo told users they are in the process of converting their whole lineup of aircraft to the new simulator, but explained the process is not linear like many customers may envision.

“The workload of developers on the PMDG team can fluctuate quite dramatically throughout the development cycle, and thus we very frequently move tasks around on the calendar in order to maximize productivity and minimize down-time,” Randazoo explained.

“If a project gets hung up due to a modeling problem, we won't let the downstream coders sit idle while the modeling problem gets resolved- we simply move them on to some other task in order to keep the general ship-of-progress moving in the right direction.”

“Likewise- sometimes we simply find that it is necessary to adjust the development schedule due to some external factor and this can open up a gap in the schedule that wasn't planned.

“We can insert a project, part of a project, an expansion package or some new feature into that down time, thus improving the overall quality of our product line.”

With this in mind, Randazzo moved on to talk about Microsoft Flight Simulator.

As aforementioned, their whole lineup is making its way to the simulator, but not before a lengthy restructure of their development process takes place.

“It isn't simply a matter of adjusting a few lines of code and throwing a new model and texture exporter at the mix and calling it complete,” he continued.

“We are building new development tools, shuffling around our entire development process, and turning our products upside down in order to make them as real and lustrous and lifelike as the new platform will allow.

“We aren't simply porting products in, using the same models and textures and animations. We are completely re-imagining them in order to leverage every ounce of what the new MSFS engine will give us.

“This means all-new models, all new texturing, new sound recordings (which are expensive and time consuming to make) entirely new lighting capabilities, in some cases requiring entirely new photo-surveys and the rebuilding of source material in order to bring you cockpits that don't look like we dragged an FSX cockpit across twenty years and stuffed it into a really nice rendering engine.

“We are bringing you incredible, new, feature-rich environments that really shine in the new MSFS platform.”

Back in September last year, it was announced that their 737NG3 would not make its debut in MSFS until at least the third quarter of this year.

As time went on, that timeframe slipped closer to “very late 2021” and possibly into 2022, but the ever-changing situation for PMDG is looking brighter, now other hurdles have been cleared.

“This guidance is a bit softer now- as we are really starting to see our work accelerate in MSFS. I'm going to hold off offering any projection right at this moment, as there are some things that have to happen before I become comfortable saying ‘yeah- we have cleared all of the hurdles.’

“We have hit our share of knee-knockers, worked through them with some help from our friends at Aerosoft and Asobo- among others- and I fully expect we will hit a few more before we are finished.”

Randazzo did, however, clarify comments he made last year that the MSFS SDK would not allow PMDG to bring their aircraft to MSFS with the quality customers expect.

“I want to be very clear in stating that this new sim is highly dynamic and changing continually.

“What may have been true in June of 2020 is not necessarily true any longer.

“From the standpoint of development, we are not currently seeing any major limitations to prevent us from bringing our product catalog into MSFS.”

The remainder of the update was dedicated to their aircraft and Global Flight Operations in Prepar3D.

Screenshots of the 737NG3 were shared back at the end of July, and today’s forum post can be viewed on their website here.

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