After a period of silence from the PDMG team (often due to development progress), Robert is back with a new detailed forum post giving us yet another glimpse at how development progress on the PMDG 737 for MSFS is coming along.
Opening the forum topic, Robert says, “I am happy to report that we are rolling up on the end of the initial development and testing phase for the PMDG 737-700 for Microsoft Flight Simulator. This has been a thorough, and thoroughly exhausting period of beta testing and we are very happy with the quality level now.” He goes on to say that soon the team will sit down and finalize a release date for the much-anticipated aircraft. “We anticipate that during one of our meetings next week we will finalize the release date for this product and communicate it to you here in a specific, release planning announcement.“
As previously announced, the PMDG 737 for MSFS will be released in a different fashion compared to past PMDG aircraft releases. Unlike before when a number of variants are included in a single package, PMDG has opted to release the 737 for MSFS on a per-variant basis. The first of these variant packages will be the Boeing 737-700. This particular package will include all variations of the -700, including passenger, cargo and Boeing Business Jet (BBJ) versions of the plane. Each version will come with its own unique characteristics to match real-world operations. For example, the BBJ comes with a specific cockpit, auxiliary tank options and more. Of course, alongside the options down to the aircraft type, there will also be hundreds of customization options to tailor the plane to your requirements and needs.
We previously learned that PMDG then intends on releasing subsequent variations of the Boeing 737 in the future in approximately six-week intervals. Initially, PMDG is focusing on the Next Generation series of Boeing 737 aircraft (737-600, 737-800, 737-900) before then eventually growing the line to include the MAX series of planes.
What is new information is the new update cycle which Robert says is driven by customer feedback. He said that following the release of the 737-700 for MSFS, we can expect a regular series of updates for the plane. He said, “[…] there are features that we wish to add to the product line that we can only dedicate resources to after the initial product release cycle begins, so we will have a two-week development update cycle pushing new features to all 737 owners during the initial 24 weeks after release.” He then gave a few examples of what sort of updates we can expect:
– An all-new cockpit tablet reflecting capabilities that the out-moded Category I Boeing EFB doesn’t provide for. (I’ll have more details on this new feature a bit later!)
– New, high-res passenger cabins in one and two-class configurations, as well as a high res BBJ layout and cargo layout as appropriate for those two airframes. The versions currently contained in the product are significantly higher resolution than any of our P3D products, but have been experimenting with amount of detail that we can add to MSFS and have decided that entirely new cabins with unique cabin features can be added- so resources will be dedicated to competing this effort once the product rollout period begins.
– Model detail area updates: As we completed the entirely new model series for MSFS, we are finding that some areas that are traditionally treated with low-res modeling and textures can now be updated to fully accurate detail levels. Areas such as the gear bays which are normally given only low res treatment are being rebuilt at the highest resolution possible, providing a preflight-level quality to the models as we go.
– Various other changes to the avionics, etc.
These bi-weekly updates will, of course, be free of charge to customers when they’re pushed out.
Addressing concerns that in order to make the 737 for MSFS functional in the new platform, functionality had to be dropped, Robert said that “almost nothing” is missing. He said that some features were removed that were no longer necessary.
“At the end of the day, the PMDG 737-700 for MSFS is a far more feature-rich simulation of the 737 series airplane than we have been able to produce in previous platforms and that has us very excited. We have shared the airplane with a few non-PMDG/non-PMDG beta individuals and their feedback has been highly enthusiastic. We think yours will be as well once you have your hands on her!”
Performance and Price
Another key talking point is the performance of the 737-700 in Microsoft Flight Simulator. Robert reassures, again, that performance of the aircraft is exceptional. “My development rig is three years old with an early i9 and a 2080Ti. It is running the 737 well and smooth at default and customized airports without any reduction in visual quality. I have been shooting video at Dzierwicki Design’s KRNT (of course!) with frame rates nearing 40-45fps and smooth as silk. KRNT is an incredibly heavy scenery due to it’s detail and complexity. At other high-end airports performance is similar and at default scenery locations such as FMEE I am seeing mid-low-50s without reducing my visual quality at all.”
As for the price, there is still no confirmation yet on what the cost of the 737 for MSFS will be. However, Robert reiterated that customers who purchased the 737NGXu before 2020 will still receive their $99.99 USD credit towards the PMDG 737 for MSFS. This means if you choose to buy one or any number of the 737 packages to be made available, you can use your credit towards it. If a purchase costs less than the credit on the account (at PMDG.com), then you will retain the difference for a future purchase. Customers who qualify will get the credit automatically.
One interesting tidbit here is that PMDG originally thought the 737 for MSFS would release in August/September of 2020. Quite a difference between expectation and reality.
New Pictures; Beta Testers Released from NDA?
Beta testers are still bound by their PMDG NDA, so don’t expect a flurry of new images or videos yet. However, Robert said that as development for him is winding down, meaning he can focus on making videos about the plane showingcasing various elements of the plane in action.
As for those beta testers, he said that he expects to be able to unleash them from the NDA next week to share experiences with the rest of the community. He also said that streamers and media may receive some early copies in the near future.
Finally, for those who may want to hear from Robert directly, be sure to listen to his interview with Jeff Turner at SkyBlue Radio. Tune in on Friday 8th April @ 2230z to hear more from Robert.
Staying up to date
Stick with us here at FSElite as we’ll be bringing you the latest news and information on PMDG’s 737 for MSFS as soon as it comes in.
Thanks to Sayto for the tip.