Last week we covered plans for the forward panel, notes about the preview builds, and the HGS isn’t included in TFM because it has no relevant features for a print disabled person. This week, we are going to cover part of the forward panel and a little on FS2020.
The forward panel
The forward panel is about 50% finished. It is so large that we had to break it down into a bunch of smaller segments to make it easier to use. Hopefully, it will be ready in week 22. After that, it is off to the lower forward panel, which seems to be a bit smaller.
FS2020 and PMDG 737-700
I was able to take a test flight in the PMDG 737-700 this afternoon. It was only me, the plane, and first officer next. Aside from a few bloopers at the beginning of climb, the entire flight went without a problem. So, now we can use FS2020 with the PMDG 737 series. The bumps to work out are below.
- L-Nav, V-Nav, FL change, altitude hold, and the speedbrake work differently, even though the offsets have the same names between P3D and FS2020. Everything above except speedbrake reports off no matter the state. The speedbrake reports a low floating point number like 5.33325 instead of 150 in P3D.
- If you use make runways, give TFM time to load. There are around 43000 airports and a little over 82600 runways in FS2020.
- Getting first officer next to recognize that the door is opened. First officer only automates flows when the correct conditions are met. Otherwise, we are stuck doing them manually during flight.
- Someone needs to contact the dev for first officer and ask how we get into the briefing section.
- An interesting point to watch for… Make sure the FD/L and FD/R and auto throttle are turned on. FSO next misses them for some reason.
- FSO next will not program the FMC route pages. It sets fuel, payload, and performance pages.
Aside from this, the flight was fun and quite amusing. The fun and amusing parts are below.
- The airplane was not loud, even during the takeoff, the engines were quiet.
- Fuel burn is much better. I burned an average of 4800lbs/hour at fl370 and around 2300lbs/hour on descent.
- The airplane is much more responsive than the one in P3D.
- If you have GSX and PACX installed, first officer next will use them during flight. I have GSX for FS2020, and it loaded passengers while we set up the FMC.
- You have to purchase first officer next for each series of aircraft. Example: FSO next for PMDG 737 series is $30 as of yesterday.
- ATC behaves itself when you control the aircraft.
- All gages such as speed and altitude read correctly when you are in control of the aircraft.
- The aircraft behaves itself when you have control of it.
To make it easier to warp to different places, read the section below.
Warping to runways and gates
TFM now has native support for warping to gates and runways. While loaded in an aircraft, and with TFM running, do one of the following.
- Press right bracket (]), then Ctrl+G to bring up a dialog for warping to gates.
- In the airport code text field, type the icao for your airport, then press ENTER.
- In the gates list, press ENTER on the gate to jump to.
- Press right bracket (]), then Ctrl+R to bring up a dialog for warping to runways.
- In the airport code text field, type the icao for your airport and press ENTER.
- In the runways list, press ENTER on the runway to warp to.
This will work for all supported simulators.
FS2020 and bugs
While on the subject of FS2020, support for it will have the most amount of bugs. When reporting bugs, we ask that you include the simulator version. Some examples are MSFS 126.96.36.199 (found in the FS 2020 title bar), P3D 5.3, or FSX, FSX:Steam. It always helps to know what simulator you work with. Most of them have the same access points, but some of them differ.
Hopefully, most of the FS2020 bugs can get worked out in time for its inaugural MSFS flight next weekend. We will keep everyone updated on all issues and progress as we finish up the PMDG 737, which brings us to the next point of goodness.
Synchronous support for PMDG 737
When we started thinking about support for FS2020, our eyes glazed over, and we almost passed out from the thought of the work load. Some time ago, I started to wonder how nice it would be if TFM could stay on top of both P3D and FS2020 without much lag. Fast forward to this week, and our dreams came true. Since PMDG released the SDK for the 737-700, we found out that they were identical except for a few offsets and the entire memory block the offsets live. This makes writing code for the PMDG 737 series easy. Now, we can build support for P3D’s version of the PMDG 737 series, and the support will follow you over to FS2020 (except a few bumps in the road now and then). At most, we don’t suspect more than a week or two lag on the FS2020 side.
Now that the cat is out of the bag, surprise!! The first TFM supported aircraft for FS2020. Based on the initial test flight, we feel it safe to start purchasing the PMDG 737 series for FS2020. Have fun, and if you get stuck, we are always happy to help.