Announcements

  • entries
    45
  • comments
    0
  • views
    2,002

Contributors to this blog

About this blog

Entries in this blog

Jishwaah

6 years ago today, TFDi Design became an official registered company. Throughout this long period, the company has grown to where it is today, and from the administration team here, @turbofandude and I, we would like to thank everyone who has worked at TFDi Design, both past and present, for their motivation and abilities that helped grow the company.

One of our community members, @TheBoeing747, has been working with Collin and I over the past few weeks to help work on a celebratory house livery for the TFDi Design 717, and has also written a few words and asked our current staff members some questions about their time at TFDi Design.

Quote

After passing 6 years at TFDi Design, I sought out to ask the staff their opinions on their experience at TFDi Design, and what I received was an overwhelming amount of positive feedback. Here are some of the responses below.

Question 1: How do you like the team dynamic? Do you enjoy being a part of TFDi Design and working on various projects?

Fabio A: They are stupid talented, like ridiculously talented and I couldn't imagine working with any other team right now. We have a really good dynamic. I'd like to think that they know that and I get a lot of positive feedback for my work.

Ozzy H: I enjoy being surrounded by people who, for one, know what they're doing, and also have a passionate enthusiasm for what they do. This is definitely a big part of the team's structure, and it creates an environment where innovation can flourish. The amount of talent this team has acquired over the years is unbelievable.

Henry CI absolutely enjoy working at TFDi Design, without a doubt. The culture and way of doing things is just incredible, and there is really no other company like this.

 

Question 2: Q: Do you feel that TFDi Design is a good job to take to build experience and grow your talent? Can you elaborate what type of work is completed at TFDi Design?

Fabio A: This is the dream job. I have my day job, as mentioned, but I wouldn't trade TFDi Design for any other company.

Ozzy H: As a 3D modeler, I am always up for a new challenge to exercise my brain and continue refining my skills. This MD-11 project has been one of those satisfying challenges, and just about every technique I've ever learned has been implemented at least once. Everyone at TFDi Design has a high standard for quality, so the opportunities to apply all these nuggets of knowledge are virtually endless.

Henry C: For sure. This is where all of the experience gets built and put to good use. We always look for the best way to solve a problem and like what I am currently working on -- this kind of stuff builds on the knowledge and background of both a pilot and a programmer; this allows us to make sure we are creating the latest and greatest -- ground-breaking stuff that no other company has done before.

 

Question 3: Is software development your main line of work, or do you have an alternative career?

Fabio A: It's a passion at the moment, while I wish it could be my full time job, it can't be right now. My dream has always been Google :P 

Ozzy H: Developing flight simulator content was actually just a hobby of mine until I gained the necessary skills and experience to venture into the commercial landscape. For a living, I am a full-time mechanical engineer in the field of heavy equipment design for mining applications. It's what I went to school for, and I do enjoy being a part of a machine design team as well as getting my hands dirty every once in a while. I've always had a creative side though, and while it occasionally shows itself in the engineering profession, doing artwork for flight simulator serves as more of a creative outlet for me. Personally, I enjoy the balance that I get by doing both.

Henry C: This is the dream job. I have my day job, as mentioned, but I wouldn't trade TFDi Design for any other company. 

Without further ado, @TheBoeing747 has also painted us the 6th Anniversary livery for the TFDi Design 717 which we hope to see flying in the virtual skies soon! Please make sure you submit your photos on our Discord, or in this forum post:

To get your hands on the Official livery, you can download it from here:

Once again, thank you for your continued support, and we look forward to bringing the MD-11 to market!

turbofandude

smartCARS 2 Released

smartCARS 2.0 has been released! The official release trailer is below.

Starting today, virtual airlines around the world will begin migrating to smartCARS 2. We’ve thoroughly enjoyed getting to create a flight tracker/pilot client that exceeds expectations and allows us to deliver more than ever before. We’ve listened to feedback, suggestions, and complaints alike and implemented the best of them into what we hope to grow into a powerful application experience. In addition, we’ve implemented smartCARS Premium – a new system that allows us to offer extended features to all smartCARS pilots (per their desire, of course). More information on that is available via the product page (links at the end).

As of now, we have the release and development of smartCARS 2 planned in three phases. I’ve detailed them below:

  • Phase 1: Initial rollout. Starting today, we’ll be getting virtual airlines converted from smartCARS 1.X to 2.0 and getting any initial bugs squashed.
  • Phase 2: Immediately following the holidays, we’ll be working with translators and our team to offer a unified, localized experience for users of many different languages. We’ll also be finishing the smartCARS mobile apps during this phase.
  • Phase 3: Approximately 90 days from now, we’ll begin phasing out smartCARS 1.X and removing legacy files and support from our servers.

An official change log from smartCARS 1.47 to smartCARS version 2 is available here http://tfdidesign.com/forums/index.php?/topic/571-change-log/.

Availability

Starting with smartCARS 2, you can purchase a smartCARS license for either a $69.99 up-front fee, or for $5.83 for 12 months. The smartCARS product page is available at https://tfdidesign.com/?p=smartcars2.

smartCARS Premium is available for $3.99 per month for the pilot. The virtual airline does not purchase Premium. The smartCARS Premium product page is available at https://tfdidesign.com/?p=smartcarspremium.

The Future

As always, an initial release is never the end for us. This is a community platform and now that it’s in full view of the community, we have so many things we look forward to adding to smartCARS and smartCARS Premium (such as a fuel planner… except, it’ll be better than expected). We look forward to hearing community feedback and continuing to impress with the smartCARS platform.

turbofandude

TFDi Design is proud to announce the release of the smartCARS Virtual Flight Tracking Software, making it available to virtual airlines for purchase. smartCARS is a state of the art Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS) developed for Microsoft Flight Simulator X and Lockheed Martin Prepar3D. smartCARS was designed with an easy-to-use and extensible user interface.

Benefits for Pilots

  • Fluid, dynamic user interface
  • High speed connectivity
  • Straight forward and informative flight information
  • Detailed flight log
  • Multi-bid support
  • In-app route search and bid management
  • GPWS callout system (with two different callout types)
  • Flight attendent announcements
  • Chat with the whole smartCARS community, or just your airline
  • Automatic login
  • Extensive options

Benefits for Virtual Airlines

  • Web License Management (not available for the November 4th release)
  • Cloud-based pilot chat (driven by the smartCARS™ Cloud_x64 System)
  • Automatic updating (web script and pilot clients automatically update)
  • Extensive logging options (not available in November 4th release)
  • Customized login screen (your logo and airline name)

For more information, visit the official smartCARS product page.

The journey begins here!

turbofandude

It has been about four months since we announced the 717 project, and it’s time for us to let you know what’s been happening. While we were working on smartCARS, progress was being made on the 717. As of now, we have an animated 717 external model ready for exporting to Flight Simulator. This means that texturing will begin shortly, and you will start to see in-sim screenshots. Below are our second, and likely last set of 3DS renders of the 717 before you start in-sim previews.

 

post-1-0-00296500-1354418016 post-1-0-80659400-1354424943 post-1-0-16604600-1354418025 post-1-0-14310200-1354418029

 

 

Now, we have some things to tell everyone.

  • We are expecting a completed external model, including animations and textures in early 2013. We will, at that point, begin showing in-sim videos and more screenshots than before.
  • We have begun collecting the resources for the sound package, and but we have no estimate on completion.
  • We have purchased manuals and resources needed for the systems. This means that we will begin the instrument programming soon.
  • We are going to follow through on our concept of an initial ‘lite’ release, followed by the full release later on.

I’m leaving this unlocked for now, so feel free respond. Thank you for reading, and we hope you’re enjoying your weekend!

turbofandude
TFDi Design is proud to announce the TFDi Design 717 project!
We are working hard on the new 717 project, and it is farther along than expected.
Why the 717?
The 717 is a very fun airplane to fly, and is different than any other aircraft. It has a unique design, both externally and internally, and will be a pleasure to design and fly. The flight simulation community was in desperate need of a quality 717, and we feel we can fulfill that need.
How far along is it?
The 717 is currently about 20% of the way completed. Currently the external model is mostly completed, and the flight dynamics are mostly complete as well. We are in the process of texturing the external model and collecting resources for the virtual cockpit. We are planning a rapid development cycle for this project, and plan to push it as fast as we can without sacrificing quality.
WHEN CAN WE GET IT?
As always, TFDi does NOT make any projections on release dates, as they are subject to enormous change. We will keep everyone updated, and the best place to stay up to date is right here!
Want to contribute?
TFDi needs resources and information from real pilots and crew, and we would love any help any of our fans could give us. If you or someone you know can help, please email us at admin@tfdidesign.com!
turbofandude
On behalf of the whole team here at TFDi Design, we are proud to announce the release of Passenger and Crew Experience, dubbed PACX.
After several years of hard work and several members of the team pulling together, we can finally share with you the result of our dedication and allow you to finally use our product. Throughout this time, we have worked tireless hours, made great friends and recorded over 1000 individual sound files and it has been yet another amazing journey made by our team.
With that being said, our product is not completely finished. This is because we appreciate community feedback and intend to roll our product out as “Early Access” so we can continue to build and develop PACX over time and to continue to build on what our beta team has told us. This means that we want to hear from you. We want to hear your thoughts on our product to allow us to build new features, release fixes and deliver on what you want.
On initial release, you will be able to communicate with the cabin, whether that be by completing a pre-flight announcement, dealing with drunk passengers or resolving an in-flight passenger emergency. PACX takes your simulation journey to the next level, by providing you with an in-depth insight into flying an aircraft full of holidaymakers or business travelers in the rows behind you.
At this moment in time, we would like to thank all our developers, testers, pilots and experts along the way and look forward to speaking with you in the coming weeks to help shape PACX into the program that will provide a higher level of flight simulation.
Find out more about PACX and get your copy today at https://pacx.online.
turbofandude
It’s been amazing seeing the number of people enjoying our latest update (v1.1) to the TFDi Design 717. If you haven’t yet had a chance to check it out, be sure to open the TFDi Design Addon Manager to download the update. Version 1.1 comes with official P3Dv4 support, a revamped external model and textures, and a slew of new features/fixes/improvements.  We are not going to go into detail about v1.1 in this post (since we have already done that), however, you can read more about it here. That said, we have some exciting events that we will highlight below.
#FreshPaintFriday
So what is #FreshPaintFriday? #FreshPaintFriday (FPF) will be an ongoing event where we release new official liveries for the 717 created by our in-house team of artists. We will go over the history of each aircraft and where it is today. FPF will happen on Fridays over the course of the next couple of months. It may skip a week if needed, as some of the liveries will take longer than others to get right. We won’t be taking requests, however, we do have a list of liveries that have already been heavily requested. Each Friday, we will announce the new livery and provide it for download on our forums. We may also show off a user-created livery on FPF as an honorable mention.
So what’s our first FPF repaint? We’re excited to show off the very cool livery for OH-BLG of Blue1. This one has taken quite a while to get right due to its complexity, but it definitely shows when you look at it in the sim.

Blue1 was a former carrier for the 717 before it sold its fleet to Delta and Volotea. This particular bird served with Blue1 for nearly 5 years, but it started its life as part of AeBal fleet under the EC-HNY registration.
The different paint schemes of this airframe.
It was delivered on June 15th, 2000 out of Boeing’s Long Beach factory. For the first 5 years of its life, EC-HNY flew for AeBal, followed by 1 year with Germanwings. It was then returned to AeBal where it served for 3 more years and later wore Quantum Air colors when AeBal was replaced by Quantum. After all this time of identity crisis, it finally found a home with Blue1. This is the point in time that we have restored this bird to. It flew with Blue1 before SAS sold this aircraft to Volotea. After it was sold, the bird lost its Blue1 registration and was re-registered as EC-MEZ.
You can download the Blue1 livery for the 717 here: http://tfdi.design/blue1
Summer Fun
We will be doing several other fun things over the course of the remaining summer months. We will be hosting a screenshot contest, which will be worth participating in, as we have some exciting prizes for winning. More details on this to come soon. We will also continue to share some of the cool new features in v1.1 of the 717 on our social media pages, featuring different functions of the aircraft that you may have skimmed over.
As part of our ongoing efforts to stay connected with the community, we will be sponsoring VATSIM events during this time and providing some giveaway prizes for these as well. One of the events worth participating in is the Boston Tea Party event put on by BVA! Read more about that here.
Join us at the Boston Tea Party VATSIM Event!
If you have a screenshot you want to share with the team or the world, be sure to tag us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and we might share it! If you haven’t already followed our social media accounts, you can find them here: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
Summary
We are looking to have fun with the community over the next few months! We will be participating in events and releasing some cool new liveries for the 717 during this time. Our social media feed will be a great place to keep track of what’s going on and what’s coming up.
turbofandude
Folks,
As we prepare to wrap up 2017, I wanted to take a second to say a few things to the community.
Over the last year, we had one of the most stressful, but rewarding, development cycles we’ve ever had. There’s no doubt that when the 717 released at the end of 2016, we still had a lot of work to do; a lot more than we realized. The amount of support and patience the community has given us is humbling. In my opinion, we’ve learned more from the initial missteps, than we would have from a perfect launch. We got an opportunity to learn first hand, what not to do, as much as we learned what to do.
The Community Opt-in Beta has given us insights into how our product is used. As well, it has shown us the problems users encounter that we never see, and has helped us identify such a wide range of inefficiencies or problems in the system that will help us pave the way for future products. In the years we’ve been in this market, the Community Opt-in Beta was, by far, the most effective testing method we’ve had. Although our intent wasn’t to launch into a beta, that style of testing method is likely to be part of future products – before the official “final” launch, of course.
Launching TrueGlass and RealLight, technologies that the community, as a whole, was excited to hear about, was a fantastic experience. We had looked forward to making them possible for years, and to finally have done so, is motivating and exciting.
With that said, I know I speak for all of us in saying that the future looks brighter and more exciting now than it ever has. We’re looking forward to the official major update to the 717 early on in 2018. We also have two other projects we’re getting ready to put into full-time development (which we have held off on to make sure the 717 was where it needed to be). One of these will come as a surprise, and one of them will come as exciting news to those waiting for it. We have a bigger, more refined team now and a much more optimized workflow – this will no doubt be reflected in future products.
If you’ve met any of us, at events throughout the year or online, you’ll know that the one thing we all did our best to do was to be honest, transparent, and responsive, both internally and externally. As we continue to grow, there are no plans for that to change.
From all of us at TFDi Design, thank you for the lessons and the opportunities this year, and we’re looking forward to exceeding expectations in the coming year. Have a safe, fun, and Happy New Year.
turbofandude
Today at the FlightSimShow in Cosford, we announced the new technology called TrueGlass. TrueGlass is quite a few different things at once, primarily it is a windscreen precipitation effect and wiper system. Secondly, it will also support icing and condensation down the road. We are happy to announce this new product and invite you to watch the video below:

Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Is this the same thing as the default rain effects in Prepar3D V4.1?
A. No, this is a completely custom solution to add rain effects to the windscreen of the aircraft. It has support for speed transitions, wipers, and other weather variables other than rain. This system does work in version 4.0 of Prepar3D and does not rely on the default rain effects.
Q. Is it performance heavy?
A. Based on user testing and reporting, the rain effects have little to no effect on simulator performance.
Q. Is this technology easily implemented in other aircraft?
A. This technology is available to developers to license on a per aircraft basis. For developers reading, it is an easily configurable file and minor model modification.
Q. What does it cost to consumers?
A. With the TFDi Design 717, this will be a free update. It will be available via the Community Opt-In Beta for testing and verification, then we will be rolling it out in a future update to the rest of the license holders of the 717.
turbofandude
Public Update Released (1.0.8.0)
To say it’s been a long road for everyone would be an understatement. We’ve been busy for the last 6 months getting this aircraft to where the community had expected it to be back in December. There were a great number of areas that we realized were lacking, so we spent the first half of this year working on enhancing the aircraft with those of you who opted into the Community Beta. As of update 1.0.8.0, these improvements are now available to the public. With your help, we’ve been able to bring the aircraft to a point that we’re happy to put our name on it. A full list of the changes that have been made can be found here.
The team would like to thank all who participated and gave feedback during the Community Opt-in Beta.
If you are having issues with the new version, please submit bugs and suggestions here.
If you are having issues with activation, please open a ticket with us here.
Immediate Future
We can hear the question already, “Where’s the paint kit?” Well, we’re working on finishing up the changes to the exterior of the aircraft as fast as possible. Once these are completed, we can release the paint kit to you. We believe this to be a short-term goal to get finished, not something that is on the back burner.
We are also working on getting the aircraft ready for Prepar3D v4. This is something we are also hoping to have available to you soon. We are dealing with a couple CTDs and adding support for new technologies that are available to us in this sim. This is also a short-term goal for us.
Going forward, there will still be ongoing updates, but once these two final short term goals have been completed, some of our focus will be moved to future projects that we are excited to tell you about in due time.
If you are going to be attending FlightSimCon in Connecticut (June 10-11), we would like to see you! Please stop by and say hello at booths 207 and 208. Most of our team will be there and happy to answer questions.
turbofandude
(The following part was written by Collin Biedenkapp)
Since the launch of the 1.0.6.0 to the community beta, we’ve been doing a lot behind the scenes and we’ve had a bit of a shift in position. A lot has changed since the last update already and there is more to come. We’ve been much quieter than we had previously been (which, despite how it may feel, is actually a good thing) and I will explain that.
A Little Background
Since release, we’ve all (the TFDi team) come to realize that we were looking at the state of the aircraft the wrong way. In the professional software world, releasing an initial iteration of a program and adding features over time is not only acceptable but standard. This is exactly what we did. That said, that method of approaching it is unreasonable for something like an aircraft. You wouldn’t make a car without air conditioning and windshield wipers but promise them later – that is more how our release happened (but not what we intended). That leads to our shift in position – along with the community beta, which gave us a place to test things before we throw them into the official release, we’re working on not band-aiding bullet holes.
First, what’s new (so far).
The REF System
In the spirit of more meaningful updates and permanent solutions, we started by revising the MCDU, page by page, and correcting/finishing it. So far, we’ve added the entire REF system (minus one page, which is pending a change in another system). Here are some images of it.


The REF system, although it may not be the seemingly highest priority, was the foundation for another feature that plays a big role during particular approaches – place/bearing/distance (PBD) waypoints. Here’s an image of that working.
Video Player   00:00 00:09 We also revisited the system that handles pilot waypoint entry, which allowed us to support latitude/longitude waypoint entry and brings both PBDs and latlon waypoint support to the FIX, REF, DIR INTC, and FPLN pages all at once.
 
The MCDU Annunciators
Along with the improvements to the MCDU, we’ve also added the annunciator lights for various scenarios.
Video Player   00:03   00:05 The 2D Popups
For those of you not participating in the Community Opt-in Beta (COB), we’ve added the ability to hide the yokes and 2D popups for the 6 display units, the standby display, and both MCDUs. We’ve also improved their default size and position since 1.0.6.0, as seen by their new default position below.

Here is the 2D MCDU.

VMIN/Approach Performance
Further improvements have been made to the autothrottle system and FADEC/engine response since 1.0.6.0. We’ve also redone the VMIN calculation which will allow the aircraft to properly fly its approach speeds (and the autothrottle can actually be trusted to fly that close to VMIN now).

Stability/Bug Fixes
In addition to a slew of fixes between 1.0.6.0 (for those not in the COB) and 1.0.6.1, we’ve fixed one of the major issues not covered by other systems – the sound spool down during takeoff. The sounds work as they should during takeoff and climb now. We’ve also launched our advanced crash debugging system to help us isolate and solve the remaining CTDs. Performance remains an issue for a handful of users and we’re still looking at it, but just as we focused on performance/stability initially, now we’re focusing on the airplane as a whole before polishing it again. It’s a process but we’re on the right side of it now.
What’s Pending Code/Systems-Wise
We’ve got a lot of big items on our to-do list and some that are in progress. Here are a few major items that I can’t show off quite yet but will make it into the next release.
Significantly improved NAV magenta line tracking (including through turns) ETE (and possibly EFOB) Automatic turn coordination Mouse wheel acceleration for AFS knobs In addition to those, we’ll be continuing through the MCDU and finishing it, both in terms of stability and functionality. Once the MCDU is at a place we’re happy with it, we will begin the same process on the autoflight system to squash the rest of its bugs. Once both of those are complete, along with the rest of the bugs we’ll fix and requests we’ll honor, the aircraft will be borderline unrecognizable from its initial release in December.
(The following part was written by Brandon Filer)
Visual Updates
While improvements have been made to the systems, I’ve been working on a ton of enhancements to the exterior.
To give some background, the original artists who did the modeling/texture work on both the exterior and interior left a lot to be desired. Over the last two years of development, I’ve done a ton of work on the cockpit to bring it up to our standards and to represent the real aircraft as closely as possible. As we approached the end of development, we ran out of time to revisit the exterior.
Since release, I’ve been working to bring the quality of the exterior up to that of the cockpit. It was for this reason that we have continued to hold the release of the paintkit to the public. Since many of the changes made have been to the textures (and there have even been a few mapping changes), we didn’t want to release the paintkit, only to end up releasing an update that would break all repaints.
 
What’s New/Improved
Improved/optimized materials New environment map for better-looking reflections Fixed loss of reflections when turning on logo light Redid cargo bay textures A few screenshots showing the new environment map:


 
As well, here’s a before and after of the cargo bay textures.
 
Before After What’s Still Being Worked on
Redo of all seams/rivets on the fuselage and wings (very inaccurate/generic before, and lots of missing details) Redo of all normal maps (rivets were way too big/pronounced before) Paintkit being made in 4K to enable painters to optionally offer 4096×4096 versions of their liveries (not ideal in a 32-bit environment for VAS reasons, but good for future-proofing or for those with few addons) Various improvements to textures in general (more dirt and details, along with better coloring of certain parts) New alpha channels (some parts are reflective, but shouldn’t be, etc) Cabin illumination at night Exterior lights will illuminate the surrounding parts (ex. beacon will illuminate the top of the fuselage) For the sake of comparison, here is a before and after of the nose.
Before (2k texture resolution) After, WIP (4k texture resolution) (The following part was written by Collin Biedenkapp)
Timelines
We’ve been quiet while we were working this time. We’ve been focusing primarily on getting the improvements done and plowing through the prerequisites to pave the way to permanent answers. Rest assured, although you haven’t heard as much from us, we haven’t retreated away. We will release 1.0.6.1 to the COB when it’s in a good place, but we’re reworking some areas at the moment. We highly encourage anyone interested in helping us polish the aircraft to participate in the COB. Our goal is to have the aircraft essentially complete before the next major non-beta release.
Closing
I encourage you to check out our changelog here and the development tracker here to stay up to date with our changes and have your feedback heard.
turbofandude
It is with great excitement, pride, and some nerves, that we announce the release of the TFDi Design 717. It is now available for purchase here.
We started this journey four years ago. Throughout those years, we’ve made many friends, worked with developers, pilots, testers, dedicated simmers, and combinations of all four. We’ve learned more than we had ever anticipated and it has been an incredible journey. As I hinted at yesterday, we are now beginning a new journey with our customers and supporters. We have taken great pride in giving the community that supports and purchases our products a voice. We’ve taken pride in, despite the circumstances, staying humble and part of the community.
On that note, we want to take the opportunity to work with you on the 717 from here forward. There are plenty of areas we’d like to improve and features left to add, and there are things we can’t do alone. We want to hear your thoughts and feelings on the product – new features, fixes, and more are possible quickly and easily and we have every intention of delivering them. We want to make the 717 a product like no other, beyond simply correctly modeling the aircraft.
We look forward to hearing from you and continuing to expand and improve the product you’ve waited so long for. On behalf of myself, Brandon Filer, Joshua Mendoza, Martyn Becker, and Brandon Olivo to the developers, testers, pilots, and enthusiasts that have helped us along the way, thank you.
See you in the skies.
turbofandude
Yes, you read the title correctly. After an extremely long journey of over four years, we have set a target beta date that we’re ready to announce. Before I jump right in, I’d like to cover a few important topics.
 
What will “beta” be for this product?
This will not be a several month beta process. We have been in what our community manager, Josh,  has called a “progressive alpha” for just shy of a year. What this means is that many of the systems on the airplane have already been tested relatively thoroughly. They’ve been reviewed by pilots, checked against documents, and tested via aircraft sharing by testing team members and developers alike. The result of this is that our systems are no longer “bleeding edge”. Beta will be aimed primarily at finding and fixing “showstoppers”, meaning crashes, memory issues, or major system malfunctions.

 
How will post-release updates work?
No matter how much we prepare, test, and consider, finding EVERYTHING before release is impossible. We’re aware of this and we’re prepared to respond accordingly. Our addon manager will have the ability to deliver updates to the product efficiently (by that, we mean without remembering passwords, re-downloading the entire aircraft, or reactivating). Our intent is to consider the aircraft in active development immediately following its release. Problems will be corrected quickly and we will do everything we can to stay ahead of reported issues.

 
What should you expect from here?
We will post another article before release detailing exactly what to expect on launch day, details regarding our activation system, and preparations we’ve made to ensure the best possible service on day 1. Any questions or concerns expressed before then will be handled via that article.

 
When will the 717’s beta start?
Thank you for actually reading what I had to say. As of now, our target beta date is December 10th, 2016. At this point, it is time for the testers we’ve confirmed over time to contact us, as we stated you would be told. You must include a reference to your confirmation of acceptance to the beta team in your correspondence. We are not accepting new testers at this time.
We’re almost there folks. Stay tuned for more information in the coming weeks. We’re still on track for release this year. When we have a firm date, we’ll be sure to let everyone know.
You can discuss this article on the TFDi Design Forums by clicking here.

turbofandude
TFDi Design will be holding an Ask Me Anything on June 14th, 10 PM GMT (6 PM EDT/3 PM PDT) at the flight simulator subreddit, /r/flightsim. An AMA is an opportunity for the community to ask questions and receive answers to most of them. While we are going to try to answer as many questions as possible, we will not be announcing a release date (other than that it will be in 2016). We look forward to seeing you all there!
turbofandude
TFDi Design is happy to announce we will be doing a live stream of the 717’s first public flight on June 9th, 2016 at 10 PM GMT (3 PM PDT/6 PM EDT). You will be able to tune into our stream at twitch.tv/tfdidesign to watch and chat with us! We will be flying the aircraft from startup to shutdown.
This will be the first time that the community will get to see the full scale of the 717 project, not just screenshots or highlight videos. The stream will provide you the opportunity to directly inform the team of your feedback and input to help improve the plane. It will also allow us to answer community questions about the plane and the development process.
The 717 is a unique plane in real life and we feel that we have captured its personality quite well in the simulator. We look forward to sharing how far we have come and we’re excited to hear what you, the community, have to say about it.
turbofandude
Folks,
As we bring another year to a close, it’s time to review what 2019 was for us and our community.
In 2019, we made changes to our infrastructure, policies, development standards, and organization that made us stronger, more efficient, and more capable. We started growing a team of great people who are proud to be with us and excited to pave the ground forward with us.
We released PACX and have worked with the community to refine it. We helped JetStream Radio get their new website and streaming system up and running. We proudly attended Flight Sim Expo in June and participated in the first two-day Flight Sim Show event in Cosford in October.
We’ve made breakthroughs in some important areas. We finally have a light at the end of the tunnel for the infamous view-switch crash. We are closer to overcoming technical limitations that have held us back in the past. We even started our next aircraft (no, we can’t tell you what it is yet).
We are now combining the best of the business experience we’ve gained with the community and product-oriented mindset that made us who we are. We’re looking forward to bringing you the next iteration of smartCARS, pushing PACX out of Early Access, and continuing to develop the products our community and partners have come to know us for.
As we move forward, we are going to continue to grow, optimize, and reach toward the dreams we were founded on. Thank you to our community, friends, and followers for their patience and support. The fantastic feedback and knowledge you provide help us better ourselves and enjoy what we do. On behalf of the entire TFDi Corp family, I want to wish everyone a great, fun, and safe New Year.
turbofandude
Folks,
 
This year has been a year of learning, accomplishments, pride, and struggle. As we prepare to call 2018 the past, I wanted to take some time to reflect (as I usually do around this time).
 
This year, we proudly released a version of our flagship product that lived up to our dreams. We also saw that same product launch to vendors (more are coming in 2019). We announced PACX and started preparations to continue on more.
 
We’ve changed as we saw the end of some relationships and the start of others. TFDi Design has always been by the community, for the community, and in 2019, we will be exploring that relationship more. In a way, we’ll be digging deeper into and returning to what made us who we are.
 
You will see new products, new faces, and new ideas from us in the new year. We will continue to support and grow our products and community.
 
As always, we appreciate the support from our community and it is a huge part of why we enjoy what we do so much. With that said, on behalf of myself, TFDi Design, JetStream Radio, and our friends and partners, I wish you all a safe, fun, and happy New Year.
turbofandude
Introduction
To us, one of the most notable things missing in commercial aviation simulation was the feeling of teamwork and the feeling of having an aircraft full of people counting on you to get them to where they need to be. There is a responsibility to make it to your destination on time smoothly and without issue, or if that’s not possible, properly communicate it to your passengers and crew. Every flight brings a whole new group of people and potentially new situations to handle. Our goal was to bring this experience to flight simulation; and so we present Passenger and Crew Experience – PACX.

Dynamic Announcements
The first area that needed addressing was flight attendant announcements. With PACX, the announcements you hear are tailored specifically to your flight. For example, if you’re flying a morning flight number 4553 to Los Angeles, you will hear “Good morning ladies and gentlemen, welcome aboard flight 4553 with service to Los Angeles”. If you’re flying an evening flight number 2236 to Atlanta, you will hear “Good evening ladies and gentlemen, welcome aboard flight 2236 with service to Atlanta”.

In additional to flight specific data, announcements will vary between flights. You could complete several consecutive flights and hear different announcements, in a slightly different order, on each flight. This provides the feeling of having an actual crew on the aircraft.
Passenger AI Simulation
PACX simulates every passenger on the aircraft individually. They all have their own personality. Some may be flying for business and be very particular about their schedules. Others flying for leisure may be more lax. Some may be aviation enthusiasts and won’t be as bothered by turbulence, whereas others who are more nervous fliers will be more on edge about it. These nuances, and many more, will factor in to overall flight satisfaction and the odds and nature of in-flight events.
It is important to note that the extent of the passenger and crew AI is purely through text/menus. You will not physically see passengers in your cabin.
Interaction
For the first time, you will be able to interact directly with the crew and passengers.

If you’re behind schedule, you can notify the passengers ahead of time and they will be more forgiving. If you fail to notify them, it will more severely affect their flight satisfaction. In the event of an aircraft problem, being communicative with your passengers and crew can aid in calming them during the emergency procedures.
In some cases, a passenger related disturbance may occur. You will be able to instruct the crew how to deal with the problem, when applicable, and the subsequent events will happen accordingly.
Vocal Control
In addition to the traditional interaction menu, you will be able to interact with your passengers and crew verbally. For example, if you cue up the microphone and say “Ladies and gentlemen, we apologize, but we’re going to be a bit behind schedule today. We’ve having a few minor technical issues but should have them worked out shortly”, the interaction system will intelligently figure out what you said and notify the passengers and crew accordingly. You’ll then see that they are all a little frustrated, the nervous fliers may be a bit more anxious, and the expected time of arrival will be extended.

Design Decisions
We wanted to ensure that the information presented to the pilot was done so in an immersive and reasonable way. You will not see a percentage indicating the passengers’ overall satisfaction. It will be much more generalized and realistic. If you want to dig deeper into each passenger’s information, a menu will be provided to allow you to do so, to simulate speaking to the passenger directly.

The interface itself is designed to be minimal and not intrusive. PACX is built to fit in to your existing work flow and doesn’t directly replace other software. As it aims solely to provide a thorough and immersive in-flight experience, other airline management, tycoon-style, or economy software should be compatible.
Expansion and Integration
We intend to offer the ability for PACX flight reports to be included as part of a pilot report for virtual airlines to assist in virtual flight quality assurance. We also intend to integrate directly with select third party aircraft to allow immersive interaction, like in-cockpit controls for queuing up your microphone or bringing up the interaction menu.
That said, we would like to expand PACX heavily depending on community feedback. We want to hear ideas for what would bring an extra level of immersion to your in-flight experience.
Questions and Answers
Q. Is PACX only compatible with the TFDi Design 717?
A. No, PACX will be compatible with any aircraft. The direct in-cockpit integration will only be with select aircraft, but PACX itself will work fully with any.
Q. Will I be able to have a safety video instead of a spoken safety announcement?
A. Yes, an option will be provided to play a custom safety video in place of the spoken safety announcement.
Q. Will PACX only support commercial flight?
A. Although it was designed around commercial flight, we intend to add support for general aviation, corporate aviation, and military flight as well, but they may not necessarily be in the initial release.
Q. What will the price be?
A. As PACX is a utility, it will be priced competitively to comparable utilities on the market currently.
Q. Will PACX support X-Plane?
A. Yes, along with support for Microsoft Flight Simulator X and Prepar3D, our intent is to make PACX fully compatible with X-Plane.
Q. When will PACX be available?
A. As we continue to progress, we will provide a more specific timeline.
turbofandude
Folks,
Over the last year, thanks to an immense amount of help from the Community Opt-in Beta, we have added, fixed, or changed over 400 different items in the TFDi Design 717 and Addon Manager. It has become largely a new product. With that said, we are approaching version 1.1, which marks the main, public release of the aircraft that we were initially aiming for last December. When we release the update, we will post another article detailing the significant changes.
The Plan
So, that said, we have a few changes we wanted to explain to everyone and make our plan clear. As of version 1.1, you can expect the following:
Development effort toward the aircraft will be reduced, though several new features and bug fixes will still occur Information, announcements, etc. for other/future products may occur We will move all posts before version 1.1 to a sub-forum to clean out the main aircraft forums The latest (at the time of the 1.1 release) Community Opt-in Beta version and Prepar3D v4 will become public The Community Opt-in Beta will still be used to test fixes and new features What will 1.1 Contain?
When we release version 1.1, we will post information detailing specific new features, note-worthy fixes, and significant changes to the aircraft. For users catching up who are not part of the Community Opt-in Beta, you will notice changes like the following:
Numerous new MCDU features Innumerable systems additions, improvements, and fixes Major changes to the tablet Countless new Addon Manager features Considerable stability improvements Various CTD fixes Prepar3D v4 support TrueGlass and RealLight (for Prepar3D v4) Significant FADEC and engine improvements Performance improvements And MANY, MANY smaller changes For a complete list of what has changed in the Community Opt-in Beta, please see the changelog here.
Version 1.1 will also contain the following (that are not currently in the Community Opt-in Beta versions):
Exterior texture overhaul and a proper paint kit (this will break existing repaints) Overhauled fan blade appearance and added blurred variants for engine running/high RPM scenarios Wholly rewritten documentation (full systems and FMS guides) Cabin lighting The WING/NACL light in P3Dv4 (this will be released to the Community Opt-in Beta soon, but I listed it here for sanity) Various external model details and fixes The Future After 1.1
We have promised several features and had intended for them to be in version 1.1. That said, as we’ve discovered, the current Community Opt-in Beta version, 1.0.9.17, is proving to be one the most stable and thorough versions yet. That, combined with the fact that we do not want to hold out on delivering the massive amount of other improvements to the aircraft from customers, led us to delay those features. We want to ensure that a stable, complete version of the plane is available to all customers while we take time to correctly implement and test these new features.
With that in mind, we will continue working on and testing, and at some point in the foreseeable future, add the following features:
HOLD ALTN F-PLN Level-off arrows while changing altitudes Official compatibility with specific GoFlight hardware (more details to come) We do have intentions of adding several other options/features. However, I don’t want to officially promise them as we do not know what the future will hold just yet. We’re aware that the delay of some of these things may frustrate or disappoint some users, so I’d like to take a minute to explain entirely, from our side, our reasoning beyond the obvious.
Last year, as we prepared for release (still blissfully unaware of how far we still had to go), we all strapped in and worked weeks of 16 hour days. During that 6 week sprint, three of us put in, combined, nearly 2000 hours of work. Although I am, to this day, impressed with the level of commitment and dedication my team showed, we felt the effects of that up until around Flight Sim Con 2017. It affected our drive, the enjoyment we took in our work, in some cases, the quality of work, and it contributed largely to the tunnel vision that led us to release the aircraft in the state we did. I made a promise to never do that to my team again, and I wanted to ensure that we all, our fans, customers, and us alike, can enjoy the holiday season this year with our families. So, this, combined with the fact that we have a version of the aircraft we know everyone will enjoy and that the remaining features will require more time and testing, we decided that this was the best route to take for everyone.
Conclusion
Although we will not announce the exact date of this update, it is getting VERY close. We all sincerely appreciate your patience and enthusiasm and look forward to seeing you all fly what our vision for this aircraft was. Also, to add some media to the wall of text above, here is a preview at cruising altitude with the WING/NACL light on in Prepar3D V4:

turbofandude
Background
Since release, we’ve received quite a bit of criticism on our night lighting in the cockpit. Although not unjustified, it’s been frustrating for us, because it would take completely remapping the entire cockpit (an involved process) to even make a dent. Then, we’d still have to find a way to get around the old 16 bit format and poor blending methods available to us in older simulator platforms.
With that in mind, we started evaluating ways to improve the lighting. We arrived at RealLight.
 
Technology
This new technology uses new systems available in Prepar3D v4 to offer near instant, crystal clear, efficient lighting. This eliminates the blotchy look (banding) that we saw previously. Unfortunately, to use the technology properly, we had to utilize functionality only available in Prepar3D v4. The lack of memory constraints also helped.
The foundation of the technology inspired by the Milviz Lighting System that we had used prior (special credit to Jon Bleeker at Milviz). Our developers had worked along side him to refine and expand that system, and it served as a springboard into RealLight, although the conversion ultimately caused a rewrite of nearly all code. Credit to him for the blending method is due.
Unlike other third party solutions, RealLight must be implemented by the developers at a lower level of the project – the result, of course, being an integrated experience.
 
Media
Here is a comparison between the old method and RealLight.
Prepar3D v3 and below:
 
RealLight in Prepar3D v4:

 
Why RealLight
We decided to brand RealLight as a technology standard so that other products using it will be able to establish to their users an expectation of quality. We intend to use this technology in other products and are looking in to licensing or sharing the technology with other developers.
 
Additional Media

 
turbofandude
We appreciate the feedback everyone has provided to us over the last several months! We have been listening and making major changes to the aircraft and have compiled many of these changes to this update. Below is a list of changes made to the aircraft.
The MCDU and community feedback update
[ADDED] Additional functionality to FMS SPD button [ADDED] Additional functionality to INIT page [ADDED] EBOF functionality [ADDED] Fire FAULT TEST functionality [ADDED] PRED TO functionality [ADDED] Several missing alerts [ADDED] Several missing annunciations on the ND [ADDED] T/C to the ND and MCDU [ADDED] T/D to the ND and MCDU [ADDED] Deviation indicator circles to ND APPR mode [ADDED] “VERT ALERT” annunciation and associated logic [ADDED] MCDU annunciators [ADDED] REF system [ADDED] CO ROUTE support [ADDED] “CHECK BALLAST FUEL” message when applicable [ADDED] Localizer DME distance indication [ADDED] Additional PROF functionality [ADDED] Yaw damper turn coordination functionality [ADDED] “CDU MSG” annunciation to ND [ADDED] Independent FMC emulation [ADDED] MCDU standby functionality [ADDED] Support for latitude/longitude entry as a waypoint [ADDED] Support for place/bearing/distance (PBD) waypoints [ADDED] Proper functionality of landing lights and nose light with respect to gear handle position [ADDED] Option to synchronize both altimeters when not flying in shared cockpit [ADDED] Ability to synchronize the minimums when not flying in shared cockpit [ADDED] Option to accelerate mouse scrolling for various knobs [ADDED] Chocks and cones [ADDED] ETE [ADDED] Vertical deviation display to DESCENT PERF page [ADDED] Proper handling of early and late descent to PROF [FIXED] Inability to LAT REV to NEXT WPT via the FROM leg [FIXED] Missing wipers in external model [FIXED] View finder [FIXED] Missing approach transitions under some conditions [FIXED] Speedbrake behavior [FIXED] FCP drawing bug relating to PROF status [FIXED] Missing alerts and annunciator statuses during GPWS test [FIXED] PROF altitude drawing bug on PFD relating to very low altitudes [FIXED] Vibrations not displaying at the correct time [FIXED] Display error on DESCENT PERF page [FIXED] Circuit breaker light not functioning on “DIM” setting [FIXED] GO AROUND page [FIXED] Engine indications during startup [FIXED] Some missing legs on SIDs and STARs [FIXED] “WXR ON” only showing in WXR mode when WXR is on during ground operations [FIXED] Distance based leg naming [FIXED] An issue preventing approaches/runways from being listed [FIXED] Some altitude restrictions not displaying properly [FIXED] VMIN being way too high (preventing proper approach speeds) [FIXED] Deleting the CLB THRUST altitude improperly resetting it to 1500 above the departure airport [FIXED] ATS “RETARD” mode during non-autoland situations [FIXED] MCDU scratchpad resetting when 24 characters are entered [FIXED] PPOS displaying incorrectly on the PROG page [FIXED] MCDU resetting to the start of the STAR if the runway is changed [FIXED] AFS speed selection during departure [FIXED] Missing information on DUPLICATE NAMES page [FIXED] Erroneous FLAP DISAG with certain flap settings [FIXED] Erroneous BANK ANGLE warning [FIXED] Graphic issue with left master warning [FIXED] Observers unable to pop out displays or hide yoke [FIXED] Engine sound spooling down during takeoff [FIXED] 2D popups appearing black until resized in FSX [FIXED] Various MCDU operation improvements [FIXED] A display bug on the IRS STATUS page [FIXED] A bug that could cause pitch oscillations in HOLD and VS AFS modes [FIXED] Landing light splash staying illuminated incorrectly [FIXED] Data display on ND showing some characters too large [FIXED] Data display on ND showing incorrectly at certain headings [FIXED] Reversed animation on left aileron tab [FIXED] Nose gear gravel deflector sticking through nose gear doors [FIXED] Ability to interact via scrolling where it should not be possible [FIXED] Pushing/pulling FCP speed knob engaging ATS [FIXED] Several FMA related issues [FIXED] Several VERT REV related issues [FIXED] Speed of wing landing lights extend/retract animation to match real world speed [CHANGED] Improved magenta line tracking [CHANGED] Improved DRAG messages on MCDU [CHANGED] Optimized rendering pipeline [CHANGED] 2D popups can now be closed by clicking in the center [CHANGED] 2D MCDU popups now honor click/release behavior similar to the 3D MCDU [CHANGED] The default “reset altimeter” function (B by default) now works [CHANGED] Improved 2D popup default sizes and positions [CHANGED] Improved ATS response [CHANGED] Middle clicking the nose/landing lights on the overhead now toggles them all [CHANGED] Increased initial ground drag friction slightly [CHANGED] Various minor interaction improvements [CHANGED] FPLN and DIR TO page now display ” when the previous the prediction was the same [CHANGED] Fuel flow rate [CHANGED] Brake depressurization time We have also released an update for the addon manager. To update both the plane and addon manager, just open the addon manager and follow the prompts.
turbofandude
It has been a long month since launch and the feedback from the community has helped us improve the product quite a bit just in the last month. Some of you have been keeping an eye on the changelog and have noticed quite a big update on the horizon. While we would love to roll it out immediately, we are going to take a different approach to this next update. We are introducing the community opt-in beta that will allow you to receive the latest beta version of 1.0.6.0 and subsequent updates.
How can I participate?
If you wish to help us test 1.0.6.0 before we roll it out to everyone, you can go to the Client Area and select the “My Products/Services” tab. Click on “View Available Addons” tab on the left sidebar of the webpage, click on “Click here to view & order”, and select TFDi Design 717 Community Opt-In Beta (we suggest that you select the PayPal payment option, it will skip payment information since it is free). This will allow you gain access to the COB and from there you can open the addon manager and it should automatically update to the latest version of the COB. Please note: You will need to own the 717 before seeing the COB option.
1.0.6.0
This build will introduce many features people have been asking for as well as many fixes and new tools for us to help you. The first feature I’d like to introduce is the addition of pop-up display unit and MCDU 2D panels. Here is a photo that Collin posted to the forums.

We also are adding the ability for you to hide the yoke if you wish. This was another popular feature request from many of you and will be available in the 1.0.6.0 update. Here is a GIF of that feature:
  00:04 00:07 A Better Platform for the Future
With this newest update, we are introducing new tools for us to help you solve your problems. We are hoping that these tools will allow us to gain a better understanding of certain crashes that are very difficult to impossible to recreate. This will allow us to begin pushing updates that solve some of the edge-case CTDs that some of you are suffering from. We look forward to getting many of you back in the air so we can start focusing on adding more features in future updates!
turbofandude
Folks,
First, let me start off by saying this has been an incredible journey. We made a commitment that 2016 would be the year of the 717, and so it shall be. Before I announce the all important date and time, there’s something I’d like to share.
The release for us isn’t the end of the journey. It is a start, in a way. We believe the product we’re going to release will be thorough and enjoyable. That said, like any other product, especially the first release, it will not be perfect. We have developed technology to deliver updates that are smaller, quicker, and easier than they are for any comparable product. There are many things we intend to expand and improve in time. These updates will be provided frequently and free of charge to all customers, naturally, potentially excluding something like support for a new simulator platform or an entirely new expansion to the product.
We are ready to begin the second half of this journey, and at 6:00PM Eastern (2300z) on December 22nd, you will be too.
I’ll leave off with a few pictures of the aircraft at night, as we haven’t shown that off much yet.
 
  
turbofandude
TFDi Design is pleased to announce the opening of its official forums. The forums will provide users a place where they can ask questions and receive community assisted support for official products. Additionally, users can discuss the latest topics in the world of flight simulation, and even share their screenshots and videos.
This additional gateway into the community will also provide us a new method of collecting user feedback for the 717. As well, it will let us share more frequent progress updates, including media (screenshots and videos) exclusive to the forums.
The TFDi Design Forums can be accessed by visiting forums.tfdidesign.com, or by clicking the “Forums” tab in the navigation bar of the TFDi Design website.
turbofandude
EDIT: Congrats to the winner, DaneFlats! We are looking forward to seeing your streams of the 717!
Want the chance to win a free copy of the TFDi Design 717? A giveaway will be held during the First Public Flight Live Stream on June 9.
How to Enter
Tune into the TFDi Design 717 First Public Flight Live Stream on June 9 at 10 PM GMT (more details here). Type the specified command (to be announced during the stream) into the chat on the TFDi Design Twitch channel during the stream. Remain tuned into the live stream until the winner is announced. Details
Only one (1) winner will be randomly selected to receive the free copy. Only one entry per user is allowed. Users with multiple entries will be disqualified. This ensures a fair opportunity for everyone. A coupon to redeem the free copy will be made available to the winner when the 717 launches later in 2016. A Twitch account is required to enter the giveaway. Good luck to everyone! We look forward to sharing our progress on the 717 next week.