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Development Updates

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Jishwaah

Happy Wednesday! 

As our team start to wrap up with a shortened week for Thanksgiving, we just wanted to provide a quick update on our development progress since the last one was pushed out.

smartCARS 3
With the addition of an extra team member on the project for a couple of weeks, immense progress has been made on smartCARS 3, bringing in the next installment of the iconic tracking software used for many years.

With a new login system, only one version of smartCARS will need to be installed at any one time. This means that no longer will you need to install a version for every airline that you fly for with a single, integrated login system. Upon login, you will be met with the following page which allows you to choose your airline from a list or type in the URL of the airline you wish to fly for. This login system is still in the early stages of development, so things may change between now and release.

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In addition to the much improved login page, we have an overhauled look on the dashboard, allowing news articles from the virtual airline to be visible in the tracker and for any service updates from TFDi Design to be easily visible to pilots using the tracking software.

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Our chat area has also seen an overhaul in design, though the script used to run the chat functionality still needs to be written.

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As you can see, smartCARS 3 is clearly starting to take traction and development is certainly well underway as we approach the end of 2020. We are hopeful that continued effort will pay off and a working version of the application will be ready in the near future, especially now the layout and design features are taking shape. At this time, a release date is not yet known but we can confirm that for our developers, a fully functional API will be developed alongside it, allowing for easy interaction with the application and full support for phpVMS 7 out-of-the-box and the ability to support custom software with the API.

If you have anything you would like to see included in smartCARS 3, the following forum area should be used for formal suggestions:

https://forums.tfdidesign.com/index.php?/forum/68-smartcars-3-suggestions/ 

MD-11
Our eagerly anticipated aircraft has also made significant progress since the last development update posted. Screenshots from the development team included in this post show an almost fully-functional FMS that is able to be interacted with our in-house software used for development. The FMS will now respond just like the real aircraft, with behaviour replicated from the real aircraft based on community-submitted videos and manuals from the aircraft.

The following video shows the ability of STARS and Approaches being used within the flight management system:

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The graphic below also shows the VERT REV page and wind data entry:

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This final graphic also shows the use of a custom runway as a departure airport - a feature that the 717 did not have:

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Great headway is also present in the hydraulic systems with ongoing development now visualising the reversible motor pumps providing power to system #1 after the shutdown of engine #1. There is still development work required to make it as realistic as possible, but the logic is now in place for more detailed development to take place. The following image shows this logic in action.

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We will soon be getting the model of the MD-11 completed and ready for use in the simulator, with the modelling team being expanded and various other pieces of the puzzle fitting together to bring together the latest aircraft from TFDi Design!

Thank you for all your support so far in our development of ongoing projects. For all of those celebrating tomorrow, we would like to wish you all a very happy Thanksgiving, although it may be slightly different than usual, and we look forward to bringing about new products and showing off projects in the future.

Josh
 

Jishwaah

 Good afternoon folks!

I hope that you have all been doing well and looking forward to your weekend! It has been a while since our last update, but we wanted to update you on our development progress before the week is out!

Passenger and Crew Experience
If you haven’t kept up to date with our beta testing, PACX has some awesome new features that are available for testers in our Discord server in the #pacx-testers channel. Let’s summarise the new features!

MSFS 2020 Compatibility
Testing has recently been completed in which the all-new PACX HUD and PACXBridge were made compatible with MSFS 2020. We are pleased to report that all tests were hugely successful and the opt-in community testing helped us polish it up.

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Cabin Layouts and Passenger Simulations
One of the more-requested features of PACX in recent months was the ability to view passengers as they walk through the cabin of the aircraft within the application. If they are boarding and trying to find their seat, or even going to the toilet, you will see the passenger “dot” moving around in real-time! 

These cabin layouts are also not static and have been designed to make them customisable! This allows you, as a user, to create your own cabin layout at any time, for any aircraft in any configuration. The passenger simulation aims to be as smooth and realistic as possible so that the behaviour of your passengers and crew are as realistic and efficient as possible. You also have the opportunity to click any passenger to find them on the list, and their colour will change depending on their current satisfaction!

To make this even better, all features of PACX have been adjusted to be based on the passenger simulation. Internal features such as boarding, de-boarding, in-flight service etc. have all been made to work around the new simulation giving more significance to the cabin simulation.

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We have also been asked various questions about how to customise flight comments, names and cabin layouts. We have also been asked about how the career mode works. To alleviate your worries, the following forum posts will make things much easier for you to understand!

 

TFDi Design MD-11
The much-anticipated aircraft is still in active development, despite the seemingly large amounts of time developing PACX. In the background, our team of modellers and programmers are hard at work getting the MD-11 ready! 

Model
The model is still being worked on, despite it still being “in the hangar”! With the latest improvements, the exterior model nears completion, while the cockpit is still being worked on. As of September 14th, the centre landing gear and bay are fully complete, with the rear cargo door, 3D cabin doors and a virtual cabin have been added. The next steps for the model include some probes, lights and the APU exhaust. Once complete, the paint kit will be started and the overhead panel of the cockpit will be worked on.

 

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FMS
The Flight Management systems have still had significant progress made on them. At the time of writing, the FMS is capable of creating a flight plan based on navigation data. SID and STAR programming is in progress, but is expected to complete relatively soon. In addition to this, the VERT REV and LAT REV pages are nearly completed and are on our internal testing software, created exclusively for the MD-11. 

The FMS is a major portion of the commercial airliner experience, hence the large amount of up-front development effort being put toward it. As it continues to progress and eventually move toward completion, development on the rest of the systems will speed up even more.

Systems
In terms of electrical systems, Ricardo has been hard at work to get the emergency power logic working, as well as support for external power, smoke switches and the APU bus tie relay. Various other power systems are being worked on and the core functionality regarding power has been largely completed, and is now being specialised further. 

In addition to the power logic, Ricardo has also started to work on the Hydraulic systems, including calls to the hydraulic system and the overhead panel lights and switches. Various tweaks to original logic has also been reworked to make it more functional and true-to-life. 

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Wrap Up

Thank you for reading and your interest! As always, we'll do our best to keep everyone up to date. If you'd like to chat with us and be part of our growing community, join us on Discord!

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