Producing the PMDG 747-400X has been a long process. It was
anticipated that we would simply port the existing FS9 747-400 Queen of
the Skies product into FSX and be finished within three months.
This process has taken eighteen months and represents a complete
rebuild of the product from the inside out. The following is an
incomplete list of things that have been changed, updated for FSX, added
- Replaced the core of the simulation to use an event-driven, non
polling FS connectivity mechanism (sim-connect) that removes the need
for dependency upon external software such as FSUIPC. (Note to user:
this was a 15 month enterprise...)
- Replaced sound handling process to eliminate distortions on
certain sound cards and improve performance
- Changed all menus / options / dialogs to match FSX UI style
- Improved AIRAC database loading code - performance increase /
load time decreased to almost instant
- Allowed user selectable optimization to show/hide VC F/O display
gauges depending upon user preference.
- Added user configurable selection for external Antennas on the
visual models. (controlled by aircraft.cfg entry)
- Implemented custom engine contrails and associated behaviors.
- Implemented code to control wingtip and flap vapor vortexes in
specific atmospheric conditions and wing configurations.
- Increased flap animation control to provide a smoothness of 3000
key frames - no visible frame steps shown anymore
- Improved takeoff trim display gauge clarity
- Change in Lower EICAS ENG page automatic display logic (only
when fuel set to CUTOFF in flight)
- Correction in Spoiler handle position detection logic to improve
response and correct control.
- Optional use of FSUIPC for online flying when FSUIPC detected
- GPWS code to allow disabling of specific altitudes depending on
- "Approaching Minimums" callout added
- Fuel add/remove logic improved to allow user to directly type
entry of fuel quantity in PMDG Options menu.
- EICAS Target N1 / Ref N1 indications removed when in REV mode
- Reversers logic altered to prevent REV lockout when NAI active.
- Load Manager now handles payload / fuel directly when FSX /
747-400X loaded and running
- Load Manager has option to remove VC model and panel (requires
restart of FSX)
- Modified Cost Index Equation: The equation is a differential
equation solved by successive iterations. This is a very CPU intensive
operation. The element of the numerical procedure has been optimized,
yielding a factor of 5 speed up with minimal effect on result accuracy,
thus reducing the required load on the CPU for the mathematics involved.
- CDU Legs page - predicted Alt Improvements: Above / Below type
(e.g. 6000A8000B) soft constraint both vertical flight path prediction
and VNAV mode bug corrections and predictive improvements. Also UNABLE
NEXT ALT message will appear in all cases referring to soft altitude
- CDU N1 page - flight phase improvements: Regular thrust limit
page (instead of TO limit page) will appear now below flap retraction
- CDU Fix page - changes to RAD/DIS to be BRG/DIS
- CDU Cruise page - change in step alt code: At 2R the last step
altitude target would not appear when step climb was not possible. It
does now above the NONE header.
- FMC: Various small and large behavior corrections.
- GA thrust limit will automatically be set now only if ToD is
sequenced and flaps are out (or GS is captured as before)
- Retuned the entire pitch channel of the autopilot to accommodate
flight modeling changes within FSX. The This includes all related
pitch modes (VS, FLCH etc). The main target was to improve mode
stability even at high sim rates and in connection to idiosyncratic FSX
"real" weather handling. The pitch channel in some places was enhanced
with a secondary control routine to improve effectiveness in pitch
sensitive roles such as glideslope tracking.
- Modified air file related to new aerodynamic center definition
- Various cosmetic changes to CDU display and text handling.
- Adaptive refresh rate control for CRTs / LCDs based on target
and actual frame rate (order is PFD, ND, EICAS, sby instruments)
- Added Bump Map Textures to all 400/400F models.
- Added additional fuselage detail to all 400/400F models.
- Updated PMDG House Livery for FSX version.
- External models rebuilt to take full advantage of new FSX
features such as self shadowing, specular bloom, normal maps, vertex
animation and more.
- External and VC models rebuilt to take full advantage of FSX
materials: allows for more realistic reflections, specular highlights
and normal maps (bump maps)
- Conversion of bitmaps to DDS: allows for faster loading times,
and cleaner bitmaps with less compression artifacts.
- Smoother animations: Used new FSX animation techniques to
smooth out the model animations. This is especially noticeable with the
landing gear extension/retraction sequence, and the deployment of the
- Vertex animation: Wing flex and control surfaces now driven by a
complex skeletal system, which allows for smooth bending and
deformation without visible segments. Wings now flex smoothly and
seamlessly, and the variable camber leading edge flaps are now a single
piece which smoothly deforms as it extends. The wing structure
including flaps and leading edge devices now bends fluidly reflecting
the flex tendency of the materials from which the wing and devices are
- Updated external lighting: You will notice higher quality
lighting effects for the tail illumination of the logo lights.
Navigation, position and strobe lights are brought up to FSX standards.
- Updated all models to include the ability to display various
external dorsal antenna configurations.
- Virtual Cockpit fully compatible with FSX
- Great care has been taken to bring the cockpit up to FSX
standards and improve realism. Now present are self Illuminating
(emissive bitmaps) during daylight hours. Indicator lights now
illuminate properly in both day and night environments. Daytime
backlighting is fully functional. Glass displays are bright and easy to
read even if the aircraft is in shadow, or during dusk/dawn operations.
(Use your display dimmers when transitioning between bright and dim
lighting.) Together with normal maps (bump maps) and the cleaner
compression of DDS bitmaps, these effects bring a higher level of
clarity and realism to the cockpit.
- Controls and animations updated to conform to FSX
- Modified control and animations techniques used in the FSX VC's
in order to reduce processor load on FSX.
- Numerous performance optimizations of display and computational
code to reduce processor load on FSX.
- Various other assorted minor fixes along the way.
- Improved wing flex and wing flight path distortion model.
- Significant re-tuning of landing gear animation to accommodate
changes in the way FSX handles ground contact.
- Flap and wingtip vapor vortexes that appear in rain/snow
conditions when appropriate.
- Added engine and APU fire effect.
- Added Fuel Dump effect.