The team at FlyBywire Simulations has streamed yet another broadcast in their In The Hangar series, With the mixture of development updates and Q&A, the stream gave users the opportunity to enter into the developmental processes of the ongoing A32NX and the future of the A380.
FlyByWire Simulations is a group of developers working on an open-source A32NX modification improving the default aircraft in the Microsoft Flight Simulator as well as on the recently announced study-level freeware Airbus A380 for the same simulator.
Summary of progress
Hosted by Kiwi, who was joined with leading representatives of the FlyByWire team, the stream began with a summary of progress given by each departmental head. First off, Iceman shared updates regarding the general progress of the A32NX, and indicated that they have finally merged in some of the experimental branches into the developmental version. These include fully custom autopilot, custom engine model and FADEC, and an almost complete model of the fly by wire systems. Version 0.6 is currently the stable version and has been updated with a new electrical system and progress has been made on the hydraulics.
They are working on an LNAV system so that they have the ability to fly a flight plan with fewer errors. Though they are still using the default flight plan manager, the hope is to replace it with their own LNAV model in collaboration with Working Title. They spoke of what implementing a full LNAV system entails, and just how it will work, and shared the below image of what is to come.
In regards to the A380, progress has been slow due to real-world issues but they are working things out. However, systems and avionics are being worked on, as is the interior cockpit.
The media department gave a call out to anyone who has tried to join the media team, and were unsuccessful, to get in touch and try again. We are looking for two to three more video editors. Voiceover skills are also in demand.
Q & A
Q: What is your main priority right now? Is it the A321 nEo, the 320 CEO, A319, A32NX, A380X or is it something else?
The A32NX is our main focus, and getting a very stable version out for 1.0, as well as getting the A380 ready. We do not want to split ourselves among too many projects.
Q: Will we be getting a Hud in the A32NX?
The 380 will definitely be getting one, but we could use the A32NX as a testbed for the A380, so maybe it can be brought in. However, it is not a priority.
Q: a lot of work has been done with the installer, However, will Flybywire incorporate partner’s products or downloads into the installer?
The new Installer does have a dropdown to select FlyByWire, so this could imply the option to include other developers, and we do have plans for this. We are talking with a handful of Open Source developers, though these addons will be freeware. But we do want players to see content that is high quality. No specific date is given though, but FlyByWire is reaching out to addon developers to get in touch.
Q: How is the project development coordinated and pulled together with so many developers?
There are multiple domains, not restricted to programming. For instance there is media, QA testers, and web development, all working in coordination with each other. With the aircraft we have a core dev team, who work together with multiple contributions through Github. They all work on the principle of making the A32Nx as real as possible.
If people are interested in contributing then they can access the project through Github, or they can join the FlyByWire Discord group.
Q: Are you going to model a sunshield?
Yes we could add a sunshield, but the most important thing is to make sure the exporter is completed and running well to implement a sunshield.
Q: what is the progress of the new efb and the navigraph chart integration, and are there any plans to include a browser based efb?
At this moment we are working on version two and is currently undergoing testing, but we found a couple of bugs. However after testing we hope to implement the new UI. There has been a few hiccups with the Navigraph implementation, especially with server issues.
Yes, we already have the EFM running as a web application, but what we need is a bridge between the browser and the sim. In short, yes it is coming.
Q: Will there be a feature, such as cold and dark etc in future EFB updates?
Yes, as well as the ability to upload passenger and cargo states, as well as an autosave function.
Q: What are the future plans regarding sounds for the A32Nx?
Yes, we hope to include pilot monitoring calls, but we also want to include passenger ambiance and chatter, as well as reworking the exterior engine sounds, and wipers.
Q: Will there be a performance function or load sheet function?
There is currently a placeholder in the EFB for this, but we want to put in a load report based on certain parameters. However, these features are not high priority at this time.
Q: Are there any plans to rework the Navigation display?
Yes we are redoing this from scratch using REACT to bring in less stuttering in increase performance.
Progress was shown of the A380, including cockpit images of the overhead panel and lighting, switches, and push buttons. Also the landing gear has been rendered, though not textured at present. Overall progress means a lot of things need to be optimised and included. Working on a mixture of texturing and modelling, though progress is ongoing.
With switches and push buttons, the devs are trying not to give these a new, unused, look, but have a worn look and feel.
The reason for sharing progress, even though a release of the A380 is way off, is for transparency. FlyByWire want to be transparent, and let users know it will come. However, they do need more developers and programmers.
Modeling of the cockpit is 60-70% complete but they need to see how the texturing is working now. With sounds, some of these are being reused from the A320 as they use the same manufacturer.
Mention was made of Direct X12 and compatibility for Xbox, with tweaks being suggested to make this work, especially with inputs. As previously talked about in other In The Hangar streams it was asked whether the Brake to Vacate feature will be implemented in the A380. Much of this depends on data from the sim, and they are working with Asobo to bring this feature in.
This was an interesting stream with much to talk about. Progress is being made with the ongoing development of the A32NX, and users are encouraged to try out the different versions available, from stable to experimental. The A380 is ongoing but progress is slow. One thing to note is the call for developers, programmers, and media specialists to join what is a dynamic and many-faceted team. What is interesting is that this project is only close to 12 months old, and in that time they have progressed remarkably well.
The next episode is expected in two months time.