Synaptic Simulations, developers of the Airbus A220 for Microsoft Flight Simulator held a live stream today to show off the latest development updates for the highly-anticipated freeware addon. Lead developers from the Synaptic team showed off new details. The Synaptic Simulations A220 for MSFS has clearly made progress since its last update. While no release date has yet been announced, it is clear that the developers are committed to making a high-quality freeware addon.
A lot was shown off during the live stream that we will showcase in this article. Synaptic Simulations discussed the model, which is largely complete, as well as their commitment to accurately modeling the unique aircraft’s systems. They answered several questions about performance, as well as detailed the next steps in their development journey.
Synaptic Simulations A220 model showcase
According to the developers, the model of the Synaptic Simulations A220 is all but complete. The external model was shown off in detail, highlighting the methods that Synaptic is using to take full advantage of Microsoft Flight Simulator’s graphical environment. For example, instead of using textures to create panel gaps, the team at Synaptic Simulations has fully modeled every individual panel.
The cockpit model of the Synaptic A220 for MSFS is also complete. Synaptic Simulations showed off several ambient occlusion renders of the cockpit in addition to their externals, with tremendous detail present throughout. They have even gone as far as to model individual LEDs and fans underneath panels in the cockpit of the A220, a fantastic amount of detail for a freeware project. Once again, the textures are incomplete, but the AO-mapped renders are sufficient to show off the detail.
Some systems are already modeled
Synaptic Simulations showcased extensive progress on some of the A220’s systems including fuel, bleed air, and electrical systems. Each one responded as intended to inputs and included appropriate EICAS messages. According to the Synaptic developers, the goal is for most, if not all, EICAS messages and alerts to be implemented realistically in the A220 for MSFS. This indicates lofty goals for their systems fidelity.
Synaptic showcased a full APU and dual engine start in their development live stream. Electrical systems showed increased current draw during startup and the automated systems correctly balanced and redirected the electrical load. They also showed various fuel scenarios, including imbalances, and were able to resolve the imbalances using both automated and manual means. For the demonstration, fuel flows were greatly exaggerated.
The real-life A220 has unique interfaces and avionics developed largely by Bombardier. The Synaptic Simulations A220 for MSFS is to include these systems as well, and many items are already complete. Special attention was given to the radio tuning interface, where Synaptic has included the ability to save persistent frequency presets and allowed entry on the MFDs with the computer keyboard – all excellent quality-of-life features.
Additionally, the Synaptic A220 will support charts and moving maps directly on its MFDs if the user has a Navigraph subscription. Synaptic Simulations stated that they are investigating other options for users who do not have a paid Navigraph subscription, but that will come after release. The Synaptic Simulations A220 for MSFS already supports Simbrief import. The systems and interface of the A220 for MSFS have been modeled with the help of type-rated pilots.
What about performance?
Upon seeing the detail in the model, several viewers were concerned about the impact such fidelity would have on performance. However, Synaptic Simulations were clear that the high-detail A220 model has little to no impact on simulator performance. Instead, it’s the textures and avionics that have the largest performance impact, and the team is doing everything they can to optimize both for the A220 for MSFS.
Textures are a delicate balancing act, and the Synaptic Simulations team has begun the process of “unwrapping” the model and texturing it. They promise a similarly high level of texture detail as they have put into the model. For displays and avionics, the Synaptic Simulations A220 for MSFS will use a combination of React interfaces as well as the native Avionics Framework in the simulator to get the best performance. According to developers, the Synaptic A220 is currently “Heavier than a default aircraft, but lighter on performance than the Fenix A320.”
Still to come
The progress showcased on the Synaptic Simulations A220 for MSFS is exciting, but the developers are clear that there is still a long road ahead. No release date was announced in the development update live stream, and the team stated that they have no roadmap to share until they “see the end of the road.” Synaptic Simulations were eager to tout the impact their engineers, pilots, and reference material would have on the quality of the final product and outlined basic plans for a few of their next steps.
Texturing is, of course, a priority for Synaptic Simulations, and that will be done in tandem with the retooling of their cabin – which was not shown during the live stream. They are also working on the sound set and stated that their pilots collected dozens of real-world sound samples. Synaptic also stated that the A220 for MSFS will likely require the use of external tools like Simbridge, and for that and other reasons is not planned to come to Xbox.
The Synaptic Simulations A220 for MSFS will have a custom flight model that is developed with input from real pilots. The recent progress they have made has allowed them to begin making progress on the flight model’s implementation, and once it is complete, Synaptic Simulations will be able to start work on the autopilot and fly-by-wire controls. Additionally, all of the developers showed great enthusiasm for shared cockpit implementation but stated that it would unlikely be included in the release version, likely requiring a custom solution.
You can watch the full development stream here. To find out more about the Synaptic Simulations A220 for MSFS and follow the development, Synaptic Simulations has set up an active Discord server. You can also check out their YouTube channel and their website. Be sure to check back here at FSNews.eu for the latest updates on how the development is progressing!