В общем и целом, если кратко — суть поста в заголовке. Релиз 319/321 по планам без изменений.. Довольно таки большую простыню накатали разрабы, если интересно — под спойлером.
So, today we learn about project management and why it sometimes sucks. I have, by all accounts, some really great news. The CFM external engine model has progressed rather briskly, much more so than I expected. In my expectation as project manager, I pegged it at around 4 months to completion from when we started. As such I scheduled it for launch alongside the A321 and A319. What actually transpired is that we started working on it.. And then finished it. In 6 weeks. It is now in testing and we’re finalising its failure behaviours before pushing that out for our testers to break.
Why did this go much quicker? Well, we’d already built all the external engine infrastructure, which was the toughest part. The difference between doing something for the first time (the IAEs took 6 months), and doing something once you’ve got a bit of experience, the infrastructure in place, and some tools you’ve developed for the job — speeds it all up quite massively, but I definitely did not expect this.
Why is this a bad thing? Right — well, it comes down to decision making on my part. I could release Block 2 at the end of this month, and then release the CFMs at some later point. But I have a few factors to consider.
The first is fairly simple — mixed infrastructure sucks to deal with. When I say mixed infrastructure, we’re going to have the CFMs running the old FM, old engine model, old FADEC, and a bunch of other old code in the background (script hacks to make the old CFMs a little more believable, etc), and then alongside that, we will have the IAEs running a completely different set of code for pretty much anything that has to do with the engines. Failures will also get mucky, CFMs will trigger failures in one way, IAEs in another. So on, so forth. Basically it will get rather soupy. And this is fine if we were going to be working with it over a couple of months. But for the want of 3 to 4 weeks, it’s not worth dealing with the potential blowback.
The second, is protecting other timelines. We could deploy the IAEs now, then get stuck in on a round of bug fixing, then prepare the CFMs and deploy them, and THEN bug fix those, before finishing up the A321/A319. Or we could deploy the IAEs and CFMs, bug fix and service them, and move straight on to A321/A319. The latter approach is less risky, but it also lets us proceed with the engines on the A321/A319 sooner, meaning we can get the entire thing done quicker.
Anyway, the tl;dr is that I’ve opted to delay Block 2 so we can get the CFMs out to you ASAP as well. Our revised timeline is October. The A321 and A319 guidance remains unchanged.
I know some will hate this news, others will see the sense in it. It circles back around to project management and why it sucks. A tough decision to make, but for those I’ve disappointed, my apologies!
Now something else we wanted to properly confirm for Block 2 is an almost entirely rebuilt cabin for more detail and performance (higher FPS and reduced VRAM), but also ensuring it is possible to realistically represent many more airlines. When we first built the cabin for V1, whilst it wasn’t quite an afterthought, back in 2021 cabins weren’t considered such a broadly enjoyed part of the experience as they are now. Much more to come in due course about it all.