Friday, August 30, 2013

PMDG-777 release week update!

FSX. The 777 "release week" is no longer this week and is now set for next week according to PMDG CEO Rob Randazzo. He is citing an issue that occurred last minute and wheras the team did correct this issue, another week of testing is needed to ensure a smooth roll out. That's the gist of it but Rob has released an official statement which is enclosed and thoroughly explains the circumstances regarding the delay. So reset your clocks, let's do it again!
Release Delayed!

Note from Rob Randazzo:

"I will keep this short and sweet- but I wanted to let you know that we currently have had the 777 release in holding for a few days while we tried to sort out a problem that we felt was capable of putting the release "At Risk."  (You will recall I mentioned this in my post from Monday morning...)
The problem turned out to be a bit more complex than we expected, and the fix was not confirmed until our staff meeting this morning at 1300Z.  
The good news, is that the problem has been identified, a fix was found and it was implemented overnight last night.
There really isn't any "bad" news per-se, but we have decided to reset the clock on final testing of the release-build, which puts our release window out into the Monday-Thursday time-frame of next week.
We do not currently have any major items we are working with, and as long as the Tech and Beta teams don't pop up with some new, unseen critical problem, you will be flying the airplane at some point before next weekend!
So here are a few questions some might ask:
1) If we are so confident that product is ready- why not just release now?:  We are absolutely committed to making certain that we have fixed the problem without breaking anything further.  The only way to do this is to take the time to test the product properly.  We have a responsibility to our customers, our testers and our development team to make sure we don't rush this out the door just because everyone is excited to fly...  Just like when flying a real airplane, we want to make sure the fix is correct- and THEN we'll go fly.
2) So what was it that you were looking for and why was it considered "High Risk?":   Late in beta testing, we got a couple of passing reports from one or two members of our testing teams that "occasionally the switches in the cockpit cease being clickable."  They reported to us that it was usually transient... for a few seconds...  We started digging around and found nothing, and decided it was one of those odd "sim'isms" that seem to plague any complex software that runs with FSX.  At PMDG we use many of the same techniques that are used on the flight deck- and our normal process of polling members of the team for "reservations/concerns" caused us to decide that we needed to take one good, long serious look at this little item.  We established a team to dig into the matter, and found that we could replicate it on only one machine, and that replication was random...  Our risk analysis on the item told us that, based on the intermittent nature of the problem it wouldn't necessarily prevent us from releasing- but we were worried because we could not predict the failure, nor could we identify what was causing it or give you instructions on how to avoid it...   That put it into a very serious risk category...  We don't like to have unknowns buried in a release.
3) So did you solve it?:  Yes, Yes we did.      It took four days...  or- 72hrs, depending on how you want to measure it.  Alex, Henning, Michael and Vin worked about 18hrs a day for four straight days to find the problem.  They identified a mistake we made, corrected the mistake, and then spent another 10 hours verifying that the fix cured the condition that we could replicate.   We have now pushed the fix out to our testing team, and we have heard back from one of the four people able to replicate the problem that it has fixed the issue for him.  The other three are testing now... and we anticipate hearing the same from them.
4) So why make us wait until next week? We want it NOOOOOW!  (And you said August!):  Yes, Yes we did.      This is a classic example of the reason we never give release dates.  You guys know the product is about to release and you are excited about it.  We WANT you to be out flying the airplane...   But we want to make sure we are really and truly finished before we release her to you.  That means giving the testing process time to percolate out to a natural conclusion.  I expect you will be flying her by next weekend.
5) Could this happen again next week?  With another delay?:  I do not expect it will.  BUT:  If we find something that will prevent some users from being able to enjoy the product- we will keep holding it until we have that issue resolved.  That is because we care about product quality- and we have made mistakes in the past that we don't think any of us want to repeat.  I recognize that our decision to HOLD until we have the problems fixed is a bit unusual in the modern marketplace, but it is how PMDG operates.
6) Pricing?:  All release details will be published next week!
Okay- so...  
Enjoy your weekend-  we will keep you posted on the testing progress during the weekend with comments (most likely in this thread) and we will see you for the release sometime between Monday and Thursday!
You are really really going to love this airplane...  I promise!"

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