FSlabs have today announced the long-awaited release date of the first stage of their A320X release process. This Thursday (the 18th) afternoon the “early adopters” package will be released for FSX/FSX:SE and will set you back a cool $89.95, reduced from the regular price of $99.95 that’ll be charged for all subsequent FSX versions. Recently a post was made on their forums confirming the news. You can find more information below…
In our last update, we described our A320-X Release Road Map from a bird’s eye view, knowing that everyone is very excited to hear about where things stand. At the time, we had just put together our first Release Candidate, expecting that we’d be able to deliver our RTM version to our initial Early Adopter customers soon after that. I’d like to give an update now regarding this process, as well as give some more details on this Release Road Map.
As promised, Version 1.0 of the A320-X for FSX will be released on a first-come, first-serve basis. This process will accept an initial group of customers as “Early Adopters”, then it will close for a short period of time, to ensure that our installation process is working correctly and to allow our support staff to handle individual assist cases in a timely fashion.
In the next paragraphs, we’ll outline some “things you need to know” to get you prepared for this major release. We’ll also give you more details on the next milestone releases (for FSX as well as P3D) so you can plan ahead for the future.
As is normally the case with many complex aircraft simulations in the market already, we’d like to offer some instructions in advance that will assist you in setting up your simulator for use with the A320-X.
– FSX Service Pack 2, Acceleration Pack or Steam?
The A320-X is compatible with all three. The FSX Steam version is more up-to-date and still supported by the Dovetail development team. It also fixes some annoying older legacy bugs and handles memory more efficiently than SP2/Xpack, so we do recommend it. However, we strongly advise that you remove the Steam Overlay window, as it is conflicting with our FSL Spotlights which the A320-X uses.
– DirectX9 or DirectX10?
The A320-X is compatible with both. DirectX10 is *way* more efficient in memory handling and switching from DX9 to DX10 saves significant amounts of VAS in general. FSX SP2/XPack had several bugs with DX10 however, but those have mostly been resolved now with the use of a very handy utility called DX10 Scenery Fixer, by Steve Parsons. We fully recommend purchasing his latest version. Just remember when you first install the A320-X, though, to re-run the Lights/Effects converter, so you can properly enjoy the A320-X NAV and other light effects.
– Full Screen or Windowed mode?
The A320-X runs correctly on both. We do, however, advise against Full Screen, especially in DirectX9, as it’s VERY buggy and OOM-prone. We have included some recommended steps on how to load the A320-X if you still wish to use Full Screen, in our introduction manual.
– Does the A320-X include full 2D panel functionality? What about a complete Virtual Cockpit?
The A320-X has both! Upon installation time, there will be a choice of “Virtual Cockpit Only” (with MCDUs and DU panel popups), “2D Panels only”, or a full “Virtual Cockpit & 2D Panel” selection (which is going to be a bit heavier on VAS, so you need to be careful on your scenery settings).
– Can we use FSUIPC?
Yes, of course! We fully recommend (and enjoy) using FSUIPC. It also helps with our more “advanced” parts of the simulation, such as setting up the Steering Tiller separately from the Rudder Pedals (needs full FUIPC version), as there’s no default FSX axis that can be set up for that. Just remember to calibrate all your joystick axes appropriately. Don’t worry though, if you only have the free version of FSUIPC, we have provided another way of separating your Steering Tiller and your Rudder Pedals! We offer full instructions in our Introduction Manual on how to make this functionality available on your simulator.
– What about add-on Weather?
We fully support and recommend Active Sky Next and Active Sky 16, as our A320-X ND weather radar can accurately depict cloud and precipitation information through their provided API. We hope and expect to be able to include more weather add-on products in future milestone releases as well, though!
– I own GSX / AES / other ground handling products – does the A320-X work with those?
We have tested with GSX and AES and they both work correctly (even though the A320-X simulates parking brake accurately through hydraulic pressure on the brakes, rather than a mechanical link as per most aircraft, we have found a way to forward this information to the FSX variables so those products can be aware of parking brake conditions now).
– I am a Virtual Airline pilot – can I use the A320-X to fly?
Yes! As long as the VA software you use monitors FSX variables (such as Parking Brakes and Engine status) through FSUIPC, it should be able to work with the A320-X without issues!
– Can I use PFPX or other such products to feed flight plans to the A320-X Flight Management computer?
Yep! It’s one of the features we’re very proud of, as we’ve done a lot of work to allow accurate management of your A320-X flight plans. Once you purchase the A320-X, make sure to read the Introduction Manual in its entirety, especially Appendix A, where an entire section is devoted on PFPX and the A320-X.
– What about AIRAC cycle database providers? What is supported?
We’ve signed licensing deals with both Navigraph and Aerosoft to receive and use our ARINC 424 database converter software. This means you’ll be able to download the latest AIRAC cycle for use in the A320-X from either of those providers as soon as the A320-X is made available! (in fact, those of you with a keen eye will notice that the Navigraph FSLabs database is already available to the public).
– Are there any significant A320 features missing from the product?
This “Early Adopter” RTM version has been a huge task and we consider it our first milestone with many to come along our road map for release of the FSLabs A320-X product family. We have included all the features we expect a true, complete A320 simulation should include. While we believe that this version is already a robust simulation that will provide a level of detail and immersion that will satisfy even the most knowledgeable flight sim pilots, there are a few smaller features secondary in nature that we are not 100% happy with and have decided to hold back on including them in this version (SEC FPLN handling is perhaps the most prominent of the A320 features you may notice we have disabled for now, others being much more minor in nature). Those features will be enabled as part of regular, future updates and service packs to the A320-X product.
– What about the P3D version? When is that going to be available?
We will be starting our beta testing process for the initial P3D version as soon as the FSX Early Adopter process is done and the FSX v1.0 RTM is fully available to everyone. The initial P3D version will match the features found in the FSX version and will have an equivalent price range. The Professional P3D version (with more features and instructor station) will follow as a later release.
– How much will all this cost?
Our A320-X for FSX (FSX-SE included) will be priced at $99.95. This price will include both CFM and IAE variants (each variant accurately detailed with its own separate flight and engine model, different ground handling and wing flaps characteristics) as well as full Virtual Cockpit and a complete 2D panel selection.
However, to show appreciation to those of you who are eagerly anticipating it, we will offer the Early Adopter version at an introductory price of $89.95 until the RTM version is released.
The initial release of the A320-X for P3D will follow, priced at a somewhat higher, but equivalent price range (most importantly having to do with increased liability and insurance requirements, as Prepar3D is not labeled “for entertainment purposes only”).
Once both product versions are available on the market, we’ll be releasing combo pricing and upgrade pricing, from FSX to P3D and vice-versa. That means you can purchase the FSX product now, then upgrade to the P3D version once that is available! More information on this will be released once we’re closer to releasing the P3D version.
Once again, we’d like to thank you for your continued and very valued support throughout the long development process. We hope and expect that you will enjoy this very advanced A320 aircraft simulation as much as we have enjoyed developing it.