Blackbird and 3rd party Nav units

Blackbird Simulations has always been committed to providing the highest quality simulations to our customers. We are also a strong proponent of user choice.

However, with the highly dynamic and ever-improving environment that Microsoft Flight Simulator has become, we’ve found that it is out of our wheelhouse for us to ship our products with full support for 3rd party avionics products. Most, if not all, of these, are highly susceptible to compatibility issues that have little to nothing to do with our products. And yet, we’re EXPECTED to provide support and fixes for these products.

These issues cost us valuable development time, as the sim continues to evolve from month to month and update to update. This, in turn, prevents us from working on new and exciting products that we would like to share with our customers. It’s hard enough dealing with our own fixes, let alone having to deal with problems with other devs products…

While we’d love for our customers to have the freedom to use any and all 3rd party applications that they choose, we believe there is a better path than what has been followed to date. As such, going forward, we will not be enabling native support for 3rd party avionics in our products. The fact is that, we can no longer be responsible for the coding practices (good or bad) of other developers. We make aircraft. Good ones. That’s where our focus must, and will, be from this point forwards.

We have looked at the strong modification community that exists in MSFS, as well as current examples of the extensive aircraft modifications that have been done by enterprising groups and individuals. With MSFS, we have a simulator platform where aircraft modifications can exist without directly editing a single file of the aircraft in question. Because of that, we’ve realized that it would be entirely possible for every aspect of nearly any desired component to be added via modification; thus, we feel that the responsibility to add and support 3rd party avionics packages should fall to the developers or publishers of those products. This will ultimately benefit users of those products far better than aircraft developers trying to continually play ‘catch-up’ as various situations emerge.

As such, we will commit ourselves to providing ‘modification-friendly’ aircraft when it’s possible to do so without exposing our intellectual property. The means of doing so may vary from aircraft to aircraft; it may mean that we allow for blank areas where 3D meshes may be added, it may mean that we include the 3D meshes and textures directly while giving mod authors the documentation to use them effectively. We will do our best but, our concentration must, and will remain, making the best aircraft we can.

We hope that this path will eventually provide a situation where everyone benefits. We realize that this may not be initially desirable for everyone, but the current environment has become unsustainable and a new path was needed. We hope that our customers understand and continue forward with us to the exciting projects we have upcoming in 2023.

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I for one appreciate where you’re coming from, and how this decision is probably the “least bad” solution that you can offer given the current sim environment. It is commendable to see one’s limitations and prudent to adjust one’s policy based on those. We’ve seen that you are able to create awesome aircraft, and that’s what we hope to see in the future as well. You focusing on what you do best is ultimately a very good thing.

Since modding is possible to a large extent, PC users should not have trouble getting the kinds of add-ons that they are looking for.

As usual it will be a bit of trouble for XBOX users who cannot add mods, but to be quite honest I don’t even know if your products are available for XBOX in the first place, so maybe that’s a non-issue?

Regardless, I’ll keep supporting you guys. Which reminds me, time to head off and buy your PC-6 now that Phase 2 has been released!

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Just for clarification, does this mean third party avionics software products like pop-out mangers and such, or third party avionics hardware like switch boxes, controls, etc… Or both? Is there an example you could share just so I can understand a bit better? Thanks, and good luck with your upcoming releases!

The PMS/TDS GTN units are what we mean, at this time.

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I used 3rd party nav tools for a while but problems arose on a regular basis. Now I avoid them. For the flying I’m doing the default GPS units are sufficient for me. I understand your decision and support it, especially if the implementation is really that time consuming.

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Same here, I let my PMS Subscription run out as I found myself not using the 750 at all, since it cannot be properly used with a touch screen as MSFS locks up the controls/ does not recognize inputs on a docked out window.
I also can understand the business side of things for BB or any other dev out there. I found myself having at least two instances where something broke because I was not on the latest PMS release and it made it look like something was wrong with the plane. You’d have to give support for a tool beyond your control from the side of the plane developer.

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This can be overcome now using POPM (pop out panel manager). Give it a try with the free version if you’d like to try.

I tend to agree to an extent with the view that the aircraft devs shouldn’t be expected to keep changing. It seems they are getting this need to change from both the sim side and the add-on avionics side. However some devs (not Blackbird specifically) are also guilty of breaking existing operation by changing things. I think this is in part because everyone has had to do their own thing due to poor SDK documentation since launch and a clear lack of standardisation.

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Thanks, I tried it and it still does micro locks for the time you touch the screen as it just shifts focus back and forth really quick. If you are in anything other than straight flight you will notice it.

Mate, focus all your effort on the 737-200 mate, you have a customer ready and waiting… she doesn’t need any fancy navigation equipment for the sort of flying I want​:grin::grin::grin:
Hey…
Fudge it…
Just put that 80R72 in the background and bring that 737-200 forward on your development production line​:grin::grin:
Imagine having that 737-200 in the same league as the C310 and have a ownership/rent mode…
Oh… OMG…
Imagine if you can work your magic with that simulation engine you have made and instead…
A cargo/passenger/leased/ownership progression for the 737-200…
You can buy the 737-200 factory fresh to your own personal seating config, fly it from Seattle, service or not service it like a real world airline…
Leased where it turns up as is…
Then cargo… I mean… how long is a peice of string… brand new or one thats been with 15 different airlines passenger airlines and is now flying in Africa or Canada…

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There were some major issues with click through and mesh surfaces that even Asobo didn’t understand until a user showed them a way to get it to work so you didn’t click things behind the mesh. As you noted, there was no standardization on the use of mesh surfaces (which the instruments / tablets/ GPS lie upon) because as you noted unclear SDK documentation, so developers have been having to do their own thing.

I believe the SDK team are working on fixing this functionality and properly documenting it as well.

It’s kinda crazy that this Working Title 530/430 BETA came out in the MSFS marketplace, and everyone installed it. Then when it broke everything, I see people lay blame on PMS50, TDS and plane devs for the problem. I’ve seen video airplane reviews where the reviewer didn’t even know where the problem was.

You all installed an early beta version of a mod in someone else’s product. How are you gonna blame everyone else? It’s unfortunate that part of the reality is people don’t seem to be aware of the “beta” status of their 530 and what that means, and also that the things that broke from this seemed to be “other stuff” than the 530 itself, so some people didn’t even associate their problems with the 530. This kinda comes down to being a well informed modder I guess. I feel like reviewers especially, have a responsibility to understand what they’re installing and presenting, because misrepresentations by a trusted reviewer can have a big impact on 3rd party devs. Not everyone will read the comments on a YouTube video correcting the reviewers mistakes.

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Have to agree the WT 530 breaks nearly everything and the 750 while nice needs to be upto date or horrid things happen

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Ok folks, let’s please stay On Topic. This is about Blackbird’s approach to Development going forward. Thanks!

Sorry, I removed the sentence that mentioned another plane developer, but the rest is directly related, as it’s the reason Blackbird are understandably having to take this stance.

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