The veritable avalanche of Microsoft Flight Simulator airliner launches continues with Fenix Simulations A320 now setting up for final approach to the sim’s marketplaces. Pricing and launch details as well as a ton of new media are coming out about this aircraft so let’s have a look!
A320 pricing and details
Fenix Simulations emerged as a relative newcomer on the sim scene but they proved right away that they had serious ambition when they detailed the kind of layers that they wanted to put into their simulation of an Airbus A320 (in this case the original, not the NEO version).
Fast forward to now and Fenix are reporting that their aircraft simulations is emerging out of beta and is getting ready for launch. From systems and flight modeling to textures and sound work, Fenix have detailed many of the things that their team have been working on to get the aircraft ready. They also detail some of their philosophy behind adding more than just a detailed airliner to the sim experience.
Apart from the systems team, the rest of us also spent a large portion of this time focusing on things that weren’t necessarily part of the airplane, but contributed to the overall customer journey and experience. Systems depth standing alone in an aircraft is an unfortunate scenario to find oneself in, as these simulations are sold to you as an experience – and what good is that experience if you don’t feel immersed in your surroundings? So, while the systems and flight model teams worked hard on bug fixing and stability, art and EFB teams worked on refining the customer experience.Fenix Simulations
Fenix have ensured that you have options when it comes to their aircraft such as one click flight plan importing via their EFB. You also have options on if the aircraft is boarded by passengers in a real time fashion or if its done instantaneously. There will be interactions with your “airlines” operations center and you’ll be able to manage things like diversions through this part of the interface.
Fenix have also spent time making sure that the sounds are correct. Walk through their fully finished passenger compartment and you’ll apparently hear the difference from zone to zone. That detail extends to things like the GPU which will change noises based on how much load is being placed onto it. Even the cockpit sounds change depending on what’s happening with the digital and analogue gauges.
Also detailed by the team are their livery manager which looks to make installing new liveries for your Fenix A320 easy.
They have also released new screenshots which show off all of the impressive details from the cockpit into the passenger area.
Fenix Simulations have talked about all of this on their developer blog so if you’re interested be sure to have a look.
This year we’ve once again had the debate about what kind of pricing should be paid for a high fidelity sim experience. There are many answers to it but it looks like Fenix Simulations are banking on a high degree of popularity to help them sell more Fenix A320s.
The price, all in, is £49.99 (or about $61 USD). It’s not bargain basement but it is a competitive price versus the other aircraft that are coming out in this same kind of class. It’s only a few dollars beneath what PMDG are asking for their 737-700 which suggests to me that there’s at least a bit of an effort to undercut the competition while offering what appears to be a very competitive experience.
Currently on offer are the standard wingtip fence versions of the A320. However, newer build versions of the aircraft have also offered the “Sharklet” or a very specifically designed winglet. These are standard on the A320neo but an option with the earlier version.
Fenix developer Aamir on the AvSim forum has indicated that the company will not be asking for additional money for the slightly different wing configuration. Here’s what was said:
We will not be charging for the sharklets. It will cost us money to build as we’d want to do it properly, including some small avionics changes and a new flight model to represent the minutely different drag characteristics – but very simply put, as a consumer, I personally can’t justify spending money on what essentially boils down to different pointy bits on the end of the wings.Aamir on the AvSim forum
For context, another developer for a P3D A320 famously charged extra for the Sharklet version of their A320 causing considerable controversy. Fenix appears to be sidestepping this by making it part of their core package. I applaud consumer friendly developers and I think this will help them sell more rather than less.
A couple of days ago, the embargo on the Fenix Simulations A320 dropped enabling streamers to start showing off the aircraft in detail. There were some very popular streams running as a result. Here are two that you may want to watch to get a better sense of the kind of details that Fenix appear to have added to their A320 sim.
The first is with flightdeck2sim. The start-up process is a lengthy look at the aircraft’s systems as well as the EFB. It’s a really detailed look at what’s on offer.
And then 320SimPilot has a similarly detailed look at the aircraft. A second opinion and one that seems to say much the same thing as the other stream.
To summarize, both streams and everyone who seems to have touched the Fenix A320 seems to have come away extremely impressed. The depth of the systems, the EFB that appears to offer a massive array of features right in the sim, and the overall package just seem to indicate yet another home run.
Microsoft Flight Simulator has taken a while to gain a selection of detailed airliner experiences and now it has several. More to come.