Yesterday at FSExpo, FSDreamteam announced the level 2 expansion of their awesome GSX ground handling software. FSDT decided an expansion of GSX would be the best route, rather than releasing an entirely new version of the product. The reasons behind this decision were explained by Umberto Colapicchioni in the FSDT forums here, but basically they wanted to avoid upsetting anyone who may have recently purchased GSX for their simulator.
Here are a few points the team made regarding the expansion:
– The core GSX product will continue as it is, constantly updated for free in all its main features, so you won’t have to pay for a new version, just to get rid of bugs of the old one…
– You are not being asked to pay for something you might not be interested right now.
– It’s easier for us supporting it, because the code to maintain is only one, with just a different behavior depending if you bought the expansion or not so, this will give you the guaranteed of continued support for the whole GSX program.
GSX Level 2 will focus on two main features: SODE jetways everywhere, and animated passengers.
After installing the expansion, all default jetways within the simulator will be replaced with better looking, more functional SODE jetways. This feature will also work with 3rd party airports as well, although some customization will need to be done by the user. Also included is a new jetway editing page (see screenshot below).
The tool will come with 80+ real-world jetway models for users to choose from in order to customize every single parking spot. Umberto says, “you can be sure there is a jetway that will work with that particular parking and yes, the editor will tell you if the jetway works, because when you edit in 3d, pressing the 5 key on the numpad, will “TEST” the jetway, asking SODE if it will work, without having to guess. You’ll hear a “ding” sound and a message, telling all the doors that jetway will be able to reach, considering its position and the position of the currently loaded airplane.” Accessories such as A/C units, power units (which actually power the aircraft), logos and ground markings can also be customized.
The second main feature of the expansion is animated passengers…FINALLY! The passengers will obviously board one of two ways: either the new jetways (which will have to be glass in order to see the passengers), or with boarding stairs. Yes, you will be able to see the passengers disembark the passenger bus and climb the stairs into the aircraft! Each passenger model will have their own style, walk, and attitude as well. From the old lady to the business man to the small child, each passenger will have a “personality”. The flight crew will also be animated and will board the plane before the passenger bus shows up to the aircraft. This includes flight attendants, who will stand at the aircraft doors and greet the passengers as they board.
So now onto the big question: When will the expansion be released and how much will it cost?
Umberto says, “If everything goes right with Beta testing, which will probably start in the last week of June (because me and the other main GSX developer will be on vacation in the US until June 24th), we are aiming for a September release.” And as for price? It “hasn’t been decided yet, but you can expect it will cost less than the base GSX products so, very roughly, you can expect something below 30$.” The expansion will be compatible with FSX and P3D, although Umberto strongly suggests using P3D v4. I know I will be buying this expansion. I love using GSX, and for a while now I have wished that there were some sort of passenger animation. I’m sure a lot of you have wished for it as well.
Edit: I have added a pic of the animated passengers feature.