Self-Loading Cargo gets a huge overhaul nearly 3 years since the last update

Oh well, talk about coming back from the dead! Self-Loading Cargo, the admittedly cool and promising application for passenger simulation has finally, finally gotten the update its users have been waiting for. Version 1.6 comes nearly three years after the last update (!!) and completely overhauls the utility with a bunch of very interesting changes such as a brand new interface, voice control, overhauled scoring and satisfaction system, ground crew simulation, and much more!

You’re totally forgiven if you’ve forgotten about this app. I wrote about it back in 2020 and almost forgot about that too when I got this news. But it’s true, Self-Loading Cargo (SLC) is alive! In a candid moment of reflection, the developer acknowledges the shortcomings in communication and planning that marked the development process of this version. He admits that the time period between updates was not handled as well as it could have been, and his communication with users fell short of expectations.

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While he doesn’t delve into the personal reasons behind these delays, he offers a sincere apology to the user base. In a bid to rectify this, he commits to a series of measures aimed at improving transparency and communication moving forward. This includes releasing smaller, more frequent updates, providing quarterly development updates, and ensuring the application stays current with new addons. It’s a commendable step that shows a commitment to learning from past mistakes and improving the user experience!

So, what’s new with Self-Loading Cargo 1.6? Well, it seems the developer really poured his heart and soul into this update. The first thing you’ll notice is the brand-new user interface. It’s sleek, intuitive, and designed to make the application easier to use. It also sets the stage for future expansions without the need for major changes. The application can now operate in a more “out of the way” fashion, allowing you to focus on flying your aircraft. However, if you’re the type who loves real-time information, you can still access all the data you’ve come to expect from previous versions.

One of the most exciting features of this update is the addition of voice control. Self-Loading Cargo now comes with a suite of voice commands that are context-specific and dynamically generated based on your flight. These commands are fully customizable via your captain voice packs. If you’re unsure what to say, there’s an autocue function built in to assist you. And if you prefer the traditional button control mode, you can always revert to it or even have it running fully automated.

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The voice packs for the captain and cabin crew have been completely reworked, with thousands of new sounds for a fantastic level of interaction over the aircraft intercom and public address system. These packs allow for multiple languages and multiple-stage dynamic announcements to be made to the passengers. They’re also fully customizable, so you can replace the existing scripts or add additional phrases.

The pilot scoring and passenger satisfaction system have also been overhauled. Passengers will no longer be graded on a simple “1” to “100” percentage. Instead, their real-time and overall opinion of the flight will be generated from events that occur throughout its duration, as well as the announcements you and the crew make over the PA System. Your pilot score will now be based not only on how well you control the aircraft but also on your punctuality and communication effectiveness.

The update also introduces a simulation of the aircraft ground crew, who will interact with you at both the departure and arrival airfields. The ground crew voices are regionalized for increased immersion, and there are over 1,900 sounds included for the ground crew alone. There’s also a handy integrated pushback system with support for “Hotel” and “Single Engine Taxi” modes that can be controlled via voice, buttons, or your onboard EFB without having to open up any new windows or menus.

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The full details about this update can be checked on SLC’s website where you’ll also find a detailed changelog. There’s also an updated product page that explains everything Self-Loading Cargo does. It’s honestly quite impressive!

The price of Self-Loading Cargo has been increased from £12.99 to £16.99 due to higher running costs and the increase in functionality of the application over previous versions. However, customers who have already purchased Self-Loading Cargo prior to version 1.6 are unaffected and can download the update using their existing license with no additional charge.

Interestingly, the announcement of Self-Loading Cargo’s update comes just as a new competitor enters the scene. Just a few days ago, Passenger2 was announced, promising a fresh take on passenger simulation in Microsoft Flight Simulator. Competition is heating up in this category of add-ons, and who knows what the future reserves us with MSFS 2024’s focus on a “career simulation”