DCS Game Mode Help

I recently took my 8yo son to see Top Gun and he came home interested to try DCS. I fired it up in game mode, excited that perhaps Top Gun Maverick would instill the same love of aviation the original did for me at his age, but I can’t figure it out! I can’t find game controls mapping for weapons or simplified avionics to lock up a target, etc. We picked the F-18, and I made certain game controls/avionics were enabled, but I seem to be missing something. He can fly around with unlimited fuel and full invincibility, but he wants to shoot something down now. I appreciate the irony of game mode being too complicated, but can someone perhaps point me in the right direction?


There are two sets of control assignments for each aircraft . “Game” and “Sim” . Look to see which you’re in at the top left aircraft selection dropdown on the control assignments page .

I appreciate the help. I did have the “game” controls selects, and while I have the expected axis controls and a lot of view controls, and can’t find anything resembling systems or weapons controls. I also noticed when I jusmp into a free flight instant action, it starts me with an external view from behind the aircraft but nothing that would indicate game mode. I had expected an “arcade radar” indicator from past comments I’d read, but admittedly I’ve never tried game mode. I’m wondering if I have something set incorrectly.

For what it’s worth, I’m in the F-18 on the latest open beta and I have selected the game flight mode and game avionics mode under teh gameplay options. I appreciate any help. Maybe my expectations are incorrect, I was thinking game mode was going to be something prety simple with the fire button and a “next target” button or similar.


Unfortunately I think you’re correct. To my knowledge, DCS does not have a simple or arcade mode currently. The “Game mode” doesn’t do too much other than what you mentioned - unlimited health, fuel, etc. Shooting a target will still require interacting with the jet’s combat systems in such a way that you can command a radar acquisition of some variety; there is no “next target”.

While I think Modern Air Combat may fit that bill, I haven’t heard anything on it for a while and it’s questionable at this point if development is being actively pursued.

I think you’d be better off looking into a something like Ace Combat or even IL-2, they may fit what you’re looking for a bit better than DCS. Others may have more suggestions on alternatives. Give him some time in one of those, for now, and let him grow into DCS.

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