DCS in 2021 continues

So, It’s been six months already, huh?

Eagle Dynamics Projects for 2021. (digitalcombatsimulator.com)

This very promising roadmap for 2021 was shared, with the usual caveats, and it coincided with a period in which I got back to DCS and got a little more involved again. So For absolutely no reason and with absolutely no credentials, I thought it would be a good idea to reminisce on the past 6 months, and to adjust expectations to what awaits us for the second half of this year. I’ve given a ridiculous score to each topic measuring my current mood about each, regarding fulfillment and short term expectations.

So, let’s go by topics:

Existing projects they had entering 2021

Hornet, Viper, A-10 II and Supercarrier: 3/5

I think the supercarrier development has been somewhat underwhelming. I also have a very particular point of view about it as a paid module: I don’t think it should be a paid add on. Not that I don’t see value in what it offers, but just because it is charging for features that should be implemented on the sim in a general level. Anyway, I digress. Waiting for the extra features, but so far, updates to the supercarrier were far and few, with the most significant ones being proposed by Heatblur at the moment (and so exclusive to the Tomcat). The hornet did benefit from the completion burn with extra personnel and advanced a lot in the last 6 months, however that probably took longer than predicted because the Viper did stay six months without a single update (last month we finally got JDAMs to end the drought), I think it was very lousy for the people who bought in this expensive aircraft, to have to wait for 6 months after the mavericks to see any improvement. I can accept it’s middle of the road state fine, I have fun with it, but I don’t think it should be left on hold for six months. It’s still far from finished with glaring omissions, some weird bugs, and all that EA goodness. Thank god this ended and in the next 2 months we can probably expect at least a steady pace of improvements.

New Aircraft 3/5

Obvioulsy the Hind is the new shiny toy, released to a more than acceptable state and progressing rapidly. Reviews say it’s good and I believe in you rotor pilots. They promised and delivered, date was met, product is good. You see, it can still happen. I’m very glad it did. Expectations are even higher for the Apache and I am optimistic. Meanwhile the Mosquito was massively delayed. It’s too bad because I’d like to rate this higher. The Hind launch was so smooth, I wanted to give this a 5/5. I do like how upfront they were about it, I support the reasons they delayed it, and it’s a shame. But, then again, it still can happen. I am thinking there is a good chance it’s still coming this year? Let’s wait and see.

MAC ?/5

So this is still promised for this semester, but they have been super zip-lipped about it. This has me wondering one of two things will happen. It will either release sooner than later and we will find out it’s not much different from FC3, probably with better menus, 3D Models and missions, or it will be more revolutionary than evolutionary and probably be delayed to 2022. Honestly so little has been said this is a pure speculative gamble. There is no way to know. Hope it’s good, hope it means more people in DCS, hope I can have fun with it. But we can only hope at this point.

Maps 5/5

They promised, they delivered, I’m pretty happy about it. The Marianas map is what it is, and pretty good at that. Still EA, still unoptimized, but if those improvements can be transposed to other legacy maps (Maybe Top Gun Maverick may convice them to redo the NTTR?), I’ll be happy. So far no complaints.

Clouds 5/5

They promised the clouds, they delivered. They kind of broke VR for a couple of weeks, but I won’t hold aggainst them. They seemed to have it under control. The clouds are beautiful, added a true improvement on the game as a whole and were very much needed for them to compete with MSFS. There is still work to be done on the clouds. They have been promising a new fog engine in the near future, and I do believe we are going to need more weather complexity eventually. Also there is still a weird parallax problem in the clouds that I fear will not be addressed. I hope I’m wrong so bad. I fear that they will slow down progress on the clouds because they are good enough and flashy enough as it is to make beautiful videos with and lure in new customers that are already used to MSFS graphics, so the priority to make them perfect will not be as high (it’s just my poor faith in capitalsm, I don’t think they would be doing that out of bad faith). However, currently, the timeframe has been pretty reasonable and those fears cannot be confirmed (and hopefully won’t). So far, they are well in the green, and viewing objectively, the clouds release was absolutely smashing. In fact the 2.7 release surprised me on how smooth it was. So, it awaits for us to see what improvements we’ll be seeing until the end of the year!

Visual Effects 4/5

I like what they did so far, and can’t wait for more. Planes flaming down in pieces are looking better than ever. Can’t wait for whatever more they have in store.

Dynamic Campaign 2/5

I doubt we’ll see it this year, but, hey, external testing should be already in the works (is it? I don’t think so). I am eager to see more, but skeptic we’ll get our hands on it in 2021. Thankfully Liberation is progressing really well and is a good substitute until we can see what they have in store. I do wish to see more updates on it, what features they think it needs to have, what are the planned goals, so I could be sure it’s going to be much deeper than liberation. 2/5 is super unfair. They are keeping true to the promise, but I don’t think it will be very exciting in 2021 yet, so I’m scoring it low because I’m human.

Vulkan ?/5

YES, PLEASE.

Damage modelling 3/5

So I only fly the modern era fighters, and mostly the Viper nowadays. I don’t have my hopes up that this is coming soon. I’d love it to, though, it can really take the C in DCS to a whole other level.

ATC 2/5

I’m glad they adressed it, I’m glad that it got into the roadmap, I expect very little for this year (maybe a new simple model for MAC), probably new voices but almost the same functionality of current model, with the possibility to expand to more complex stuff later on. I think it will be super cool when it comes, but not in 2021.

FLIR 3/5

So, a lot of talk about flir and then nothing else. Is it almost ready? I’m confused. Do hope to see it sooner than later. A necessary upgrade, but so far, nothing very exciting actually was shown in that front. They promised it for Q3, and I speculate they will deliver it mostly on time.

AI Units 1/5

New 3D models with PBR textures for those aging aircraft? Honestly it took so long already and so little was released in the last 6 months. The S3 is a travesty. It’s the plane the Hornet pilots fly closest to and it’s the worse looking. Whatever happens it’s welcome but too little and too late to have me excited.

Enhanced AI 3/5

This is so hard. I hope they make progress, and eager to see the results. There has some stuff happening in the background with every little update, I can see. AI is flaring much more in close combat, cannot predict FOX-3 launches, it’s improving. Though I don’t see it being excellent in a short while.

And that was it. A lot of awesome stuff. I think all and all, despite what a post like this might suggest, nitpicking all the flaws of every feature they promised, it has been an excellent semester. I’m not even going to mention the third parties, who also have been great. I liked how ED advertised the roadmap and kept roughly and mostly on schedule and delivering quality inside what is to be expected for a developing product, steadily, responsibly and light on bugs. I think there is still some pretty nice stuff to wait for in 2021, mostly in small iterations over what we currently have, that together will get DCS a lot better even before 2022 and it’s new revolutionary developments.

I have no idea why I wrote all this. though. But thanks for reading!

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Yeah, ED is about as good at making plans as I am…
I always say that I will be doing this, that and then some. Then I realize what I really always knew, that nothing is as easy as I tell myself it will be. And it will take a lot more time because of this… So I end up finishing a fraction of what I want to finish. But I have fun trying.
That’s how I view ED and DCS too. I wish their plans held water, but I have fun with what they actually do accomplish, so I leave it at that.
And humor is a big part of it. I’d go crazy (crazier?) if I couldn’t reduce the issue like that. :wink:

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Us viper drivers had a really nice update to our HARMs in the form of the PB and EOM capability introduction between the Mav and JDAM introduction. I agree that it was painful for us when the viper and hornet went into sequential instead of parallel development. But if JSOW and WCMD are coming soon then I don’t think this year was all that bad. I hope we’ll get ECM soon and that they will really start putting in some effort into the avionics.

Yes, the Hind release was really good and I love it. Other than Petri, which is a newly developed tech which I am sure will improve lots over time, I have no real complaints. But most of the hind is relatively simple and straightforward with many duplicates or parallels to the Hip. I do hope the AH-64 will be just as good as the Mi-24 release but it will be difficult to get to the same level of completion. I’ll probably still be happy to fly it in whatever state they release it.

Well deserved, also for their work on Syria. It is getting even better. Cyprus is a beautiful free addition.

What did you even see about it to give it a 3/5? I know they said they’ve been working on it for a long time, but I never saw anything. Still a big question mark for me.

As I said it’s just my personal level of excitement. Since the FLIR was mentioned a couple of times, promised fot Q3 and in need of some improvements, I rank it 3out of 5 exciting, lol.

That was a nice synopsis @taubkin. I’d say you demonstrated every qualification to make it. I had forgotten half the things you mentioned. Supercarrier, the clouds, the weather, and the Hind have made this year a winner for ED already in my book. I really think I have some idea what it looks and feels like to land on the carrier in the soup. What a thrill!

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Glad that you limited your perspective to ED alone. While RAZ and HB and the others are partly depending on ED for things, they also are not being pulled along by them.

I was flying Liberation over NTTR with the new cloud last night and ran into some AWFUL frame rates. I had no real issues with a standard TTI mission over Syria or the Black Sea or PG before that, and hadn’t flown NTTR in awhile otherwise, but it was a rude awakening.

I pulled up the counter and I was getting 15fps when I would spawn in! If I sat in the cockpit, or an external view, for like 3 minutes, the fps would move up to about 40-60. If I hit F2 and switched to another plane’s view, or switched from internal to external or back, fps plummeted to the teens again for another 3 minutes.

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The mosquito release will make this the best DCS year in the 11 or so years I have been an active member of the ED forums. 2.7 is stunning, the maps are great including all the old ones with the clouds lighting and in some cases new textures. I love my F16, I believe this year was the one we got multicrew for the huey,
I have the hardware and headset to make flying in DCS a pleasure this year.
Also the campaigns I bought this year in the last sales.
Great work ED

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Great flying experience. The best. Now I hope they’ll work on the game side of things: updating old assets; performance; AI.

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Good Lord man! If SimBox NG is only “a fraction of what I want to finish” I cannot even imagine what the initial concept was…a complete Viggen cockpit that folds up into a brief case??? :astonished:

Ditto for Viggen flight stick…and many other of your projects that are “Full Up” in my mind! :grinning:

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I’m sorry, but have I given anyone the impression that it’s finished…? :rofl:

Which isn’t finished, years after it started…

But thanks for the vote of confidence :wink:

Edit.
Thinking about it, this further reinforces my ED/DCS analogy. While I keep adding and changing stuff on my SimBox, I realize that it will probably never truly be finished… Just like DCS. Imagine ED one day saying “That’s it, guys! DCS is finished. Bye now! Take care” :scream:
Not sure I want that to happen…

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I would like to start in on an new flight chair NG … but I can’t decide which way to go. I thought it was about adding panels, but with VR games tending to make virtual controllers, all my panels and HOTAS bits tend to get in the way. With wood, it is somewhat limiting my ability to hide things or have optional things, but it is easier to work with and I have no experience with metals. I am currently thinking though a way to have both my Warthog throttle and Virpil Collective in the same ‘package’, positioned so that they can co-exist.

Maybe I need to get out of the Hurricane era and move into the Spitfire era?

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I’d totally forgotten about MAC, lol.

TO back up a step, I see three distinct generations/waves of DCS modules so far:
Gen 1: Black shark and Warthog; pre DCS world, these are were it started.
Gen 2: First examples of third party modules (the BST line of products, the Mig 21, the Viggen, the F-5, the Huey etc.) all of them great modules in their own context…but as a ‘collection’ this feels like an island of misfit toys in a lot of ways. Said another way, it was like a second tier Air Museum that has a collection of any plane it can beg/borrow/or steal, versus one that’s built around a specific theme.
Gen 3: Kicked off with the EA launch of the Hornet, this is when, to me “the stuff we REALLY wanted” started to roll off the line: Hornet, Tomcat, Viper, new maps, the hind, and now the Apache on the horizon.

(I suppose one could call FC3 ‘Gen 0’)

I say this because to me MAC is currently a “1/5”, as they’ve both said nothing about it in what feels like years, but at the same time it was initially announced as basically a collection of more approachable Gen 2 planes. They picked the wrong generation. I’m sorry, but I don’t much care for a simpler, more approachable F-5 or F-86, especially when now, sitting in the hanger next door is a delectable collection of modern hardware to choose from.

Sure, some of those are ‘third party’ modules. Deal with it, ED. Bring them to the table and ask ‘how much to roll into MAC, this can be good for all parties involved”. Otherwise don’t waste yours, or anyone else’s time with this sideshow. You have much bigger and bolder items on your road map that will continue to hit the strike zone. Don’t back-slide into old habbits now!

Let’s look at this another way
-More casually minded simmer: “Oh hey, finally a version of DCS that’s more approachable! I love the idea of the depth of systems modeling that comes with your modules, but I just don’t have the time to tear into that learning curve as much as I’d like. Can’t wait to finally take the Tomcat for a spin!”
-ED: “Oh, so actually the tomcat was made by a third party. It’s not included.”
-MCMS: Oh, um, ok. I’d think you’d have maybe worked with them to…you know what, it’s fine, The hornet and the viper still look sweet!”
-ED: “Oh, yeah, no. Sorry. We didn’t include those. We have the F-86 though!”
-MCMS: “Ooo, is the rest of the Korean air war modeled?”
-ED: “……”
-ED:”…Have you checked out our new clouds? We’re quite proud of them!”
-MCMS:”You know what, I’m just going to go play some BoX.”

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Touché :laughing:

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What you said times 10. Amen brother, AMEN!
Wish they would concentrate on making DCS World Modules more … compatible.
i.e. We have Mustang, T-Bolt, I-16 and a Corsair coming but Zero Zeros or Oscar or anything WW2 Japan… It seems a tease to have the I-16 with no opponents. No Red Prop jobs for Korea either(La-9/11 anyone?).

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