DCS June Newsletter

[quote=DCS News]


DCS World 2 Status

Despite our best efforts over the past six months, DCS World 2 has not yet achieved the quality level and features that we require for an open alpha release. Rather than release an alpha version that is potentially a disappointment for many users, we feel it best to keep it in the oven a bit longer to bake it more thoroughly. We fully realize that this is disappointing for some, but I can assure you that it pales in in comparison to our own. No one wishes to release our new baby out into the world more than us.

Some of the biggest remaining items that we need to address before an open alpha include:

New multiplayer GUI system that allows multiple players in the same aircraft and multiple player aircraft in the same flight. This is critical for multi-seat aircraft like the L-39, UH-1H, Hawk, etc.
Completing the move to use of a single executable. This will allow us to do long-desired features such as a satellite view in the Mission Editor, 3D objects in the Encyclopedia and Mission Editor, faster mission loading times, and a more stable product.
With the move to DX11, we are continuing to find ways to increase performance. This is even more important with the coming wave of VR gear that demands extremely high framerates.
We wish to improve several more of the effects before the open alpha. Although we have new smoke, contrails, lighting, shadow, and missile trail effects, there are more we wish to improve like better explosions and over-wing vapor.
Lastly, there are a few remaining crash bugs we need to resolve.

So, although we have been making tremendous progress in developing DCS World 2, there are a few more items that still need to be addressed in order to meet our quality standards. We can only ask for patience because we believe that it will all be worth the wait and DCS World 2 will usher in a new chapter in the world of Digital Combat Simulator.

DCS: Nevada Test and Training Range (NTTR) Status


While much of the team has been hard at work on getting DCS World 2 ready, our map team and engineers have been busy improving the NTTR map and fixing bugs. While we have made the significant step of moving the map into full testing, there are several important areas that need to be addressed before we can release it as an open alpha to everyone. Some of these items include:

Functional Air Traffic Control
Ground unit road movement
Performance improvements
Static object issues
TACAN and ILS
A couple of crash situations

When the map is available as an open Alpha, our plan is to still make this map available for free to those that purchased A-10C Warthog while it was in beta (prior to 21 February 2011). It will also be available for purchase from our e-shop for $39.99 USD.

DCS WWII


The Spitfire has begun internal testing within DCS World. The Spitfire has progressed past the P-47 due to the level of info in ED’s hands for the Spitfire while research continues on the P-47. The model has been added to DCS World internally and testing of the Merlin 66’s performance has started; next will be the prop performance. The Spitfire version will be an early production Mark IXc LF with clipped wings. As a possible bonus, it’s planned (but subject to change) to have the option to select the long wing version; however, you will lose the benefit of the clipped version and its roll rate.

MiG-29 for Flaming Cliffs 3


To round out the collection of updated aircraft for Flaming Cliffs 3, the team is working on updating the MiG-29. This will include both a new, high-resolution 6 DOF cockpit and a new external model. After the F-15C, Su-27 and Su-33 Professional Flight Models (PFM) are complete, we also plan a PFM for the MiG-29.
The MiG-29 will have the same level of cockpit systems fidelity as the other Flaming Cliffs aircraft.
This will be a free update for Flaming Cliffs 3 owners.

DCS: L-39 Albatros


The L-39C Albatros is making good progress with new cockpit systems being integrated on almost a daily basis. The new L-39C external model is also nearing completion (the L-39ZA is further behind) as well as the Professional Flight Model (PFM).

DCS: F/A-18C Hornet

Work continues on the building the Hornet cockpit and air-to-surface radar technology. Most of the recent cockpit work has involved texturing and animation of cockpit elements.

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Looks like World 2 is closer but still aways off. But that Hornet pit looks awesome!

Im honestly not disappointed at all. I hope they take their time and get it as close to perfect as possible.

6 Likes

Forgot to mention I am excited about the MIG-29 also!

+1 this. I know there are many folks getting pretty antsy about the new DCS engine and are absolutely frothing at the mouth for a new terrain, but I’m ok waiting a bit longer to get a releasable product rather than a half-baked lump. In my opinion, ED has been very good about getting updates (for free!) out for their products, but I feel like there’s no pressure like release pressure to make sure it shines well.

2 Likes

Nice update. Stay tuned… :smile:

For me it is exactly the other way round.
While I like the info it is still a major disappointment for me. I’d rather play some unfinished stuff that crashes every half an hour. I would also play without ILS, TACAN, ATC or a working AI. I don’t care about AFMs for FC3 planes. Same goes for the Spitfire. I don’t even care about wing vapor or dx11.
Just give me the F/A-18 and NTTR and I would be happy.

Sometimes I fear that besides pretty graphics there won’t be anything new. The screenshots are nice but say absolutely nothing. Very sad and disappointed right now. :’(

I can see some of the disappointment. Who here wouldn’t want to be playing with an advanced DCS engine this coming weekend?

But I am glad that it is still being worked on and that it is coming down the pipeline. That’s positive and I am patient. :slight_smile:

Anyway, what new/groundbreaking they can bring to the table? What new anyone (of the devs) can bring to the table?

Well, from the top of my head:

more ground units, especially of those categories we lack completely right now, like bigger AAA guns like those used all over the world.
more SAMs, especially more low tech ones to fill the gap between MANPADS and the modern ones.
more realistic behaviour of those SAMs and AAA

ATC that works halfway nicely. Like in Falcon 4.0, FSX, or even IL-2. The one we have in DCSW sucks.

Proper carrier operations. Or at least halfway proper. De-spawning planes on the deck, a LSO, including something like vLSO for FSX

better AI. The DCSW AI sucks big time

proper radar modelling

proper line of sight computing, including buildings and trees blocking line of sight

proper fragmentation damage of a2g weapons.

That’s all for now, but if you give me a few hours I’ll have some more.

EDIT: Yeah, of course:
Something like FARPs for fixed wing aircraft (for WW2)
spawning and landing AI Helis everywhere
proper communication between air and ground assets (especially Helis with ground troops)
proper loading of stuff into helis. Driving a UAZ into a MI-8 for example, or actually seeing the troops you loaded in the heli.
heli crew chief helping the player with sling loading

EDIT2: I just noticed I didn’t even start mentioning MP features. Here just a few:

  • dedicated server
  • integrated voice communication
  • easier communication without voice (think Battlefield circle menu)

EDIT3:
AI should stop seeing through clouds.
Clouds should be synced by the server in MP. If I see a cloud you should see a cloud in the same place. AFAIK this is not the case now.

No matter what they do, someone will have something they really wanted and is disappointed they are not getting it…

As for your list, if you spend any time on the forums, a number of those things are acknowledged to some form or another, for example, dedicated servers…

Some disappointment from me, but not really unexpected. Nothing on clickable A-10A or F-15C cockpits. Seems ED really is just reinventing the wheel at every turn.

Luckily I’m not really into DCS so much that I’ll die without it.

-Jeff

@SiThSpAwN:
Something being on the TODO list doesn’t mean it is really done. All they show us is nice pictures. That’s why I wrote:
"Sometimes I fear that besides pretty graphics there won’t be anything new. The screenshots are nice but say absolutely nothing."
Everything else is just words on a paper (a forum, that is). They have shown nothing.
I don’t doubt they are working on it, I’d just like to have some info about that stuff.

I don’t mean to sound negative, I just answered NEVO’s question, which was basically: “What is more important to do than graphics.”

So yeah, every time they show us nice graphics I am a bit disappointed, because I fear that the other important things are second priority.

And I think you are aware that I read and write in the english part of the ED forums all the time. I know what was said there and what wasn’t. I am a huge supporter of ED, and that’s why I am so sad about yet another chance to really help ED that we won’t get. I would have loved to have a constantly crashing and incomplete alpha to help them make it great.

EDIT: Upon re-reading I think this post may sound rude. Please believe me that it isn’t meant to, I am a friendly and positive guy. Also english is not my native language, so the finer nuances may elude me.

Well, I think the important thing to remember is that many of the improvements are likely to be things you really can’t easily demonstrate with some flashy pictures. Things that require a ton of coding often get unappreciated because there isn’t really an oh-ah moment to coincide with it.

Take, for instance, shared cockpit, multi-player operations. What can you do in a PR release that will blow people away with regards to that? It’s a huge coding task with a crap-ton of work that must go into getting it right, but all you can do is show an L-39 and say “you are working on shared cockpit, multi-player integration” or something to that effect. Short sentence, not a lot of pop, but the underlying meaning is enormous. The same can be said for improvements that we don’t yet even know about to things like the Mission Editor or AI or the GUI or any other number of things they are no doubt working on. If they fix 300 things in DCS World 2.0 I don’t know that a comprehensive list of those things would ever trump a pretty screenshot of an F-18 (for some people).

The point is, I think since they are working on an entire sim architecture revamp (unified EXE, new graphics engine, etc…) there is a lot of unappreciated work going on under the surface that will make all of our user experiences much better as this next iteration of World comes out and that less glorious work often gets overlooked.

Having had the opportunity to eavesdrop on the testing procedures I can absolutely guarantee that important things aren’t a second priority. Will everything always be included or fixed to everyone’s liking? Not likely ever. There are those of us that would love to see work on B dropped to focus on A, and then there are fans of B that think A people suck and ED should focus on B. (In this equation…B = WW2 stuff :wink: j/k)

One observation I’ll make is that there has recently been some chatter on the bigger social media sites (Reddit for instance) about this growing movement against early access, unfinished games. That ED is purposely holding back releasing something that doesn’t meet their high standards is no doubt frustrating to them, but shows a certain pride and maturity in their work. It will be ready when it is ready (and even then there will be things that will need continuous improvements and fixing). For me, there is enough content to play around with in the interim (heck…take a break once in awhile and play some Arma 3 too!), so the wait is bearable knowing that the final product will be worth it.

Sorry for the long post…

BeachAV8R

1 Like

That’s the Half full / Half empty syndrome.

I’m actually very happy with nowaday’s DCS. A lot of things is missing, Aginor listed some of them. But also, they are already a lot of things in the game that are great. We should enjoy those. DCS 2 has always been about new graphic engine. They are a bunch of new feature but ED never promised the skies and stars so we should keep in mind that gameplay will just not change. Daily, i see comments like “I’m not going to fly anymore until DCS 2.”. LOL … The game will remain the same, with a new map and a new graphic engine. They’ll be correction to ATC and a better MP menu. Basically, most changes are cosmetic under the hood. Why are people expecting this as a whole new game ???

Anyway… If ever tommorow ED’s leadership look at Aginor list and decide to do some magic and realise this, well… Most people will be happy for a week*, then the week after we’ll see another endless list of expectations.

*week : Not even sure it’ll take a week.

Of course not everyone likes everything. But I wonder how many sim players would say: “■■■■ stable MP, and assets and AI, we need better graphics!”
For me the graphics are the least important. Don’t get me wrong, I love wing vapor and smooth mountains and all that stuff. But I just can’t understand how that could possibly be more important than a working simulation environment. Some stuff in DCSW is broken since FC1 and has been done better in games during the 90s. I just don’t understand it.

Even if you ask a very special audience:

  • MP only players don’t care about ATC and AI in general. OK, I get that.
  • SP only players don’t care about dedicated servers. I understand that.
  • people who don’t fly helis probably don’t care about sling loading. Maybe.
  • People who are into WW2 don’t care about modern SAM implementation. Yeah.

But graphics can’t be the single thing everybody cares about. If I want graphics and nothing else I play War Thunder or HAWX. People are here for a simulation, aren’t they?

I love DCSW for what it is: The best flight sim out there. As I said before, it is mainly fear that the simulation aspects will be second priority. A bit exaggerating: It is really frustrating if you wait for simulation features for five years and all you get is a graphics patch.
But hey, as Sithspawn said in the official forums: Perhaps Wags will show us great stuff during the live stream! I will certainly watch it and see. :slight_smile:

EDIT @Ookami: Of course, people will always complain, that’s just normal. As a software developer this is one of the most annoying things on that job. But developers have to ask themselves: “What is our goal.”, and act accordingly. I think ED does that pretty well, at least most of the time.

No it doesn’t, but its also more than a to-do list, this is the feature list for DCS World 2.0. Just because they cant show a shiny picture of all of it doesn’t meant it doesn’t exist, we aren’t talking about UFOs or Bigfoot here :wink:

Or in other words… what @BeachAV8R said :wink:

Well, some things really may be hard to show, I understand that.

But they could make a little video or even a series of screenshots that show how a heli can now hide behind a house or a line of trees. People would go crazy in the audience (I certainly would!)
Or they could show a short split-screen video where Matt and you fly together in a L-39 and he is just looking around and switching the lights on and off while you are flying. And people could see in his view that the ailerons are moving, and in your view they could see Matt turning his head and the lights would switch on and off magically.
Then they could show off the new AI by letting a AI wingman do something that is impossible in DCSW1.X, and then land on an air port following RL procedures, showing the ATC works nicely now.
Or they could do the same in a huey, and then pick up troops and look behind and they are actually on board. And then shoot some infantry and watch how they are killed by the new frag damage.While the new SA-2 and 57mm guns shoot at them.
And in the end they show a quick screenshot of the new dedicated server management tool (even if it is a command line. Things just get more real for people if they see them.)
People would love it!

(I still hope Wags will show something like that in the video stream)

Of course they can’t properly show some of the code stuff. But people will see it in the open alpha! :slight_smile:

Why don’t you watch the twitch stream on Sunday.

I certainly will, and I am looking forward to it very much! As I said before, I love DCSW and I would love to help make it better in any way. :slight_smile:

I’ll ask this in all sincerity though - is MP really unstable? Einstein and I flew for 2+ hours the other night (and on multiple other occasions) without a hiccup. I mean, I understand there are always going to be issues with MP connectivity with a MP community that spans the globe. To think I can fairly reliably fly for a few hours at a time via undersea internet cables and satellites with a guy in Australia still astounds me to this day. Perhaps my expectation of stability are different than others though…

Yes, but as you pointed out, that is a glass half empty mentality. There are a ton of features and fix since FC1 that have been added and/or improved. And yes, there are features that were done better in the 90s, but there are also a ton of other features that have been done better than stuff in the 90s. Particularly systems fidelity and flight model. I caution in getting caught up in 90s nostalgia (I do occasionally too) when you revisit something like Jane’s F-15…which is still a kick ass sim, but nowhere near the fidelity with regards to cockpit operations. Yes, LB2 and JF-15 are awesome sims to this day…but I think the merits of each are worthy and pitting them against each other is kind of pointless. For every awesome feature I can list in JF-15 I can counter with awesome features in DCS and vice versa.

I think your fear is misplaced. When has simulation aspect taken the backseat to graphics for ED? Again, I’ll point to two very specific examples of the ridiculous level of simulation we get for these very cheap modules: the Ka-50 ABRIS and the A-10 CDU. If you sold these in the “prosumer simulation world” (ie: professional pilots), the emulation of the ABRIS and CDU alone would probably run several hundred dollars per user. For instance, the Garmin and Universal FMS trainers at my work office PC are big ticket items that offer a fraction of the fidelity of something like DCS includes. And they are ONLY the head units and display outputs, not an entire simulation environment, graphics, and hundreds of objects to populate a war environment.

I’m taking a wait and see approach with World 2.0 and until we can look under the hood and see what, in addition to graphics changes, has been added or improved it is all speculation. ED’s track record on features and improvements has yet to be matched by any sim developer (ever) while admittedly their timeline projections haven’t been the must uber-accurate. I’ll take fidelity over speed though any day.

BeachAV8R

Yeah, maybe I am exaggerating a bit, I mostly agree with you.
For me it just feels like there is not much of a development visible, and the heavy focus on EDGE make it feel like the focus is more on graphics than the rest, event though DCSW 2.0 is more than just a graphics engine change. AFAIK it is - for example - the basic for a more precise radar simulation, which is on my list. (that single radar pic they released was more exciting for me than two years of EDGE screenshots!)

As for your second paragraph: If you leave the aircraft out of the equation (in fact I was mostly talking about the simulation environment), I agree. I deliberately didn’t mention aircraft because I think they are the one part of the sim that are basically perfect. The aircraft (at least the KA-50 and the A-10C, and also the Leatherneck MiG-21) are of unrivaled quality, no doubt. There is nothing that comes close. The BMS F-16 maybe, but I would say even that one is quite a bit behind.
It is the simulation environment that I think is not on par with the others. The number of units in a mission is very limited, compared to BMS or IL-2, and even compared to the old Lomac. The list of possible units lacks some very important ones. And the map is very small. Yeah, it looks better, no doubt, and so do the units, which is perfect and more immersive than in other sims. Still this is a point which I hoped would improve.
I hope it does with EDGE, but until now… I was shocked when the map (yeah we have only one, but at least that will change) got even smaller in DCSW, because even before I thought it was small.

And maybe it is unfair to say this, because it wasn’t ED’s fault, but I was the happiest guy in town when the terrain editor was announced. “Finally! Why did it take so long?” I thought, and immediately started digging for material (I know terrain meshes, since I also studied cartography. I know how to use a GIS and build terrain. I also have done a bit of terrain modelling for FSX). And then they said they won’t release it. Yay. I know it was RRG’s fault, it was still a disappointment that somehow sticks with ED. User generated content can give people something to play with while ED takes their time to do their things. I don’t understand at all why they want only registered 3rd parties having the terrain tools.

As for the stability: It works fine if there aren’t many players in the mission for a long time. Try flying on a server with more than ~12 players. I did that a few times and the game becomes increasingly unstable. Not every time, but there are some issues that start to appear. That’s a pity. I hope this also improves. If you try the ~30 that are advertised… well, let’s say it isn’t super-smooth.

And last but not least: It is hard to stay motivated and happy looking forward to the new version when it is said to be “very close” every four months, three times a year, for three years, and every time it gets postponed for another few months. I was very excited about EDGE in 2013…
I know how that must feel for the ED guys. I am a software developer and I also have been part of big projects that were postponed for years, then “finished” in a hurry and then sucked big time, so they were postponed again and then they were dropped completely or some disappointing parts were released.

That all being said: The discussions during the last few days made me a bit more positive again, but I am cautios to be really excited, because of DCSW 2.0’s history. I am hoping strongly for DCSW 2.0, and I really hope that you are right and I was bitching around for no reason at all. :smiley: