DCS World - Barriers to Entry?? (Myth Busted!)

Originally published at: http://www.mudspike.com/dcs-world-barriers-to-entry-myth-busted/

A flight sim veteran attempts to take a look at DCS World from a newcomer’s perspective, and finds a surprising amount of gameplay… Back to the Future This article was inspired by a post I read a few months ago on a social media site that I found both interesting and confounding. The post was…


Nice article Chris. Over the past year I have certainly been hooked despite being almost exclusively an offline player. DCS World has taken up the vast majority of my VR time because it is so well implemented. And yes, ahem, I have invested a small fortune into my DCS Hangar (I have all the modules now)… :scream:

Really enjoyed this Chris. The 25T was the starting point for me to really learn an aircraft, much as ED intended. Before that I had just dabbled, take off, land, fly around, quit. But I really wanted to learn the Vikhr sequence and get proficient with it so I mugged and tied up my ADD and really worked at the T. I can’t say enough about Robert Sogomonian’s 10 part Youtube training series here -

Really a master class on how to do a multi-part video deep dive into a DCS subject.

I was wondering why we were seeing you in the T lately…


Nice article @BeachAV8R

A lot of new users come to DCS World from Steam, in that they’ll find their way into the ‘Simulation’ tag and it’ll crop up on their News feed. Because the base is free to play a few hit ‘Install’ with no idea what it was. I spent about 3 years helping out at the Steam DCS World forums and, apart from the occasional death threat :wink: it was actually really interesting to see how experienced gamers, but new flyers, got their first taste of a flight sim. The most common questions were usually something like:

  • Do I need a joystick? This came up a lot. The best answer was either go for a cheap $20 stick or struggle on with a gamepad. I actually got pretty good on the Huey with an Xbox 360 controller, just to see what it would be like for a new user, and it is certainly possible. A lot of gamepad users don’t realize what people with ‘Halo thumbs’ can really do with one of those things. :slight_smile:

  • Why does it cost so much? People would get confused that a single ‘module’ was pretty much an entire old fashioned flight sim game. Some would come by, add up the entire DLC collection and then say they didn’t have $1200 to try it, and were we insane to pay that? It was the one and last similar aspect that DCS World and the Train Sim forum forums would have to deal with.

  • Why am I drifting left / Why do I crash going left / How do I win? The thing that was hard to get across with new DCS players was that it’s a multi-part series of steps, and if you don’t actually like the learning part then you’ll not going to have a good time. Learning to basically fly, then learning some systems and then getting good at the latter takes quite a while and it was hard to get across to people that it was the journey that was the fun rather than the destination. A lot of Steam games seemed easier than DCS World, that’s for sure.


Well, the issue with steam is everything is a game there, even the simulations. People see farm simulator and goat simulator and everything should just be easy. Even train sim isn’t “hard” once you learn the controls. Flying is can get easier, but it’s never simple, especially if you’re flying combat jets with a million switches. Same problem people have with X-plane because it doesn’t hold your hand.

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It should’ve been titled “Time Barriers to Entry??”. Anyone interested in combat flight sims and a lot of free time could have TONS of fun with DCS World for free! :+1:

I only wish DCS World existed when I had the time.


I’m similarly affected. I do hope to expand my multi-player participation this year.

Yeah - I still remember the first day I flew the Su-25T in Flaming Cliffs…the advanced flight model was so mind blowing. Feeling that thing sway and rock while taxiing - I knew that kind of physics was the future of flight simulation.

Hard to believe this was 12 years ago!

Wow…that’s a great library of information there!


That’s really cool. It certainly is a fun thing to watch someone take up the hobby. I’ve had the opportunity to introduce some of my friends to PC simulations…some took to it and for some the spark never really ignited anything. I think simulations in general appeal to a certain type of mindset - one that enjoys procedures and generally following along in a series to make something happen.

No kidding. Remember back 30 years ago when many of us were playing sims with keypads? I mean, I flew Sublogic ATP and Commodore 64 Flight Simulator II exclusively with keyboard commands. I was so fast on that numpad…using the DEL key to switch between flight and view modes, the 1 and 7 for the trim. I should probably have square fingertips…!

Yeah - and I think sometimes for people starting out, there is a tendency to want to over-mod their games. Whether it is ARMA, FSX, or DCS…I’m always amazed when I read a brand new person posting: “I just bought this game…what mods should I get for it??” Yes, mods can improve the initial feel of a game right off the bat, but lots of times the Vanilla game is quite good as is and perhaps people should just go ahead and dive in and play instead of becoming collectors of files. Of course, once it becomes your hobby, then I look at modding as to be no different than birding or photography - it’s what we do. The point being, you can flight sim for really cheap these days. Vanilla FSX/SE is still a fantastic sim with so much content, and it is regularly $4.99 on Steam.

100% agree. I’m a windsurfer…been doing it for about 20 years or more…and those first few months of learning were brutal. I mean, each day I’d go out, stand up, fall down. Swim my gear around to the right position. Stand up, pull the sail up, fall down. For days and weeks on end. Then one day, I finally got hooked in to the boom and got my feet in the footstraps on a perfect day…and Zen moment… I think flight sims can be the same way, and combat sims in particular. I’m a horrible online pilot and get shot down all the time. I mean, when I actually score an A2A kill, it is like a week-long celebration at my house. I’ve accepted that I’m horrible at it…but it is no less fun. But if you have an ego that gets bruised easily, it is easy to see how people get shot down a few times, grumble about how unrealistic it is, and quit to go play something else.

I agree. It has been fun to see some creative mission designers actually throw in some challenges that not related to killing swarms of bad guys. I think one of the first missions that really intrigued me was one called “Fletcher’s Hideout” (unfortunately, I can’t seem to locate it anywhere online) for the Ka-50. It was a multi-phase mission and part of it took place at very high altitude, where you were struggling with anti-ice and power available while engaging some targets…and it was just a masterpiece of tough flying and an intriguing mission design. To your point - the basics of flying are pretty easy, but there are lots of situations where it gets complicated. I really enjoy DCS missions (and FSX/X-Plane missions) that are challenging and make you think.

Yeah…time barriers abound here. I think I posted this several months ago - and it still holds true - I bought the Mirage last year and I still haven’t flown it other than maybe one takeoff. I just haven’t had a moment. Pretty much the same goes for the Gazelle - just haven’t had enough time to explore it.

I know right? When I was single, with no kids, there was a ton of time available. Of course, I was playing DCS back then under other names (LOMAC and Flaming Cliffs). And I was investing a lot time in sims like Jane’s F-15, F-18, Longbow 2, and EECH. Might be time for a “Blast from the Past” article!

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You can always have a good time with DCS. One doesnt have to go straight into the ‘deep waters’.

We usually forget that DCS has also the GAME mode. So the experience / learning curve are scalable.

None of them had flyable MiG-21 :wink:

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Hey, a very good article! I started with A-10 and never spent time with any of the free modules, but I agree that there is a lot of things to do and discover with no costs incurred. Having said that if you do start with any of the two, sooner or later you will be tempted to try another module. There is no escape… :slight_smile:

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