Mudspike AMA with Eagle Dynamics Senior Producer Matt Wagner

Originally published at: https://www.mudspike.com/mudspike-ama-with-eagle-dynamics-senior-producer-matt-wagner/

We’d like to thank Matt Wagner, Senior Producer with Eagle Dynamics, publisher of Digital Combat Simulator, for agreeing to participate in this Mudspike Ask Me Anything (AMA) question and answer session. All questions were submitted by Mudspike forum users. Some questions were combined with similar questions for brevity. Please note – the images accompanying this…

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WHOHOOO!

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Very interesting and lots of good info! Happy to see they are leaning towards the deeper side of things in regards to the Dynamic Campaign.

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While I appreciate the time Wags took to respond to my questions, I’m disappointed half the responses didn’t really apply to the questions asked.

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we know you guys need pictures accompanying text or you’ll wander off…

Laughs as he looks for the first picture. :slight_smile:

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Thanks to @wagmatt for taking the time to provide candid answers all of those questions. There is a lot to unpack there but it all makes me feel confident in the future of DCS.

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Huh, I didn’t get that at all. I’ll read it over again, but it seemed he was fairly candid. I especially liked his response on 90s sims and squadron management. They do seem to have their finger directly on the pulse of what most of us would like to see (I bet that unannounced plane will be F-111). Now it’s about execution and that is a big concern. Anybody have a few hundred million to donate? I swear if I was a billionaire I totally would…

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If I had a few hundred million, I’d buy my own jet. :slightly_smiling_face:

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No doubt. And pay a small country to blow it up.

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No, that’s not how it works.

I’d found the Glorious Dicatorship of Franzeistan, with blackjack and hookers, then have my own practice ranges!

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I’m speaking only to the four questions I posed, but:

Given current performance issues with ground AI pathfinding, especially with regards to server stability, what if any improvements are planned in preparation for the in work dynamic campaign?

This is an element that will require extensive testing and will be completely re-worked as we development the dynamic campaign. This will allow a huge number of units to inhabit a campaign and ensure stability.

Satisfactory Answer

Given current staffing decisions re: the Hornet and Falcon, how has the development of promised core improvements to DCS World (e.g. weather, ATC, ai improvement, Chizh’s recently announced missile re-re-rework, rate of bug fixes) been delayed by staffing demands for the protracted development of MAC?

Not a bit. The staff working on MAC, Hornet, Viper and other such products are different from those working on the core DCS World features.

I don’t quite believe the answer, but still, a direct answer to the question posed.

Why was development of the F-16 pushed so closely behind the Hornet when waiting another year would have provided a more mature feature repository to exploit?

Two reasons: we promised an early Autumn 2019 release, and we needed at least a two-week buffer before our big Autumn 2019 sale.

I didn’t ask why the F-16 was released in Autumn of 2019, I asked why development was begun in May especially considering the negative run on effects to existing modules. The response did not answer the question

What are the development statuses of the formerly Belsimtek Attack Choppers? Has the specific variant of the AH-1 been determined?

Belsimtek (BST) has not been in existence for a long time. BST was originally set up as a branch of Eagle Dynamics as a 3rd party example as a business practice. With the establishment of other 3rd parties, it no longer made sense to keep that staff under a separate entity. They were then merged back into Eagle Dynamics.

Much of our modern aircraft team is focused on the F/A-18C, F-16C, and Mi-24 Hind.

Again, I didn’t ask what happened to Belsimtek. I asked what the status of the Hind and AH-1 were, and what specific variant of the AH-1 had been settled upon. The response confirmed the Hind is in development, which is known, but did not speak to the state of development, the variant of the AH-1, or even if the AH-1 were still being developed. The response did not, at least in my opinion, suitably answer the question.

While I’m flattered all four of my questions were responded to, only two responses actually spoke to the content of the question.

It may be just me but I feel that the answers given provided information, either way.

It feels like the AH-1 is a ways off and the Mi-24 is closer. And I am not sure an answer to the F/A-18C/F-16C scheduling is going to provide us anything useful.

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Not to belabor the point, but my understanding is the objective of this exercise is to communicate information to the community and reduce ambiguity.

That we’re using words like “feels” after the large AMA as opposed to definitive statements sort of illustrates the point. We’ve known the Mi-24 has been a planned product since the UH-1H. The last definitive progress report was delivered when Belsimtek was an independent company. “Focused” is a term ED throws around a lot these days, and as the past few weeks have demonstrated encompasses a wildly disparate level of development efforts. This was a missed opportunity to clarify.

Likewise the AH-1 is another aircraft that was always mentioned as a paired release, like the Huey and Hip, Sabre and MiG, and F-5 to the third party Fishbed. That the AH-1 was desired is no secret, but which AH-1 has transformed with maddening regularity. Initially it was the AH-1G. Then there was non-dispelled rumor of an AH-1W before it was finally definitively set at an AH-1S… only for yet more ambiguity to erupt over which of the four AH-1Ss that meant. Wags himself passingly mentioned in his Hornet/Persian Gulf Q&A video that it was then an AH-1F. His non-answer here raises further questions on whether or not it is a focus. We are at a state of equal or greater ambiguity after the question than before, which to my mind is not a satisfactory answer.

“We haven’t begun serious systems work on the Mi-24, we haven’t decided which variant of the AH-1, and the AH-1 is not currently a focus” for example, is a perfectly acceptable answer.

Likewise, if they don’t want to discuss their SDLC decisions with regards to the Falcon:

would have been a more direct response than the one tendered.

I appreciate the effort Wags took to field questions and generate responses, I really do. At the same time, I feel like unforced communication errors like these go a long way towards generating both the truculent attitude and perception of malfeasance on the part of ED in the larger community, which in turn have ignited the greater PR imbroglio which seemingly begot this AMA in the first place.

If everyone else is satisfied, I’m glad for you. As for me, I found those two responses unnecessarily stultifying.

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Huh. Guess beauty is in the beholders eye. I found the answers quite clear and to the point. Sure there are a couple of evasions, but that is to be expected. Just doing a big fat “nope” is bad PR.

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Too bad about the Phantom. Seems like it’s in the same category as the AH-1(?), in that it’s on the forgotten back burner. Noticed that he didn’t say Heatblur or another 3rd party developer could do it. Maybe a little hope there?

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If Heatblur does one I want them to do an F-4J or F-4S. Would fit with their Forrestal as well as make use of Chester.

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I’m happy with the response I got. Thanks @wagmatt that was very cool to engage and answer questions like that.

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Yes. We will continue to update older content as DCS World grows, and part of that will be updating older aircraft modules like the Ka-50 and A-10C. While we will provide a free update version of these modules to existing owners, we will also provide more feature-rich versions of the module to new and existing users. These more feature rich versions will be offered to existing owners of the module at a substantial discount. Once the Ka-50 and A-10C updates are done, we’ll look at other aircraft to refresh. A big one for me would be an update to the F-5E for example.

A pay update for the A-10C is new.

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Expected though? I’m pretty sure as the stable of aircraft grows and the game engine changes that improvements to older aircraft would be a lot more work than a simple ‘refresh’ so that would need to be financed as it’s a pretty big ask to receive that work for Free.

I’m just glad the older aircraft aren’t being forgotten. That’s really cool to keep these things relevant as the sim expands.

One thing I was (probably needlessly) excited about was the transport and logistics mechanism getting a big overhaul. Hopefully this would pave the way for more logistics operations. I really like the idea of this in the sim

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Thanks to Matt and Mudspike for organizing this AMA. I really like the direction DCS is heading.

I have the impression that the AH-1 and F-4 were moved far into the future because of the yet unsolved problem of AI crew. Unsolved for ED at least, Heatblur took a big effort and took the lead in that department. It seems that the Huey and the Hind will be the prototypes for AI crew for ED, starting easy and progressing to subsequently more complex aircraft.

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