Random DCS thought/questions

Do you use the F5 view to find aircraft and while dogfighting?

Is there an option to lock the pilots view to the nearest aircraft in the F1 view?

Will JHMCS combined with this view option mean insta death for the enemy?

I really try not to- ruins the immersion.

Yes and this is typically enforced in any competitive MP server like Blue Flag or DDCS.

I’m not really sure why there’s controversy over JHMCS / 9X ruining the “balance” of DCS… it’s a combat flight simulator. Visual range air to air in the modern era is swift and deadly. If you want dogfights, restrict equipment to what was available in 1989. Shrug

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Yes, yes, and no. I use F5 where possible because I’m typically facing the AI who have all kinds of cheats when it comes to detecting me, so I want every advantage I can get against them. It’s not surefire because it only works within a relatively short distance. In multiplayer, were I not deaf and could use comms effectively with wingmen, I’d probably not use it much at all. As it stands, since I have to lone wolf it, I’ll often use it to keep track of friendlies and enemies, if available. If it’s not there then it’s not the end of the world, but my ability to detect and evade attacks is significantly reduced. Not that it would help much because those flying Flankers and Fitters pretty much leave their radars off and use IRST anyways, coupled with the fact I fly Harrier mostly and when loaded down with ordnance usually means I can’t defend myself regardless.

I used to, until I had a TrackIR. After I got one I stopped doing it.

No, it’s an immersion killer. As I never use it, I hope there is a server setting to disable it.

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Most of the PvP servers turn it off. Most PvE servers leave it on.


Enforced on or enforced off?


Interesting. That pretty much gives players with VR and, to a lesser degree, TrackIR, an advantage in dogfighting against those that do not. Note I don’t say an “unfair” advantage… “all’s fair in love and war” and all that. Interesting.

Kinda-sorta. Even with TIR, you still have to spot the aircraft, and that’s actually pretty hard in DCS.

I’ve used that “padlock” view in flight sims since USNF 97 or whatever it was called. I justify it by saying the real pilot has way more SA than me, this is how I even the playing field. I understand MP servers turning it off, just like turning off external views in general.

Not questioning a balancing issue either. I don’t believe in “balancing” a combat simulator. War isn’t about being fair. It’s about winning so you can go home. I was just curious if you could hit a button to lock your view to the target, uncage, rinse and repeat in rapid succession. Would be entertaining watching the pilots head jump all over the place launching 9Xs everywhere in a furball.

For me, it’s faster to use TIR to do that. Su-33 with the HMD and R73 can become a lock-unlock fest; JHCMS is similar, just that I don’t have to lock a target first.

I only play against AI (I lost interest in playing against people in any and all types of PC games around the time Saddam was captured) so I have zero qualms about using any and all aids because the AI cheats in every flight sim out there to some degree. Combine that with my personal feelings on whether or not a given mission is properly balanced/fair/realistic I like having the option to toggle them on and off at will.

I’ve had a TIR 4 since shortly after its release but I still use padlock because the AI never loses sight of you.

For example, my eyes aren’t all that great anymore since I passed 45 (they were pretty good thanks to LASIK before then) so my ability to spot a few pixels on the ground that represent an enemy AD unit is pretty poor. In reality, I would not be a combat pilot. I would not pass the tests. But I’m flying for entertainment, so I’m playing AS a pilot with good eyes who WOULD see that enemy AD unit. So I use assists to make it as easy for me to find the target as a good pilot in a real plane.

Needless to say, I am highly annoyed by missions where those aids are disabled, and while I don’t know much about the mission editor I know enough to go into a mission and turn them all back on.

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That is at the core of it. In real life I can see a jet several Nm away…back in my salad days, sometimes more than 10 Nm away. There are a number of reasons for that but the underlying reason is that I am not looking for a very few pixels in a bunch of pixels where all the pixels are the same size.

I am looking for a bunch of photons of reflected light coming of the surface of the aircraft against what, on clear days, our eyes/brains interpret as a solid background. Our eyes are sensitive enough to discern that there is a shape out there, even when we consciously cannot determine the exact shape.

(This would be the part where we discuss haze and camouflage and how they impact our ability to see things at a distance…let us consider that as completed and move on :slightly_smiling_face:)

So in my mind, little “cheats” like padlocking or the blue/red labels are required to overcome the limitations of a digital display as opposed to the analog real world.

That said, the rules of the game (i.e. BlueFlag) are the rules of the game…no puling here! :sunglasses:


Honestly, I’d really like to see an option in the icons to allow for a kind of color-neutral icon obscured by cockpit frames, etc. and being slightly more visible than the no-dot we have now. IL2 had a similar setting that was just basically a dot that got a little more obnoxious as the aircraft got closer and was adjustable in singleplayer and server side.

They had those for a while three years ago. The VR crowd thought they were too hard to see, the 2D crowd didn’t like that on lower resolutions you could see a fighter at 40 miles, and the hard core crowd didn’t like that hey existed.

No one could agree on how big was enough, everyone agreed they wanted something different, and the option was ultimately removed.


The option in IL2 was heavily customizable, to include fade-in options as well as distance. For multiplayer, the server could adjust when and where they came in, how visible they’d be, and so on. It was a good balance I think. The DCS dot icon is pretty close in functionality, though it of course is visible through the cockpit as well as marking friendly vs enemy.

This topic always seems to turn venemous and I’m not entirely sure why. The resolution problem is a whole lot better than it was 10 years ago and displays are only getting better. The new shaders and lighting since 2.5 came out I think have greatly improved visibility versus 1.5 or 2.0 for aircraft since their shadowing/lighting isn’t necessarily flat against a flat background anymore.

As resolutions and rendering techniques improve it’s only going to get better. I’m excited! The current system takes a bit of practice and of course isn’t quite like real life but it’s good enough that handicaps don’t make much sense in a PVP setting, in my opinion.

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From what I recall in my IL2 days, a lot had to do with the variances in eyesight, young vs old, etc. There’s no doubt that if you’re one of the younger guys with good eyes (not to mention more time), you’ll readily outpace the guy who’s older and has to wear glasses. So on one hand, you have some folks who say “I’ll never be a fighter pilot and I need some aids to help make up for it” while on the other you have “lol git gud scrub” (I’m exaggerating, but you get the point). As graphic quality increases, this becomes more of an issue rather than less of one and I think that’s especially true when dealing with modern jet combat where speed, acceleration, and altitude are far greater than they were historically. It puts a much greater mental strain on an already limited physical one, because the classic rule of whoever sees the other first has already won half the battle.

My perspective is that there’s no “right” or “wrong” way to play, just ways to play. I won’t chastise someone for playing in a way that they find enjoyable, but I may not enjoy it in the same way they do. For example, I used to use easy comms all the time, but now use realistic comms after playing a few servers that had it forced. I think it’s a fair compromise to allow players to tune their experiences and play with those like-minded, because that doesn’t hurt my experience. And sometimes, it’s fun to try it out, if only for a bit, to see what they like about playing that way. However, in the competitive side of the house, it’s easier to say “lol scrub oly beat me cuz icons on” than to admit that someone else might be a better player than they are. I wouldn’t know much about that because so far my PvP experiences have been getting repeatedly trounced by Flankers using IRST and leading Bugs to the slaughter in a Flanker by drawing them into an SA-6 site’s kill box. It’s not really my cup of tea nowadays, so I tend to shy away from it.

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Isn’t this always where things start going wrong?