Should I wait on DCS?

Hey all - long time lurker here. I haven’t picked up a flight sim in at least 10 years, but I was an avid simmer in the Jane’s days and was pretty heavy into LOMAC in the early aughts. I’m finally at a point that I’m ready to pull the trigger on DCS and all that accompanies - Gaming computer, HOTAS, Pedals, - and I find myself with cold feet all of a sudden. I feel like while DCS has grown leaps and bounds since I first started following the ED forums in 2014, it seems like for every advance in the game and module that comes out, the same core issues keep people unhappy. I realize that hoggit can become a pile-on at times, but I wanted to see if the complaints about ground units, AI, core engine stability, system recs for graphics/VR, etc… were enough that it would make you second guess getting into DCS if you were starting from scratch? I have not played DCS yet, so I can’t speak to any of it. I really enjoy the conversation about all sims here and value this group’s opinion. Thanks!


hi and welcome CornerHouse!

I dont play DCS that often and if I do I dont dive deep (mostly MP in cold war jets or some helo flights).

but if I may recommend something, I would encourage you or anyone else to try it out first as DCS is free to play with two maps Caucasus and Marianas and two aircrafts TF51 and Su25T.

plus DCS offers additional free to play program on top of that where you can try for free any module for the duration of two weeks.

it could be definitively hard to try without computer which could run DCS acceptably. there is that.


Welcome to Mudspike @CornerHouse !

I play DCS since… uh… it was born, with DCS A10, and before that Lomac and many more before that.

You actually are in the best possible condition to enjoy DCS.
First of all it has a nice component absolutely free: Two maps (Caucasus and Marianas Island), a prop plane (the unarmed/civilian version of the majestic P-51), and a more modern russian Su-25.
Above all what it gives you is the complete Editor suite to create your own missions (you can put in all sorts of planes, ships, helicopter, ground forces, etc. for the computer to use against or with you, even those you don’t own yet).

While this can be a very cumbersome tool it’s also very powerful and with the help of us here at Mudspike you can find a wealth of already prepared missions to enjoy.

This is more than enough to stress test your machine and the game too…
Prepare to lose a few hours setting up and refining the HOTAS configuration and keyboard shortcuts! :smiley: Not to mention the control axis tweaking!

The really impressive part is that within DCS you can also take part of free trials- that means you can activate any module for two weeks at absolutely zero cost.

The limitation is that once the two weeks run out- you must wait six months before re-activating that same module for free…

With this, trust me, you have literally access to everything for an impressively low initial cost- mostly only your free time and bandwidth to download all the goodness.

In case you have any doubt, fire away!
We are ugly, but friendly! :wink:

(Well I am ugly but friendly)

EDIT: Sorry @NEVO I saw your post after I posted mine! :sweat_smile: I essentially only repeated what you said…


this is definitely an investment. if the setup will serve also for other sims then I would say go for it as there are many good sims out there. if it is only for DCS then I would be cautious. but thats just me :slight_smile:

Depending on which modules are of interest and the fidelity you desire, you don’t need a HOTAS. With the exception of the A-10C at the moment I can pretty much fight any module in DCS with a single stick twist grip (and honestly the only reason I leave out the A-10C is that I am so out of practice it wouldn’t matter if I did have my HOTAS I’d still be confused). The Harrier, Hornet, and even the F-16 are all perfectly fightable without a HOTAS, you just have to remember a few key binds. The helos are totally flyable with a twist grip (just make sure to enable pedal trim), and I have been doing a lot of rotary flight to get back into it for the release of the apache.

System spec wise, it all depends on what you are planning to be doing. VR? 8K, 4K, 1080, 1024? At 1080 the game runs extremely smoothly even on older hardware like a mobile 2070.

Just like many others, I’ve been involved since LOMAC, and honestly DCS still has a few warts from its origins. The AI still isn’t the smartest sometimes, it can take a lot of scripting to get them to do what you want potentially. The ground combat isn’t high fidelity necessarily, the campaign/mission system still is fairly bare bones in terms of immersion. The EW modeling is still lacking, and they are just starting to really address some long standing FLIR issues.

With that said, DCS is by far the highest fidelity option for air combat across the broadest range of platforms. Yes, the latest version of Falcon covers the F-16 just as deep (or deeper), but beyond that I doubt anyone has a better simulation of any of the modules out there. It is gorgeous, immersive, and about as high fidelity as you’re going to get.




It is human nature to weight the negatives more than the positives , and within forums there is a problem bias in that people who are happy don’t post as much as those seeking help .

DCS in VR is nothing less than a godsend to those of us who are long-term flightsimmers .

I might add that until you master the mission editor , you can simply re-arm in an instant-action mission such as “ready on the ramp” or “cold start” , then go blow up whatever you wish . Very helpful for learning weapons deployment .


DCS was Born with Blackshark, A-10C was second


but in better detail :ok_hand:

I’ve been into DCS for many years starting with A-10C in 2012. My interest in the sim was pretty casual back then. Around 2016 I started playing DCS more and more. Now its a serious obsession. The constant development of the sim over the years has kept me interested.

Now is a great time since there are many excellent aircraft modules and maps to play with. There are of course some bugs and it can be frustrating at times on how long it takes ED to fix them. That hasn’t ever stopped my enjoyment of the sim though.

Two things I would recommend to someone just getting in to DCS-

1.) Learn the mission editor. I personally enjoy making my own scenarios almost as much as flying in the sim. I think the mission editor is one of the best things about DCS.

2.) Don’t jump straight into VR. Getting VR running properly takes a huge amount of effort and can be extremely frustrating. Get yourself a nice 32-inch 1440p display and TrackIR to start off.


Yes, but I’m biased! :smiley:

Welcome to the Forums @CornerHouse!!

I will echo what others have said, it is well worth getting into. try the free version, not only will it tell you if you like it but if your PC will run it to your liking.

AS for a HOTAS no need to go off the deep end I have a X56 which it half the price of a THrustmaster warthog and covers all my needs. Also for my LOMAC and early DCS days i used this trusty stick
Logitech G Extreme 3D Pro Joystick

I will say this though buy ONE plane you want and learn it, Do not buy all at once and try to learn them all. It will destroy the experience.

Flaming Cliffs 3 could also be a starting point as they are easier and quicker to fly but not as in depth systems wise. $50 USD gets you 6 planes or you can buy each plane individually for $15 USD. Seeing as you were heavy into LOMAC Flaming cliffs 3 is LOMAC upgraded.

If you like learning new in depth systems DCS is the right place for you. In covers a lot of eras too. And IMHO the best is yet to come.

So try it out, buy a plane, come here and ask questions, and then wait for a sale to buy more!!

FC3 is great bang for the buck and lets you see how DCS works. The only thing you don’t get is the intricate systems modeling of the major planes, which you can jump into once you decide that’s what you want.


“Should I Wait On DCS?”
No. I’ve been playing DCS for years and am still waiting [for various things] - it’s evolving, and always will

I can’t add much to what others have said but this ^^^ is frustrating, yes.

So, do you like long walks on the beach?..oops, wrong thread…

If you have a collection of air combat YouTube videos in a playlist; numerous books of same in your library; have ever built model airplanes (to include running around the house making jet noises) then, yeah, go for it.

If you are “in” to air combat realism you already know it; DCS/BMS are all there is (DCS/VR, or BMS/non-VR) so if you can afford it go for it.

IMHO, as a VR-only user, it’s the only game in town for a detailed combat flight sim of historical aircraft. I play it like a complex module in a civilian sim (Xplane FS-etc, take your pick) but I can blow stuff up. All while getting the sense of ‘being there’ [in VR].

If it wasn’t for VR I’d say go with Falcon BMS. Both are going to be complex to use (PC system, controls, simulated platforms, etc). This usually equals expensive and time consuming, relatively speaking. More akin to a high-fidelity racing simulation, though those are somewhat less hassle.

There are ‘moments’ in DCS where I’m like, “Wow”. And I’ve been a combat flight sim junkie since the mid-80’s - it’s my only ‘vice’ :slight_smile: .

Then there are those times that make me want to scream in frustration. After a while you figure out work-arounds.



And thank goodness for Lua scripting. Another ‘hobby’ now for me.

Without any ME, ick - would get really boring, really fast.

Good point. I’d not thought about that angle.

Personally I’m not playing DCS without it but I have years of virtual air under my butt. For a beginner - yeah, an extra, unnecessary, knot to untangle.

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Perhaps it would be helpful to hear from a DCS doubter.

I never really bonded with DCS. The game looked great and the potential systems depth was impressive. But the lack of any reason to be there and some curious AI behavior had always kept me away.

I reengaged recently and, while I think it’s important for you to be honest with yourself about how important campaign and AI are to you, I think DCS has really matured into at least a fascinating sandbox sim where mastering the aircraft has become something of a game in and of itself.

Additionally, as has been mentioned by the good gentlemen above, the mission editor and the recently released third party campaign generator, have made some definite strides towards giving you that reason to be there that I found lacking earlier.

And I can say that, while making a quality scenario may require a good bit of effort, even a CHUD like me can make a basic mission without too much screaming.

But the most important virtue of DCS for me has become the feel of the sim. I have some time in tactical aviation and the general experience of flying these aircraft comes hauntingly close to what I remember from my military days. Certainly, there are disconnects where something doesn’t work quite as it should (or I suspect that it should in the case of aircraft that I haven’t flown), but the general sense that the aircraft behave as their real life counterparts do has become pretty compelling since the early days of sim aviation.

I think the suggestions here are valid. Stick your toe in for free or with a module that intrigues you, keep it cheap for the moment and see it there is enough to warrant further investment down the line.

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with however you approach it. For a long time, I found DCS to lack that something that would drag me in, and I’m only a dabbler still.

But I’ve enjoyed my time in the sim and don’t feel that my investment was wasted.

Good luck, and good hunting!




I’ve spent months adding that reason to be there. In short I call it “atmosphere”. Had I not had a background in coding (decades ago it was but it’s coming back to me) I’d feel kind of stuck with just mastering the platform as you mention. That’s good fun and all but I need the World part of DCS “World”. Just easier for me to assemble a system than deal with that thing called a Mission Editor. Just my opinion of course.

Admittedly I’m a lil off the deep end when it comes to these things.

Agree completely. I’m not a pilot but that’s what I say to others that ask why I like it (over others) - it feels like I’m ‘moving’ a thing in 3D space, with mass and inertia I suppose.


For me DCS is not so much a game as ‘a place to be’. I fly exclusively in VR. Often in short bouts, doing just simple runs of simple scenarios. Like a 2v2 low level gun fight or the F-16 canyon run.

DCS is not, in my opinion, a game in and of itself. You can play with it, and it is certainly meant as entertainment, but it doesn’t have certain structures that make a game a game such as predefined goals and structured progression within a defined rule space.

It is more akin to a bunch of model airplanes to marvel at. And run through the house going neeeeooow with.

I love it to bits. It is my main hobby, I spent almost all my disposable on it. It’s my happy place.

Sure it has warts. The AI sucks. Performance is never perfect. There’s always bugs and development can seem glacial. But for what it’s worth, I am very happy with the way ED have been moving forwards the last couple years. We truly live in a golden age of flight simming.

Luckily the stuff you get to enjoy DCS also is good for things like Il2, Flying Circus, Elite Dangerous, etc. A powerful PC has many uses.


This is something that I feel too, until something happens and then BAM all of a sudden you have three new modules released and a new map!

Admittedly it happens every … uh … 5 years so but still… Dat dopamine high!


I was testing the new FLIR yesterday. Shot a maverick at the lead tank of a convoy. It stood put nicely, being far hotter than its surroundings. It blew up and his buddies fanned out and sat defensive for a while.
As they sat still, they cooled, becoming harder and harder to pick out in IR.
Then they fired up their engines to resume their march, became bright spots again and the rockets flew sure!

Amazing. Took a few years but wow. At last.

Can’t wait to see the results of the underlying code refactoring they’re working on the enable multiple cpu cores to be used and the Vulcan graphics API. Or the recoding of AI flight models and their behaviour. But it’ll take time. In the meantime, wow new FLIR!