The future evolution of Flight Simming.

While I was browsin Eagle Dynamics forums I noticed some comments regarding how with the upcoming (F-14, F-18, DCS 2.5) or present releases (Harrier, Viggen) DCS World might become the dreaded “Falcon Killer”.

Personally I don’t think any Falcon killing is going to happen anytime soon but…
What would be the features that implemented in DCS would definitely make you forget the rest of the Flight MilSims?

A proper strategic and tactical metagame, ie a dynamic campaign.

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This, plus the ability to simulate theater sized battlefields and not just excerpts thereof.

And it all has to come together in multiplayer.

That’s a long shot, though.

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I very much agree with this.

Aircraft modules wont kill anything. Even the FSX will survive DCS F18, F14 release :wink:

The other question is: does DCS want to kill anything? It is litle diferent concept to Falcon. So they can live well in paralel for many years to come.

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I am waiting for the time, the F16 will make her appearance in DCS :star_struck:

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I really agree with everything written so far…

This is another question, as you put it.
Personally I don’t think Eagle Dynamics set up all this gig to kill anything. They definitely do this because they can and they are good at it.

Falcon 4.0 and DCS World share a lot in common, realistic flight envelope modeling, 3D clickable cockpit, realistic geographical setting, combined arms, Airfield operations, Multiplayer capabilities…

So far the only main difference between DCS and the Falcon series is the Dynamic Campaign.

The presence of a true fast moving multi-role aircraft is secondary, to me- as the realistic representation of all the modules available so far is truly unsurpassed but still down to personal taste.

That said, I’ll always be in love with the Falcon 3.0 / 4.0 / BMS series as it really made me a man out of a boy.
:stuck_out_tongue:

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The only thing that will kill falcon, is an F-111

Or

And

The small maps being delivered at present are not conducive to the above wants, so therefore, decent sized maps would be required. Otherwise i wouldn’t stick more than 25% fuel on the old…

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Of course… :grin: I’m not even surprised you said that.

EDIT: Actually you’re not even that much off- consider that one advantage DCS has over Falcon is that they are introducing multicrew. In certain airframes it’s already working.

I think dcs is really taking off in terms of modules and what you can do with modules. The last part of that sentence is key i think for the future.

As modules progress, to me at least, its becoming obvious that the “world” they live in needs to “grow” as well.

We all know the “dynamic campaign” debate, and honestly, the time is now to start future proofing DCS’s world to take advantage of these wonderful modules and to keep DCS fresh enough for sustained replay ability.

Again replay ability of dcs is at the moment only down to the excitement of new modules. A lot of old timers play the heck of new modules for the first week or two, then go off playing things like stationeers :wink:

But that is an important point. Modules are great, they really are and i am so pleased that dcs is now taking off in that regard. However it also has to be said how well dynamics of a single environment can and has created longevity in a sim. That goes to falcon.

I know falcon has a few theaters, but c’mon, it doesn’t take a medium or fortune teller to know that dynamicism (maybe not a real word) in a playing environment is the real keeper of a playerbase.

Get the dynamics of a whole war in there is the key. With that done, fixes like ai missiles, radar logic etc would be a welcomed second.

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QFT + rep + /thread

BMS is a great sim, and they have done an amazing job of keeping it alive, but the terrains are so bad, I can’t play it. Part of what draws me in to flying sims is the suspension of disbelief and feeling like I’m actually in the cockpit flying a jet. And all of the immersion gets wrecked as soon as I look out the canopy in BMS.

I’ve never played the dynamic campaign more than a couple missions, but it did feel like an actual war was going on, and not some sterile airspace with a few units operating. This is DCS biggest downfall, I hate doing missions where I already know exactly every threat is and what they are. Some of the mission scripts are getting close to a dynamic level, but they are still limited to trigger zones and actions, there is no AI commander script that I know of.

So I don’t think one will ever destroy the other, they both satisfy different needs for users within the same genre.

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@Bogusheadbox really hit the nail on the head but there’s a few things I want to add.

I often joke that BMS is a combat flight sim and DCS is a screenshot generation machine that sometimes lets you experience a module’s feature reel with highly scripted missions.

The bedrock DCS is built upon is coming a long way, but right now if I had one to fifteen other players and a couple hours to burn I could boot Falcon, start a new dynamic campaign, and immediately begin the planning and execution of a strike package in the context of a greater theatre of operations. DCS is years away from that.

What would DCS need to “kill” BMS? Off the top of my head:

  • A majority of maps sized to be strategically significant (NTTR sized or larger)
  • More maps placed in classic modern conflict zones
  • Detailed in-situation scenario planning, especially in multiplayer, with aircraft loadouts, data-cartridge settings, bullseye, steerpoints, target points, etc.
  • Mission persistence & stability with large numbers of assets (So servers like Blue Flag and Through the Inferno didn’t have to reboot every 2 hours)
  • AI capable of responding to dynamic scenarios, or at least an AI “puppetmaster” feature.
  • Better Air Traffic Controller, GCI, AWACS, and JTAC logic & radio comms
  • A full systems depth F-16 or comparable multi-role fighter. (see note)

Note: Before you scream “HORNET!”, it’s going to be nowhere close to that on release with the biggest crutch being the lack of air-to-ground radar.

But even if you could snap your fingers and get all those features magically tomorrow… I still don’t think that would cause me to uninstall Falcon. There’s well-kept and regularly updated theatres in Falcon for the Balkans, NTTR, Northern Europe (80’s and modern), Israel (80’s and modern) and Kuriles to name a few, with authentic units and equipment lovingly maintained.

DCS is a great tech demonstrator with a lot of potential, but until the tools are there the fundamental experience will be flicking back and forth between F-10 wondering where the heck you are and where the game decided to spawn those tanks you want to blow up.

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I wish someone would “kill” Falcon. Wouldn’t we all like to see it being superseded by something even better? Campaign gameplay in flightsims has been so stagnant it is truly amazing. If someone had told me in 1998 that Falcon 4.0 would remain the unmatched campaign standard for the next 20 years, I wouldn’t have believed it. After all its DC was made to run on an Intel Pentium 200!

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All realistic points of view, @Gunnyhighway, @AeroMechanical and @MBot!
This discussion is progressing much better than I hoped!

Pretty much this.

For me the biggest point is a realistic simulation environment.
And the biggest parts for that are weather (including thermic effects and proper cloud types as well as impact of rain or snow on sensors, view and flight models, visible icing and so on) map size, AI, ATC, and realistic assets which includes fragmentation and blast damage on bombs, sensors working closer to reality (new FLIR and radars) and the most common air defense systems of a given time and so on.

Add a somewhat well done dynamic campaign. The one in Falcon is… meh. Better than nothing and I think ED should reach at least that level.

To further illustrate my point with a story…

@fearlessfrog and I tried to do some Harrier’ing on Through the Inferno last night. I load up a gunpod and some Mavericks, we get the jets started, realize simple radio is borked, ignore it, and press onwards, guessing which runway is the active because the ATC can’t be bothered to answer us.

5 minutes after taking off I realize I am FAST- checking the stores page it’s revealed that I actually have nothing on my jet because the ground crew decided to ignore my rearm request. We wheel back around towards Nellis and land, I get refitted, and take-off again.

5 minutes after that I’m ‘heads down’ in the F-10 map trying to decipher where the action is based on server messages that fade out after 5 seconds and where our friends are when fearless gets Buk’d by an SA-11 which inexplicably spawned, activated, and launched miles upon miles behind our lines.

As I circle in attempting to avenge him, I think I get a lock, but I’m unable to select INS/Mavericks with my castle switch due to a double-bind/control conflict flag and I then crash my jet trying to fix that at low altitude.

What I’m getting at here is that in DCS, any mission that’s not meticulously edited and tested before play turns into a giant cluster-you-know-what. If you want a grand-scale mission each player is more or less handed a script to act out, and if they deviate from it the mission turns into this:

So, let’s be realistic though- the generation of a dynamic campaign system that basic is what caused Microprose to die a slow, agonizing death.

It’s not perfect, but it’s a reliable way to create a scenario where there’s a lot of traffic other than you behaving in a fashion that’s believable enough to be immersed. If that’s easy to do why has nobody else done it?

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Falcon 4 was by any measure a outlier and not something that is likely to repeat itself, the Dynamic Campaign more so. It has been tried multiple time since, either by external parties(mission makers/modders) or by companies themself. None reached the popularity of Falcon 4, and I doubt it’s for a lack of want/trying.

Well, it�s just really hard to do. Looking back on it, I think the only reason we took on what we did is because we were too inexperienced to know better. Knowing what I do now, even given my experience on Falcon, the cost to develop such an engine would be substantial. Since flight sims don�t bring in that kind of revenue companies look at it from a cost to benefit standpoint and Dynamic Campaigns score pretty low in that regard. There is also the argument that scripted missions are more interesting which has some merit. I think if I were to do it over I would do a mix of scripted/generated missions, so that the player still feels like they�re involved in the world, but there is also some variety thrown in to keep things interesting.

Another interesting tidbit on Falcon 4:

Did you ever find out the cost of development of Falcon 4.0 (approximately) ?

I honestly don�t know. I could make a guess given my industry knowledge but it would only be a guess. I suspect that in the end MicroProse did not make money on Falcon 4.0 however. This is not to say that flight simulators are entirely unprofitable, it�s just that this one in particular had a much higher than average development cost.

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Being a software guy myself I agree it is far from simple. I still think now it is probably easier than back then. Perhaps someone should try. A DCS level plane model isn’t exactly cheap or easy either.

And yes I could do without it. With a better scripting engine it would be easier to script missions that don’t fail too easily.
I have stopped making complex DCSW missions in 2013 or so because I was so fed up with that, and requests and suggestions by me and many more qualified people were completely ignored.
I see it improve in the meantime but it is still not satisfactory and missions are a nightmare to debug.

My hat is off to all the guys who make good missions because I know how hard those are to pull off. And even the best ones can often be utterly destroyed with one or two actions at the wrong time or a weird AI glitch.
Frameworks like Moose fix some stuff but to be honest those are still band aids and cumbersome to use.

Sad.

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RE dynamic campaign

It may have been pertinent in the day, but I honestly think today is a different beast.

Its been done before, and for free. Take scorched earth for il2 over a decade ago.

I also fail to see how it can be a certainty for financial bankruptcy.

Hell FSX is still raking in bucket loads of money and many businesses have and are still making their livelihoods off that old and seriously defunct code.

Also take into consideration that things like star citizen can raise over 120 million on nothing more than a website and tech demo.

I beg to you that those old notions that a dynamic campaign can’t be made due to financial reasons are as outdated as the notion of witchunting where submerging a restrained woman decided on whether or not she was guilty.

Its ludicrous.

The money is there in games, hell we even buy with fervour unfinished concepts . The competition is almost non existent. The talent in the community is amazing.

For instance, those that followed KSP, a proportion of what is there in base game has been community mods added because they are so good.

I would put a large sum of money down as a bet, that if dcs released a sdk to a select few, that a community made dynamic campaign would be alive within a relatively short period of time.

I Don’t believe for one instance that a dynamic campaign is economically unviable.

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