Rumours continue to fly about the availability of new third party aircraft coming to DCS World. Keeping track of everything is nearly impossible but two highly anticipated modules are inching their way towards being the next additions to the series so lets have a quick look.
RAZBAM and the AV-8B Harrier
It’s hard to tell which of the modules is more highly anticipated but RAZBAM’s Harrier is certainly high on the communities list. A US Marine Corp spec Harrier configured in the night attack role is what RAZBAM has focused on and with it comes a couple of firsts. First official flyable VTOL jump jet for DCS, first USMC specific aircraft, first aircraft to be capable of operating from assault carriers, and likely to be the first aircraft capable of performing SEAD operations that isn’t the Su-25T.
The hype for this aircraft has continued to climb as news came out that the aircraft had entered into internal testing at Eagle Dynamics.
Various mentions and comments from the RAZBAM team and other comments spread around by the community have increased the anticipation to a near fevered pitch. There are definite signs of progress as RAZBAM continues to provide a near constant stream of new screenshots showing off the module in testing with various features coming online and being made ready.
Heatblur and the F-14
The team behind the JAS-37 Viggen module for DCS is also working on the F-14. Actually its a different group within Heatblur (I’ve read) that has been doing the primary work on this.
Heatblur Simulations hasn’t been updating at quite the same pace as RAZBAM but they have still been busy showing some of the behind the scenes on the F-14 development. The Jester AI system is also unique among the modules and a critical component of development for the F-14 which requires that front/back teamwork between pilot and RIO to successfully fly and complete missions.
The latest update from Heatblur is that they are traveling from Stockholm to the United States to show their latest F-14 flight model off to some actual F-14 pilots and get their feedback on how the aircraft feels to fly.
The dangers of the hype train
There is no doubt a ton of excitement for both aircraft but the big problem here is the so called ‘hype train’ where updates, rumors and brief mentions can be interpreted in so many different ways. A comment like letting the ‘cat out of the bag’ may mean one thing to the developers while it means something else to some members of the community.
Furthermore, when a module looks as complete as the Harrier does and appears to have systems working the assumption is that everything is working. Many times what is being shown is working but other systems are incomplete or not even started yet. This mismatch between the assumed situation and the actual reality is causing some problems for some people.
All of this has lead to some disappointment when the module did not become immediately ready for early access. It leads to a situation where people are excited but then disappointed when it doesn’t become available for access leading to a situation where a relatively even level of development actually appears to be far too slow. Then the rumours really get out of control.
Get off the hype train
My advice is to get off the ‘hype train’ and enjoy the updates for what they are. Glimpses into the development of a module that is coming and coming reasonably soon. Soon should be interpreted in a matter of months rather than weeks. More importantly, both DCS and other sims out right now have ample content and while we always want more (myself included) its important to appreciate the wonderful things we already have.
Both the AV-8B Harrier and F-14 Tomcat module have been rumoured to be available before the end of 2017. Likely they will be in ‘early access’ mode at launch as many other modules have been and continue to be so there will be missing features and bugs to contend with. And of course… the ground continues to shift for DCS as DCS World 1.5 slowly winds down and DCS World 2.x takes shape with the 2.5 release and ultimate integration of all of the maps and modules finally happens.
We just have to be patient.