The conversation in the DCS community has been one of some confusion and varying viewpoints recently. There’s a lot of misinformation out there and more than a little cynicism but there’s also a lot to be excited for and hope for and that was the overall message from Matt Wagner and the rest of the Eagle Dynamics team.
Read the message in full
Before I jump into a little analysis on the message I think people should go dive straight in and read the message in full first. I’ll do a bit of a TL;DR on the points that I think are key but I do think the whole message is worth reading.
The key message: DCS WWII doesn’t take away from DCS modern aircraft projects
The biggest contention in flight sim communities is developers and their focus. Sims take a long time to put together and developers need to focus on certain priorities, small numbers of aircraft, and certain features otherwise they will never be finished. You can have a lot of planes, highly complex high-fidelity planes, or graphically detailed planes but you can’t have all three.
Naturally the community likes to debate on just what a small sim developer should focus on. Everyone has their pet aircraft or system that they are more interested in than the other items and while some will be happy some of the time with decisions made – nobody will be happy all of the time.
The biggest issue is sometimes communicating what parts of the team are working on what things. Resources spent building one project don’t necessarily mean that progress isn’t being made in full on another project. It depends on the artists and programmers involved.
I think this is the key point of the messaging today: Work on things like DCS: WWII haven’t necessarily taken away from efforts made towards the modern side of the sim or the business and they have been a necessary space for newer members of the team to get started before they take on more challenging modern aircraft.
From the statement:
Many of our new programmers and artists are responsible DCS World War II. They are separate from our main project (like the F/A-18C) developers, and they are not involved with the modern aircraft development efforts. Otherwise, it would not be practical/efficient to develop aircraft like the F/A-18C with staff split between projects. Also, DCS World War II is a great “school” for new programmers before they take on extremely complicated Modern Air Combat projects.
Another key point is that development is expensive and work on the DCS WWII modules have apparently provided the team with a much needed source of added income. According to the statement, WWII modules have twice the cost effectiveness as their modern counterparts so DCS: WWII sales have gone in part towards financing other projects.
Similarly, something like the Yak-52 that has generated so much discussion recently is a professional contract that helps bring in revenue to Eagle Dynamics so they can keep doing what they do. And we want them to keep doing what they are doing. I do at least!
Some other points of interest
We also learned some interesting new information today in the announcement along with a great summation of what some of the third parties are up to.
Let’s start with third parties:
- AV-8B Night Attack S/VTOL (RAZBAM)
- F-14 Tomcat (Heatblur)
- FC-17 (Deka Ironworks)
- F-4E Phantom II (Belsimtek)
- Mi-24P Hind (Belsimtek)
- Bo-105 (MilTech-5)
This may have been the first time that Matt Wagner or any official source has confirmed that Deka Ironworks’ FC-17 module is officially coming for DCS.
Matt also hints at Eagle Dynamics plans for future products:
Right behind the Hornet, we have other modern, combat fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft ready for development within the Eagle Dynamics internal studio.
This is clearly directed at comments that Eagle Dynamics aren’t planning to do anything after Hornet or that they aren’t going to be doing work on modern combat aircraft. Speculation is of course intense on what might be next. An F-16? A MiG-23/27? There are lots of different thoughts out there.
We also learned that the Vulkan API, a competitor for DX11/12 and potentially a faster way to render graphics on modern graphics cards, is being worked on for the DCS engine. I haven’t seen Vulkan get a full workout yet but DCS may be a good opportunity to find out how that renderer might work.
Finally, it appears that DCS World 2.5 might finally be arriving on the scene and that its release is potentially only weeks away. Here’s that quote:
Having a great looking game is moot if it does not perform well. It’s important to understand that a graphics engine is not only a Scene Renderer, but the terrain creation tool technology is equally important. This is the main reason why we could not merge DCS 1.5 Caucasus and 2.1 Terrains for such a long and regretful time. To do this, we first need to convert all the terrains, missions, training, and campaigns that were developed over many years for Caucasus map to an absolutely new terrain data structure and adjust all applied programs. We’ve put a massive amount of work into this effort and it is almost complete. We plan to release DCS World 2.5 in the coming weeks!
This is of course exciting news that the finally merged version of DCS World is coming with 1.5 finally being retired and a whole new Caucasus map being introduced into the series. This would mark a watershed moment for the series as it can finally move forward on a single platform and players can finally integrate their experience on the Nevada, Normandy, Caucasus and other maps in the future.
And now we wait to see just how soon the new Caucasus map and DCS World 2.5 may arrive on the scene. Does a matter of weeks mean the infamous “two weeks” or perhaps just under a month? A December release just before the holidays would no doubt be welcomed by many simmers.