Eagle Dynamics made a big public statement today and within that statement there was one nugget of information that should have fans of DCS very interested. According to Eagle Dynamics DCS World 2.5 is coming in a matter of weeks. What is DCS World 2.5 and what does it mean for the future of the series? Let’s have a look!
What is DCS World 2.5?
DCS has been operating as a module based system for several years now with a core set of systems that then expand outward encompassing terrain, vehicles, objects, cities and of course flyable aircraft and helicopters.
The thing that took DCS World above and beyond previous iterations was having that core set of systems that governed everything. The problem was that the early versions of DCS World were based on what came before: Lock On: Modern Air Combat, the Flanker series, and more recently the Su-25T and Ka-50. All of those lead the series up to the initial release and follow up releases of DCS World. But the series needed to expand and expand it has.
The biggest problem of the original DCS World iteration is that it was locked into a single map. It had reached its limits and it was time to build something new. Eagle Dynamics has been busy building DCS World 2.0 for quite some time now. The release of DCS: Nevada in 2015 started the first steps towards a whole new DCS World.
The Nevada map was the showcase for DCS World 2.0 and the changes that were coming to the series from there. Systems like the deferred lighting system and the physics based rendering have improved the look of the new engine.
Despite the increases in detail I find that Nevada and DCS World 2 run more smoothly than DCS World 1.5 does in some of the same complex situations. Clearly there are some under the hood changes that affect the way that the sim bogs down or doesn’t under some more demanding situations.
Visually, DCS World 2.5 is far more impressive than earlier and that is really highlighted by a series of screenshots that Eagle Dynamics has released over the years including this one. You’ll note the same location on the revamped Caucasus map in DCS World 2.5 on the top and DCS World 1.5 on the bottom.
Greater depth of colours, better rendering in the distance, a higher terrain resolution and mesh, improved textures and better lighting for objects and for shadows are all hallmarks of what DCS World 2.5 can do.
The great merge
At the moment, fans of the series probably have at least two installs for DCS. DCS World 1.5 has the old Caucasus map dating back through the series history. DCS World 2.1 currently has available the pay for DCS: Nevada and DCS: Normandy maps. The problem is that the two versions and the different maps are separated from each other.
Bringing the Caucasus map straight into the new engine was apparently an extremely lengthy process and in the end the Eagle Dynamics team made the decision to rebuild it from scratch. Why? Well… Caucasus is the entry point for the DCS World and putting your best foot forward is important.
DCS is free-to-play giving you a free to fly TF-51D (a training version of the P-51D Mustang) and a Su-25T to fly on the Caucasus map. When DCS World 2.5 comes out, Caucasus will still be free but it will be in an entirely new engine and it will be the entry point for all DCS players.
More importantly, when this happens everyone will be under the same singular banner with all modules, aircraft, and maps under a single installation of DCS. DCS World 1.5 will be retired from service after many years and DCS World 2.5 will carry the banner forward with the improved graphics, physics and new more complex maps, vehicles and modules.
Strait of Hormuz will be the next map release for the series after Caucasus is finished and it looks more complete every time they show us it. Surely, its release will follow very quickly after 2.5 launches.
When the day finally comes I will look forward to uninstalling my old DCS World 1.5 game and flying exclusively on World 2.5. We’ll finally have the kind of gameplay, multiplayer, and module compatibility all under the one produce where the series and its fans can move forward all together.
It’s been a long wait. Hopefully it’s worth it!
Just tell us when!
The honest answer is that we still have no idea when its coming specifically. Except for this quote from today’s letter to DCS fans:
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!
Weeks is shorter than months so its possible that we’ll see DCS World 2.5 and the new Caucasus map launch at last – maybe even in time for Christmas. A lot of fans I know would be really happy to have the new map and the updated version of the game ready around that time so they can spend at least part of the holidays trying out the new module.
Will it happen? I hope so but I don’t know any more than you do. Stay tuned!