Surprise, disappointment and intrigue seem to be the emotions running through the DCS community tonight as a new module from third party producer Magnitude 3 has been announced. It’s not a modern jet, or a World War II warbird, or any of the other things that the community guessed at during the tease up to release. No… its the Christen Eagle II. Intriguing!
I admit it. I had to look this plane up. I’d never heard of the Christen Eagle II before.
Apparently in aerobatic airplane circles this is quite a hot little aircraft. Easy to fly and extremely capable as an aerobatic performer, the Eagle II’s maximum speed is just shy of 300km/h which is not bad for an aerobatic bi-plane.
Magnitude 3’s first release after their split from Heatblur is certainly an odd choice but one that appears to be aimed at a possibly growing area of interest in the DCS community: aerobatic servers.
Here’s their answer to a question on the Leatherneck Facebook page:
When we went through changes in March 2017 and announced our goals for this and upcoming year, we thought of bringing a new and fresh element into game. We saw a number of multiplayer servers and events focused entirely on aerobatics and aviation, thus providing a new aspect into DCS World in form of Christen Eagle II is not unfounded.
We wish to give our consumers the best possible flying experience and a module that will allow them to learn flying, whether they are newcomers or veterans.
This is what this module is about. Flying.
Completely unarmed, the Eagle II module seems to be focused in flight and control dynamics and is a stepping stone for the third party’s efforts to build a DCS: F4U Corsair module.
Here are some of the features as listed by the official Magnitude 3 website:
- Highly detailed and functional dual cockpit with fully animated gauges
- Highly detailed external model with fully animated control surfaces and other systems
- State-of the art internal and external textures
- Set of external liveries
- The advanced flight model based on a technical documentation and a real flying Christen Eagle II experiences
- Complete aircraft system and subsystem modeling, which includes Lycoming AEIO-360 engine, electrical, fuel and flight control systems
- Fully functional KX-155 Radio
- Authentic sounds set (canopy, cockpit items, engine)
- A number of instant missions and tutorials, including video tutorials to get you started
- Cooperative multiplayer – fly with a friend in the same aircraft, either as an instructor, student or a passenger
- Complete aircraft flight manual and more only awaiting to be revealed!
DCS Fans Divided Reactions
Most vocal fans of DCS appear to have been disappointed by the announcement. This is especially the case after several days of increasing attention as the team produced teaser after teaser for the new product. For those hoping for a modern or semi-modern combat jet, the Eagle II is a bit of a disappointment.
Other fans are encouraged by Magnitude 3 pushing the envelope and trying something a little different within DCS. Eagle Dynamics has cleared this as an official module so they appear to be support of the effort.
Are there really aerobatics fans out there that are interested? It’s unclear to me if there is a big market or just how popular this module might be. It’s a bit of a risk to diverge so clearly from the established market that DCS tends to cater to. Time will tell if that’s truly the case or if this aircraft will silence the critics on release.
For fans of modern combat aircraft there is still much to be excited about now and in the future. RAZBAM’s AV-8B early access release has been receiving nearly universal acclaim and interest remains high for future releases of Heatblur’s F-14A/B Tomcat.
Meanwhile, Belsimtek and Eagle Dynamics continue to work on the F/A-18C Hornet and new rumours suggest that Eagle Dynamics may follow up the F/A-18 with a MiG-23/27 module. The Mirage 2000-C has received flight model updates improving handling of the already popular module.
Development is slow but that is the price we pay for intense demands for extremely high fidelity modules that DCS specializes in.