When it was originally announced, the idea was that DCS World 2.5 would transition from beta to a full release and it would do so within a matter of weeks. Almost two months have passed as Eagle Dynamics hammers out some bugs but I couldn’t wait anymore so I’ve jumped straight in to DCS World 2.5 beta. These are my very first impressions.
The install process was problem free. It imported what it needed from 2.0 Alpha and then asked me if I wanted to uninstall 2.0 Alpha. Seeing as 2.0 Alpha is obsolete and no longer supported, I said yes.
DCS World 2.5 beta comes in at a cool 79.3 GB (considerably larger than my 1.5 install at 34.6 GB). It’s large but still smaller than my combined 2.0 and 1.5 installations so when this is all over I actually have a small net benefit in terms of free storage space.
Back to the Caucasus
For the last few months I’ve found it harder to fly on DCS World 1.5 purely because the 2.0 Alpha on Nevada looked so good. DCS World 2.5 inherits the hard work done in the 2.0 Alpha stage and maybe even amps it up a few more notches.
My first flight in DCS World 2.5 was cut short, however, when I got back to flying again I ended up taking my favourite sight seeing and aerobatics aircraft (that I currently own anyways) – the Mirage 2000C by RAZBAM. Newly updated with revised PBR textures, I wanted to see what the Mirage 2000C was like and experience the new map.
With take-off complete I decided to first check out the Black Sea which is looking incredible. Whatever they did to improve the ocean system for DCS World 2.5 really works – it looks superb and if you’ve seen any screenshots or videos of it in action… yeah it’s just great.
Then I decided to head the other way and into the mountains.
This was a good opportunity to check out the Mirage cockpit which I think has seen a few updates – especially recently with higher poly counts around the cockpit framing which gives it a smoother appearance. The textures too seem to be a little bit better although I hear that RAZBAM will be giving it some more attention soon.
DCS World 2.5’s tree rendering is impressive. I haven’t fiddled with settings yet so I was running on the default High setting and things look good and my frame rate was mostly smooth. I have a GeForce GTX 960 with 2GB of VRAM and I’m increasingly finding that both DCS and IL-2 are pushing that card, particularly its VRAM, to the max. Still, DCS World is smooth and playable enough to make me want to see if I can squeeze a few more details out before the frames really plummet.
My first impression is that DCS World 2.5’s rendering engine plus the work of their mapping team have really come together in something special. In World 1.5 the map was good but it didn’t pop like 1.5 does. It also had poor seasonal variation compared to 1.5 which very clearly has spring, summer, autumn and winter variations.
Slow loading times
Compared to 1.5 and 2.0 alpha, DCS World 2.5 loads slowly. Very slowly. I have it installed on what would be considered a reasonably fast Samsung 850Evo SSD and it takes ages. At least a few minutes to load a mission. Things get a bit better once you load a couple in rapid succession but clearly this is something that Eagle Dynamics needs to get right.
They have talked about this issue and I therefore hold out hopes that they can at least bring it down to roughly 2.0 alpha pace of loading if not better. My fingers are crossed they can solve this and other bugs in 2.5 beta and do it soon.
My time was limited but aside from that I didn’t have any issues with DCS World 2.5. I was able to get in and start flying pretty quickly (loading time aside).
Switch from beta to release
For people like who prefer the stability of the release version and would rather wait but really want to get in on the DCS World 2.5 excitement, there is an option. You can switch from beta to release version (once release is out).
How you say? Well there’s a guide for it and it doesn’t look too complex as long as you’re ok with a little Command Prompt work. Read the guide on how to switch DCS World versions here.