Eagle Dynamics continues to work away at their new flagship module and multiple updates have come out fixing problems and ensuring that the Hornet is everything that it should be. No new systems are available yet but there is a lot of work going on and I wanted to try and capture what is happening along with what is yet to come.
Fixed and added features
DCS World 2.5.2 Update 4 focuses on the Hornet and the surrounding DCS World technologies to make sure that the Hornet has the best foundation it can have to stand on. These foundational efforts are also critical for potential future module development as well.
Here are the foundational updates that Eagle Dynamics has been working on:
- Fixed JTAC radio communication errors due to SA-18
- Improved blending of material types
- Corrected trigger zone when unit not in zone
- Correct ship ATC radios by adding new ATC client information for carriers
- Helicopters can once again land on the Kuznetsov
- Added network synch for arrestor cable
- Reduced “jitter” of aircraft on carrier deck in network play
- Improved realism of AI carrier landings
- World color table adjustments
Additional network sync for things like blast deflectors would be a helpful addition as well. To my knowledge, these aren’t working yet either.
Then, we also have the list of features and fixes that have already been added:
- ME, Payload panel. Added ability to remove pylons
- Removed sound distortion at speeds around Mach 1
- Fixed re-arming in which new stores could not be selected
- Powered Approach (PA) mode pitch trim has been tuned and pitching down moment at lowering of flaps is corrected
- Fixed countermeasure reloading error
- Range No Escape (Rne) calculation for AIM-9 and AIM-7 has been tuned. Raero temporarily removed
- Afterburner can now selected for carrier takeoff at full throttle; finger lift function added as an Option
- Maximum Bingo setting changed to 20,000
- Fixed BIT freeze when folding the wings
- Velocity vector length calculation has been moved to the DLZ
- AI Hornets have had the position of their control surfaces for cold start adjusted. Additionally, control surfaces for AI Hornets have had their control surfaces tuned for landing.
- Fuel feed lines now have correct fuel volume
- Cold start position for the hook bypass switch has been corrected
- External fuel tank indications added to the FUEL page
- Added BIT for Avionics Undercool Warning Temperature Sensor
- Fixed AIM-7F/M connectors
- Corrected canopy actuator heating
Finally, future priority items that are coming in the near future include:
- Basic Identify Friend or Foe (IFF) system
- Radio frequency input not always being saved
- Single (S) launch rocket pods
- Changing radar scale using TDC
- Canister munition accuracy
- Exporting of DDIs
- Use of Sensor Switch to initial lock
- Situation in which stores can be auto-jettisoned
- Synchronizing aircraft carrier animations
These details are coming from the most recent DCS World Weekend News update.
Of these features, I think the most important for multiplayer matches right now is that basic IFF system. Apparently Eagle Dynamics are working on two systems. A simple IFF system similar to what you might be used to on the F-15C and a more complex version that resembles a real world implementation – it will, however, require additional work and AI support to make it viable.
Wags has shown off a few screenshots and a description of what the team is working on with regards to IFF:
Probably for the next update will be an initial implementation of IFF for the Hornet. Attached are a couple of looks.
A diamond-shaped TD box indicated a negative IFF response (hostile), whereas a standard, square TD box indicates a valid IFF handshake (friendly). Initially, this will be done automatically as part of an STT/LTWS/DTWS (L&S and D2) designation.
At a later point we will investigate a more in-depth IFF system using the encrypted-code system. However, this is a VERY complex system that will take a lot of time, and we currently have much higher priorities. Furthermore, a code-based IFF system will also involve a significant re-write of portions of the AI code.
The first single missions for the DCS: F/A-18C are also now underway. Matt Wagner was once again showing off the latest work on an interdiction mission set in 1989 featuring a snowy and SAM filled Caucasus map. Check out the video:
The Hornet will slowly evolve
This is all still in the early days of the DCS: F/A-18C Hornet module. This aircraft is going to continue to gain features and grow in its capabilities. It’s already capable but it will become so much more when some of its added features are unlocked.
I’m pretty excited to gain access to weapon systems like the HARM missile, the AIM-9X and AIM-120 which should dramatically increase the Hornet’s abilities.
More updates will no doubt start to add these features in. I can’t wait!