Some new details are coming out about two of the priority modules in Eagle Dynamics DCS: World Roadmap. The DCS: Yak-52 and the DCS: F/A-18C and this week’s DCS World Weekend News update has plenty on both including an interesting behind the scenes video on the audio recording of the Yak-52. There’s also been some smaller news items around the community that I haven’t had a chance to write up yet so… let’s have a look!
Yak-52 looks to be nearly ready
A lot of people scoffed at the DCS: Yak-52 module early on but it seems to have developed something of a cult following within the DCS community. It’s not a module for everyone but some people seem to be interested in flying this aircraft and it definitely has its charms. Also, it’s pretty clear to me that Eagle Dynamics has pulled out all the stops to make this module work including flying in a real Yak-52 to get all of the sounds right.
First, a brief recap on this module: The Yak-52 is a commercial contract that Eagle Dynamics has secured permission to publish as a publicly purchasable module as well. We don’t know the details of the contract but this is not the first time Eagle Dynamics has worked as a contractor in addition to being an entertainment company for us flight sim fans. If it keeps the lights on and new modules and technology flowing, I’m all for this kind of thing.
Eagle Dynamics is making sure that the aircraft looks, flies, and sounds like the real one. Their flight model has been tuned by Yak-52 pilots and the visuals are up to Eagle Dynamics usual standards as well.
They also really pulled out all the stops in getting everything from external sounds and flyby noises right to making sure that the interior sound experience is good too. That includes button clicks, pneumatics, etc. They have put together a video detailing some of that experience with some great in cockpit footage that I highly recommend!
That looks like fun and one heck of flying experience!
Eagle Dynamics is working on interactive training modules so you’ll be able to get the most out of this aircraft and I’m expecting that it will be something available from launch of the module.
Speaking of which, we don’t know when this module will be coming but it will likely be soon as Eagle Dynamics has indicated that it is in late stage testing and the final tweaking is coming into place. Compared to the DCS: F/A-18C, this is a fairly “simple” module so it won’t need months or a year to further develop complex guided weapons or the like so this should be a fully formed release when it comes out. Look for that soon.
New updates are in the pipeline for the DCS: F/A-18C and that includes some new weapon systems, bug fixes and tweaks, and lots of future development lined up for the module.
Here’s a list from Eagle Dynamics of what’s coming up soon:
- Complete the AIM-7 with addition of FLOOD, Home On Jam (HOJ), and LOFT sub-modes.
- Integrate AIM-120B/C for STT employment (TWS employment will come later).
- Integrate AIM-9X Block I. This includes both flight dynamics and new tones. Afterwards, in August or September, we will add the Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing System (JHMCS).
- Complete RWS air-to-air radar mode with such features as Non-Cooperative Target Recognition (NCTR), AACQ mode, Latent Track While Scan (LTWS) mode, Pulse Repetition Frequency (PRF) settings, ability to change radar settings with TDC along outside of radar tactical area, radar speed gate setting, COLOR option, and more.
- Complete radar warning receiver functionality with contact symbols and modifiers, EW HUD, and the OFFSET function.
- Integrate Paveway II series laser-guided bombs (GBU-10, 12, and 16) with JTAC designation.
- Further tuning of flight model with touch and go performance, gear drag, half flaps drag, takeoff pitch characteristics, and extreme angle of attack performance.
- Brightness control for the HSI display.
- Multiplayer carrier deck spawning issues.
- Wingtip vortices errors at low airspeed.
Going through the list there are a bunch of features that really stand out to me as highlights here. First, complete AIM-7 integration with additional targeting modes like FLOOD, Home on Jam, and LOFT will add to the flexibility in how this weapon is employed and will hopefully let some of the most experienced pilots get the most of this semi-active radar missile.
There’s also the incoming AIM-120B and C and AIM-9X integration which should take the F/A-18C from a relatively decent fighter to easily one of the best at both mid range and in close. The AIM-120 is of course one of the best medium ranged missiles in-game and both B and C versions will be available on the Hornet including a 10 missile loadout option.
There’s also plenty of work on sensor systems including Range While Scan (RWS) features and more control over the radar settings. These are definitely more advanced functionality of the Hornet and it helps make the aircraft one of the, if not the most, advanced and sophisticated jets in the hangar right now.
I’m also looking forward to the EW HUD functionality which puts the RWRs symbology right up front. Useful in those tense situations.
Paveway II LGBs are also coming which will offer the first precision strike ordinance for the jet. ED seems to be making special note of JTAC functionality so we’ll see how much capability is available early on and then what is added later (I’m assuming that the F/A-18C can lase its own targets with the appropriate pod).
Finally, I wanted to add an some extra information from an answer that Matt Wagner gave to a question about campaigns for the F/A-18C. There is already the excellent user generated Eastern Friendship campaign that I detailed earlier in the week but it may be heartening for many to know that Eagle Dynamics does plan to introduce their own mini-campaign.
We will provide a “mini-campaign” set in the Caucasus map, but we first need to flesh out the weapons and sensors in order to create a more broad and fun set of missions. As such, the campaign will not be available until near the end of development.
Featuring the advanced capabilities of the Hornet seems like a great way to cap off the module’s development so we’ll have to wait for this.
RAZBAM F-15E and Tarawa
Some smaller updates coming from DCS third party developer RAZBAM in the form of an update on the USS Tarawa night time lighting effects as well as the flight stick from the F-15E’s cockpit.
The following images from RAZBAM’s Facebook page show off the F-15E’s fully textured flight stick. The texture work appears to indicate an improvement in the visual style that RAZBAM is employing and I detect a hint of Heatblur’s excellent texture work here.
The F-15E module is fairly early in their development process although some vague statements from RAZBAM’s development team suggest that the module may in-fact be much further along than many assume. I don’t think we’ll see it enter into any sort of state resembling completion for now. If development is rapid and a lot of work has already been done then sometime in the first half of 2019 may be a target date. Purely speculation at this point.
The Tarawa night time lightning upgrades also look damn impressive in this latest update to this DCS World object. Tarawa is primarily meant for use with the AV-8B but I’m sure all players can appreciate how good this looks overall.
Another third party update comes from Heatblur and their Forrestal-class carrier which was recently shown off in a Facebook update. CV-59 is the current ship that they are working on but eventually Heatblur will offer the Forrestal, Ranger, Saratoga and Independence.
The aircraft carrier looks to be coming to DCS World on its own but it’s fully intended for use with the F-14A/B module that they are currently working on. Should Heatblur or another developer add additional period appropriate aircraft to this carrier deck, I’m sure having the ships themselves will be much appreciated.