The next DCS World beta patch is coming tomorrow, and with it a list of fixes and new features including the AGM-65E and FPAS page for the F/A-18C Hornet. Although most of what Matt Wagner was talking about had to do with the extremely near future, there were a few hints at what was coming next thanks to a glimpse of his DCS World main menu screen. Nothing new was revealed there but for new readers, we can briefly recap what’s coming up next in DCS World.
Hints at what is next, not when
This afternoon, Matt Wagner hosted a live stream on YouTube and in it he spent most of the time talking about imminent features. This is what was reported by people who had a chance to watch it. It is unfortunately now offline and no longer available to watch. If the situation changes, I will update this post.
Here are some of the standouts on the list:
- F-14B – Heatblur’s F-14B is now officially on the list and has its own icon. This is generally good news when it comes to imminent release.
- F-16C – Already confirmed by Eagle Dynamics as a future module, the F-16C is expected to be a Block 50/52 variant and possibly a Block 50/52+ as used by countries such as Poland, Greece, and others. This is speculation but there is some thought that the F-16 will be roughly the same in date as the F/A-18C and therefore come with features like the JHMCS, AIM-9X, and other more recent additions to the airframe. Adding the conformal fuel tanks as used by countries such as Poland on their F-16C Block 50/52+ would also be welcomed.
- L-39 MAC – The L-39 is already well established in DCS World, however, a Flaming Cliffs style Modern Air Combat release will bring with it a slightly simpler to use version of the jet ideal for people who want to spend less time learning systems and jump straight into flying the jet.
- Mi-24P – The Hind helicopter has been in service since 1970 and has flown with over 30 nations right into present day. The Mi-24P is a gunship variant of the Mi-24 (also available in troop transport variations) with a GSh-30k cannon and the ability to mount anti-tank missiles in some upgrade packages. Eagle Dynamics showed off an early concept for the Mi-24 years ago.
- Strait of Dover – This is an interesting possible map for DCS World. I will note on the screen that nearly all of the modules say 2.5.4 but this remains at 2.0.0 and may have been a development that is not currently ongoing. That said, we know that future WWII maps have been talked about in the past and this could still be one of them.
- Syria – Already confirmed and now appearing on Matt’s screen, Syria is at 2.5.4 and appears to be in active development.
That is currently all that we know from this screen. None of it is new information for us but it is confirmation that Eagle Dynamics is working away at some of these modules. Their release dates are unknown but I wanted to speculate on how these may play out.
So, how soon are some of these modules expected? Well let’s talk about that and see what is possible.
Heatblur is definitely near early access release for the F-14B (and the F-14A later) and they have indicated that they would like a December 2018 release, however, it may end up being pushed into early in the new year. Still, its appearing to be remarkably complete now and nearly ready for users to start testing. There will be bugs and issues as well as development of the F-14A, a new aircraft carrier, and an AI model of the A-6 Intruder (at DCS World levels of detail no less – ripe for a future module).
Syria is being developed by a third party map developer Urga Media and appears to have been in development for some time now. Its possible that their map will be complete by sometime next year making a release sometime in 2019 likely in my estimation.
The F-16C and Mi-24P Hind are both projects that the former Belsimtek (now absorbed into Eagle Dynamics) were working on or were likely to be working on already. Given the close connections between them and Eagle Dynamics and the fact that both F-16C and Mi-24 were first shown off over a decade ago – it’s likely that a lot of the research and licensing work has already been cleared off the table and that early development is now underway.
While the F/A-18C is currently still in early access, many of the team members responsible for the art for the aircraft are likely already working on these projects. Programmers are probably also doing double duty by programming core features into DCS World that benefit the Hornet now but are also destined for the F-16C (and any other 4th gen fighter they work on). Systems such as updated radar modeling, JHMCS, AIM-9X, and dozens of guided weapons are going to be shared between these two aircraft.
I think it’s questionable if the F-16C will see any sort of early access in 2019. It is possible, but I advise not getting your hopes up for that just yet.
As for the Mi-24, things are less clear where that project is at but depending on resources allocated it may also be coming along at the same time. A lot of technology and resources developed by Belsimtek for the DCS: Mi-8MTV2 would probably be portable to the Mi-24.
The F-4E gets no mention for now and that is likely because its on the back burner, however, contrary to some reports by the community, we’ve heard nothing that suggests that the F-4E is cancelled. Instead, I suspect that Eagle Dynamics decided to tackle the F-16C, an aircraft related closely to a project they are already working on, before moving to something different. Indeed, when the F-4E becomes a priority it may also signal a shift towards a more 1960s/1970s era.
There’s a lot in DCS World now that is exciting but of course it is always exciting to look at what is coming next too. There will be more to talk about on all of these subjects soon!