It’s not the news that some were hoping for coming into the holiday season with hope that the gift wrapping could be taken off the new DCS: F-14 module but it seems that Heatblur isn’t quite ready to release the DCS: F-14 to early access – although they are still on track to release within the launch window they set up for themselves and communicate to us at the big reveal event back in September.
Winter 2019 launch window
Heatblur’s latest developer update is what they are calling their last update before the DCS: F-14B releases to early access. There are some critical items on their list before they feel that the F-14 is complete enough to launch to players. There are also a list of items that aren’t strictly necessary that will not hold up the launch. Both pieces to the launch puzzle are fully detailed in the update but to summarize, here are some things that they want to have ready before launch:
- Major features such as the flight model, radar, core subsystems, multicrew and JESTER AI
- Optimization to allow for multiple F-14s on screen at once
- RIO cockpit
- LANTIRN targeting and navigation pod
- Lack of major bugs that cause the product to be broken “out of the box” such as crashesGeneral polish to the product
Once these features are finalized, Heatblur will feel more confident in release and that window was set fairly wide back in September as being “this Winter” which ranges from December 21st to March 20th.
Not necessarily launching with…
There are a ton of features that are peripheral to Heatblur’s DCS: F-14 and that includes both F-14A and B variants, more JESTER AI features, training missions and campaigns, the Forrestal-class carriers, A-6 AI, and the dynamic cockpit system (that provides minor variations in the interior configuration of the F-14 to represent the wide variety of minor differences between F-14s).
There’s some major stuff that needs to be finished first and other items that will be developed over the development of the module. The F-14 represents a large and complex fighter and that means a prolonged development period.
As has been the message for a long time, Heatblur has been focused on ensuring that their modules have a polish and quality that few have been able to top. That quality and polish does come at a price and it is in development time and gaining early access.
New minor updates
This developer update also comes with some small (and cool) updates to the project showing us the night lighting in the aircraft’s cockpit:
We also see the new LANTIRN shaders at work in two YouTube videos:
For the rest, check out the Heatblur December 2018 developer update.