For the second DCS World Weekend News update for 2019, Eagle Dynamics has taken to walking us through some of their plans for 2019 and the future of the DCS World series. There’s a lot of little details to pull out of their latest update ranging from dynamic campaigns, to dedicated servers, to a bunch of new maps for the series. There’s much to be excited about!
Even more detail than the Stennis
If you’ve flown US Navy carrier ops in DCS World recently, you’re probably pretty familiar with the USS John C. Stennis (CVN-74) but Eagle Dynamics has a second Nimitz-class supercarrier under development and this one will add some extra features to it above and beyond what we’re used to.
This carrier will have animated deck crew, a briefing room, operable LSO and Air Boss stations (basically the air traffic controller for the carrier), and Eagle Dynamics even mentions control of the carrier. This will no doubt be a separate module sold on its own, however, for people and virtual squadrons interested in an unprecedented level of detail of carrier operations… this is probably THE thing for you. It of course pairs nicely with the F/A-18C Hornet and no doubt will work well enough with the F-14A/B and other future carrier modules.
Kuznetsov-class gets a mention too
The team working on the unnamed Nimitz-class mentioned above will also be working on the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer and finally on the sometimes seen but rarely talked about revamp of the Kuznetsov-class for the Russian navy.
This model was most recently spotted again in the 2018 trailer for DCS World at 0:58. Clearly its not finished or the team would be looking to include it now.
More than one map coming this year?
I just wrote yesterday about the DCS: Syria map coming to DCS World from third party partner Ugra Media and we’ve seen early work in progress images from RAZBAM about their Falklands map but now we know there are a few others being built too and one very interesting reveal.
For 2019 we and our partners are working on two new World War II maps, a Syria map, a Falkland Islands map, and a new free map that we’ll discuss later in the year.
We’ve known most of these details but it is certainly interesting to have confirmed that there will be two new WWII themed maps, the Syria map that we already knew about, the Falkland Islands map that we already knew about… but a new free map? Yeah that’s an interesting development. Will that be the DCS: Afganistan map that has been referenced in the past? Will one of the two WWII maps be the free map or was the choice of wording and listing these suggesting something else entirely?
Some have suggested that the Strait of Dover map listed on Matt Wagner’s dev build being a potential candidate, however, I remain skeptical that the map listed there represents an active project as its last update was for version 2.0 while other modules on that screen suggested 2.5.3. I also don’t understand that map as being relevant either in a modern context or in the 1944-1945 part of WWII that DCS World has focused on so far.
A few have also suggested that the free map will be a relatively small scale effort and not be as big as some other maps. That is a possibility, but I wouldn’t discount a major map release either if that map also fed into a content plan from Eagle Dynamics. For example, if they intend to build more modules to fit a 1960s Vietnam scenario then a free map would certainly help sell modules.
We don’t know for sure at this point so its all speculation.
The dynamic campaign
Players for a long time have been looking for a better way to play single player DCS World and having a dynamic campaign would go a long way towards addressing a shortcoming of the series. Eagle Dynamics has had a dynamic campaign on the list for a long time but it does seem like it may make its first steps in 2019. To that end, we’ve heard a few times that Eagle Dynamics has hired someone to develop that feature and develop it exclusively.
Though I wouldn’t expect a Falcon 4.0 experience at first release, it may develop over time into something very interesting.
Enhanced ATC and radio
Another longstanding issue for fans of DCS World has been the radio and ATC calls. They are very simple and haven’t changed much or at all since Lock On: Modern Air Combat. Some evolution here to a more realistic and detailed implementation is high on the list. It also looks like Eagle Dynamics will be starting with carrier operations first:
The biggest radio communications task are the aircraft carrier communications that includes CASE I, CASE II, and CASE III for departure, marshal, approach, and the Landing Signal Officer (LSO). Once this massive task is complete, we will move on to an overhaul of the airbase radio communications.
A welcome update for sure!
Dedicated Server and multiplayer update
A small number of DCS World multiplayer servers are now running the new Dedicated Server platform for DCS offering up potential benefits in server stability and performance over the long run. The roll out has been limited so far but hopefully sometime in 2019 will see a much wider availability.
There are a couple of other features listed here that are interesting including:
- availability of free maps to Dedicated Server hosts
- integrated Voice Over IP (VOIP)
- leader boards, rankings, and other online statistics for DCS World online players
Free maps for Dedicated Server hosts could mean two things but if it means what I hope it means, it may then be possible for players to fly on maps that they don’t own in multiplayer. THAT would boost the popularity of DCS World multiplayer servers that are running maps other than the free Caucasus. On the other side of the coin, it may just mean that all maps are free for dedicated server hosts saving server groups some money but still requiring players to own the maps themselves.
Integrated VOIP appears to offer the ability to mimic the functionality of SRS which has been a fantastic way for fans of DCS World to have an authentic in-cockpit experience with radio communications.
Finally, leaderboards and rankings seems to be something that Modern Air Combat is ushering in. The update makes it sound like it may be a feature that comes to all fans of DCS World and not just Modern Air Combat. I’m intending to write something about MAC very soon so watch for that.
Other items and summary
In addition to all of these features, Eagle Dynamics has also said they continue to work on other key items like performance optimization, air and ground AI, the Vulkan API (which should offer better 3D performance), and more detailed damage models and states.
These miscellaneous features are each “small” but they contribute in a big way to the series.
Of course, these are all features that Eagle Dynamics is working on in 2019 and likely well into the future too with some of them being sources of constant effort (i.e. optimization efforts) that will go on for as long as DCS World goes on.
These are also all of the non-aircraft updates with the DCS World Weekend News update from last week covering a lot of the big efforts being made there. Combined with the new carrier, new maps, new features, and dynamic campaign, thees new aircraft modules continue to expand the experience and offer more diversity to fans of the series.
DCS World is growing on many fronts adding another pair of 4th gen multi-role jet with the F-16 and JF-17, adding the immensely iconic F-14, bringing new flexibility to the helicopter gunship and troop transport role with the Mi-24, and so many other efforts from Eagle Dynamics and their constellation of third party developers.
The future looks very good folks!