We’ve known for some time now that Eagle Dynamics is working on a more complete carrier operations experience for DCS World including a separate USS Nimitz-class carrier module to be sold separately at some point featuring added fidelity. Today, Matt Wagner gave us a mini-update on the progress being made there and their plans for carriers in-general.
An “improved carrier environment”
In the last 12-16 months, Eagle Dynamics and DCS World has been leaning towards carrier operations and naval aviation in general. We’d had the Su-33 and the Admiral Kuznetsov which offered a limited experience for the sim. In the full fidelity arena, the AV-8B Harrier lead the way with USS Tarawa but it wasn’t until the F/A-18C Hornet came last year along with the improved USS John C. Stennis asset that things really started to happen.
Of course, the F-14B is now in early access from Heatblur and at least three of the Forrestal-class carriers are planned for that module. It’s already a great experience launching from the Stennis.
So what kind of improvements are going to happen? I’ll let Matt Wagner take over here:
1- The new Nimtiz-class aircraft carrier is nearing an early access release. There are a few items to first clean up like deck weathering, the bow catapult controller bubble, and elevator rails, but it’s coming along great. Once a bit further along, GA will make a spectacular video and we’ll discuss the features in greater detail. Once this is done, we’ll return to the Kuznetsov and then the Burke.Matt Wagner on the DCS World Forums
2- The deck crew animation for the bow cats is about done, and work has started on the waist cat launch animations for deck crew. This will also be using our new skeletal animation system.
3- CASE I radio communications are now working and being tuned. Once that is done, CASE II and III will be coded. All voice over lines for pilot, marshal, tower, approach, LSO, and departure have been recorded with several authentic personalities.
Our goal is to create the most realistic carrier environment ever done for a PC (entertainment and commercial). All in all, the carrier environment is going to be quite cool!
Eagle Dynamics is working hard not just to provide the carrier model but also the rest of the experience too from the deck crew to the appropriate radio communications. This is great to see and an upgraded ATC experience has been long overdue.
How does this fit into DCS World?
This new Nimitz-class experience is meant to take things a step further than the average carrier experience. It certainly sounds like the various positions on the ship, everything involved with naval aviation, are going to be accessible. This will be invaluable and extremely immersive for virtual squadrons that use carriers as their primary base.
What we don’t know is how this new carrier will fit into DCS World’s shared experience. Presumably everyone will have access to the carrier but that some features will be unavailable. Will the animated deck crew be available to all or just the people who pay for it? This is going to be an interesting situation that I hope Eagle Dynamics resolves smartly for all.
Heatblur has carriers coming too!
Eagle Dynamics isn’t the only group working on enhanced carrier ops in DCS World. Heatblur has released images of deck crew and of their Forrestal-class carrier which they intend to make a full experience as well. This will undoubtedly add to the F-14 experience but it also has the potential to enhance the experience for other aircraft too – notably the F-8 Crusader now announced by Leatherneck/Magnitude 3.
How these carriers and their operations compare up to what Eagle Dynamics is planning, as a separate module from their other content, remains to be seen.
One thing is sure, DCS World has gone from limited carrier operations to a wide variety of available possibilities. That’s great!