More DCS carrier talk and solutions

It’s been a dramatic week for the DCS World community with highs and lows across the board but none have taken up more oxygen in the room than the talk about the forthcoming high-fidelity carrier module. There’s one additional message I want to share from the Eagle Dynamics team and then let’s talk about solutions.

Feedback heard loud and clear?

In a thread on the DCS World forums there’s been considerable discussion about the news that the new ATC communications for carriers are coming with, and only with, the new high-fidelity carrier module. That and the revelation that this would only work in multiplayer for people who all owned that carrier module sent the community into an uproar.

Community manager NineLine posted an update recently that I wanted to share:

Ok guys, I have passed on all concerns about the module to the team, as you can see Wags is also in the mix and has seen the input as well, we appreciate all feedback, positive and negative, and will consider it to see if we can’t find a more accommodating mode for network play.

Again, thanks to everyone for your passion for flight simming and DCS World, no matter your feelings on this currently, we appreciate all of you. When we have more news, you all will be the first to hear it. And as always, my PMs are always open.

NineLine on the DCS World forums

Crucially, the end of that first paragraph suggests a more accommodating mode for network play is something they will look into. This is far better messaging.

I would go a step further and suggest that it’s vital in this and other instances in the future for Eagle Dynamics and their third party contributors do everything they can to make sure that compatibility in multiplayer, regardless of module ownership, is given high priority.

To pay for or not pay for

First, I want to reiterate that Eagle Dynamics is a business and they are interested in remaining in existence. To do that they need to create compelling content that entice people to buy and keep buying that content. This new high fidelity recreation of a carrier is no different and Matt Wagner in his most recent statement teased some of the features of this carrier including:

  • detailed and animated carrier
  • animated deck crew
  • crash barriers
  • control of the carrier
  • the ability to man positions such as LSO or the air boss station

All of those features above are worth paying for. They take time and effort and it creates a new and better experience for carrier operations in DCS WOrld. Eagle Dynamics should rightly be compensated.

I still implore Eagle Dynamics to separate the ATC comms work from the above as I consider that core to DCS World. Eagle Dynamics is being compensated to bring an adequate system here for owners for the DCS: F/A-18C Hornet module and, in my honest opinion, what is present right now is not fully adequate (or even working in some cases).

In my opinion we’ve already paid for these core features, which can and should be far better than they are, through purchases of any other modules. Through DCS World is free to play its likely that most of us have spent quite a lot.

Solutions and comments

Let’s talk about some possible solutions because I think its important to use creativity and positive thinking to find a happy medium with this situation.

Option 1: Carrier remains incompatible (i.e. do nothing)

I don’t think this is much of a solution but I want to weigh it against the other options. In this situation, only people who own the high fidelity carrier module can fly on a server using it. Seeing as most servers cater to a wide variety of players this will ensure that the module hardly see’s any public multiplayer use and will remain restricted to just a few squadrons that focus on carrier ops and require their members to all own both Hornet and the carrier as an example.

Option 2: Full multiplayer compatibility

In this situation, Eagle Dynamics ensures that their high fidelity carrier has a certain degree of multiplayer compatibility. That means that all players can interact with and use the carrier, that animated deck crew are present and crash barriers work with players. The air boss and LSO positions would still be absent along with carrier control and any other features.

Option 3: Partial multiplayer compatibility

A half-way measure, players could interact with the carrier in multiplayer (spawn, launch and recovery) but things like animated deck crew would be absent. As with the other situation, the air boss, LSO, and control stations would not be available to non-owners.

Option 4: Limited multiplayer compatibility

In an extremely limited way players would see the high fidelity carrier but wouldn’t be able to spawn, launch or recover on the deck of this carrier. They could still ‘physically’ interact but that would be it.

Rock and a hard place

Examining just the four options above leads me to believe that this is a difficult balancing act. In option 2 there may be too much given away and only a single member of a squadron would need to own the high fidelity carrier for everyone to benefit. That would potentially de-incentivize additional purchases which isn’t ideal.

In option 3 it would become a tight balancing act between what needed to be interactive with all and what didn’t. Aircraft clipping through deck crew could be less than ideal though certainly understandable versus some of the alternatives.

In options 3 and 4 things become more confusing for new players or even players who just aren’t sure which carrier is ahead of them. Trying to recover on a carrier that just won’t accept your landing would be frustrating.

Though none of these solutions are groundbreaking I still feel like all of them are better than option 1 which is what had been proposed. In all of the other cases people who own the module benefit from the added fidelity and everyone else has an adequate experience.

Eagle Dynamics should be able to find a technical and business-friendly solution that serves both types of players. People who love carrier ops will make the purchase and enjoy the module in multiplayer and everyone else will be able to carry on. Generating as wide an appeal as possible for this module makes good business sense too. Not everyone belongs to a virtual carrier group organization and it’d be wise to be able to sell to a wider audience.

More ideas out there?

There are probably other solutions and options out there. Feel free to leave your comments!

I really want to express my appreciation for your comments over the last few days on my previous post on this. Everyone has expressed their thoughts, ideas and opinions and done it in a respectable way. I appreciate the discussion!

17 Comments Add yours

  1. arkhamuk says:

    Having the bare carrier in a “low fidelity” way and act like the existing carrier would be good. The main point being to keep everyone playing together (through whatever technical trickery). I do believe in paying for the high fidelity work such as animations etc as you say, they are a business providing a product. I hope they can see though that it actually benefits them long term to make sure all can play together. Low fidelity Flaming cliffs aircraft can play with high fidelity ones etc… so I see this as the same thing personally.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ShamrockOneFive says:

      Absolutely agree! Whatever is necessary so that both types of players can coexist and enjoy what they have in multiplayer is so key. Even if its a “lower fidelity” representation of what the other guys see. This is so much better than the alternative.

      Like

  2. harryvoyager says:

    Has ED done a study on the MP v SP population? I would suspect, if the population is mostly offline, having the maps open in MP will mostly serve to advertise them, rather than cut sales.

    Further, with something like a carrier deck, I would expect it’s not something you can just drop right into without practice to understand the systems and procedures. In that context, it would be likely that, even if they could play it for free online, most pilots interested in it would get the carrier for offline play and practice.

    Given that, it is my opinion that #2 is likely the most profitable and best for ED and the community.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Mischiew Rithe says:

      I was about to ask the same question, and also whether those are distinct populations or not.

      Could a good SP campaign make a significant difference?

      Note that in the past, campaigns that required more than one paid module generated an amount of complaints (either 2 aircraft or a combination of aircraft and map). I don’t suppose a campaign with the carrier alone would work, it could only be used as a prop along with a carrier-based aircraft. Would that work better with an FC3, cheaper module? Or a nice but expensive Tomcat or Harrier, which would be a hefty 10$ (campaign) + 80$ (aircraft) + 50-ish$ (carrier)? Then the default map is probably not where a carrier would shine best, the 50$ PG would be a better choice.

      So is that doomed to be MP success material only? In which case they’ll want to entice users as much as possible.

      Those statistics will help them a lot in deciding which solution is most promising, but personally I have no clue.

      Like

      1. harryvoyager says:

        My recollection from the Il-2 side is that the overwhelming majority of players there are offline players. Without the statistics, I’d expect it to be similar in DCS.

        That’s a good point about the campaigns. I’d really be interested in a Persian Gulf F-14 or F/A-18 campaign with the advanced carrier, but that is a non-trivial investment.

        Ultimately, I’ll certainly get it once it’s out and I’m ready to move into carrier ops, but it is a barrier to entry.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. ShamrockOneFive says:

        A poll on the DCS World Facebook group initiated earlier today had about a 60/40 split in favour of single player. Keep in mind that this is a small sample size and may not be fully representative.

        Historically, Eagle Dynamics (and 1CGS to a smaller extent) have underestimated multiplayer. The player count is one thing but the visibility that multiplayer can generate for the series is another. I’m talking about groups like The Reapers, the 104th, Ralfidude, Jabbers, Hellreign82, or Boxcar_Leader (a frequent commenter here) who frequently stream multiplayer content on Twitch and YouTube. We’ve also got a few who do single player such as MagzTV but they are the minority in that way.

        It’s a group I wouldn’t want to underestimate.

        Liked by 2 people

      3. Mischiew Rithe says:

        If there is at least as many SP primary users as MP ones, implementing a full compatibility would be sensible. It would maximize the publicity and still generate revenue, even if not all MP users buy the module.

        Partial compatibility requires some more development, but would that generate more revenue? Players won’t see the niceties except on videos, after a while they’ll get used to the carrier as it is. Besides, if they don’t buy the module in the first place it’s for a good reason, and not having all features in MP won’t likely change it. Finally, as you said, it’s more confusing so in the end it would give a lesser image of DCS on those external channels.

        With full compatibility, and if a fair share of MP users are also SP at times, they’ll likely want to keep the same carrier experience and will be enticed to buy the module.

        Presented like you did, this doesn’t seem to be such a hard choice for ED 🙂

        Like

  3. Lance Davis says:

    DCS is really suffering from the curse of being free.

    Revenue has to be generated but there just doesn’t seem to be a very good way to handle it here.

    I can see exactly why they decided to say screw it, everyone has to buy it.

    Like

    1. harryvoyager says:

      Honestly, while they advertise it as being Free to Play, their model is more of an integrated set of intercompatible games, like the Jane’s Fighters series, or the original Il-2 Sturmovik.

      In that dynamic, it may be better to aim for having each module carve out part of the common framework that it improves in parallel to the core aircraft.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. TexasWarbird says:

    For me this is more of a matter of price – if it’s an extra 10 – 15 bucks, Sure I don’t mind convincing my financial manager IE “My wife” for the funds.

    But if it’s 30-60 Dollars – The cost of another Aircraft module for some boat better boat physics; I’m goinna have a tough time.

    Like

  5. oboe says:

    I’m looking ahead to Glowing Aamram’s release trailer, or pre-release trailer, and thinking its probably gonna be so impressive it’ll be an automatic purchase for a lot of us. I hope it doesn’t spit the MP community too much but I sort of consider it like a terrain purchase – you need to have purchased the correct terrain for some servers, right? OPs in the Persian Gulf with the new CV are going to be epic I think.

    Like

    1. TexasWarbird says:

      Where’s this trailer?

      Like

  6. William T Taylor says:

    honestly they are putting alot of work into the simulation i think the ATC needs to be global. but i could see a non interaction with non players even to the point of not being able to catch a wire on the new carrier … but they need to make sure that it will not interupt mp and co-op. but i think global ATC is the most i portant part even if they are stubborn and cant find a way to intigrate but that is because the game needs to keep growing

    Liked by 1 person

  7. VK-94 says:

    I just had to react to this section of your article :

    “Trying to recover on a carrier that just won’t accept your landing would be frustrating.”

    Could we imagine that a player contacting the carrier while approaching to have his clearance would receive an answer asking him to redirect to the alternate ? It’s “just” one more line of voice acting to add to the game.

    Like

    1. ShamrockOneFive says:

      That makes a ton of sense! Easily one of the solutions that could be implemented.

      Like

  8. Mischiew Rithe says:

    We seem to reach a consensus with some concession from ED:

    (Wags) “Hey everyone,

    We have been listening to all the carrier module feedback, and we have decided on a solution that will allow clients that don’t own the carrier module to join servers that include it. I’ll provide more details at the time of the CASE III nighttime recovery video coming later.

    Also, as mentioned earlier, those that own the Hornet will get a great discount on the carrier module.

    Thanks”

    https://forums.eagle.ru/showpost.php?p=3923136&postcount=375

    Now it will be interesting to see exactly how it goes. Hopefully it will be a safe landing 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Francesco Kasta says:

      The “great discount” sounds good to me.

      Liked by 1 person

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