Just as has been done with the Hornet, Matt Wagner from Eagle Dynamics will be offering up ‘mini-updates’ for the DCS: F-16C project as it progresses along with periodic academic series videos discussing features on the new aircraft. The update is actually quite lengthy and reveals some interesting background and behind the scenes on this new project and even addresses a few concerns out there that I’ve heard. Let’s have a look, dig into the details, and get some insight into Eagle Dynamics next big full fidelity module.
First academic series incoming soon
Matt Wagner will be showing off the first of the DCS: F-16C academic series sometime in July. The first of that series will not focus on a cold start as many of us would assume but rather on the navigational systems for the jet and there’s a good reason for that.
The cold start sequence touches on a many element of the aircraft as a system and many of these systems will be under development from now and until early access release. As such, much of this can change, and coding to make it work now will probably need to be re-written later (very inefficient use of coding resources).Matt Wagner
Clearly not wanting to retread over the same code later, the academic series order will be determined by what systems are complete and ready first. This gives us some insight into the development work being put into the F-16 and how each system and subsystem area needs to be coded as the team works through the jet, feature by feature. I think we sometimes forget the layers upon layers needed to make our simulated jets function but this lets us peel back the curtains on development – if only a little.
Current work being done
Matt Wagner gave us a list of systems/features that are currently under development and many of these form the core functionality of the jet. Here’s the list:
- The engine (GE-129)
- Digital Engine Control (DEC) with PRI and SEC modes
- Fuel system
- Jet Fuel Starter (JFS)
- Landing gear
- Flight model basic envelope
- Flight Control System (FLCS)
- NAV HUD and functions
- Initial Stores Management System (SMS)
- Gauges including ADI and electronic HSI
- External textures,
- Tuning the cockpit
- Internal and external audio
- Completing racks, adapters, and rails
In a lot of cases, I know I take for granted that a lot of this stuff is programmed in behind the scenes and often aren’t fully appreciated. On the flip-side of this coin, many of these features are essential to the core operation of the F-16 so if they weren’t there the simulation would not be nearly as good and many would notice.
One of the interesting points touched on and then repeated was the need to finish up the art design on the jet. Many of you have remarked in the comments here on Stormbirds as well as on various platforms out there (r/Hoggit, Facebook, etc.) that the F-16C visuals weren’t quite up to par yet and while its hard for me to put a finger on it there is something missing to the texture work or mapping layers that make DCS World jets look so real. If you felt this way, fear not as this is not the final “look” for the jet.
Once the external graphics are where we want them to be, we will release a stellar trailer video.Matt Wagner
The visuals will continue to improve and we’re due to get a really cool trailer video – I would assume done by Glowing Amraam who has some some of the absolute best DCS World trailers I’ve seen.
Eagle Dynamics working with real pilots
Matt Wagner also goes on to talk about the efforts that Eagle Dynamics has put into getting the Viper just right – stuff that can’t be found in manuals or spec sheets but that pilots know and learn intuitively about their aircraft.
Those kind of fine touches are more art than science but I appreciate the effort to produce not just a clinical look at the F-16C but one that has a bit of life and creative effort that can only be gleaned from pilots of the real thing.
Eagle Dynamics has done that with the Hornet and Heatblur and RAZBAM have done that with pilots of the F-14 and M-2000C respectively. These fine details help bring these aircraft to life on our computer screens and in our VR headsets and I very much appreciate that effort.