Polychop’s SA342 Gazelle is just one of a few helicopters available in DCS World right now. While the helicopter has some fans, it’s also been one with many contentious issues. Everything from its flight model to some of the weapons it employs has been subject to scrutiny and serious concerns. Now, after a substantial bug report was released, Polychop is responding and it looks like they are putting some time back into their first helicopter module. Let’s check it out.
With no direct experience with the SA342, I can only go by popular sentiment that the Gazelle is a cool helicopter but with a checkered past in DCS World and with few updates to solve some of the issues that the community has pointed out.
It seems that Polychop hasn’t done too much to address many of those concerns which has lead to several members of the community putting together a 35 page report detailing each issue and their attempts at interactions with the developer. The report was published via a link on r/Hoggit. Read even just a few pages of the report and you can sense the frustration.
Obviously, the folks who put this together are still hopeful that the module will see its issues fixed and it become a more complete DCS World experience. Otherwise I suspect they wouldn’t have bothered to go through the effort.
Now, we have a response from the developer and it does suggest a light at he end of the tunnel for Gazelle fans.
Response from Poylchop
Here’s the official response from Polychop which went live earlier today:
Dear community,Polychop Simulations on the DCS World forums
In the light of recent events, in particular the bug report document posted here, we’d like to make a statement.
We understand your concerns, the Gazelle hasn’t been supported as much as we’d have liked to for quite a while. Some bugs have been known for a long period of time but have not been addressed as of yet. Polychop has shifted it’s priorities and limited assets towards developing a new module. The idea has always been that the new module, with it’s more advanced flightmodel and other features we know you as a community would like to see, would pave the way for a number of much needed updates to the Gazelle. In hindsight we can all agree that this strategy did not work out for the best as simply too much time passed in which the Gazelle didn’t get the attention it deserves.
The Gazelle as a module has deteriorated during this period of time even though some updates were released that did not get mentioned in the changelog. Some issues have been there from the beginning while others were introduced by many of the core engine updates of DCS, which we should have adapted to. The core engine is a constant work in progress, ED has been doing a great job in enhancing it and making it an ever more feature rich environment. The code of a module heavily relies on the core engine, when certain parts of the engine code are changed it might interfere with the module. A certain synergy between Polychop and ED is needed in order to be able to adapt to any core engine changes. Communication between Polychop and ED on the matter of these code incompatibility issues could be more streamlined and we’re determined to put more effort in to that.
Your message is clear though and it made us reconsider our priorities. As stated before, our intentions were to learn from the flaws in the Gazelle and build the new module from scratch, then implement and adapt the new code for the Gazelle module. Now we will focus on finding ways to develop both the Gazelle and the new module in parallel. This means we have to expand as a company as right now Polychop has only one coder, a graphics artist and an intern. Your voice has been heard and we’re already in negotiations with a very promising coder who will focus solely on the Gazelle. With the above in mind we will try our best to bring you the updates you requested as soon as possible.
We realize that actions speak louder than words and that we will have a lot to prove and improve.
One of the things we’d like to change is the way we interact with the community. Asking of you to start with a clean slate might be too much at this point but know that our intentions are to be more receptive to your suggestions and feedback. This means items that were previously non-negotiable will now be up for discussion and possible implementation again. To set an example we will be implementing the changes to the Mistral missile.
We have a long way to go and we know this statement won’t take away your skepticism. We’ve always had the intention to bring the Gazelle to a higher level. Making us reconsider our strategy might get it there at a faster pace. We thank you for that.
At this point, I’m sure many will be skeptical about the response (and Polychop says that right at the end there) but I take a hopeful approach. Polychop will hopefully be able to put their newest employee on the task and that we’ll see more regular updates of the module to both keep it up to DCS World standards and to begin to address the various issues that players are having with the module.
At the end of the day, everyone appears to want the same thing – a fully functional and enjoyable to use SA342 Gazelle in DCS World. Fingers crossed!