Polychop returning to development of the Gazelle?

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.

Issues aplenty?

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,

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.

Polychop Simulations on the DCS World forums

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!

14 Comments Add yours

  1. William T Taylor says:

    speaking of development is there any word on the actual release date of the F-16… i know the date on Steam is probably just a place holder but there has been no definitive comment on when we should look for it.. mind you im not expecting it to show up on the 25th but with the placeholder approching i think it is impairative that ED give us a little more accurate expected window for example late october or early november.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ShamrockOneFive says:

      Good question! There’s some news around that in recent days with the suggestion that it could come in the open beta next week.

      That article to come!

      Like

  2. boxcarleader says:

    Now for the post i loved the Gazelle but most missions are not set up for it to shine or honestly be that useful. but any update especialy to weapons is good once people belive the modual is as accurate as it can reasonable get without all the small tweeks hopefuly the Gazelle will see a resurgance.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ShamrockOneFive says:

      Fingers crossed! It seems like the module has some dedicated fans. It looks like it has great potential.

      Like

  3. Blue 5 says:

    A reasonable response.

    I’d buy the Gazelle. I have flown in them a few times (back seat is a plank and murder after about 30 minutes) and even got a minute or so at the controls under very close supervision.

    But I have the excellent Huey, so I cannot really see the point

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Michael Dwyer says:

    Blue, the point of the gazelle is the M model. It is armed with 4 HOT-3 missiles that have a range of 4300m. Sadly since it cannot be flown with two crew you have to do all the work yourself. Find a good during positing, get to a hover, engage autohover, switch seats, find the target, hope you are within 4300m. If not back to the pilot seat and reposition.

    With a two men crew it would be so much easier, but i don’t know if that is really Pollyanna problem or EDs.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Blue 5 says:

      I see your point. If ED can work with their suppliers to get Jester as a standard feature then DCS would become a new level of epic – sounds like the Gazelle is a prime candidate alongside the future Mi-24 etc.

      Like

  5. Michael Dwyer says:

    Nice idea, I never thought of that.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Det says:

    This is both welcome and utterly pathetic.

    It’s the typical “Oh, we’re sorry, we promise we’ll fix all of the blatant issues the community has pointed out for years.” Then they actually fix nothing as it was all a ploy to draw attention to their module in hopes people will buy it for the aforementioned, potential fixes and updates.

    I came to DCS from FSX, P3D, and XP. This side of the FS world is awash with haphazard addons and scumbaggery. From what I’ve seen over the years with regards to modules, it’s much the same with regards to DCS.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ShamrockOneFive says:

      If the announcement leads to some concrete action I think that will be very good.

      If not much happens and a lot of time passes then, yeah, this could be problematic for sure. It wouldn’t necessarily be on my recommended list for the moment – at least not until issues are cleared up.

      I have high hopes for the sake of the fans of helicopters in DCS!

      Like

  7. Mischiew Rithe says:

    (beware, bits of realism and negativism follow)

    Alert, my non-sense detector just triggered! 😀

    “The idea has always been that the new module […] would pave the way for a number of much needed updates to the Gazelle”

    It gets better:

    “Now we will focus on finding ways to develop both the Gazelle and the new module in parallel.”

    “a very promising coder who will focus solely on the Gazelle”

    So if I understand correctly, they will keep developing a mainly new code base for their next helicopter, and put someone new who has zero knowledge of the Gazelle to fix it the best he could with the old code base (if he’s actually hired).

    Instead of simply attending to the most pressing matter at hand, and fixing the now well-known code of the Gazelle by reworking it based on their experience, then using that new base to develop a new module.

    Makes sense! 😉

    To be honest, I don’t believe they’ll solve the problem, and I will stay well away from their modules for a long time (I did purchase the Gazelle).

    “[issues] were introduced by many of the core engine updates of DCS, which we should have adapted to”

    Now that I can understand, it must be a huge problem for the developers to have an ever-moving and unstable platform. I’m curious what responsability the 3rd parties must take in fixing their code when the DCS engine breaking back-compatibility, it can quickly become overwhelming for such small teams. They must probably spend a lot of time developing a strong abstraction layer to interface properly and resist to changes (though I doubt most of them have the luxury of doing so in reality).

    All the more reasons to take a sound development approach if they want to survive.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ShamrockOneFive says:

      Thanks for your comments on this. I’m not a Gazelle owner and I don’t know what the fans of the module have gone through.

      It’s my hope that this goes well. But you’re right to point to some problematic points in this.

      My fingers are crossed!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Mischiew Rithe says:

        I’m owner but not in a position to tell. I bought it in early release by curiosity and to help the devs, but I quickly put it in the hangar to wait until it was more mature. Then after a while I more or less left it there, more by lack of time than because of the issues. It’s a very agile helicopter, and difficult to handle when compared to the Huey and the Mi-8. It’s quite fun but demanding, not something you fly casually now and then.

        The evolution didn’t look different to me than beta modules of other 3rd parties, I think, but I’m getting concerned when I read that kind of statement.

        Hopefully they’ll sort it out, that’s of course what we all wish. If they get enough people to work on both projects and be successful, that should give them some slack (and wisdom) for the next next thing 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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