It’s only been a couple of days since the release of DCS: F-16C but we’re already looking at what comes next for the latest module from Eagle Dynamics. There are many more features that the jet will need before it’s complete and there are plenty of bugs for the team to start crushing. Let’s have a look and talk about when you might want to buy this jet (if you haven’t already).
The DCS: F-16C does have a lot of features right out of the gate. Both AIM-120 and AIM-9 are available, so is the Litening targeting pod, and so are a variety of laser guided and unguided air-to-ground munitions. The systems are all there to support the F-16 along with basic navigation and other core systems. But that leaves a lot still to be finished and Eagle Dynamics has a list of things coming up next in the queue according to their most recent DCS World Weekend News update. Let’s have a look:
- Programs for CMDS
- Autopilot (HDG SEL and STRG SEL modes)
- INS setup and DED page
- FM/FLCS/engine tuning
- AA and AG mode missing indication
Of those, I hope that IFF comes up most quickly as we’ll need this feature for the jet to truly be any use in complex multiplayer situations and scenarios.
Of course, TWS (track while scan) is also a huge draw as the feature is being worked on simultaneously for Hornet and Viper at the same time.
Bugs to squash
As with any module of this complexity, bugs are going to be something that need to be squashed over the coming days and months. These things are never simple and so expect it to take some time to work over before the F-16 feels ready for prime time. Eagle Dynamics has compiled a list of key bugs they are working on:
- All things Damage Model are currently WIP
- Pilot body WIP
- Wing Flex WIP
- DED symbols not affected by reflection
- Seat Shadows in the cockpit not complete
- LAU-3 firing issues after reload
- LERX vortexes only on-air start
- Some stores alignment issues remain
- Tanker can send ‘transfer complete’ in error
- OBOGS BIT Switch isn’t clickable
- MPO check shows nothing
- Depressible Reticle Switch doesn’t affect on HUD
- Some MP sync issues remain
- AoA bracket is bouncing around while taxiing under 60kts.
- No animation on the engine inlet fans
- Pilot shows still in the cockpit after ejection
- EQUIP HOT caution light doesn’t illuminate after for AIR SOURCE selected OFF
- AWACS Declare not available
- ENG CONT switch doesn’t affect nozzle position
- Trying to eject with seat unarmed causes ejection soon as the seat is armed
- HUD IAS delta is too big comparing with info bar
- In certain cases, Afterburner flame overlaps engine nozzle
- HUD velocity switch doesn’t display Ground Speed
- AR floodlight and other lights on fuselage doesn’t work
- ALT GEAR Handle isn’t clickable
- HUD Brightness Control Switch not functioning
- EMER Jettison and GRND jettison not functioning
- Seat adjustment moves POV but not model
- PNEU label is not displayed
- Hook doesn’t extend
- Infobar shows wrong flaps value
- Stores Drag WIP
- Active and Time to Intercept calculations for DLZ
Clearly, there’s lots for the team to work on but that was not an unexpected thing given the early access nature of the module. Just like the F/A-18C Hornet, the F-16C is going to mature over the coming months and will pick up new capabilities while bugs will be squashed.
Should you buy into early access right now?
A lot of questions are going around on if you should buy into the DCS: F-16C at this stage of early access. The answer is going to be very individual and dependent on your interest levels and tolerance for flying a module that is very much a work in progress.
Early access, by very nature, is an early look at an aircraft and in those first weeks and months things are going to be rougher around the edges. The early access period helps test the module out and it exposes issues and bugs in mere hours that small test teams could not hope to replicate.
If you like your aircraft modules to be complete and working without any major issues, right now is probably not the time to get started with this aircraft. One look at the bug list above should tell you that there’s lots for the team to do and much work still to come.
On the other hand, if you can’t wait to have your first flights in the DCS: F-16C, you can almost certainly do that with this early access module. Flying, basic fighting, and even some precision guided attacks are all possible with this module even on day one. There will be problems and it will take time to sort them out so you have to have a bit of patience and be willing to put the jet down and fly something else when things aren’t ready to go.
DCS: F-16C is going to get better and more capable and what Eagle Dynamics has established here is a solid foundation that will be built on. Plus, if you really need to fly fast, far, and do all kinds of different things… one need only look at the last couple of modules to come out for DCS World to satisfy your interests.
Viper is here and I’m confident it will be great!