It feels like it’s been a while since we’ve heard from Cobra847 or the rest of the Heatblur team though that may have something to do with the huge amount of coverage late last year and early this year on their DCS: F-14 early access release. Now, we have a new update from Heatblur detailing what the team is working on for both the DCS: F-14 Tomcat and the DCS: AJS-37 Viggen. There’s some exciting stuff in there so buckle up!
Refining the F-14B
The first part of the Heatblur update concerns itself with the efforts of the team to tackle bugs and fix them. The F-14B has suffered from a few including some visual issues with the afterburner graphics and one update where the wings turned black under some viewing conditions. Fortunately, most of those issues have been tackled quickly. Heatblur feels like they can introduce new features now and that brings us to the first big update for the F-14B.
Jester LANTIRN will allow the AI flying in the RIO position to use the LANTIRN targeting pod to search for and then designate targets for the pilot up front who can then release LGB’s on target. Apparently Heatblur has spent time making sure that Jester does this in a convincing way rather than making the search and tracking process feel artificial. Kudos for the extra effort there!
Jester is getting other updates too with new energy state calls, better abilities with IFF, as well as his abilities in close combat. Hopefully he won’t bail out so quickly either.
There are also major updates including a code re-write on the TWS Auto mode, a massive update to the AIM-54 Phoenix through a new API that Eagle Dynamics has offered up, updates to multi-crew, flight modeling, and tweaks to the art as well.
F-14A, A-6 and Forrestal-class updates
Heatblur was not content to give us just the F-14B but also the F-14A and some other supplemental content such as the A-6 and the Forrestal-class carrier. Together with two campaigns, Heatblur still intends to make one of the most immersive F-14 experiences possible.
Cobra had this to say about the F-14:
Development on the F-14A is progressing in parallel to the finishing work on the F-14B’s flight model. Current focus is on building a new engine model for the P&W TF-30 engines; which have a number of unique characteristics and piloting considerations. We are closely conferring with our SME’s, who flew -As for many years on getting an appropriate grasp of these engines and the impact they had on the aircraft.Cobra847 on the DCS World forums
There are other more subtle variations between the F-14A and B that I have no doubt Heatblur will do what they can to bring to life.
The A-6 is supposedly also moving along towards completion with the aircraft being built at the same standard as a flyable aircraft. Though it’s unclear if Heatblur intends to make it flyable anytime soon, it will be useful for the future campaigns that the team intends to deliver.
Heatblur is also reporting that the Forrestal-class carrier for DCS World will come later this year. We haven’t seen much since the image above came out last year. It will be interesting to see what kind of work Heatblur’s art team, which we know to be excellent, can do with an aircraft carrier.
The other interesting feature about all of this is that we’re going to be getting a carrier that is more 1960s than 1990s and the smaller size and older tech is going to be interesting to operate from. As Cobra from Heatblur says,
Get ready to land on a real postage stamp!Cobra847 on the DCS World forums
That should be interesting!
Campaigns and Viggen
Heatblur is working hard on making sure that their modules have a strong singleplayer campaign with the F-14 having one for each the F-14A and the F-14B and another for the AJS-37 Viggen.
Heatblur reports that their new F-14 campaign for the -B is due in Q4, essentially before the end of the year, with a scenario set in the late 1980s. That first campaign will be a big moment for single player fans of the F-14 and will hopefully showcase that aircraft in all of it’s core abilities. I’m excited to see that come out.
I’m also very excited about the AJS-37 moving from early access to finished and on that Heatblur has this today:
We’ll keep the update short and sweet on the Viggen as there’s been way too much talk, and not enough walk. It will launch out of EA by the end of Q4. The Campaign is now finished, and is undergoing testing.Cobra847 on the DCS World forums
There’s a bunch of features that are coming before early access ends:
- New Sounds
- In-cockpit Pilot body
- New, overhauled PBR exterior textures
- Various minor fixes, adjustments and tweaks.
More to come
Future updates in Q4 are reportedly going to touch on all of the above discussed plus Heatblur’s plans to work on an the J-35 Draken AI aircraft which we haven’t seen much about for a very long time.
Swedish aircraft fans are likely going to be interested to see what Heatblur ends up doing with the J-35 (and the A-6 while were talking about AI planes that they are developing).