Eagle Dynamics and DCS World are coming into 2020 with a splash by announcing and showing us their new DCS: Marianas Islands map along with providing some details on upcoming modules for their flight and combat simulator. We have details of the new map, plus the latest information on Ka-50 Black Shark 3, A-10C Warthog 2, P-47D Thunderbolt, Mosquito FB Mk.VI, Mi-24P Hind, and the latest on the Hornet, the Viper, the Huey and more. Oh… and we learn more about what Eagle Dynamics is planning for Modern Air Combat. Buckle up and lets get to this!
Marianas Islands map
If you’re a student of history, the Marianas Islands may ring a bell or two as the chain of islands in the south Pacific were seized during the infamous ‘Marianas Turkey Shoot’ where US Navy aviators reigned supreme over the Japanese in one of the latest carrier battles of WWII. Later, the bases were converted into the USAAF’s primary bases for the B-29 Superfortress raids on Japan. In the post war, Andersen Air Force Base has been maintained as a large USAF base that remains strategically important in respect to many of the tensions that are ongoing.
It is a modern rendition of the island chain that Eagle Dynamics is focusing on this new map which, by the way, is entirely free. It will come with DCS World either as a downloadable module or as a core piece of the DCS World package.
The initial starting size is 400 x 400km includes the islands of Guam, Saipan, Tinian, Rota, Farallon de Medinilla and Aguijan and includes multiple airports and airbases (including Andersen AFB) plus plenty of water in which to wage carrier battles on a scale that other maps don’t fully support.
In their goals for the map, Eagle Dynamics have stated that they intended the map to take advantage of the China Assets Pack, have a modern USAF base, and be feasible for US, Russia and China operations in the area. Although the Chinese don’t have a base specifically in this area, a very small amount fiction could make the area contested by any of these parties leading to interesting simulated scenarios utilizing the ample number of airbases as well as carriers.
Matt Wagner has even teased today that the revised Admiral Kuznetsov carrier is on it’s way. Deka Ironwork Simulations for their part has also teased the related Liaoning as a possible addition to the China Asset Pack in the future.
Overall, I’m excited about the new map. Both because of the free price and thus the wide uptake in use that I expect to see as well as the potentially novel use of the surrounding waters for types of warfare that are more limited in DCS World at the moment. It also represents another step forward for their map team as the details look superb!
Modern Air Combat has changed
Long assumed to be a kind of Flaming Cliffs 3 with some simplified aircraft being offered, MAC is now something different. Eagle Dynamics is calling it a AAA title and say they have expanded the scale and scope of the product. The logo has changed and MAC is no longer a DCS World product but rather something different.
My best guess based on the rumours we’ve heard (many of which were confirmed by today’s announcement) is that Eagle Dynamics is looking to release something that is more in the vein of Ace Combat or perhaps USAF Fighters of old than the high fidelity flight sim that DCS World is.
While some may lament this change, I think it’s a good thing. Producing a AAA title means more of a focus on the entertainment and gaming side of things while still adhering to some of the realism and graphical fidelity that sim pilots demand. DCS World isn’t taking a back seat but I think it may end up supporting more development if MAC proves to be a success.
FC4 it is not and FC3 remains steadfastly part of the DCS World collection.
A-10C Warthog 2 and Ka-50 Black Shark 3
Slated to release later this year, A-10C Warthog 2 and Ka-50 Black Shark 3 are two updates to popular modules for DCS World. Once released, they will replace the older modules available in the DCS World store.
According to Eagle Dynamics, the A-10C Warthog 2 will be a dramatic visual update to the A-10C (part of which we already have with the free cockpit update) along with a systems update. At this point they are not talking features but it has been hinted that new systems more recently added to the A-10 including the Scorpion HMD (Helmet Mounted Display) are possible.
Meanwhile, as you’ll see above, work continues on the similar upgrade to the Ka-50 Black Shark 3. The cockpit update will also be free while a revised model will replace the old one in the DCS World store that will come with several features including weather cockpit, new external model, IGLA air-to-air missiles, Missile Launch Warning System, Directional Infrared Countermeasures system.
With both modules, existing owners will be offered “significant discount” to upgrade. There was considerable anxiety in the community this afternoon with concerns about current users who don’t want to update and for that reason I reached out to NineLine, DCS World’s Community Manager who replied with the following:
You will not be able to buy the older version anymore once the update is released, but if you chose to not upgrade, you will only have the free updates available, and everything else should work as it did before.NineLine
As I see this, current features and functionality will be maintained on two of DCS World’s oldest modules (dating back 10 or more years) while new features will be part of a new package and both will be able to coexist in the same DCS World environment. This is a marked change from past upgrades that brought the Ka-50 into DCS World in the first place which has many on edge that the same thing could happen again. At the moment it doesn’t look like it but I certainly understand the fear that it could.
I suspect a great many who see these as their primarily modules will ultimately go for the update price if it is reasonable.
DCS WWII expands
DCS: P-47 Thunderbolt and DCS: Mosquito FB Mk.VI are both on their way to DCS World and today we see more details emerging on both modules as they work their way towards release sometime later in 2020. It is reported that the P-47 is far along in development and I would guess that it may be one of the next modules to come to DCS World.
Also on mention is a new WWII Europe map that will coincide with the P-47’s release. Details from a recent PC Pilot interview suggest that this will be some sort of channel map.
DCS: Mi-24P Hind fresh look, cooperative multiplayer for Huey
The iconic Hind helicopter is coming to DCS World as a flyable and is also apparently on track to be released in 2020. Eagle Dynamics is touting the cooperative multiplayer, visual fidelity, and wide range of missions that the gunship P version of the Hind can take part in and suggesting that it will be an ideal partner to the Mi-8MVT2.
The latest image above is small but it does show more details in the cockpit area than we’ve seen. This is coming together nicely!
The Huey also gets a mention with cooperative multiplayer finally a possibility and is reportedly in internal testing.
Hornet and Viper full release by end of year?
Eagle Dynamics is aggressively moving forward on their two 4th gen multirole jet fighters and is saying that they are aiming at being feature complete and out of early access by the end of 2020. Given the F-16’s more recent release into early access, this sounds ambitious. If Eagle Dynamics does achieve this, it will make a lot of fans of both jets very happy.
Collaboration between the teams working on these is hopefully paying off. New features for air-to-ground radar and an updated FLIR modeling system are among the highlights that are being touted as part of the 2020 roadmap.
Eagle Dynamics also mentioned two new modules that are underway by their third party partners. RAZBAM’s F-15E Eagle and Polychop Simulations OH-58D were both mentioned in the update. These two modules are currently the only new modules with a license agreement in place while other in progress third party efforts are not yet licensed. I’m expecting that licenses for other types like the F4U-1D Corsair, F-8J Crusader and the MiG-23MLA (or MLD?) will eventually receive the same treatment.
UPDATE: OverStratos from the RAZBAM development team had the following to say on their Discord earlier today regarding the MiG-23’s licensing status:
You can relax
What happened in the news is just that somebody forgot to add it The MiG-23 is a licensed module You can stop worring (sic) now
Core DCS World updates are coming in the next newsletter! Looking forward to that.