Last week we had a big update from Eagle Dynamics during their DCS World Weekend News update and this week is equally as big with talk about DCS: Supercarrier, their new Channel map, Vulkan API, an updated lighting system, plus other third party efforts that are all feeling into the content that is coming to DCS World in 2020 and beyond. Here are the highlights!
The Channel Map
Last week it was a modern day Pacific map with DCS: Marianas and this week we’re talking about another Eagle Dynamics map focused on on the English channel with France on the one side and England on the other (with portions of the low countries mentioned as well). The map is intended, according to Eagle Dynamics, to be a centerpiece for battles ranging from the late 1930s through to 1945.
We’ve got famous places like Abbeville Drucat and Saint-Omer Longuenesse on the one side to Manston, Detling and Hawkinge on the other. The full extent of the map has not yet been revealed but Eagle Dynamics has said that the new map will feature a level of detail and realism not previously realized in DCS World.
This is Eagle Dynamics’ first WWII map that their internal map team has created so it’ll be interesting to see how it complements or matches the Normandy map. We’ve learned through questions answered by their community team that there is no overlap with Normandy and that unlike the Normandy map, the UK portion of the map will be fully detailed.
To that point, the base at Manston is in one of the images released today, which seems to help make that clear.
It’ll be interesting to see how this map is adopted versus the Normandy map and how it will be
More maps: Syria and Falkland Islands
Keeping up with map theme, two third party developers for DCS World have their own map projects under way. Very little was said about the Falkland Islands map by RAZBAM but we know that details are slowly trickling out around the DCS: South Atlantic scenario with previously released images of an early mesh showing off the era appropriate Harrier.
This week we’ve also see images (not from the DCS World Weekend News update) of the IAI Dagger, a Mirage 5 derived multi-role fighter used by the Argentine air force during the conflict. RAZBAM is busy making sure the South Atlantic scenario is built out from the looks of things.
DCS: Syria is another map that received a mention. We saw a little of it during the DCS: F-16 early press roll out but we haven’t seen much since then. This modern map sounds like it is nearing completion but when you read between the lines of today’s update makes it sound like Yugra (ED writes it Ugra) is going to be making updates to the map before it can go forward into early access. It is a big map and I’m excited by the possibilities.
Details for DCS: Supercarrier
Eagle Dynamics reports that they are nearing the finish line for their DCS: Supercarrier project and we’ve learned some key new details. First, DCS: Supercarrier will be available for pre-order on January 17th with a 30% discount and early access release is expected to be before the end of Q1 2020 (i.e. before March 31st).
As we’ve known previously, the upgraded USS Nimitz-class model for DCS: Supercarrier includes complex deck crew animations, improved 3D modeling, lights, and 14 spawn points for client aircraft.
New information includes news that the carrier capable Su-33 Flanker D, the USS Arleigh Burke-class (guided missile destroyer), and the Admiral Kuznetsov. This is the long awaited upgraded 3D model for the Kuznetsov.
Responding to earlier criticism, Eagle Dynamics is making sure that these objects are all visible in DCS World and full compatible with clients regardless of ownership although interactions will be limited (i.e. you won’t be able to spawn or likely land on the upgraded Nimitz or Kuznetsov unless you own them). No doubt this creates some controversy of its own as the Kuznetsov was long assumed to be a free upgrade to the core of DCS World.
Content is great but I know everyone is looking to see some core features see major updates in 2020 and beyond and it does sound like Eagle Dynamics are going to start to be able to deliver on some long held plans starting this year.
- Vulkan API is first on the list. Vulkan is an open architecture graphics interface that allows graphics programmers the ability to more directly access the hardware and thus be able to extract more performance from modern GPU’s. That’s the hope anyways and Vulkan programming for Eagle Dynamics’ engine has been working away in the background. Will 2020 see an early release? ED seems to be hinting at that.
- Also long awaited are lighting updates. Listed are improvements to cockpit lighting, world lighting with more natural and balanced tones, and finally an update allowing for multiple world-lighting sources. Individual lights should finally become a reality (currently night time lighting is done by painted on texture).
- Clouds and weather got another mention. Apparently the features have been delayed but 2020 should see the delivery of substantially improved weather and clouds. A new dynamic weather system with pressure fronts is mentioned too which should add yet more realism to DCS World.
- Voice chat is now in DCS World and more updates are coming. The update talks about future support for radio including some interesting features surrounding the different types of radios and the varied audio qualities provided by those radios including communications jamming and secure voice capabilities. That’s a cool area of simulation!
- AI updates were mentioned with improved control over their own aircraft as well as new techniques and tactics for BVR, low level flying, air-to-ground, and response to various threats.
- Air Traffic Control updates are coming with more realistic interpretations of how ATC operates. Let’s hope they also include more callsigns and more variability into the system.
- The AIM-120 will be seeing major updates this year with performance closer to that of it’s real world counterpart. Finally!
- Updates to Air-to-Ground Radar and FLIR systems are coming this year which requires a massive change not only to the FLIR systems themselves but every object in DCS World with an IR signature.
- Dynamic campaign gets the final slot with a mention of the work going into the system including AI neural network (a self learning AI) that should give a real-time strategy feel to the system. Neural networks need time to build and more time to train but it should be interesting once unleashed into DCS World.
A huge list of features
Today’s update has been huge but every single feature is consequential and impactful for part or all of DCS World regardless of which modules you own. I am very excited to see all of these core updates come to the series. 2019 was fruitful for new modules but it looks like 2020 will be more about maps and core system updates and that’s going to be a very good thing!
For more, visit the DCS World Weekend News update.