It’s been a little while since we got a big update from DCS World developer Heatblur but a new one has dropped and it offers considerable insight into the future plans for the developer and what we can expect from them over the next few years.
Growth as a company
First, we have a big update courtesy of Cobra847, one of the leads in Heatblur. There’s an admission that they, as a company, have been rather quiet recently but that this quiet period was necessary as they grow their company.
Heatblur is now handling professional contracts in addition to their entertainment arm with DCS World. Fortunately, they are growing and they appear to be prepared to grow their DCS World portfolio as well. New staff are being hired and Heatblur looks to be laying out the foundation for their next ten years. That sounds exciting!
Something new has appeared as part of this update. Heatblur now have a public Trello board. For those of you who may never have used it, Trello is a tool for planning projects. I’ve used it during the project management of several projects and it offers a way to communicate at a glance at what’s happening within a given project. Trello lets you put different elements of the project into buckets, each with its own set of cards that can show you details once clicked on. This is what Heatblur has put together as part of a public roadmap.
The update contains information on current projects including the AJS-37 and F-14. For the AJS-37, there’s plans for an overall of the cockpit art, new PBR textures on the outside of the jet, a simplified PSD paintkit, more default liveries (YES!!!), and improvements to the ground radar’s performance and to the type’s dynamic numbers.
The F-14 has a bunch of items on the list including JESTER LANTIRN capability, improvements to the AIM-54 together with ED, new campaigns, the early model F-14A’s including the Iranian version, and more. The Forrestal aircraft carrier is on there too! It’s a huge list!
Future plans appear bright. After some worried that Heatblur were dropping DCS World in favour of their professional contracts, it appears that Heatblur has been building a plan for the development of several new aircraft. The first, the A-6, has already been revealed as a two step process where Heatblur are building the AI model first and then making it into an AI aircraft. But there’s more!
Two additional aircraft are listed under ‘the future’ as DCS: Next generation jet. Interesting! No indication is given as to what they will be except that they are intended to be high fidelity DCS World offerings. I wouldn’t read into the next generation wording as an indication that it would be something overly modern either but rather next generation for Heatblur development. Also of note is that Heatblur appears to be keeping up their partnership with electronic music group Meteor as there’s a ‘Next-gen Meteor album’ listed too. Interesting!
Tons of room for speculation at this point so we’ll see what Heatblur are up to in due time.
There’s also AI aircraft in the works including the KA-6 Intruder tanker variant and, at long last, a new mention of the J-35J Draken AI aircraft which Heatblur announced years ago and then has said very little since. Nice to see that back on the list too!
Things are looking bright for the third party developer and that’s a very good thing not just for fans of Heatblur but for everyone who loves DCS World as Heatblur has a habit of pushing the envelope and influencing even Eagle Dynamics (see the recent news about Petrovich AI – surely influenced by the success of Jester on the F-14).
Get ready to speculate
That’s the news but we have some gaps in our knowledge that will surely fuel speculation for weeks, months and perhaps years. Just what is Heatblur working on? The usual suspects have come up already with some calling for the team to finally achieve a long held desire to see a F-4 Phantom come to DCS World. Others wonder if the J-35 Drakken AI aircraft will become flyable as well. There’s requests for the Panavia Tornado and a half dozen other types too.
So far, Heatblurt hasn’t revealed anything beyond the A-6 Intruder which already has many fans looking for that update to come sooner than later!