DCS World’s new free-to-play program, plus F-16 and Supercarrier updates

This DCS World Weekend News Update is chalk full of new details about DCS World including a big addition to DCS World’s free to play program. Plus we have new updates on the DCS: F-16C and on the R-27 missile family. Let’s get right to it!

Free-to-play remixed

Let’s start off with the biggest news of the day. DCS World has employed a free to play system for quite some time now with the basic version of DCS World including the Caucasus map, the Su-25T and the TF-51D Mustang. This model is changing as Eagle Dynamics is implementing a new system where you can trial any module including aircraft and maps (but excluding campaigns) for 14-days. The counter then gets reset and you can retry that module again 6-months later.

Here’s a snippet from the official statement:

Today, we are also introducing a new Free to Play system that lets you evaluate all of our modules (aircraft and maps) for 14 days. You can play each module sequentially for 14 days or any number of them at a time. Once you have ‘consumed’ the 14 days, you will be given another 14 day free trial period for all modules six months later. Enjoy the offer and please tell your friends!

Eagle Dynamics

This is perhaps one of the most consumer friendly free-trial programs I’ve seen and it is no doubt an evolution of the free to play periods that we saw trialed last year at the start of the pandemic and then again earlier this year.

This essentially gives you the opportunity to try any module before you commit to buying it and it gives you plenty of time to get through tutorials and learn a bit about it before you are faced with the choice of buying it or letting the trial expire.

The only catch is that this is a system available for DCS World store buyers only. Steam Store owners won’t have access to this system. That is likely a combination of Steam Store restrictions and a way for Eagle Dynamics to further differentiate their storefronts.

The new program together with the milestone of launching DCS World 2.7 stable release warrants a new epic cinematic trailer from Glowing Amraam. The trailer features a few new shots of the Marianas Islands and plenty of the usual cinematic flare as well as a message from Nick Grey. Worth a watch!

F-16 is getting some attention

The F-16 hasn’t seen much in the way of new features since the AGM-65 was integrated as attention appears to have turned, internally, to finishing the F/A-18 and then coming back to the F-16. With most of the work apparently wrapping up on the Hornet, Viper is finally getting some much needed new features and we know a bit more about what is coming and when.

GBU-31 and GBU-38 JDAM are in internal testing now and are slated to come in the next update according to the post. Bugs in the air to air systems and navigation systems are apparently also slated to arrive.

There have been many comments made on the flight model and tweaks to that appear to be ongoing as well. There are also a few dozen other features coming to the F-16 with the news update saying the following:

Once we have addressed the critical issues, we will focus our Viper efforts on completing important Air-to-Air Radar functions: DTT SAM mode, bullseye, intercept steering cue, ACM Slew, and more.  The Helmet Mounted Cueing System (HMCS) with the HARM Targeting System (HTS), Link 16, Air-to-Ground Mode, and IFF will also be integrated.  The AGM-154 JSOW and the ALQ-131 and ALQ-184 electronic countermeasure pods are also next in line to be added. 

Eagle Dynamics

All of these systems represent significant capabilities for the multi-role jet fighter and I’m very excited to see the F-16 getting renewed attention and focus. Hopefully these will be a priority and we’ll see significant development over the rest of the year!

Supercarrier back in the spotlight

I like DCS: Supercarrier a lot more than I had thought and together with the F/A-18 it forms one of the most compelling sim experiences you can have – certainly in DCS World! Now we’re getting a series of significant updates. Here’s the list that Eagle Dynamics posted today:

  • Plane director “Shooter” model has been edited to include skinning and geometry corrections.
  • Improved mesh and skinning for the hands and gloves.
  • A completely new and anatomically correct skeleton for the hands.
  • The sailor head model has been replaced with a much more realistic one.
  • The airboss model has been improved with improved hands and removed beer belly.
  • Missing Level Of Details (LOD) have been added for all models.
  • All seated and standing poses have been corrected and improved.
  • Fixed excessive bending animation of the legs while walking.
  • Fixed sliding legs.
  • Fixed the intersection of arms and legs.
  • Several new idle animations have been added for a more natural look.
  • Mesh and skinning have been adjusted at the elbow area to reduce the effect of no mass.
  • All the models have been converted to a new version of the skeleton that will provide more natural movements.

The ETA on these is unknown.

R-27 missile report

Eagle Dynamics is slowly working their way through the various missile families represented in DCS World and using modern Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) research to put together better values for each of the missiles. Now, the Russian R-27 missile family, is getting that treatment.

A detailed development report has been prepared for those interested in reading it. In short, it appears that all of the missiles in the family will see some sort of performance improvement.

What will you free-to-play trial first?

With the big changes to DCS World’s free-to-play system, I’m curious to know what people will be trialing first. Is there an aircraft on your list that you’ve wanted to check out but just haven’t wanted to risk the money without knowing what the experience would be like? Let me know in the comments!

UPDATE: I nearly forgot

I nearly forgot to mention that Eagle Dynamics is also offering up a 50% off one time offer for new players getting into DCS World. The 50% off apparently can be applied to any module or selection of modules. That’s a good discount and another incentive to buy in!


12 Comments Add yours

  1. Doctor Drago says:

    Well, I just got the Sabre and the MiG-15, so I’ve got a fair amount to do already… But I’ve been curious about the aerobatic planes in DCS, especially the Yak. That’ll probably be the first.

    This is a heck of a promotion!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Doctor Drago says:

      It turns out the surprise winner was actually the Gazelle.

      I’ve wanted to see what the real story with it was, and thanks to some excellent articles over at Helisimmer and my current infatuation with rotorcraft I’m giving it a try. Really enjoying it so far.

      If nothing else, I hope this trial program will give people a chance to find out a module’s quality for themselves, rather than simply taking the word of the bandwagon!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. ShamrockOneFive says:

        I’ve not yet flown the Gazelle so this may be on my list of helicopters to try next. Right now it’s the Ka-50 that is soaking up most of my time.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. CanadaOne says:

    This is how you do it. Show the customer some love and get some in return. Stuff like this earns DCS a solid amount of loyalty, patience, and forgiveness (when required) from me. This is a five-star bit of public relations.

    I’m going to try the Mi-8 to see how the Hind might feel, and the F-14 just because it’s cool. Everything else will follow.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Michael Thomas Dwyer says:

      No, this is how you do it, “here, have some free crack. Oh your hooked now, that will be $69.95.”

      Seriously, it should be good for the sim. People who don’t like it will try it free and then move on. Others though, that might never have tried it will end up liking it and stay. Win-Win.


      1. ShamrockOneFive says:

        LOL, yeah that’s about right. It’s just feeding the addiction for many of us!


      2. Doctor Drago says:

        Don’t think of it as a trial period. Think of it as a two-week deferred payment plan…

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Jeroen says:

    Just a thought on the Supercarrier news.. I see it as being all just a graphics update. I ordered the carrier in January 2020 (can’t remember when it was released into early access) and since then functionality of the carrier has barely improved. So I find just a cosmetics update after a year or more to be a bit…


    1. ShamrockOneFive says:

      We have seen some moves towards some feature updates. Are there some specific features on the planned list that you really want to see? I’m not too anxious for the briefing room right now but I do want to see a few bug fixes.


  4. hypertexthero says:

    Excellent news!

    I want to try the Viggen and the Yak to see how I like them, and the F-16 and F-18 so I can decide which one to learn in detail.

    I will probably end up with the F-16 since my first flight sim was Spectrum Holobyte’s original Falcon, and I miss that fast, agile machine with a view.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ShamrockOneFive says:

      This should definitely allow you to get some time trying all of these. The Yak I find has limited utility in the sim but it is excellently modeled. The F-16 and F/A-18 are outstanding with the only issues being items not yet developed. IMHO, if you love the F-16, check it out and soak up as much as you can with it. It’s a great module that isn’t finished yet. But we’re getting some bigger updates now and the JDAM bombs will be really nice to have. Those, JSOW, and HTS will check off a lot of things on my list.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Dave Stewart says:

    I’ve bought almost all of the modules, for better or worse but think this is a great idea going forward for those who want to try the sim, as a whole, If it brings in new flies I’m for it

    Liked by 1 person

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