Big DCS update: Vulkan, F-16C, AMRAAM, Forrestal and more!

It’s news round-up time because we got a nice big dose of news about DCS World. Matt Wagner will be doing an interview PC Pilot Magazine, DCS World Weekend News is talking about Supercarrier, AIM-120 upgrades, Vulkan API, rendergraph, and multicore support, and Heatblur has shown us our clearest image of the soon to be available Forrestal-class of carrier. Let’s check it all out!

Rendering technology improvements

For a long time now, we’ve known that Eagle Dynamics have been busy overhauling the rendering engine behind DCS World. We’ve seen some core updates in DCS World 2.0, 2.5, 2.5.6, and the most recent 2.7 but to push the limits to higher levels DCS World simply needs to be able to handle more.

Today we got an interesting insight into the work that’s been done and what is still to come. The project started in 2019 to offer this upgrade and they are reporting that the following features are done as of the end of Q3 2021. Here’s the published list:

  • Graphic backend
  • EDM models
  • Human models
  • Atmosphere
  • Water and sea
  • Terrain engine
  • Special effects, particles system
  • Night lights for terrains
  • Scenes
  • Cockpits
  • Mirrors
  • Indication
  • GUI
  • Post-effects
  • Cascade shadows

These features are now using the new multicore renderer which is very exciting. Other features are still needing work and they are:

  • Flat shadows
  • Dynamic lights
  • Radars
  • Propellers and similar effects
  • Clouds
  • VR support

Meanwhile, a parallel effort is being undertaken to convert DCS World to using the Vulkan API. Up to now, DCS World has been using DirectX with recent iterations supporting DirectX11. Vulkan (and DirectX12) is a more modern API that lets developers have more direct access to hardware which, when done right, speeds up rendering time and improves performance and smoothness. Right now, it sounds like DCS World is now internally running on both API’s successfully.

We have completed most of the work for a first delivery and made changes to our internal applied graphics API that can “shield out” the Vulkan code whilst in early testing. This render code supports both DirectX and the Vulkan API as different DCS World branches.

A first delivery in particular caught my attention. Vulkan API support was intended to come into play this year and while there are not that many months left in 2021… perhaps we will still see something before the end of the year.

Matt Wagner in PC Pilot

According to a post on the DCS World forums by community member “C3PO,” Matt Wagner has been interviewed by their staff and talk about a wide range of DCS World features. According to the post, these are the key things mentioned:

  • Vulkan and multi-core implementation progress
  • VR 
  • Dynamic Campaign progress and features
  • Multiplayer
  • Clouds
  • Performance
  • And a so-far unannounced feature under development which I am personally hugely excited about!

Regarding the unannounced feature, some forum members read the article and apparently did not spot any new unannounced feature in the interview so that may not be as much of a scoop as it sounds like.

The article is allegedly linked here but some say that they are already members and can’t read it. If anyone reading this is able to confirm access to the article, it’d be interesting to confirm some questions.

New F-16C tutorials

In the last couple of days, new tutorials have emerged covering the HMCS and DED pages in the F-16’s control system as well as a brand new one today that covers the bullseye functionality.

Development updates

In this weeks DCS World Newsletter, several areas were covered starting with news that the AIM-120 will be getting some new features. This prolific missile is getting a key new feature that will now model the missiles INS system together with datalink support. According to the update, the missile should have better performance on non-maneuvering targets and the mid course updates from the datalink should help against maneuvering targets. Cool.

The seeker is getting upgraded too with a gyro stabilised gimbal for the seeker that will use INS information to point itself appropriately. Physical calculations are being introduced to account for a more realistic radar model for the missile as well. The logic that drives the missile’s guidance system is also being revised.

DCS: Supercarrier is once again getting a mention. There have been some concerns recently that progress on the module is moving slowly. Notably, however, we’ve learned that the DCS: Supercarrier crew have been worked on for the last 6 months and that the technology will give them the ability to respond intelligently to deck operations with an avoidance and rerouting model that governs their behavior.

Notably, the technology is intended to scale to infantry units. That is of some note as we’re hoping to see better infantry as we see an increase in the number of helicopters in the sim.

The AH-64D’s pilot model is currently being worked on with a work in progress image of the pilot’s helmet. The helmet is more than just a head covering as it comes with a considerable feature list of its own:

  • Integrated Helmet And Display Sight System (IHADSS)
  • Integrated Helmet Unit (IHU)
  • Helmet Display Unit (HDU)
  • Communications components
  • Armorwerx ANVIS Helmet Mount
  • Aviation Night Vision Goggle–M949
  • ITT ANVIS 69 Low Profile Battery Pack
  • NVG Counterweight Bag
  • Lip Light, Boom Microphone, Type ML-8
  • Extra Bag for Battery pack with velcro

Kind of impressive when you consider how much technology is packed into just this one piece of the Apache.

Heatblur says USS Forrestal coming next week

A big DCS World patch is coming and Heatblur are about to finally release their Forrestal-class carrier into DCS World. Heatblut have always intended to pair this carrier with the DCS: F-14 although the carrier will be available to all DCS World owners regardless of which module they own. This is good news as the carrier will also be home to Heatblur’s own A-6 Intruder as well as Leatherneck’s F-8 Crusader and Flying Iron Simulations A-7 Corsair II.

The carrier will have the base level USS John C. Stennis level of detail so don’t expect an animated deck crew like you see with the Supercarrier. Heatblur responded to questions on that with a bit more information:

We’re hoping we can do more, but for now we can only promise Stennis level. 🙂 We’ve edited the description to hopefully not get hopes up too much! We’re still unsure of what we can do on this front.


Although hopes are not dashed of a Supercarrier level experience, it seems that we won’t be seeing it just yet.

More about this on the Heatblur Facebook page.

And, for the rest, visit the latest DCS World Weekend News update.

8 Comments Add yours

  1. CanadaOne says:

    Beauty! Looking forward to that big update.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ShamrockOneFive says:

      Lots of good stuff coming down the pipeline.


  2. kris says:

    They have dedicated team for doing VR. Improving performance (vulkan, multithreading), e.g. rewriting all the shaders to support vulkan which is not an easy task. They hope to start internal testing end of this year. They don’t want to predict when users will see it. This change is essential for dynamic campaign “…looking at now is creative ways to have almost unlimited numbers of units without having a huge performance impact..”. They also think about modeling whole world in the future. Started working on that technology for about a 1.5 year now. Could take another 3-4years. New clouds took years to develop.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. ShamrockOneFive says:

      Yeah some of these projects have multi year efforts that will pay off but it takes the time to get there.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. CanadaOne says:

        Some of us aren’t 21 anymore, I hope they hurry up. 🙂

        Liked by 4 people

      2. ShamrockOneFive says:

        Keep eating your veggies 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

  3. Urgent Siesta says:

    I personally think this is one of the best “general purpose” news updates they’ve ever done.

    Near future, far future, geeky details on missile guidance modeling, incredibly detailed 3D WIP models, etc., etc.

    And all that long-term work is paying off – just look at a DCS video from 3-4 years ago to see how far the sim has come (never mind going back even further). The progress is astounding considering the core code is still the same.

    Never understood anyone who thought Forrestal would be a “SuperCarrier” experience – probably just the ones that expect *everything* for free…
    It’s going to be a beautifully modeled 5 Acres of Sovereign American Territory!

    For anyone looking for more views of Forrestal, see Red Kite’s new video on Jester LANTIRN – it includes actual video of the ship!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Gretsch_Man says:

    That is a very exciting and impressive feature list. I just wonder how much of that will be coming with the next patch already. Some of us aren’t 21 anymore indeed.😉

    Liked by 2 people

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