Last year, Eagle Dynamics did something new and gave us a roadmap for their plans over the course of the year. Of course, not everything goes to plan and the challenges of software development usually mean delays happen. This year, we’ve heard word that Eagle Dynamics will not release a formal roadmap to us, however, we know a lot about what their plans are already so let’s have a look at what’s coming down the pipe.
No roadmap? So what’s coming?
Responding to a question on the Eagle Dynamics Discord server, ED community manager BIGNEWY responded that there wouldn’t be a formal roadmap this year.
We wont be doing a roadmap, to many people take plans and see promises and it just creates a bad feeling. When we have news to share about our projects we will share them.BIGNEWY on the ED Discord
It’s a fair point. Their roadmap last year laid out some big items on what Eagle Dynamics were hoping to deliver and when. Things never go according to plan in software development and no matter how much time you budget for a complex project, there’s nearly always a challenge to that schedule that causes delays. Add onto the top of that the layers of complexity and uncertainty that we’ve all faced in 2020 and 2021 and you can hopefully appreciate the challenges that the Eagle Dynamics team have faced.
On the horizon
There were high hopes for some big ticket items in 2021 but only some of them were delivered in the past year. There were some big updates and DCS World 2.7’s release and its phenomenal new cloud technology were game-changers for the platform not only for visual impact but by having a very legitimate impact on the way that we’ve flown scenarios.
From that, Eagle Dynamics has teased moving weather systems which is something that the current system lacks. The 2022 and Beyond video showed off those moving weather systems which I anticipate we’ll see at some point this year.
Last year’s roadmap had the new Dynamic Campaign as a projected release in 2021. That obviously didn’t happen but it’s clear that this feature is far enough along to warrant putting it on the list last year. So I’m keeping it on my own DCS World list for this year with hopes that perhaps it will reach a critical level and release.
Vulkan API and more multi-threading support. This is another big feature that we hoped to see in 2021 and unfortunately didn’t. Again, I think this is far enough along that ED hoped to see come in this past year but didn’t. It’s still on my list for 2022.
FLIR technology is another feature we’re all hoping for to see this year and this one I feel really good about. We’ve seen it in trailers and developer builds and assets in the game have, thanks to dataminers, already been revealed to have some of the new features needed to make it work. It may come with or around the DCS: AH-64’s launch.
Enhanced AI, another 2021 roadmap feature, I think we’ll see slowly roll out this year. We’ve already heard about an expanded AI flight model that should put to rest some of the “UFO” style behavior that we’ve all criticized over the years. There’s more to this feature as well including better ground unit pathing (necessary for the dynamic campaign), an RTS style brain for the AI commanders that send those aircraft and ground forces out through the scenario, and ATC updates that better handle large scale aircraft launches and recovery.
Multiple aircraft are likely to see new featurse this year. The DCS: F/A-18C Hornet still has a few features left, the DCS: F-16C is in full development right now and multiple new features have released late in 2021. More of those are likely to fill in the jet through 2022. And the A-10C Tanker Killer II product is still awaiting a few updates too (notably, a newer radio). Updates to ED’s WWII types are also highly anticipated and hoped for although I don’t know exactly what we’ll see in this area.
Finally, also teased was a vastly expanded Normandy map by Ugra Media. Using their superb work on DCS: Syria, Urgra Media are likely looking to make a similar impact on the Normandy map expanding that experience as far north as London and far south as Paris. It’s a dramatic change and it should make for a much better experience for DCS WWII with a wider area to work with. I look forward to seeing that.
Modules for the year
It’s always hard to know exactly what will come in any given year but there are several modules that have a credible chance of coming to DCS World through 2022. These are aircraft that we’ve seen a lot of and know are nearing their early access launches.
So, first up, Eagle Dynamics own DCS: AH-64D. Everyone had hoped for a late 2021 launch but there was enough left to do that the module needed more time to move towards launch. A solid early access launch nearly always makes a big difference for perceived quality of the module so I’m actually glad that it was delayed.
DCS: Mirage F1. Aerges has a good reputation among DCS module developers and the team learned a lot on the C-101. Now they are nearly ready to unleash their Mirage F1 and it looks like this module is closing in on an early access release with multiple variants (including a two seater). This should be a good Cold War aircraft addition.
DCS: MB-339 by IndiaFoxtEcho has made good progress over the year. I think we’ll see this launch sometime in the first half of the year. Moving from MOD to full module, this developer has a lot on their plate but I think their DCS module is likely to be a top notch first release.
DCS: F-15E Strike Eagle I am less sure about when it comes to release dates. We’ve heard many dates over the years and its unclear if 2022 will be the year. But, I have higher hopes now than I have previously. We’ve seen the aircraft’s exterior and interior fully displayed for the first time recently and it looks like aircraft avionics are well in development which suggests to me that we’re now close to a release.
DCS: Ka-50 Black Shark 3. This has been teased quite a bit through 2021 and made a brief appearance in the 2022 and Beyond video. As this is not an entirely new module but rather a refresh and upgrade of the Black Shark 2, I have high hopes that ED will be able to launch this in 2022.
DCS: F4U-1D Corsair by Magnitude 3. This aircraft is looking really good and I also have high hopes that it will be released this year. The aircraft, its supporting Essex class carrier, and unique weapon systems including “The Bat,” a primitive guided weapon from WWII, look to be in great shape. I think this is likely to release this year.
Many more aircraft are in development and some of them may end up be released this year although I have lower confidence on these other aircraft. Of course, there can always be surprises and the occasional module has surprised us before so we’ll see how this all plays out.
I’m not expecting Heatblur’s A-6 Intruder and Eurofighter Typhoon to release this year, nor am I expecting the A-7 Corsair II or F-8 Crusader to come. Other modules are a big question mark of course and we’ll see what progress they make over the year.
Staying up to date
This year I have started to expand my DCS World roadmap page and I will do my best to keep track of the big things, the major modules, and the key features that will help DCS leap forward through 2022. No doubt, more is to come!