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!
14 Comments Add yours
Vulkan and optimisation needs to be an absolute priority. I’ll take that over ANYTHING else. I feel it would also lower the hardware entry bar amd entice new players (customers).
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I think this is definitely a big priority. I wouldn’t be surprised if its their top priority too, however, I know from covering the X-Plane 11 move to Vulkan that its an involved process.
Still, I hope to see it finally come to DCS this year!
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More than anything I want that South Atlantic map. That is the 800lb gorilla on the list. The F-15E and BS3 are kind of tied for second. After that, I don’t much care. Mind you, the extension to the WWII map does sound good. I’d have no complaints flying over Paris.
I don’t really know much about Vulkan, but if it means my 8/16 CPU can get better performance, I’m all in. As it is, most of my missions are small and I rarely suffer from bad FPS.
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That is high on my list but I’m not sure if its going to come this year or not. I have a slightly pessimistic feeling that it might take a bit longer.
Vulkan should, in theory, be a huge boon to everyone. It took a while to get it working right in X-Plane 11 but it transformed the sim’s performance. I have hopes that it will be good for DCS too.
What sort of increase in performance did you see in X-plane after it got Vulkan-ized?
It went from a sim that, even with a default aircraft, struggled to do more than 25-30fps to a sim that could (again depending on the airplane and scenery) pull in 40-60fps. That’s on my older PC.
I still don’t always get 40-60. More complex aircraft with SASL scripting tends to eat CPU cycles so I still only see 25-35fps but its still significantly smoother even at those frame rates with limited stutter.
X-Plane came from OpenGL, a very old API, to Vulkan so DCS is probably not likely to see the FPS boost. But it might see a substantial boost to the overall smoothness of the experience. So you may be getting 30-40fps in DCS right now and you might get it still after Vulkan but, if it goes right, then you’ll see fewer spikes and drops in performance from stutter.
I am looking very much forward to three things – South Atlantic Map, Aerges F1 Mirage (which will finally allow me to fly on Enigmas cold war server again after they removed the F14 from the server), and fine-tuning the F16´s FM which is currently quite horrible in BFM scenarios.
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I’m very curious about the new Dynamic Campaign. What exactly will it provide to the player experience? Unfortunately I couldn’t find much information on the internet. All I know is that it’s supposed to be, well, “dynamic”. As a single-player only player, this new dynamic campaign might be a real game changer. I’ll keep my fingers crossed.
Of course I’m also looking forward to other things like performance optimization, better AI, you name it.
Regarding new modules, the AH-64D is very much on top of my list right now. Besides that, the new South Atlantic map and any cold-war era planes are also highly welcomed.
All the stuff coming is enticing. I’m excited about the FlyingIron A7 – I have both the Spit and Lightning from these guys for FS2020 and they are both well done. The Corsair is a dream plane of mine, and I would like to have the Strike Eagle. South Atlantic map will be beautiful, and awesome to have a non-desert terrain in the sim of the scale of that map (no disrespect to Marianas or Normandy/Channel intended – just looking forward to this map).
But at the same time, over the course of 2021 I invested several hundred dollars in DCS modules – largely because I felt the roadmap would be ultimately fulfilled. I understand product launch delays, but this move by ED sounds like a spoiled kid taking their ball and going home (to not publish a roadmap update). Frankly, for the cash I have invested, they can suck it up and take a bit of flack. That’s called being in business – this isn’t a free hobby software package. Everyone on planet earth whines about Microsoft, but then they also deliver, and still dominate the market (I am referring to Windows). Yes, the core game is free, and frankly, if all I ever did was run the core game, I would have toasted it 18 months ago. To get anything out of this sim, you have to invest in some modules.
Example – Supercarrier. Still no ready room. Still no hanger deck, still no airboss station, still the same 4 stupid spawn locations. It’s not even on this roadmap here right now from Shamrockonefive, and ED has not said anything for months save some stuff in early Q4 about character animations being updated. I sincerely hope they are actually planning to finish it. But honestly, will they? Ever?
Just to be clear, I never once posted a even a comment about delays or being upset. I simply want to know that long discussed features are still on the active roadmap, and again, I’ll accept delays. But silence is not acceptable. So now I will speak with my wallet. This is why I cancelled my Apache preorder at New Year’s. ED won’t get another dime of my money until they finally make good on the core sim updates. I fully agree with Rhino above… Vulkan, optimization, AI improvements, ATC, and in general, core sim updates, a dynamic campaign … all to make the world we fly in finally come up to match the modules in some fashion.
Is there any rumblings with ED having a large Russian team that the current geopolitical situation could delay development?
I know they have had to back off of Black Shark and have troubles doing a more modern Mig-29 because of Russian laws on “military grade” reference material. When Ukraine is invaded, I’m worried either Russia or U.S./U.K. forces ties be cut between the teams. Not just the Russian laws, but for instance, in the U.S., we already had a ban on Russian ammunition imports late last year come out of the blue (which is estimated to be about 20% of our civilian market), I could also see sanctions limiting software development cooperation even more since ED makes software for USAF. I’m sure they had proper compartmentization for projects like that, but something like ITAR could make DCS suddenly be tightly controlled on the U.S. side too.
Wasn’t Black Shark 3 shelved because of trouble getting access to technical specs from Russia?
No. The update for the module continues and the updated 3D model of the helicopter appeared in the 2022 and Beyond trailer.
A few upgrade features may or may not make the cut (such as the IGLA implementation) because of documentation issues but the helicopter on the whole is getting a nice update.
Ah, thanks for clearing that up. 2022 will certainly be an exciting year for PC flight simming.
I just discovered this site from Twitter a few days ago, great for keeping up with Il-2 and DCS news, keep up the great work.
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No problem 🙂
This should be another good year for sims. Glad you were able to find the site! I’ll definitely be updating more on the Black Shark 3 (and other things of course) when we learn about them. I’m looking forward to it!