We have an answer on why so many DCS modules are being announced

With a half dozen new aircraft and maps announced over the last several weeks, a common question being asked in the community is why so many all at once and what has changed. Well, we have a bit of insight into that now.

Third party announcements

The recent spate of announcements from DCS: Sinai to DCS: F-100 and yesterday’s DCS: A-1 Skyraider has had people around the community wondering. Why so many have been announced all at once all of the sudden feels like there has been some sort of shift.

The sheer number is unprecedented for DCS’ history. To some extent, I think the sim growing its audience and pulling in more third parties is at least part of the recent spree of announcements. But there is another reason and this one comes from Eagle Dynamics directly.

In a post on the DCS World forums, community manager BIGNEWY, gives us some insight as to the reasoning.

In the past we generally waited until a 3rd party module was quite far along in development; however, this has resulted in duplicated efforts and inefficiencies. Instead, once a 3rd party module has a completed license agreement, we will now announce it to allow the 3rd party to “plant a flag” and avoid duplicated efforts. Once a 3rd party project is roughly six months away from release based on an internal evaluation, more news and updates will be made available.


Because we have several 3rd party projects in development, and the change in announcement policy, we have had a flurry of announcement activity.

BIGNEWY on the DCS World forums

So the bottom line seems to be that this is an effort to let the community know earlier on in the process so that other third parties don’t start on a project only to find that one is already underway and is unannounced.

Hold your hype

The last line of the first paragraph is important too. Although all of these projects are clearly underway, the lead times on DCS World projects are long. While some, like the C-130 appear to be quite advanced, others like the DCS: F-100 Super Sabre are clearly in the very opening stages.

This may lead to some not hearing many updates and indeed beginning to worry when modules haven’t seen updates for quite a long period of time. I would assume that for many of these projects we may not hear about them for quite some time. That may be measured in months but it also may be measured in a year or more.

Obviously, the announcement is just the beginning. Then we’ll need to give all of these third party developers time to do what they need to do to make these aircraft come alive. In the meantime, there’s lots of great modules languishing in my hangar that need some dusting off and flying around.

21 Comments Add yours

  1. CanadaOne says:

    I’m sorry, but I don’t buy the “plant the flag” idea coming from DCS. Confirmation/planning of modules being built can absolutely be done internally. I think it’s all about creating a colourful calendar of things to look forward to and to plan to buy. Hence, the fancy teaser trailers.

    I love DCS and the teaser trailers as much as the next guy. DCS gets 90%+ of my flightsim dollars and will continue to do so. I’m just not sure about the idea of announcing modules that cannot even be confirmed to be available in the next two to three years.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. ShamrockOneFive says:

      I can’t argue with your logic. It’s quite possible this is a reason for it as well.

      I definitely encourage folks to hold the hype a bit and be excited but not too excited about some of the things that are coming. It’s going to take a long time for some!

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Dmitriy Kozyrev says:

      Scenario #1: A random dude writes to ED, asking if someone’s currently making a Fulda Gap map that this person “would like to create”. ED says yes, we have a 3rd party working on it for some time. The person then “announces” this on hoggit for karma. Rinse and repeat for other hypeworthy modules.

      Scenario #2: A legit team wants to create a Fulda Gap map, and asks ED if it’s available. ED says we can’t disclose that until you prove your competence and sign a contract. So this legit team must spend months collecting data and building a prototype or something, only to find later that the Fulda Gap map has been taken already.

      So, while I don’t disagree with your “colourful calendar” argument, I think them announcing things so early do more good than harm.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. CanadaOne says:

        I’m not against early promotion. As stated, I enjoy the trailers and the hype. My issue is with the (too) early promotion and hype of planes followed by months and years of “We’ll give you info when we feel like it.” And now we have a situation with about a dozen modules being announced. I think if some of these planes and maps are 3+ years away, it’s fair to add that to the announcement.

        As to private vs. public confirmation of module development; business operations are inherently private. That module development requires a years-before-the-fact public announcement to avoid dual efforts seems like a stretch. Besides, ED and the devs sure can keep a secret when it comes to stuff already being made. Ask when the Skyraider will be ready, for example, and the impenetrable steel walls of complete and utter silence and secrecy will be up in half a heartbeat. 🙂

        Like

  2. Redglyph says:

    I don’t think random dudes would be able to pry for information because they would have to do more than just send an email. It’s a small community, developers are known and the way it usually goes is a first series of exchanges with calls, showing mock-ups, convincing ED that the development is indeed possible and that the team is up for it. We can see the amount of work in the recent announcements.

    I’m not entirely convinced on the “flag” justification either. If a developer comes to ED with a proposal, ED is perfectly able to tell them that it’s not what they’re looking for or that it’s already being worked on, even if that hasn’t been announced. Unless the inefficiencies are something else, but then I don’t see what it could be.

    In any case, there are still many announcements even if they have been made right after the licence agreement and so earlier in the process.

    Sure, it might be pure chance they happened so close to one another. It could also mean either that cancelled developments happen now and then but we’ve never heard of them before, or that DCS is getting to a more comfortable position where 3rd-party developers are now seeing it as a viable hub for add-ons (like MSFS, P3D, X-Plane and FSX).

    It’s probably a mix of the 2.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Redglyph says:

      (it’s just pure speculation from my part of course)

      Like

  3. Blue 5 says:

    What a total load of horse manure. They expect us to believe that they withheld programme development information from their supply chain, with the result that there was ‘duplication of effort’? Idiotic incompetence or lying, which do you prefer?

    Yet another reason not to trust anything spewed from the mouth of DCS. Every time I think that maybe I should give them another chance as an honest and transparent company, they come up with something like this.

    They really should get jobs with Lockheed Martin.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. kallem says:

      totally agree. these dcs community managers are so disingenuous.

      more likely it is they are encouraging lots of new third party project so they don’t have to rely on output from their russian offices. or maybe they are trying to hype flagging sales. or divert attention from the core elements that they were working on but have been delayed.

      but the real question is now how many under development projects are there now for dcs? there seems to be a long number of under-development projects. i wonder how many will ever get released? or even finished? we are still waiting on so many already announced. and are there really three more still to be announced? sounds like just vaporous hype

      Like

      1. CanadaOne says:

        I made a “vaporware” comment on the DCS forums once and the admin/mods came down on me fast. Fair enough, it’s their forum.

        If you ask for a release date on something already years in the oven, you’ll be met with silence or a shrug. But if you mention vaporware, you’re going to get a response on the quick. Given that some announced modules disappear for years, and questions about them are ignored or treated as annoying, I’m not sure vaporware comments are completely out of place.

        Like

      2. NineLine says:

        So hostile in here these days, the statement made that you are referencing, that you suggest community management is being “disingenuous” was made from a senior member of the team, regardless, this is only part of the reasoning.

        We have been making changes to how we handle marketing when we announce, how we announce and how we support from there. It is 100% worthy to “plant a flag” as someone that gets a lot of “Hey we want to create X or Y, is it available” it is good that we are getting people info about what is coming sooner.

        No, joe blow can’t just ask if they can do something and get an answer if something is coming, it has to be a serious full submission to become a 3rd party for sure and it’s expected if someone puts together the info required to make a proposal, they are willing to adjust their plans if their 1st isn’t available.

        Vaporware is a funny comment to me, I have known vaporware over my years as a gamer, and I can only think of one DCS dev that comes close to that definition, who is no longer with us (and helped shape some of the checks and balances we have in place now). Anyways, it’s funny that this would be brought up. Do DCS modules take a long time to develop? Yes. Do first-time 3rd parties take longer than established ones? Sure (depending on complexity). Is it possible that one of these modules announced will not make it to release, anything is possible in life. Should we worry about it? I don’t know, I am not, I know a few of these devs for a long time, they have been striving for this day, I don’t see them backing out now that they have their hands on the tools to make a full-blown DCS module, but again, things happen.

        I know I am answering more than one comment than I am replying to, so I apologize, but at the end of the day, and as I said on the forums, we have 3 general types, those that don’t want to know what is coming till its here, those that want to know everything and anything, and those that are just chill and roll with it all. Through no desire on our part, we are going to make someone mad no matter how we approach this. The great thing, in my mind about early announcements is that these teams now have early input from the community, they can see what people want, and maybe people with being able to mould their decisions, maybe now we will get a toilet on the Skyraider if it wasn’t planned already.

        So while this is a whirlwind of new stuff slapping you in the face, just relax, sit back and enjoy the ride. It’s all you can really do, and all you can really control. Is it too early for you? Then just don’t sweat it until it’s closer, think about where we were back in 2010 or 2011… and where we are now, what a trip and the journey isn’t showing any signs of slowing down.

        Like

      3. CanadaOne says:

        “Sit back and enjoy the ride.”

        Why did that take me right to “Just close your eyes and think of England”? 🙂

        Like

  4. Simmybear says:

    I’d be more pleased to hear about the ‘finishing’ of existing modules that remain ‘early access’ after ages.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sigurd R says:

      this….

      Like

  5. _BringTheReign_ says:

    I have one more reason for consideration: 3DS Max now has an “Indie” license, putting it within reach of many start ups and studios that had no funding whatsoever in the past. I personally will be subscribing once my 30 day trial ends – this is simply too good to pass up!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Blue 5 says:

    “So hostile in here these days”

    Could I respectfully suggest that Mr. NineLine owes Shamrock an apology for that statement. This is possibly the most reasonable, polite and nicely-tempered forums on sims and most of that flows from the author himself.

    If there were any hostility, perhaps it is from the customers that spend considerable amounts of money and hence have a right to express dissatisfaction with the perceived approach and product. That would place a percentage of the blame on the developer. Perhaps a reference to such in the post might salve some of the genuine irritation that is felt and that the developer might wish to address before it starts costing them purchases. This is a 3rd party forum for free discussion, not a platform.

    If there were belief that projects go dark and a gap appears in the flow of information then that is something for DCS to consider, whether or not DCS believes such criticism to be justified. It would appear to exist as an issue and ergo needs to be addressed. This would be reputational management and I am sure we can all think of products that have suffered massively through a failure – or disinclination – to mitigate such a situation.

    Customers do not have to buy DCS products to survive. DCS has to convince customers to buy products that it might survive. I – or anyone else – can be as petulant as I wish with regard to your approach, communications, business model or whatever other subjects I feel require attention. You need to address this in a comprehensive manner whether or not you feel it to be justified, lest such perspectives begin to swell and impact your revenue. Confidence in completing the older and satisfactory development of the known and current modules will be the benchmark upon which future early access purchases will be based. You cannot speak to nor appease everyone, but the fact that the first post after yours referenced just that might be a message, perhaps?

    On the barometer of hostility, Stormbirds is a quiet spring day with a light and fresh South-Easterly breeze. Why you feel this place to be ‘hostile’ – except perhaps a slight feeling of guilt that some of the comments do contain a soupçon of truth – is not clear.

    Hopefully you or Shamrock do not regard this post as ‘hostile’.

    Like

    1. ShamrockOneFive says:

      Thanks Blue for the defense. I appreciate it and I appreciate the positive outlook that nearly everyone commenting here maintains.

      I think we can all get a little grouchy about our favourite things while still respectfully critiquing those favourite things. I have no concerns about any of that here!

      Like

  7. NineLine says:

    Interesting that you take it that way, I have enjoyed this site for sometime now, and enjoy the comments and feed back on DCS and other things, this topic has been no different. If Shamrock feels I am out of line, I am fine with him letting me know.

    What I found unusual is the terms used, and them seemingly being so aggressive in that I can’t think of anything that became vaporware from DCS, I don’t feel like we are “idiotic-ly incompetent” or “lying”. I tried to explain that in more depth above but I guess it’s not enough, so I will ask, aside from getting more information on future developments in new 3rd parties and new products, what is so bad with these announcements?

    And to you personally, I apologize if you took my comment hostile comment personally, it wasn’t my intent to single anyone out, rather highlight my surprise that a few people seem so agitated at getting need early. In this case I am rather boggled by it.

    Like

    1. ShamrockOneFive says:

      The word I just used with Blue was “grouchy” (although not specifically to describe Blue ;)) and that may describe many of our moods these days.

      I appreciate you and all of the other commentators weighing in and carrying on what is almost entirely a respectful conversation. The art of critique is so important so as to recognize the hard work that dev teams do while also recognizing both casual and die hard fans (I’m one of those for sure) who love the product and of course have all kinds of things that we’d love to see improve.

      It’s been a bunch of busy days here so I haven’t had a chance to weigh in much but my overall message to everyone is please continue to keep those respectful lines of communication open.

      We all love our flight sims, it’s why we sometimes get a bit passionate about it 🙂

      Like

      1. CanadaOne says:

        Amen.

        I figure as a solid DCS customer I’m entitled to do a bit of consumer venting now and then. But at the end of the day, after the venting is done, I stand by DCS as being THE premier flightsim and it will continue to get at least 90% of my flightsim dollars. I do spend the occasional dollar on MSFS, and basically nothing at all on the other sim.

        I hope the ED staff take the venting with a grain of salt. If the cost of having a guy buy an $80 plane, and then another, and then another, is that he throws off some steam on the forums now and then, well, that’s just the normal cost of business, I would think.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. NineLine says:

        @CanadaOne, sorry for some reason all your posts are not able to be replied to for me, so replying elsewhere, hope you see it.

        No, 100%… no 110% you are all allowed to vent and share issues, in fact it’s important to my job that you guys be honest with me as I am most times your quickest and most direct link back to management’s ear. That said, I do have feelings, as do the rest of the team, so when the names get a little personal, sure I can take it personally. I have been much better at letting that stuff roll off my back in the most recent years, but every once in a while it zings me 🙂

        So no, never stop being honest and open with me, here, in the forums, wherever just remember that we are human on the other end as well 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Blue 5 says:

      Well, it would appear from vague scan of this thread that people are not altogether convinced by the DCS statements. My post originally was in response to the idea that:

      “In the past we generally waited until a 3rd party module was quite far along in development; however, this has resulted in duplicated efforts and inefficiencies.”

      I remain surprised at this. It really does strike me simply as incompetent and I have yet to see an explanation that defends such. That statement translates as allowing duplicate development of a project without informing the various potential contributors that they were involved in parallel work. Or have I inferred that incorrectly? I am really happy to be elucidated. Sure have seen a lot of arse-covering and perhaps I am now naturally suspicious.

      I really do not care to pollute this lovely forum with a continuation of the present discussion so let’s just say I am wrong and all is rosy. I have worked with companies that mislead as a knee-jerk reaction, or the statements from which have to be taken with a good dose of salt. I could be off in this case and Shamrock does not need his time and money wasted on such. I would certainly rather not waste mine.

      Like

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