Campaign maker Sedlo has created some of my favourite single and mini-campaign missions for DCS World . Now, I have the pleasure of breaking some news with the announcement that Sedlo’s new 13-mission campaign, Bold Cheetah, is now out! I have the details and a short interview with the campaign creator too.
Free Hornet campaign
Featuring the DCS: F/A-18C Hornet, DCS: Supercarrier and the DCS: Persian Gulf map, Bold Cheetah puts you in 13-missions flying from the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln after an incident in the gulf.
Sedlo has been working on the campaign for a few years now. I had the privilege of flying a few test missions earlier in the development cycle so I could get a taste of the experience. I really enjoyed the mix of action and tension that the missions offered while also making sure that we get a chance to just fly the Hornet a little bit too. Don’t worry, however, as there’s plenty of action to go around.
The campaign comes with detailed PDF briefing documents for every mission. The briefings contain plenty of information from rules of engagement, weather reports and METAR information, comm channels, codewords, and just about everything else that you would want to know about the mission you’re embarking on. Voice overs are also in place with 1,500+ lines all voiced. There’s lots of detail packed in here and it feels very authentic and realistic.
The best part is that this whole thing is free! Sedlo is releasing the campaign alongside the release of DCS World 2.8 with the campaign making use of the new dynamic weather features right from the get go.
Ready to give it a try? Bold Cheetah is available for download in the user files section of the DCS World website. So, go, and download it now to fly it for yourself! Hornet drivers are going to love this experience if the preview I got was any indication.
Q&A with Sedlo!
Tell us a bit about how you got into flight sims? What was your first sim?
I’ve always been into aviation, from as young as I can remember. My parents would take my brother and I to the airshow every year, and it must have left that aviation bug in me.
When I was a little older, I saved up money from my paper route and odd jobs and bought my first flight sim; the original Falcon, by Spectrum Holobyte. It ran very roughly on my mom’s IBM-XT, but it did run! I was hooked from there on in.
When did you get into making missions and campaigns for DCS World? What’s your inspiration for making them?
When I first got into DCS World, I was amazed at the graphics, the flight models and how complex things were. It was incredible in that regard. But I soon realised that while there was content available for the simulator, at the time it wasn’t always realistic or even that much fun. I would go online and get killed within seconds by someone SPAMRAAMING 8 fox-3s at me, and I was like, “That’s not realistic…. This sucks”.
Being a total aviation geek all of my life, I had been listening to military operations with my radio scanner, and really wanted to see that kind of realism in DCS. I had also read a ton of books on military aviation, war stories and the like, and I didn’t really see too much that reflected within the DCS environment at the time. So I was like, if no one else is going to make something that I like, then I’ll do it myself! (these were the days before 3rd party campaigns really took off, with folks like Baltic Dragon bringing large, complex campaigns into the sim).
My first attempts were…. a bit rough, using computer generated voices and simple triggers. But as I kept working on it, I started turning out better missions, bringing in realistic voice overs and more elaborate triggers. Many years later we get to the Bold Cheetah campaign release.
It was originally going to be an official 3rd party module, which I was really excited about. However; the last year has proved to be challenging in my real-world life. With my free time being more limited for the immediate future, becoming an official 3rd party developer is something I must delay for the time being.
I had been promising it would be “coming soon” for too long, and it is time to do something.
That’s why I’ve decided to release the campaign, for free, into the User Files section of the Eagle Dynamics website for everyone to experience and enjoy. I’ve spent thousands of hours creating this content, and I want people to experience it ASAP.
Tell us about Bold Cheetah – What’s the story and what kind of challenges should the player expect along the way?
The story of Bold Cheetah revolves around a fictional, yet entirely plausible, scenario that takes place in June 2013. Iranian backed insurgents are causing havoc across the UAE and Oman, as the Iranian military tries to assert more influence and control in the Arabian Gulf. Attacks against shipping in and around the Strait of Hormuz have increased, and dangerous encounters between Iranian and western military units are on the rise, too.
It’s under this setting that a Canadian Navy supply ship is attacked and severely damaged by Iranian military forces. This results in the US Navy re-deploying the USS Abraham Lincoln back to the Gulf, and back into harm’s way. The mission is to show the flag, and assist allied ground forces trying to quell the rapidly increasing insurgency on the peninsula.
The challenges begin with flying on and off the carrier. Case 1 and 3 operations feature throughout the campaign, and the player will need to fly those in order to succeed. Many weapons systems are used throughout, from dumb bombs to LGBs and JDAM to Harpoon and Maverick missiles, not to mention all manner of air to air ordnance.
The player will need to know how to operate the ATFLIR targeting pod, enter coordinates into the navigation system, use the TACAN and more. It’s challenging, but rewarding, and the missions are structured to get increasingly more difficult as the story progresses.
And the player will be asked to use their good judgment, too. If you’re being bounced by bandits and you’re low on fuel or weapons, is it better to engage or run away?
All missions can be flown without air to air refuelling, but just barely. I’ve tested this out, and if the player is very conservative with the throttle it can be done. But… I highly encourage players to learn how to AAR. It’s challenging, but also very rewarding when it’s done right!
I’ve also added some extra features into the mission to make things smoother. First of all, at mission start, you can select to reduce or remove static objects on the carrier. This may help some players without the high end computers with their frame rates. Having said that, I have a 3 year old mid range gaming PC and it runs 60fps without the reduction.
The second option is the “Skip to Push” feature, which allows the player the option to skip the engine start, take off and rendezvous portion of each mission. This can save anywhere from 20-45 minutes off each mission. I still encourage folks to fly the full mission, but in the interests of time, you can skip closer to the combat. Plus it all but guarantees you will have enough fuel at the end of the mission to land safely (as long as you fly the aircraft well).
How important is the story to the missions? How many voice over lines are included in the campaign?
I think that the story is very important to any campaign. If the player can understand what is going on, and why they’re being tasked to do what they are doing, it can really add to the overall experience.
As far as voice overs go, I just counted up the files, I’ve got over 1500 audio files within the campaign. Most of those have multiple player dialogs, so I’m going to say it’s a lot! Authentic radio communications are important to me, and I think it will really help to immerse the player into each situation as it plays out.
Are you making use of any new DCS World 2.8 features?
Yes. I can tell you that the new BFM model will make things even more exciting, plus the moving clouds will play a part. There are some other things under the hood that are specific to 2.8 which I’ve incorporated, but I cannot talk about it right now. But I am sure the players will enjoy them.
What modules are required from this campaign?
Bold Cheetah will require the player to own the F/A-18 Hornet, the Persian Gulf map and the Supercarrier module.
You’ve released quite a few single missions as well as mini-campaigns for the sim. Which one is your favourite and why?
I like them all, in their own way… Eastern Friendship was my first attempt to write a small campaign featuring realistic, human-made voice communications. I learned a heck of a lot doing that mission, which led me to create and design bigger and better things. It will always have a special place in my heart.
I kind of look at my missions as my children, in a way. Each is different and unique, and I love them all. I can’t pick favourites! Or at least, I can’t publicly say which ones I like best 😉