It’s Friday and that means its time for another DCS World Weekend News update and this one comes packed with some information about what Heatblur has been up to with not only the F-4 Phantom but also some updates on the F-14 and even a few mentions of the A-6 and AJS-37 Viggen too. Let’s have a close look!
Let’s talk Phantom
Straight to the highly anticipated news. Heatblur is closing in on early access release of the F-4E Phantom II. According to the update, a long list of features has been completed or is approaching completion. Those features are:
- Professional Flight Modeling (PFM)
- APQ-120 radar and associated systems, based on a next generation physically based radar model.
- Weapons Systems
- Flight control, trim feel and autopilot systems, accurately simulating pilot strength stick feel-dynamics,
- APR-46 RHAW radar warning receiver, a physically based analogue receiver with analogue sound synthesis
- Mass Dynamics Systems, providing far more accurate and realistic simulation of all movable and physical components of an aircraft.
- Persistence and Wear Systems
All of those are what we typically expect from flight model to weapons and sensors. Except for ‘Persistence and Wear Systems’ which we’ve seen in other sims but not yet in DCS World. It’s possible that they may be the first to introduce a wear system that makes your F-4 Phantom have a life over time that includes flying it in multiple missions with systems and functionality eventually needing repair. I’m VERY curious to see how this gets done in DCS World.
They also write “and more” which to me suggests that this is a module that really is approaching the ready to release mark. But its not quite there yet and we’ve learned what Heatblur are currently working away on to make the F-4E ready for early access launch.
Currently, the Heatblur team is focused on completing some of the last remaining major items of the Phantom II, including some of the more unique and complex features found in other Heatblur modules, such as JESTER AI. JESTER AI is Heatblur’s proprietary AI technology to provide an immersive and unique experience for multi-crew aircraft, currently available in the DCS: F-14. DCS: F-4E will debut JESTER v2, a ground-up rewrite of JESTER AI, providing a better foundation for future extensibility, improvements and a more immersive experience. JESTER v2 will also serve as the foundation for future Heatblur aircraft, such as DCS: A-6E.
There’s a lot to unpackage with all of this but the key item seems to be that Jester is getting an overhaul and that the whole system is being prepared to be more flexible and useful across multiple module. Heatblur have, in past updates, mentioned quite a bit about their core processes that they are improving to make for better products and development across multiple products.
Eventually we’ll see that A-6 Intruder get its day and it sounds like the groundwork for it is already laid out.
A series of screenshots were released today too and they look great!
Start the hype cycle?
Heatblur have several times stated that they wouldn’t be showing off too much about the Phantom until they were close to release. I’m not sure if this marks the beginning of that gradual increase to a fevered pitch of a pre-release hype cycle but it could be. Heatblur do tend to not say too much until things are close so I expect that things are indeed quite close now. I tend to think more in terms of months than weeks but I’m guessing that the Phantom’s time will be soon!
A big F-14 update
Heatblur had a lot to talk about with the F-14 today as well. The F-14 is being continually refined and Heatblur are wrapping up a significant effort to improve the flight modeling on the F-14 so that it even more closely matches the real world performance.
Although the F-14 was close, a series of charts and information laid out in an update on the Heatblur website goes into great depth on what they have been doing and how the tuning has been going. You can see examples of pre and post tuned changes and how much more closely the tuned update will match real world data points.
The work has been focused on the F-14A but Heatblur report that they will be going to the F-14B to tune that model as well.
Future updates are focused on the following items:
- AOA buffet update to be more realistic (new checkbox option)
- Finish performance tuning for F-14B
- Improve ground handling
- Misc minor handling qualities and performance updates as needed
They also mention on the DCS World Weekend news that there is also a focus on finishing up the early F-14A (F-14A-135-GR) and additional features such as the TARPS pod. All of this work is aimed at moving the F-14 from early access to released.
Read the full FM update from Heatblur here!
A few other tidbits
Finally, the update also very quickly mentions some quality of life updates for both F-14 and AJS-37. Movable mirrors, new details for static aircraft, and the first version of “Forge” for F-14 which will enable a more dynamic cockpit experience. Forge was mentioned during the F-14’s roll out and is meant to do things like provide variations in equipment, field modifications and other commonly adjusted in the aircraft.
Forge is later meant to provide a customizable system so you can set your aircraft up with some of these preferred settings. It’s an exciting extra layer of customization.
10 Comments Add yours
Is that virtual pilot supposed to be Robin Olds? That’s kinda cool.
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Yes I think it is!
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Certainly looks like him.
Anyone wanting to get into the mood, can I recommend:
– Ed Rasimus, Palace Cobra: https://www.amazon.com/Palace-Cobra-Fighter-Pilot-Vietnam-ebook/dp/B005XMMNWS/ref=mp_s_a_1_1?crid=FTF8ESMQ8F98&keywords=palace+cobra&qid=1680319172&sprefix=palace+cobra%2Caps%2C242&sr=8-1
– Alfred Price, One Day In A Very Long War: https://www.amazon.com/One-Day-Long-War-Greatest-ebook/dp/B07YM189DV/ref=mp_s_a_1_3?crid=5AX1PACPUXCO&keywords=One+Day+In+A+Very+Long+War&qid=1680319121&sprefix=one+day+in+a+very+long+war%2Caps%2C495&sr=8-3
– Robert Wilcox, Scream Of Eagles: https://www.amazon.com/Scream-Eagles-Creation-Victory-Vietnam/dp/047152641X
– Iftach Spector: Phantoms Over Israel: https://www.amazon.com/Phantoms-over-Israel-novel-Kippur-ebook/dp/B00IF8Q2A6
Many more, but these spring to mind sleepless at 04:00.
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I am really really curious about the “Persistence and Wear”. I would love to fly in a campaign where pushing your aircraft to the limit has consequences.
I am in the middle of the “Fear the Bones” campaign right now, and the scripted HUD failure was a nasty surprise. I don’t think I’ve ever sweated so much IRL without any weapons being fired.
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If they can introduce wear and tear like that used in the MSFS C310R them I will be impressed. I’m liking what Heatblur are doing.
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Super excited about the Phantom!
That “Persistence and Wear” thing sounds interesting indeed. I also wonder how “simulating pilot strength stick feel-dynamics” is going to work.
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I don’t think we’ll see the f4 before June/July at the earliest, probably later than that. I can’t see them Releasing the F15 and the F4E at the same time. And I think the F15 still has about a month or two left till early access itself . Just have to temper my excitement for Pretending I’m Robin Olds flying over Vietnam tricking a flight of Migs into attacking what they thought was a flight of Thuds but instead was a flight of F4’s!
The IDF seems to have been a fan of that trick. They performed a classic ‘Bolo’ over Egypt against Soviet instructors in the early ‘70s. Mind you, this is mostly the Israeli account.
The IDF pilots involved were ridiculously skilled / experienced and had about 40 victories between them. Spector, Epstein and Amir describe the mission in in detail in their books.
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Awesome! they F4’s And Mirage III’s must have had some serious low level Flying skills to keep hidden. Thanks for pointing this out I didn’t know about this. I’m even more interested in this because of the Mirage III’s because that is what us Australians had for quite some time. Also we had F4’s for a while too. Cheers.
RAAF should can their F-35s purchase at 72 and get some F-15EXs (IMHO), ‘cos the former lack the range.
Where abouts you from? My family is Melbourne, though have not been for quite a few years. A good friend recently
Moved to Brisbane, I want to go and see everyone but flights from Italy are insane for a family.