Matt Wagner, longtime Producer for Eagle Dynamics, agreed to field some questions we had about product development for DCS World 2…
Can you update us on progress towards DCS World 2? In what quarter might we expect a release?
The team is working very hard on DCS World 2, with the primary focus on the new graphics engine. DCS World 2 is in pre-alpha, internal testing but we hope to make it available for open Alpha testing in the first half of this year. I am leery to give a quarter, much less a day, because we continue to find new blocking bugs during internal testing and finding new ways to improve the product. I can assure you that no one wants to release DCS World 2 to the world more than the Eagle Dynamics team. However, we see no point in doing so if there are blocking-level bugs that make it unplayable.
How is progress coming on the L-39?
Progress is good and the initial 6 DOF cockpit is now mated to the external model and flying in DCS. In parallel, a lot of work is on-going regarding the cockpit systems and flight dynamics. We hope to have some images and videos available in February.
Is multi-crew functionality something we’ll see upon the L-39 release or is that something that will follow on?
Multi-crew aircraft for multiplayer is certainly something we plan, and aircraft like the L-39 are certainly scheduled to take advantage of this. While this feature will not be ready in time for the release of the L-39, we are pushing to have it available in 2015.
Is the announced Strait of Hormuz map waiting on EDGE and DCS World 2 and what level of completion would you estimate the new theater is at?
Art work (3D terrain mesh, textures, and objects) of the Strait of Hormuz map started a few months ago once the art aspects of the NTTR map were wrapping up. The Hormuz map is well underway and making good progress. The current work is only in relation to the art, and that is in the 60% completion ballpark. Doing the UAE alone has been a massive amount of work. A close look of the urban areas of Dubai and Abu Dhabi should make that evident. At this time, the Hormuz map just exists in the map viewer environment and has not been ported into DCS World 2 yet.
The Strait of Hormuz theater implies that perhaps additional adversary forces would be expected. Can we expect to see Iranian specific aircraft and vehicles included with the theater or will those assets be added to DCS World in a broader sense?
To flesh out the Hormuz map, we will certainly be adding the countries of Iran and UAE to DCS World 2. Thankfully, many of the units already exist in DCS World and will simply need to be re-skinned. We will also investigate adding some re-made and new units.
What is the plan for updating the naval assets given the obvious Persian Gulf location for the Strait of Hormuz? Will aircraft carriers be updated and improved?
Our first priority will be on the aircraft and ground units. After that, we will investigate expanding the naval forces. The exception to this of course will be a new Nimitz-class CVN for the Hornet.
Similar question to the above question about the Strait of Hormuz theater – is NTTR awaiting EDGE and DCS World 2?
Unlike the Hormuz map, the NTTR map is now operating within DCS World 2 and 99% of the work on this map now involves getting the map to function correctly within that environment. This includes such items as AI aircraft operating correctly from airbases, effects like water, object collisions, lighting, static objects placed on the map, shadow projections, and performance optimization.
With regards to naval operations, will there be improvements to include things such as the marshal stack, case I,II,II recoveries, refueling tankers, LSO, and deck activity?
We have been working with a couple of Hornet pilots on this and we now have a detailed design document that covers this. We hope to be able to implement in detail.
How is progress coming on the F/A-18C and do we have an estimated year/quarter for when we might see it?
Work on the F/A-18C continues and will accelerate in 2015. There are new technical challenges that this aircraft has posed. The first is the air-to-surface radar, which is now showing good results. The second major area is a PFM for supersonic aircraft. In many ways, the F-15C and Su-27 have been used as test-beds to build the technology for the Hornet flight model. Without a doubt, this has been the most complex and challenging aircraft that Eagle Dynamics has developed. As such, this project is taking longer than any of our prior products.
Will all modules purchased under the umbrella of DCS World 1.x be usable in DCS World 2.x without additional upgrade fees?
Yes, they will all work perfectly well in DCS World 2 with no upgrade fee.
Are we any closer to seeing a dynamic type campaign engine in DCS World – is it something that ED has considered?
Our priority focus is still on the mission editor and we see several areas that need to be fixed and improved. Not only will this allow better missions/campaigns for our entertainment audience, it also goes a long way to satisfying the needs of our professional clients. We have however been doing research on this topic and have created internal design documents of how we could approach this using the DCS World structure. It is something we are considering to do once the time is right and we have the needed staff expertise.
With the Su-27 The Ultimate Argument DLC campaign being released recently, are you at liberty to reveal any other DLC campaigns that may be in development?
We are currently working on two campaigns for the NTTR map. They are both centered on the player taking part in RED FLAG exercises… one for the F-15C and one for the A-10C. We are doing these in close cooperation with the author Steve Davies and pilots that have flown multiple RED FLAGs. These campaigns will be very realistic to the actual exercises and include a wealth of briefing and background material. Going back to the previous question, it would never be possible to do these campaigns justice using a dynamically generated campaign system.
Would ED ever consider splitting DCS World into WW2 and Modern Era products?
No, that is certainly not in the cards. “DCS is a world simulation engine permitting the user to operate or direct a growing number of combat and civilian aircraft, ground vehicles and ships, from different historical eras, in different geographical locations and at different levels of fidelity. It is a true “sand box” simulation.” To separate the different era aircraft into separate products would be greatly counter-productive. We have a very strategic look at DCS World encompassing decades of combat aviation. We are clearly in the beginning stages, but as the stables of aircraft grow and maps are added, the concept will flesh-out and we will have created something very special.
Are there any surprises coming down the pipe from ED? You’ve proven you can do jets, props, helicopters, and to some extent with Combined Arms, vehicles. Is there a plan to have DCS level non-airborne asset modules such as vehicles and ships?
One of the bigger growth areas you are likely to see in 2015 for DCS World for 2015 will be Combined Arms and the ground element of the simulation. This is an area we are just starting to tap into, but we certainly have some interesting things planned on this front.
Will DCS World 2 include much needed upgrades to AI logic and if not will it become a priority once DCS World 2 is released?
There are several AI elements that we are working on for DCS World 2. Chief amongst those is AI air combat, ROE logics, and radio comms. Another big area we hope to give some much needed love in 2015 is the ATC system.
Exclusive footage of F-15C over a portion of DCS World 2 – NTTR