Mudspike AMA with Eagle Dynamics Senior Producer Matt Wagner

We’d like to thank Matt Wagner, Senior Producer with Eagle Dynamics, publisher of Digital Combat Simulator, for agreeing to participate in this Mudspike Ask Me Anything (AMA) question and answer session. All questions were submitted by Mudspike forum users. Some questions were combined with similar questions for brevity. Please note – the images accompanying this AMA are NOT development images – they are simply images taken from my archives to add some color to the article – we know you guys need pictures accompanying text or you’ll wander off…

How is the DCS Dynamic Campaign coming along? Will it be a complete multiple-layered simulation of an entire war, like a certain other sim famously tried? Or will it be smaller and more gamey like the Enemy Engaged helicopter sims did?

We have been working on a single player / multiplayer dynamic campaign system that operates in real-time (not generate between missions). The first step has been the design and creation of the Real Time Strategy (RTS) element that considers resources, strategic nodes and routes, war production, ground forces, strategic objectives, ground force route planning, and tasking orders based on a side’s objectives. The DCS dynamic campaign engine will evolve to cover the economic aspects such as factories, warehouses and materials logistics that transport resources. All become valuable targets that will be visible on the map and available for game play for both AI and human pilots.

We now have the RTS element of the dynamic campaign running within DCS World, and we are working on user interface that will allow to configure a campaign and will be used to tune the RTS engine. There is considerable work to do on the interface, details of all military orders and package creation/coordination, and unit AI tuning. The engine is built on a neural network that allows us to create realistic dynamic campaigns based on machine learning principles. Our current estimate is that the dynamic campaign will be ready for beta test in 2021.

When will we get real time map object placement in the Mission Editor?

By “real time map object placement”, I interpret this to mean placement of units and objects in the 3D world rather than the 2D Mission Editor interface. This is something on our to-do list for the Mission Editor which demands a ME rewrite as well as a DCS World re-coding. Other Mission Editor items we plan to add are user-created annotations (lines, shapes, and labels), more flight attack options like multi-axis attacks, and more options to control the reaction of ground forces (needed for a better Combined Arms product).

Are there any plans to release any more ED developed campaigns or combined operations campaigns? Would this be an easy way to increase revenue for ED to fund other projects while providing more content or is it more work and resources for not much return?

While we will release mini-campaigns as part of aircraft modules, we will leave the more-involved campaigns to 3rd party developers. They have been doing a wonderful job in providing great content. The development of campaigns takes a tremendous amount of time, and we feel that our staff is best focused on other tasks such as core enhancements and module improvements.

For those interested in developing campaigns for DCS World, please reach out to us with a support ticket and we’ll be happy to assist you.

Do you plan a movable Oil Tanker unit for mission making in the Persian Gulf map (as compared to the scenery object oil tankers that are baked into the map)?

It is certainly something we will consider, but as with all development tasks, it comes down to a question of priorities. Currently, we have bigger fish to fry that will benefit our clients more. One of the toughest aspects of game development is setting priorities.

Can you talk about the new ATC/AI improvements in the works? We have seen a few carrier based comms in Wags’ videos but I’d like to know a bit more about the scope. For example declaring emergencies, talking to the tankers a bit more, having AI flights talk to the ATC as well etc.

For now, the lead engineer responsible for this is focused on the aircraft carrier communications (departure, marshal, approach, tower, and LSO). This has been a very complex yet rewarding challenge for us. We are nearing the finishing line and one of his next tasks will be to lead the overhaul of the airfield radio communications. However, this is the same lead engineer responsible for aircraft AI, and there are important tasks on that front that also demand his attention. All the items in your list are certainly desirable however, we also need to balance the available resources with the highest priority tasks. Improved AI is a fundamental element of DCS World core enhancements and a top priority for ED.

How are the weather improvements coming along? (clouds that don’t ‘spin’ in VR anymore, more cloud types, thermals, turbulence near the ground as seen in Mover’s low level video)

We are in the process of developing a new cloud system that will support several types of clouds including cumulus, cumulonimbus, cirrus and the variations thereof and, of course, we’ll also include multilayered cloud structures.

Will there be a new module-independent (defined in the engine itself) implementation/improvement of IFF that is a bit more realistic? Right now, DCSW looks like there are different implementations on a model to model basis.

Our IFF implementation is on an aircraft basis and aircraft of the Flaming Cliffs 3 series are designed to be greatly simplified. The current IFF in the Hornet is already quite realistic for Mode 4 operations. The only big item missing is the automatic modes, but those will need to come with the AZ/EL radar mode. Later, we also will also add Mode 1, 2, and 3, but these are not nearly as important as mode 4.

We plan an accurate IFF simulation for the Viper that is based on public information.

Is in-game voice communication planned for the near future (instead of third party tools)?

It is. Later this year we will release the beta version of our in-game Voice Chat component for DCS Core that will allow integrated Voice Over IP (VOIP) in DCS World. Stage 1 will be rooms for the two sides, Stage 2 will be released very rapidly and consists of user created rooms, and Stage 3 will be based on the radio modulation and frequency. We are sure this will add a great element to online play.

Is there anything new on the VR front? Examples: – performance improvements, maybe like the shader mod only that it wouldn’t break multiplayer – ways to make notes in VR (would love grease pencils on the canopy or so).

The biggest improvement for VR will be based on the new graphics engine that is already well into development. The new graphics engine will take advantage of GPU Multi-Threading and the Vulkan API. This is one of the highest priorities of our core features team. Not only will this provide a better VR experience, it will also allow us to create much larger and more detailed worlds with richer effects and immersion.

It’s a good idea to have the possibility to make notes on a pad in VR. We’ll think about it and implement as additional game feature in VR mode.

With the upcoming revamp to the Black Shark, we’re seeing a free update to an old module combined with paid DLC to add new gizmos. Do you see this as a viable way of continuing support for all the elder modules in the back catalogue or is this something you need to try out first?

Yes. We will continue to update older content as DCS World grows, and part of that will be updating older aircraft modules like the Ka-50 and A-10C. While we will provide a free update version of these modules to existing owners, we will also provide more feature-rich versions of the module to new and existing users. These more feature rich versions will be offered to existing owners of the module at a substantial discount. Once the Ka-50 and A-10C updates are done, we’ll look at other aircraft to refresh. A big one for me would be an update to the F-5E for example.

In the past, modules sort of faded through phases of being supported very actively to support getting sparser. While I think this is a natural consequence of modules costing a finite amount of money, do you see a way of making it more transparent to users how long these phases last and what phase a module is currently in?

We are working on a public tracking page that will allow users to view the status of each product, items being worked on, and our best date projections. We hope this level of transparency will remove the mystery of product states and general direction of the company and its workload for both modules and core engine.

With the CVN module coming soon, what else can we expect in the future for other Naval assets? Any chance of updated damage/ sensor models, or other ships and units?

Our focus is on the Supercarrier updates and after that the Arleigh Burke destroyer and Admiral Kuznetsov carrier. Once these are released, we will evaluate their success and determine the level and composition of other naval-focused content. One step at a time as this is a deep rabbit hole.

Do you plan to improve the air-ground AI at some point, for example with new attack profiles, jinking under fire or terrain following flight?

Most certainly, but our first AI priorities are the Supercarrier deck crew and then air-to-air AI improvements. Once those are complete, we have a long list of air-to-surface attack AI improvements in mind.

Nick Grey mentioned that more than 50% of staff are working on non-module related items. Any insight into what the items are that are actively being worked on at this point?

Indeed. Regarding non-aircraft and map projects that focus on the core product, some of the big ones are:

  • New terrain engine
  • Dynamic campaign
  • New graphics engine
  • Improved night lighting
  • FLIR rendering tech
  • Ground radar tech
  • Air-to-Surface radar rendering tech
  • Improved weather (clouds, thermals, humidity, etc.)
  • New and improved effects
  • Integrated VOIP
  • Aircraft AI improvement
  • Updated replay system
  • Improved unit visibility
  • Improved sound engine
  • Improved network code
  • And other more confidential aspects…

I think in fact it’s probably even more than 50% of company resources are invested on the core product.

Regarding future plans for the dedicated server

We have seen a big improvement with it lowering required system resources. Is there a potential and/or plan to further optimize in that regard?

We are always improving the dedicated server code and welcome input from our clients as to what they would like to see added.

Will we potentially see in the future, the availability to run it as a Windows Service, and accessible via a System Tray Icon? (Useful to operators for delayed + automatic start after boot & automatic restart).

Not currently, but we plan to have it as a Windows Service in the future.

Any possibility of a Linux based server?

We have no such plans given the somewhat limited utility this would provide.

Is ED looking at integrating features like those from the community (like SRS, SLmod, etc)?

These are great products, but we prefer to develop in-house solutions that we can better support and avoid core product conflicts.

Is there a roadmap for the Warehouse/Resource system to see expansion and improvement, such as mission payload restriction (such as limiting # of Phoenix missiles an F-14 can take at once), and allowing transport planes to move resources between bases?

The resource system will be greatly updated for the dynamic campaign system.

Are there any plans to expand Combined Arms? This hidden gem of a module can really alter the multiplayer landscape with a cunning user at the helm but hasn’t gained a large following.

Certainly, but before we can do so, there are other items that first need to be addressed:

  • Detailed damage model system for ground units
  • Improved ground unit AI decision making
  • New and improved ground unit effects
  • A much more detailed ground environment

Is there hope for an F-4 Phantom? If so, would it be off the mark wishing that the developer is Heatblur using the multi-crew experience and technology created building the Tomcat?

The Phantom is such a legendary aircraft that we will certainly simulate it. For now, we already have another aircraft (an eagerly awaited one) to work on after the Viper.

Any word of when the A6 Intruder will be in Early Access in DCS?

Such an interesting aircraft, but we currently have no plans to develop the A-6 but this may change in the future.

What are plans for DCS WWII after the P-47 and Me-262 have been completed?

The P-47D is far along and will be released at a completed state in Q1 2020. However, new World War II assets such as the completed A-20 and Ju-88 will be released this year. After the P-47D will come the Mosquito. We are still collecting the necessary data to correctly simulate the Me.262 and until we have enough granular detail we will not start development. In parallel with the new units, we are working on some new World War II maps that we will announce soon. Quite a lot is happening on the World Word II front.

Are there plans in place for a larger scope and vision for the World War 2 project?

Very much so. Normandy Summer 1944 was just a toe dip in the water. New maps, new units, and a new combat theater are all in work to expand and improve the DCS World War II experience. We are also developing a highly detailed damage model, long awaited torpedoes feature that will allow to use torpedoes by aircraft and navy units, improved sighting system, and improved aircraft AI to make the experience even better.

Can you elaborate on any plans to release other WW2 maps for other locations and time periods?

Not today, but soon.

Are there internal discussions regarding the choice of module to build in the release schedule in the WW2 project, that takes into account proper timeline opponents for the current modules and future ones?

Most certainly, and one of the new maps in development is also well suited to our current stable of warbirds. We started WWII as a private passion from our founder: simulation of classic WWII fighters. User have enjoyed the very authentic feel and precision of each module but we do agree that broadening the scope as well as sticking to highly authentic simulation criteria is good for user growth.

Can you speak to the progress of work on the WW2 project modules regarding damage modeling and AI routines for flying piston powered aircraft?

A great deal of work is going into the new damage model and we hope that our clients will be impressed. We have hosted alfa-testing of new damage model on one of the popular servers and we are working on the received community feedback to create the very new gameplay for all DCS users. In fact, we’ve talked about this in recent newsletters.

The AI will use the same damage model as well. We are also working for more human-like aiming behavior for AI that will allow them to shoot most vulnerable parts of each aircraft.

At the same time, our engineers have developed a very accurate engine and turbocharger model for the P-47D, from which we’ll do our best to have the AI fly to its strengths.

DCS Mosquito… dream or reality?

Very much a reality! You can expect it in 2020.

Is there a plan in place to enforce better configuration management control during open beta updates? It has now gotten very common to see features completely broken requiring a hotfix… or sometimes having to wait weeks. Have some options like FitNesse tests been explored?

This is the purpose of the Open Beta. While all open betas go through some internal testing, bugs should be expected in an Open Beta release. We also understand that Open Beta are not for everyone and is why we have the “Release” version.

Are there plans to create an ATIS?

Perhaps when we create the new airfield ATC system.

The Hind is one of the most anticipated helicopter modules ever. How will the multicrew work on that helicopter?

This is still being designed, but we plan an intuitive means to command the other crew member to accomplish basic sets of tasks.

Will the Yak-52 ever be patched? Basic things like ADF are still not implemented.

Most certainly, Yak-52 development team is allocated and will start to work on final phase for the project Q1 2020.

What is next after the F-16?

After the F-16C will come DCS: P-47D Thunderbolt, Mi-24 Hind, and Mosquito.

Given current staffing decisions re: the Hornet and Falcon, how has the development of promised core improvements to DCS World (e.g. weather, ATC, ai improvement, Chizh’s recently announced missile re-re-rework, rate of bug fixes) been delayed by staffing demands for the protracted development of MAC?

Not a bit. The staff working on MAC, Hornet, Viper and other such products are different from those working on the core DCS World features.

Why was development of the F-16 pushed so closely behind the Hornet when waiting another year would have provided a more mature feature repository to exploit?

Two reasons: we promised an early Autumn 2019 release, and we needed at least a two-week buffer before our big Autumn 2019 sale.

What are the development statuses of the formerly Belsimtek Attack Choppers? Has the specific variant of the AH-1 been determined?

Belsimtek (BST) has not been in existence for a long time. BST was originally set up as a branch of Eagle Dynamics as a 3rd party example as a business practice. With the establishment of other 3rd parties, it no longer made sense to keep that staff under a separate entity. They were then merged back into Eagle Dynamics.

Much of our modern aircraft team is focused on the F/A-18C, F-16C, and Mi-24 Hind.

Given current performance issues with ground AI pathfinding, especially with regards to server stability, what if any improvements are planned in preparation for the in work dynamic campaign?

This is an element that will require extensive testing and will be completely re-worked as we development the dynamic campaign. This will allow a huge number of units to inhabit a campaign and ensure stability.

With regards to hints of a squadron room in the upcoming super carrier module – can you please elaborate a little more on the features especially in regards to multiplayer? Have you thought about integrating common online collaboration technology for briefing/debriefing like showing slides or even providing templates for common briefing topics?

While still very much subject to change, the Supercarrier briefing room is designed to allow players to view the briefing, arm their jets, watch the PLAT CAM, and walk to the jet. This Briefing room will not be delivered during the early access period.

What is your opinion on the lovely crafted main menus of the classic 90s flightsims which immersed the player into some fighter squadron base atmosphere compared to today’s rather cold and functional GUIs?

I grew up with such titles and they hold a dear place in my heart. We are looking into bringing back some of those functions, but some would not transfer well based on the nature of DCS World spanning eras, armed forces, and aircraft types. One of the features I would like to see is a robust squadron management role playing element.

What is the capital of Montana?

Helena

Mr. Wagner, how do you cope with the rabid internet angst mobs? You must have a long history of dealing with that stuff. How do you do it?

Even the most ardent critic is posting because he cares about the product and wants to see it better. That is the most important takeaway. If no one were talking / caring about DCS we would be in deep trouble!

How did the Eagle Dynamics team cope with the loss of Dr. Tishin? On a personal level and on a professional level? Was the sudden lack of his knowledge and insight hard to overcome? How did you all manage to keep on truckin’?

It was a very tough loss for all of us. He was the heart of the company and a mentor to many. However, our company founder and owner, Mr. Nick Grey, has taken a very hands-on role and appointed Kate Perederko as the company CEO. Kate is a very talented programmer, has been with the company for nearly 20 years and is loved by all in Eagle Dynamics. Together, they have made the company more successful than ever.

Are maps that would cater more to the F-86 and MiG-15 in the works?

If by that you mean a Korea map, it’s something we’d love to do at some point, but it’s not in our immediate plans.

MAC – What’s the current status of MAC? It seemed to be a successor to FC3 and then just vanished. Is it still a thing?

We have a large effort behind MAC, and the scope of the product has grown tremendously since we initially announced it. Our goal is to create a true AAA product, but this has taken a lot more time than we originally planned due to the added game features we never had in DCS before. We are confident the result will be worth it and bring many people into combat flight simulations.

FC3 – Will we ever see an FC4? In addition, can 3rd parties add more aircraft in the FC vein, ie simplified systems?

What we originally planned as Flaming Cliffs 4 morphed into Modern Air Combat. The FC series will continue but we feel that MAC will represent the future of simplified ab initio simulator users.

F-16 – Will we have the option for PIDS/PIDSU?

Perhaps at a later point, but not in our current planning.

How do you and the third party developers choose which module to work on next? Is there a ‘big picture’ strategy?

It’s a combination of factors: what we have public information for, customer demand, sales forecast, avoid stepping on our own products, SME, and projected development time/cost.


Thanks to Matt Wagner for taking time out of his busy schedule to shed some light on DCS World development. If you’d like to discuss the AMA, please visit our forum thread: HERE!

Notable Replies

  1. AndyE says:

    Very interesting and lots of good info! Happy to see they are leaning towards the deeper side of things in regards to the Dynamic Campaign.

  2. While I appreciate the time Wags took to respond to my questions, I’m disappointed half the responses didn’t really apply to the questions asked.

  3. Fridge says:

    we know you guys need pictures accompanying text or you’ll wander off…

    Laughs as he looks for the first picture. :slight_smile:

  4. Fridge says:

    Thanks to @wagmatt for taking the time to provide candid answers all of those questions. There is a lot to unpack there but it all makes me feel confident in the future of DCS.

  5. Huh, I didn’t get that at all. I’ll read it over again, but it seemed he was fairly candid. I especially liked his response on 90s sims and squadron management. They do seem to have their finger directly on the pulse of what most of us would like to see (I bet that unannounced plane will be F-111). Now it’s about execution and that is a big concern. Anybody have a few hundred million to donate? I swear if I was a billionaire I totally would…

  6. Franze says:

    If I had a few hundred million, I’d buy my own jet. :slightly_smiling_face:

  7. No doubt. And pay a small country to blow it up.

  8. Franze says:

    No, that’s not how it works.

    I’d found the Glorious Dicatorship of Franzeistan, with blackjack and hookers, then have my own practice ranges!

  9. I’m speaking only to the four questions I posed, but:

    Given current performance issues with ground AI pathfinding, especially with regards to server stability, what if any improvements are planned in preparation for the in work dynamic campaign?

    This is an element that will require extensive testing and will be completely re-worked as we development the dynamic campaign. This will allow a huge number of units to inhabit a campaign and ensure stability.

    Satisfactory Answer

    Given current staffing decisions re: the Hornet and Falcon, how has the development of promised core improvements to DCS World (e.g. weather, ATC, ai improvement, Chizh’s recently announced missile re-re-rework, rate of bug fixes) been delayed by staffing demands for the protracted development of MAC?

    Not a bit. The staff working on MAC, Hornet, Viper and other such products are different from those working on the core DCS World features.

    I don’t quite believe the answer, but still, a direct answer to the question posed.

    Why was development of the F-16 pushed so closely behind the Hornet when waiting another year would have provided a more mature feature repository to exploit?

    Two reasons: we promised an early Autumn 2019 release, and we needed at least a two-week buffer before our big Autumn 2019 sale.

    I didn’t ask why the F-16 was released in Autumn of 2019, I asked why development was begun in May especially considering the negative run on effects to existing modules. The response did not answer the question

    What are the development statuses of the formerly Belsimtek Attack Choppers? Has the specific variant of the AH-1 been determined?

    Belsimtek (BST) has not been in existence for a long time. BST was originally set up as a branch of Eagle Dynamics as a 3rd party example as a business practice. With the establishment of other 3rd parties, it no longer made sense to keep that staff under a separate entity. They were then merged back into Eagle Dynamics.

    Much of our modern aircraft team is focused on the F/A-18C, F-16C, and Mi-24 Hind.

    Again, I didn’t ask what happened to Belsimtek. I asked what the status of the Hind and AH-1 were, and what specific variant of the AH-1 had been settled upon. The response confirmed the Hind is in development, which is known, but did not speak to the state of development, the variant of the AH-1, or even if the AH-1 were still being developed. The response did not, at least in my opinion, suitably answer the question.

    While I’m flattered all four of my questions were responded to, only two responses actually spoke to the content of the question.

  10. Fridge says:

    It may be just me but I feel that the answers given provided information, either way.

    It feels like the AH-1 is a ways off and the Mi-24 is closer. And I am not sure an answer to the F/A-18C/F-16C scheduling is going to provide us anything useful.

  11. Not to belabor the point, but my understanding is the objective of this exercise is to communicate information to the community and reduce ambiguity.

    That we’re using words like “feels” after the large AMA as opposed to definitive statements sort of illustrates the point. We’ve known the Mi-24 has been a planned product since the UH-1H. The last definitive progress report was delivered when Belsimtek was an independent company. “Focused” is a term ED throws around a lot these days, and as the past few weeks have demonstrated encompasses a wildly disparate level of development efforts. This was a missed opportunity to clarify.

    Likewise the AH-1 is another aircraft that was always mentioned as a paired release, like the Huey and Hip, Sabre and MiG, and F-5 to the third party Fishbed. That the AH-1 was desired is no secret, but which AH-1 has transformed with maddening regularity. Initially it was the AH-1G. Then there was non-dispelled rumor of an AH-1W before it was finally definitively set at an AH-1S… only for yet more ambiguity to erupt over which of the four AH-1Ss that meant. Wags himself passingly mentioned in his Hornet/Persian Gulf Q&A video that it was then an AH-1F. His non-answer here raises further questions on whether or not it is a focus. We are at a state of equal or greater ambiguity after the question than before, which to my mind is not a satisfactory answer.

    “We haven’t begun serious systems work on the Mi-24, we haven’t decided which variant of the AH-1, and the AH-1 is not currently a focus” for example, is a perfectly acceptable answer.

    Likewise, if they don’t want to discuss their SDLC decisions with regards to the Falcon:

    would have been a more direct response than the one tendered.

    I appreciate the effort Wags took to field questions and generate responses, I really do. At the same time, I feel like unforced communication errors like these go a long way towards generating both the truculent attitude and perception of malfeasance on the part of ED in the larger community, which in turn have ignited the greater PR imbroglio which seemingly begot this AMA in the first place.

    If everyone else is satisfied, I’m glad for you. As for me, I found those two responses unnecessarily stultifying.

  12. Huh. Guess beauty is in the beholders eye. I found the answers quite clear and to the point. Sure there are a couple of evasions, but that is to be expected. Just doing a big fat “nope” is bad PR.

  13. Too bad about the Phantom. Seems like it’s in the same category as the AH-1(?), in that it’s on the forgotten back burner. Noticed that he didn’t say Heatblur or another 3rd party developer could do it. Maybe a little hope there?

  14. Franze says:

    If Heatblur does one I want them to do an F-4J or F-4S. Would fit with their Forrestal as well as make use of Chester.

  15. I’m happy with the response I got. Thanks @wagmatt that was very cool to engage and answer questions like that.

  16. Yes. We will continue to update older content as DCS World grows, and part of that will be updating older aircraft modules like the Ka-50 and A-10C. While we will provide a free update version of these modules to existing owners, we will also provide more feature-rich versions of the module to new and existing users. These more feature rich versions will be offered to existing owners of the module at a substantial discount. Once the Ka-50 and A-10C updates are done, we’ll look at other aircraft to refresh. A big one for me would be an update to the F-5E for example.

    A pay update for the A-10C is new.

  17. Expected though? I’m pretty sure as the stable of aircraft grows and the game engine changes that improvements to older aircraft would be a lot more work than a simple ‘refresh’ so that would need to be financed as it’s a pretty big ask to receive that work for Free.

    I’m just glad the older aircraft aren’t being forgotten. That’s really cool to keep these things relevant as the sim expands.

    One thing I was (probably needlessly) excited about was the transport and logistics mechanism getting a big overhaul. Hopefully this would pave the way for more logistics operations. I really like the idea of this in the sim

  18. MBot says:

    Thanks to Matt and Mudspike for organizing this AMA. I really like the direction DCS is heading.

    I have the impression that the AH-1 and F-4 were moved far into the future because of the yet unsolved problem of AI crew. Unsolved for ED at least, Heatblur took a big effort and took the lead in that department. It seems that the Huey and the Hind will be the prototypes for AI crew for ED, starting easy and progressing to subsequently more complex aircraft.

  19. I have no problem with pay update [if we get new features], but this must be communicate early and best from the beginning… not like, first it is free, now it is not free, later you will get a discount etc. pp.

    here stand it is free - because it is just a graphic update - do we get new features?
    https://forums.eagle.ru/showpost.php?p=4035560&postcount=215

  20. Troll says:

    This is what Wags is saying in the AMA:

    Yes. We will continue to update older content as DCS World grows, and part of that will be updating older aircraft modules like the Ka-50 and A-10C. While we will provide a free update version of these modules to existing owners, we will also provide more feature-rich versions of the module to new and existing users.

    So, I’m guessing the graphical updates will be free, to existing users, but If they add more features, you’ll have to pay.
    They are not going back on earlier info.

  21. sobek says:

    Thanks @wagmatt for doing the AMA. Looking forward to seeing progress on the core features.

  22. Aginor says:

    Thanks @wagmatt for your time, and for answering all my questions!

    Of course not everything was answered the way I would have liked to hear it (F-4 :cry: ) but most of it sounds good and makes me hopeful for the future of DCSW.

  23. Well, your glass is half full now, so there’s that.

  24. I’d really enjoy a Phantom…I’ll bet bringing that beast back aboard the ship was interesting. Of course, I’m a A2G guy, so I’d rather see an A-6 or A-7 maybe…but the F-4 was a nice bomb truck too…

  25. A lot of good Information in that A.M.A.

  26. Dad flew the C, D, and E, with most time in the latter. But even I will admit that an S would be my choice for DCS because it would fit nicely into the planned carrier ops. Anyway, if they haven’t begun building a Phantom I wish that they wouldn’t mention it. A shame because it spans Vietnam to GW1 and most of the current Soviet block/Russian DCS modules.

  27. What is the capital of Montana?

    Helena

    LOL…you actually used that?

    What is next after the F-16?

    After the F-16C will come DCS: P-47D Thunderbolt, Mi-24 Hind, and Mosquito.

    …just then, off in the distance, apparently originating from the direction of the @Bogusheadbox residence, an anguished “Nooooooooooo!!!” could be heard.

  28. Why, heatblur are doing the pig didn’t you get the memo? :stuck_out_tongue:

    Last I heard they are doing a late model, TISEO equipped E model. And I for one am perfectly happy with that. It also tells me that they at least part way into one of the hardest parts of building these things: sourcing sufficient and accurate data. Ask Jason from 777 if you think that’s the easy part :wink:

  29. giphy-3

  30. Wes says:

    Please tack on an E to the front of the designation and say that we’re getting an EW rework. :sweat_smile:

    I’d love to recreate that episode of Dogfights!

  31. Watched them all but don’t know what episode you are referencing? Which is probably why I am not following your line of thought…

    Wheels

  32. Sryan says:

    I think there was an episode about an EF-111 driving an Iraqi Mirage into the ground, making the unarmed EF-111 victorious in a dogfight.

  33. Yes I remember that. He was credited with a manoeuvre kill.

    Cool stuff

    The Raven served in the Gulf War during Operation Desert Storm in 1991. On 17 January 1991, a USAF EF-111 crew of Captain James Denton and Captain Brent Brandon achieved an unofficial kill against an Iraqi Dassault Mirage F1, which they managed to maneuver into the ground, making it the only member of the F-111/FB-111/EF-111 family to achieve an aerial victory over another aircraft.[1][10] However, a recent article has cast doubt on this as the only Iraqi Mirage F1 in the air that night returned safely to base and its pilot reported that he shot down the EF-111.[11]

  34. Did any Phantom ever feature a HUD capable of CCIP?

  35. Franze says:

    Real man not need HUD. Who you think you are, man of dollar 6 million?

  36. “Bring me the gun of Rambo…”

  37. Who do I look like? Andy Bush? I need “put the thing on the thing” because I’m horrible at angular maths…

  38. Franze says:

    Just point the nose down as far as it will go, firewall the throttle, and release when you see nothing but ground. Works every time!

  39. I found my people! :heart:

  40. Sryan says:

    When in doubt, release more ordnance

  41. Troll says:

    What? Three times altitude doesn’t fit…?

  42. I can see now I’m going to have to go with quantity over quality…

  43. Troll says:

    Quantity has a quality all of its own…

  44. MBot says:

    Actually, I think I heard in some pilot interview that the Phantom was really nice and easy to get back on board. The J79 was quick to react and adjusting throttle would adjust glide slope instantly. The more powerful RR Spey turbofan of the British Phantoms apparently lost this quality. Useless trivia of the day :slight_smile:

  45. “For now, we already have another aircraft (an eagerly awaited one) to work on after the Viper.”

    Just saying I don’t think he’s referring to the Mosquito here. F-111 confirmed.

  46. MBot says:

    I am really torn on the Phantom. The F-4S would be the purest fighter and of course it has carrier ops for it, which I really, really enjoy. It also has a RIO instead of a WSO and is conceptually very similar to the Tomcat, so Heatblur would be in a perfect position to do it. Downside is that the Navy Phantoms have only a secondary attack role (with dumb bombs). Also no gun.

    The F-4E (late) is primary a fighter-bomber with a secondary fighter capability, with some really cool mission and weapons. Lots of variety, but all in limited, vintage manual style. SEAD with Shrike, LGBs with Pave Spike targeting pod (held on target by hand), hand-flown GBU-15 glide-bombs, the original TV Mavericks and of course manual bombing with tons of bombs. All great fun, garnished with dogfights using crappy AIM-7E Sparrows, rear-aspect AIM-9P Sidewinders and a gun.

    Originally Belsimtek was doing the late F-4E, but who knows if anything of this is still valid.

    Can I have both? Can anybody tell that I think the Phantom would be ultimate fun, game-play king of the hill, module to end all modules of DCS? It may not be the best but it might well the the most fun.

  47. Mine too… a bit.

  48. What @klarsnow said, which I confess that I had to look up. I’m mostly familiar with the E that our USAF used. I remember when dad got checked out in it at Seymour, he liked the gun but complained about the slats and not being as fast as the C & D. But later he grew to love it. In his last trip to Ubon in ‘72 they had Pave Knife or Spike. They would fly a two ship with one a/c designating and the other carrying MK82 or 84s with guidance kits on them. This was a bad time for truck parks and gun pits.

  49. guod says:

    Apache

  50. Fridge says:

    Wow, yeah! I’d love to have that phantom in DCS.

  51. That would be so much fun. PFZs, LOAL/LOBL, I wonder if they could do a monocle in VR (?). I would bet Longbow 2 is in the top five of most time played in a sim for me…

  52. Sryan says:

    I’d love it, but that’s deep in Longbow territory. I’d already be extremely happy with an AH-64A. But a late 90’s block II or even a block III longbow would be extremely sweet!

    As for the Phantom, I sincerely hope if they ever do decide to make one (beside the now MIA slatted F-4E) that they do the airframe justice and give us both a navy and air force variant. I’d buy both!

  53. Franze says:

    Grasping at straws but Block II is a mid-'00s timeframe, Block I held the line in most units from about '99 to 2006. Block III/E starting around '12, really into swing by '15. The last AH-64As were retired in '12 and they had a lot of stuff from the Block II slapped on.

    But all the little fiddly bits of the Longbow make it pretty difficult to capture vs AH-64A, so I’d much rather have an AH-64A first. :slightly_smiling_face:

  54. Sryan says:

    dang did I say block? I ment Lot :joy: always felt the later variants had to much classified stuff on them.

  55. Franze says:

    Now you’re getting into Lots, which makes the whole organization even worse! Like the AH-1S! :grimacing:

    This is why Army Aviation can’t have nice things!

  56. Sryan says:

    :joy::joy:

    if the navy can have their Lot 20’s maybe we can have some of that as well :slight_smile:

  57. I’m more excited about the core features than the new aircraft list. In fact, I think I’d prefer a Heatblur F4 to an ED one.

    But for now, we have enough planes. We have still a lot of great third party projects in the works, and I, for one, still have my hands full learning every weapon the Bug can shoot, the F16 and the Tomcat…

    I loved to hear that this year we might still get a new weather system and the new carrier

    I dig that we are getting some new maps soon, but since scripted missions and campaigns are so hard to make and take so long, I think that the dynamic campaign can’t come soon enough so we can truly enjoy those. The Persian Gulf map is beautiful, I love to fly in it, but with the current gameplay, I came to realize that new maps may be fun, but seldom bring anything new in terms of expanding the mission diversity.

    I am one of the newest DCS users here, and currently for the last months, the only thing I can do is self training: I’m still not good enough I can last in the multiplayer servers, and I know few aircraft good enough to tackle the user made campaigns. So if it’s getting a little boring to me, I can imagine how it feels to the veterans.

    I think The time has come for them to reassess and do some housekeeping, or better yet, some home improvement before going to the dealer and bringing a new ride to the garage.

    So that’s why I liked to hear all of it from them. I think that by the question list (not many questions about new aircraft modules), it became clear that that’s what the public is worried about, and from the answers I think that that’s is what they are doing. Sure, it’s going to take some time, sure it’s going to be less liquid (and the ruminations thread goes deeper into it), sure it’s not going to conform to everybody’s expectations, but all and all, I’m pleased.

    It’s about time we start the hype train about improved ATC, in-game voice chat, Dynamic Campaign, weather, night lighting, Vulcan API, and all of that. The planes are great, but the planes are not going to take us to the next level.

  58. Aginor says:

    Me too!
    And not because I don’t like new planes or anything, but because I see so much room for improvement that will make DCSW better for everyone, regardless of which plane they like. :slight_smile:

  59. Agree 100%. Weather, ATC, and dynamic campaign are the tops on my list. I have plenty of modules to explore. I also get that core improvement don’t necessarily pay the bills, so I do understand the need to keep publishing modules.

    Still waiting for that Grand Caravan or CASA or something though… :wink:

  60. Wes says:

    I think I could say that given a strong enough core improvement, plus some lighter duty aircraft - I’d consider passing upon something like the new MSFS in many cases (although, having the whole world is still valuable) as flying a commercial jet or smaller private plane for hours wouldn’t be as fun as helping out in DCS MP with a tanker, transport or light attack aircraft.

  61. Air Hauler DCS confirmed!

  62. That. Is. An. Amazing. Idea.

  63. :astonished:What??:astonished::astonished: What did he say??!!

    Heresy!!!

    Somebody get the stake and fagots! (definition number 2) I’ll bring the :fire::crazy_face:

    :wink:

  64. Troll says:

    Well, he’s technically right…
    We have the Viggen.

  65. Kinger says:

    Put me in the camp of wishing for core updates before new modules. That said, I don’t know how Eagle Dynamics continues to bring in money that way unless they start charging for DCS World itself.

  66. At the risk of opening that can of worms - I’d wonder how a Dynamic Campaign Kick-Starter would work? It IS the most requested feature…I suspect it would gin up quite a bit of investment money. But then you have to deliver.

    giphy

  67. Wes says:

    Since we know ED’s funding scheme is module based, we can just buy the modules - P47, Mosquito etc - and instead of thinking “buy the plane”, think “invest in the core and get free planes”.

  68. sobek says:

    Yeah but that money might end up funding something entirely different. It’s complicated. :man_shrugging:

  69. Strike Fighters 3 :slight_smile:

  70. Oooh, now that is an idea I like.

  71. PFunk says:

    I was kind of glad to see a little news about Modern Air Combat, it looks as though the project has grown past its original intention and is going to be something on a larger order than initially proposed, which is, in all likelihood, a good thing. I just hope feature creep and the hardcore audience does not turn it into another form of DCSW. Naturally, I’d like to know what the new focus is, but I suppose it will wait. Combat Air Patrol 2’s progress appears to be glacial in nature, but I figure that has more to do with the fact that it’s a one-man operation than it does the complexity of the project. ThirdWire is proposing a graphics update to Strike Fighters 2, but honestly, I am not the least bit excited about it. There are so many things that need to be added to that game for me to be interested in it again. It’s a very stale, same-y experience now.

    The company looks pretty solid going forward. For military aviation simulations, DCS is pretty much the only game in town. I look forward to more news about MAC, that is pretty much the only title that will bring me back to combat flight simulation in any substantial way.

  72. @wagmatt - Thank you for doing this! Appreciate all the insights regarding the Dynamic Campaign and can’t wait to see it in action.

  73. Troll says:

    Philstyle interprets the AMA answers, with emphasis on DCS WWII, which is his thing.

  74. With the ANG contract background, I was convinced that the A-10C was feature complete. Does Wags’ comment give us reason to dream that a paid update would add content to the Warthog (versus a free graphics update)?

  75. Franze says:

    Sure would be nice to upgrade to a more recent A-10C block, get that sweet HMD + LITENING cuing action!

  76. :stuck_out_tongue:heavy breathing

  77. NEVO says:

    Too late to the party !? ( I also missed the oportunity to ask something ).

    But this is oc great to hear - ‘small step for avatar but great leap for combat sim world’ :slight_smile:

    …oc right the last sentance is not that great :wink:

  78. Technically it should be called a Ready Room.

    A typical brief for an “Event” (the bunch of planes of all types that are launched together) starts with Weather (from the ship’s METOC center), followed by an OPS/Intel brief by one of the squadron intel officers in the ship’s intel center (CVIC). Those two briefs are sent to each ready room about 2 hours prior to launch, via a secure close circuit TV system, controlled in CVIC.

    After that, the aircrew flying conduct their own specific mission briefs in ther ready rooms.

    It would be cool if they format this like the real thing.

  79. We are gonna need a brig…

  80. If I was a snarky person I might reply to that with, “I’m sure @Navynuke99 can provide us with some of his first hand impressions and descriptions of a carrier’s brig.” …but I’m not a snarky person so I’ll refrain from posting anything like that. :wink:

  81. This made me belly laugh. Exceedingly good work :joy:

  82. So I was friends with a girl in the print shop, who’s roommate (one of the photographers) was dating one of the MA’s (masters at arms, the shipboard hall monitors who supposedly were in charge of security, but always got their butts handed to them when running security drills against most shipboard departments, to the point where they complained so much that Reactor wasn’t allowed to play with them for security drills), and he was in charge of the brig, but never had much to do down there. Or so it seemed - he spent a lot of time hanging out on the mess decks giving out “speeding tickets” to people who’s uniforms weren’t clean or pressed enough for his liking, or their boots weren’t shiny enough, or their shave wasn’t fresh enough.

    Needless to say, I despised him.

    And I knew where the brig was, because we sent a couple of our dirtbags there TAD, but I never spent any time down there. But I know that when we had a huge rash of underaged DUI’s the CO was sending junior sailors there for 3 days of bread and water after they got masted.

    @Hangar200, I’ll let you activate the Sailor Interpreter.

  83. Franze says:

    Reminds me of when my father was in Afghanistan and an SGM was camped out at a PX in one of the major cities, handing out violations for stupid stuff like not short enough haircut, etc. He “caught” my father and tried “correcting” him… Until he realized he was talking to a COL. Backed down pretty quick after that!

  84. I love those kinds of stories.

    Fortunately, said mall cop was the same rank as me, so I found all manner of new and creative ways to tell him to… mind his own business, and my upper chain of command had an incredibly short fuse when it came to people with nothing better to do trying to play those kinds of reindeer games, so usually said “speeding tickets” were torn up or lit on fire by our senior (Mustang) officers or master chiefs.

  85. I think @Discobot can handle it. Oops, did I just set him off?

  86. We are getting way off topic, but I can’t resist the tangent. When I was an active duty E3, I had to swap vehicles one weekend with my dad, an O6, for one reason or another. Can’t remember why. When I got back to Ft. Monmouth, NJ, going through the gate the first time, the fun began with a snap to and salute after the wave through by the gate MP. Neither my dad or I had thought about the Eagle decal next to the usual officer indicator. Anyway, a couple of days later, I got pulled over for making a U turn on base where I shouldn’t have. The MP came to the window and snapped to with a salute and begin barking off why he had pulled me over. I was trying to get a word in to let him know that I wasn’t an officer, but he kept going with his respectful diatribe with his eyes locked over the top of the vehicle, a 1973 Monte Carlo. Anyway, as soon as he was done, he executed a perfect about face and marched back to his truck, never bothering to ask me for ID or let me say anything. The were two other E3s whom I worked with in the car and we all sat there laughing while he drove off. I was their hero for a couple of days. I hated giving that car up the following weekend, but I’m sure that my ass would have been grass had either the platoon sgt or worse found out. “We are all equal under the law, just some more equal than others.”

  87. THIS got me so much.

    Sorry (sorta) for the continued off tangent trajectory, but this was demonstrated in a great scene from the PBS “Carrier” documentary series.

    An undesignated sailor went to Dental with complaints of serious tooth pains, and was told to wait. Meanwhile, a Lieutenant showed up for routine dental recall and was seen immediately. The young sailor kinda shrugged at the camera, and said something to the effect of, “yep, there it is.”

  88. Did I know this happens? Yes. Have I seen it happen? Again, Yes. Did I ever do something about it? Yes, when I could. “No, no, I can wait, this sailor was here first.”

    That said, there are some places…the base barber shops come to mind…where it is their policy, and it is posted. In those cases I went first / jumped the line.

    The philosophy behind that is that an officer’s time is more consequential. When I was an O5 /O6 that was probably true. When I was an O1/O2? Not so much.

    And now I am a retired O6 and at the back, back of the line…and I have no problem with that. :slightly_smiling_face:

    Sea Story:

    So I’m in the NOB Norfolk NEX, uniform shop–in the changing room trying on a pair of mess dress trousers (black). I happen to be in khakis. I put the trousers on and walk outside (in my socks) to let my wife take a look at the waist.

    As I am walking back in to my changing cubical, I pass by a Mustang O1. Just after I pass him I hear, “Hey Petty Officer!”. I’m thinking, he couldn’t be talking to me. Again, “Petty Officer!” I realize that I am in a khaki shirt with black trousers, i.e. essentially a petty officer uniform. True, I am wearing Captain Eagles…but maybe he saw them as petty officer insignia…but I am wearing something like 5 rows of ribbons, a gold warfare device and a command pin…still…OK, lets see what he wants…

    Politely but firmly, “Are you speaking to me Ensign?”
    His initial stern look disappeared as he actually squinted to see my rank insignia better, to be replaced by a very confused look… then he waffled a bit of “Oh…um…I thought…um…never mind Sir.”

    Now what was he going to tell me? That I shouldn’t have walked out without my shoes on? That I was out of uniform? Really? Technically he might have been correct but I know I would never have said a thing to a sailor, chief, or junior officer doing the same thing. Getting CINCHOUSE’s opinion trumps all!

  89. Emphasis added to the key word there. :rofl:

    As a chief I had as an instructor in Power School once told us:
    “Ensigns are like flags- they’re there to be seen, saluted, and otherwise ignored unless it’s time to begin or leave work.”

  90. He was a Mustang Ensign (I always looked for the “Didn’t Get Caught” ribbon) so I didn’t use my command voice…but you are correct, the word Ensign was emphasized…just as it was emphasized to me more times than I care to remember.

    Your Chief was a wise man.

  91. He just retired as a FLTCM, and is now writing for USNI.

  92. A former colleague of mine is the Editor-in-Chief for Proceedings. It’s a small Navy…but I’d hate to have to paint it. :grin:

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