DCS World 2020 and Beyond – Non-Aircraft Projects
In last week’s newsletter, we reviewed our 2020 and beyond plans for aircraft in DCS World. One aircraft we forgot to mention was the MiG-23 from RAZBAM. This will be a great eastern aircraft addition to the stable of jets to DCS World, and it is being created by the same RAZBAM team that created the MiG-19.
For this week’s newsletter, we are excited to discuss the many other DCS World projects that are not aircraft. This includes both new modules and core features to DCS World. Like the aircraft, this is a listing of what we will be working on this year, but unless specifically noted, we cannot promise that all these projects will be completed by the end of 2020. In fact, some of the larger projects may extend past it.
In the latter part of 2019, we released a video showing off some of the early fun parts of this project. We are now nearing the finish line. Much of the remaining work involves adjusting the complex deck crew animations to support the launching of aircraft from all four catapults; ship lights that include the floodlights, the Improved Fresnel Optical Landing System (IFLOLS), and landing area lights; damage modelling; network copy protection; and up to 14 spawn points in multiplayer for client aircraft.
Following the early access release, more features will be added that include a briefing room, more ships of the class, player IFLOLS operation, and more.
We are pleased to announce that the DCS: Supercarrier module will also include a greatly updated Kuznetsov-class aircraft carrier (without deck animation), the Su-33 Flanker D for DCS World (for those of you who don’t already own it), and the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer!
These new naval elements to DCS World will be at home in the recently announced Mariana Islands map. Although the island portion of the map will be approximately 400×400 km, the overall map size will be 1000×1000 km in order to provide realistic ranges for modern-day naval operations, sensors, and weapon systems.
As with the new Nimitz-class aircraft carrier model for Supercarrier, the Kuznetsov and Arleigh Burke will be visible to all in multiplayer, regardless if you own the Supercarrier module.
DCS: Supercarrier will be available for pre-order on January 17th with a 30% discount and will deliver as an Open Beta by the end of Q1 2020. Owners of DCS: F/A-18C will receive a discount when purchasing DCS: Supercarrier.
The Channel Map
In addition to the Mariana Islands map, we are pleased to announce the first dedicated World War II map for DCS World that is created by Eagle Dynamics: The Channel map! This map will represent southeast England, the English Channel, and portions of the low countries and north eastern France. The map is built to support missions and campaigns between the late 1930s and 1945 with a new level of detail and realism not seen before in a DCS World map. Airfields of the map include:
It will also include detailed renditions of the cities, towns, road and rail network, forests, rivers, canals, communication lines, radar stations, of this important region during the Second World War.
DCS: The Channel Map will be available for pre-order with a 30% discount in early February 2020.
Third Party Maps
While we are focused on the Mariana Islands and Channels maps, our third parties will also be quite busy!
Falkland Islands Map
The RAZBAM map team is making great progress on their Falkland Islands map, while at the same time creating new assets and player-units to suit.
After completing a great update to their DCS: Normandy 1944 map, Ugra Media will continue their work on the ambitious Syria map. This map spans from Turkey in the north to Israel in the south, with Syria and Lebanon in between. After an initial map review, the Ugra Team will be implementing the feedback to move forward on an early access release.
DCS: World War II Assets Pack
Work continues on the World War II assets pack, with the addition of several important air, ground, and naval units including:
We are also looking at adding some exciting new features to the Asset pack, which include Torpedoes, Paratroopers and functional searchlights.
DCS World Core Updates
The core DCS World program will continue to grow and improve in 2020 across several key areas. In fact, more than half of Eagle Dynamics staff is devoted to improving the core of DCS World and not for-purchase products.
Vulkan API Support
In order to improve game performance, particularly in VR and take advantage of today’s hardware, we have been working on the integration of the Vulkan API into DCS World over the past year. This is an important undertaking, but we believe it will be well worth the end-results.
DCS World 2.5.6 Lighting Improvements
This month we begin the testing of version 2.5.6 of DCS World that will include improvements to the lighting system. This will be most evident at night when viewing the cockpits. In addition to cockpit lighting, overall world lighting will appear more natural and balanced with improved tones.
Following this, our goal will be to further enhance world lighting by allowing multiple world-lighting sources. This will provide a much more natural and realistic appearance to the world.
Clouds and Weather
Another important DCS World enhancement in 2020 will be the delivery of substantially improved weather and clouds. The first step is our new system will render many different types and sizes of clouds in multiple layers. These clouds will impact certain sensors, and be synchronized in network play. We are setting a high bar for ourselves, and it is taking a bit longer than expected. However, we trust that it will be well worth the wait.
In parallel, we are also working on significant improvements to the dynamic weather system of DCS World that will also take advantage of this new cloud system as well as pressure fronts.
Voice Chat (VC)
In late 2019 we released the first test version of our free, integrated voice chat system into DCS World. Since then, we have been analysing your feedback to make further improvements. Thank you for all the great comments! In 2020, we aim to deliver peer-to-peer connectivity and user chat “rooms” generation. The next step thereafter will be to support radio modulation and frequencies as well as varied mic and audio characteristics of helmets and radios from different eras. Our final goal will be to include communications jamming and secure voice capability. This will continue to be a free and fully integrated feature of DCS World.
Another new feature of DCS World 2.5.6 will be the initial release of the improved damage system for the WWII fighters in DCS. As we have discussed in prior newsletters, this system includes a complex and realistic accounting of damage to aircraft systems, round trajectory and penetration, deflection, and localized damage. We have also added substantially enhanced visual damage effects that include missing structural components, fuel and hydraulic leaks. The new damage model will provide a much more engrossing and realistic experience.
Once we and our clients are happy with the warbirds damage model system, we will implement this new damage modelling to the more modern aircraft, ground units, and naval units.
Aircraft Artificial Intelligence (AI)
In 2019 we made initial improvements to the dogfight AI that delivers more realistic and human behaviour, this also includes implementation of modern control theory Necessary Condition Analysis (NCA) and Incremental Nonlinear Dynamic Inversion (INDI) to all our AI aircraft in DCS in 2020. The new approach will extend flight envelopes and improve AI control quality and control response in mass and moment of inertia changes. In 2020 we will continue this effort, but also devote resources to improve other AI areas to include:
Airfield Air Traffic Control (ATC)
Another AI task that we will kick off in 2020 is a new implementation of ATC radio communications for airfields. This will be a more realistic and complete ATC system to account for ground, tower, departure, and approach controllers, as well as account for variables that include VRF/IFR and overhead/straight in.
We will be working with subject matter experts to ensure that this new ATC system is a valuable addition to DCS World immersion and enjoyment.
Air-to-Ground Radar and Forward-Looking Infrared (FLIR)
Critical to complete the F/A-18C and F-16C, will be the inclusion of completed air-to-ground (AG) radar and Forward-Looking Infrared (FLIR) sensor systems. Last year, the JF-17 Thunder used our AG radar application programming interface (API) to great success. We will continue to improve the AG radar API and use it for both the Hornet and Viper. We will continue to enhance this area of expertise and work to improve radar shadowing, synthetic aperture radar (SAR) support, and varied resolution based on the type and era of radar.
The updated FLIR API will be used to improve the targeting pod’s infrared (black hot/white hot) cameras. This is a rather large undertaking because it not only involves programming tasks to account for thermal dynamics of world and unit objects but also creating thermal maps for all objects in DCS World and how they behave under different conditions.
Last year we used the AIM-7 as a testbed to implement several air-to-air missile performance and guidance improvements. Early this year we will be doing the same for the AIM-120. The AIM-120 performance in 2020 will be closer to claimed specifications given adjustments to G-induced drag in the trans-sonic region, and we improved the efficiency of the lofting profile.
New AI Units
In 2020 we will continue to update older DCS World units. We are currently developing the SA-5 surface-to-air missile and the SS-1 SCUD surface-to-surface missile (we still need to develop the Short-Range Ballistic Missile flight model), the S-3B Viking, and cows of course! There are other units we hope to revisit to like the B-52H, C-17A, Tu-95, and others.
Work on the dynamic campaign has been underway for over a year, and the progress has been steady on this very complex task. We understand that this is one of the most awaited features in DCS World and we are giving it the attention it deserves.
Much of the work is focused on the dynamic campaign creation tool layers as part of the Mission Editor, developing machine learning mechanics, and creating an AI neural network for the RTS element of the system. The machine learning and neural network tasks are particularly challenging, but we believe they should provide a unique dynamic campaign experience.
We expect to start testing this feature in the latter part of 2020.
Thank you for the support and kindness,