Digital Combat Simulator
|Digital Combat Simulator|
|Publisher(s)||The Fighter Collection|
|Engine||Eagle Dynamics Graphics Engine (EDGE)|
|Genre(s)||Combat flight simulator|
Digital Combat Simulator World (DCS World 1.5) is a free to play combat flight simulator developed by Eagle Dynamics (ED). It includes a free Sukhoi Su-25T attack aircraft and TF-51D Mustang, and is extensible through additional DCS modules as well as user-made add-ons and mods. While the Su-25T and TF-51D are free, modules produced by third parties and Eagle Dynamics are usually only available with a payment.
DCS World features a large area of the Caucasus region that encompasses much of Georgia – the location of the Russo-Georgian war in 2008, as well as the Nevada Test and Training Range as of the DCS World 2 open alpha. Additional locations such as Iran, UAE, Oman (Strait of Hormuz) and period specific Normandy 1944 are all scheduled to release in 2017.
Additionally, DCS World includes: mission and campaign editors, online multiplayer, large inventory of air, land and sea combat units and weapons, AI player opponents, mission generator, dynamic weather and seasons, training missions, mission replay system and pilot log book.
DCS modules that can plug into DCS World include aircraft, maps and ground units. Modules for DCS World include modules developed internally by Eagle Dynamics, as well as those by certified third party developers. The first third party aircraft to be introduced was the UH-1H Huey.
DCS World is in the process of enhancing its virtual reality technology support. Platforms it works with currently are TrackIR, Oculus Rift, and HTC Vive. ED plans to continue working on improving support for VR.
- 1 History
- 2 Features
- 3 Aircraft modelling in DCS
- 4 Eagle Dynamics-produced modules
- 4.1 Aircraft
- 4.2 Land & Sea Combat
- 5 Terrain modules
- 6 List of modules
- 7 Reception
- 8 References
- 9 External links
The first module (though not until later referred to as a module) added to DCS was DCS: Black Shark (released in 2008) as a stand-alone simulation. Originally it was assumed to be add-on for the previous Lock On: Modern Air Combat series, but was deemed necessary to use a different engine.
The second module added to DCS was DCS: A-10C Warthog (2010). Released as stand-alone simulation program originally, it was one of the first native 64-bit flight simulations.
In 2011, DCS World was launched with concept of plug-in "modules". This allowed using previously stand-alone simulations in same scenario while sharing assets. DCS: A-10C Warthog was made available as plug-in module for it, while DCS: Black Shark became DCS: Black Shark 2 as part of an upgrade to the simulation.
In October 2015 DCS World was relaunched under the guise of DCS World 1.5 via a free update. 'DCS World 1.5' brings all the current aircraft, land units, and terrain into the new Eagle Dynamics Graphics Engine (EDGE) featuring DirectX 11.
In November 2015, DCS World 2.0 was released in open alpha format via a free update. 'DCS World 2.0' has the ability to add new theaters of war, such as the Nevada Test & Training Range. The Caucasus map is in the process of being updated, but is not yet compatible with DCS 2.0.
DCS World includes a mission editor with Lua support and a campaign editor for user created tasks. This allows users to extend provided missions with content created independently from module publishers, or create their own unique scenarios.
Users of DCS World can host their own servers with user-made missions for co-operative and multiplayer missions with or against AI units.
Aircraft modelling in DCS
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The realism of the aircraft simulation varies according to the type of flight model, the level of system modelling, and the style of cockpit.
The following terms and abbreviations used for different models of simulation are from Eagle Dynamics to describe levels of simulation within DCS World and its modules and may not be applicable to other simulations in same way.
Aerodynamic flight models
There are four aerodynamic flight models used in DCS World:
- Standard Flight Model (SFM) – A data driven flight model, with some pre-defined scripting for some complex aerodynamic events. The only aircraft available to be flown by the player that has a Standard Flight Model is the Su-33, and all three variants of the MiG-29; however, Eagle Dynamics is in the process of updating the two.
- Advanced Flight Model (AFM/AFM+) – Airflow and edge of envelope simulation, using multiple points of force application and calculation on the relevant flight surfaces. Scripting of complex events is not used. An augmented AFM+ model which includes limited modelling of the fuel and hydraulic system weighting is also included in some aircraft such as the Su-25 and A-10A.
- Professional Flight Model (PFM) – An expansion of the AFM, this level of modelling includes data from complex model wind tunnel simulation, a much more detailed and dynamic aircraft model (for example taking into consideration deployed or retracted landing gear, and the effects of deploying them in flight), complex simulation of control surface movements, complex simulation of autopilot actions, and the effects of fluid movements (fuel and hydraulic) on flight dynamics. This level of modelling also includes actual real world aircraft test data where possible.
- External Flight Model (EFM) – A subset of the PFM made available for third party developers. It essentially defines all external forces from the PFM, but allows the developers to calculate and apply internal forces (fluid movements, control surfaces, etc.) within their own model.
There are two levels of system modelling in DCS World:
- Standard Systems Modeling (SSM): Only cockpit systems essential for flight, navigation, and combat are directly simulated – although the range of systems needed for these can be quite broad. Player control is limited to keyboard, mouse, and joystick/HOTAS controls.
- Advanced Systems Modeling (ASM): Cockpit systems are carefully modeled, even if they are not directly related to flight, navigation, or combat. Almost all cockpit controls are functional, allowing the player/pilot to interact with them using mouse, touchscreen, or even certain VR interfaces. This means that for the most part, the aircraft can be controlled via on screen controls and the joystick/HOTAS controls, although keyboard controls are still an option.
- 3DoF (3 degrees of freedom): A fully simulated three dimensional model of the cockpit, which the player/pilot can rotate the camera to "look around", and control the level of camera zoom. Head tracking hardware such as TrackIR is supported. There are no longer any models using 3DoF as of October 2015, under the new 1.5 update.
- 6DoF (Six degrees of freedom): A fully simulated three dimensional model of the cockpit is presented, which the player can not only "look around", but move the camera/head freely in three dimensional space. Combined with head tracking hardware, this allows player/pilots to "lean around" the flight stick to see controls on the panel in front of them, crane their head to look over the dash, or turn around and lean around the seat to look behind the plane in flight.
Eagle Dynamics-produced modules
DCS: Black Shark 2
A simulation of the Russian Kamov Ka-50 single seat attack helicopter, Black Shark was originally released in October 2008 as a stand-alone simulation, with the updated Black Shark 2 released in 2011 to upgrade the simulation, and to change it to an expansion module for DCS World. The Black Shark 2 module incorporates Eagle Dynamics' Professional Flight Model, the Advanced Systems Model, and presents the player/pilot with the full six degrees of freedom style cockpit.
The Ka-50's full selection of armaments are simulated, allowing players to adapt the helicopter to gunship, anti-armour, and bombing mission roles. It also employs a high degree of automation, including a complex autopilot system, the Shkval-N video targeting system, laser ranging and tagging for laser guided ordnance (Kh-25Ml and 9K121 Vikhr missiles), and a helmet mounted targeting system. These systems allow a single crew member to assume both pilot and gunner roles simultaneously.
The Ka-50's battlefield data link systems are also simulated, allowing players in a multiplayer environment to coordinate, and share targeting and navigation aircraft between Ka-50 helicopters, although data sharing between the Ka-50 and other Russian aircraft is not possible.
DCS: A-10C Warthog
Released on April 22, 2011 DCS: A-10C Warthog is a PC simulation of the Fairchild Republic A-10C Thunderbolt II. This is the second aircraft in the DCS lineup, following DCS: Black Shark. DCS: A-10C Warthog provides a simulation of a modern fixed wing combat aircraft in regards to flight dynamics, avionics, sensors, and weapon systems. The player also has the option to play Warthog in "Game" mode for a casual game experience. Players can fly missions against a wide array of air, land and sea forces under AI control (or in some cases other players). Users can create and share their own missions and campaigns with the included mission and campaign editors, and fly with and against other people online.
DCS: P-51D Mustang
The first title in the "Flying Legends" series released September 17, 2012. Developed alongside ED partner The Fighter Collection, DCS: P-51D Mustang offers both highly detailed simulation and easy-to-play "game" mode options for both hardcore and casual players. 'Simulation Mode' allows the player to control the P-51D just as a real pilot would, while game mode removes and simplifies most of the systems including the flight model, making for much more easier accessibility and flying. As with most other DCS World aircraft modules there is the addition of an interactive training system which puts you in the cockpit with an instructor that gives you step-by-step training instruction to fly the Mustang.
DCS: Flaming Cliffs 3
The successor to Lockon Flaming Cliffs 2 released April 30, 2013, Flaming Cliffs 3 (FC3) is the next evolution of the Flaming Cliffs series. FC3 features the F-15C Eagle, A-10A, Su-27, Su-33, MiG-29 and Su-25. While not as sophisticated as individual aircraft modules such as the DCS A-10C, FC3 aircraft provide an easy learning curve for new players and focuses on a broad range of aircraft, including air-to-air fighters and ground attack aircraft. FC3 adds a wealth of new features and improvements to previous versions of the Flaming Cliffs series.
Through continued support, additional content has been added via updates. These additions consist of high quality six degrees of freedom cockpits for the Su-27, A-10A, Su-25, Su-33, and MiG-29, replacing dated cockpits as well as Professional Flight Models (PFM) for the F-15C Eagle, A-10A Thunderbolt II, Su-25 Frogfoot, and Su-27 Flanker.
DCS: Fw 190 D-9 Dora
The second installment to the Eagle Dynamics "Flying Legends" series released August 19, 2014, DCS: Fw 190 D-9 Dora offers a detailed simulation of the German Focke-Wulf Fw 190 fighter aircraft including aerodynamic forces, cockpit interaction and various other systems within the aircraft. As with many of Eagle Dynamics modules, DCS: Fw 190 D-9 Dora was developed with assistance from The Fighter Collection, an organization dedicated to the conservation of vintage aircraft.
DCS: Fw 190 D-9 Dora has one of the steepest learning curves in the DCS franchise, owing to the difficulties inherent to piston engine aircraft and the lack of an instructor as present on the DCS: P-51D Mustang.
DCS: Bf 109 K-4 Kurfürst
Released on December 12, 2014, the DCS: Bf 109 K-4 Kurfürst module provides an intricate and complex simulation of the Messerschmitt Bf 109 aircraft. This module includes all applicable systems and provides an unparalleled simulation of the WW2 fighter on which its based. Many of the simulated systems will interact with each other during simulated air combat giving this module a distinct challenge while in the air.
As with its sister module, DCS: Fw 190 D-9 Dora, DCS: Bf 109 K-4 Kurfürst is a member of the "Flying Legends" series of modules and provides a worthy opponent for its in game counterparts, the P-51D and Spitfire LF Mk IX. The development of this module was supported by The Fighter Collection an organization that has helped Eagle Dynamics for a number of years.
DCS: Spitfire LF Mk IX
Released on December 16, 2016, the DCS: Spitfire LF Mk IX is the 4th plane in the "Flying Legends" series. The module has a fully interactive cockpit and a highly detailed flight model, along with all other relevant systems.
DCS: L-39 Albatros
The DCS: L-39 Albatros module was released February 19, 2016 to critical acclaim giving the Czechoslovakian jet trainer a new home within the Eagle Dynamics simulation. The L-39 Albatros simulation allows two players to take control of the aircraft owing to the tandem seating of the Albatros. This capability was new to the franchise and only after this point was it opened up to other airframes within the game. In the game as in real life the Albatros possesses a dual mission capability of training and the ability to carry a limited selection of ordinance.
The L-39 Albatros within DCS possesses many of the characteristics that make its real life counterpart so desirable as a jet trainer, such as favorable aerodynamic characteristics, low wing loading, and a decent thrust to weight ratio.
Land & Sea Combat
DCS: Combined Arms
Released in June 2012. DCS: Combined Arms gives the user control of ground forces during the battle. Players can use the strategic map to move ground forces, set artillery fire missions, and control the ground battle, as well as assume the role of a Joint Terminal Attack Controller (JTAC) and designate targets for close air support aircraft, or directly control an armor vehicle or air defense weapon and engage enemy forces.
Combined Arms plays similar to real time strategy games, a first person armor warfare simulation, or alternatively the player can direct the ground battle from the cockpit of a DCS aircraft like the A-10C Warthog, Ka-50 Black Shark, or P-51D Mustang.
Combined Arms supports both single player and multiplayer gameplay. When in multiplayer, different players can take on different roles such as artillery commanders, tank commanders, pilots, JTACS, etc. All roles can be changed dynamically during the battle.
DCS: Admiral Kuznetsov
Eagle Dynamics is currently in the process of upgrading the Admiral Kuznetsov in the game to a higher standard. The module will have working elevators, detailed interiors, and will let the player walk around the ship.
DCS: USS Nimitz
Eagle Dynamics is currently in the process of upgrading the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier in the game to a higher standard. The module will have working elevators, detailed interiors, and will let the player walk around the ship.
Released November 30, 2015, Nevada is the first terrain module to be released and integrated into DCS World 2. The module features a large portion Nevada, and small parts of Arizona and California, providing a 600 × 610 km area of free to roam terrain. Iconic locations such as Las Vegas, Groom Lake military installation (known as Area 51), Nevada Test and Training Range (NTTR), Nellis AFB, and Lake Mead are featured.
Nevada is the first terrain integrated into DCS World 2 that runs on the Eagle Dynamics Graphics Engine (EDGE), providing new particle effects, higher texture terrain support, unlimited world size, and DirectX 11 support as well as allowing up to four GPU's via Nvidia SLI/AMD Crossfire.
Additional technical features include clipmaps, terrain shadow projection, and the option to project a map on a globe surface providing realistic curvature of the Earth.
Strait of Hormuz
Originally scheduled to be release in 2016, Strait of Hormuz will be one of the first combat theater maps to be released and integrated into DCS World. The Strait of Hormuz terrain module will feature the countries Iran, UAE and Oman, providing a 390×390 km area of free to roam terrain. Iconic cities and locations to be featured include Dubai, Bandar Abbas, and islands Abu Musa and Greater Tunb, while featuring accurately rendered airbases in Iran, the UAE and Oman.
As with all other terrain modules such as Nevada, Strait of Hormuz will run on the new Eagle Dynamics Graphics Engine (EDGE).
List of modules
|Name||Module Type||Historical Year||Developer||Release Date|
|DCS: Black Shark 2||Aircraft||1987||Eagle Dynamics||2008/10|
|DCS: A-10C Warthog||Aircraft||2005||Eagle Dynamics||2011/04/22|
|DCS: P-51D Mustang||Aircraft||1940||Eagle Dynamics||2012/09/12|
|DCS: Flaming Cliffs 3||Aircraft||1995||Eagle Dynamics||2013/04/30|
|DCS: Fw 190 D-9 Dora||Aircraft||1941||Eagle Dynamics||2014/08/14|
|DCS: Bf 109 K-4 Kurfürst||Aircraft||1939||Eagle Dynamics||2014/12/12|
|DCS: Spitfire LF Mk IX||Aircraft||1941||Eagle Dynamics||2016/12/16|
|DCS: F/A-18C||Aircraft||1987||Eagle Dynamics|
|DCS: L-39 Albatros||Aircraft||1971||Eagle Dynamics||2016/02/12|
|DCS: Combined Arms||Land Combat||Eagle Dynamics||2012/06|
|DCS: Admiral Kuznetsov||Sea Combat||1990||Eagle Dynamics|
|DCS: USS Nimitz||Sea Combat||1975||Eagle Dynamics|
|Nevada||Terrain||Eagle Dynamics||2015/11/30 (early access)|
|Strait of Hormuz||Terrain||Eagle Dynamics|
|Normandy 1944||Terrain||1944||Eagle Dynamics||2017 (to be released)|
|DCS: Hawk||Aircraft||1976||VEAO Simulations|
|AV-8B Night Attack Harrier II||Aircraft||RAZBAM|
|F-5E Tiger II||Aircraft||Belsimtek|
|F-5E Tiger II||Aircraft||Belsimtek|
|Mi-8MTV2 Magnificent Eight||Aircraft||Belsimtek|
|F-14A & B||Aircraft||Leatherneck|
|AJS 37 Viggen||Aircraft||Leatherneck||2017/01/27 (early access)|
PC Gamer has reviewed the DCS: A-10C Warthog module with rating of 92/100.
Simreviews has reviewed the DCS: L-39 Albatros module with rating of 9.3/10.
Helisimmer has reviewed the DCS: UH-1H module with rating of 9.6/10.
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