Digital Combat Simulator
|Digital Combat Simulator|
|Publisher(s)||The Fighter Collection|
|Genre(s)||Combat flight simulator|
Digital Combat Simulator World (DCS World) is a free-to-play combat flight simulator primarily developed by Eagle Dynamics, and the civilian version of The Battle Simulator.
It includes a free simulation of the Sukhoi Su-25T Frogfoot attack aircraft and TF-51D Mustang, an unarmed training variant of the P-51D Mustang. DCS is expandable through additional official "modules" as well as user-made add-ons and mods.
DCS World acts as a unified platform supporting "modules" (made by either Eagle Dynamics or a third party) so as to avoid large numbers of individual game releases. This allows for users to join multiplayer servers without needing all of the aircraft that are selectable, or to more quickly switch aircraft, etc. The modularity of the game also attracts talented third-party developers to develop for the platform, furthering its content and popularity.
Gameplay consists of the player taking part in dogfights, ground attacks, or mechanized warfare against enemy units, either in several story-driven campaigns or user-made missions. Missions and campaigns take place across multiple settings and time periods in which players may fly a number of aircraft and helicopters. The game features a sophisticated simulation of aerodynamics, aircraft damage, and supports basic weather patterns. Players can review their mission performance through a replay system.
The mission editor utilizes 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/or adversarial multiplayer missions with or against AI units.
DCS World includes one free map, which 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 a portion of Crimea, the site of a Russian Annexation in 2014, and a portion of Russia's southern border. Additional maps include:
- "Nevada Test and Training Range" - A U.S. Air Force training range and location of the Red Flag exercise, which includes Las Vegas, Hoover Dam, Groom Lake Air Force Station, and Tonopah Test Range Airport.
- "Normandy 1944" - centered around the English Channel, it includes areas of the southern United Kingdom, and Normandy, France during World War II.
- "Persian Gulf" - centered around the Strait of Hormuz, it includes nearly the entirety of the United Arab Emirates, as well as southern areas of Iran.
- "Syria" - centered around most of Syria, Israel, and Lebanon and areas of Turkey and Jordan.
DCS World traces its lineage directly from the Flanker series of combat flight simulator games. Eagle Dynamics published DCS World's direct predecessor with Ubisoft as Lock On: Modern Air Combat. The aircraft from LOMAC are still available as part of the Flaming Cliffs 3 module.
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 of the Kamov Ka-50. It was originally an add-on for the previous Lock On: Modern Air Combat series, but it was deemed necessary to use a different engine instead.
The second module added to DCS was DCS: A-10C Warthog (released in 2010). Originally released as a stand-alone simulation, but offering multiplayer compatibility with Black Shark, it was one of the first native 64-bit flight simulators.
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, 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' brought all the current aircraft, ground 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' gained the ability to add new theaters of war, such as the new Nevada Test & Training Range. The Caucasus map was in the process of being updated, and was not yet compatible with DCS 2.0.
In January 2018, DCS World 2.5 was released into open beta testing, which allowed for migration to 2.5 on Steam and from 2.2 Open Alpha. It included an updated, more detailed map of the Caucasus region along with a plethora of other changes and additions. The release version of 2.5 was published in April 2018.
PC Gamer reviewed the DCS: A-10C Warthog module with a rating of 92/100. IGN praised the care and attention to detail, though remarking a level of inaccessibility: "Yes, there is a 44-page 'Quickstart' guide and yes, there are tutorials – a bevy of lengthy, highly instructive tutorials, actually – but precious little of this is designed for the neophyte or even the marginally experienced jet jock." Rock, Paper, Shotgun although praising the module, noted that "The Hog is a fascinating creature no doubt, but by sending it to the Caucasus and involving it in a characteristically skeletal canned campaign, the devs don’t display it in a particularly fresh or alluring light.". The absence of an instructive tutorial and the length of the included instruction manual and the presence of bugs and crashes were also criticized. SimHQ praised the KA-50 module, noting the attention to technical details such as recoil of the helicopter's main gun affecting flight dynamics, along with smaller details such as the windscreen wiper having several modes. Also noted was the difficulty of flying the aircraft.
- "ED has been the developer of Desk Top Trainer (DTT) simulations for the United States military." sources: http://www.thebattlesim.com/about/ and https://forums.eagle.ru/forum/english/reality/chit-chat/145926-does-the-military-used-any-eagle-dynamics-products?p=3646209#post3646209
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- "1.5.8 and 2.2.0 to 2.5 transition discussion". Retrieved 2018-01-31.
- "DCS World 2.5 Open Beta". Retrieved 2018-01-31.
- "DCS World 2.5 "Release" Version Available Now". Retrieved 2018-04-13.
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- "E for All 2007 Report on Day 1 Page 3". SimHQ. 2007-10-19. Retrieved 2020-09-18.