DCS World Weekend – 11 October 2019

Viper and Hornet Update
With the early access release of the Viper, we are now focusing on the most pressing bugs and desired new features for the Hornet and Viper. We have been reading all your feedback, and this is the biggest factor in determining our priorities. While not a complete list, here are our priority items for the Hornet and Viper in our roadmap (please note that the items listed are not in any sequential order):

F/A-18C Hornet
Targeting Pod

  • Slave to waypoint / target point
  • Line of sight indication on the HUD
  • Coordinate display
  • Cursor Zero and Snowplow modes

Radar

  • Track While Scan (TWS) mode
  • SPOT mode
  • AACQ mode

Weapons

  • Release of the AGM-62 Walleye
  • Dynamic launch zones for JDAM and JSOW
  • Pre-Briefed (PB) mode for AGM-88 HARM

Avionics

  • Correct the ability to pull 30 G by disabling the G-limiter circuit breaker as a cheat
  • Automatic Carrier Landing System (ACLS) mode

Countermeasures

  • Smaller flares option that can be up to 60 on the aircraft

F-16C Viper
External Art

  • Complete external skin and provide a template to the public
  • External lights
  • Centerline fuel tank
  • Add wing flex
  • Additional skins
  • Visual damage model

Cockpit Art

  • Add pilot body to cockpit view (VR)

Systems

  • EEGS Level-5 and Lead Computing Optical Sight (LCOS) gunsight when target is locked on radar
  • Identify Friend or Foe (IFF) system
  • Corrected AIM-120 Dynamic Launch Zone (DLZ) that correctly accounts for A (active) and T (time to impact) times
  • Track While Scan (TWS) radar mode
  • Air-to-Air Radar to include Control page (set PRF, contact fade, etc.)
  • Targeting pod (target range indication, SP/CZ/TGT indications, azimuth indication angle indication [waterline with line], GRAY indication, north arrow, M mask indication).
  • If AIM-9 and AIM-120 are loaded, selected aft on the dogfight switch should select AIM-9 and pressing forward should select AIM-120
  • Emergency jettison button
  • Ability to create and modify steerpoints form the UFC
  • Steerpoints must auto-sequence when option selected from STPTY DED page
  • Toggle missile type select with missile step button for more than .8 seconds
  • Lock indication on the RWR is missing. It should be a circle. At missile launch, then the circle should flash.
  • Complete CMDS manual mode programming.
  • When a contact is locked while in NAV mode, changing to AA mode should not remove the lock.
  • Only a long press aft on the DMS switch should turn the HMCS on and off. Currently, up, right, and left also have this function.

AI vs the New Damage Model
As the new damage model is being implemented, tested and tuned for all our WWII modules we are making sure that all aspects of gameplay are checked and tuned as well. Is this case, with the new damage model we noticed that the AI can be very accurate, and many times testing vs the AI, they would land all shots center mass, any times scoring a pilot kill before anything else.

To deal with this we have added a couple of new functions to the AI. First, we added error aiming offset, this will prevent the AI from shooting at the center of the model, and will be adjusted based on the skill set in the Mission Editor. This makes it more realistic when you manage to get some distance on the AI, but letting them in close will still be as deadly as expected.

Secondly, there is also a function for tracers aiming correction, this means that when the AI is using tracer rounds, the AI will correct its aim only as the AI fires on a target. The time required for the AI to adjust its aim is based on skill level as well, so excellent level AI will adjust their aim much faster than lower-skilled AI.

Now this is only the first phase of these changes, the next adjustments will focus on targeting of key components and areas of different aircraft, as we were told by Luftwaffe fighter pilot Erich Brunotte, they were instructed to fire on the inner left engine on B-17s as there were some critical systems that were not doubled located there. This will allow the AI to be more precise as far as targeting aircraft components going forward.

Lastly, we have tuned how aggressive the AI is when firing on a disabled or already destroyed enemy plane, currently with new damage model testing, the AI would unload on you, and not let up until every part of you was a flaming hunk of wreckage, now, the AI should recognize when you are damaged enough, or dead and stop firing, hopefully this will allow the AI to maintain more ammo, and be more useful in large scale fights.

These new AI features should be available in this week’s Open Beta update, we ask you to share your experiences with the AI tweaks and give us feedback on your personal experience with it.

DCS World Open Beta Update
This Friday we are releasing a new Open Beta update with the following highlights:

  • AI Combat Improvements
  • R/BL mode for Harpoons on the Hornet
  • A number of fixes for the DCS: F-16 Viper
  • A number of fixes for the DCS C-101 by AvioDev

You can read the complete changelog here.

DCS World Weekend News – 4 October 2019

Why the F-16C
The Viper was the next logical extension to the F/A-18C Hornet. They both have a similar multi-role mission and share many of the same underlying technologies and systems. As such, we can be much more efficient by leveraging core technologies and features for both aircraft. The Viper is also cool aircraft that has been produced in massive numbers, with an equal number of fans around the world. It was a no-brainer.

Release Trailer

Development Start

Every aircraft starts from the engine and flight model and follows by 3D modelling and development of all the systems. We started to develop the heart of the Viper in October 2018 creating the needed design documents and collecting as much information available to us. The main production phase started in April 2019 with many placeholder objects up to what you see now this will continue until the module is considered feature completed and can be moved from Early Access to release.

Development Speed

We have never developed a product so fast. Not only is this a testament to our amazing development team, but it also showed the value of creating core technologies that can be applied to multiple aircraft. The development of projects that are similar in tech will always help the speed of creating new tech. You can even see this in our WWII aircraft with similar engine types, and new tech for those.

Current Early Access Features

As development starts, a plan is put into place on what the key features will be required to make an enjoyable product in an Early Access environment. Much thought is always put into what will allow the most gameplay with features still to come. Even development of the Hornet, and what was most popular as it developed, as an example, the targeting pod. Of course, this is all based on how the systems tie together in development, and sometimes that can push much-requested features further out, you can see this with IFF as an example.

  • F-110-GE-129 turbofan engine
  • AN/APG-68(V)5 multi-mode radar
  • AN/ALR-56M Radar Warning Receiver
  • CCIP (Common Configuration Implementation Program) update
  • ALE-47 countermeasure system
  • Color Multifunction Display (CMFD) symbology, Horizontal Situation Display (HSD) format, and Head-up Display (HUD) symbology
  • Digitally TACAN and Electronic Horizontal Situation Indicator (EHSI)
  • RWS, SAM, and ACM A/A radar modes
  • RWS, SAM, and STT air-to-air radar modes
  • BDU-33, GBU-10, GBU-12, Mk-82LDGP, Mk-82AIR, Mk-82SE, Mk-84LDGP, CBU-87 CEM, and CBU-97 SFW unguided bombs
  • 2.75” rockets
  • Helmet Mounted Cueing System (HMCS)
  • AIM-9L/M/P/X Sidewinder
  • AIM-120B/C AMRAAM
  • M61A1 20mm cannon
  • Litening targeting pod

New developments for the Viper

  • TWS and other A/A radar modes
  • Multifunctional Information Distribution System (MIDS)
  • Link 16 Data Link
  • Identify Friend or Foe (IFF)
  • A/G radar modes
  • AGM-65D/G/H/K Maverick
  • AGM-88C HARM
  • AN/ASQ-213 HARM Targeting System (HTS)
  • GBU-24A/B laser-guided bombs
  • BRU-57/A Smart Rack
  • CBU-103 CEM and CBU-105 SFW Inertially Aided Munitions (IAM)
  • GBU-31/A and GBU-38/B JDAM
  • AGM-154A and AGM-154B JSOW
  • Integration of the JHMCS with the HARM Targeting System (HTS), Link 16, and AIFF
  • Night Vision Goggles (NVG)
  • ALE-50 towed decoy

What to wait for next?

  • IFF
  • TWS
  • Programs for CMDS
  • Autopilot (HDG SEL and STRG SEL modes)
  • INS setup and DED page
  • FM/FLCS/engine tuning
  • AA and AG mode missing indication

Current Known issues

With this Early Access release, we have already identified and are tracking the number of issues that were not fixed for this build. If you see the issue listed here, there is no need for it to be reported in the ‘Verified Bug’ section for the Viper on the forums.

  • All things Damage Model are currently WIP
  • Pilot body WIP
  • Wing Flex WIP
  • DED symbols not affected by reflection
  • Seat Shadows in the cockpit not complete
  • LAU-3 firing issues after reload
  • LERX vortexes only on-air start
  • Some stores alignment issues remain
  • Tanker can send ‘transfer complete’ in error
  • OBOGS BIT Switch isn’t clickable
  • MPO check shows nothing
  • Depressible Reticle Switch doesn’t affect on HUD
  • Some MP sync issues remain
  • AoA bracket is bouncing around while taxiing under 60kts.
  • No animation on the engine inlet fans
  • Pilot shows still in the cockpit after ejection
  • EQUIP HOT caution light doesn’t illuminate after for AIR SOURCE selected OFF
  • AWACS Declare not available
  • ENG CONT switch doesn’t affect nozzle position
  • Trying to eject with seat unarmed causes ejection soon as the seat is armed
  • HUD IAS delta is too big comparing with info bar
  • In certain cases, Afterburner flame overlaps engine nozzle
  • HUD velocity switch doesn’t display Ground Speed
  • AR floodlight and other lights on fuselage doesn’t work
  • ALT GEAR Handle isn’t clickable
  • HUD Brightness Control Switch not functioning
  • EMER Jettison and GRND jettison not functioning
  • Seat adjustment moves POV but not model
  • PNEU label is not displayed
  • Hook doesn’t extend
  • Infobar shows wrong flaps value
  • Stores Drag WIP
  • Active and Time to Intercept calculations for DLZ

Q&A from community

Q: The number of available skins?
A: Default skin only.

Q: Can I use bonuses to purchase?
A: Yes.

Q: Why is the DED not listed at all? Are there no plans to fully simulate the DED?
A: DED is an important part of different systems. As functionality for these systems is added, corresponding pages on DED will be added.

Q: Are there any plans to include a virtual pilot for the Viper?
A: Of course.

Q: How is the FBW-based PFM developed from publicly available data to something that is actually so close to reality that a Pilot/SME is able to validate it and sign off on?
Q: The FLCS for the F-16 had to be constructed from the ground-up. How was that process?
A: Building FLCS from scratch was a difficult task, requiring a lot of research and a lot of effort, due to complexity and a lack of information. F-15C and F/A-18C development experience came in handy.

Q: When implementing something like the RWS radar mode into the F-16, how much of that code is able to be transferred straight from the F/A-18C into the F-16C, and how much has to be modified/rewritten completely?
Q: How much common codebase do the Viper and Hornet have? Will developing systems and weapons for both be seamless and much easier as EA development continues? Can this common base also be applied to future fixed-wing products like the F-4E?
A: A significant amount of code has been reused, which greatly simplified and accelerated development. In the future, this will help in the development of other modules. However, there are still many things we created from scratch.

Q: In the future will there be other variants?
Q: is there ever going to be DLC’s for F-16 that simulate different F-16’s? ( i.e Block 40 Night Falcon, Block 30 )
A: Perhaps, we will consider this option.

Q: Is the Sniper pod still being considered further down the road?
Q: Will the sniper pod make a return?
A: Yes.

Q: Will Hornet and Viper be feature-tied when it comes to development and update? So if one got AGM-65 (just an example), will the other be getting it at the same time? (or around the same time?)
A: We will try to. It is in our interests too.

Q: Was wondering if there are plans to implement the Viper’s AGCAS to save pilots from GLOC death.
A: Too modern for the modelled variant.

Q: How will LGB’s work starting online from a cold/dark empty plane on day1? I.e. where do you set the LGB code? Will this be a server setting that bombs will default to?
A: Laser code is set in a mission in EA. Later we will add the ability to set the code on a runway, similar to F-5E-3.

Q: Is there anything more you can share at this point regarding Ground Radar?
Q: How far is the development regarding ground radar?
A: Work in progress.

Q: For us who don’t have cool detents on our throttles, is there any plans to add a similar feature the hornet has (the finger lift to after burner) that’ll prevent me from accidently hitting the burner when I’m trying to only go to full mil?
A: It’s already in EA.

Q: Can HARM targeting system and Litinging targeting pod be mixed in the future?
A: Carried together – yes.

Q: The F/A-18 already has HARM. Will we be seeing that available for the Viper in POS/HAS modes before the HTS pod is released, or will you be waiting to release them as a bundled upgrade?
A: We will start from common modes and then proceed to HTS.

Q: When can we expect TWS for the f-16?
A: This is one of our priorities for the near future.

Q: What are the deliverables expected of the F16 Viper before the developers move back onto completing the Hornet?
A: Engineers will return to Hornet development in the near future.

Q: Will there be a “Viper mission of the week (month? can’t remember)” like you initially did with the Hornet?
A: About once a month.