When I first starting working with Pierre, it was because of an argument…
When I started with working with Pierre Wolfe on Two More Weeks, close to a year ago, it was because of an argument over the A-10C vs. F-35. Now first , let me start by saying it wasn’t with him, but with several other individuals that I frequently share comments in opinions. Most of the time, while there may be a difference of opinion, it’s pretty civil generally. Oh, sure there is often some mild derision, but mostly of a bantering nature, like guys do . No big deal. Then there are the ‘trollers'( They know who they are.) The ones who want to take what’s supposed to a fun endeavor, and turning it into a forum for complaints. We, all of us , have been of that from time, myself included. Which brings me back to what compelled to express a year-end thought or two.
2016 has seen the introduction of several modules, some anticipated highly and some completely unexpected. One or two, have yet to make an appearance. I’m reasonably sure that most of you already know. DCS F/A-18C. So let’s just get it out of the way. I’m sure we’re all a bit disappointed that the ‘Bug’, won’t be ready before years end. I’m also equally sure that no one is more disappointed that the ED Developers, working on the project. Clearly the execution is more difficult, than conception. That’s the way it is, and we as users have to deal with it.
On of the bright-spots of , a tumultuous year in the ‘real’ world, ie. 2016 saw the introduction of the DCS: F-5E Tiger II. Now I knew this module certainly promised to look cool, by the screenshots and teasers, but boy howdy, they did a fine job in bringing the Skoshi Tiger, to life for me with that Southeast Asia USAF livery(except for the big red ‘Soviet’, numerals on the nose. I’m guessing that the captive F-5Cs formerly of the now-defunct, South Vietnamese air force were the model for that particular livery. I would not be opposed to a change there.
The Northrop F-5E-3, on which it is based, was pretty much intended as a lightweight supersonic fighter bomber, versatile enough to carry a fair variety of air to ground ordinance in the form of 500lb. Mk 82, ‘ based high and low-drag munitions, an impressive variety of A/G rockets, and two really cool 20mm cannon. In a nutshell, it’s an effective easy to operate ground attack platform, and I personal have found that if I operate it within those constraints, I experience less aggrevation. For those so inclined, it’s an awesome gunfighter, and can hold it’s own against most any opponent aircraft in a guns only engagement. The problem is , that one does not always have control over what weapons and equipment the other guy brings to the battlefield. The guys at Belsimtek, did a fantastic job, on their representation of the Tiger II. Spot on. By the way same level of attention to detail on their DCS: F-86F Sabre is evident. So much so that I’m seriously considering some of their other offerings in the form of the Magnificent Eight!
Which brings me around to the other DCS sponsored brightspot: The DCS: M2oooc, by Razbam. This delta-wing beauty is actually much more impressive than I expected. I admit that in combat theater with Flankers out there my expectations were perhaps less than stellar. My projected opponent carry a compliment of up to 10 air-to-air missiles , radar and infra-red. Having only two of each, gave be a serious belly-ache, whenever I thought about, so when I pre-ordered the M2000C, I did so, more or less because it was there, it would be interesting to fly, yadda yadda, blah blah…
Brother was I ever wrong. Quite the opposite, it turns out. It brings to the fight a modern decently ranged radar, that can scan and even prioritize targets , unlike the F-5E -3 , which has only gun ranging/aiming radar set, and has a modest RCS compared the heavyweight Flanker or even a Fulcrum, although the disadvantage of no off-bore-sight aiming remains problematic sometimes. I’m impressed by the relative ease at which the F-5E, can be dispatched by those S530s.(Much more reliable these days.). Up close in a ‘knife-fight, with the lightweight, is not so assured. can ruin your day. The M2000C , also comes with a more diverse suite of A/G ‘goodies’, the Belouga , Cluster munitions. (Yet to try those out yet, though currently working through the in game training missions; following that , The Champaigns. I’ll let you know how that progresses.) RAZBAM devs did a bang-up job on the FBW, on this sim, though fine tuning continues, it feel already spot-on to me, but they are welcome to keep trying.
So, what are our expectations for 2017? First let me start by suggesting you not have expectations about when. Oh, hopes are okay, but ‘expectation’ can sometimes lead to disappointment. I prefer to ‘anticipate’, instead. For all practical purposes, there is no real difference, but I have found that the ‘mind-set” useful for not getting ‘hyper’ and having higher than reasonable expectations about the next thing, in this case, Leatherneck’s AJS-37 Viggen and perhaps the next to the next thing, ( We all hope, perhaps) DCS: F/A-18C Hornet.) I’m pretty sure about one thing , though: It probably won’t be two more weeks.
Like many of you no doubt, I purchased this theatre as soon as it became available, appreciating that it was and still remains albeit to a lesser degree, a WIP, so things like frame-rates, module integration difficulties and the like, should come as no surprise and it seems that things are more or less on track. The graphics are photo-real and getting better, and so on…but; and this is kind of a big one; engagements in the Nevada Map Scenarios, are an extension of the Caucuses Campaign and don’t really emulate the true role of NTTR. Training. Not the same ‘blow up the other guy missions we fly in the skies of Virtual Georgia. I’m just sayin’.At any rate, I’m still making up my mind about it. In the long-run, it won’t matter much the two DCS Worlds are merged, and I have no intention of giving up the opportunity to buzz downtown Vegas
I therefore await, still, with some anticipation, The Hormuz Map, which btw I don’t anticipate seeing this year, or perhaps even the year after that. I won’t complain however if it does , however. We will just have to wait and see what 2017, bring us.
Happy New Year, guys!!!