Wednesday, December 2, 2015

DCS World 2.0 Alpha Has 99 Problems But Being Dull is Not One of Them

The alpha version of DCS World 2.0 has been released earlier this week. The only terrain available for this 2.0 version is "Nevada Test and Training Range Map", which is in ... beta stage!

Downtown Las Vegas

Boosting a new digital distribution infrastructure that is partially based in peer-sharing of files by a built-in torrent system, downloading, installing and updating DCS World 2.0 alpha was not the smooth and painless process that was for earlier versions of the engine. Plenty of growing pains on the day of release. Eagle Dynamics was fast at fixing and improving and as early as yesterday, the process is easier. The download of the Nevada map has been quickly given to third parties who were kind enough to set up a torrent for its distribution.

My first reaction to the release of a training range in the middle of the featureless desert was a strange mix of apathy and curiosity. The desert may get old very quickly for air/ground combat. But I still wanted new terrain. The inclusion of the city of Las Vegas was odd choice in my view. I can't honestly fly a war in Vegas and keep a straight face at the same time. Yes, loss of imagination is the first symptom of getting old.

On further thought, during the long hours of downloads and unpacking modules, I made peace with the offering on the lines of "this is where we train for a war on another map/terrain pack".

Even when the above may hold some truth for myself, I think that what actually happened is that Eagle Dynamics has just knocked the socks off the world of flight simulation. Let me show you why.

Hop into my UH-1H Huey for an early morning flight. We are at the Nellis AFB, Nevada and our bird is in the center of the screen.
The level of detail is absolutely jaw-dropping. The graphics are gorgeous. The map is huge. But is the combination of all that makes this such a singular platform for flight simulation.

The kneeboard map shows no flight plan or waypoints so we are going downtown. Joyride!

It's 01Dec of two thousand something, 0700 in the morning.
Overflying Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Cars are churning and burning below our Huey.

We have seen the level of detail that the DCS World engine did achieve in previous iterations. But flying over Las Vegas will teach you that was just the beginning.

So many buildings, houses, construction cranes, parking lots, malls, streetlights.

Makes me feel that I can go down there and talk to people.

The sun is up and the light effects are just beautiful.

I want to land into every open spot of this city.

Our Huey viewed from a multi-level parking lot.

Flying away from Vegas, now over Henderson City.

And now onto Boulder City.

I can see Arizona from here! Flying in Las Vegas Bay.

Heading back into Nellis AFB. A view of Vegas through a cut in a hill range.

Nellis AFB in sight.

Near landing. Note the shadow of my own helicopter.

Total flight time was 48 minutes.
A total beauty. Not only because how it looks but also because of the tiny details meticulously taken care of. Even the most detailed "scenario packs" for MS Flight Simulator or X-Plane can't hold a candle to DCS World 2.0 Nevada terrain (alpha/beta and all). And to top that level of ground detail, DCS can truly model avionics, communications and highly complicated weapon systems.

DCS World 2.0 Nevada definitively shows that it can appeal a non-combat flight simulator consumer. I don't know where Eagle Dynamics is heading, the only thing sure is that it is going to be a wild flight.


No comments: