A Look at the Competitive Scene: The BFM/ACM Clinic

Although I am not particularly interested in the so-called “DCS competitive scene” there are plenty of players that practice, follow and enjoy it. Speaking of which, a fellow pilot from the 132nd Virtual Wing decided to take the competitive scene very seriously and has recently decided to jump into it with both feet: LowBlow!

competitive-scene-lowblow-f-16-lowblow

Mr LowBlow has, in fact, created The BFM/ACM Clinic and I took the occasion to have a quick chat with him.

  • Question I

    What is The BFM/ACM Clinic? Is it dedicated just for seasoned players looking for a challenge? And what about new players approaching DCS?

    The Clinic aims to cater for the BFM/ACM and soon the BVR needs of pilots at all levels. Part of the reason we are able to do this is because we are relatively large (nearly 300 pilots on discord) and we have pilots at all levels, not least significantly including the best BFM and BVR pilots in both the DCS and BFM communities. Apart from ability-targeted fights, facilitated by our skill self-declaration system, we are continually pushing the boundaries of what the community is doing in the BFM/ACM space with brand new formats for competitions, such as Pilot X vs. The World. Pilots can come to the clinic with the understanding that no matter their level, they will always have tough fights available in a friendly and respectful environment where everyone involved is aiming to improve and help others to do the same.

  • Question II

    DCS is not a refined, bug-free game, there’s a lot of stuff that can be exploited and that’s not ideal for a competitive scene (I have no problem losing to a better pilot, but losing due to a bug, nope!). What do you think?

    The biggest issue we have at the moment in the BFM scene is occasional de-sync warp when rapid roll is induced, typically during guns defensive manoeuvring. ED do not have a workaround at the moment so we just have to live with it. But it can be incredibly frustrating to have a bandit right under your pipper and the second you squeeze off rounds he instantly moves 50 metres to the right, spoiling your shot.

  • Question III

    Besides the issues mentioned in Question1, DCS has no tools to review matches (replay system was broken even when I started in 2008, it only got worse), TacView is a 3rd party tool but it is not embedded in DCS (ok, it’s free, but AFAIK it does not even record everything – see the G issue you had). What tools would DCS benefit from, besides more analytics and replays?

    I honestly don’t feel like ED needs to implement anything in that regard as Tacview is fantastic and we have all adapted to using it as part of what we do. The Track File system is fine for reviews/streaming so long as it comes from the server.

  • Question IV

    What does “competitive” mean in DCS at the moment? SATAL is quite well known, Folds of Honour / Fight for Honour was an event for charity but, at the end of the day, it was competitive. Are there other tournaments/events already well known or that deserve more audience?

    I have recently joined DCS World Events as a caster and major contributor and I’m working closely with Moltar to bring new exciting competitive content to DCS. Of note in that regards is the upcoming Pilot X vs. The World competition in which one typically very strong dogfighter goes up against 10 other pilots from the BFM/ACM clinic in a 1 v 2 scenario. There are a few plot twists there, namely that The World pilots start one mile line abreast in the middle of a 10 NM diameter circle and Pilot X spawns in any one of four cardinal locations on the outside of that circle facing inwards armed with two Fox 2s (9Ms, r73s or magics). The World pilots only have guns. So, it really is a case of hunter vs hunted in a rapidly unfurling struggle to see if the roles will reverse or not. There are other twists, but better off to read the rules for that, image attached.

    The World – Rules. Click to enlarge
  • Question V

    Let’s talk about hardware. What’s your setup?

    Hardware-wise, recently I made the move from the VKB Gunfighter MK III over to the Realsimulator R3 FSSB Lighting and I’m glad I did. The R3 epitomises the robustness, durability and precision that its price warrants. If you are paying €590 just for base (incl shipping and tax) it is normal that you will have high expectations and I’m happy to report that the R3 FSSB delivers.
    The full specs of my rig can be found here.

  • Question VI

    Who are you?

    I’m a former military pilot, having flown C-130J Hercules in the Royal Australian Air Force. I love DCS, but more importantly, I love building the Clinic community with its BFM/ACM core, friendly improvement-focused atmostphere and the things that it is leading to. There are so many good things to come, so many unknowns, challenges and people/friends already met but also not yet to meet. Some very exciting things are happening, interviews with former fighter pilots and other pivotal personalities in the DCS World scene, co-commentating SATAL, soon to commentate as Lead caster on the Pilot X comp, work at DCS World Events to continue building it as the home of Competitive DCS including more competitions and ladders, Work with my sponsor, Wild Weasel Apparel and continuing to build my brand and Twitch. I am so grateful to everyone who has supported me as I continue on this journey in the combat flight sim community.

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A few screenshots from “Folds of Honor”, charity event organized by “Mover”, featuring LowBlow on the Mirage 2000C.

Directions!

If you want to join the Clinic or follow LowBlow’s fights, head here:

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