DCS Gaming Website & News

[Thoughts&News] Heatblur Update // Mission with 70 HUMAN PLAYERS!

After a month with zero posts due to Real Life Stuff™, here are a couple of thoughts and news. This time, a mention to the recent update & roadmap by Heatblur and a brief feedback on a mission I flew a couple of weeks ago featuring 70 human players.

Heatblur news & Road Map

The beloved makers of DCS: F-14, the merry band of Heatblur, recently posted an update mentioning their future plans and a brilliant public roadmap. Long story short, they are expanding the team, and they will be working on more modules going forward.
A-6 from HB’s recent Update. Beautiful!

Of course the speculation started right away: which are the two new aircraft? The most popular candidates seems to be the Saab 35 Draken (J-35J): the AI version is WIP, as the A-6 was before it was announced as HB’s third module. A future expansion into a fully-fledged module sounds plausible.

Besides that, I wouldn’t mind:

  • F-4 Phantom II: this is an interesting aircraft, surprisingly similar to the F-14 (someone said the F-14 should have been called the “Phantom III“) but not that much in terms of development. Moreover, Belsimtek was working on it before they re-merged with ED.
    The majority of the players would like to see the F-4E, probably the most common and iconic. However, HB is working on the Forrestal Carrier as well, so a naval version would be indeed very appropriate.
    My only concern is the number of human RIO willing to play as back seater in it… If there aren’t many RIOs for the F-14 around, there will be way less for the F-4 Phantom.
  • F-111 Aardvark: amazing aircraft, but we have a low-level attack aircraft coming with the A-6, so it feels a bit “redundant” despite being a very different aircraft. So, why the F-111? Variable geometry but most importantly, the engines: it used the Pratt & Whitney TF-30, this would mean less time spent by the devs on the engines model.
  • Panavia Tornado IDS: the less probable on paper. It reminds somewhat the Aardvark with its variable wing geometry aircraft, partially similar tasks (low-level penetration) but the Tornado is more flexible and much smaller (Length | Wingspan: 16.72m | 13.91m vs 22.40m | 19m). Unfortunately, besides the variable wing geometry, there is not much in common with what HB has worked on so far.

Any way, hard to go wrong with HB, I’m happy whatever comes (plot twist, they are developing an Osprey 😀 ).

DCS 2.7 with 70 HUMAN PLAYERS?!

Eagle Dynamics pushed a new version of the netcode in the Open Beta patch of the 22nd of April.

MP. New version of the network protocol. Incompatible with previous versions.

Many players are unfortunately familiar with lag and desync, issues that plagued DCS especially in more recent times.
Sometimes the issue is related to the server itself (hardware, connection) or the client, as the distance from the servers plays a major role. An example is my recent brief flight in Syria At War, which runs on a temporary and “underpowered” server.

However, I flew a mission organized by Allied Forces and the experience, besides a couple of lag spikes during a massive Tomahawk launch and a trigger going off, was absolutely flawless. I expected a full Opera of issue, with an overture of desync and warping and a total crash as the grand finale. Instead, it was smooth like butter. The hosting server is in Germany and sports an Intel Xeon 3.60 GHz, 64Gb Ram and of course an SSD, and it is maintained by [SIG] Webber.

I planned to put together a video, but the mission wasn’t really exciting but hey, that’s fine as long as the mission objective is met (spoiler: we met it). The only real problem here was that the AO was tiny, as the mission was probably planned for half the numbers of players that showed up. Again, not a big deal.
A very short and unstructured debriefing is here.

The issues, rather than from the server and the netcode, came from old bugs. Take the Supercarrier for example: ED has not fixed the annoying catapult bug yet, which messed up our schedule entirely as the catapults did not work until we reshuffled across the carrier.

This is a brief tribute video put together by [BSE]Maverick87Shaka:

So, how does the Tacview of such a big mission looks like? Well… definitely messy!

These are a couple of screenshots from the Tacview track, plus some more from my recording. I have rarely seen a TID so full of radar returns!

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