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Digital Combat Simulator


Stuart Galbraith
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It should be pointed out, there are some strange things about DCS that mean that really fast machines, sometimes run faster than theoretically slower ones. Or at least, according to some posts ive heard on the forum. There was an issue over multicore processors, to the point where I think people were turning some of them off. This is because DCS is based upon Lock On, which came out somewhere around 2009, and that used code from Flanker 2, which came out somewhere around 1999...

The Devs have been fighting a battle to upgrade the code. At present, they are working on the AI, which is still seemingly working with code that came from Lockon or before. But the longer term effort is a new graphics engine, which hopefully will resolve many of the problems. I think that is due sometime in the next two years. In the interim, what we have looks bloody fantastic, already better than MS Flight simulator. But you do often have to do a hell of a lot of tuning to get there.

That is a beautiful looking card. I recently got some money back from the Taxman, maybe I should invest in one....

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I run DCS smoothly on (only) 1080p on a seven year old I7-4790, 32 GB RAM, three year old 8 GB RTX2080, DCS is stored on a three year old 2 TB M.2 SSD on the Motherboard, which is a a 7 year old ASUS Ranger. I use a Warthog Joystick and Throttle that I found almost brand new somewhere for € 100,-. In addition, I have VKB rudder pedals that I hate, prone to errors, even with new firmware. Furthermore, I have a Track IR 5 with the clip that I also found in a great condition secondhand. 

How DCS looks is also really dependent on the map. Georgia is old and ugly. The other maps are really nice, especially with the new clouds.

Of course, you would want a larger screen with higher resolution or, better, VR. That naturally requires better and more expensive hardware.

Edited by Daan
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Yeah, the marginal improvements of render engines and graphics cards over the past ten years haven't reached a plateau, but the gradient has been declining. The growth is more like, "can it run in 4K and with real-time raytracing elements" which, TBH, nobody was really missing before. Then again, I've always been more interested in content than looks (not that looks are unimportant, just not the focus of my attention).

That said, an i7-4790, 32 GByte RAM, 2TB SSD and an RTX 2080 (not the original card) was, seven years ago, a top of the line machine.

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2 hours ago, Ssnake said:

That said, an i7-4790, 32 GByte RAM, 2TB SSD and an RTX 2080 (not the original card) was, seven years ago, a top of the line machine.

I have an AMD Phenom II x6 @2.7GHz, 8 gigs of RAM, 900 Gigs on the HDD, and graphics on the MB.  So I've got a bit of a vintage machine.  Still, I can't complain, it's given yeoman's service for 11 years and will continue to do so.  Knock on wood.

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Yeah, it was, but I plan on building a new machine next year. Windows 11 does not support my current processor for some reason.

Of course, I first have to find the time to research and then obtain the components I want.

Edited by Daan
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2 hours ago, Daan said:

Yeah, it was, but I plan on building a new machine next year. Windows 11 does not support my current processor for some reason.

Of course, I first have to find the time to research and then obtain the components I want.

This could be of interest:

https://pcpartpicker.com/forums/topic/330534-x570-or-z390-cpu-support-for-the-future

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Controllers seem to be a bit annoying. They don't seem to have 'mid-range' joysticks any more, they're either cheap and generally poor, or quite expensive. 

Now, I did splurge on my joystick, which is a VKB, and I'm quite happy with it, but it's $500 or so. On the plus side, it's very customizable and I can use it both for my flight-simming and my tank simming. I don't think I need to spend the money on rudder pedals, the twist grip on the joystick peforms adequately.

For throttle (or collective, for helos), I had, until it seems to have broken this week, my previous joystick, a serviceable, if not quite as precise, Saitek Cyborg X. It's about ten years old, but what was good about it was that it had two throttles mounted on the base, and it was much cheaper than getting a proper HOTAS type throttle whilst also retaining the various customizable buttons and a hat. It may be worth looking up the second-hand-market on that sort of thing.

That said, I've just decided to splurge Mk II, and picked up the Warthog throttle which should arrive next week. It seems to be the only real combat flight sim throttle option currently available (Barring again some VKB type stuff) with all the buttons and twin engines.

Also decided to splurge on VR, but that's another matter entirely. For the short term, I highly, highly recommend getting a TrackIR system. It's a little over $100, but it's night and day on how easy it is to control and orient yourself especially without having to convert one of your hat switches to "Pan view". It improved my flight sim experience immeasurably.

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It's a great throttle, but look into posts about modding the afterburner notch, or fitting an after market part. It really helps in BFM.

Id love a VKB, particularly the Tomcat stick replica.I

one other thing, look at voice attack. That can really help with the Tomcat or MI24.

 

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I never configured my Warthog throttle to have the afterburner detent, should be simple though. Most planes, except for the F-16 and F/A-18, have a rather clear acoustic signal when the afterburner is on. Alternatively, a clear light starts burning in the cockpit.  With the F-16 I look at the fuel low and with the F/A-18 at the nozzle indicator.

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There are several free aircraft you can download including the EMB-312 Tucano, MB-339PAN, C-130, and the A-4E.  They are also worth trying out and the A-4E is quite good actually.

 

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10 hours ago, Daan said:

I never configured my Warthog throttle to have the afterburner detent, should be simple though. Most planes, except for the F-16 and F/A-18, have a rather clear acoustic signal when the afterburner is on. Alternatively, a clear light starts burning in the cockpit.  With the F-16 I look at the fuel low and with the F/A-18 at the nozzle indicator.

I gather if you file or sandpaper the notch down, you can get it so it provides a ridge which you can easily push over. I bought an online aftermarket part configured that way, just to be sure I didnt screw it up.

8 hours ago, Calvinb1nav said:

There are several free aircraft you can download including the EMB-312 Tucano, MB-339PAN, C-130, and the A-4E.  They are also worth trying out and the A-4E is quite good actually.

 

Yeah, I like the A4. Since they introduced the S60 and the Sam3, you can now fly it in a realistic combat environment. Ah, but if only there was a Southeast Asia map. The Mariana's is nice, but doesnt quite cut it.

Not tried the T45, I hear thats got some good reviews too.

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Ive mentioned him before, but im really enjoying tactical pascales videos. He recently did a very interesting on on understanding Bullseye, which was very interesting. Also, thanks to one of his videos, Ive finally figured out how to get the radar boresight with the Mig21, after playing it for 4 years....

 

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Yeah, I heard about that. They are also doing a Sea Harrier, again for the Falklands map. there was also supposed to be an AI Vulcan.

People have a lot of hate on Razbam, and its true they do seem to drag stuff out, and picking more and more stuff up isnt helping. OTOH, the Harrier they did is excellent, easily one of the best DLC. I think they did some work on the Mig19, which with a few flaws is also pretty nice.

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The Mirage is very nice 😉

The problem with Razbam is that it is relatively small team for the amount of projects they have taken on. I'd rather have them focus on one aircraft / map at a time.

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