We ended up where Rick had his PC set up and I met Paul. Paul was busy working on his laptop, doing some airbase modeling. He showed me a little bit about he did this stuff, and holy cow. I had no idea. In mere minutes he turned out an aircraft hanger that looked darn good to me. To scale. No skin, that would have taken a little while more. But mind blowing. We talked about his hiking and photography hobbies and it integrates with Fighter Ops. For example, climb a big steep hill out a ways from the actual Area 51, set up and take some pictures. Zoom in and see what the place looks like. Watch out for the black trucks and the black helicopters…
Rick showed me some landscape screens they had just posted on the web site. The area was around Las Vegas, and it wasn’t complete, but it looked darned good. And water, they had pics of in game water with the translucent stuff where you see the land or coral reefs or whatever below the water. Yikes.
We talked about Rick’s and Paul’s T-38 ride that I referenced above. I had to laugh, I actually thought the references to Rick’s Mexican food and tequila adventures the night before were a bit of literary license (and I still wish I had written that piece, it was very well done). But it turned out it was true. Rick and Paul and gone down to Mexico with some pilots and did what pilots do. Except Paul doesn’t drink, and was a little more, shall we say, cautious, with his Mexican food input. Rick, on the other hand, followed what the pilots did, and lived to regret it. Somewhat. Great story, and I’ll try and fill in a little when we do the interview.
Fighter Ops, as I have learned, is about vision. What can be. Not what must be done tomorrow, or because of deadlines, or getting it out the door no matter what and going on to the next project. That ain’t it. This team is dedicated to a vision of what a combat flight simulation should be. What they want it to be, and what they know the community wants it to be. Sure, they’re about getting it done and done timely as can be. That is always true. But the balance is “why are we doing this?”, and I say that hoping I’m not putting words in their mouths. But it’s about doing the thing right. I just know it. I see it when I talk with Rick and Paul.
There is so much I can tell with words, so much I can tell you via the interview process. But there is also so much I can tell you about impressions. My gauge of personal insight and opinion. And I can tell you, Fighter Ops is committed and they are going to do their damndest to make this a reality. What will it look like on your PC and when will you see it? I don’t know. But I think it’s coming and when it does appear, you’re going to like it. A lot.
Stay tuned for my exclusive interview with Rjetster on SimHQ coming soon..
More on DCS Black Shark
Honestly, there is so much to know here, that I have had to be quite selective in what I write about, without overwhelming the E For All Report. Lots of stuff you’ll pick up on their web site, so let’s talk about things I learned from discussion with Matt and Eugene and go from there.
First, we saw discussions about why the Apache was modeled from the A model and not the D model. Good question. The answer is that like kind to like kind aircraft, a Ka-50 is more akin to an Apache A model, and therefore makes better, faster modeling than going from an aircraft without radar modeling to one with. Make sense? Okay, and that is probably the progression. Like kind aircraft to like kind. It’ll get there, but in due course.
I talked with Matt at length about the systems of the aircraft, and especially the datalink capabilities. Yowser. You have to see this to believe it. It’s the real world Hunter/Killer come to fruition. Oh yeah, baby.
You may decide to be the “hunter” and hide behind a hill or obstacle between you and the target area. You come up and gain visual on the targets. You then assign them depending on what they are, armor, air defense, other, to your killer team and tell them to attack same. Down you go, up they go. And they can be a long ways from where you are. They come up from behind a hill, and launch on targets who never knew they were there.
Pretty cool, and deadly.
We talked about the campaign, and although it’s probably too early to draw direct comparisons, DSC Black Shark may be a lot like Janes LB2. Not a dynamic campaign with the computer running a sequence unseen in the background, but with triggers and events happening that are completely random and will not repeat each time you run the scenario. The triggers which are contained in the mission builders are very flexible, sophisticated, and complicated. All at once, and all surprisingly easy to use. I can foretell that trading campaigns of insidious natures will become fairly common once Black Shark is released. Mission builders take note, your dawn is close at hand.
I asked Matt about the status of the Ubi connection and he confirmed what you all know, as Roy Orbison said, It’s Over. I doubt that anyone on our side will see rainbows weep in this case. Adios.