The Mission Editor of DCS Black Shark is a powerful tool, wherein you can create your own missions, training missions, multiplayer missions and meld your own missions into campaigns you make. The editor has an interactive mapping system, unit placement, a weather editor, file management system, goal and trigger system tools.
To veterans of Eagle Dynamics previous sims, the Mission Editor will look familiar, but the looks are deceiving because there is all new code under-the-hood. The development team was intent on providing the tools to provide missions that would produce sweaty hands and tense moments, not a clinical activity.
My objective here is not to turn you all into mission or campaign builder gurus, but rather to give you an overall idea of the capabilities and features of this aspect of Black Shark. SimHQ is already working on detailed articles down the road a bit that explore just how to make a mission, give it weather, set goals, triggers, create your own campaigns. For now, let’s just take a short spin through the system to give you a sense of what is going on.
Mission Editor is accessed by clicking “Editor” on the Main Menu.
When you do that, you’ll see a World Map, a Mission and Map tool bar along the bottom, a System Bar along the top, and a just plain old Tool Bar down the left side.
The world of DCS: Black Shark takes in the Black Sea region with very detailed terrain and cities, rivers, roads, etc. Which you may filter some or all out should you so desire. You can zoom an area with the mouse wheel or pan the map with a press hold of the right mouse button.
The map zoomed out. Blue circles with white signify airfields, the red lines represent boundaries.
The Mission and Map Bar gives you the Mission Name, the Map Scale, Coordinates, Altitude, Mode and Real Time. The coordinates and the altitude will change dynamically as you move your cursor over the map and will represent the real life values at that map location. Hmmmmmm, could be very handy for setting up a helicopter assault!
Moving to the top of the page, we have The System Bar. It has six segments, File, Edit, Flight, Campaign, Customize, and Help. Select File > New and you can start creating that mission of your dreams. First you’ll see a Coalitions Window wherein you get to decide which countries are on what side of the fight. There are Red side factions and Blue side factions. You decide, but any unassigned countries will not play a role in the fight to come. You can make up realistic alliances or some crazy stuff. Your choice. But remember, it makes a difference which country you assign versus the technology they bring. An example, to have GPS coverage, USA must be included, whereas some other countries without that technology would not. Pretty realistic.
The Mission Editor includes a powerful scripting system that allows the setting of triggers and resulting events. In turn you have the ability to create missions with more dynamic cause-and-effect situations. You can activate units, display messages, play audio files, and setting linked events. These can be triggered from units entering and exiting specified areas, being damaged or destroyed, or even times. It’s a very flexible and dynamic tool.
Clicking Edit gives you a list of construction tools like Add Airplane, Add Helicopter, Add Vehicle, and so on. These tools are duplicated in the left side bar Tool Menu and all you need to do is let your cursor hover over the button and it will pop up with what the function of that button is.
The Flight Menu gives you the ability to start a loaded mission and convert a recorded track (trk) file into an AVI video file. Remember, trk files can only be viewed by persons with the game, whereas, an AVI file can be viewed by anyone. There is a whole heap of details in this and again, I’m not trying to make you folks film editors. Just be aware the capability is there and it’s got some powerful features. Read the manuals, they’ll guide you through it should you be so inclined.
In addition, through the Flight Menu, you can decide to fly your mission and see how it works, or use the Prepare Mission mode for integrating navigation and environmental variables into the saved mission file. You can create ABRIS data such as routes, navigation, target points, etc. and save them to an ABRIS virtual hard disk. You can also save custom beacons and satellite constellations. Wow, this stuff is great!
Click here to see the 1680×1050 image.
Did I mention you now have the power to change the weather? Well, you do, and it’s cool, no pun intended. Grab the Weather Editor and make your choices. You can not only decide the weather, but the season of the year. Want to smell the spring flowers? Got it. It’s winter now, so you want a winter feel? Got it. Change the clouds, the density, maybe it’s foggy out today. How about wind? You set it the way you want it. It’s your world, have it your way. There are also a variety of presets to use.
Click here to see the 1680×1050 image.