Q: Some questions regarding modding. What does DCS support as far as editing of files?
A: Building upon the level of open .lua file support we did for Lock On: Flaming Cliffs, DCS further moves many game functions to editable .lua files. Additionally, we will be providing tools for 3rd party developers that include: Physical Cockpit Interface Package, Terrain Builder, 3D Model Builder, 6 DOF Cockpit Builder, External Flight Model Importer, and GUI Source package. You can read more about this topic here. We plan to start releasing these tools to selected 3rd party developers after DCS: Black Shark is available in retail. However, we already have two talented groups creating new terrain using these tools.
Q: Tell us about DCS: Black Shark and Vista. It seems the team is clearly more comfortable with it running on Windows XP judging by the campaign menu’s “WARNING! This campaign is designed for high-end Windows XP systems and is not compatible with Windows Vista”. Can you elaborate on the Windows XP versus Vista discussion and DCS: Black Shark?
A: Given some limitations of how Vista handles memory, we’ve found that XP provides better performance for very large missions. While most users will have no problems, we wanted to put a disclaimer for the English campaign because several of the missions are quite large and tests have shown that some Vista users encountered problems. We have relayed this issue to Microsoft and we hope that the next Vista service pack will address this issue.
Q: A couple of additional technical questions. We know the engine is not “officially” optimized for multi-core processors, but our test experience has shown there is a nice balance when a 2nd core is turned-on in the affinity setting. By default it is off. Any plans to make DCS: Black Shark “multi-core aware” or give us a switch to add to the command line so it’ll invoke the other core(s)?
A: Yes, we certainly plan to take full advantage of multi-core systems in later iterations of DCS. We are already laying the frame work for this in fact.
Q: Did your testers see any performance benefit to 4GB of RAM on either Windows XP or Vista? In your system specifications under “Recommended”, you list 2GB of RAM and that was somewhat surprising especially for Vista users.
A: There was only a negligible performance difference between 2 and 4GB RAM systems in our testing. As such, we felt even 2GB of RAM was sufficient even for the recommended specification.
Q: The documents are very impressive in size and scope! Is it possible they may be available in a “treeware” version from DCS or a 3rd party publisher?
A: By January we will be releasing a printed, spiral-bound, extended version of the English Ka-50 flight manual. This manual will be 550 pages and include additional sections on aircraft background, checklists, and weapons. We plan to release French, German and Spanish versions after that.
Q: We voiced some strong opinions in Part 1 of the Review about the Quick Start Guide having the first-half of the pdf dedicated to activation, deactivation and disk protection. We have to ask, why not split the pdf into two booklets with those items in one and getting the bird into the air in the second pdf?
A: Two reasons actually. The first is that this content will be in hardcopy form for the boxed version of DCS: Black Shark. For us to divide the content into separate Installation Guide and Quick Start guide would significantly increase our cost of goods past the point we can afford. The second is that we wanted to have the QS take the new player from installing the game, to activating it, to setting it up and flying their first mission in Game Mode. We feel it made much more sense to keep this process as a unified document rather than splitting up. We fully agree that the Activation/Deactivation section is a bit long-winded, but given the importance of this topic and the number of manual options available, we felt it necessary to avoid any confusion.