• Interview With Matt Wagner / DCS

    DCS interview with Matt Wagner

    Conducted by Dominic Smith

           

    Matt, how did the concept of Digital Combat Simulator come about?

    After the release of Lock On: Modern Air Combat and then Flaming Cliffs with the Su-25T, we released two high-level simulation products: Ka-50 Black Shark and then A-10C Warthog.

    Although these used the same engine as Lock On / Flaming Cliffs, they were stand-alone projects. As stand-alone products, the complications of product updates and network play became more and more apparent. It was time for us to establish a new product series, one that would enable us to use a freeware "simulation operating system" as the core and allow add-on (DLC) products to plug into it. This was the genius of DCS World. This also allowed us to move to self-publishing and allow us to sell our products through our online store and e-retailers like Steam.

    Today with DCS World, we have an ever-evolving "simulation operating system" which we can continually plug into. These come in the form of additional aircraft, campaigns, maps, etc. Not only does this apply to the work done by Eagle Dynamics, but it has also afforded us the chance to open DCS World development to highly talented 3rd party teams.

    The next big step of DCS has been the release of version 1.5 that includes our new graphics engine. Later we will release version 2.0 that supports map modules.

           

    How do you achieve so much realism (flight model, avionics, weapons systems, etc.) out of aircraft such as the A-10 and SU-25?

    It really depends on the aircraft. In the case of the A-10C, this was an outgrowth of a desktop trainer we developed for the US military. Other aircraft like the Su-25T, F-15C, etc. rely more on open source data, involvement with Subject Matter Experts (SME), and a great deal of research through various archives.

    For example: with our WWII aircraft we used the Mustangs that we own to create the most accurate simulation of the pony ever done. For the German aircraft, we accessed hundreds of old test and performance documents and even interviewed WWII German fighter pilots.

    By using a combination of publicly available data and SMEs to scrub it, we can get quite close to the real articles.

    Another highly important element is having the staff to then implement that given data into functional systems within DCS World. Be it radars, targeting pods, flight models, sound, and so on, it's the engineers and artists that in the end make it all possible.

           

    Matt, in your opinion, what would you say is DCS' stand out feature?

    Probably the diversity. We now have aircraft ranging from the Second World War right up to the modern age, and all with various levels of simulation sophistication (from A-10C level to the Flaming Cliffs series). Within these eras of aircraft we have fighters, close air support aircraft, and multirole fighters (in the works).

    We are also set to launch the ability to fly in various maps. We will start with the Nevada Test and Training Range, and then after that, Strait of Hormuz and World War II Normandy maps. In addition to our map projects, there are also several 3rd party maps in active development.

    Another key element we are expanding on is the ability to play ground units in the form of Combined Arms. Be it commanding units from the strategic map, controlling numerous ground units from first person, commanding surface to air missile batteries, or playing the role of a JTAC, the "ground" element of DCS World is, as you can see, rapidly expanding.

    It is this combination of factors that brings a level of gameplay diversity that I think is unmatched.

           

    Which DCS aircraft/module are you most proud of and why?

    Whilst I am proud of each project in their own way, I think the A-10C would be my favorite child (if that is allowed). The extreme accuracy regarding the cockpit systems, flight dynamics, weapon systems, and 3D art, all go towards creating a highly immersive simulation. Combine that with the massive manual, interactive training missions and other content, it's easy to see why it's such a great product and one that I think has set the bar in PC flight simulation. To add to this, I just love the role of the Hog!


    4 Comments
    1. DominicS's Avatar
      DominicS -
      Thanks again Matt for taking the time to complete the interview. DCS is one of the immersive simulators I've ever had the pleasure to use.

      Regards

      Dominic
    1. swimbody's Avatar
      swimbody -
      There is nothing that comes close to being the real thing. Couple that with Maple Leaf Scenarios and you are close to an actual military experience.
    1. deltaleader's Avatar
      deltaleader -
      More than anything would like to see an F18/E for DCS World to the caliber VRS has done with Flight Sim X.
    1. LowTransition's Avatar
      LowTransition -
      Excellent interview, Dom! Fascinating stuff from one of the "best in the biz" simulators out there!
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