During the years the flight simulator industry has been experimenting with different business models. 777 Studios went free-to-play with Rise of Flight and then used crowd funding in their recent Il-2 sequel projects (as 1C Game Studios). The older Il-2 titles are basically in the hands of (rather capable) modders as is another illustrious veteran, Falcon 4. One of the more interesting developments of the recent years happened when Microsoft basically pulled the rug from under a huge (relatively speaking) group of 3rd party content producers by basically ending the development of the hugely popular Flight Simulator series.
At about the same time Eagle Dynamics was getting started with an extremely interesting new concept called Digital Combat Simulator World. Basically the idea was to get rid of the constant upgrading process required to keep their existing DCS titles compatible with their new releases – note for example how there’s a product called Flaming Cliffs 3 and yes, it really does mean that you had to buy Flaming Cliffs three times if you wanted to keep it compatible first with the Black Shark and later the A-10C Warthog (or actually the DCS World at this point).
It’s always nice to see someone bump into a problem and come up with a beautiful solution and that’s exactly what happened at Eagle Dynamics. In addition to simply solving the legacy module upgrading issue the DCS World framework has potential to become one of the most important developments in the history of PC flight simulations. The platform is now available for third parties – like the ones abandoned by Microsoft – and we already have a host of modules from a number of developers and a lot more on the way.
The situation with DCS World (2.0) is extremely interesting due to its potential importance to the whole industry. In the following text I will take a look at the current situation as well as what the future potentially has in store for us and at least try to explain exactly why I feel DCS world has so much potential in it, map out the challenges ahead and estimate a bit on where the project is going. And why we might be headed for the mother of all forum wars that could completely dwarf previous battles such as the infamous Cockpit Bar brawl.