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Digital Combat Simulator

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Goons in F-15C:s — what can go wrong…?

Join us!

Airgoons run — or at least try to run — a weekly(ish) session of unfortune, misadventure, and general server instability. It usually runs somewhere in the evening (UTC) on the week-end to try to cover as many time zones as possible on a day when no-one wants to do anything more useful anyway.

Unless someone has had spectacularly interesting idea, these missions will always feature at least some FC3 aircraft, as well as one of the free aircraft that come with DCS — you can experience it all for free. For the ones with less financial sense, a healthy(?) mix of other aircraft is also included, as well as stand-alone features such as LotATC or as regular in-game AWACS/GCI that let you take part on even a very dinky computer. Most of the time, we just use Discord unless a lot of people show up and some remote semblance of comms discipline is needed, in which case people will use SimpleRadio.

Read about the latest harebrained scheme and how to join it in the Weekly Mission brief.

Where and how to get it

The most immediate way of getting DCS world is from Eagle Dynamics' website. It is also available on Steam.

The question, as always, is which one to get. Steam does its usual thing of unifying updating and installing and version management, but has its own DRM (in fact, it has two different layers) and is a bit slower about rolling out the latest and greatest. The standalone version, naturally, has its own DRM (again, just for fun, two different layers) and a fairly old-fashined (command line-based) updating utilities, but you get immediate access to anything that comes out. To make matters even more fun, some older modules bought on Steam will provide a product code that can be activated on Eagle Dynamics' website to unlock the same module for the stand-alone version, but modern ones do not.

It is a classic “get it now” vs. “make it convenient” trade-off.

Another consideration is which version or branch to run. By default, you will install, run, and continuously update to the latest stable release version. “Stable,” some would argue, is a bit of a misnomer. For the (not actually) extra adventurous, you can also opt in to run the open beta branch, which is where the latest (not always fully implemented) features will be available, and also in many cases the latest bug fixes. Most servers will therefore run the Open Beta branch. In Steam, this is done the same way you pick beta participation in any game. In the stand-alone client, you normally do it via obnoxious console commands but that part can be hidden behind a the friendly face of the DCS Updater GUI utility.

Freebies — what's in the box?

The free, base DCS World package comes with one full-sim aircraft module, the TF‑51D Mustang; one simplified-sim (“FC3-style”) aircraft, the Su‑25T “Frogfoot”; and one piece of terrain, the Caucasus region.

The modules

Main article: DCS Modules

DCS content is divided into “modules.” There are generally four kinds: aircraft, terrain, add-ons, and campaigns. Aircraft modules are pretty much what it says on the tin: a single aircraft, occasionally with a few variants thrown in, and often accompanied by single campaign. Terrains are the world maps in which your mission take place. Add-ons are an odd mix of speciality content for specific purposes — there is no real coherent theme other than that they require some other module to really add anything useful. Campaigns, finally, are just that: a set of missions for a specific aircraft and terrain (having both as a prerequisite in order for the campaign to run).

Most aircraft modules also come with a built-in campaign as well as a collection of training and quick-action missions.

Currently available modules

DCS World
Aircraft modules (full sim) A‑10C Warthog · AJS‑37 Viggen · AV‑8B NA Harrier · Bf 109 K‑4 Kurfürst · C‑101EB & CC Aviojet, · F/A‑18C Hornet · F‑5E‑3 Tiger II · F‑14A & B Tomcat · F‑86F Sabre · Fw 190 D‑9 Dora · Hawk T.1A · L‑39C & ZA Albatros · MiG‑15bis · MiG‑21bis · Mirage M‑2000C · P‑51D Mustang · Spitfire L.F. Mk. IX · TF‑51D Mustang · Yak‑52
Helicopter modules (full sim) Ka‑50 Black Shark 2 · Mi‑8MTV2 Magnificent Eight · SA342L, M, Mistral, and Minigun Gazelle · UH‑1H Huey
FC3 modules (simplified sim) A‑10A Warthog · F‑15C Eagle · MiG‑29A “Fulcrum A” and S “Fulcrum C” · Su‑25 “Frogfoot” · Su‑25T “Frogfoot” · Su‑27 “Flanker B” / Shenyang J‑11 “Flanker B+” · Su‑33 “Flanker D”
Terrain modules Caucasus · Nevada Test and Training Range (NTTR) · Normandy 1944 · Persian Gulf
Add‑on modules Combined Arms · NS 430 Navigation system · WWII Assets Pack
Campaign modules
A‑10C Basic Flight Training Qualification (BFTQ) · Advanced Aircraft Training Qualification (AATQ) · Tactical Training Qualification Campaign (TTQC) · 16‑2 Red Flag · The Enemy Within · Operation Piercing Fury · Stone Shield
AJS‑37 16‑2 Red Flag
F‑5E‑3 Aggressors Basic Fighter Maneuvers (BFM) · Aggressors Air Combat Maneuver (ACM)
F‑15C Aggressors BFM · 16‑2 Red Flag · The Georgian War
Ka‑50 Republic
L‑39 Kursant
M‑2000C M‑2000C Red Flag Campaign by Baltic Dragon
Mi‑8MTV2 The Border Campaign · Oilfield Campaign
MiG‑15bis / F‑86F The Museum Relic
P‑51D Charnwood · High Stakes
Spitfire L.F. Mk. IX Operation Epsom
Su‑27 The Ultimate Argument
UH‑1H Argo

Tools and add-ons

  • DCSUpdater icon.png DCS Updater GUI — a tool that lets you manage multiple installs and up- and downgrade between different versions and codepaths. If you want to go between release and beta version with ease, and do a lot of modding that might warrant a spring-cleaning now and then, this is the tool for you.
  • SRS icon.png DCS SimpleRadio Standalone — similar to IVC for BMS, this is a voice chat tool that integrates with the aircraft radios in DCS so you can use proper radio channels (including encryption) to talk to different flights, ATC, AWACS and so on. It also includes a manual mode for the simplified FC3 aircraft that do not have any built-in radio channel management.
  • Tacview icon.png Tacview for DCS — while DCS has a playback functionality, it is… less than reliable. One part of Tacview is an in-game data recorder for everything that moves in the game, and the other part is a playback application (that also works with BMS ACMI files) that lets you study that flight data after the fact.
  • LotATC icon.png LotATC — a server mod and standalone client that lets people play as AWACS and ATC in DCS. With the new 1.1 version (currently in beta), licenses can be hosted by the server clients no longer have to pay to partake, as long as there are free server licence slots available.
  • OvGME icon.png Ov Generic Mod Enabler — a continuation of the all but defunct JSGME mod manager that lets you non-destructively replace game files with modified ones and easily switch mods on and off. It is not specifically aimed at DCS, it is very useful for some of the map and aircraft mods that are popular with the game.