TLDR: Modern combat airplane simulator with various planes.
DCS World by Eagle Dynamics is the current industry-standard of modern military flight simulation. DCS World is available both on Steam and as a Standalone Client from the Eagle Dynamics website. The base game is free, and includes the Caucasus Region map, which covers Southern Russia and Georgia, and two aircraft: TF-51D Mustang, and SU-25T Frogfoot. This means you can try DCS out without any monetary investment. In near-future, a map of the Mariana Islands will become part of the free game. Additional modules of maps and airplanes are available for purchase. These are mostly study-level simulations of aircraft, having been modeled down to the last rivet, switch, and system. There is also a limited ability to operate and command ground units via the Combined Arms DLC module. The F-14 allows you to have two people in the cockpit, the Pilot and the RIO, working together in operating the airplane.
The game supports Virtual Reality natively, and despite some performance issues, is incredibly immersive. Alternatively, Track IR and other head-tracking solutions work out of the box. You can also use view panning, snap views, and padlock.
Out of solidarity, the link to Flight Sim megathread: http://forums.somethingawful.com/showthread.php?threadid=3550928
The old Falcon BMS OP is in the second post of this thread.
AirGoons hang out here:
- IRC: irc.synirc.net #flightsim
- Discord: https://discord.gg/6fQMsff
- Steam: http://steamcommunity.com/groups/vipergoons
- Current, working, Wiki: https://www.airgoons.com/w/Main_Page
This wiki is is a goonified collection of info, often stripped of the unneccessary fluff. It also has guides for the default planes, and will help you get in the air quickly. Do check it out.
We also have our own dedicated server, Even Lamer Goons, that runs 24 hours a day with a mission called Goon TTI that offers all planes in the game for practice, random spawns and mission taskings available from the call-out menu so that you can practice what you’d like. When flying in multiplayer, you can communicate using realistic radios with simulated frequencies and channels using a free third party software Simple Radio Stand-alone (SRS).
DCS World, the Digital Combat Simulator by Eagle Dynamics.
DCS World is a free-to-play digital battlefield game, focusing on a military aircraft simulation. You get the base game for free, which allows you to fly two planes in the Caucasus map. If you want more, the Persian Gulf, Normandy, and Nevada NTTR maps, as well as additional aircraft are available as paid DLC. There are no micro-transactions, no grinding, and nothing to unlock. You have full access to any map and airplane you purchase. You can join any MP server and spawn into a plane that your account owns. Many MP missions include multiple types of planes, including the free ones.
There are generally two types of aircraft modules in DCS: "Full Fidelity," and "Simplified." Full Fidelity are the hardcore sims with clickable cockpits. Every feature, cockpit system, and sensor is modeled. You don’t need to memorize keyboard shortcuts because you can just click the switch in the cockpit. Learning is required. Simplified planes are the "Flaming Cliffs 3" planes, the legacy planes from an earlier game version that have been upgraded with new 6-DOF cockpits and Professional Flight Models. These include the A-10A, F-15C, MiG-29A/S/G, Su-27, Su-33, and Su-25A/T. They do not have clickable cockpits, instead using keyboard shortcuts to control more simplified systems. They still take some time and effort to learn, but are less complex. They are all included in the "Flaming Cliffs 3" DLC package, which advantage provides a diverse range of planes to fly.
The Su-25T is included with the base game. It's a great SEAD (Suppress Enemy Air Defenses) plane, with great CAS (Close Air Support) capabilities, and some very limited Air-to-Air capability with its two heat-seeking missiles. This plane will let you immerse yourself into a pretty decent learning experience of the basic tactics, plus pretty much every MP server and mission includes Su-25Ts in them. It also has a variety of SP missions and campaigns.
The TF-51D Mustang is also free. It is the recon-trainer variant of the famous P-51 Mustang, and comes completely unarmed. HOWEVER, it has a fully clickable cockpit with high fidelity simulation of every single nook, cranny, button, and doohicky. It's a great plane to fly some prop fun with, and there are SP missions for photo recon ops.
The current and official module list list is as follows:
- SU-25T: The free SEAD and CAS attacker, a great plane for all around action. Simple cockpit.
- TF-51D: The Free Recon and Trainer Mustang, with no weapons. Fully clickable.
- Ka-50 Black Shark: Russian attack helicopter, great for mopping up lots of ground targets.
- A-10C Warthog: Famous sim of the A-10C. Doesn't need introduction.
- P-51D Mustang: Armed Mustang, yeah.
- FW190: Something to with the Mustang with.
- Combined Arms: This one has ground targets, AA, and forward air controllers, all that you can control and move around and lead.
- Flaming Cliffs 3 [F-15C Eagle, A-10A, Su-27, Su-33, MiG-29 and Su-25]
- UH-1H Huey:
- F86F Sabre
- MiG-15, 19, 21
- Mirage 2000C
- Gazelle Anti-Tank Helicopter
- F-14A/B Tomcat (The kind from TOP GUN!)
- F/A-18C Hornet
- F-16C Viper
- AV-8B Harrier
- JF-17 “Jeff”
Etc. etc. etc.
The learning curve is quite high, especially if you don’t have prior flight simulator experience. However, interactive training missions and detailed manuals are available for all the modules, and there are excellent written guides and tutorial videos created by the community. If you like flight simulators, and a modern conflict sounds like something you'd enjoy, you are most likely in the right place.
As in real life, a lot of air-to-air combat in this game happens Beyond Visual Range (BVR). As mentioned, the excitement factor comes from things you know about, not necessarily the things you can see. These are modern planes, after all, and you can and you will be shot down from so far away that you did not even realize it was possible.
So, if you are still reading at this point, and it sounds like something you’d like, let’s recap some of the high points:
- You can try it out for free, right away, with two planes.
- If you are looking for the next step, Flaming Cliffs 3 package offers a variety of modern planes that offers a softer approach to managing their system. In addition they are a cost-effective way of getting various airframes.
- You will very much need a controller of some kind. If this is your first foray into flight sims, asking the question on Discord or here is the way to go, so we can work with your needs and budget.
Experiments in hosting led to this…
Onwards, to destiny!
The enemy approaches…
First catch of the day!
DCS is pretty pretty these days.
Things start heating up…
“Where did that -23 go? Must be hiding in the valleys.” :golfclap:
Only survivor of first contact limping back home.
Jae coming in for landing… of sorts.
What do you mean, “pattern is full”? (Also, note the number of running engines…)
So, most advice is on our Wiki, our Discord, or as answers here or elsewhere. Let's have two basic guides right here, "how to get airborne and go pew", and "how to dodge fire stick".
GUIDE For the F-15C and overall radar and air defence and various shit.
A great guide. Read it. https://www.mudspike.com/dcs-f-15c-combat-guide-for-beginners/
For the newbies: IMO the only controls you really NEED to bind in order to fly a FC3 plane like the F-15 or Su-25T are
- pitch, roll, throttle ("thrust") and rudder axes on your joystick (if you don't have a rudder axis, use Z and X to steer the plane when taxiing and just ignore it in the air)
- weapon release
- fire gun (american jets only, russians use the weapon release)
- TDC up/down/left/right (this is the thing you use to select a target, use your hat switch)
- target lock
- release countermeasures
Everything else can be done with the keyboard. It's nice to have more stuff on the HOTAS of course but I think those are the only ones that are really critical to have at your fingertips.
- Get in the cockpit
- If engines are stopped, press rctrl-home and ralt-home to start them both up, then wait 30 seconds for them to spool up
- If it's nighttime, press L to turn on your instrument lights, rctrl-L for nav lights, and ralt-L for landing lights
- Do NOT press rshift-L because that will turn off your electrical power (welcome to DCS)
- Press lctrl-C to close canopy (it will be really noisy in the air if you don't do this)
- Throttle up and start taxiing, using rudder (Z/X) to steer and wheel brakes (hold W) to stop
- Get on the runway and/or a big taxiway
- Hold brakes, put in max afterburner, release brakes
- Use rudder to stay in line, pull back when you think you're going fast enough
- Once you start to climb, press G to retract gear
- Throttle back to get out of afterburner so you don't run out of gas (either listen to the engine, look for the lights in the cockpit, or press F2 and verify that there isn't a huge flame coming out of your engine)
- Get generally pointed at your targets and press 2 to enter BVR combat mode
- Press I to turn on your radar
- Press D until your radar missiles are selected (AIM-7/AIM-120 or R-27/R-77)
- Look for little sets of three dots on the HUD, and move the TDC box until you have one selected, then press target lock
- Get close until it says SHOOT (US) or LA (Russia), then fire ze missile
- Hopefully that was a bad guy
- Infrared missiles are the same except you can turn off the radar and just point at the guy until you hear a loud noise
- For the gun, lock a target then press C and fly until the moving crosshair is over the bad guy, then shoot. You have to be a lot closer than you think
At that point you know basically how to fly and shoot so any other questions can be asked to other people in the stream without cluttering it up too badly.
Landing is left as an exercise for the interested student
So, how do I dodge missiles that are coming at me? Like such:
Agree with Dandywalken: Even the theoretical Pk 1.0 "Magic Missile", i.e. one that cannot be evaded once fired, can be defeated by avoiding its weapons parameters. That being said, sometimes you will be ambushed by a hidden SAM and it's good to know what to do once fired upon.
1a) If a RADAR GUIDED SAM has a lock on you, IMMEDIATELY go defensive. ECM on, pump chaff, and break to place the emitter on your 3/9 line. If he's BEHIND you, break INTO the threat until he's at your 3/9 line. If he's AHEAD of you, break AWAY from the threat to place him on your 3-9 line. Once placed at your 3/9 line, roll wings level, begin a shallow dive to gain speed.
1b) You won't receive any advanced warning for an IR-GUIDED SAM (the targeting radar of the IR-guided SA-13 being the exception), so if you visually see a smoke trail or your MLWS goes off, immediately break to put the threat on your 3/9 line as above. If launch was BEHIND you, break INTO the threat until he's at your 3/9 line. If launch was AHEAD of you, break AWAY from the threat to place him on your 3-9 line. Once placed at your 3/9 line, roll wings level, begin a shallow dive to gain speed.
2) GET EYES ON THE MISSILE. You have approximately 4-8 SECONDS from launch to see the missile's smoke trail. After that it will burn out and be invisible. By flying perpendicular to the launch, you've created the longest possible lead that the missile must pull, and its smoke trail should be more visible.
Do you see the smoke trail? Decision time!
a) Is the missile tracking you? All SAMS guide by proportional navigation, if it's tracking you, the missile should appear slowly moving or stationary relative to your plane. If it's quickly moving across your LOS, it's either lost track, got decoyed by your countermeasures, or is going for your wingman. Caution: when the rocket motor burns out, the smoke trail will stop and it will appear to be rapidly falling behind you. Don't be fooled, the missile is likely still tracking you (and now invisible) in this case.
b) Assuming missile is tracking you, how far out is it? Estimate seconds until impact. - A missile launched at max range can be defeated kinematically (GO TO STEP 3) - A missile launched within the no-escape range will need a last-ditch maneuver (GO TO STEP 3 and STEP 4). - If very close (not enough time for STEP 3), go straight to STEP 4. - CONSIDER DUMPING STORES. (Map your jettison weapons button to your stick)
c) No tally on the missile? Uh oh! Your chances of successfully evading a missile you can't see are poor. None-the-less, you should have some idea of what shot at you, and from approximately where. Give your best guess as to time till impact and go to Step 3.
3) REVERSE COURSE. Time this for after the missile's rocket motor has burnt out or at least 10 seconds before impact. You're never going to be entirely sure, but a little early is better than a little late.
Make a hard break 180 degrees the other way with altitude change to make the missile expend the most energy to correct it's intercept path. If you have the altitude, a Split-S is recommended, otherwise a diving break turn, slicing AWAY from the missile. Keep your speed up and dump chaff/flares during the maneuver.
If the missile was launched from far away, this maneuver might have been enough for it to run out of smash. If you have the time, wait a few seconds to get your speed back up, and reverse away 180 degrees again!
4) LAST DITCH MANEUVER. Either the launch was too close for #3 or the missile still has smash and is about to hit you. This maneuver REQUIRES VISUAL ON THE MISSILE. Time this for approx 3-4 seconds before impact. Again, a bit early is much better than a bit late.
With the missile off your wingtip, pull back on the stick, and at the same time, roll towards the missile to keep it in the same position off your wingtip. As you complete the maneuver, you're flying a barrel roll around the longitudinal axis of travel of the missile. This creates the hardest tracking problem for the missile.
Chances of success of the last ditch maneuver are increased by depleting the missile's energy with Steps 1 and 3 above, which is why do we them. Also chances are increased with more speed and maneuverability on your part, which is why you should consider jettisoning your weapons.
5) WHAT TO DO AGAINST A CLOSE RANGE HEAD-ON SHOT? Say that BMP you were going to strafe turns into a Strela at the last minute and shoots a missile in your face. Against a close-range head-on shot, your primary advantage is that the missile is heavier and less maneuverable because it has not burnt off all of its fuel yet.
a) Hard break 45-60 degrees away from the missile with copius amounts of countermeasures. b) Unloaded roll followed by IMMEDIATE hard break in the opposite direction, with copious countermeasures.
You're basically jinking the missile, tricking it into going one way and then immediately going the other. Because missiles fly lead pursuit, it may over compensate during the first part and not be able to correct its course in time.
c) Roll out to place the launcher on your 3/9 line and prepare to execute last ditch maneuver for immediate follow-up shots.
a) Hard break to place missile on 3/9 line b) Immediately execute last ditch maneuver. If you have the altitude, strongly recommend rolling INVERTED from your break turn, and pulling DOWNWARDS, as you'll likely expend quite a bit of energy during the break.
Goons do not maintain an active server in Falcon BMS anymore, and this is left here as a remnant of an older time. We might return to BMS if it ever gets some upgrades such as VR. Some goons still occasionally dabble in it, though.
Anyway, without further talk, allow me to present:
Falcon BenchMarkSimulator 4.33 U5, the ultimate F-16 and dynamic war simulator for your groggy needs.
Falcon BMS isa fully clickable, extremely realistic, definitive simulation of the F-16 in various conflicts, with a full, immersive, emergent campaign that will proceed with or without you. On the planeside, this is basically another module for DCS, so to speak. The F-16 is fully clickable, and most of its systems are accurately modeled. This might not be the easiest game to learn, but it has its rewards.
THIS GAME IS FREE! YOU DON'T PAY ANYTHING FOR FALCON BMS! ANYTHING!
For any advanced guides to the game, use our WIKI!
This video might be a bit overdramatic, but it is still a great way to show what Falcon BMS is capable of as a game, especially visually. It was made for Falcon Online, the most active Falcon community, where some goons fly together, also, in a more spergier environment.
THIS IS NOTHING LIKE PROPGAMES. THIS IS NOTHING LIKE World War 2 aerial warfare. You don't just fly this plane, you also dive head first into all the millions of buttons and complex computer systems. Falcon is a great simulator of warfare, but it is also a balls-shitting-hard flight simulator. You click buttons in the cockpit. You plan strikes. You read up on radar warning tones. You learn about capabilities of air defence systems. You learn about all kinds of systems, tactics, procedures and concepts that will blow your mind in their complexity. You'll learn why piloting is such an awesome and glorified concept in our society. You could drown yourself into boatloads of manuals and guides to learn you to pilot this bitch, and if you do, you can very likely operate an actual one on a basic level. I'm not kidding, this is hardcore motherfucking awesome and spergy shit that is like no joke ready to fuck your shit up. If you need or want help, just ask. But don't just pop into mumble with "k, i wanna fly the F-16". You HAVE to be prepared to read, too.
LOOK AT THIS WAR
This is five o'clock in the morning in our old goon campaing, Battle for Balkans.
JESUS FUCKING CHRIST! All that white stuff is short info about the units on the map, but you can right click units, bridges, bases, craft, ships, whatever to get even more detailed info about them. I have no idea where we are! Okay, let's cut some of that info away.
There we go, we see a bit better. It's italy. We are currently in the 2nd Fighter Squadron of Royal Netherlands Air Force, in Pescara Air Force Base, Italy.
We can bring up some info about this Fighter Squadron.
Let's recon that bitch. By bitch I mean the Yugoslavian 2nd Cruiser Task Force, one of the biggest threats to our planes trying to cross into the Balkans. There you go. We can check locations and assign target steerpoints to particular targets. Bear in mind, this is last known recon info and unless we get recon or planes there, much like the Yugoslavian sailors in their soviet ships, we don't know if it holds water. The recon 3D view is also very low res with poor graphics since it loads in the map.
Or what about this auto-generated briefing for our planned sweep?
For more detailed info, we can go down to the Order of Battle to check literally everything down to the men, weapons, logistics, command structures and all that. If we don't know about the equipment, we can use TACREF to bring up info about systems, weapons, radars, missiles, blah blah blah.
There you go. There are bomber squadrons, airlift squadrons, bomber squadrons, recon squadrons, UAV squadrons, U2 squadrons and what not. War is hell man and this is war. The campaign is so good that you can play it as an air commander, just tasking flights and planning and guiding them, never hopping into the cockpit yourself. Or you can activate the AI commander and just play on sorties he thinks are for the best.
The game features a fully dynamic campaign that simulates war with its logistics, artillery, air war, tank war, infantry war, bridges, chokepoints, capitals, propaganda points, cultural sites, war effort goals, munitions, supply level. And that campaign continues non-stop every time the goon server is running. We plan strikes and when people return from those flights, flight leads plan more strikes or air cover or SEAD or whatever the situation calls for. Sometimes you have to scramble to the sky quickly when enemy bombers approach your base or your airport facilities. We don't script missions nor do we make them. Every weekend we just launch the goonserver and play the war as it unfolds before us. It is amazing. It is nothing like you have ever experienced. In this game, you simulate F-16, but you also partake in a simulated war.
This strike package was completely goon-manned in between all the hundreds of other operations going on in the campaign. It ended up in a failure. And we had goons that did not even belong to this package, so they are not listed!
The game auto-generates briefings, planning maps and debriefings. It's awesome.
In this example, we had tasked an Offensive Counter Air-attack, an airfield bombing task, with escorts. Enemy air defences kept us from coming close, hence the failure of the package.
Why two OPs?
DCS is like that really hot guy with a great body who's never had sex before, so he doesn't know what to do with his hands and blows his load in ten seconds so the fun ends quickly.
BMS is a guy who's been having sex for fifteen years and knows a million ways to surprise you and keep it fresh in the bedroom. But he's not very good looking and sometimes looses consciousness for no reason.
DCS is a pretty good looking game but the static packaged missions are fun once and you eventually run out of them. The dynamic campaign engine in Falcon is it's killer feature. Every game progresses differently; every mission proceeds differently; and you can watch this massive war going on all around you and you're just one dude stuck in it.
This game is free.
EXPLAIN TO ME MORE WHAT THIS IS ALL ABOUT
The funny thing here is that the game was originally made to be a fun game. The flight simulation was modded into it afterwards.
What makes this game so great? Well, you see, not only is this the definite F-16 simulator out there, but also a simulator of war. Wanna be AWACS? Sure, you can. Wanna be a commander for ground units? Sure can. Logistics, roads, supplies, airbases, infantry, tanks, ships, airlift, bases, headquarters, fuel depots, all of that is modelled in a dynamic war that keeps going around you. Unlike all the other simulators where you make missions and live in a vacuum, in here you don't script missions. You plan flights around the situation that evolves on its own. No joke, this is a war simulator alongside the flight simulator. If you strafe those trucks near the town, their ammo never makes it to the SAM site and thus those SAM's won't fire. Nothing is scripted, war just happens. Even radios and their frequencies. We only use Mumble while out-of-cockpit. Inside the cockpit we use the in-built radio system to talk to other flight members, to AWACS and to other units in the game world.
In BMS, the nations are at war and you fly your plane and its sorties in a massive dynamic campaign with hundreds of other planes. Your stakes are smaller, since you are just a small cog in a wheel. You can fly all planes, but the clickable good models are various F16 models from various nations, and a Hellenic Air Force Mirage2000EGM. Also a Harrier, and an F-18.
Falcon 4.0 was released in 1998. A sim-ish game for casual-to-somewhat serious players. What made it amazing was its campaign, with nothing like that ever to grace the game world again. War was persistent and you'd be in the air with hundreds of other players.Falcon BMS is, despite the name, actually strictly different game. When Falcon as a game went under and was headed to depths of ownership laws, surprisingly some unnamed people (employees) leaked everything, uploading it all to the internet, from source code to models and art that had never left the company planning table before.
Almost two decades and Falcon BMS looks great. The simulation is great, the cockpit is fully clickable and graphics, while definitely being dated, often looking almost like DCS. There are some simple tile mods to make it even better. For example, DCS is built on a game that started development in 1994 and has always been built into it, and similar amount of work has gone to Falcon BMS since its birth. Work was helped by the fact that the game was made by Microprose already. For BMS, the work was creating a F16 simulator that was slapped into it. Actually, to make it simpler, it is in a lot of ways like one a single DCS module, if DCS would be great game.
Benchmark Sims used all the leaked data and made the game into a great simulator, with help from real viper pilots, flight instructors and officers of militaries who use some variant of the F16. A lot of the names in the game that AI pilots have are names of real pilots from across the world, some are fake pseudonyms and what not, some are just nerds who volunteered for it. There is some interview with a korean pilot who helped a lot, I'll try to find it. No lawsuits were ever brought, no ill was attracted and BMS made sure to keep it strictly not-profit. To sum it up, as said, Falcon BMS is a free game. Completely. ...to the owners of Falcon 4.0. Before it installs, it it wants the original exe once. After it sees it, BMS installs and runs completely standalone, never requiring the 1mb exe again.
I NEED TO PLAY WITH GOONS! I WANT TO JOIN THE MIGHTY GOON CAMPAIGN
Alright, install the game from the tutorial in the wiki, on the top of this page.
We currently do not have a dedicated goonserver, nor a regularly scheduled event. We are looking for getting a dediserver up.
- Takeoff from runway start (It is a hot start. Plane is ready to go. Just taxi to runway and give some throttle)
- Landing. Good landing speed 200 knots, lower gear below that, touch down at around 150-180. Hold "K" for brakes.
- Basic air-to-air weapons targeting and release. How to slew and how to lock. And to use master arm. Use slew command to find target on FCR, the radar screen. When cursor is over him, use TMS Up to lock on to him. Now be sure to be in A-2-A mode and using weapon release button for two seconds, a missile will fire.
- Following a friendly, both with visual or using datalink. Datalink shows the plane number in your flight on HSD, with altitude below it. So you see dots flying with "1" above them and "10" below them. That is your Leader, number 1, flying at 10,000 feet.
- Changing steerpoints.
We are going to do the campaign on more of a 2-ship pair basis so that more experienced players can teach someone else. Besides this, to play on campaign day, one HAS to know the data cartridge, how to set it and how to use weapons. If someone does get shot down, tough luck, that is it. You have to join a new flight. We of course try to prevent suicide tasking and always have ample backup but sometimes you just get shot down. Ask here in this thread before Sunday about things you need help with and we shall take on those issues in the mumble.
If you need help, ask here! Be it installing or be it basic flight instruction for the F16 or use of weapons, we can set up a day or time to do that! Being able to remember your flight name and number is also important. After getting a plane, write them down. Same thing with your radio frequencies.
Planning, loadouts and all that can be done by people who know it as flight leaders. The way the game is made, other people can force plans and loadouts for people, thus making it much easier for others. I thoroughly recommend people to jump in. The campaign is awesome.