THE FIGHTER COLLECTION TO RELEASE "DIGITAL COMBAT SIMULATOR: BLACK SHARK"Â
DUXFORD, UK, October 15, 2007 "â€œ The Fighter Collection and the Eagle Dynamics development studio will release the new benchmark in PC air combat simulation in 2008 with the release of "Digital Combat Simulator: Black Shark"Â. "DCS: Black Shark"Â is a simulation of the Russian Ka-50 attack helicopter and will be the flagship title of the new "DCS"Â series.
Following the success of the "Flanker"Â series and "Lock On: Modern Air Combat"Â, TFC/Eagle Dynamic's "DCS"Â will shift the focus to introducing one aircraft at a time at an incredible level of detail that is unmatched by any PC flight simulation. Following the Ka-50 "Black Shark"Â, TFC/Eagle Dynamics will introduce additional aircraft modules to the "DCS"Â world like the A-10A "Warthog"Â, AH-64A "Apache"Â, and other aircraft at the same exacting level of detail. Each of these aircraft will be available in retail and online and can be purchased as stand-alone simulations or integrated with other modules. It will also be possible to purchase each aircraft as an add-on at a reduced price for consumers that have already purchased a DCS module.
Features of the "DCS"Â include:
â€¢ Advanced helicopter and ground force AI that creates a realistic combat environment
â€¢ Detailed modeling of 330,000 sq km of the western Caucasus region
â€¢ Twice the ground detail of previous TFC/Eagle Dynamics simulations
â€¢ Head-to-head and cooperative multiplayer
â€¢ Powerful mission editor with advanced scripting capability
â€¢ Campaign system with a moving front line that depends on mission results
The first aircraft to be included in the "DCS"Â world will be the Ka-50 attack helicopter. The Ka-50, like later "DCS"Â add-on aircraft, will feature:
â€¢ Highly-detailed six degrees of freedom cockpit
â€¢ Unrivalled flight physics system
â€¢ Realistic damage model and system cascade affect
â€¢ Mouse-clickable cockpit
â€¢ Detailed modeling and control of engine, fuel, hydraulics, electrical, navigation, radio, fire suppression, sensor, and weapon systems (casual game play modes also available)
â€¢ Advanced weapon physics for missiles, rockets and cannon rounds including ricochets
Internally developed by The Fighter Collection and Eagle Dynamics, "DCS: Black Shark"Â is scheduled to ship for Windows PC in 2008. Further information can be found at http://www.digitalcombatsimulator.com/
About The Fighter Collection:
The Fighter Collection, as well as developing software for the entertainment, serious game and military markets, also operates, rebuilds and maintains Europe's largest collection of airworthy WWII fighters and is based at Duxford Airfield, in the UK. For more information visit our websites: www.fighter-collection.com and www.thebattlesim.com.
Q: Everyone thought that Black Shark was going to be an add-on to Lock On, why did this not happen?
A: As we evaluated the concept of doing a helicopter simulation with a 6DOF clickable cockpit, new terrain area, very detailed avionics and a new mission and campaign structure, it became clear that we could not use the Lock On code, and we would have to develop a highly-modified version of our existing 'The Fighter Collection Simulation Engine' (TFCSE) with new code. Additionally, whereas Lock On was a survey simulation that featured several aircraft at a medium level of fidelity, we wanted to start a new product line that studies one aircraft at a time in exquisite detail.
Q: Why are you publishing Black Shark yourselves?
A: The entertainment PC-based Flight Simulation market is very specialized and very different from the console market that the major publishers focus on. Through our experience of self-publishing Flaming Cliffs, we have developed the knowledge and expertise to sell and market directly to the Flight Simulation market through both on-line and retail channels.
Q: The public demonstrations at shows indicate that Black Shark looks already completed; why are you waiting until 2008 to launch?
A: Black Shark can be played as either a serious study simulation or as a casual game. For those who wish to have the complexity of a serious study simulation, we need to create training lessons with voice-overs that guide the user through the complexities of the various systems, avionics, engines, weapons etc. This can be a very time-intensive process. We also need the time to write the manuals, create exciting missions and campaigns, fully de-bug the code, and get the product into the market place with proper marketing.
Q: What will be the retail price of Black Shark?
A: We are currently evaluating pricing strategies for both retail and online and will announce this prior to launch.
Q: Your press release indicates that Black Shark is the first in a series of DCS modules, with more aircraft/helicopters to follow. How soon will these new aircraft become available?
A: We are already developing the A-10A "Warthog" and AH-64A "Apache"Â (with planned front-seat / back-seat multiplayer) and other western and eastern aircraft will follow with an approximate interval of every nine months. To annouce these later aircraft now would be premature because plans can often change and lead to delays due to numerous factors such as our work in the equally important military simulation market.
Q: Does the launch of the new DCS series mean the end of Lock On?
A: Absolutely not. The DCS series and Lock On will live side by side for many years to come. The Lock On community is extremely active, with many websites, and new users are purchasing Lock On and Flaming Cliffs every day. Modifications are continually being launched by the communities that enhance the Lock On experience. Though we will not be launching new aircraft for Lock On, we are evaluating a 1.13 patch to meet the continual demands of the Lock On community.
Q: What copy protection system will the DCS series use?
A: We are currently evaluating several protection methods that we hope will balance the protection of our investment with customer concerns.
Q: How will multiplayer compatibility be ensured between players with different DCS modules?
A: The base DCS simulation environment will be continually upgraded and improved with release of new modules. However, as each new DCS base version is released, all DCS users can upgrade to the same base version to ensure compatibility. The only difference between players would be the selection of what aircraft would be player-controllable versus AI-controlled according to which modules were purchased.
Q: There was earlier discussion of the use of "Speed Trees"Â in Black Shark. Will DCS use "Speed Trees"Â?
A: For this first iteration of DCS the answer is no. We experimented with "Speed Trees"Â in earlier builds but found that our proprietary tree generation technology provides much better results at medium and high altitudes and provides much better frame rates. We will revisit this technology in later iterations of the DCS.
Q: I own "Lock On"Â, which was also developed by Eagle Dynamics, and I want to know if "Lock On"Â aircraft will be part of DCS?
A: DCS is a whole new product line and is not compatible with "Lock On"Â. The only flyable aircraft in the initial release of DCS will be the Ka-50. DCS and Lock On will not be multiplayer compatible.
Q: Will DCS include a dedicated server option?
A: Not in the initial release, but this is a feature we plan for a later iteration of DCS.
Q: Will infantry be included in DCS?
A: We have been experimenting with animated infantry but the technology is still incomplete and it is still uncertain if this feature will make it into the initial DCS version.
Q: Will there be a DCS: Black Shark demo?
A: Right now our primary focus is on finishing DCS: Black Shark and making it available to you. Once this task is complete, we will evaluate the creation of a playable demo. No decision has been made at this time.
Q: How modifiable will DCS be?
A: Our number one goal of any tools to modify the program will be to maintain multiplayer compatibility between players and as much as possible neutralize online cheating. With that in mind, we will provide an extensive set of options using LUA code to modify certain systems, replace models and textures, and modify the GUI.
Q: What are DCS: Black Shark minimum specifications?
A: Although not final, we project the minimum specification to be as follows: CPU: 2 GHz; RAM: 1 GB; Graphics card: Nvidia GeForce FX with 256 MB of RAM / ATI Radeon X1300 with 256 MB of RAM or equivalent; 3 GB free HD space; Operating system: Windows XP SP2 and Vista with DirectX 9 or 10.
Q: Will DCS: Black Shark be Vista-compatible and take advantage of multi-core processors?
A: The initial release of DCS will use a heavily modified version of our TFCSE simulation engine that will run Windows XP SP2 and Vista equally well using either DirectX 9 or DirectX 10. However, DCS versions based on the TFCSE engine will not take advantage of DirectX 10 unique features or multi-core processors. We plan however to provide such features in our new simulation engine that is currently in development for later versions of DCS.[/quote]
Roll on the Hog and the Apache