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Dynamic Campaign Generator


Raven68
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Hey all I dont post here much but I do pop in often to see the progress for the DCS series and now FC 2.0

I have done some searching and found little insight.

 

1.) Is there a strong possibility of introducing a dynamic campaign generator similar to what is done in the Falcon series for FC and/or DCS series?

 

2.) What obstacles has prevented a dynamic campaign so far (just curious)

 

3.) If a dynamic campaign is planned, what kind of time line before we see this feature.

 

Thanks

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Its unlikely we'll see a dynamic campaign anytime soon. Dynamic campaigns are complex and timeconsuming to produce, and ED is a small company. Theyll have to prioritize what they do with their resources, and at this point they seem to have their hands full making top of the line, high fidelity simulations for both the military and consumers. Would be awesome if a third party developer or some such would create a proper dynamic campaign generater though.:)

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Hey all I dont post here much but I do pop in often to see the progress for the DCS series and now FC 2.0

I have done some searching and found little insight.

 

1.) Is there a strong possibility of introducing a dynamic campaign generator similar to what is done in the Falcon series for FC and/or DCS series?

 

2.) What obstacles has prevented a dynamic campaign so far (just curious)

 

3.) If a dynamic campaign is planned, what kind of time line before we see this feature.

 

Thanks

 

I'll give it a shot:

 

1). I would LOVE to see a dynamic campaign right now in DCS Black shark however a lot of other things need to be worked out first. The engine needs more optimization, ground vehicles need better AI (they don't disperse when fired upon),etc. You recall how in the Falcon series your able to listen to radio calls for every flight; that adds so much more immersion and increases your situational awareness tremendously I would love to see this worked into the DCS series.

 

2). This can be attributed to a number of things but the possibilities include:

 

 

  • Lack of adequate funds.
  • No desire to include a dynamic campaign.
  • Or lack of manpower (I believe the ED team numbers around 50).

 

3). Who knows, ED has been mum on this.

 

I speak to a lot of gentlemen who have purchased BlackShark and some of these same gentleman have uninstalled BlackShark and the problems that I've listed in my first answer are why.

 

Their are existing threads about this topic and you will surely be scolded for not searching but don't fret it happens to the best of us.

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1.) Is there a strong possibility of introducing a dynamic campaign generator similar to what is done in the Falcon series for FC and/or DCS series?

 

Nor a "strong" possibility. It might happen, but not soon.

 

2.) What obstacles has prevented a dynamic campaign so far (just curious)

 

The fact that they are extremely poor at setting up realistic scenarios, take a lot of resources to create, and even in the case of Falcon (which has had 10 years of development after release) still often needs human intervention.

 

Many other simulators have had what looked like dynamic campaigns but that wasn't - like Longbow 2. They were, in the developer's own words, "smoke and mirrors". ;)

 

3.) If a dynamic campaign is planned, what kind of time line before we see this feature.

 

AFAIK there is no planned time for implementation of a dynamic campaign into DCS. FC2 will not have it.

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Sounds about right. I'll try to shed some more light:

 

1. There is a possibility down the line.

 

2. For the most part, it's 'yet another thing' to be done, and a complex one. It doesn't have high priority as there are things that need to be done ahead of it to make a DC make sense: Better, more diverse AI behavior (I'm likely oversimplifying this one), a lot of comm/voice work, some form of inventory management (not just weapons/fuel airframes, but for ground vehicles and troops, too), and a whole bunch of other things that have a higher priority than a DC right now. The ME does offer randomization of missions in order to increase game play, and plenty of 'interesting scenario' building capability with triggers etc. This is also more in line with what a military customer wants - a DC isn't interesting to them, specific scenarios are.

It isn't a matter of ED not wanting to it. It's just matter of priorities and having your ducks in a row.

 

3. Way down the line is all I could say.

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Actually I think the current campaign system has the potential to be just as fun (if not more) than a "real" dynamic campaign. If the devs improve the briefing and debriefing system and dedicate more time to create realistic, complex and fun missions for their campaigns, the resoult would a ton of fun. A dynamic campaign often ends up feeling "generic" because its made on the fly by a computer. Hand made missions, if done properly, could be much more varied and immersing.

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And they can also be made a lot more realistic, simply because it is monumentally difficult to teach a computer the finer points of both theatre-level strategy and battlefield tactics.

 

In my own opinion, we'll get what we "need" through expanding on AI behaviour (giving them reactions, perhaps even morale and so on) rather than a DC.

 

My own wet dream is even a "general" mode for multiplayer, where one player on each side would be given an interface allowing him to give orders to both players and his AI units. But that's just me dreaming - I'm very pleased with not being an engineer tasked with making that feature happen. :P

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Yes, hand-made missions can be fun and immersing.... BUT WE NEED A BETTER MISSION EDITOR. I'd settle for either a better mission editor or a dynamic campaign, but not neither.

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My own wet dream is even a "general" mode for multiplayer, where one player on each side would be given an interface allowing him to give orders to both players and his AI units.

 

+1

 

As much as I'd like even a simple random mission generator to grant some replayability, IMHO the road for DCS should point towards the multiplayer-components.

 

I mean, let's face it: A real combat simulation should offer SP-missions and -campaigns as compensation, not as the main content. After all, neither in real flying nor in military simulators anybody just jumps into his cockpit and flies across a lonely sky, with nobody else involved. Aviation doesn't work this way, especially in the military and of course in military simulators. They take the roles of the enemy, control the battle-environment and more.

 

So IMHO we should stop complaining "hey that 20 year old game had XY. I want that in my new game as well", but realize simulations, technology and connectivity has reached a new level, that offers a lot more than old XY could ever do for a modern game that is 50 times as complex as the golden oldie.

 

 

Well, at least I'd love to see future releases of DCS e.g. including ATC/AWACS/JSTAR abilities, a sort of commander-mode for allied units and more interaction with other players, ingame communications (possible like it's planned for SoW, with range, LOS, channel and damage having an effect on ingame-radio-comms) etc. I'm sure, no, to be exact: I KNOW there are a lot of people out there, who'd love to see such a kind of gameplay on a simulation level, possibly even released as a separate module, simulating a groundwar from a commanders-level like World In Conflict or similar titles.

I'm still hoping for some air and ground unit interaction with the O/A-role of the Hog as a first step into that direction.

 

But that's just me dreaming - I'm very pleased with not being an engineer tasked with making that feature happen. :P

 

Now, that's a different question, of course. :D


Edited by Feuerfalke
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Thanks for the comments guys!! I have been educated a little more once again. I can see were making the AI better, inventory management and also comms can come into play. I understand that ED resources are limited to take on this task. The mention of a third party has my curiosity. I know there is tons of talent in this great community. Has it been discussed to formulate a 3rd party to explore a DC feature? Would ED support a 3rd party?

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Technically the mission files are simple LUA code, so anyone could in theory create their own launcher that generates missions dynamically and then calls dcs.exe. (DCSMax used this to allow people to select their own skins without changing the mission file and also to start missions without first running launcher.exe.)

 

Getting arguments for the next mission in the dynamic campaign might be more complex, but if it is given a way to intercept the ACMI recording (like Tacview does) it could be made to take previous actions into account when generating the next mission.


Edited by EtherealN

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DC is what takes me back to Falcon for 10 years now. I lost interest in Black Shark very quick. I dont need top gun styled missions. I need the feeling of being in a real war and me beeing only a small piece of the whole.

When I get shot down in Black Shark I dont care. In Falcon I try to rescue the plane. Even a mission without any enemy contact in Falcon is more fun than the best hand designed missions in Black Shark. In Falcon threat is every where. In Black Shark I know that there is no need to leave the waypoints because the world is empty.

 

Silent Hunter 5 will come out in a couple of weeks having a DC. I dont think that the Silent Hunter Team is bigger than ED.

 

Ill keep playing Falcon until (if ever) there will be a sim with a DC. I cant get any fun out of the Black Shark campaign. It just does not have the right feeling.

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Silent Hunter 5 will come out in a couple of weeks having a DC. I dont think that the Silent Hunter Team is bigger than ED.

 

Nevermind that it's Ubisoft Romania plus assistance from Ubisoft german offices that are developing it, with funding from one of the world's largest publishers... :P

 

And the "dynamic" campaign in SH, nice as it is, is extremely simple, not even in the same ballpark as what would be needed for something like DCS. Even Falcon's DC, which for all it's many faults, is extremely simplistic in comparison. Need more than a statistics engine to make it work in DCS. ;)

 

Though I would, for once, want an actual software engineer to be the one offering critique on that point. Someone that knows the complexity of the task.

 

For my own part, my experience is the opposite. I grew bored with Falcon rediculously fast, whereas DCS offers many very cleverly designed missions with nice traps and lots of variability. It sounds like we've played completely different simulators... ;)

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Nevermind that it's Ubisoft Romania plus assistance from Ubisoft german offices that are developing it, with funding from one of the world's largest publishers... :P

 

And the "dynamic" campaign in SH, nice as it is, is extremely simple, not even in the same ballpark as what would be needed for something like DCS. Even Falcon's DC, which for all it's many faults, is extremely simplistic in comparison. Need more than a statistics engine to make it work in DCS. ;)

 

Though I would, for once, want an actual software engineer to be the one offering critique on that point. Someone that knows the complexity of the task.

 

For my own part, my experience is the opposite. I grew bored with Falcon rediculously fast, whereas DCS offers many very cleverly designed missions with nice traps and lots of variability. It sounds like we've played completely different simulators... ;)

 

You cant tell how simple the DC in SH will be yet but it will be lot more fun than black sharks campaign.

 

And event though I dont develope games I am a software developer myself. Coding a DC is not a big deal. the big deal here is probably the limited engine and its non capatibility of rendering and processing huge numbers of units.

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Yes, I can, because I know what a DC engine in SH will have to be able to do to operate, and the job is a lot simpler than making a passable DC engine for DCS.

 

Also, saying "Coding a DC is not a big deal" just goes to show that indeed, you haven't looked at the requirements. The platform itself isn't a big deal - you're basically just looking at something that can parse, and write, LUA code. That's simple enough. But you then need to give this piece of code the ability to work threedimensionally for infantry, vehicles, armor, aircraft, naval assets, terrain with proper strategies and tactics.

 

If this is "not a big deal", go ahead and do it. You could technically do it with such simple applications as AutoIT scripts. Trust me, I looked at it as a possible "mod" project (technically not a mod since it wouldn't modify anything within DCS), and all of it is actually in place. Have your app start a scenario, populate it with assets, generate a .miz and then call dcs.exe (this is the beauty of separate launcher and sim engine, as well), at mission end analyze the lua code of the recording, spawn debrief when dcs.exe closes and generate the next step based on actions. Finding a way to implement it is "not a big deal", making it actually work is indeed not a "big" deal either, it's a "massive" deal.

 

It could be made simpler through working with a big database of pre-defined assets and just shifting them based on a variable (effectively having the application copy-paste previously prepared bits of LUA code, each of which can be generated for later reference by the existing ME), but that would be only about as realistic as the IL-2 DC - that is, not very much, and require a rediculous amount of man-hours just to prepare the database.


Edited by EtherealN

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Nevermind that it's Ubisoft Romania plus assistance from Ubisoft german offices that are developing it, with funding from one of the world's largest publishers... :P

 

And the "dynamic" campaign in SH, nice as it is, is extremely simple, not even in the same ballpark as what would be needed for something like DCS. Even Falcon's DC, which for all it's many faults, is extremely simplistic in comparison. Need more than a statistics engine to make it work in DCS. ;)

 

Though I would, for once, want an actual software engineer to be the one offering critique on that point. Someone that knows the complexity of the task.

 

For my own part, my experience is the opposite. I grew bored with Falcon rediculously fast, whereas DCS offers many very cleverly designed missions with nice traps and lots of variability. It sounds like we've played completely different simulators... ;)

 

With all due respect Falcon's dynamic campaign is the holy grail of campaigns. It appears that you we're playing the campaign on "Rookie difficulty"...:D. Some people have the false impression that you need to let the ATO (Air Tasking Order) do everything which is false, you need to provide SOME minute tasking at times (e.g. task recon flights, JSTARs, tankers, AWACS, etc).

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A dynamic campaign involves two major parts:

1) mission generation, and

2) battle scoring/analysis.

 

As many others have done, I've done part 2 for LockOn. Am working on extending for BS (while hoping LO:FC 2.0 has the same debriefing structure).

 

The work in part 1 is a lot but certainly not impossible. I don't think I'll be complete by the time LO:FC 2.0 is out but should be by the time DCS:Warthog is. The RAMGEN program for LockOn is pretty good but has very simple mission analysis.

 

I'm not soliciting help at the moment as I want to get my battle stats released, operating, and set up an open-source repository before I ask for help (which needs Java, JAX-WS and Postgresql skills).

 

Anyway, the point is some of us are not waiting for a dynamic campaign from ED since we know ED have limited resources and are focussed on making the sim better. It takes a long time to develop such software so unfortunately you'll be waiting a while before it is delivered.

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Evontroy, it was a long time since I flew Falcon, yes, but it wasn't long ago that there was a long debate about the Falcon DC on this very forum which ended up with the Falcon side holding up the fact that human-intervention "features" were awesome because the DC made some very strange decisions pretty often, requiring the player to "fix" it to get a sane tasking of flights.

 

Obviously though, since there's more flavours of Falcon than there are of Linux, I can't really say this applies to all of them. Maybe there have been breakthroughs in the last two years.

 

But that does not change the fact that it's DC would not be enough for DCS, nor would implementation be "not a big deal". The environment and tactical/strategic needs are just much more massive in DCS and it becomes not worth the effort if realism is one's objective. Obviously though - realism and immersion isn't always the same thing, but as has already been noticed a lot of the benefits a DC like Falcon's can offer isn't actually part of the DC - like AI that has the power to make decisions, radio chatter and so on. Those things have absolutely nothing to do with a dynamic campaign (though they can of course co-exist).

 

The really interesting postscript tho would be - if part of the advantage is the feeling of being just a small cog in the machinery, why is this small cog allowed to give orders at theatre scale? That's the problem - you always end up with human input needed, and at that moment the entire immersion given by DC specifically just flies out the window. (Immersion given through good AI, friendly radio banter etc is a separate issue and it is very possible for a given product to recoup what it lost in the first through the second, but to my mind the second one is the important one.)


Edited by EtherealN

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Evontroy, it was a long time since I flew Falcon, yes, but it wasn't long ago that there was a long debate about the Falcon DC on this very forum which ended up with the Falcon side holding up the fact that human-intervention "features" were awesome because the DC made some very strange decisions pretty often, requiring the player to "fix" it to get a sane tasking of flights.

 

Obviously though, since there's more flavours of Falcon than there are of Linux, I can't really say this applies to all of them. Maybe there have been breakthroughs in the last two years.

 

But that does not change the fact that it's DC would not be enough for DCS, nor would implementation be "not a big deal". The environment and tactical/strategic needs are just much more massive in DCS and it becomes not worth the effort if realism is one's objective. Obviously though - realism and immersion isn't always the same thing, but as has already been noticed a lot of the benefits a DC like Falcon's can offer isn't actually part of the DC - like AI that has the power to make decisions, radio chatter and so on. Those things have absolutely nothing to do with a dynamic campaign (though they can of course co-exist).

 

The really interesting postscript tho would be - if part of the advantage is the feeling of being just a small cog in the machinery, why is this small cog allowed to give orders at theatre scale? That's the problem - you always end up with human input needed, and at that moment the entire immersion given by DC specifically just flies out the window. (Immersion given through good AI, friendly radio banter etc is a separate issue and it is very possible for a given product to recoup what it lost in the first through the second, but to my mind the second one is the important one.)

 

We found something that we agree on; if only world peace was that easy :lol:

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If we achieved the cliché world peace there would be no-one making awesome attack choppers for us to get simulators of. :P

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For me, the absence of any DC generator is very problematic in LOMAC/DCS. The reason is quite simple - the lack of campaigns. LOMAC has been out there for some years, yet there are only maybe a few dozen of campaigns and only few of them offer well balanced and realistic scenarios (Red Hammer campaing comes to my mind as first). On the other hand - look at Il2 - there are hundreds of user made campaings and even many paid addons, so one can really choose what he wants. The recent campaign creation competition brought us only two campaigns, that's also saying something. The last point is that even though most of the handcrafted missions are fun, most force player to figure out the trick behind the mission and do not adhere to realistic procedures (at least that's my experience with most of the user made and even stock campaigns). DC generators tend to generate maybe a bit boring missions but not that player centristic missions. I don't think that LOMAC/DCS would need some super complicated dynamic battlefield, but also a simple well refined generator working within the constraints of mission editor would suffice. Good example of such program is RAMGEN by DoctorK that generates some nice and well laid out missions (and player can tweak them further in ME) - with bit of refinement in the area of even more randomization and a bit closer integration with the sim would be a I think a good starting solution for the lack of campaigns in LOMAC/DCS world.

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We've discussed dynamic campaigns a few time before, but the subject continues to come up regularly on the forum and we understand it's an issue a lot of combat flight simmers care about.

 

ED has often been criticized for a "sterile" world outside the player-controlled aircraft. Lack of a dynamic campaign and AI radio chatter are often quoted as examples. We know this. Given our own code and our own plans for gaming and military products, a Falcon-style bubble-based dynamic campaign system is not currently seen as an effective solution for us. Instead, ED has been focused on the individual modeling of units and high scriptability of behavior, which are also important features for a combat sim. However, the gameplay problem is recognized and efforts to address it are ongoing. In Black Shark, the mission editor and campaign systems were designed with enhanced mission replayability and variability as a design goal. Granted, neither of these equal a war-centric dynamic campaign, but I think they demonstrate the direction of thought. A number of additional features to enhance mission gameplay are currently in development, many of which we hope to be able to include in DCS: A-10C Warthog. The code is evolving and it was not designed around a large dynamic campaign, so it may take a number of evolutions to get there or similar gameplay experience.


Edited by EvilBivol-1

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DSC: Open up for mods!

 

Hi, I'm a lurker - plays some now and then..

I'm also in my thirties, software engineer consultant at day time.

Since Doom - I've seen how "open up for modifications" can empower a game and the comunity. (oh memories of home made doom maps..)

And in the sim-business - look at the Flight Simulator series. There are guys out there makeing money on ad ons! And al other "free" ad ons by enthusiasts.

 

DCS has made a great simulator - we all love it - the flight charastics, realism etc. It falls short in some areas - we have discussed them alot.

This thread - dynamic campaign - I understand DCS has many priorities - and a DC for BS is not high I guess.

 

What i propose is that DCS open up - make it more possible - for us - the community - do develop the DC feature!

As have been discussed here - simple LUA-missions. But hard to "analyse results" after mission. It should be simple (well - relatively) for DCS to open up an API / result file / something - for the comunity to use and build on.

 

I imagine - if DCS open up api/framework of mission building / analysis / etc. we - the community - can together build a DC.

I believe - if DCS wants an active community - the right ting to do is to open up such possibilities.

 

Imagine - us - enthusiasts - developing the DC.. starting with a single player DC... then adapting for an multi player online variant.. A new battle - DC-generated - each day or weekend.

 

Hope someone at DCS reads in on this. And understands the importance of empowering the comunity. It truly is a win-win road in my eyes.

 

regards, David, sweden.

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