Guest writer Kevin Williams lifts the lid on a game which missed the glare of the media spotlight at E3 2014—Digital Combat Simulator.

During E3 2014, there was a crowded assortment of demonstrators on the Oculus VR booth. One of the exclusives that was only shown to a select group was from Eagle Dynamics, famous for the release of their ultra-realistic flight simulator brand Digital Combat Simulator (DCS), the free-to-play digital battlefield game, focusing on a military aircraft simulation.

The company partnered with Oculus VR to present the latest version of their hyper-realistic simulator platform on the DK2; an early prototype demonstration allowed viewers to be placed in a selection of realistic recreations of extreme fight planes—their cockpits lovingly recreated and able to be experienced through the VR Headset.

dcs-2This early glimpse at the new software build showed the promise of what ultra-realistic flight simulation in a VR head-mount offers. Though the demonstration did not have any ground-targets, or air combat, the flight model still put the DK2 through its paces.

The sim was demonstrated by a consultant on the Oculus booth from the Imperial War Museum (Duxford, England) US military division. Limited information is available at this time into the planned release of the simulation title or how the relationship with Oculus VR will work (at this time the game was not a Oculus VR exclusive but being used as a proof of concept for the new development kit), more information on the release schedule and the final support of this title by Eagle Dynamics and Oculus VR planned to be revealed for later in the year. The first of the full flight simulation that will populate VR development, alongside race vehicles and the plethora of space flight projects in the works”

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Kevin got to try out the flight simulator for himself and summarised his feeling thus:

– The ability to use the DK2 tracking to look round the detailed cockpit was amazing
– They so far sadly had no ground targets, but it was possible to see the flight model offered a new level of immersion
– Unlike the space simulators seen (Elite: Dangerous, EVE: Valkyrie) at E3, this was a major step forward in what VR HMD immersion can offer

As one of the first fully-fledged flight simulators to get the Oculus treatment, and given cockpit based experiences lend themselves extremely well to Oculus’ vision of the seated VR model, we’ve got high hopes for DCS in VR. We’ll of course keep our ears to the ground and update you on any news as we find it.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR – Kevin Williams has an extensive background in the development and sales of the latest amusement and attraction applications and technologies. The UK born specialist in the pay-to-play scene; is well-known through his consultancy KWP; and as a prolific writer and presenter (along with his own news service The Stinger Report), covering the
emergence of the new entertainment market. Kevin has co-authored a book covering the sector called ‘The Out-of-Home Interactive Entertainment Frontier’ (published by Gower). And is the founding chairman of DNA Association, focuses on the digital Out-of Home interactive entertainment sector.

Kevin can be reached at – kwp@thestingerreport.comhttp://www.thestingerreport.com

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Based in the UK, Paul has been immersed in interactive entertainment for the best part of 27 years and has followed advances in gaming with a passionate fervour. His obsession with graphical fidelity over the years has had him branded a ‘graphics whore’ (which he views as the highest compliment) more than once and he holds a particular candle for the dream of the ultimate immersive gaming experience. Having followed and been disappointed by the original VR explosion of the 90s, he then founded RiftVR.com to follow the new and exciting prospect of the rebirth of VR in products like the Oculus Rift. Paul joined forces with Ben to help build the new Road to VR in preparation for what he sees as VR’s coming of age over the next few years.
  • George

    “Unlike the space simulators seen (Elite: Dangerous, EVE: Valkyrie) at E3, this was a major step forward in what VR HMD immersion can offer”

    What was so different?

    • crim3

      The kind of procedures en control inputs that you do in a hi-fi flight simulator is pretty much the same than in the real counterparts, and requires study en training. The space shooters are mere games that you can “fly” from day one. I guess that’s what he means.

      • Raphael

        Yes but it’s not really that true. The systems in Elite Dangerous need study. You can’t just pick up and play the game as you would a casual game. You have to learn about all of the systems including Interdiction module and procedure, wake scanning, mining, energy management, weapon types, ECM and defense systems, navigation between star systems, combat tactics, space flight protocol, identifying threats and when not to shoot, how to asses whether to stay and fight or run and how to escape quickly in an emergency. Elite isn’t a casual pick up and play and this is one of the reasons a percentage of people complain about it. Casual gamers rant about it on Steam because it has a “steep learning curve” :)