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Zone 5 - New F-14A campaign coming


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Ladies and Gentlemen, it's time to get that hype train started. All aboard!
 
As you know, my next campaign to be released is 'Zone 5' - a 1980s air combat training campaign for the Heatblur F-14A. I worked on it in cooperation with Dave 'Bio' Baranek, former F-14 RIO and Topgun instructor, author of Topgun Days, Before Topgun Days and Tomcat RIO. (You can even hear his voice during the briefing and the debrief)

The idea was to bring his amazing experience to you guys with the help of DCS World, to give you a taste of what it was like to be up there and train with the best, and to make it as realistic as DCS allows.
 
Our one and only Ralfidude played through the first event of this campaign, a 1v1 guns only engagement against an F-5E. He put together a very nice little video for you guys to see what it's all about. The campaign will put you through increasingly challenging tasks, and this is the bottom of a rather steep - but rewarding learning curve.
 
Enjoy, and stay tuned for a lot more to come!
 

PS: The campaign will come with a beautiful set of custom liveries. Those VF-84 skins are just placeholders used by Ralfidude.
 

 

 

UPDATE!
 

Here's another preview/ playthrough video where Spudknocker guides you through event 6 of the Zone 5 campaign. As I already said, this training puts the player through an increasingly challenging syllabus. Remember the first event? It was a simple 1v1 guns only engagement against an F-5. In contrast, event 6 is a 2vunk, that is, 2 Tomcats vs an unknown number (and type) of bandits, with VID requirement as well as a wild card. What does all that mean? You'll find out from this video:
 

 

 

UPDATE!
 

 

Preview of Event 9 of the 'Zone 5' campaign by RedKite.
 
If you've been reading my posts, you probably figured out that 'Zone 5' won't be your typical fun, easy, 'shoot from the hip' kind of campaign. These highly realistic training missions are meant to challenge you like nothing before, in order to make you a more lethal Tomcat crew.
 
I felt kinda guilty when I sent event 9 to RedKite for preview. I knew I was throwing him off the deep end, and that's an understatement. Bio and I came up with a syllabus that presents a very steep, but still gradual learning curve. One that only adds one level of difficulty over the previous mission. Well, RedKite skipped the first swimming lessons, and jumped head first into a pool full of sharks. Being the talented virtual pilot he is, he succeeded, and did an amazing job putting this video together for you to see what it's like to lead a division of 4 Tomcats against an unknown number of bandits, fighting his way through SAMs and wildcards.
 
Enjoy, and stay tuned!
 

Edited by Reflected
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I’ve truly enjoyed all your campaigns so far, looking forward to fly this one as well 🙂

greetings,

 

Eduardo

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For work: iMac mid-2010 of 27" - Core i7 870 - 6 GB DDR3 1333 MHz - ATI HD5670 - SSD 256 GB - HDD 2 TB - macOS High Sierra

For Gaming: 34" Monitor - Ryzen 3600 - 32 GB DDR4 2400 - nVidia GTX1070ti - SSD 1.25 TB - HDD 10 TB - Win10 Pro - TM HOTAS Cougar - Oculus Rift CV1

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Well done, Reflected, already looks amazing! Will be looking forward to it! Looks great, voice acting sounds pitch perfect, altogether looks like you hit bullseye once again.

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Heatblur Simulations

 

Please feel free to contact me anytime, either via PM here, on the forums, or via email through the contact form on our homepage.

 

http://www.heatblur.com/

 

https://www.facebook.com/heatblur/

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Been waiting for this one. This and Fear the Bones are just about guaranteed buys for me. 

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F-14B; F/A-18C; A4E mod; FC3 (F-15C, SU-27); SU-57 mod | Syria; NTTR; PG | Supercarrier

---

Specs & Wishlist:

 

 

Core i9 9900k 5.0Ghz, Asus ROG Maximus Xi Hero, 32GB G.Skill Trident 3200, Asus RoG Strix 2070 OC, 1TB x Samsung Evo 970 M.2 boot. Samsung Evo 860 storage, Coolermaster H500M, ML360R AIO

 

Samsung Odyssey+ WMR HMD; VKB Gunfighter 2 with MCG Pro + T-rudder Mk IV; Virpil T-50CM v3

 

Wishlist:

AC: F-14D, YF-23, F-4S, MiG-35, MiG-29K

Maps: Miramar, Vietnam, MiG Alley, Midway

 

 

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Watched Ralfidude's video, looks absolutely brilliant - can't wait to see if I've got what it takes to be a Top Gun!

Intel i7-9700K OCd @ 5GHz; 32GB DDR4 3666MHz; Gigabyte Gaming OC RTX 3090; Asus Hero XI mobo; 2x2TB 960 Pro mSATA SSDs; Corsair HX1000i PSU; Schiit Jotunheim headphone amp w/ Sennheiser HD800S; LG C9 55" Display (4k@120Hz w/ HDR and Gsync); HP Reverb; Virpil VPC MongoosT-50CM2 Throttle; Virpil VPC MongoosT-50CM2 Base base + F-16/F-14/F-18 grips; Crosswind pedals; TrackIR5; 4 x Lenovo e-Series Tablets w/ DCS UFC app.

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Ralfidue's preview of the first mission of 'Zone 5' has reached over 17k views. Thank you for all the love and shares! I would like to address one of the recurring comments: why real bullets and kills?
 
Bio gives you the short answer: because it's a game and it's cool to blow stuff up. And he's right.
 
I'll give you a longer one: DCS doesn't register damage on units set to immortal. This means that there is no way for the mission editor to know if such a unit was hit.
 
Workaround No.1 would be for me to use scripts. Scripts are complex walls of code, kind of DCS 'dark magic', functionalities beyond the stock mission editor. I'm not good at them. The problem is that the core of DCS is changing with every update. It's already hard enough to keep all my missions compatible each month. If one update breaks the script, there's no way for me to fix it. That's just too much to gamble. I can't afford the risk of the campaign becoming unplayable for a month or two. Keep in mind that as it is, each mission contains around 150-200 lines of triggers. They're that complex already.
 
Workaround No.2 would be simulated shots called by the player. That may work in a 1 v 1 guns only situation, but it would be clumsy. How do I know if you're really in a firing position? How does the mission know when your opponent is in a firing position with proper lead? There's only one 1v1 guns only mission in the campaign, and the final ones have a division of 4 Tomcats engaging half a dozen bandits or more, with all kinds of missiles. Writing a code in the mission editor that accounts for distance, radar modes, aspect, missile type, countermeasures, defensive maneuvers, etc...for all aircraft is impossible. Even if it was possible, I would end up simply rewriting ED's weapon codes. So what's the point then?
 
Long story short, you'll fire live missiles, and blow bandits out of the sky. Don't get too hung up on this. From engine start to shutdown these missions will keep you on your toes, and you'll need to give them everything you've got. An F-16 turning into a ball of flame will be the least of your worries.
 
I can't wait to show you more, stay tuned for more info and previews!

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Awesome stuff! Can't wait for this one!

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Current modules:

FC3, Mirage 2000C, Harrier AV-8B NA, F-5, AJS-37 Viggen, F-14B, Combined Arms, F/A-18C, F-16C, MiG-19P, F-86, FW-190A, Spitfire Mk IX, UH-1 Huey, Su-25, P-51PD, Caucasus map, Nevada map, Persian Gulf map......ah yes, forgot the Super Carrier! Shows you how often i fly these days....

 

Modules in waiting: F-14A, MiG-23, F-4U, F-8, Falklands Map

 

 

Wish list: South East Asia map, F-4J/N, A-6, F-15A/C, Su-27, Sea Harrier FRS.1, Mirage III, MiG-17.

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DCS having a functional TCTS system,  including 3rd party client slots for observation/supervision would be the ultimate solution though blowing them up is more fun and the only viable alternative in the meantime. 


Edited by Uxi
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F-14B; F/A-18C; A4E mod; FC3 (F-15C, SU-27); SU-57 mod | Syria; NTTR; PG | Supercarrier

---

Specs & Wishlist:

 

 

Core i9 9900k 5.0Ghz, Asus ROG Maximus Xi Hero, 32GB G.Skill Trident 3200, Asus RoG Strix 2070 OC, 1TB x Samsung Evo 970 M.2 boot. Samsung Evo 860 storage, Coolermaster H500M, ML360R AIO

 

Samsung Odyssey+ WMR HMD; VKB Gunfighter 2 with MCG Pro + T-rudder Mk IV; Virpil T-50CM v3

 

Wishlist:

AC: F-14D, YF-23, F-4S, MiG-35, MiG-29K

Maps: Miramar, Vietnam, MiG Alley, Midway

 

 

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Frankly, anyone who regularly flies their Warthog, Tomcat, Gazelle, Sabre, Viper, Mirage, Harrier, Aviojet, or Viggen around the Caucasus, or indeed flies their Blackshark anywhere, should not be overly concerned about the suspension of disbelief needed for using "live" fire in a DCS training environment. 

 

I'm not. But I am definitely looking forwards to this campaign! Can't wait. 

 

Happy New Year all!


Edited by wowbagger
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When it comes to too extensive realism, I always propose the following 3: 1. realistic fuel and repair times. Damaged? Your F-14 license gets locked for 2 to 3 weeks, with a fair and realistic damage repair model. 2. A G-Force DLC. We send you 10 bricks collected during the 80s, and for every G you pull, you put 1 brick into your lap. 3. 1 life only. If you die, you need to rebuy the module. 🤪

 

-> ducks and runs for cover! 😅

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Heatblur Simulations

 

Please feel free to contact me anytime, either via PM here, on the forums, or via email through the contact form on our homepage.

 

http://www.heatblur.com/

 

https://www.facebook.com/heatblur/

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Very interesting campaign. Looking forward to it. 

 

I tried create ACMI pods that evaluate kills without actually firing. It works fairly well. Only problem is that it is useable only in MP as AI refuses attack player without gun ammo.

 

Created single player prototype with AI but even didn't released it as it is very unrealiable hack.

 

 

 

In MP, ACMI pods works fairly well

 

DCS VR - A-4 vs F-14 - YouTube

 

Of course this ACMI pods code do not account for real gun piper lead or firing solution. It is simply configurable "cone" where you need keep your opponent for given time (3s by default) to register hit. Somehow film version of ACMI instrumentation as seen in original Top Gun movie. It is enough fun in MP but nothing precise to train real gun solution. ACMI pods talks to each other and talks to you via simple tones. Just simplified "get behind bandit and keep there" simulator. But we had great fun to fly it as F-14 vs A-4 like in movie.

 

So conclusion is for AI to make it work it need ED to enable option for AI to fight even when dry on bullets and I think it will never happen so substitute with live firing is only option.

 


Edited by ataribaby
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49 minutes ago, Dauntless said:

Early in the days of DOS, there was a game that would crash if you died. I don't think any one cared for it. :poster_oops:

 

 

Actually, I had that with the Tomcat for a brief while; whenever I got hit by an enemy missile my DCS would CTD. Definitely helped to focus the attention. Thought it was an enhanced realism feature, but apparently it was just a bug. 

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10 hours ago, IronMike said:

When it comes to too extensive realism, I always propose the following 3: 1. realistic fuel and repair times. Damaged? Your F-14 license gets locked for 2 to 3 weeks, with a fair and realistic damage repair model. 2. A G-Force DLC. We send you 10 bricks collected during the 80s, and for every G you pull, you put 1 brick into your lap. 3. 1 life only. If you die, you need to rebuy the module. 🤪

 

-> ducks and runs for cover! 😅

ShutUpAndTakeMyMoney.jpg

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Posted (edited)

Here's another preview/ playthrough video where Spudknocker guides you through event 6 of the Zone 5 campaign. As I already said, this training puts the player through an increasingly challenging syllabus. Remember the first event? It was a simple 1v1 guns only engagement against an F-5. In contrast, event 6 is a 2vunk, that is, 2 Tomcats vs an unknown number (and type) of bandits, with VID requirement as well as a wild card. What does all that mean? You'll find out from this video:

 

 


Edited by Reflected
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47 minutes ago, uri_ba said:

will the campaign be available as COOP? or is it offline only? going over this with my PLT sounds like fun 🙂

 

Yes, the player's aircraft is set to 'client'. So the campaign is already coop-ready.

 

BUT:

 

DCS multicrew is kinda bugged, triggered radio transmissions don't work properly. I reported it to ED, once they fix it on their end, you can play with a human RIO.

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Just as a random aside, was there a specific reason for this campaign using the A model? Im assuming as complicated as this sounds it has been in development for a while, so was likely having to use the B model to fill in? Why not stick with it?

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The campaign is supposed to be (somewhat) representative of Top Gun in the 80s, when Bio attended it. The -B was not a thing at the time.


Edited by TLTeo
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1 hour ago, AH_Solid_Snake said:

Just as a random aside, was there a specific reason for this campaign using the A model? Im assuming as complicated as this sounds it has been in development for a while, so was likely having to use the B model to fill in? Why not stick with it?


What @TLTeo said. The campaign is set in 1987. There was no B then. Also, only the 'A' had 5 stage burners - that is 'Zone 5'. Once the early A is out I may even replace the current one with that, as Bio said it would be more realistic for that time.

 

Also, the campaign was developed and tested with the B, then replaced when the A was released. It was a bit of extra work, but allowed us to start the project sooner.

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it has been mentioned in a couple videos about the detailed kneeboard pages that come with the campaign. Are SME curated checklists included? Too be quite honest a set of incredibly realistic SME designed kneeboard pages is enough incentive for me to buy the campaign regardless of anything else 🙂

 

Its looking great! just wanted to get a little info on the kneeboard page situation. 

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10 hours ago, Grater Tovakia said:

it has been mentioned in a couple videos about the detailed kneeboard pages that come with the campaign. Are SME curated checklists included? Too be quite honest a set of incredibly realistic SME designed kneeboard pages is enough incentive for me to buy the campaign regardless of anything else 🙂

 

Its looking great! just wanted to get a little info on the kneeboard page situation. 

 

Yes and yes 🙂 I will make a post about this later. Kneeboard cards are based on real ones that Bio sent me, and he sent me the checklists too. You can see them in the video as Jester calls out the items and you reply. They're also on your kneeboard cards.

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Bio talked about the various kneeboard cards a few times in Tomcat Rio though mostly obliquely to whatever subject it was (Ernest Will, the Outer Air Battle exercise, etc) and sounded fascinating.  Would love to build up a library around these, though ideally it could be tied to the Mission Editor.   


Edited by Uxi

F-14B; F/A-18C; A4E mod; FC3 (F-15C, SU-27); SU-57 mod | Syria; NTTR; PG | Supercarrier

---

Specs & Wishlist:

 

 

Core i9 9900k 5.0Ghz, Asus ROG Maximus Xi Hero, 32GB G.Skill Trident 3200, Asus RoG Strix 2070 OC, 1TB x Samsung Evo 970 M.2 boot. Samsung Evo 860 storage, Coolermaster H500M, ML360R AIO

 

Samsung Odyssey+ WMR HMD; VKB Gunfighter 2 with MCG Pro + T-rudder Mk IV; Virpil T-50CM v3

 

Wishlist:

AC: F-14D, YF-23, F-4S, MiG-35, MiG-29K

Maps: Miramar, Vietnam, MiG Alley, Midway

 

 

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