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Want to get into DCS, don't really know what I can do with K&M


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Hi so I've been thinking about playing DCS for a long time now, and am downloading it currently to try out the free modules, but I only have a keyboard and mouse. Obviously i'm not going to get the best experience without a full HOTAS and VR set, but i'd like to get my feet wet before I think about dropping large amounts of money into a setup. I've played a lot of War Thunder air which is I know arcadey by comparison but hopefully something counts towards here. I've had pilot training as well, although i'm not licensed. I'd like to look into jet fighters if i'm going into modules. Probably something along the lines of the MiG-29, Su-27, Su-33, F-15, F-16, F-18. Any recommendations for that? All tips welcome as well. Thanks!

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First thing to ask is, do you want a complete module or not?

 

Then, do you want a full fidelity one or not?

 

Then, do you want to do Air to Air, Air to Ground or both?

 

And then, What era of technology?

 

After you answered all those question, you can narrow down which one can be for you.

 

And then download the module (it should still be free trial for a few days, so perfect for you to try it out)

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TBH, you're going to have a really hard time playing DCS in sim mode with a keyboard and mouse. At a minimum you'd probably want an XBox controller or something like that but you can also get a decent HOTAS like a Thrustmaster T16000 for relatively cheap. I think the last time I saw one for sale it was $116 or something for the stick and throttle. PLus Rudder pedals was I think $160 for all three. For head tracking there are free options until you can get into VR, things like HeadTrackNoIR come to mind, so as long as you have a webcam that's an option. Also getting TrackIR is an option, but that'll normally run you about $150 so it's not worth it to a lot of people, especially those considering VR in the near short term.

 

Option B too is to get Combined Arms/LotATC and be a controller or a JTAC. You could also be a RIO in an F-14. It's recommended to have a stick for that but not necessarily required I don't think, and you could use your mouse to interact with the cockpit. The only downside is you would have to have a friend flying for you because the Iceman pilot AI is kinda dumb and rudimentary.

 

Hope this helps some...

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Welcome to the forum!

 

If you can get a cheap joystick, that'll be a huge bonus for starters. There are also some decent quality Stick+Throttle systems with HOTAS functionality available for relatively cheap money that will boost your experience a fair bit.

 

Next, headtracking is a huge game-changer. If you plan to go the VR route, that already includes headtracking. Otherwise, there's TrackIR as a commercial (and kinda expensive) solution, but with a webcam and a bit of fiddling you could build a headtracker for very little money.

 

With a cheap HOTAS and a cheap headtracker, you'd be all set to enjoy DCS a lot. Then, the sky is the limit. 😉

 

But absolutely go ahead and test it with mouse and keyboard. I don't think it'll be as enjoyable, but just taking in the sights, flying in a bit of bad weather, getting to know the aircraft of your choice should be quite the memorable experience, so that you can make a better decision if you want to dig deeper in the future. 👍


Edited by Yurgon
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My 2c. Don't try it without at least a cheap HOTAS with a twist-grip joystick. You will not like any of it, unless you are a masochist. Try messing around with the free Su-25T. After that I would go for a TrackIR (you should be able to get a second hand one quite cheaply) and then pedals. Pedals are really a must if you wan't to fly the non-FBW aircraft. Some of them like the glorious F14 or any of the helicopters are a no-go without pedals.

 

One thing to keep in mind. Learning the ins-and-outs of the modules is about 65% of the fun of DCS. It really is a STUDY sim. However the joy of mastering even take-offs and landings gives such a huge payoff that it doesn't compare to anything else out there.

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Without a joystick it will be no joy, no matter what module you're going to fly. You can give it a try without a throttle and rudder, but a stick is absolutely essential.

A-10C II, AV-8B, F-5E, F-16C, F/A-18C, F-86F, Yak-52, Nevada, Persian Gulf, Supercarrier, Combined Arms, FW 190 A-8, FW 190 D-9, Spitfire LF Mk. IX, Normandy + WWII Assets Pack

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10 minutes ago, Lurker said:

My 2c. Don't try it without at least a cheap HOTAS with a twist-grip joystick. You will not like any of it, unless you are a masochist. Try messing around with the free Su-25T. After that I would go for a TrackIR (you should be able to get a second hand one quite cheaply) and then pedals. Pedals are really a must if you wan't to fly the non-FBW aircraft. Some of them like the glorious F14 or any of the helicopters are a no-go without pedals.

 

One thing to keep in mind. Learning the ins-and-outs of the modules is about 65% of the fun of DCS. It really is a STUDY sim. However the joy of mastering even take-offs and landings gives such a huge payoff that it doesn't compare to anything else out there.

Will probably try out the Su-25T with a controller at least to see how it goes. Thanks for the tips!

58 minutes ago, Stingray 1-1 Mongo said:

TBH, you're going to have a really hard time playing DCS in sim mode with a keyboard and mouse. At a minimum you'd probably want an XBox controller or something like that but you can also get a decent HOTAS like a Thrustmaster T16000 for relatively cheap. I think the last time I saw one for sale it was $116 or something for the stick and throttle. PLus Rudder pedals was I think $160 for all three. For head tracking there are free options until you can get into VR, things like HeadTrackNoIR come to mind, so as long as you have a webcam that's an option. Also getting TrackIR is an option, but that'll normally run you about $150 so it's not worth it to a lot of people, especially those considering VR in the near short term.

 

Option B too is to get Combined Arms/LotATC and be a controller or a JTAC. You could also be a RIO in an F-14. It's recommended to have a stick for that but not necessarily required I don't think, and you could use your mouse to interact with the cockpit. The only downside is you would have to have a friend flying for you because the Iceman pilot AI is kinda dumb and rudimentary.

 

Hope this helps some...

Yeah I have a controller so I guess i'll try that. If I can find this HOTAS at $100 or $150 with pedals like you say I might grab it. Thanks for the info. I do have a webcam so I can at least try out the head tracking for free.

58 minutes ago, Yurgon said:

Welcome to the forum!

 

If you can get a cheap joystick, that'll be a huge bonus for starters. There are also some decent quality Stick+Throttle systems with HOTAS functionality available for relatively cheap money that will boost your experience a fair bit.

 

Next, headtracking is a huge game-changer. If you plan to go the VR route, that already includes headtracking. Otherwise, there's TrackIR as a commercial (and kinda expensive) solution, but with a webcam and a bit of fiddling you could build a headtracker for very little money.

 

With a cheap HOTAS and a cheap headtracker, you'd be all set to enjoy DCS a lot. Then, the sky is the limit. 😉

 

But absolutely go ahead and test it with mouse and keyboard. I don't think it'll be as enjoyable, but just taking in the sights, flying in a bit of bad weather, getting to know the aircraft of your choice should be quite the memorable experience, so that you can make a better decision if you want to dig deeper in the future. 👍

 

I honestly don't know the other routes other than VR. I'd like to see what is accessible atm but i'm sure VR would give the full experience I assume. Thanks for the tips!

1 hour ago, razo+r said:

First thing to ask is, do you want a complete module or not?

 

Then, do you want a full fidelity one or not?

 

Then, do you want to do Air to Air, Air to Ground or both?

 

And then, What era of technology?

 

After you answered all those question, you can narrow down which one can be for you.

 

And then download the module (it should still be free trial for a few days, so perfect for you to try it out)

I'm not sure what the difference between "complete" and "incomplete" module would be, or if that just means purchasing the module?

 

Fidelity would be nice to an extent I suppose. Authenticity is always a plus, but if I grab the Su-27 or Su-33 deciphering russian would be rather difficult for me since I'm only fluent in english.

 

Both is probably nice, although air-to-air would be me go-to I think. Can you fly against the AI or is this purely PvP? I'd like to try out CAS as it would probably be a good place to practice.

 

I don't really know the different eras beyond WW2 and Cold war, maybe post Cold war like the super hornet? I didn't think there were many post Cold war era aircraft ingame. I've seen videos of the F-22 but didn't see a module, so I assumed it was a mod? I'd like Cold war fighters preferably. As I said in OP, Su-27, Su-33, F-15, F-16, and F-18 would be a good starting point for me I think. Thanks for the tips!

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8 minutes ago, ShadowLinkX37 said:

 

I'm not sure what the difference between "complete" and "incomplete" module would be, or if that just means purchasing the module?

 

Early access or incomplete: Some features missing, bugs, not complete...

 

F-16 and F18 are such candidates. Still stuff missing and enough bugs in them.

 

8 minutes ago, ShadowLinkX37 said:

 

Fidelity would be nice to an extent I suppose. Authenticity is always a plus, but if I grab the Su-27 or Su-33 deciphering russian would be rather difficult for me since I'm only fluent in english.

 

They are low fidelity (simplified). And there are english cockpit mods around

 

8 minutes ago, ShadowLinkX37 said:

 

Both is probably nice, although air-to-air would be me go-to I think. Can you fly against the AI or is this purely PvP? I'd like to try out CAS as it would probably be a good place to practice.

 

You can fly against AI but the AI is 1) Stupid and 2) does not like to follow the same rules like a human does (they have a different flight model

 

8 minutes ago, ShadowLinkX37 said:

I don't really know the different eras beyond WW2 and Cold war, maybe post Cold war like the super hornet? I didn't think there were many post Cold war era aircraft ingame. I've seen videos of the F-22 but didn't see a module, so I assumed it was a mod? I'd like Cold war fighters preferably. As I said in OP, Su-27, Su-33, F-15, F-16, and F-18 would be a good starting point for me I think. Thanks for the tips!

 

Yeah, basically 3 eras, more or less. WW2, cold war stuff (less modern and more "modern") and modern stuff. Hornet is more modern stuff, as it is like 1990+.

 

Yes, mods of various planes exist but they are like Flaming cliffs 3 (Su-33,27, MiG29, F-15) simplified and not really realistic.

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2 hours ago, razo+r said:

 

Early access or incomplete: Some features missing, bugs, not complete...

 

F-16 and F18 are such candidates. Still stuff missing and enough bugs in them.

 

 

They are low fidelity (simplified). And there are english cockpit mods around

 

 

You can fly against AI but the AI is 1) Stupid and 2) does not like to follow the same rules like a human does (they have a different flight model

 

 

Yeah, basically 3 eras, more or less. WW2, cold war stuff (less modern and more "modern") and modern stuff. Hornet is more modern stuff, as it is like 1990+.

 

Yes, mods of various planes exist but they are like Flaming cliffs 3 (Su-33,27, MiG29, F-15) simplified and not really realistic.

So the modules being sold by ED are the more realistic ones I take it? Also would you recommend the Flaming cliffs 3 pack? Seems to come with a lot of content and is currently $25. Might grab it if it’s worth it.

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No, ED does not make more realistic modules than other. All developers strive to make the most realistic aircraft currently available.

 

If you like full fidelity modules, I do not recommend you FC3.

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Actually FC3 planes are only low fidelity in that they do not offer a "clickable" cockpit. All of them now have very high quality flight models, and their functionality is on par with the full "fidelity" DCS modules for the most part. Where they are lacking is detailed system modeling (things that go on under the hood) and obviously the clickable cockpit. I've had great fun with fC3 aircraft and they have the added bonus of being simple to learn and hard to master, unlike other DCS modules which are usually not that simple to learn and still hard to master.

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13 hours ago, ShadowLinkX37 said:

So the modules being sold by ED are the more realistic ones I take it? Also would you recommend the Flaming cliffs 3 pack? Seems to come with a lot of content and is currently $25. Might grab it if it’s worth it.

A few of the mod community aircraft require FC3 to install, namely the F-22 you mentioned.

 

The biggest bang for the buck is the F-18 IMO, even though I don't fly it much.  With that one module, you get access to damn near every aspect of DCS.  A/G A/A and carrier OPS.  But it isn't the king of any role.

 

There are better modules if you prefer a certain role.  A/G I love the Av8b, personally.  The new A-10 arguably even better.  A/A I prefer the F-14.  

 

My top three in terms of play time would be the av8b, the Ka-50 and the F-14, but if I was limited to just one module, it would be the F-18.

 

Best of luck!

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15 hours ago, cw4ogden said:

A few of the mod community aircraft require FC3 to install, namely the F-22 you mentioned.

 

The biggest bang for the buck is the F-18 IMO, even though I don't fly it much.  With that one module, you get access to damn near every aspect of DCS.  A/G A/A and carrier OPS.  But it isn't the king of any role.

 

There are better modules if you prefer a certain role.  A/G I love the Av8b, personally.  The new A-10 arguably even better.  A/A I prefer the F-14.  

 

My top three in terms of play time would be the av8b, the Ka-50 and the F-14, but if I was limited to just one module, it would be the F-18.

 

Best of luck!

I think after watching a few videos and this threads recommendations i'll pick up flaming cliffs 3 and maybe (still on the fence on this) the F/A18C Hornet. Depends how much I wanna spend at that moment I guess. To help solidify the latter part of that sentence in question, how often do ED have sales for modules? If it's frequent I'd rather wait on the Hornet. I tried out the Su-25T yesterday with a K&M and, while not great and a few spin outs, I think i'll try and pick up either a cheap HOTAS or stick and try getting into DCS. Thank you for all the helpful tips everyone. 🙂

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15 minutes ago, ShadowLinkX37 said:

how often do ED have sales for modules?

 

I think there's typically an Easter sale, a summer sale, a Halloween sale and a Christmas sale. But it's quite possible I missed something.

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To be honest, Unless you have a top end computer, I wouldnt even think of VR.  Of all the games I play in VR (IL-2, IRacing, MSFS etc) DCS is by far the worst optimized for it.  I prefer VR normally but I play DCS with head tracking.  Depending on where you live (Im Uk), there are relatively cheaper options to track IR too.  Ive been using a trackhat for over a year now and to me it does exactly the same job for a 3rd of the price. Once you get it dialled in, of course. So dont be thinking you need VR to get the most out of DCS.  In my opinion you dont.

 

I do think you need a HOTAS though.  Twist grip if you cant afford pedals to begin with but I couldnt play this without a HOTAS. 

 

I also found the Flaming Cliffs 3 planes a good bridge into the game as well before I jumped into the full modules.  Less intimidating but give you the same flying experience and really made me want to start learning full modules.


Edited by Spankinvicar
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Try out the free Su-25T, really get into the systems (as they are) and see how happy you are managing the guided missiles and other weapons. it will give you a proper taste for free and let you know how comfortable you might be with more complicated modules like the F-18, which is much, much, much more complicated than the SU-25T.

 

Besides, the SU-25T is a riot. Fast, tough, and launching rockets and missiles the size of telephone poles never gets old. It's a great plane. And did I mention it's free?

 

There will be no love with a keyboard and mouse. A half-broken moldy covid covered flightstick will be far better. Get a twisty stick and save $$$ on the rudder pedals. At least for a start. And the cheapest HOTAS is two cheap flightsticks. Use one as your throttle, I did for years and it was good fun. 1000X better than a keyboard and mouse.

 

Just for fun:

 

 


Edited by Beirut

Some of the planes, but all of the maps!

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First module I successfully crashed was the Su25.  First one I successfully landed was the TF51.  Yeah, surprised me, too.  It didn't happen twice.  You can learn what you need to know without buying any modules. 

 

A stick, on the other hand...you can get one on ebay for next to nothing.

 

 

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1 hour ago, Raisuli said:

First module I successfully crashed was the Su25.  First one I successfully landed was the TF51.  Yeah, surprised me, too.  It didn't happen twice.  You can learn what you need to know without buying any modules. 

 

A stick, on the other hand...you can get one on ebay for next to nothing.

I thought that as well but from what I can see the prices are rocketing, both new and second hand.  I bought an X52 new about 12 months ago and it was £120 give or take a few pounds.  The same system is £200 + now and second hand is more expensive than when I bought new.  The prices at the moment are ridiculous mate.

 

1 hour ago, Raisuli said:

 

 

 

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