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Broken replay tracks in DCS in 2021


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I'm new to DCS. I believe it's an outstanding flight sim.

 

But my perspective on the game took a major hit when I loaded up a REPLAY track and discovered to my horror that the replay does not reflect my actual gameplay (i.e. I crashed in the replay when I did not in the original playthrough).

 

For a game like DCS with its relatively high price points, the lack of a fully functional replay track is an embarrassment.

 

After conducting a due diligence, I was surprised to learn that this replay bug has been around for years, not months or even days, but years.

 

In light of this, I cannot recommend this game to my friends or colleagues in good conscience.

 

The devs should know better. The devs should be better.

 

Do your customers and community better and fix the broken replay system once and for all. Thank you.

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There are two separate issues here:

 

1) The track file only records inputs, the rest is independently resimulated. So as time goes on, the imprecision increases. This isnt really a bug, just a tradeoff. Recording changes of all states of all objects several times a second would be problematic and track files huge. If it worked this way, someone else would complain about 2GB files.

 

2) There is a bug that some inputs sometimes arent recorded into the track file. Its annoying but it happens quite rarely. Not as big issue as it sounds. (Though yes, it needs to be fixed).

 

 

Many new players dont know about this: there is a free app called tacview, which allows you to record and analyze your flights in DCS. You dont see the ingame graphics, but it gets the job done.


Edited by dorianR666

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So I discovered the issue with replays is that the input file is generated per frame.  The best way to get reliable tracks is to lower you graphics settings to have high framerates.  It is more likely to record correctly the higher the frame rates.  If you have any stutter, this is when it tends to get "unreliable".

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On 1/10/2021 at 2:19 AM, dorianR666 said:

There are two separate issues here:

 

1) The track file only records inputs, the rest is independently resimulated. So as time goes on, the imprecision increases. This isnt really a bug, just a tradeoff. Recording changes of all states of all objects several times a second would be problematic and track files huge. If it worked this way, someone else would complain about 2GB files.

 

2) There is a bug that some inputs sometimes arent recorded into the track file. Its annoying but it happens quite rarely. Not as big issue as it sounds. (Though yes, it needs to be fixed).

 

 

Many new players dont know about this: there is a free app called tacview, which allows you to record and analyze your flights in DCS. You dont see the ingame graphics, but it gets the job done.

 

 

I have TacView Advanced. It's great for tactical analysis (it's intended function) but terrible for creating cinematic gameplay footage from a recorded battle.

 

What is the point of having a track replay if it is incapable of 100% replay accuracy (from either a gameplay or input perspective)?

 

Thanks to the limitations of the DCS Track Replay system, it is nearly impossible to record cinematic footage of a air duel after the fact. And it is close to impossible to create such recorded cinematic footage "live" as the battle plays out the first time around (at least, not if you do not want to get shot down).

19 hours ago, jwflowersii said:

So I discovered the issue with replays is that the input file is generated per frame.  The best way to get reliable tracks is to lower you graphics settings to have high framerates.  It is more likely to record correctly the higher the frame rates.  If you have any stutter, this is when it tends to get "unreliable".

 

I experienced the opposite.

 

With an average of 190 fps in-game, my DCS track replays did not turn out accurate at all.

PC Setup: i7-8700K CPU @5 GHz | 32GB DDR4 RAM 3200 MHz | EVGA RTX 3080 GPU | LG 27GL83A-B 27" Ultragear QHD IPS 1ms 144Hz NVIDIA G-SYNC Compatible Gaming Monitor | VKB Gunfighter Mk.III ‘Space Combat Edition’ Premium Grip | TrackIR5 system | incoming Virpil VPC MongoosT-50CM3 Throttle.

Airframes: A10C | A10CII | F/A-18C | F-14A/B | F-16C | F-5E | F-86F | JF-17 | M-2000C | AV-8B | MiG-15Bis | MiG-15Bis | Ka-50 Black Shark 2 helicopter | FC3. (All  purchased on STEAM)

Modules: Supercarrier | WW2 Assets Pack | Raven One | Serpent's Head 2 | The Ultimate Argument | The Georgian War | Aggressors BFM | M-2000C Red Flag | F-15C Red Flag | Aggressors ACM | The Enemy Within 3.0 | A-10C Red Flag | The Museum Relic Campaign. (All purchased on STEAM)

Maps: Persian Gulf | Nevada NTTR. (All purchased on STEAM)

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Another combat game that I used to play uses the Widelands Replay format (not the Widelands game) which stores the battle partly on their server and your input commands are stored on your machine as a .wrlp file.

When you replay the battle it puts them back together to re-create everything that happened including all other units.  Replays are automatically saved, so you don't have

to remember to hit the "save Track" button. Server side replays are also available. The replays don't deteriorate over time except: see below.

 

There is a downside though.

Every time the game updates to a new version, the files are on their side get deleted and you can no longer replay that battle. If you are planning to make a cinematic video,

You have to do it before they change to a new version, which is about every 2 to 3 months or so. They do let you know when an update is coming though.

 

On 1/10/2021 at 12:19 AM, dorianR666 said:

1) The track file only records inputs, the rest is independently resimulated. So as time goes on, the imprecision increases. This isnt really a bug, just a tradeoff. Recording changes of all states of all objects several times a second would be problematic and track files huge. If it worked this way, someone else would complain about 2GB files.

 

The typical file size of a .wrlp file on your machine is 2 to 5 MB each, a tad more than our tracks, but certainly not in the ~Gb range.

 

21 minutes ago, alphagamer4 said:

I have TacView Advanced. It's great for tactical analysis (it's intended function) but terrible for creating cinematic gameplay footage from a recorded battle.

 

 

I, like many others are more interested in using tracks to create cinematic videos of our greatest battles and sharing them on YouTube.

TacView is great, but like you said, virtually useless for us content creators.

 

The DCS track system is buggy at best. Shorter tracks are more reliable, but if a great battle moment occurs in the middle of a long track,

odds are that you will not be able to find and record it. I am hoping dearly that ED does something to improve their track replay system.

For now, us content creators have to rely on short tracks;   also, IDK how BigNewy and others can diagnose problems using this unreliable system.

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Played a very small mission trying to track down some bugs and all my TRK files desynced almost immediately.
Sensors not tracking, missiles going crazy, AI behaving completely different ... completely useless if you want to report any bugs.

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