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Hey! I am new with DCS and I was wondering what are some good tips and tricks to know for a beginner as well as what aircraft are available for free and what aircraft is best to buy for beginners


theCAVE
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Hey! I am new with DCS and I was wondering what are some good tips and tricks to know for a beginner as well as what aircraft are available for free and what aircraft is best to buy for beginner. I don't want to spend too much money on new aircraft but I also don't want to be stuck with the free aircraft only (I don't know a lot about what aircraft are immediately available but if someone could tell me that would be great). Finally, I own a Thrustmaster Stick and that includes a small throttle built in and i was wondering if that is enough to play the game and if i should invest in better peripherals.

Thanks!

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First Welcome

 

You're going to get a lot of opinions on what to purchase and the way forward

 

First there are 2 aircraft available, the SU-25 Russian ground attack aircraft and the TF-51, which is identical to the P-51 but without the weapons, WWII warbird.

 

There are 2 disitinct types of modules, the FC3 aircraft, which do not have clickable cockpits and have less involved flight models, if you purchase FC3 you get a selection of aircraft in one package. The SU-25 is an example of the FC3 type of module

 

The TF-51 has a clickable cockpit and more accurate flight modelling and is an example of the costlier modules.

 

As far a peripherals, it depends, the warbirds WWII aircraft, need quite a lot of rudder input, so you probably need something to use as a rudder. You could initially try binding the rudder controls to buttons on your exisitng stick, but to get the best out of them you'll need something with an axis. Many use a twist stick and get along with that.

 

The jets (non FC3) are pretty complex models, expensive and require a lot of investment in time more than the many dollars they cost.

 

The only advice I'd give is to get proficient in both the free modules and spend time in them, you'll then find out what type to enjoy more. When I started even, landing, taking off and using some of the weapons on the SU-25 took me quite a while. There are also tutorials to try and I'd go through them as well

 

Spend time in the free stuff and then you'll get a flavour of what suits you at the same time it will give some insight to whether you need to purchase better or additional hardware or not.

 

Apologies if it's a bit generic, but for a game it's complex, not something you can jump into and get the hang of quickly, a lot of it will be a bit of an exercise in frustration, but really satisfying when it all starts to click

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Buy the aircraft that you love the most and you can't go wrong. You will want to learn it. The community A4 is a free mod that will give you another aircraft to try out. If you're not into flipping pit switches, and want a more shallow learning curve, you can get FC3. You get multiple aircraft in 1 package.

 

A rudder controller helps. Not sure if your stick is a twister The built in throttle will do to get you going. 

 

 

 

 

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1 minute ago, Paganus said:

Buy the aircraft that you love the most and you can't go wrong. You will want to learn it. The community A4 is a free mod that will give you another aircraft to try out. If you're not into flipping pit switches, and want a more shallow learning curve, you can get FC3. You get multiple aircraft in 1 package.

 

A rudder controller helps. Not sure if your stick is a twister The built in throttle will do to get you going. 

 

 

 

 

Thanks, My stick can control yaw thankfully and I will definitely try out all those mods as soon as i can!

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Yeah forgot about the A4 being free and developed by the community it's a fun module too and let's you try some carrier landings and take offs

 

Something else that happens but not very often is ED actually let you try all the modules for a limited period, but don't expect it anytime soon.

 

I'd also hang out and wait for the Sales which take place there are really significant discounts to be had and the older modules are a lot less expensive and the latest and greatest. That doesn't make them any less fun

 

Great advice by @Paganus Buying the aircraft you like, that is definately the way to go when the time comes


Edited by Weegie
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5 minutes ago, Weegie said:

First Welcome

 

You're going to get a lot of opinions on what to purchase and the way forward

 

First there are 2 aircraft available, the SU-25 Russian ground attack aircraft and the TF-51, which is identical to the P-51 but without the weapons, WWII warbird.

 

There are 2 disitinct types of modules, the FC3 aircraft, which do not have clickable cockpits and have less involved flight models, if you purchase FC3 you get a selection of aircraft in one package. The SU-25 is an example of the FC3 type of module

 

The TF-51 has a clickable cockpit and more accurate flight modelling and is an example of the costlier modules.

 

As far a peripherals, it depends, the warbirds WWII aircraft, need quite a lot of rudder input, so you probably need something to use as a rudder. You could initially try binding the rudder controls to buttons on your exisitng stick, but to get the best out of them you'll need something with an axis. Many use a twist stick and get along with that.

 

The jets (non FC3) are pretty complex models, expensive and require a lot of investment in time more than the many dollars they cost.

 

The only advice I'd give is to get proficient in both the free modules and spend time in them, you'll then find out what type to enjoy more. When I started even, landing, taking off and using some of the weapons on the SU-25 took me quite a while. There are also tutorials to try and I'd go through them as well

 

Spend time in the free stuff and then you'll get a flavour of what suits you at the same time it will give some insight to whether you need to purchase better or additional hardware or not.

 

Apologies if it's a bit generic, but for a game it's complex, not something you can jump into and get the hang of quickly, a lot of it will be a bit of an exercise in frustration, but really satisfying when it all starts to click

Thanks so much for that, its helping me a ton right now and I am definetly going to follow those reccomendations and I just checked out FC3 and it looks like a great deal. Thank you soo much!

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This is my "history" of building my virtual cockpit. I started with the low priced + low fidelity (not every button works) like the F-15C, MiG-29, Su-33, and A-10A (basically under $15 per plane but 50% off on Steam sales). Watched a few vids and realized my 15y old Saitek Cyborg Gold USB is pathetic so initially started investing for an acceptable HOTAS (ie. Logitech X56 Rhino). Watched some videos where TrackIR is very handy (about $150 in Amazon) for looking around and keeping visual tracking on target(s). Bought rudder pedals eventually for easier steering. BONUS: there is an F-4E and F-22A community mods that are free provided you have required module (F-22A requires F-15C).

 

Worry the about the other DLCs later on (unless you have the moolah). The HOTAS and TrackIR makes it easier to fly. Remembering the "How To" from plane to plane is a different story. Also provided link to Key Caps of "Grimm Reapers" from YouTube to ease HOTAS configuration.

 

Key Caps: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1g7op9YxNbWi8fogam0tK0yer1rRCLe7A

 

Happy flying!

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1 minute ago, Avatar3s said:

This is my "history" of building my virtual cockpit. I started with the low priced + low fidelity (not every button works) like the F-15C, MiG-29, Su-33, and A-10A (basically under $15 per plane but 50% off on Steam sales). Watched a few vids and realized my 15y old Saitek Cyborg Gold USB is pathetic so initially started investing for an acceptable HOTAS (ie. Logitech X56 Rhino). Watched some videos where TrackIR is very handy (about $150 in Amazon) for looking around and keeping visual tracking on target(s). Bought rudder pedals eventually for easier steering. BONUS: there is an F-4E and F-22A community mods that are free provided you have required module (F-22A requires F-15C).

 

Worry the about the other DLCs later on (unless you have the moolah). The HOTAS and TrackIR makes it easier to fly. Remembering the "How To" from plane to plane is a different story. Also provided link to Key Caps of "Grimm Reapers" from YouTube to ease HOTAS configuration.

 

Key Caps: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1g7op9YxNbWi8fogam0tK0yer1rRCLe7A

 

Happy flying!

Thanks so much. Right now my goal is to have a throttle and a realistic cockpit which does mean TrackIR but i think at the moment the throttle is my highest priority. Finally, the HOTAS configuration; as I am a Linux player using Proton and Steam, I am unsure if the Key maps will be compatible, but i will definetly try it out.

Thanks again as it is really helpful to see how people progressed with their setups over time and made it better.

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FC3 is a great deal, but I actually find them harder to learn, something to do with having to remember keybinds for EVERYTHING in the plane, as opposed to only what you need to replicate the HOTAS functionality in the real plane. Plus I struggle to find good guides for them, whereas the full fidelity ones have excellent guides (google chucks guides). Another big tip is to join a community with people who like to teach, I'm part of Tactical DCS, and we have a really big focus on helping people learn stuff (for free, unlike some communities), and you'd be welcome to join

OIh and if you decide to buy a full fidelity, but don't know what to get, you cant go wrong with the F18, it does everything, and is pretty user friendly

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Fly fast and leave a pretty wreck

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On 2/27/2021 at 9:08 PM, theCAVE said:

Hey! I am new with DCS and I was wondering what are some good tips and tricks to know for a beginner as well as what aircraft are available for free and what aircraft is best to buy for beginner. I don't want to spend too much money on new aircraft but I also don't want to be stuck with the free aircraft only (I don't know a lot about what aircraft are immediately available but if someone could tell me that would be great). Finally, I own a Thrustmaster Stick and that includes a small throttle built in and i was wondering if that is enough to play the game and if i should invest in better peripherals.

Thanks!

 

Hey, bro, nice to have another pilot! 🙂

 

For tips and tricks - remember, those are mine, highly subjective ones.

 

About plane - take what you like and what you want to learn more about. I actually found FC3 planes more difficult to learn, since they are all operated by keybinds instead of flipping switches. I liked to memorise layout of cockpit more, as it was more intuitive to me, even if I had to deal with increased workload comparing to low fidelity models. I still own MiG-29 as separate FC3 plane, because I like the plane. 🙂 I will however write some more personal opinions later on, maybe they will be of some use.

 

About joystick and inputs - if you would like some no fly-by-wire stuff, warbirds or rotors, rudder pedals are useful. In 4th gen - not so much, you can get away with twisting grip. Tip - you can buy used (or new) Thrustmaster pedals for racing wheel and the adapter (T.RJ 12 it is called) from its jack to USB 2.0. You can use them standalone this way - this is a good start. Also, you can upgrade to simple HOTAS like T.One - nothing to write home about, but it is good enough two piece set. Oh, and keep your simple stick to operate radar, FLIR or other stuff. Pretty useful. I've posted my layout here:
 

 

My tip for controller - set deadzone (1-2) if you have strong return spring, but try to avoid curves. At first they are making things easier, but you are getting somewhat messy input - delicate in the centre and severe later in the movement. You can however desaturate Y axis in more touchy frames (Gazelle I have set for 50% both pitch and roll, since it is quite light on the sideclick). Later on you will learn to manage your moves better, and you will get feel for each airframe. I discovered, that my delicate inputs are more messed up by strong spring rather than movement itself. Small deadzones fixed that for me.

 

Head tracker is very useful, but you can buy cheap clips and use PS3 Eye cam (with IR filter) for it, coupled with OpenTrack freeware program. You don't have to go all TrackIR or VR to start. I prefer sideclip rather, fits well on the headphones. Headphones with mic are useful, because of SRS. It is free radio, that allows you to talk with others in multiplayer via your radio equipement. I use Creative Sound Blaster X H3, and my clip (triple AAA battery powered) is velcro mounted. Cheap solution, but effective, you can just take it off as you please, and stick back with different angle if you desire so. You can buy sticky velcro just about everywhere.

Personally I wanted to complete my setup, even if it is cheap, to get used to pedals, tracker, HOTAS and so on. Now, when it is done, and all planes I have can be controlled without problems, I can upgrade pieces according to my needs. 

 

As for planes in particular, there are of course matter of personal taste, so I speak only for myself. Good all-rounder to get the grip for rather simple, yet fully modeled jet is F-5 Tiger II. Nice to fly, competent and it won't get obsolete, because in multiplayer you can fly on serves, where you don't have to face 4th gen enemies. Even then however, you can pull up some tricks... Mirage 2000C was my first 4th gen fighter, it has some drawbacks, but it is good, solid plane with nice A2G capabilities, very agile and deadly in Fox 2 and guns only fights. When comes to ground attack I fell in love in Viggen - it is different than anything else, but simple in use and competent overall. If you like going 950 kph under wires, between trees, and land on every road, this is your bet. When joy to fly comes as quality, I love C-101 EB/CC and L-39C/ZA. These trainers can actually pack nice punch for their size, and you really learn how to fly. C-101 has campaign and great in-depth tutorial missions. Same goes for L-39, but it also has separate "Kursant" campaign to hone your airmanship even further. Hornet is no brainer - it can do all kinds of stuff, easy to fly, but can be overwhelming with possibilities. I personally not like it too much beacuse of that. F-16 is now a bit less complete (but it will be soon), and if you want nice and agile, land-based fighter - go for it. JF-17 is very modern, intuitive and capable lightweight bird. I think A-10C is undisputed king of A2G, it is complex module but you have tons of funny things to drop on the enemy. As for rotors, I own only Gazelle. It is touchy and requires a lot of attention, but it is simple machine and agile as hell. However, this one I wouldn't recommend, unless you like the bird. I think there are some other helos better for beginners, but you should ask somebody more competent. But hey, Gazelle is my first rotor ever, and I managed to tame it, so you can do it also! 🙂

 

But remember - you don't follow exact path of aviation student in the sim - you don't have to start from something basic and gradually make your way to more complex airframes. You can have a few well learned ones, no matter how complicated they are. If there can be some advice - you can aim for one of each kind, if you are interested in aviation in general - one warbird, 1st gen/2nd gen, 3rd gen, 4th gen and one helicopter. That way you learn a bit of every era since WW2 up to 2000's. But you can go only in favourite period as well, It is really up to you. Trainers are fun, but it is another craft to master, and it doesn't always translate to combat skill in more advanced planes. I like them, but because of general aviation reasons. For me, they helped me to cover the gap between Great War and WWII and Cold War jets. You basically just need to learn about quality of module you desire to make your choice more aware, that's it. 🙂 

 

Hope it helps!

 


Edited by Fairey Gannet
Added link, found typos.
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Posted (edited)

Thank you so much Fairey Gannet, this was super useful. This helped me narrow down my first bought plane to be one of these: F-16, JF-17 (I have heard loads of great things about it), or FC3. last but not least, I wasn't planning on doing any head tracking until I saw this! Now I am definetly gonna do head tracking!

Thanks again


Edited by theCAVE
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3 hours ago, theCAVE said:

Thank you so much Fairey Gannet, this was super useful. This helped me narrow down my first bought plane to be one of these: F-16, JF-17 (I have heard loads of great things about it), or FC3. last but not least, I wasn't planning on doing any head tracking until I saw this! Now I am definetly gonna do head tracking!

Thanks again

 

No problem, friend. I was dead scared when I was trying to get into DCS myself. 🙂

 

Head tracking is a must. Luckily, it's not very expensive, and later on you can buy VR set or experiment with better trackers. But if you want to spot targets, keep an eye on enemy while dogfight, pay attention to gauges and MFD's, search switch to flip... Hat switch or numpad just doesn't give you reaction you need, and you have to let go either stick or throttle just to take a quick look, or you have to sacrifice hat switch. And usually it is better to use it as a trim hat. It takes some time to get used to tracker, but it is rather intuitive. I myself found proper calibration for me in just a few days. 🙂

 

I don't own personally nor F-16, nor JF-17, but I've checked them out. Both fall in the same bag of lightweight frontline fighters with massive flexibility in munitions to use. I think F-16 performs better in terms of manouvers, however JF-17 is overall more modern plane. I found it more intuitive, basically you can just use 3 MFD's for all essentials. Munitions are great in both planes, so matter comes down to personal taste, really. F-16 is still in early access, so it lacks some functions, but they are being implemented. JF-17 was released almost ready, though there are also some stuff being implemented. That is not really also nor good or bad - lacking some functions mean, you can learn the most stuff, and then just get to know new options, as they come.

 

There is "Grim Reapers" group, that has tons of videos on every plane and helo (and more) - Buyers Guide is the series you want to check out. That covers every module: price, quality, range of stuff it can do, flight model, ease to learn... And also there are tutorials for every functionality. This and Chuck's Guides and you are good to go.

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TIR5 is an absolute game changer. Now that I have had it for 2 yrs no way I'd do without it. TIR5 w/ just the reflector that you clip to your hat works just fine. I also have the electronic sensor that I clip to my headphones but I like the basic hat clip better so that will make TIR5 a little less expensive for you. I found that the throttle on my stick was fine for everything until I started doing carrier landings. There you need extremely fine control that there is no way to get w/ that tiny lever. My TM Warthog throttle was about $250 so it took me a while to justify it. 

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I use Smoothtracker on my phone. You find it in the app store. No funny hats and external sensors.

Works great and very inexpensive at 10 USD (You need a phone, two pencils, 15cm duct tape and a rubberband 🙂)

 

Could not be happier. 

 

IMG_2982.JPG

 

IMG_2979.JPG.40ae5929a3b56fe5ad91fe35b90


Edited by MIghtymoo
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2 hours ago, theCAVE said:

That is genius! I think either that or trackir5 is what Im gonna choose

There are other alternatives - a common one is diy set of IR leds with modified PS3Eye camera and opentrack software - works great for a $20.

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🖥️ i3-10100F 3.6-4.3GHz, 16GB DDR4 2666, GTX970 4GB, SSD SATA3   🥽 Rift S   🕹️ T16000M HOTAS   ✈️ FC3, F-14A/B   🚢 Supercarrier    🌍 NTTR, PG

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7 hours ago, MIghtymoo said:

I use Smoothtracker on my phone. You find it in the app store. No funny hats and external sensors.

Works great and very inexpensive at 10 USD (You need a phone, two pencils, 15cm duct tape and a rubberband 🙂)

 

Could not be happier. 

 

 

 That is pure genius. Hands down.

4 hours ago, draconus said:

There are other alternatives - a common one is diy set of IR leds with modified PS3Eye camera and opentrack software - works great for a $20.

I mentioned that already. 🙂

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17 hours ago, MIghtymoo said:

I use Smoothtracker on my phone. You find it in the app store. No funny hats and external sensors.

Works great and very inexpensive at 10 USD (You need a phone, two pencils, 15cm duct tape and a rubberband 🙂)

 

Could not be happier. 

I see no cable, so BT or WiFi. No lags in game with fast head movement?

 

@Fairey Gannet Sorry, did not catch that before.


Edited by draconus

🖥️ i3-10100F 3.6-4.3GHz, 16GB DDR4 2666, GTX970 4GB, SSD SATA3   🥽 Rift S   🕹️ T16000M HOTAS   ✈️ FC3, F-14A/B   🚢 Supercarrier    🌍 NTTR, PG

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12 minutes ago, draconus said:

I see no cable, so BT or WiFi. No lags in game with fast head movement?

 

I am not sure what you define as fast head movement 🙂.

Bird No GIF by MOODMAN

 

I can fly the missions successfully and do normal head movements expected in a fighter jet.

I have a good WIFI setup, and have had no issues with lag.

 

But as with anything it depends on your WIFI and preference.

There is minimal risk trying it out and you can test it and get a App-store refund if you don't like it.

 

It works great IMHO, and I would not spend the money for a more expensive head tracker.


Edited by MIghtymoo
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personally i love the little older models most, like the mig21 and saab viggen. the suggestion made above to purchse the aircraft you´re appealed by most is perfect. you´ll train her and master her with pleasure. objectively, a true gem of the modern era is the c101 aviojet. i discovered that very late though. the light attack-aircraft and trainer teaches "good" flying and is outstandingly well modelled in physics and avionics. but as everything, it´s a matter of taste too 🙂

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5 hours ago, Fleur79 said:

personally i love the little older models most, like the mig21 and saab viggen. the suggestion made above to purchse the aircraft you´re appealed by most is perfect. you´ll train her and master her with pleasure. objectively, a true gem of the modern era is the c101 aviojet. i discovered that very late though. the light attack-aircraft and trainer teaches "good" flying and is outstandingly well modelled in physics and avionics. but as everything, it´s a matter of taste too 🙂

 

Ah yes, C-101 is really top notch and I use it with great pleasure. There is no single switch or function that was left out. Even if simple, comparing to 4th gen fighters, I think it is actually most in-depth module in DCS. Aviodev really pushed bar with that one, and their Mirage F-1 is no brainer for me because of that. And 101 is quite capable light attack, with really nice range of munitions. Setting up night attack with illumination rockets is challenging, but really fun. But what I really, really like in this thing is nav equipement. You have everything, from ADF to GPS. I started to deploy any kind of munitions after I learned how to navigate and land in bad weather and at night. No point in that, if you can't find your way back and end sortie in one piece. And 101 is great teacher. I really love her.

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I'm definetly gonna try out FC3 first, but i might try the C-101 later. It might just be me but it looks like a cross between a Su-25 and a T-38 😁

18 hours ago, Fairey Gannet said:

 

Ah yes, C-101 is really top notch and I use it with great pleasure. There is no single switch or function that was left out. Even if simple, comparing to 4th gen fighters, I think it is actually most in-depth module in DCS. Aviodev really pushed bar with that one, and their Mirage F-1 is no brainer for me because of that. And 101 is quite capable light attack, with really nice range of munitions. Setting up night attack with illumination rockets is challenging, but really fun. But what I really, really like in this thing is nav equipement. You have everything, from ADF to GPS. I started to deploy any kind of munitions after I learned how to navigate and land in bad weather and at night. No point in that, if you can't find your way back and end sortie in one piece. And 101 is great teacher. I really love her.

 

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