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Noob with a few basic questions before I hit the button!


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Greetings all, the Saitek X52 has been gathering dust for years after playing my Flanker 2.0 stand alone game and then DCS pops up on Steam! Want to ask a few basics before hitting that buy button to make sure I'm on track so far and if there any juicy bits of advice to consider....

 

HOTUS - taken care of with the X52 - I believe the recommendation when looking for set profiles for aircraft is don't? Helps to make your own, get into a routine and do the hard work to create a profile that works for you?

 

VR - Well worth it for the immersion side of things, however from my viewpoint £300 a bit steep this early in the game, so maybe if the bug really bites will I consider as a 50 year birthday gift!

 

What to fly? - I think the FC3 download is a good option at £40? It gives quite a few models to see if air-air or air-ground flying is my thing. I'm guessing the models in this pack are not the full fidelity all singing and dancing clicky cockpit version you get for the £64?

 

Have found Chucks Guides as well a few good You Tube channels to help out - this being the grim reapers Channel - any other obvious channel choices for a Noob?

 

And finally multiplayer......I think that's a long way off at the moment as I need to get some log book hours in so I don't make a total tit of myself, and will research at a later date?

 

Any other info appreciated

 

NewBoy Rutty Po Po

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I will try to tackle your questions in the order you asked them.

 

 1.) It is indeed always a better idea to do your own control bindings rather than become dependent on whatever you might be able to find in the community. I say this for two major reasons. The First is that doing your own controls will make the learning process smoother and easier for a given module. You will not have to learn both the controls as set by someone else and the plane itself. Instead. You will kinda know the controls going in and will have more attention to pay towards learning the planes. The second reason is because everyone has their own system that works well for them and what works for me may not work for you. It is important to be self-sufficient in this area as it will make your life a lot easier. 

 

  One more thing in regards to setting up controls. Generally speaking, it isn't as hard as it might seem to find out what you need to prioritize binding and what you don't. For most modules, there are categories like "HOTAS" (in the case of modern stuff) or "stick" and "throttle". In those cases, it is generally safe to assume that anything in those categories should be bound first. Additionally. It is a good idea to NEVER, EVER trust DCS's default bindings outside of some very specific situations (the A-10C module's bindings for the Thrustmaster Warthog for example). It is better to clear all the bindings for your X52 (both in the "axis controls" and "all" categories) and just start again. That way, you avoid time consuming troubleshooting of binding conflicts that will almost always crop up with default bindings. 

 

  2.) VR is still pretty new and while it might be controversial to say this, I think it is still not quite at a point where it is the most practical, most cost effective solution for the majority of DCS players. There will come a point where mainstream PC components are better able to cope with the requirements that VR imposes but as of right now, it is still something where you would need a pretty beefy computer to make it worthwhile and free of much of the fuss. TrackIR or some kind of decent IR head tracking is probably going to be the most accessible route at this point and it wouldn't be unfair to say that DCS almost requires it to get good results. 

 

  3.) Your choice in modules should really center on what you are interested in the most. The FC3 stuff generally has good flight models but the systems modeling is VERY simplified and will not really do anything to prepare you for the full fidelity modules. This doesn't mean it can't be fun but I am not sure I buy into the notion that they are good for beginners since the lack of detailed systems interaction can actually make things less intuitive and more clumsy (since you need to bind EVERYTHING as opposed to only the stuff you might have on a HOTAS or whatever). If you are looking for a module that will let you really explore air to air and air to ground concepts, it might be worth looking at the JF-17 or the F/A-18C. Both are modern multi-role platforms and will give you a lot of stuff to learn and explore. 

 

  4.) Learning materials are something I get somewhat passionate about since I have had to help new players undo a lot of the damage that some Youtubers (like the Grim Reapers) have caused. Be careful to distinguish the difference between DCS Youtubers that are there to entertain and those that are actually there to help YOU and not just their monthly Patreon payout, Private lesson fees, Youtube views, and subscriptions. Guys like Redkite are a great example of how DCS Youtube tutorials should look as he will actually teach you how things work as opposed to just kinda telling you the most bare of minimums (if that). Chuck's guides are also good but with that comes an important caveat. Chuck's guides are not meant to replace the manuals that come with the modules and are instead best used as complimentary material alongside them. Every DCS module comes with its own manual and that will be the best possible source for good, complete information. 

 

  One thing I want to tackle a bit about the manuals. They have a reputation in the community for being "difficult" and "too intimidating" but that is mostly because there are not NEARLY enough voices in the community encouraging new players to see the manuals as something you take step by step and not as one giant gulp. You don't need to sit there and read the manuals cover to cover and memorize whatever in on the pages. Instead, the manual is more of a reference that you go through one section at a time and keep using until you naturally memorize concepts and procedures. Even real pilots are discouraged from operating from memory when doing procedures because the checklists help prevent mistakes and don't really make the process take any longer. 

 

  When you are using the manual. Just think of it as a sort of workbook that you can go through one section at a time and at your own pace. You don't need to memorize anything because it is all written there for you. These aircraft modules are not really all that difficult to actually learn. It just takes a bit of time and a small amount of commitment on your part to really embrace that learning process and see the fun in it. If you try to find shortcuts around the learning process, it will actually make your experience worse. 

 

  Seriously. There is no rush. Don't be intimidated by the manual, take it one section at a time, and reference the checklists when needed and you will do fine. Don't let anyone discourage you from using the learning tools that will let you pull the maximum amount out of your experience with DCS. 

 

   In regards to multiplayer. Don't feel pressured to enter the public server scene until you are ready. There are going to be some in the community that will (perhaps unintentionally) pressure you to join public servers to bolster player numbers, don't let them. When you do feel like you are ready to explore multiplayer, don't forget that there are also smaller, isolated groups that tend to have a lot more freedom to run a much wider variety of scenarios than the larger public servers are able to do. Make sure you explore all the multiplayer options to see where you fit in best. 

 

  

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27 minutes ago, statrekmike said:

I will try to tackle your questions in the order you asked them.

 

 1.) It is indeed always a better idea to do your own control bindings rather than become dependent on whatever you might be able to find in the community. I say this for two major reasons. The First is that doing your own controls will make the learning process smoother and easier for a given module. You will not have to learn both the controls as set by someone else and the plane itself. Instead. You will kinda know the controls going in and will have more attention to pay towards learning the planes. The second reason is because everyone has their own system that works well for them and what works for me may not work for you. It is important to be self-sufficient in this area as it will make your life a lot easier. 

 

  One more thing in regards to setting up controls. Generally speaking, it isn't as hard as it might seem to find out what you need to prioritize binding and what you don't. For most modules, there are categories like "HOTAS" (in the case of modern stuff) or "stick" and "throttle". In those cases, it is generally safe to assume that anything in those categories should be bound first. Additionally. It is a good idea to NEVER, EVER trust DCS's default bindings outside of some very specific situations (the A-10C module's bindings for the Thrustmaster Warthog for example). It is better to clear all the bindings for your X52 (both in the "axis controls" and "all" categories) and just start again. That way, you avoid time consuming troubleshooting of binding conflicts that will almost always crop up with default bindings. 

 

  2.) VR is still pretty new and while it might be controversial to say this, I think it is still not quite at a point where it is the most practical, most cost effective solution for the majority of DCS players. There will come a point where mainstream PC components are better able to cope with the requirements that VR imposes but as of right now, it is still something where you would need a pretty beefy computer to make it worthwhile and free of much of the fuss. TrackIR or some kind of decent IR head tracking is probably going to be the most accessible route at this point and it wouldn't be unfair to say that DCS almost requires it to get good results. 

 

  3.) Your choice in modules should really center on what you are interested in the most. The FC3 stuff generally has good flight models but the systems modeling is VERY simplified and will not really do anything to prepare you for the full fidelity modules. This doesn't mean it can't be fun but I am not sure I buy into the notion that they are good for beginners since the lack of detailed systems interaction can actually make things less intuitive and more clumsy (since you need to bind EVERYTHING as opposed to only the stuff you might have on a HOTAS or whatever). If you are looking for a module that will let you really explore air to air and air to ground concepts, it might be worth looking at the JF-17 or the F/A-18C. Both are modern multi-role platforms and will give you a lot of stuff to learn and explore. 

 

  4.) Learning materials are something I get somewhat passionate about since I have had to help new players undo a lot of the damage that some Youtubers (like the Grim Reapers) have caused. Be careful to distinguish the difference between DCS Youtubers that are there to entertain and those that are actually there to help YOU and not just their monthly Patreon payout, Private lesson fees, Youtube views, and subscriptions. Guys like Redkite are a great example of how DCS Youtube tutorials should look as he will actually teach you how things work as opposed to just kinda telling you the most bare of minimums (if that). Chuck's guides are also good but with that comes an important caveat. Chuck's guides are not meant to replace the manuals that come with the modules and are instead best used as complimentary material alongside them. Every DCS module comes with its own manual and that will be the best possible source for good, complete information. 

 

  One thing I want to tackle a bit about the manuals. They have a reputation in the community for being "difficult" and "too intimidating" but that is mostly because there are not NEARLY enough voices in the community encouraging new players to see the manuals as something you take step by step and not as one giant gulp. You don't need to sit there and read the manuals cover to cover and memorize whatever in on the pages. Instead, the manual is more of a reference that you go through one section at a time and keep using until you naturally memorize concepts and procedures. Even real pilots are discouraged from operating from memory when doing procedures because the checklists help prevent mistakes and don't really make the process take any longer. 

 

  When you are using the manual. Just think of it as a sort of workbook that you can go through one section at a time and at your own pace. You don't need to memorize anything because it is all written there for you. These aircraft modules are not really all that difficult to actually learn. It just takes a bit of time and a small amount of commitment on your part to really embrace that learning process and see the fun in it. If you try to find shortcuts around the learning process, it will actually make your experience worse. 

 

  Seriously. There is no rush. Don't be intimidated by the manual, take it one section at a time, and reference the checklists when needed and you will do fine. Don't let anyone discourage you from using the learning tools that will let you pull the maximum amount out of your experience with DCS. 

 

   In regards to multiplayer. Don't feel pressured to enter the public server scene until you are ready. There are going to be some in the community that will (perhaps unintentionally) pressure you to join public servers to bolster player numbers, don't let them. When you do feel like you are ready to explore multiplayer, don't forget that there are also smaller, isolated groups that tend to have a lot more freedom to run a much wider variety of scenarios than the larger public servers are able to do. Make sure you explore all the multiplayer options to see where you fit in best. 

 

  


What damage have the Grim reapers done?

Ive learnt everything from their videos, so im interested to know why you think that.

@Rutty Po Po Buy the first thing youre interested in, Fly, learn to shoot, bomb, and evade.
Then ask yourself what youre enjoying, and focus on that until youve mastered it.
Then buy more of the same..
Then and only then if you want to take this 'super serious', look at the manuals..

Truth is, I bought the FA18, went over to FC3, then the A10.. And then went to Warbirds..
Tried to take the game super serious, but it bored me.
You can spend all night reading a manual, then you can spend 5 minutes watching a Grim Reaper video..
In the end, all we have left is time, and id rather not spend my night reading a manual, if i can be shown a quick and efficient way in 5 minutes.. That means the nights spent playing the game and having fun..

What type of planes you looking at? Ground attack? Fighters? What interests you?
 

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Dear StevanJ,

 

I think I am too new to understand the politics around the various YouTube channels, but I think keeping an open mind as well as looking at the number of subscribers is a good indication which ones to follow......

 

In regards to the type of aircraft have looked at the obvious "Big 3" of the Viper/Hornet/Jeffy and the Jeffy looks like my cup of tea, with nice big cockpit screens (eyes are not to good at 50!) but allowing a both fighter and ground attack role. The thought of doing carrier missions I think would be just too much at the outset.

 

I agree that the fun factor should come before the manual trawl, although I think to get the full immersion the manual has to be used at some point to get the maximum benefit.

 

Thanks for the advice, fly safe!

 

Rutty Po Po

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1 hour ago, Rutty Po Po said:

Dear StevanJ,

 

I think I am too new to understand the politics around the various YouTube channels, but I think keeping an open mind as well as looking at the number of subscribers is a good indication which ones to follow......

 

In regards to the type of aircraft have looked at the obvious "Big 3" of the Viper/Hornet/Jeffy and the Jeffy looks like my cup of tea, with nice big cockpit screens (eyes are not to good at 50!) but allowing a both fighter and ground attack role. The thought of doing carrier missions I think would be just too much at the outset.

 

I agree that the fun factor should come before the manual trawl, although I think to get the full immersion the manual has to be used at some point to get the maximum benefit.

 

Thanks for the advice, fly safe!

 

Rutty Po Po


Just pick whomever you think gets you in the game quickest. At the end of the day, the tutorials all teach you the same thing, I find GR tell me everything i need to know.
Which buttons to press, how to make the screens do things etc I like them! After a while you'll find your own and youll settle on personal preference.

VR, if you can afford a used 'Quest' (£140 on ebay right now) then definitely! As youll be playing in 3d, everything comes with depth perception, which not only helps in the immersion, but also allows you to build some 'muscle memory' when learning where the buttons are.
Dont go out and buy a G2, the guys i fly with have replaced them with Quest 2's.. G2's are the best VR headset, but they cost twice as much as the quest, require more powerful hardware, and they dont particularly run very well. The Quest 2's seem really well optimised, you can lock the refresh rate, and play single player in High.
But id always advise you try it, before you commit to it. Hence a quest 1 will do just fine.
If you buy a VR headset, youll never go back to 2d.

Modules.

My heart lies in the FA18. And ill always recommend that first. If i do a mission in the Hornet - Its an easy day!
Its forgiving- You can make MASSIVE mistakes, and youll find yourself still in control just trimming out.
It can carry a HUGE amount of ordnance- 8 A/G JSOW missiles which you can fire from 30+ miles out, and a couple of bombs to finish off Or 12 A/A missiles.
Its LOADED with different features- Youll be learning it for months!

It can operate from land, sea and refuel in the air.
Its nearly finished (in terms of actual work left to do).

Id advise that over FC3 because its just 'everything' you expect from a DCS flagship module.

While i love the different modules available, i always end up in the FA18 when i 'want to get stuff done'. Its a hammer. Smashes everything in the right hands.


The F16, is pretty new. Its a rocket ship- I love flying it, but unless im with a squad of them, Its a tough day!
The features arent quite there yet either.
You can only carry 6 A/A missiles, but 12 'iron bombs', or 6 MAV's. And while i love the F16, when im in it, im always wishing i was in the FA18.
Its a scalpel. Cuts through things -Altitude, defences, valleys.
Its not forgiving in the slightest, and even A/A refulling is a tough, when compared to the FA18.

The Jeff.. Ill be honest, heard great things, but i dont own it. Its not something ill probably be interested in either..
Everyone i know that owns it, love it and prefer it over the F16. But i just love pushing full burn in the F16 and climbing like a rocket.

My list if i were to start from scratch, Id buy in this order..

FA-18

Warbird (I prefer the FW190D but choose your favourite as they all have differences in the game)
Huey
Then all the maps so i can play them online.
FC3
F-16
Harrier
A10C2 (Its MASSIVELY complicated compared to other modules, and is currently having issues with VRTC so id keep an eye on this, but its really decent when its working)
Yak-52 (Awesome flight model! But no damage. I let the kids fly this around, a 6 year old can fly it, its that easy! Doesnt do anything but flys and land - So buy in sale)
L39 (Fun but youd rather be in the Yak, its great for doing aerobatics if youd just prefer the flying rather than shooting)

 

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