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So, one thing I've floated around all over the place, including in a few related topics here in the forums is proper ground handling for the planes in DCS. Now, since all of these topics are scattered, I figured I'd create a more comprehensive list of the various subjects I've seen, and my own personal vision of how I think it would look and feel in the game.

 

1. Ground Crews

When you load in you'll first be greeted by the aircraft ground crew, who are busy with the aircraft making final checks, and then they clear out. When you are ready to start, the marshal will give you the appropriate hand signals to guide you in starting your jet (and letting you know that you are clear to start), he/she will also tell you when ground air/power is hooked up or detached, when the chocks have been removed, and a host of other commands. When you're cleared to taxi out, he'll guide you to the ramp (sometimes with wing-walkers helping), and then salute you as you pass by.

 

These same guys will also greet you when you land and taxi to your designated parking space. The wing-walkers will meet you at the edge of the ramp, and hold up wands marking where the parking space is (or where you enter the parking area), and then walk with the plane until you're lined up with the marshal who will guide you to your stop point. Once you've stopped, he'll give you further instructions depending on the aircraft, such as telling you to shut down (by doing a 'cut' hand signal), and telling you to open the canopy. (this will be especially useful for those using FC3 planes, as you have to be shut down to rearm/refuel)

 

2. Ground Support Equipment (GSE)

On top of the normal ground crews, you'd also see various vehicles running around the base doing their normal activities (including maybe some Easter eggs like the HotShots! baggage cart and some guy roasting a hot-dog), but also when your plane arrives, you will be greeted by several vehicles that will assist the ground crews with doing various tasks.

 

Tugs: In instances where you're needing to be pushed back to leave, a tug will latch onto your plane and push you back to a point where you can taxi out.

 

Repair Crane: When you request a repair, a repair crane (similar to the ones you see on the Carriers) will rush out to you and lift the plane up off the ground while repairs are made. As a bonus, instead of just placing you back down where you were (if on grass obviously), it'll put you back down on the concrete where you can actually taxi away.

 

Fuel and ammo trucks: When you request rearm and refuel, a fuel truck (appropriate for your aircraft, so an F-16 will see a fuel HEMMT while a Mig29 will see a Russian truck), and either an ammo truck or a tug towing ordinance carts will come to your aircraft. When they arrive, they'll park just outside the aircraft "Safety Diamond", and then the refueling and rearming process will begin. If a tug towing the ordinance is what meets you, you'll actually see the weapons you requested being towed. This will include a drum for the gun (if you requested gun ammo), a 'hot box' for flares, and since it exists, a 'hard case' for the Mig21s nuke. These may be things that are optional though, and able to be adjusted in the game settings. For example if you only want to see your ordinance being loaded, just select it, if you want to see everyone's ordinance, you select that option, if you don't want to see any of it, you can select that. (or just select a simplified option, which is just the trucks). Once you're loaded up, the tug and fuel truck will depart back to where they came from and 'despawn' (which will usually be a shed not far from where you parked)

 

Guide vehicles:

As some of you know very well, some of the air fields are massive, and if you're not that familiar with them, you may need assistance getting to where you need to go. If this is the case, you can stop on a taxi way, and request a ground vehicle to a specific point (such as to the parking area). At which point, a truck of some sort will come out, lights flashing (or just 'on', this will be an option for those that have epilepsy to turn off), and guide you to where you need to go. Not everyone will need this obviously, and not every airfield will have it (just the bigger ones), but if you do need it, it's an option for you.

 

3. More options for static objects in the mission editor

Aside from all of these things, we should get some more airfield related objects in the mission editor as well, such as jet blast deflectors, sheds, and other assorted items to place down when building our missions to make the airfields feel more alive. Some of the stuff made by the guys behind the VPC airfield objects mod should become something that is part of DCS naturally (if not the actual assets, something akin to them).

 

4. ATC

While I know that a new ATC system is coming, the details haven't quite been fully fleshed out, so here's what I'd like to see. First off, tell us which runway we're cleared to use, and what the weather conditions are when we request clearance to land. Also, like a real world ATC, we should be hearing from multiple members of the ATC crew, one that handles things outside the airfield, one that handles approach/departure, and one that handles ground, unless it's a small airbase/airport in which we may only hear from one or two of such a thing.

 

5. Renaming the airfields

Although a rare thing, it would be nice if we could rename the airfields in the mission editor to reflect certain events, or just to have a different name as needed. For example if during a multi-week campaign one faction captures an airfield, they may choose to rename it, and even if it's something silly, it should be something we should be allowed to do (within reason).

 

So what do you guys think? Would you like to see any of these? Feel free to discuss below.

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Great ideas, @Tank50us.  Thanks for starting the thread.  I have been thinking about some of these myself and how to trigger/script whenever I land or takeoff.  Some could be done in the ME, while others we need ED's help. 

 

I love the immersion factor of your suggestions.  I just wonder where these would rank on a priority list for ED - pretty far down the list, I'm afraid.  🙁

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as a first step, i would already be quite happy with just some new 3d models for ground crews and equipment.

 

now we have extremely detailed civilian public transportation, but the crewchief that stands besides my aircraft on the ramp is an ugly, badly animated, fat guy with an extremely low poly m4 rifle.

a handful of different technicians and other ground crew would really push immersion.

 

proper dynamically simulated ground services are also needed of course, but those woudl obviously take some more time and effort to develop...

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My personal wishlist after half a decade with DCS: https://forums.eagle.ru/showthread.php?t=216873

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On 4/30/2021 at 9:18 AM, twistking said:

as a first step, i would already be quite happy with just some new 3d models for ground crews and equipment.

 

now we have extremely detailed civilian public transportation, but the crewchief that stands besides my aircraft on the ramp is an ugly, badly animated, fat guy with an extremely low poly m4 rifle.

a handful of different technicians and other ground crew would really push immersion.

 

proper dynamically simulated ground services are also needed of course, but those woudl obviously take some more time and effort to develop...

 

The thing is, some of it we already have for the Super Carrier, which is where people like me are getting the idea from.

 

That, and having worked the local airport ramp, I got to see how busy it gets out there, and would like to see some of these things implemented.

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Posted (edited)
On 4/27/2021 at 5:40 AM, Tank50us said:

So, one thing I've floated around all over the place, including in a few related topics here in the forums is proper ground handling for the planes in DCS. Now, since all of these topics are scattered, I figured I'd create a more comprehensive list of the various subjects I've seen, and my own personal vision of how I think it would look and feel in the game.

 

1. Ground Crews

When you load in you'll first be greeted by the aircraft ground crew, who are busy with the aircraft making final checks, and then they clear out. When you are ready to start, the marshal will give you the appropriate hand signals to guide you in starting your jet (and letting you know that you are clear to start), he/she will also tell you when ground air/power is hooked up or detached, when the chocks have been removed, and a host of other commands. When you're cleared to taxi out, he'll guide you to the ramp (sometimes with wing-walkers helping), and then salute you as you pass by.

 

These same guys will also greet you when you land and taxi to your designated parking space. The wing-walkers will meet you at the edge of the ramp, and hold up wands marking where the parking space is (or where you enter the parking area), and then walk with the plane until you're lined up with the marshal who will guide you to your stop point. Once you've stopped, he'll give you further instructions depending on the aircraft, such as telling you to shut down (by doing a 'cut' hand signal), and telling you to open the canopy. (this will be especially useful for those using FC3 planes, as you have to be shut down to rearm/refuel).

 

Personally, I'd be okay with essentially static crew members (with at least different variants for different countries) - though it would be good if they were animated to facilitate doing whatever, even if it's a fitted for but not with implementation.

 

Quote

2. Ground Support Equipment (GSE)

On top of the normal ground crews, you'd also see various vehicles running around the base doing their normal activities (including maybe some Easter eggs like the HotShots! baggage cart and some guy roasting a hot-dog), but also when your plane arrives, you will be greeted by several vehicles that will assist the ground crews with doing various tasks.

 

Tugs: In instances where you're needing to be pushed back to leave, a tug will latch onto your plane and push you back to a point where you can taxi out.

 

Agreed, tugs have been a long requested item, the saving grace here is that they might be coming in the future - the tugs that came with the Supercarrier module (which is currently 3), are all fully animated, so while they might be static for now, provided the functionality is there, they're already animated for it.

 

Quote

Repair Crane: When you request a repair, a repair crane (similar to the ones you see on the Carriers) will rush out to you and lift the plane up off the ground while repairs are made. As a bonus, instead of just placing you back down where you were (if on grass obviously), it'll put you back down on the concrete where you can actually taxi away.

 

Not sure about this one, I'm okay with the vehicle (and the SC one is animated to) but I'm not sure how much work it would be to implement it.

 

Personally, I'd rather see things like maintenance hatches implemented, and when you request a repair these open - currently I think this is only there for the A-10s and the F-15C, but the new Ka-50 seems to be getting it too (unsure about the Hind).

 

It might also be a good idea if we had the option for static aircraft to have their respective doors open, to approximate an aircraft undergoing maintenance.

 

Quote

Fuel and ammo trucks: When you request rearm and refuel, a fuel truck (appropriate for your aircraft, so an F-16 will see a fuel HEMMT while a Mig29 will see a Russian truck), and either an ammo truck or a tug towing ordinance carts will come to your aircraft. When they arrive, they'll park just outside the aircraft "Safety Diamond", and then the refueling and rearming process will begin. If a tug towing the ordinance is what meets you, you'll actually see the weapons you requested being towed. This will include a drum for the gun (if you requested gun ammo), a 'hot box' for flares, and since it exists, a 'hard case' for the Mig21s nuke. These may be things that are optional though, and able to be adjusted in the game settings. For example if you only want to see your ordinance being loaded, just select it, if you want to see everyone's ordinance, you select that option, if you don't want to see any of it, you can select that. (or just select a simplified option, which is just the trucks). Once you're loaded up, the tug and fuel truck will depart back to where they came from and 'despawn' (which will usually be a shed not far from where you parked).

 

For ammunition, personally, as a first step I think we're better off seeing some munitions handling trailers (or equivalent), and then use the loadout menu in the mission editor to customise what it's carrying (in exactly the same fashion as aircraft) - though we might need to have multiple different trailers for certain payloads, as well as weapons in a handling configuration (so covers over windows, control surfaces/fins/etc removed, etc).

 

These would probably be static objects (but they should be animated to support being towed around). Having the full system where something tows a trailer to an airfield ammunition depot, retrieves the weapons you want and brings them back sounds like it would be a bit of a nightmare - especially with multiple aircraft rearming at once. So I think going for static configurable munitions handling trailers is the way to go, but animate them for towing.

 

Another idea is to also have weapons just be static objects themselves, allowing them to be placed wherever, as well as containers for weapons and ammunition drums/boxes.

 

One thing I would like to see however is an overhauled warehouse system for ammunition but that's not really the topic of this thread.

 

For fuel trucks, I'm again not sure about them driving to and from whatever depot and coming to your aircraft - at least automatically, I'm not saying no, but it might prove a bit of a hassle for the AI, particularly when we've got multiple aircraft refuelling. If it can be implemented however, go for it.

 

I'm personally happy where they are and what I would like to see relates more to an overhauled warehouse/logistics system.

 

Quote

Guide vehicles:

As some of you know very well, some of the air fields are massive, and if you're not that familiar with them, you may need assistance getting to where you need to go. If this is the case, you can stop on a taxi way, and request a ground vehicle to a specific point (such as to the parking area). At which point, a truck of some sort will come out, lights flashing (or just 'on', this will be an option for those that have epilepsy to turn off), and guide you to where you need to go. Not everyone will need this obviously, and not every airfield will have it (just the bigger ones), but if you do need it, it's an option for you.

 

Not sure about this one, nice to see sure, but personally if the triggers were expanded (and vehicles had functioning lights in the first place), I'd be happy with what we've got. Navigating on airfields for me is more a problem of ATC and airfield diagrams being present in the kneeboard. 

 

Quote

3. More options for static objects in the mission editor

Aside from all of these things, we should get some more airfield related objects in the mission editor as well, such as jet blast deflectors, sheds, and other assorted items to place down when building our missions to make the airfields feel more alive. Some of the stuff made by the guys behind the VPC airfield objects mod should become something that is part of DCS naturally (if not the actual assets, something akin to them).

 

Absolutely agreed.

 

Quote

4. ATC

While I know that a new ATC system is coming, the details haven't quite been fully fleshed out, so here's what I'd like to see. First off, tell us which runway we're cleared to use, and what the weather conditions are when we request clearance to land. Also, like a real world ATC, we should be hearing from multiple members of the ATC crew, one that handles things outside the airfield, one that handles approach/departure, and one that handles ground, unless it's a small airbase/airport in which we may only hear from one or two of such a thing.

 

Again, absolutely agreed.

 

Personally, a great case study of how to do ATC properly is found with that other F-16 orientated sim, which also continues to improve it. If we had all the features and functionality that has, while working as well as that one does then it would be basically perfect, with the only improvement being more voice actors.

  • There should be a ground, tower and approach/departure controller (where appropriate), which should use different voices, and be on different frequencies.
  • They should all schedule correctly and coordinate with aircraft.
  • Ground should tell you how to get to runway, what your queue position of your flight is to get onto the runway, and if you're told to hold position, who and what you need to give way to.
  • Tower should tell you to continue to hold short, position and hold or whether your clear for takeoff, depending on what's going on (aircraft landing), in the other sim, they aim to clear you for takeoff at your allocated take-off time.
  • AI aircraft should respond to and coordinate with ATC - the amount of times I've been cleared in to land, and the AI decides to go onto the runway, forcing me to abort and go-around is ridiculous - if ATC has cleared me to land the AI should hold short.
  • You should be able to request multiple different approaches.
  • Approach should give you vectors and guide you in.

 

I'm sure I've missed something, but the overall gist of it is, if the ATC system works as well as and has the functionality of the other F-16 orientated sim (or rather its subsequent modification) then it'll be basically perfect. 

 

Quote

5. Renaming the airfields

Although a rare thing, it would be nice if we could rename the airfields in the mission editor to reflect certain events, or just to have a different name as needed. For example if during a multi-week campaign one faction captures an airfield, they may choose to rename it, and even if it's something silly, it should be something we should be allowed to do (within reason).

 

Not sure about this one, if we get text to speech for ATC sure, but otherwise I'm okay with leaving it the way it is.

 


Edited by Northstar98
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34 minutes ago, Northstar98 said:

These would probably be static objects (but they should be animated to support being towed around). Having the full system where something tows a trailer to an airfield ammunition depot, retrieves the weapons you want and brings them back sounds like it would be a bit of a nightmare - especially with multiple aircraft rearming at once. So I think going for static configurable munitions handling trailers is the way to go, but animate them for towing.

 

The way I see it is that they'd spawn from their 'warehouse' (or just near it), and then start moving along the 'designated' areas until they get to your plane, turn, and park just outside your safety zone (for those wondering what I'm talking about, a Safety Zone is an area, typically a diamond, that extends a minimum of 3 feet from the nose, tail, and wing-tips of the aircraft). Once they've done that, the re-arming and refueling begins. once they're finished, they take the same path back, and de-spawn (and reset their positioning as well). The actual paths they would take is on the map designers to implement, but available for the mission editors to adjust as needed (say if a warehouse got destroyed in a previous mission). The reason for this method (spawning and despawning) is that it does save on resources, since having all the items pre-placed can eat up lots and lots of resources in a persons PC if they're on a lower-end machine, so the game will only ever call what is absolutely necessary at any given time.

 

As for the crane idea, it is still just an idea, and one I'm sure many would like to at least see just to have your plane put on tarmac when you're repaired rather then trying to taxi on grass/dirt/sand (which is virtually impossible with some planes).

 

On the subject of warehousing, you do bring up a good point in that that is something DCS needs to address at some point. Particularly for servers running a single persistent campaign mission (where players are constantly at war), so that each 'team' has a single airbase with unlimited stocks, but the rest have limits on them, which the players must deal with either by flying goods back and forth (with a cargo helo or aircraft), or ensuring that supply convoys get to the destination without difficulty.

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Posted (edited)

Agreed. Along with some templates, so we can fill an airport with the click of a button, in stead of messing about for hours in the ME, while most of us wouldn't even know how to fill a military base properly. 


Edited by dawgie79
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58 minutes ago, dawgie79 said:

Agreed. Along with some templates, so we can fill an airport with the click of a button, in stead of messing about for hours in the ME, while most of us wouldn't even know how to fill a military base properly. 

 

 

hell, just what vehicles should even be *at* an airfield to begin with.

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I take anything extra from the current empty airbases etc.

 

I have just one main requirement that is "unnegotiable". 

All those needs to be automatically in the place for the missions without mission designer required to manually place everything in there if the base settings is set so. 

 

If a parking slot is by any means set to be allocated for any respawn (by client or player or AI) then it should have all those in place. They should move to the location first if it is empty and pull the proper aircraft from nearest hangar or something if it doesn't exist there. 

 

IMHO the ED should anyways make a living airbases as default thing. Where troops are moving, vehicles are driving around, there would be some static aircraft in service etc.

A bonus would be getting a option for the airbase to make it "functional" so that some random aircraft will actually start taking off and go for some random patrol and then return. Just like in the RAT script (Random Air Traffic) but without requiring to actually use these third party scripts. In a airports that has civilian aircraft, they would have their busy traffic going. It would make them more interesting to fly and operate by seeing the planes flying to some random directions (proper directions to foreign countries etc) and just disappear at the edge of the map of infinity (meaning you could chase it 500 km outside of the map but it would eventually just be "ghost".

 

I wrote somewhere in a reply how to do the animations based how the aircraft is parked in the proper slot.

So if the aircraft is not properly centered (red cross inside green zone) in its parking slot then either pilot needs to move it or a tug will come and move it to center of it.

If the aircraft  is centered inside the proper area, then all the service personnel and vehicles and such will come from the nearby service center/hall to correctly allocated positions (blue zones) around the slot. In that slot then personnel will move dynamically to around the aircraft (red dots etc). 

 

Ground_Crew_animations.jpg

 

This would allow players to taxi to parking slots and be careful to get it in proper position. And then wait that the service personnel and equipment will arrive there if it was a uncalled one. Otherwise you would be taxiing to parking slot that was designated for you after landing and there is the ground crew already waiting you and guiding you properly in.

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I too have fantasised about a feature like this. It's a common feature in civil flight sims, ether as a mod or part of the core sim and I think it does have a place in DCS.

 

Each aircraft has its own start-up requirements so the responsibility for implementing these features will likely fall to each module developers SMEs to determine; how many crew are needed, what covers and locks are removed at what times, and any bespoke activities needed. I have limited experience as a Hawk T1 technician so for example, when the pilot closes the canopy, the crew take cover under the wing in case the canopy detonation goes off. I would imagine the fight would start at the point where the pilot has just been strapped in. During aircraft repairs, the aeroplane is lifted off the ground. Perhaps this could be improved with the addition of some jacks or a crane (depending on what's appropriate for the aircraft).

 

If these features do come to DCS, FOR THE LOVE OF FLIGHT, DO NOT LOCK THEM BEHIND A PAYWALL LIKE SUPERCARRIER!

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