Saturday, December 12, 2015

Surviving the Winter #2: Flying the UH-1 Huey

Perhaps more pertinent to the nature of this blog than the golf simulator presented in the first installment of the Surviving the Winter series, this time we will be flying in a flight simulator called 'DCS World.'

As with many things of this nature, DCS World is cheap (free, to be precise) to acquire but demands a pretty healthy and robust computer to use it. In addition to the PC itself, a sim like this has rather a prodigious need for peripheral equipment. To have any kind of satisfactory experience, you will need a flight stick with some form of separate throttle control and rudder pedals. You're probably looking at $250 or so, but keep in mind that peripherals like that support many different simulators.

You will also really, really want a head tracking device like the TrackIR 5.

I said above the DCS World is free, but that isn't 100% accurate. It is free to download, but it does not come with the Huey. Most of the airplanes and helicopters are add-on purchases, although the TF-51 that comes with the free download is really quite nice.

In any event, the Huey was something that I had to pay for, but because I am patient enough to wait for things to go on sale, I got it for the princely sum of $8.99.  Ride along and see if you agree that I got my money's worth.

The DCS World download comes with a Mission Editor. In the same manner as The Golf Club including a course builder, DCS figures that having gobs of missions available can only server to increase sales of the add-on airplanes.

I used the mission editor to create a mission whereby I have to take off from a temporary heliport just west of Hoover Dam and fly to the dam to remove the threat of eight terrorists and two trucks blocking the road across the dam. There are civilians huddled in the center of the span, so it is preferable to be selective about where I shoot.  I plopped down a couple of Bradley's to keep civilian cars from driving through the area, but they ignored the blockade and came across anyway.

I chose to ignore them.

Hey, it's my world and I can do anything I want in it!

As you watch this, keep in mind that this is an extremely high fidelity simulator - the learning curve is not only steep but prolonged.  Later in the week I will demonstrate a different helicopter game (not sim) that is much more approachable, but has the same system requirements.

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