Eagle Dynamics has stated that, because of their current focus on both military and consumer simulation products, they will not simulate vehicles at a lower level of detail or using incomplete data; to do so would create a product unsuitable as a demonstration of the company's abilities for potential military clients. Many people also discussed Lock On: Modern Air Combat and its add-on Flaming Cliffs to be slightly flawed to the fact that different aircraft have different levels of realism. In the DCS series, Eagle Dynamics is avoiding that same problem in DCS: Black Shark and upcoming add-ons. Accordingly, DCS modules focus on the modeling of individual aircraft — including the aerodynamics, avionics, weather (icing, wind, visibility), weapon-systems and detailed damage-models — at high levels of detail.
Each consecutive release will feature one flyable aircraft. The modules are intended to be independent but still maintain compatibility with each other for multiplayer purposes. Though a problem arose that it only had one aircraft that was flyable per edition, each aircraft is modelled in exact detail to provide a more enjoyable flying experience.
The first module Black Shark featuring the Kamov Ka-50, was originally intended as an expansion pack for Lock On. However, it was delayed due to Eagle Dynamics and The Fighter Collection transferring resources to military contracts. It was eventually decided to launch Black Shark as a first product in a new franchise, citing difficulties in merging design goals with the engine used by Lock On.
The Russian version was released on October 17 2008. International versions were delayed due to localization efforts and the requirement of an age rating.
The simulated cockpit contains all switches of the real helicopter and is almost fully interactive. Most buttons and switches can be operated with the mouse and/or by a touchscreen. Additionally there are around 500 keyboard-commands, with the majority giving the player direct control over those cockpit-switches.
To handle obstructions in the cockpit (namely the joystick and the pilot's legs) in order to see and reach all switches, the head of the virtual pilot can be moved to a certain degree. To help facilitate this, TrackIR is supported with up to 6 DOF.
The DVD contains 9 video-tutorials ("producer's notes"), and the installed game contains a documentation with 500+ pages.
Besides offering a simplified game-mode called "Game", several aids can be activated to support the less experienced pilot. Those aids range from an indestructible helicopter, external views and unlimited ammunition to small labels marking every unit in visible range.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 DCS FAQ. Digital Combat Simulator. Retrieved on 2008-04-17.
- ↑ Ka-50 Black Shark. Digital Combat Simulator. Retrieved on 2008-04-17.
- ↑ list of TrackIR - enhanced games. Track-IR, Natural Point. Retrieved on 2009-04-02.
- ↑ Direct2Drive's DCS: Black Shark download page
- ↑ ED - SF Press Release (Russian)
- ↑ Patch 1.0.2 for "DCS: Black Shark"