Two nights ago I booted up TeamSpeak and Join.FS for the first time in perhaps a year to try some group flying. If you’ve not used TeamSpeak, it’s a voice server that allows real-time voice chat between gamers. If you’ve not tried Join.FS, it allows flight simmers to fly together across platforms without needing to use their sim’s native multiplayer function – so, like in PilotEdge, you ccan fly with buddies while all using different sim software (P3D, X-Plane, etc.). So Join.FS lets you fly with others, and TeamSpeak allows you to talk to each other over the headsets in real time without needing to worry about radio frequencies.
It’s all very slick. More than one regular reader of On The Glideslope uses Join.FS and TeamSpeak for group flights, and I’d encourage our community here to use the service more often for flights together. It’s great fun to fill a ramp and fly together while chatting in real time.
That being said, one of the primary TeamSpeak groups for gamers is Digital Theme Park. One of the hosts there, Zoolander, was kind enough to get me up and running a year or so ago, and when I logged in the other night he was there again to welcome me and help me get up to speed. We flew a bit and had some fun, with three of us doing pattern work at KSAN. Last night I logged in again, and after some time flying one of the guys mentioned Digital Combat Simulator. DCS is becoming legendary in the flight sim world for its affordable pricing (the base sim is free), immersive missions, excellent graphics and performance, and mind-blowing multiplayer. I have it and have flown in it some in VR, but not enough to really know what I’m doing. When the folks last night heard I hadn’t done multiplayer yet they all insisted we switch over to DCS and get rolling. It uses the same Join.FS / TeamSpeak software as the other sims, and we were up and running in minutes.
All I can say is: WOW. Especially in VR. We took off, flew for a while, and then hooked up with a KC-10 to try refueling. In VR this was nothing short of mind-blowing. I was so entranced I quickly set up and ran a stream for a time, which you may see below. As with other VR videos it’s not quite as good as the real thing as it lacks 3D, but you will get the idea.
As for me, I’m hooked. Many of the aircraft in DCS are study-level in their detail, and in the basic F-15C I still have no idea what I’m doing. But this is an amazing flight experience I would encourage every simmer who has not yet done so to try — ESPECIALLY in VR. It’s truly amazing stuff. And if anyone who frequents here enjoys DCS and wants to fly multiplayer or show me the ropes, let me know as I’m all in (in fact, the HOTAS arrives tomorrow!).