JUNE 2020: Radio Check

The fact of the matter is simple …. communication ensures the team works better. When you are not talking to each other, things go poorly. When flying Digital Combat Simulator on the Storm of War (SoW) Server, this is absolutely true. Whether you are flying as a lone pilot or part of a virtual squadron, being on radio will help you be more successful and help your side achieve their goals.
Over the past year or so, a little add-on programme has increasingly started to take on the primary role of facilitating voice communication for DCS. This programme is Simple Radio Standalone, AKA “SRS”.

SRS is a fairly lightweight application that hooks into the aircraft radios in DCS. It allows players to broadcast voice to each other via the specific virtual frequencies that their in-game radios are tuned to. Naturally, this goes beyond other well known voice communication tools like Teamspeak and discord because of this unique connection to the aircraft radio. Having this functionality has been a massively immersive improvement for many online DCS players and SRS has been integrated into most of the popular multiplayer servers.
There’s no doubt that tools like SRS add to your experience and can improve your success on the SoW server as a pilot. SRS also allows non-flying players to join the “airborne” radio frequencies to act as Fighter Controllers or Air Traffic Controllers.

However, as with any third party tool, that’s not core to DCS, a number of frustrations can arise. SRS is always a step behind the core development of the game it hooks into. Any significant DCS might cause the loss of functionality for SRS, requiring an additional update. Not all servers will update simultaneously and players can be left with non-compatible versions of SRS.
As long as immersive radio voice coms are missing from the core of DCS, third party applications will also require players to conduct extra key bindings and hardware configuration in addition to that which they already have for DCS itself. In other cases, players might still prefer voice-activated style communication with their squad-mates. It’s not uncommon for players to have both SRS and Teamspeak or Discord running at the same time. Using SRS to communicate to the wider player base on a server, whilst using Teamspeak for coms with their mates or virtual squadron.
All of this configurating and additional installations can simply be too much of a faff for a lot of people. Furthermore, determining how best to go about deploying the increasing variety of voice coms applications can cause real problems within groups of players, as the following recent statement from Storm of War social media shows:

In the end, the best solution is most likely to come when immersive and configurable voice coms are finally integrated in the core of DCS itself. Hopefully, lessons can be learned from the likes of SRS and Teamspeak or Discord so that the most flexible, yet user friendly solution can be implemented.
For SRS information visit http://dcssimpleradio.com/

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