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DCS: F-14 JESTER AI – Behind the Scenes


Heatblur Simulations has released a video unveiling the status of the upcoming DCS: F-14.  This behind-the-scenes video looks at the progress of the JESTER AI, recorded over the past year.

One of the biggest parts of the project is to build a comprehensive and realistic voice library and for the past year, Heatblur has taken on a dedicated team using Grayson Frohberg as the RIO Voice and Aleksander Studen-Kirchner the director.  To ensure the most natural performance and realism; they decided to approach the recording process by placing the duo into combat or non-combat scenarios to more naturally record voice lines as opposed to dry reading in the studio.

Nicholas Dackard, Founder and Lead Artist at Heatblur Simulations explained: “Today, we’re reaching the first of our milestones on the recording and creation process of their voice library.  Much effort is being made to ensure that JESTER’s speech sounds natural, and much of our current focus lies with refining existing functionality and adding lots of variations to currently implemented calls. For this, our process focuses on plenty of repetition and repeating the same statement multiple times at a time, and then extracting the lines that we feel will fit well.”

JESTER AI, is a proprietary AI, designed specifically for multi-crew aircraft. The goal is to make him both feel alive, adaptive and flexible, but also realistic in terms of the limitations and capabilities a real RIO would have.  JESTER will not make it easier for you than any real human experienced RIO would in a multi-crew environment.  “The aim is to make JESTER capable enough that you won’t have to jump into the back seat at all.”

JESTER’s list of capabilities will be limited at Early Access launch, but by focusing on the main underlying structure and behaviour trees, the Heatblur is able to rapidly grow its functionality.  The following list is a sample of what JESTER is currently capable of.

• Using TCS and Radar STT modes
• Spot and IFF bogeys both by radar and TCS, including making BRAA calls
• Ability to spot and call out incoming missiles detected by RWR
• React to RWR threats, both surface- and airborne, as well as their type and direction
• Visually detects missile launches and calls them out when in his field of view
• You can order him through a command dial to look in a certain direction
• Lock differently prioritized targets, lock the closest or next bandit, lock the next target ahead, launch the next missile, break the STT lock
• Identify the target type via TCS in BVR
• Advise you to break if he spots the missile very close (and in time of course)
• If spotted properly and in time he will advise you the direction to break
• Call out SAM launches and threats both visually and in RWR
• Call out groups of targets
• Provide the player with an action system that works like a radial command that can be bound to both HOTAS and Keyboard
• The command radial menu allows the player to easily navigate through the command menus and submenus in a very short time
• The commands build on each other logically, so that the player has a quick and easy overview and does not lose much thought navigating the commands.

The F-14 for DCS World was first announced in March 2015.  The package will come with both the A and B variant along with a detailed 6-DOF (Degrees of Freedom) cockpit with accurate avionics and weapons systems – including the vaunted AWG-9 radar system and AIM-54 Phoenix missiles.

Other highlights include:
• AIM-54 Phoenix Simulation with a CFD based AFM
• ‘JESTER AI’ – a proprietary AI for fully voiced, dependable and smart RIO/WSO
• Accurate flight model based on real performance data
• Multicrew capability
• Animated crew members
• Detailed external model, animations and textures
• Accurate aircraft system and subsystem modelling
• Free theatre bundled with the aircraft
• Single-player campaign
• Full suite of documentation, including game manual, quick-start guides, and more
• Interactive training missions, teaching you to fly and fight.

The Real Tomcat
The F-14 Tomcat is a fourth-generation supersonic naval interceptor, developed for the US Navy VFX (Navy Fighter Experimental) programme.  After its maiden flight in 1970, and subsequent fleet introduction in 1974, it became the primary fleet defence and air superiority fighter for the US Navy.  The legend of the F-14 only grew after the Hollywood smash-hit “Top Gun” – in which it was heavily featured.

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