Another Rise of Flight Sale

May 24th, 2016 by

Yearning for the early days of armed combat in the skies? Check out Rise of Flight’s latest 66% off sale. The sale started today and goes until May 30th.

I just got into flying Rise of Flight and its spectacularly done. I’m a couple of hours into the free version and I figured, what the heck, lets buy some planes on sale. It’s a great sim and a different flavour from some of the higher speed WWII and modern combat sims that are out there.

rof-crashed rof-sopwithpupvictory

 

Battle of Moscow is here!

May 19th, 2016 by

Game version 2.001 officially ushers in the first expansion to IL-2: Battle of Stalingrad with the new Battle of Moscow release.

Here are some highlights from the update:

  • Customers who pre-purchased Battle of Moscow and don’t have Battle of Stalingrad can access the game today (previously only the players who own both theaters of war could play the Battle of Moscow)
  • Piloting tips added (they can be switched off in user interface settings)
  • Video cutscenes added to Battle of Moscow campaign
  • Scenario missions added to Battle of Moscow campaign
  • More combinations of weapon modifications are allowed for MiG-3 and P-40
  • Pine trees added to forests
  • Stalingrad navigation map updated to match the new Moscow map features (visible airfield layouts for instance)
  • Joystick IDs won’t be erased during each game update

There are a ton of other updates including some updates and fixes for IL-2: Battle of Stalingrad content too. For those on the fence, Battle of Moscow is everything that Battle of Stalingrad was with plenty of new content (8 regular planes, 2 premium, and the excellent fall and winter Moscow maps) with a slightly revised campaign. It has some of the same flaws too but the whole package is really coming along. A full review is coming later on. Until then!

bom-mig-cockpit-closing-in-on-victory bom-bf110-victory bom-mig3-beauty-shot bom-launches

 

 

Rise Of Flight Sale

April 29th, 2016 by

I just had an email touch down in my inbox that says there is a Rise OF Flight sale on with up to 66% off.

Im not quite sure why but RoF never really seemed to take off (ahem!) at Battle-Fields, we did run a simulator for a while but I think the fact that making maps for it was a nightmare and most of our pilots were into faster things like Spitfires meant that it never got the attention it deserved.

Personally I found multi crew mayhem at walking speed great fun!

Anyhow if you want to treat yourself this Bank Holiday weekend go check out the RoF store!

 

Bitcoin Update

April 27th, 2016 by

I just sent some money to my Steam account using Bitcoin, it went through very quickly and was far easier than using Paypal. So if you have some hanging around then why not go buy yourself a new game!

For the record B-F accepts bitcoin donations too and has done for some time now so sod Steam, send us your money 🙂

 

Stats Dredged

April 26th, 2016 by

I have done my regular mucking out of the IL2 1946 stats database to remove all the old and smelly pilots and give those of us with less talent the chance to get to the top again!

Why not bookmark the page? http://www.battle-fields.com/BF1stats/

 

 

Use Your Bitcoin With Steam

April 26th, 2016 by

Looking over at Reddit it seems that people are getting all hot under the collar about being able to top up their accounts using Bitcoin.

I’d just like to say its not working in the UK yet 🙂 Hopefully soon!

 

 

IL-2: Battle of Moscow 1.201 Patch Brings a Lot of New Content

April 15th, 2016 by

The latest patch released by 1CGS in the IL-2: Battle of Stalingrad and Battle of Moscow series brings with it a ton of new content. The long awaited Ju88A-4 enters the game with a brilliantly flyable German level and dive bomber, the Moscow map arrives along with the Moscow campaign and the game client gets 64bit support. It’s quite a bit to digest!

The Ju88A-4

New aircraft added for the Battle of Moscow series has included a list of iconic aircraft and the Ju88A-4 is easily on the top of the list. Produced in the many thousands, the A-4 is the definitive version of the successful Ju88 series seeing use on the Eastern Front from start to finish.

The A-4 boasts an impressive bomb loadout with a huge selection of standard and unlockable options. As it currently stands, the Ju88A-4 has the biggest and most flexible bomb loadout in the game. It also beats the He111H-6 in the versatility department offering both effective level and dive bombing capabilities.

Fast and capable... the iconic Ju88! Pretty good looking office!Defensive armament is comprised of MG81 and MG81Z (twin) machine guns in the nose, ventral gondola, and top sections of the aircraft’s small crew compartment. These are rapid firing machine guns compared to what you would find on the Heinkel H-6 and that should make the Ju88 a tougher plane to attack, however, there is a caveat. These machine guns overheat quickly (after very short bursts) and the dispersion becomes difficult to make these useful at times.

The Ju88 can climb reasonably quickly and it maintains a higher top speed than the He111. Overall this bomber is fast and maneuverable, especially once the bombs are dropped, and it rises to the top of the list, being one of, if not the most, effective bombers available, in-game, on either side of the conflict. It’s that good!

Moscow Map

Patch 1.201 also brings us the Moscow map. First question that everyone asks is, does the map actually have Moscow on it, and the answer is… Yes. Sort of.

moscow-fog moscow-riverMoscow is many times larger than Stalingrad and with more complex city objects. The devs decided that the best option available to them was to build the city but in a lower detail than they might on objects you get close to. Moscow is just out of reach of the flyable area of the map. It’s a compromise that lets players see the titular city they are attacking or defending but not actually be forced developing a performance and development time sucking city.

Moscow aside, this map is impressive in its details. The villages and towns are impressively detailed, the forests are denser than those at Stalingrad, and indeed the whole map has a different aesthetic quality to it than the Stalingrad map that we’re familiar with.

Airbases are similarly detailed with good texturing details (not the best but good) and more object complexity. There are larger scale hangars in the Moscow area than Stalingrad and the detailing on the map reflects it.

moscow-airfield moscow-overfly

New atmospheric fogging effects at low altitude during dawn and dusk are also a small but subtle way that makes this game even more beautiful than it was in the past.

 

The campaign, break it to me doc!

So… the campaign. Is it good? The answer is: it depends.

Battle of Stalingrad released with a fairly basic single player campaign that offered easy access to a series of missions for whatever plane they wanted. Rather than be locked into a single type or option, the campaign let you generate whatever mission and fly whatever plane you wanted (assuming you had unlocked them).

bf109andi16-battleThe Moscow campaign has a near identical approach. What it benefits from is increased diversity. The missions themselves are more random with greater chances of random occurrences and interception by enemy or friendly forces enroute to target or even a long time after. Players have been jumped shortly after takeoff and soon before landing adding to the challenge and interest.

If you hated the premise of the old one, then the new one doesn’t do much to change that. There is no pilot narrative and unit/squadron identities are not something that gets any play. What you do have is a good progression of missions through the Moscow campaign (from autumn to winter) with an endlessly replayable random mission generator.

New 64bit Client

The other update is the new 64bit client which is supposedly improving performance by 10-20%. I don’t have numbers but I will say that the game is overall smoother and it runs better when there are large numbers of aircraft and objects in an area. Even my newest PC used to be bogged down by a dozen flights in a given area, but no more!

Is there anything next?

Release for IL-2: Battle of Moscow is imminent. Everyone with the latest patch has access to what is now a near content complete version of Battle of Moscow but there are still a few things left to do including campaign cinematics and some custom hand built missions sprinkled into the campaign. My guess is that those final pieces of the puzzle are weeks away at the most.

Is there anything after that? We don’t know yet and 1CGS says they haven’t had a chance to discuss internally what their plans are. That may have changed more recently but speculation is rampant covering the range of WWII theatres from Kursk and the Kuban/Crimea battles to North Africa, Malta, and D-Day. There is also no guarantee that the series will continue although I think nearly most of us are hopeful that it does. Time will tell!

 

Virtual Headsets

April 9th, 2016 by

Ive been waiting for virtual reality since I had hair on my head and less of the stuff everywhere else!

Its not going to be cheap if you get in right at the start but this site might help you make up your mind perhaps: http://www.engadget.com/2016/04/08/oculus-rift-vs-htc-vive/

For the flight simmers amongst us this might be of interest too: https://flyinside-fsx.com/

 

Filling in the Gaps – IL-2 Patch 1.107

February 15th, 2016 by

1CGS’ IL-2 series has reached 1.107 and as always I like to review the major content additions as they arrive to the series. This patch adds three aircraft to the lineup meaning that we are one away from being content complete for the IL-2: Battle of Moscow lineup.

Time to review some aircraft!

Friedrich Arrives at the Party

Fred doing a pretty good Gustav impression

Fred doing a pretty good Gustav impression.

The first of the three new types that I’m reviewing is the Bf109F-2. Located in between the Bf109E-7 and Bf109F-4 in performance, the F-2 is visually identical to the F-4 but under the hood is a slightly less powerful DB 601N engine (1159hp in the F-2 vs 1332hp in the DB601E in the F-4).

The F-2 sports the sleek appearance of the F and G series of 109s with the cleaned up aerodynamics and it has the performance to match. With an overall higher top speed, the F-2 is the fighter on the German side to beat. Combined with excellent handling, the F-2 exceeds the MiG-3 overall with better handling than the Russian fighter and at most altitudes it has a higher top speed (except at very high altitude).

Where the Friedrich is less effective is in its armament. The early versions of the F-2 were fitted with the MG151/15 cannon. The 15mm x 96mm cartridge has excellent ballistics against fighter targets but its less effective against bombers. A field modification swapped the smaller gun for a 20mm MG151/20 and that is represented as an unlock. The F-2 has no access to gun pods either.

bf109F-2-03

The MG151/15 works on IL-2s… but it takes some effort to bring one down!

This all creates an interesting choice. The earlier 109E-7 is lighter and has greater firepower (dual MG-FF/M 20mm cannons) while the F-2 is heavier with excellent handling and a higher top speed that it reaches more slowly.

Overall, the Bf109F-2 is an easy fighter to jump in from any other 109 variant and fly it nearly to its max immediately. Its flight performance matches or exceeds that of any Russian fighter in Battle of Moscow (I-16, MiG-3, P-40E) but it is by no means a wonder weapon.

Solid tactics still help win the day here!

 

The Early Shturmovik

Look out!

Look out! Yes, you!

The early IL-2 model 1941 represents the earliest series of IL-2 to see combat. While that doesn’t sound exciting at first glance, the details are everything.

The downsides to this IL-2 include no rear gunner and no 37mm gun pod options. But it does come with a great selection of upsides – an all metal construction (the later model used much more wood for wing and fuselage sections) means that this model is lighter and tougher and it handles much better than the 1942 model.

Just a scratch... model 1941 can take a beating!

Just a scratch… model 1941 can take a beating!

By default it comes with twin 20mm ShVAK cannons and a glass rear canopy. You can upgrade to the 23mm VYa cannons but you lose the glass rear canopy (a historical consideration). All manners of rockets and bombs are still available here and this IL-2 model is still excellent at ground attack. Its agile enough in a pinch to be a fighter too.

This model of IL-2 is better in most ways to the later ones. The 1942 model represents the strains of the wartime economy on the production of one of the most numerous aircraft types in the Russian airforce and its interesting to see the evolution of the type.

Check out our detailed comparison:

IL-2 model 1942 with wooden fuselage, wings and a field modified gunner station

IL-2 model 1942 with wooden fuselage, wings and a field modified gunner station.

IL2 model 1941 with all-metal wings and fuselage

IL2 model 1941 with all-metal wings and fuselage.

Faster and Fancier – The Pe-2 Series 35

Rockets away!

Rockets away!

By now you might be sensing a trend in Russian aircraft. The Pe-2 Series 35 in many ways is superior to that of the later Series 87 (and 110). This earlier series has more glass in the nose thus better visibility out the bottom. This earlier model is lighter and faster with better handling.

There are downsides as well. The earlier series lacks the heavier rear armament with a single ShKAS 7.62mm machine gun located in a retractable glass fairing instead of the heavier UB 12.7mm. Bomb and rocket armament remains familiar to those who regularly fly the later model.

In the current patch there is also a bit of an issue with the top gunner and the retracting faring. The Gunner doesn’t always lower the glass and man the gun quickly enough to respond to lightning fast attacks. Something hopefully the devs are able to address in future updates.

The Pe-2 Series 35 represents a subtly different model of the famous light bomber and dive bomber series from the later Series 87 and 110 that we have in IL-2: Battle of Stalingrad. Again, we see the strain of the wartime economy in the reductions of glass and the battle lessons learned with heavier defensive armament on the later model.

Compare early and late models:

The Series 35 with glass nose and top gunner station fairing.

The Series 35 with glass nose and top gunner station fairing.

More metal pieces and no more fancy glass fairing on the top

More metal pieces and no more fancy glass fairing on the top of the Series 87.

Conclusions and Updates

Bomber fans are going to love the Ju88's versatility.

Bomber fans are going to love the Ju88’s versatility.

Some may lament that the three new aircraft added are infact not new but earlier versions of types we already have. That may be true but they are also important types in the earlier Battle of Moscow time period and perhaps most interesting to people who enjoy the details – Each of these represent the gradual evolution of some extremely important and notable aircraft types. These are not just a copy and paste job by the developers. They are recreated in exceptional detail showing subtle yet important differences. Each of them fly in a familiar way, yet they have notable differences and you can tell what you’re flying just by the feel.

With the release of these three types there are some other important changes detailed in the change log.

Closing in on release we have only a little more content yet to be released. We’re eagerly anticipating the release of the Ju88A-4 bomber which will nicely round out the Luftwaffe’s selection. The developers are also finishing work on the Moscow map and we’re expecting both of those major pieces of content to arrive in the next couple of updates. The single player campaign is also due sometime after that.

Double rail bridge, like a double rainbow, isn't something you see everyday!

Double rail bridge, like a double rainbow, isn’t something you see everyday!

Look for updates on those two items plus a full scale review of the finished product after release. It’s fun to write and I hope everyone is enjoying our write-ups on IL-2: Battle of Moscow.

 

New Fixes and the MiG-3 Round out Patch 1.106 for IL-2: BoM

January 16th, 2016 by

The developers at 1CGS contine to pump out a steady stream of updates. Just last month we gained access to the Luftwaffe’s heavy fighter and attack aircraft, the Bf110E-2, drivable tanks, and huge selection of features. In late December we were once again treated with some great updates and, for those of you in the IL-2: Battle of Moscow early access program, the MiG-3.

It’s time we looked at the MiG and some of the other changes that have arrived in this latest update.

Mikoyan’s Hot Rod of a Fighter

The MiG (Mikoyan-Gurevich) design bureau has become synonymous with Russian fighter aircraft in the view of the general public. Back in 1940 they were a struggling group of designers and engineers trying to bring an advanced fighter-interceptor to the front lines of an impending war and their reputation was in the production of an unproven and technically difficult design.

MiG-3 cruising along at high altitude!

MiG-3 cruising along at high altitude!

Picked up some damage but that bomber is in real trouble!

Picked up some damage but that bomber is in real trouble!

Patch 1.106 brings us a later version of the MiG-3 fighter. The Series 24 version entered service sometime in the later half of 1941. By the time of the Battle of Moscow, several sub variants of the MiG-3 were on the scene with a wide variety of armament options but most of the front line versions were represented by this later version.

The MiG-3’s handling is a mixed bag of trade-offs and issues. There are improvements to handling over the early 1940 MiG-3 thanks to leading edge slats, improved center of gravity, and the removal of unnecessary fuel tanks. Turn rate is average to good but it gets very unhappy very quickly and it will sometimes flick your out of a turn in a very undesirable way. If you get into real trouble it will eventually correct itself but you can flip flop all over the sky and you can bet your enemies will be aiming to get you before you can recover.

The MiG-3 is fast at altitude with its high altitude rated AM-35 engine but it loses speed superiority rapidly at low altitude. We don’t have the Bf109F-2 yet but even against the Bf109E-7 it has a little difficulty running away. At high altitude the MiG-3 is a strong capable fighter, however, and its interceptor abilities against bombers is good – If you take the optional armament packages that is.

It Has Options!

Stay on target!

Stay on target!

The MiG-3 looks great, even on a dull cloudy day!

The MiG-3 looks great, even on a dull cloudy day!

The MiG-3 has an interesting array of options for its forward armament. The default armament is a single Berezin UB 12.7mm heavy machine gun and two ShKAS 7.62mm light machine guns. Optionally you can unlock a twin UB 12.7mm arrangement in the nose or go up to twin ShVAK 20mm cannons in the nose. Any of these can also be paired with performance sapping gunpods. Rockets and small bomb loads are also an option if you want to press the MiG-3 into fighter-bomber duties.

The MiG-3 is a quirky fighter with quirky performance and handling but it’s another one of those fan favourites. If you know your fighter you can do well but if you mishandle it then prepare to suffer the consequences. Fly it as a boomer and a zoomer and others will have difficulty keeping up. Try and turn fight it all day and it will push you around.

Other Changes

There are a ton of changes to the game as well. Some of the highlights:

  • Previous ‘radar’ around airbases has been changed to a more general ‘under air attack’ or ‘under ground attack’ so that players know that they are entering a hot zone and may not want to spawn there.
  • New early war tanks have been added to the game (in preparation for Battle of Moscow no doubt)
  • Changes to the damage modeling for tanks have spilled over and have slightly improved the way that aircraft damage modelling is handled. I’ve seen a few more broken wings and cool things happening when you really beat up an enemy aircraft.
  • More transparency for the tank gun barrel smoke – Previously you couldn’t see anything and now you can kind of make something out after you shoot. This is great!

There really is a huge list of changes.  If you want the full list… It’s right here.

Don't think we had these nice hangars over in Stalingrad eh?

Don’t think we had these nice hangars over in Stalingrad eh?

Location, location, location! (Moscow Map)

Location, location, location! (Rzhev near Moscow)

If you missed the most recent development update, head over and see what they have been up to. Some of the screen shots of the new autumn Moscow map are phenomenal. Seriously!

Coming up in future updates are the Bf109F-2, the Pe-2 Series 35, IL-2 Mod. 1941, and finally in February we’re expecting to see the Ju88A-4 takeoff. Battle of Moscow is nearing completion and release and we will update you as the expansion of the IL-2 world continues!