January 16th, 2016 by ShamrockOneFive
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
January 1st, 2016 by Bone Head
Well thats it, the dust is settling on Christmas and 2016 is upon us. Gaming wise its been a mixed year for me. In fact when I look back I am struggling to remember the highlights. Making it to single AK rank in CS (don’t know what the real rank name is) during 2015 might be classed as an achievement and there were certainly one or two moments of outstanding play from me all of which were probably overshadowed by a massive amount of ineptitude, badly thrown grenades and missed opportunities. In the end the feeling of holding the rest of the team back I made the decision to stop playing the game after I rage quite during a game when I decided life was just too short to spend my free time feeling stressed. Gaming should be fun right?
I flirted with Elite Dangerous for a while as did many of the old regulars at B-F but it somehow fizzled out as we all started to wonder what it was we were trying to achieve and got hacked off whilst spending hours trying to meet up and do stuff together. The team side of things has (I think) been resolved now but I don’t think anyone has bothered to try it from here.
Battle 0f Stalingrad; was installed and flown briefly, it looks lovely but for me it just felt too difficult after IL2 , but I will try it again in 2016. Thanks to some of the B-F admins we have a couple of good servers if you want somewhere to play.
Others on the list this year: World of Warships, Stock Car Extreme, War Thunder (First time I think I have played alongside Finn without him shouting at me!) and more recently GTA V, which I am enjoying as a replacement for CS although its less stressful!
With regard to B-F; well after many years we are still here, surely as we reach 18 years old this year we must be one of the oldest gaming communities on the net? I would like to thanks all the guys who pay for the servers and send donations to keep us afloat on behalf of all those who don’t / can’t, without your support and hard work we wouldn’t be here. We have lost some of our regular admins and server Syndicate this year so we are running a little short of funds so if you would like to help out or become a Syndicate member please get in touch through the forum or email firstname.lastname@example.org saying you would like to be considered as an admin and I will do the rest.
Finally just a line or two to explain why I haven’t been around quite so much; other than working too hard! I decided with a friend of mine to build a 737 NG simulator. We started back in April 2015 and I have to say it has been a very expensive and difficult task although I am pleased to announce that it is at last nearing completion! There hasn’t been one difficult thing when building this thing its all been difficult! We ordered the best bits from all over the world, with bits coming from Canada, Germany, Poland, Spain, UK and Portugal. All these bits need to fit and work together, which as you can imagine none of them do. We could have gone to one manufacturer for all of the parts but we wanted the best bits from each one to end up with what I believe is one of the best fixed base simulators. At least it will offer value for money when you look at what a commercial simulator will cost an hour (around £600).
If this little project works out OK and we start to get some money back in we intend to build an Airbus sim and some linked fighters and helicopters, watch this space!
To see the photos visit our forums.
December 20th, 2015 by Bone Head
Well thats me done at work now for a week! For the first time in 18 years I have actually managed to book some time off to be with my family and friends over the festive season so I am just about to have what is the first of I am sure many beers of my holiday!
As always I realise some of our visitors don’t celebrate Christmas so please bear with those of us who do and normal service will be resumed (if there is such a thing at B-F) shortly. However, to all of you I would like to wish you the best wishes for all time not just now and lets hope the whole planet can be a little bit more peaceful and a happier place.
Merry Christmas guys and girls!
December 11th, 2015 by ShamrockOneFive
Development updates and a new patch bring us a little closer to the IL-2: Battle for Moscow release while improving Battle for Stalingrad at the same time. Let’s see what we have coming down the pipe!
Patch 1.105 adds some new content to the mix including the preview of the Bf110E-2 from Battle of Moscow, mouse control, and user controllable tanks. We’ll review the Bf110 in a moment but let’s talk mouse control and tanks.
Mouse control as demoed by the development team gives full control over aircraft using only a mouse with no joystick required. Its been a contentious issue to say the least in the community – used to dealing with purely joystick controls is something that tends to provide a dividing line between more serious simulators and the ones that are more of an arcade experience (War Thunder tends to pick-up this label).
1CGS implementation doesn’t simplify the flight modeling, despite the initial concern, and controlling aircraft remains quite complex. In some ways the mouse will never be able to live up to the flexibility that a joystick requires – its precise in some manuevers but hamstrung trying to do more complex aerobatics.
The mouse controls bring more people into the fold and ensures future development but I suspect that many mouse users will gravitate to bombers or attack aircraft where precision flying is valued above the reflex testing fighter operations – and that’s ok!
Controllable tanks remain an online only option at the moment and it isn’t something that I’ve had a chance to try out just yet. It sounds like players are having a great time with it (again, despite the initial outcry) and finding the experience to be very authentic. Improved detail in the armor world has also made anti-armor operations more nuanced for attackers with improved ballistics and armor simulation.
How long before we get a user controllable mobile AA gun?
The Luftwaffe Gets a Flexible Heavy Fighter
At one point the Luftwaffe high command thought the Bf110 to be the ultimate expression of a fighter. Something to be flown by the elite units that would destroy the enemy fighter operation in long range missions. It didn’t work out that way… But they got something else.
New to IL-2: Battle of Moscow preview is the Bf110E-2, a fighter-bomber version of the famous heavy fighter, optimized for attack missions on the eastern front and coming with a solid selection of equipment that makes it a versatile attacker as well as bomber hunter.
Armament is a key thing for this fighter so it packs a pair of MG-FF/M 20mm cannons in the nose along with four MG17 machine guns. The ammo supply feels endless and IL-2 BoS kicks the realism up a notch as the MG-FF/M guns are fed by ammunition drums – and reloaded by your rear gunner.
Several bomb options come with the Bf110E-2 including a twelve-bomb rack of small SC50 bombs up to a single SC1000 loaded on the main fuselage for heavy hitting attacks. There’s also an array of armor plates for the crew and underside armor to protect against small arms fire.
Although a powerful fighter from a firepower standpoints, it lacks agility and the power to weight ratio to make it competitive with single engine fighters. Elevator reseponse is adequate and you can get into some tigher turns but the roll rate is slow and changing directions rapidly is not something this aircraft likes to do. Not compared to a fighter.
On the other hand, you can definite go bomber hunting with it! IL-2s and Pe-2s will fall quickly to the incredible firepower. Rely on fast diving passes before turning around and climbing for another run and you’ll score quite a few air to air kills.
A Small Campaign Change
Sometimes small changes make for bigger impacts. We’ve discussed the IL-2: BoS campaign several times before (here, here and here) so we don’t need to rehash some of the less good parts about it. The one we will focus on was essentially necessary when you start out with a new product and only a handful of planes – diversity was a huge problem.
Every mission was predictable – You always knew which fighters you would be facing and there was really very little diversity. With the latest patch and recent additions to the aircraft lineup…That all changes. Now you’ll see the La-5 escorting IL-2s and P-40s fighting it out with MC.202s. I-16s go on escort missions and attack bombers while Bf109E-7s fly fighter-bomber runs on friendly ground forces. The diversity mixes it up – Big time!
The MiG-3 and Future Developments
1CGS says that the MiG-3 is in final beta testing now and should be available before the end of the year. Seeing as we’re just a couple of weeks out from there, except the MiG-3 to arrive sometime in the next week or perhaps week and a half.
The developers have released a great selection of screen shots and detailed information on the MiG-3 in their latest update. You should definitely read it if you find that kind of thing interesting!
The Moscow map itself (conspicuously missing Moscow-city proper) is due to arrive sometime early next year along with the Ju88, Bf109F-2, Pe-2 and IL-2 1941 series. The thing I’m most interested in seeing is how they make the Moscow map distinct from flying over Stalingrad – How they achieve this is something very interesting to watch for. More of the same or with a style all to its own? Stay tuned!
November 20th, 2015 by Bone Head
Im getting old, cynical and a little bit jaded with gaming these days. I play games online only these days, rarely do I have enough time to devote to playing single player and if it weren’t for the fact that I play online with people who I class as friends and I enjoy the banter between us more than the gaming itself I would be happy just vedging in front of the TV!
I have a little confession to make though; I bought Grand Theft Auto V because Nov said it was good. I have had a cheeky little go in single player too, which was OK I guess; it does look pretty dammed good but I have also tried it online with Nov that is when the fun really started! All the things I hate like bad driving and random shootings are all the things that I enjoy in this game, which is a bit scary!
That said though, last night I had 9 holes of golf with Novotny, a gentlemanly sport and apart from Nov’s usual swearing it was all rather gentle as we strolled the fairway chatting and congratulating each other on well played shots (not many). They say great minds think alike and although I would say neither me or Novotny had a great mind between us we both made the same comment scarily at the same time “it would be better if we could shoot stuff whilst playing golf”, oh well, maybe in the next patch?
Next we went on to a quick game of darts, again quite a refreshing change from CS and other war games, even if darts was a game invented by the British archers who weren’t adverse to slaying a few foreigners in their time.
You will be pleased to know though, after a quick visit to the lap dancing bar where we beat the bouncer up because he looked at me funny we were back to stealing cars and beating each other up in comedy like fights.
I also got my face tattooed, well I was feeling like I needed some attention, dont ask about the pilot suit, its an expensive slip with the mouse, I just wanted to buy a baseball cap honest!
I know being an old fart I shouldn’t be condoning these violent games but just about every game I have played since the mid 90’s has been about shooting stuff and so far it hasn’t spilled out into my everyday life and having spent an evening giggling and laughing like a kid for a few hours last night surely that can’t be all bad? Please say I’ll be ok!
November 20th, 2015 by ShamrockOneFive
The developers of IL-2: Battle of Stalingrad have been keeping very busy with periodic updates to the series’ first release while also developing for Battle of Moscow, the follow on product that is due for final release sometime in 2016. Patch 1.104 brings some big updates and we thought it would be a good idea to do a review!
The Seasons Be A Changin!
The biggest and perhaps most profound change with the new patch is the release of the new seasonal maps. The original product launched with the Stalingrad winter map and the campaign that shipped with it focused on the battle during the early to late winter period. This new patch brings us some welcome seasonal variation with the dry steppes of the Stalingrad region’s summer and beautiful colours and burnt brown and oranges of the fall.
The new versions of the Stalingrad map are beautiful. They are both set during the period after the bombardment of the city by the Luftwaffe so Stalingrad still lies in ruins. It would have been even more special to have a non-ruined version but that is of course more development work. Realistically just being able to fly across a more varied terrain is worth it alone.
Aircraft performance is also affected by the much warmer summer temperatures as aircraft overheat more quickly and overall performance is slightly diminished.
There’s some wonderful grass effects at low altitude, however, even on the highest settings these don’t go out very far and its obvious where the draw distance for the grass stops. It’s a minor annoyance but probably one that keeps the game running smoothly.
I give the new maps a 9/10 on my wholly unscientific rating system.
And A New Campaign Too
The patch breaks the Stalingrad campaign into two parts with a Part I representing the earlier parts of the campaign during the late summer and autumn and Part II representing the previously available siege, counter offensive and recapture of Stalingrad.
Structurally the campaign system remains largely unchanged with one addition. One base on each side now represents a special custom built selection of missions. Aircraft are restricted to the ones selected by the mission builder and long briefings and a story like narrative accompany each of the missions. The missions themselves are what mission builders call “hand built” and are more unique than the typical dynamically generated ones. They add some spice to the grind that is Battle of Stalingrad’s unlock system (that is assuming you haven’t already unlocked everything).
It’s a welcome change and one that we’ll be seeing more of in the Battle of Moscow product as well. I doubt it fully addresses the issues that many brought up when the campaign was introduced but I still appreciate the casual nature of the system that has been built and the ability to jump in and have fun with whatever aircraft you’re feeling like.
The new custom campaign missions add some variety of the campaign system and I still like the overall structure but it still lacks features such as squadrons and unit progression. Something still to hope for in future releases. I give this a 7/10.
Speaking of Battle of Moscow…
Enter the ‘Emil’
Also included in Patch 1.104 is the addition of the German Bf109E-7 ‘Emil’ fighter to the aircraft lineup. Having this fighter has been a great addition to the series.
Adding a third variation of Bf109 seems overkill, however, the E-7 is based on a much earlier design and you can tell. Less automated systems, more reliance on the machine guns and two weaker MG-FF/M 20mm cannons in the wings, and a slower top speed and climb rate make this the lowest performing aircraft in the Bf109 lineup. Yet it is wonderful!
The aircraft turns tighter and feels more ‘tossable’ than the later Bf109 variations available. This version of the 109 has a tighter turn and easier handling it with its overall lighter weight and lower wing loading. At higher speeds its less capable than its more advanced siblings.
Used as both fighter and fighter-bomber, the Bf109E-7 comes with a variety of armament and equipment options. General purpose SC250 or a rack of SC50 bombs, optional armor plating along the lower sections of the fighter, and an armored windscreen offer up varying levels of protection. You can also remove the armored plate behind your virtual pilot for better performance and visibility – at the expense of pilot protection.
The Bf109E-7 addition is a 10/10 in my book!
Back in June, 1CGS announced that the I-16, MC.202, P-40E and Bf109E-7 would be released in that order, one each month, leading up to the release of the Bf110E-2 in November. The Luftwaffe heavy fighter and ground attacker is a fan favourite of many and it should arrive sometime in the next couple of weeks.
After that we don’t have a definitive timeline for the next aircraft arrivals nor do we know when the Moscow map will be unveiled. But here are a few things we do know:
- An announcement will be made soon regarding the second half of the Battle of Moscow content release
- The Moscow map will be coming with the same three seasons worth of variations as Stalingrad did (Summer, Autumn and Winter)
- The new map will, according to the developers, use a new mapping approach. “For Moscow map we use a new approach for landscape texturing which should make it even more realistic looking and impressive.” Link
- The MiG-3 Series 24 will be released before the end of the year
- The Ju88A-4 will be the last type to become available (sometime in early 2016)
And Now For Something Completely Different…
Recent developer blog update has shown us an early look at a drivable Russian T-34-76 as well as the German PzKpfw III Ausf. L tanks. Yes, you read that correctly, the developers are working on tank warfare as a side project using the same Digital Nature engine. Beta versions of these may arrive as early as the next patch and they will have authentic sighting and command posts.
The developers seem intent on keeping this a prototype but it could grow into something larger at a later date and being able to integrate a combined arms scenario in multiplayer where some players fly aircraft while others are engaged in ground warfare would be something pretty exciting.
It looks like 1CGS has successfully replicated the success of the original IL-2 Sturmovik product and the future looks bright despite early misgivings about the project and the team. This simulator/game still has its issues but it has come a long way and it looks like it has a lot of room to grow.
I give this patch a 8.5/10 (not an average). The campaign doesn’t improve a lot but the new maps and new content are huge.
November 6th, 2015 by Bone Head
For those of you who just have to know how good you are have a look here:
November 3rd, 2015 by ShamrockOneFive
The latest update in the IL-2: Battle of Stalingrad series brings with it some fairly extensive changes and another new plane for the early access release of Battle of Moscow. It’s the biggest content release the series has seen since the initial campaign launched.
What’s in the update? If you have IL-2: Battle of Stalingrad then you’ll be gaining access to a new campaign. The winter part of the campaign that was previously available is now considered Part II while Part I features the lead up to the fall of the city and it spans the late summer and early fall parts of the campaign.
If you’re early access on Battle of Moscow then you’ll also be getting access to the Bf109E-7. Used as both a fighter and fighter-bomber in the early days of the Eastern Front battles, this is a lower performing Bf109 and yet I’ve been having a ton of fun flying it around and facing off against the I-16 Type 24.
A full review is forthcoming but in the meantime… checks these screen shots out!
October 7th, 2015 by ShamrockOneFive
Il-2: Battle of Moscow, the follow up release of 1CGS’s IL-2: Battle for Stalingrad, is a few steps closer to completion. The Premium fighters, available early to those who pre-ordered, have arrived and they are so much fun! Let’s have a look!
Fine Italian Thoroughbred
The MC.202 ‘Folgore’ (or Thunderbolt) was an Italian built fighter that served mostly in North Africa and in the skies over Italy but also made a brief appearance on the Eastern Front. Not specifically used at the Battle of Moscow, the MC.202 follows the developers desire to use the Premium fighter releases as a way to introduce interesting period aircraft.
The MC.202 matches up with some of the earlier Bf109 models in overall performance so it’s well suited competitively in the rest of the BoM lineup.
Flying the MC.202 is a great time. The aircraft will perform most maneuvers without any serious issues and it is less likely to stall than you might assume seeing as the aircraft has no leading edge slats. But definitely watch out when it does stall because it can be vicious at times.
The cockpit is beautiful detailed although the canopy struts at times appear to be a little lower resolution than you might like to see.
The Achilles heel of the MC.202 is its firepower. Although heavy machine guns in this version of IL-2 do much more damage than before, there is still the feeling of having to chip away at your enemies. Armament defaults to twin Breda SAFAT 12.7mm machine guns up front with optional 7.7mm and MG151/20 gunpods which up the ante significantly although they impede performance as well.
Fun to fly and beautiful to look at. Completely worth checking out!
Tough American Metal
The second and final Premium fighter arriving with BoM is the American made P-40E. Thousands of P-40 models served with the Russian airforce from Murmansk to the Kuban region and the P-40E was a fairly common model. Historically it was active in places including Stalingrad so it makes an excellent addition to the aircraft lineups of both products.
The P-40Es performance is hit and miss with a fantastic dive speed and a powerful array of 6x.50cal machine guns which are absolutely devastating (I took out two Bf109G-2s in a single firing pass recently). Lacking is its climb rate and top speed which is generally surpassed by other fighters currently available.
If well flown the P-40E is an able fighter with the ability to soak up a lot of battle damage and dish it out even more. With optional rockets and bombs the P-40E is also an excellent fighter-bomber capable of hunting vehicle convoys and trains with ease. Chewing up a train with the .50cals is a blast… sometimes literally.
The cockpit is one of the best in the game so far and the external visuals are the most accurate P-40 representation in a game anywhere. A lot of American aircraft fans are going to love this!
Other IL-2 News
Although no official date has been indicated yet, IL-2: BoM will release sometime in the first half of 2016 and anyone with early access will continue to see content rolled out in pieces.
The next major patch version will include new content for Battle for Stalingrad as well as one new plane for Battle of Moscow.
With Stalingrad we’re leaving the frozen steppes behind with two new seasonal maps and updated campaign missions built around the new map. Both a summer and autumn version of the Stalingrad map are on their way with some beautiful and much more colourful scenery.
New mission types including ship hunting along the Volga River. You know what that means? We’re getting a small selection of ships to work with as well. Gunboats have already been shown off but apparently there are a few other options. It adds another dimension to ground targets not previously available.
Coming next in the BoM stable is the Bf109E-7/B, a fighter and fighter-bomber version of the 109 ‘Emil’ and the earliest representation of the Bf109 in the series so far. We’re expecting to see the Bf110E and the rest of the Battle of Moscow lineup in the coming months along with . See our preview article to find out about the rest of the lineup.
And… if you missed it. Don’t miss out on the newest YouTube videos from 1CGS showing off the Bf109E-7/B and a FW190A-3 flying a skip bombing mission against a ship.
September 18th, 2015 by Bone Head
Work has once again got in the way of things here. That and the building of a fixed base 737 simulator, more of which later, although you can view a few pictures on our forums of the build.
I got round to replacing the backup batteries on a couple of our uninterruptable power supplies as they were no longer capable of being interrupted! All at great expense I might add!
Also yesterday I cleared out the IL2 stats so those of you are sick of being at the bottom of the pile should get in to Battle-Fields 1 IL2 server and rack up some sorties!
Plans for the future? Difficult to say as things have gone a little quiet on the non IL2 front. After a major meltdown in communications just before the start of a European League match of CS GO the CS team are mostly keeping their heads down, in fact Smurfy was last seen wandering up the hard shoulder of the M6 with a bottle of Red Bull (other energy drinks are available) in his posing pouch and slippers. One or two of us have been playing World of Warships or War Thunder.
Although last night we did end up having a cheeky game of CS GO and it went well as we won, which was worrying, as I dont think my stress levels can cope with too much CS!