March 22nd, 2015 by ShamrockOneFive
People sometimes ask if PC simulators are still a thing. Us simulation gamers like to think so but do our thoughts match reality? I’d like to think they do!
Exciting new developments in the PC simulator world mean that 2015 and beyond are shaping up to be exciting times for those of us who want the most realistic flying experiences around. A new game engine and content for DCS, the new 4.13 patch for IL-2 1946, and new content and a new product announcement from the 1CGS IL-2 Battle for Stalingrad team have me pretty excited about what is coming soon.
IL-2 1946 gets a new patch
The folks at Team Daidalos have been hard at work on a new patch for IL-2 1946. There’s a lot of content coming very soon now. Let’s have a look at what we are getting in the new patch.
New flyable aircraft:
- N1K1J, N1K1Ja and N1K1Jb
A fully realized USAAF heavy bomber has only been a dream for most of us but now we’re looking at not just a good entry into this category but a really spectacularly put together one. Some turrets feature gyro gunsights, the belly turret moves up and down and ammo belts are animated making this a highly detailed recreation of the B-24D. We’re going to find this very useful in our multiplayer scenarios from the Pacific, to Burma, to long range flights over the Eastern front, the Mediterranean and Europe.
The N1K1 will now be a flyable type as well. The redesigned N1K2J has been a flyable for several years now and earned praise from our online community (affectionately called “Niki” by some members). The earlier model is like a whole other aircraft with both some great attributes and also a few flaws. I think this will be a favourite as well.
Cockpit and external view of the N1K1-Jb
For the rare aircraft fan we have the Yugoslavian IK-3. The fighter saw limited combat but is something of a cult favourite for some aircraft modellers and I’m sure we’ll find a way to get it into our multiplayer.
Sparse… but pretty!
Two new AI planes are also being added to the mix:
The E13A is a single engine Japanese seaplane and the He-177 is the problem plagued German heavy bomber with a unique 4 engine arrangement in only two engine nacelles. A separate team is working on making this bomber a flyable in the future.
He117 bomber and the E13A seaplane add some extra spice to single player missions
More detailed bombing controls and the addition of a co-piloting feature for certain medium and heavy bombers round out the new features coming in 4.13. There are also a few new ground objects too!
Check out these development videos for details on the new bombing systems (sure to delight our Dedicated Bomber Squad). And visit the 1C Forums to see the full list of Developer Updates.
IL-2 Battle for Stalingrad loads up fixes, new content
The folks at 1CGS have made some big announcements in the last couple of weeks including announcement of continued development on Battle for Stalingrad and some free new content.
Battle for Stalingrad gets some new features starting with the ability for Premium owners to unlock all of the loadouts for aircraft automatically. You have to do it from the IL-2: BoS website but once done you’ll have every armament option available to you. The extra built in skins still need to be unlocked via campaign play although many players are now using custom skins anyways.
Coming for all owners of Battle for Stalingrad are two new versions of the Stalingrad map with new Summer and Autumn time of year variations and new single player campaign chapters covering this part of the battle. The dev teams have shown us a few images of what that will look like.
First glimpses of the summer maps for IL-2 Battle for Stalingrad
Finally, patches 1.010 is out with dozens of fixes and the beta release of the Dedicated Server and Full Mission Builder. Quite a lot happening with Battle for Stalingrad as the produce matures slowly.
That’s not all that 1CGS has announced…
Battle of Moscow joins the collection
The battlefields west of Moscow are the location for the next IL-2 release from 1CGS. IL-2 Battle of Moscow takes us back to the fall of 1941 and early winter of 1942 for this pivotal battle on the Eastern Front. Eight new flyable aircraft in the standard edition and two additional premium types are the core of the content with new single player campaigns and undoubtedly some new unlocks to collect (or unlock automatically with Premium). Battle for Moscow can be purchased as a separate game or, similar to the way that Pacific Fighters operated with IL-2 Forgotten Battles, you can merge the two together for the full experience.
So what do we get to fly in the Battle for Moscow? Let’s look at the list:
- I-16 Type 24
- IL-2 (model 1941)
- Pe-2 Series 35
The focus is definitely on the early war period on the eastern front with the I-16 and MiG-3 fighters challenging the German Bf109E-7 and F-2. These earlier Bf109s have less firepower and engine power than the later versions and should match closely with their Russian counteparts at the time.
The Bf110E-2 is a dedicated fighter-bomber variant of the famous heavy fighter and the IL-2 we all know and love is back with an earlier 1941 model edition with no turret gunner and probably lacking some of the heavier firepower that the 1942 model added. Pe-2 Series 35 is an early version of the famous Russian bomber and this early version is even faster than the heavier more heavily armed later versions. For Germany we get the versatile Ju88A-4 with its excellent balance of speed, defensive power, and dive or level bombing abilities.
The Premium release aircraft are less relevant to the Moscow theatre but they do represent interesting and fan favourite types that fought on the Eastern Front. The P-40E saw plenty of Russian use in World War II and the MC.202 fought a very limited number of East Front battles but players have been asking about this plane since nearly day one.
Any disappointments? So far we don’t know if we’ll see any variations on existing types that haven’t been mentioned (like the earlier M-105P Yak-1) and there are some repeat aircraft like the IL-2, Bf109F-2, and Pe-2 which are different and highly relevant but also very similar to the later versions we already have. The details and some of the unlocks for these aircraft may give us some fun differences and those have not yet been revealed. Others are still holding out for several other planes to be added to the series and while we definitely know what the guys at 1CGS are working on, I doubt they have told us everything yet.
DCS World Goes 2.0
We’ve known for a while that Eagle Dynamics was working on an updated core game engine that would power all future additions to the series. It looks like 2015 will be the year that we finally see an update to DCS World called EDGE 2.0 along with the highly anticipated Nevada map where the famous Red Flag training exercises take place. This will fit well with the A-10C and it should be a blast for anyone who wants to fly over the Las Vegas strip or cruise at high speed over the desert floor.
Pre-orders are happening for the nearly finished MiG-15bis (which joins the Leatherneck Studios MiG-21) and Eagle Dynamics is bringing together a collection of World War II materials including the already available Bf109K-4, FW190D-9, P-51D plus the all new P-47D, and Spitfire IX all flying over DCS 2.0 EDGE enhanced Normandy. We’re expecting a lot from this area in 2015 and beyond.
Check out some of the development videos from EDGE 2.0 over Nevada.
War Thunder keeping it casual? Maybe not.
War Thunder’s reputation as the more casual flight simulator/game experience might be changing as revealed by the Developers Blog. A new IL-2 AM-38 1941 series (the same type coming for Battle for Moscow) is being added to the game and in the developers own words, “This IL-2 model has the most detailed and precise damage model compared to any IL-2 ever created in a game and sets a new quality standard for all of our aircraft.” Might be some competition heating up in the world of IL-2 simulators.
Uhh… did you know your wheels are down?
Look for more information on their Developers Blog to see what the War Thunder team is up to.
It looks like 2015 will be a busy year in the simulator arena with lots of interesting announcements and additions coming to a PC near you (and hopefully a server near us).We haven’t even talked about what will probably be a future blog entry on Star Citizen and Elite: Dangerous yet.
There is a lot of activity for this small niche market and I, for one, am very happy to see it!