February 16th, 2017 by ShamrockOneFive
The new generation of IL-2 has had a lot of work to do trying to climb out from underneath the reputation of the original. IL-2 Sturmovik, Forgotten Battles, Pacific Fighters and the ultimate edition of IL-2: 1946 combined the kind of breadth and detail in a World War II sim never seen before. Starting over was always going to be daunting – but the team at 1CGS is working hard at making the new series into something that the fans can truly love. Some pretty big changes have been happening in the last couple of months and I thought now was a pretty good time to update on what’s happening with the run up to the release of IL-2: Battle of Kuban at the end of this year.
New stuff to fly! Old stuff better now!
Having new planes to fly around is pretty much a given and since December we’ve seen the release of three new planes. The Ju52/3m and Bf109G-4 arrived in December and January saw the addition of the Bf110G-2. The Ju52/3m was an all new experience flying a Luftwaffe transport aircraft while the Bf109G-4 and Bf110G-2 were familiar types – later variants of aircraft we already knew and loved.
The Bf109G-4 is similar to the F-4 and G-2 models before it but it comes with some interesting changes. It has a high powered engine that gives the plane faster high speed dash capabilities – but only for a short while! When not at maximum power, the G-4 is actually a little slower because of its draggier fixed tail-wheel and landing gear bulges on the wings. The Bf110G-2 is a bigger change with an aircraft that is faster, tough, and with more anti-bomber and anti-tank capabilities than the earlier E-2 model.
The FW190A-3, around since the release of IL-2: Battle of Stalingrad, has been made new (or whole) again. A flawed flight model has been corrected and the new FW190A-3 flies like an all new aircraft with the deadliness and power expected of an aircraft with its reputation. This improvement also makes way for the new FW190A-5 coming in IL-2: Battle of Kuban. More than just a slight update, the A-5 comes with a ton of ground attack options not available on the A-3. And if that wasn’t enough, it comes with a special U17 ground attack version with extra engine boost for low level fighter-bomber attacks.
The La-5 Series 8 gets a new lease on life too with a new modification coming in a future update adding the M-82F (an improved M-82 engine) engine able to run at maximum boost for an unlimited amount of time rather than the 5 minute limit imposed on the regular version. Ideal for chasing down those fast FW190s!
Our DBS bomber squad team will be probably interested to see what the new He111H-16 coming sometime this month has on offer. This version of the infamous Heinkel bomber has more impressive defensive weaponry and a much larger bomb load. Look for the DBS folks to crater innumerable targets with this aircraft!
New single player options
The December patch also added a new feature to the second generation series that was successful in the original: scripted campaigns. Since then several scripted campaigns have popped up for players to fly including a remake of the Blinding Sun campaign from IL-2 and a new campaign flying the FW190A-3. 1CGS also released the paid ‘Ten Days in Autumn’ campaign to kick off the new feature.
Scripted campaigns add that human touch missing from the auto generated missions. Speaking of which, the auto generated campaign is getting an overhaul this year too adding in a system similar to what Rise of Flight offered.
The AI performance has also been a major sticking point. While the AI continues to improve in its aircraft flying abilities slowly, the devs have made huge strides in improving performance with double or better AI performance. What was once causing slideshows on some PCs is now relatively smooth and the door is open to bigger and more interesting aerial battles.
To the future!
The Kuban map was already pretty cool even in the old IL-2 with its rolling slopes, mountains, and sea side villages. This next generation return to the region is looking to be far more impressive visually. Developers at 1CGS recently showed off their latest efforts on the new map with new technologies to make the mountains and slopes more convincing and realistic heights set for snow capped mountaintops.
Work also continues on the next set of aircraft. By summer we’ll be flying the newly added He111H-16, FW190A-5, IL-2 Model 1943 (with turreted UBT machine gun) and the Spitfire Mark Vb.
New aircraft, new features, old aircraft getting new leases on life, and a revamped single player scripted and generated campaign system adds a ton of life to the IL-2 series. Players who struggled with earlier versions of the sim and its features and flight models should see what 1CGS has been up to. Player still waiting for news on VR are… still waiting unfortunately. We’re waiting to find out what the team has planned for VR support now that the engine has been updated to the more VR-friendly DX11.
One thing is certain – the new generation IL-2 is looking better with every patch! Find out more by reading the IL-2 Developer Diary updates (a new one arrives almost every Friday).