Maintaining Things

September 18th, 2015 by

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!

 

Setting Up Cliffs of Dover

September 18th, 2015 by

T}{OR has kindly taken the time to compile some tips on our forum for those of you who fancy giving IL2 Cliffs of Dover (affectionately know as CLoD) another chance.

I say another chance because if you are new to the flight simulator world or at least new to the IL2 series you wont know about the debacle that took place with its release and the sheer frustration and anger felt by many who had handed over the money before release only to be bitterly disappointed with the steaming pile that was published.

I for one vowed never to pre-buy a sim or any other game and so far I have stuck to my guns … no pun intended!

Anyhow, if you gave up on it like so many others, maybe it might be worth a second or even third look now, here is the link.

 

IL2 BF1 Stats Updated

July 26th, 2015 by

This is a busy time of year for me and laying on my back catching some sun so as not to get rickets leaves me even less time than I have in the winter.

That said I was asked the other day if I could clear out the BF1 stats database to make room for some new acts of heroism so I complied.

You can find the new fresh stats database (rather than the old smelly one) here: http://www.battle-fields.com/BF1stats/

 

Il2 Base Camping Rule

April 26th, 2015 by

For years we have had a rule often called the ‘no vulching’ rule. It came about in an attempt to stop folk hanging about over enemy basses picking off vulnerable aircraft taking off or landing. Its the same thing as spawn killing, base camping or other less savoury terms used on other servers to try and enhance game play, after all as real as the maps may be it is just a game.

Recently we had a poll to see if we thought we should keep the rule after some questions were asked requesting clarification of the rule.

I am still waiting for guidance from the Syndicate members but if it inst forth coming I will take action and dream up something that gives admins and players alike guidance on this rule. It seems straight forward to me but then so does the offside rule in football and some have made a career out of that so watch this space!

 

Stop Press!

March 20th, 2015 by

I managed to shoot an enemy aircraft down in IL2 Battle of Stalingrad! Not only is this a rarity, believe me when I say that I have killed my self more times trying to land than I have shot down an enemy. In games like CS I tend to manage to get one or two team kills to every 5 enemy. To say I am a crap shot is an understatement!

So I was pretty chuffed to manage to down the guy who is annoyingly good at all games, namely Flying Finn! Here is the proof that I had to pay Fox big bucks for:

 

Bone Shoots Finn Down IL2

Bone manages to shoot down Flying Finn, its a rare site!

Whilst I am on don’t forget to visit our Battle of Stalingrad IL2 server (its called Battle-Fields strangely enough!) where you will find custom maps and friendly pilots!

 

Busy Busy!

March 4th, 2015 by

It has been a fairly busy couple of days here at B-F what with the long awaited release of the dedicated server for IL2 Battle of Stalingrad and the rebuilding of the CSGO server I’m thinking it might be time to relax and enjoy some gaming although I get the feeling that that isn’t going to be happening any time soon.

The BoS server is just running the default maps, so I guess it will be a hectic few weeks whilst we get to grips with the finer points of running this new server especially as there is no documentation I can find on how to run the damned thing! Im having flash backs to 2008 when we were first setting up the original IL2 servers. Still; I’d like to think we got the hang of that, after all we have been consistantly running probably the some of the (if not the) busiest IL2 servers on the planet.

Lets hope we can do the same again with the new version!

 

Are You Sleeping OK?

February 10th, 2015 by

I enjoy riding my bikes, no not ones with engines, the kind that I have to pedal. I also enjoy the competitive side to cycling, both watching and competing. The competing these days is often using an app on my phone or GPS that has a look at where I have been and compares the time it took me to get between two points at various places along the road or track (I ride in the woods and off road mostly).

Living in the North of England means that I am surrounded by Elite road cyclists and one or two world champions of off road. Tthe road cyclists tend to use the same app that I do so you can imagine it can be quite demoralising, especially after I have turned myself inside out climbing a hill only to find out that Ben Swift from team Sky did the same segment about 15 mph faster than I did and then continued to ride for 4 hours at a faster pace than I did for the hour I was out. However, I’m confident that Ben and indeed all his team are riding clean, so it is a fair comparison.  He is 20 odd years younger than me, probably 5 stone lighter and rides every day. I have to console myself by thinking I’m much better looking and if it wasn’t for the millions he is earning the girls would much prefer me. Obviously.

So whilst I was out on my bike today with a throng of nubile groupies chasing after me I got to thinking about cheating. Let’s face it, cycling hasn’t been the ‘cleanest’ sports over the last few decades, in fact if you read the history there has always been cheats. Armstrong swapping his blood out, injecting EPO, HGH, Cortisol, testosterone and maybe others was a surprise to millions but to many of us just confirmed what we though we already knew.

I think you know where this is heading don’t you. Cheating in gaming. I’ve been playing online games since 1998. For ages me and my new found online gaming friends battled it out playing Delta Force, we were very average mostly but it was fun and the matches we won were hard fought and well deserved. When Delta Force 2 was released things were much the same, the squad got bigger (not really better though) and fun was had by all. Then there were rumours starting of players using ‘trainers’ we would call them hacks these days. That was it, the game went sour, you couldn’t trust anyone some players were just too good to be true. If you played well (I say you because I never did) the accusations would start to fly around and to be honest that is when I fell out with Delta Force. Even though I was part of the 2 man team that ran the most popular Delta Force websites in the world I lost interest.

So nothing has changed. Some people feel the need to cheat. The professional cyclist or football player who dopes does it for many reasons, to keep their job is one that I suppose I can sympathise with, to be the best is one reason I can’t understand. So you play games for fun, you cheat, you get a higher rank, who cares? Let’s face it most of your friends think you are a sad git anyhow because they don’t understand gaming. Those you beat who know your cheating hate you. No one respects you, you aren’t getting rich (unless you are a pro gamer) you are just getting sadder.

Not that any of the above bothers you because you probably have no self-respect and that is worse.

So to what I was mulling over today on my ride; The other night team BFs (CS:GO division) finished a game where we thought there had been blatant cheating going on. With hindsight and some watching back of the mach I’m not convinced. For some reason I think we were drawn against much better players. Which at the moment isn’t difficult. Some of us removed the game from their machines, many vowed never to play again. All because we can’t trust other players. I think we all trust each other, we are all friends, we enjoy each other’s company which is why we meet each evening to play. We flit about between games now because we can no longer play CS because of the cheats. Our fun has been spoilt by a handful of morbidly obese, sweaty, spotty, smelly hormone fuelled teenagers who have no real friends or self-respect because they are desperately trying to gain acceptance and kudos from their gaming peers. They spend their nights laying awake in their crusty bed sheets wondering if they will ever get a girlfriend.

I didn’t remove CS from my hard drive but I came close but I don’t need the drive space. I did in fact start playing again the very next day. Thankfully the 4 other players who I joined were all gentlemen and we played well together and we won. It was a fair even match both teams thanked each other for the game after, the losers were gracious in defeat. It was how it should be.

Some of us have played again and lost, but it seemed fair and we had fun, so screw the cheats, let them do their thing. To those who play clean don’t let the cheats win, the good games make up for the bad ones 10 fold, even the good games we lose are worth playing.

Final Thoughts:

The authorities are to blame. In cycling it was the UCI, they knew what was going on, but they turned a blind eye because lets face it, Armstrong was a crowd puller. In CS:GO is Valve who are to blame. They know there are cheats, people get banned, but the game is so cheap that the cheaters just buy it again. If every player of CS got banned a couple of times a year Valve would be even richer than they are now. I don’t think that it is in Valves best interest to stop the cheats because the cheats are the ones who keep buying the game over and over again. Prove me wrong.

 

 

IL-2: Battle of Stalingrad Review

December 30th, 2014 by

Review by NS-IceFire.

Introduction

1CGS’s  IL-2: Battle of Stalingrad is a successor product to the original IL-2: Sturmovik series that has dominated the PC World War II flight simulator market for the better part of a decade and a half. Does the new entry in the series measure up to its predecessor? The answer is both yes and no.

What you get

There are two versions of the simulator available for online purchase. The Standard edition is $59.99 USD and includes the core of the game including quick mission builder, single player campaign, and multiplayer modes plus 8 aircraft. The Premium jumps up in price to $99.99 and adds two additional “special” aircraft to the set.

The Battle of Stalingrad is a key World War II battle and 1CGS have created a huge 385 x 230km map including significant parts of the battle area including Stalingrad itself and huge stretches of territory both east and west as well as a narrower section to north and south of the city. Everything from Set from November 1942 to March 1943 – basically you have the major pieces like Operation Uranus, the air bridge campaign and the final liberation of the city. Expect a lot of snow!

The aircraft set is well chosen with the specific types and variants that flew during the battle. The Russian side gets the IL-2 AM-38 (both with and without the field modified rear gunner seat), LaGG-3 Series 29, Yak-1 Series 69, and the Pe-2 Series 87 (and Series 110 with the modified rear gunner station).

For the German side we have the Bf109F-4 and Bf109G-2, Ju87D-3, and the He111H-6. All contemporary types and sub variants that fought in the battle. If you opt for premium then you get the La-5 Series 8 (first introduced during the Battle of Stalingrad and the FW190A-3 (introduced on the Eastern Front during this time period but not at the Battle of Stalingrad specifically).

All of the vehicles, artillery, tanks, and trains are historically and faithfully recreated. The important landmarks of Stalingrad circa late 1942 are there including the infamous tractor factory and scenes that any Red Orchestra infantry player might find familiar – just rendered from up high in the sky.

For the history nut (like me), this is a great collection of pretty much everything that is essential to this battle. The glaring omission to the aircraft set is the Ju52 transport aircraft that played such a key role during the air bridge scenario. Developers have shown the aircraft in development and we expect to see that sometime in 2015.

7/10 – Good value for the money but this is an expensive product if you go for the Premium version. Two extra planes for $40 is not great value. Recent holiday sale prices make the extra aircraft more reasonably priced so jump on those when a sale comes up if you can wait.

IL2 Battle of Stalingrad

Looks Like Ginger is in trouble!

IL2 Battle of Stalingrad cockpit

Cockpit (or flight deck?)

IL2 Battle of Stalingrad

Another one on his way down!

IL2 Battle of Stalingrad 4

Sunset, time to go home

 

 

Flight Modeling, Damage Modeling, Sim Stuff

Battle for Stalingrad really shines on the simulator side of things. The feeling and sensation of flight with the physics engine they have implemented for this game engine is superb. I’m not a technical expert in this area but the developers claim to have developed the flight system from highly detailed technical reports and using methods similar to those of what you might see in Eagle Dynamic’s Digital Combat Systems (DCS) more recent additions to that series.

The aircraft feel like they have weight, you almost feel as if they are cutting through the air and that the air is pushing back. There is a distinct feel to each aircraft and the historical strengths and weaknesses are all there. It’s everything you would expect from a modern flight simulation and although there have already been concerns about some areas of the performance modeling or the handling – the core technologies really do shine here. These issues will be worked out in time.

My impression is that this flight model takes things a step further than anything you might have seen in IL-2 1946. It is really quite impressive overall.

Damage modeling is highly detailed with individual components failing due to battle damage and misuse. Wings crumple, fold, and break apart in a convincing manner and gun ballistics are all there. Some of the most impressive damage I’ve seen is in the crash landings where pieces bend or break depending on how great an impact was sustained. There are also great moments where you hit your target with a cannon shell and at first it appears as if nothing has happened but then slowly you see the wing begin to deform and then the whole thing comes apart. Spectacular!

9/10 – It really feels like you’re flying along and that is easily half the battle with a flight simulator.

 

IL2 Battle of Stalingrad

Two engines are better than one!

IL2 Battle of Stalingrad

Running for home!

 

 

Graphics & Sound

Battle for Stalingrad also really shines in the graphical department and not too many people are going to be disappointed here.

Aircraft are faithfully modelled from a visual standpoint and they are beautiful both inside and out. If you look strictly at 3D object and texture quality, IL-2 Cliffs of Dover still has an edge here with slightly more detailed aircraft, but Battle of Stalingrad is very close.

Shadows and lighting effects, not to mention some of the more sophisticated particle and fire effects, are also really impressive. Just look at the screen shots that are part of this review or that are out there (full disclosure: mine are taken at the second highest graphical setting). A sunrise or sunset with banks of clouds, a little snow and that golden hour shine in your cockpit is easily one of the most immersive experiences I’ve had in a video game.

The sound is equally impressive. There are some sounds that could be slightly better but there is definitely an authenticity to everything. The whine off the Bf109s supercharger is there and the harsh sounding M-105 engine stands in stark contrast. The AM-38 on the IL-2 has a beautiful purring sound and the ASh-82 and BMW radials capture their distinct character very well. Gear drops, flap systems, bomb releases and so forth are all there and they sound a lot better than the stock sounds in the old IL-2 1946.

I have a constant reoccurring problem where I don’t hear impact effects on my own aircraft. So sometimes I will be hit and have no idea despite the hit being from a 20mm cannon. This is experienced by some but not all players and it seems to be a bug.

9/10 – Graphics and sound are superb although missing impact effects for some players is a notable problem.

IL2 Battle of Stalingrad

In the spotlight

IL2 Battle of Stalingrad

Tank, IL2’s favourite!

IL2 Battle of Stalingrad

Thomas the Tank Engine up in smoke!

IL2 Battle of Stalingrad

Dawn Patrol

 

 

Gameplay

This review probably sounds pretty upbeat so far and that is because as a simulator product, IL-2 Battle of Stalingrad really shines. It has the fidelity and the historical attention to detail that you need for this type of product. Where Battle for Stalingrad has serious problems is more on the game side of the equation.

The campaign and multiplayer are the areas where things tend to fall apart. I’m going to be honest and say that I actually like the concept behind the campaign. The designers have created something that is easy to jump in and play.

When you start up a campaign you have the 6 phases of the Stalingrad battle with historical front lines and bases. You pick your plane, your preferred mission, and then the whole thing is generated dynamically. This is a great way to get into a mission and experience the battle in a short amount of time – and that time is often pretty tight for many of us these days.

Unfortunately, the missions at present tend to be repetitive at their base level. An intercept mission plays out basically the same way each time and the ground attack, ground support, bombing, and escort missions do too. The briefings provide all the necessary detail but are also very mechanical. There are a few waypoints (takeoff, midway to the action, action point, midway home, and landing) in each mission type and that is pretty typical of a campaign mission. The one thing that saves this from a boring monotony is the random events generated on the way. You may be on a ground attack mission but a formation of enemy bombers with escorts may fly overhead.

Dynamism in each mission aside, there is no investment in squadrons or wingmen and it’s hard to have that feeling of what being on the front really is like. It’s definitely missing that human factor that could have propelled it to the next level. The approach overall is valid but a few extra layers adding squadron/aircraft combinations (with the historically appropriate JG and IAP and GvIAP  units for example) would have been a great way to add to the experience.

Any investment in your own pilot is done through a leveling progression system whereby additional equipment and skins for your aircraft are unlocked. Your pilot levels up (like in a RPG) and the equipment for your aircraft and skins are unlocked by scoring XP points playing through missions and accomplishing your goals. None of the unlocks are strictly necessary but some players find this a chore.

Worse yet is that you can’t do the unlocking of these extra pieces of equipment in competitive multiplayer like you might with Call of Duty or Battlefield – you have to do this in the Campaign mode. For players who spend their time exclusively online, this is a critical decision as it forces them to grind through a single player experience they don’t want. Simulator pilots that are used to a more sandbox approach aren’t going to like this and I’m not convinced more casual gamer types are going to appreciate this much either. If Multiplayer and/or Campaign mode contributed in the same way then I think this would be less of an issue.

Speaking of catering to different types of gamers and Sim pilots, there are two levels of difficulty. Normal and Expert take care of some of these needs. They both have similar difficulty level when it comes to flying the aircraft so the simulation level is there no matter what mode you’re in. Where the two really differ is in the helpers involved. In normal mode you can play with just the basics like throttle, flaps, gear, guns, and so forth and a kind of AI system manages the rest. With Expert mode you also need to worry about engine RPM, fuel mixtures and supercharger settings and these vary with aircraft and engine involved. Normal is good for taking care of more casual players but it’s not going to simplify down to the same level as the War Thunder Arcade mode might – this is still a serious simulation. Expert mode is considerably more difficult but it also doesn’t go down to the level of detail as a DCS module like the A-10C might although I’d say it’s still pretty close.

The QMB mode is ideal for quick action and although it is fairly simple, it has all of the features that you’d need to get a quick dogfight going and it’s often my go-to for a quick dogfight.

5/10 – The campaign system itself has potential but is hindered by an unwanted unlock system and repetitive mission types. Multiplayer unlocks being tied to the single player campaign unlocks are a poor design decision.

IL2 Battle of Stalingrad IL2 Battle of Stalingrad IL2 Battle of Stalingrad IL2 Battle of Stalingrad

 

Conclusion

IL-2 Battle of Stalingrad is an essentially near bug free release with a great simulation engine and excellent flight dynamics and historical detail. Its game elements are less well implemented and the campaign’s predictable missions could use more variety. The unlock system is highly controversial.

Battle of Stalingrad has great potential. It can’t yet take the crown from its predecessor having neither the scope nor the flexibility of the past title but it has a solid technological base with a great selection of aircraft that they could expand on from here. 1CGS hasn’t revealed future plans just yet but we have seen some very early development images of a MC.202 and a Ju52 (non-flyable).  A future I-16 addition has all but been confirmed so more content is likely to come and community issues are hopefully going to be addressed as time goes on.

With some design changes Battle of Stalingrad could be an excellent successor product with all of the pedigree of a simulator we might still be playing ten years from now. It’s not clear if that will be the case but Battle of Stalingrad is a good, if sometimes rocky, start.

Overall score: 7.5 – An authentic World War II combat simulator held back by some of its more “gamey” features.

 

Additional Information

All screen shots taken at the High detail level (there is one higher) on a four year old gaming rig (Core i7 870, 12GB of DRR3-1333 RAM, nVidia GTX 570 1GB.

 

Happy Christmas!

December 22nd, 2014 by

Merry Christmas, that expression seems to get used less and less these days as people try and become more politically correct, which is a bit sad. Personally my family do celebrate Christmas and I know many of our site visitors do to so if you don’t bear with us as we eat drink and play games wearing party hats and silly jumpers.

I  have to admit I haven’t got into the Christmas spirit really yet as I’m working most days around the holiday but I am trying!

With that in mind I thought I would drag the picture out of the loft of the old site mascot from back in the 1990’s of Bobbi looking festive. Its getting a bit old but its the only Christmas decoration we own and it might put me more in the mood for the family celebrations.crimbleThings have been a little quiet at B-F of late as IL2 seems to be slightly less popular than it was a few years back and it’s ‘replacement’ Battle of Stalingrad seems to be surrounded by mixed feelings and controversy. However good news is Icefire has written what I think is a very fair appraisal of the sim as it stands now. I will be posting it here once it has been finalised.

Meanwhile the regulars seem to be lurching from one game to another like a class full of kids with ADHD. At the moment Elite Dangerous seems to be holding our attention but next week who knows?

Anyhow I’v got pans to clean beer to brew and server to fix so I’l say goodbye for now and wish all of you who are interested a very happy Christmas and if you wont be doing anything special then B-F will still be here if you need it 🙂

All the best!

 

 

Arma 3 Password

December 1st, 2014 by

Because of the inevitable mayhem happening on our Arma server (and not just caused by the regulars) we decided that we would password the server.

arma3kart

Tim’s New Battle Tank

So if you feel you can play nicely with the boys and girl from Battle-Fields.com then here is the pass: battle

May I respectfully ask all those who use the server that they try and adhere (thats posh for stick) to our basic rules.

They are very basic, not unlike the people who enforce them, but hopefully they enable us all to play shooty bang bang games in a friendly and safe environment.

It is our intention to arrange a ‘serious’ gathering from time to time for a coop where people dont drive karts or wear silly hats.

Watch this space!