After months of preparation and planning following our big announcement this past Fall, we are proud to announce the Release of version 3.005 and launch of Early Access for both Flying Circus- Volume One and Tank Crew - Clash at Prokhorovka. They are now both available for purchase in the IL-2 webstore and making a purchase gives you access to new content as we roll it out and before the product is final.
Flying Circus – Volume One
Let’s first talk about Flying Circus and what the Early Access includes. As of now, you’ll get the SPAD 13 and Fokker Dr.1 to fly and fight one another in. The Lapino maps are acting as a stand for the future French map for now and both planes have been re-built and re-mastered by our partners at Yugra Media from earlier less complex models. This means improved mesh, textures, damage and other small enhancements of the same aircraft from previous products. However, you must remember that FC content is still a work in progress and more work will be necessary before WWI aircraft are fully supported in IL-2. As with all our Early Access periods more flyable aircraft will follow in the coming months. Time to get the goggles and scarves out of the closet!
Flying Circus Early Access can be ordered HERE.
We’d also like to take this time to explain our discount plan for special Rise of Flight users who purchase FC and qualify for a special discount code. We have chosen to give those ROF users who supported us in our darkest, most difficult days some special recognition with an additional discount. Without this support we would not be here today and is a small way to say thanks to those that supported us when it mattered most. Some customers really went above and beyond in their financial support and that is reflected in the discounts below. We only wish economic reality would allow for it to be more.
First, everyone who orders during the Early Access period gets a $10 discount off regular MSRP no matter what. Second, if you are an existing ROF customer and meet certain criteria you qualify for an additional discount. The criteria are as follows.
Anyone who purchased content for ROF between it’s launch in 2009 to Jan. 1, 2013 from our website or a boxed or digital copy from an official retail partners (Excluding STEAM. ROF was not available on STEAM during this period) during that time frame will receive an additional discount.
If you spent between $0.01 and $70.99 you will receive an additional $5 OFF. If you spent between $71.00 and $200.99 you will receive an additional $10 OFF. If you spent greater than $201.00 you will receive an additional $15 OFF. The special discount period ends September 15, 2018.
To get your special discount you’ll need to access your ROF user account on the ROF website and retrieve a promo code we have placed in your user profile. Then return to the IL-2 website and place your order for Flying Circus. Enter your discount code at check out. The additional discount will be reflected in the final amount.
Tank Crew – Clash at Prokhorovka
Next, we are excited to begin Early Access to Tank Crew and the initial release of our first two tanks – the mighty Kv-1s and the fearsome PzKpfw. VI Ausf.H1 "Tiger "
Tank Crew Early Access can be ordered HERE.
Due to development and gameplay considerations we have decided to create a separate AAA vehicles add-on featuring the GAZ-MM + 72K and Sd. Kfz. 10 + Flak38. We will prepare them as a separate product to be released later and work to make them a more interesting addition to IL-2 Sturmovik Great Battles then initially planned.
In addition to the two tanks released today, over the next 14 months we will release the full line-up of tanks included in Tank Crew. Ten tanks in total will be created.
T-34-76 model 1943 KV-1s M4A2 “Sherman” SU-122 SU-152 PzKpfw. III Ausf.M PzKpfw. IV Ausf.G PzKpfw. V Ausf.D "Panther" PzKpfw. VI Ausf.H1 "Tiger" Sd. Kfz. 184 "Ferdinand" In addition to the tanks we will be creating our specially designed Prokhorovka map and releasing that once it is finished. In the meantime, we are including the Lapino maps as stand ins.
We have also added drivable tanks to the QMB including the new Kv-1s, Tiger 1 and existing T-34 and Pz. III tank models. Please note that the existing T-34 and Pz. III tanks are the original models previously released. Tank Crew will eventually include updated versions of these tanks.
And the Kv-1 and Tiger tanks now support custom skins. Templates will be along soon for skinners.
And we’d like to take this time to introduce you to our talented development partners at DigitalForms in Saint Petersburg, Russia who have taken on the task of building these amazing tanks for you. They have worked tirelessly since our announcement last year to put you inside some of WWII’s most deadly and fearsome weapon systems. They have helped us re-invent our tank technology and built some truly stunning tank exteriors and interiors. They hope you like their work!
Fw 190 A-8
We continue our work on the coming Bodenplatte project and this time its customers get a new toy - German fighter/bomber Fw 190 А-8. It comes with many modifications: 30-mm Mk 108 guns, additional armour, bomb holders capable of carrying up to three 250 kg bombs, heavy rockets 21cm WGr. 42 and up to 12 anti-tank rockets R-HL Pblz. 1 "Panzerblitz". This makes the airtcraft the most packed one among the other Focke-Wulf models.
Battle of Bodenplatte can be ordered HERE.
In addition to FC and TC Early Access we have spent some time working on minor improvements to ground AI, bullet damage calculations, small graphical corrections to the He-111 H-16. A-20B, Spitfire Mk. IX and Bf-109 G-14. And of course, many other small enhancements, fixes and changes, which are too many to list in this post.
Please discuss the update in this thread.
Today I would like to tell you about what we plan for Flying Circus – Volume One and show you some WIP screens of our first two aircraft which are ready for Early Access release this month! But first let’s take a minute and talk about how we came to make Flying Circus and the challenges that we face in developing it.
Of course, Flying Circus is going to essentially be our spiritual sequel to our ground-breaking WWI simulator Rise of Flight: The First Great Air War. ROF was the first product we ever made and over the course of several years we greatly expanded its content and created some really cool features for it, many of which were ported or updated to work in Sturmovik. We have not lost our affection for WWI and we have always hoped to be able to bring WWI combat to our updated Digital Warfare Engine.
When we eventually ended work on ROF and shifted our focus to WW2 many WWI fans were disappointed. At the time, we had no intention of abandoning ROF or her fans, but the requirements for WW2 overwhelmed us and we had no resources to manage two projects at the same time and the technology we developed for WW2 was extremely difficult to retrofit back into our WWI engine without causing major delays to Sturmovik. Retrofitting WWI would have required an entirely new team of developers that we could not afford. So, we marched forward with WW2 hoping to someday find a way to come back to WWI and do a sort of parallel development. That opportunity has finally become available thanks to some creative planning and so we decided to create Flying Circus – Volume One with the help of our friends at Yugra Media. Yugra employees have been training with our team learning how to re-build our WWI content and make maps with our current technology. This has taken several months already, but our plan is to get WWI up and running as quick as we can and get WWI content brought up to our new standard. We hope to generate new revenue to fund more WWI development and general development of the common engine which benefits all of our products. We also wanted to give WWI fans something to cheer about after a long drought of development.
Now it should be said that trying to bring all content and features of ROF to Flying Circus in one fell swoop is impossible. This will be a marathon, not a sprint and new features or old features found in ROF will take time to make in the current engine. Bringing WWI to our current engine which has been re-worked and modified for WW2 is a big challenge and some things can be ported relatively easily and others require all new work. As with Tank Crew, several months of work behind the scenes has already taken place laying down the foundation to support Flying Circus. This will take much time, but we will endeavor to make Flying Circus just as awesome or even more amazing than ROF ever was. However, for that to happen we need your support!
Both Flying Circus as well as Tank Crew are experiments and first steps in working with qualified and trained third parties on new content and gameplay features that users have asked for or we feel have potential to help our overall cause. Our team is still small, relative to our competitors and we are still a self-sustaining team. Meaning, we sink or swim on our own, there are no bailouts if we fail regardless of who our benefactors have been in the near past. So, if you like anything about Flying Circus please support us by buying a copy. We want to make WWI great again inside the Sturmovik universe.
So now that you know the background of how Flying Circus came to be, let’s take a look at the actual product.
As you have previously read in other announcements here are the planes that will be included in Flying Circus – Volume One. We have decided to choose a plane-set that represents the period of April-May 1918. This period offers some great planes that will provide lots of fun match-ups.
The first two planes off the assembly line and into Early Access will be the venerable SPAD 13C.1 and the Fokker Dr.1 triplane!
All of the planes in Flying Circus have their roots in ROF, but the models have been re-worked by Yugra Media to be brought up to our current visual standard. That means improved mesh and new 4K textures.
Map and Technologies
Included will be a map that is approximately 100 km x 100 km that has is generally centered on the Arras sector of the Western Front. The map will include towns such as Arras, Cambrai, Lille, Amiens and St. Quentin and the dreaded No-Mans-Land along with several airfields to fly from. This map will be created using all our latest map making technology that is found in current IL-2 Great Battles products. It should make WWI a much more beautiful experience scenery wise. Matter of fact, Flying Circus will benefit from all current and new technologies in our updated engine. This means more than the graphical updates, but also improvements to AI and of course our amazing VR support is included! The difference from ROF will be quite remarkable.
The plan is for future volumes of FC to include larger maps like we had in ROF. Exactly how big, is yet to be determined.
For us to bring WWI to you in any reasonable amount of time, we have decided to use the Flight Models from ROF for our Flying Circus planes. We have done this for a couple reasons. First, we have spent a lot of time researching and building these FMs over a period of several years and unlike the 3D models, they stand the test of time and there is no reason to toss them and start over. Second, these FMs were built for an engine that was created solely for WW1 speeds and maneuvers etc. It was more prudent to build support for these FMs in the current WW2 focused engine, then to completely re-make these FMs with an engine designed for heavier and faster aircraft in WW2. In essence, we’ve been able to make both regimes co-exist side by side within the same environment without compromising the feeling of flight or their unique characteristics. Our engineering team as done a marvelous job building this support in just a few months! Without this work, Flying Circus would not be possible. Our Flying Circus planes will still have all the interesting quirks and characteristics that many of you know and love from our previous title.
Finally, I must mention one of the driving motivations for making Flying Circus at all - VR support! There was simply no way to retrofit VR support into ROF properly. So, to bring our awesome VR support to the WWI battlefield we had to work on a new title with the tech already included. The end result did not disappoint, we really like how our open cockpits look in VR! This will be a really awesome experience for those that love VR.
As I mentioned above, getting WW1 up and running again takes a lot of work, so Flying Circus will initially include support for the Quick Mission Builder and our Mission Editor. We will also create and include some custom single-player missions as we near completion of FC and if Volume One proves popular and we move to make future volumes, we will introduce the Pilot Career to FC. And Scripted Campaigns can be built for FC by anyone using our Mission Editor just like in IL-2.
If you are concerned about the Pilot Career, please know this. We can’t support the Pilot Career for FC yet because we are still building support for WW2 and other general features and mission types it needs. Remember, it’s still new tech for the Great Battles series and we have to build this support in-house so we cannot place this task with a third party. We also have to build support for WW1 style missions and this will take time. If we include support for the Pilot Career in say Volume Two of Flying Circus, it will of course become compatible with Volume One. That is the beauty of our one client approach.
All of our Flying Circus aircraft will come equipped with all field and factory mods that we used to sell as separate items way back when. This also includes pistols, scarves, streamers and special gunsights like the Aldis and collimator style gunsights.
And last but not least, our pilot models for Flying Circus will be completely new and they will look really cool in our updated aircraft. They of course have yet to be animated, but the finished pilot models look to be really great!
We hope this overview of Flying Circus is helpful and gives you a good idea of the great effort we are undertaking to bring WWI development back to our amazing WWI fans who enjoyed Rise of Flight so much.
So please enjoy the following images of Flying Circus. Remember this is still a Work-in-Progress and the maps is obviously not WW1 France. For Early Access we will be including the Lapino map as a substitute until the French map is ready.
You can discuss the news in this thread
Dear Pilots and Drivers!
We start this Dev Blog with a somber reminder that 77 years ago, on June 22, 1941, German troops, under the control of the Nazi regime in Berlin, launched the largest invasion in the history of warfare. They crossed the Soviet Union border in a surprise blitzkrieg attack obliterating the non-aggression pact signed between Germany and the USSR. This escalation of WWII would forever change the history of the USSR and the rest of the world. Modern history still to this day is divided into 'before' and 'after' the war. The German war machine was powerful, effective, modern and technologically advanced. Its soldiers were highly motivated and exceptionally trained. Operation Barbarossa was planned by the best minds of the German general staff. The plan was for three army groups, 'North', 'Center' and 'South' to smash the USSR in just 5 months with the help of the cavalry of the new age - the air force.
This outcome may have seemed inevitable if not for the tenacity of the Soviet people and military. Surprisingly for the German High Command, as Barbarossa rolled on and early victories showed Soviet unpreparedness, the Soviet resistance began to stiffen and harden with each passing day. The Soviets withstood the initial, most powerful impact of the enemy with grim determination. This determination and composure turned into a shield and spear that would eventually stop and kill the enemy. We all know the price of this victory - there was no family untouched by the war, countries were destroyed, cities turned to rubble, tens of millions of people killed and millions of children became orphans. The price was hideous and we can't forget it because our ancestors live in our memory. We hope such an event never happens again.
This price wasn't paid in vain - the modern world as we know it comes from the great joint victory over Nazis. The victory which wasn't possible without the blood of the Soviet people, which begun on this day, June 22, 1941.
This new project of ours - Tank Crew: Clash at Prokhorovka is our tribute to this memory. We tell about the machines of WWII and the fighting in the skies above its battlefields. And starting this year, we'll also tell you about the fighting on the ground. We'll begin with one of the most famous and critical battles of the war - the battle of Kursk. In 1943, the Wehrmacht gathered all available forces, which in 1943 were still considerable and far from defeated and attempted to turn the tide of the war after the setbacks in 1941 and 1942 in one coordinated all-out assault. It can't be said that this attempt was entirely hopeless, the German forces nearly broke through the last lines of defense, but the Red Army held and counterattacked. And with that, the final outcome of the war became clear. The symbol of that battle, of course, is the armored combat machines that defined the battlefield – TANKS! Tanks alone are little more than expensive metal heaps without their human crews. This project is dedicated to the crews who bravely went to battle in them.
The action in Tank Crew: Clash at Prokhorovka will take place in 100x100 km area around Belgorod, including the place where the greatest tank battle of all time was waged, near Prokhorovka village. You can see that the map size is smaller than in our other projects, but we made it smaller on purpose to use our recently developed landscape detail scaling technology. This tech will make the landscape wireframe 16 times more detailed than our usual maps that are designed for aircraft engagements. While being smaller than our other maps, this map size is still unequal among tank sims. We don't do this just to boast about it either - the size of our map makes joint multiplayer with tanks and aircraft possible on the same multiplayer server.
In addition to 16 times more detailed landscape, we also implemented the knock-over-trees tech which in some aspects is more advanced than in competing titles. The terrain texturing has also been improved to make creating believable settlements and villages possible.
The settlements also required new tech advances because this project is focused on tanks, so we have implemented more detailed building damage modeling. Of course, we can’t get carried away, because populating all settlements and big towns with detailed damage model buildings won't be feasible from both development resources and sim performance standpoints. The bulk of the map will be populated like on the regular maps while the historically important areas where the major tank engagements happened will have the new detailed buildings. This will make ramming the buildings possible by the way. As you can imagine, the area of the Prokhorovka battle will be one of these highly detailed areas. The size of just this area is comparable to the full size of the map in some tank games.
Now let's list the tanks that will be made for the project, it is called Tank Crew after all. There will be 10 armored vehicles and two Anti-Aircraft vehicles:
1. T-34-76 model 1943
6. GAZ-MM + 72K
7. PzKpfw III Ausf.M
8. PzKpfw IV Ausf.G
9. PzKpfw V Ausf.D "Panther"
10. PzKpfw VI Ausf.H1 "Tiger"
11. Sd. Kfz. 184 "Ferdinand"
12. Sd. Kfz. 10 + Flak38
For this project, we performed historical research on the construction of these tanks and their equipment and weapons for exterior and interior 3D modeling and texturing. Part of our team is working on improving the engine, making the physical tank models and their damage modeling, creating the map and improving the user interface for the tank crews. We've managed to set up the joint workflow with our development partners so Tank Crew development doesn't affect the progress we're making on our other big project – Battle of Bodenplatte.
We can tell you a bit about the gameplay already. The player will be able to occupy one of the four stations:
- Tank commander
- Radioman/MG gunner
The required support for drivable tanks and vehicles has been created in advance. All our customers should try the existing two tanks, T-34 and Pz. III. Now we're improving and expanding this support, and one of the most important directions of this improvement is making the damage model of the tank and its systems more detailed.
We'll also improve the ground vehicle AI so it will be capable of controlling detailed tanks, the ones that human players control. This is required for single player - you'll be acting as part of tank squads or companies.
For each side we plan to create a Scripted Campaign consisting of several missions connected with a single story, telling about the historical events of this battle.
As we see things now, the Tank Commander role is shaping up to be the most interesting one - you'll be able to command your crew, give orders to your unit as a whole or any particular tank under your command. On Expert difficulty level, you'll do all this from your seat inside the tank relying only on the visual information which has been possible to obtain in real life.
Players assuming the role of a driver will notice the realistic tank movement physics that includes the complex interaction of the tank tracks (or wheels for a car) with the ground, engine and transmission, resulting in realistic dynamic characteristics of a given tank or vehicle. Since we are not only a simulator, but also a game, it will be possible to control this complex dynamical model with simple input devices.
The gunner will operate the realistic optical gun sight. We have performed significant research to model the ballistics of all the rounds used in these tanks. At the moment we plan that it will be possible to use 5 round types: AP, APHE, APCR, HEAT and HE (it's likely you know what these mean if you're interested in tank warfare). The types available will be historically accurate, for instance, the 76mm HEAT round was forbidden to use in 1943 because of the many cases of its premature bursting in the barrel, or there were no solid AP rounds for German guns, they used APHE. All MGs installed on the tanks will be accurately modeled as well.
The Radioman/MG gunner will operate his MG most of the time but losing a radioman will prevent you from talking with other tanks of your unit. The loader will be also modeled, but he will be controlled by AI.
We plan to start the Early Access program for Tank Crew: Clash at Prokhorovka as early as this July. Of course, we'll have only a small bit of the final product available at the start. The official release date is more than one year ahead in the future, but early adopters of Tank Crew will have something to play with:
- Highly detailed (exterior and interior) KV-1s and PzKpfw VI Ausf.H1 "Tiger" tanks;
- Nearly complete physics model of these tanks;
- Detailed ballistics model for 50mm, 76mm and 88mm rounds;
- Ability to occupy any tank station (tank commander functionality won't be ready, but you'll be able to take the commander seat);
- Numerous improvements to other game functionality which will improve a ground vehicle gameplay.
Well, as they say, a picture is worth a thousand words, but here is a bunch for several thousand words!
You can discuss the news in this thread
The time has come to tell you more about the historical timeframe of Battle of Bodenplatte.
As we said in our previous Dev Blog #192, we're making all four different seasons for this map. Some might think that we'll model only 1-2 days of the actual Bodenplatte operation when the Luftwaffe made the all-out attack on the Allied airfields near Brussels and Antwerp. However, our “Battle of” series is much more than that! The Career mode for this new theatre of war will last from September 17th, 1944 to March 28th, 1945 – 188 days of war in total.
Historically, 11 significant engagements took place in this area during the given timeframe. In the Career mode, you'll see your area of operations, mission types, acting air force units, their home airfields and other details that correspond to the historical data. You'll be flying in and around many famous operations and battles. Of course, we can’t model every skirmish or battle on the ground, but we will have an exciting Career spanning this later stage of the war when the Allies were fighting their way into Germany.
Operation Market Garden (September 17 – 26, 1944)
Battle of Aachen (October 2 – 21, 1944)
Battle of the Scheldt (October 2 – November 8, 1944)
Operation Queen (November 16 – December 15, 1944)
Operation Watch on the Rhine (December 16 – 25, 1944)
Allied Counter-Offensive (December 26, 1944 – January 25, 1945)
Operation Bodenplatte (January 1, 1945)
Operation Veritable (February 8 – March 10, 1945)
Operation Clarion (February 22 – 23, 1945)
Operation Grenade (February 23 – March 10, 1945)
Operation Plunder (March 23 – 28, 1945)
As said above, we won't be able to recreate these ground operations in super detail, but the overall situation, mission tasks, home airfields and mission targets will change as they should historically just as you experience with Stalingrad, Moscow and Kuban. This, along with the corresponding features of the Career mode like pilot biographies, squadron histories, newspaper articles, videos, squadron rosters, medals and rank progression will create an authentic experience of flying on the Western Front during the late war period. The whole timeframe will be divided into 5 chapters:
Chapter 1: Fighting in Holland (September 17 – October 1, 1944)
Chapter 2: Autumn Offensive (October 2 – December 15, 1944)
Chapter 3: Battle of the Bulge (December 16 – 25, 1944)
Chapter 4: Allied Counter-Offensive (December 26, 1944 – February 7, 1945)
Chapter 5: Battle of the Rhine (February 8 – March 28, 1945)
To create this new theatre of war, a thorough research will be done on where the units of both sides were based, their tasks and what aircraft they used day by day. Two new award systems for the US and Great Britain are to be created from scratch, as well as the late war pilot models for Luftwaffe, RAF and USAAF along with their chutes. The Newspaper articles is a huge task on their own and takes several months to complete. If you’d like to help with this contact Jason. We also plan on making additional mission types for this unique location and timeframe. All in all, this will be a lot of work for us, but progress is already being made. For example, we have finalized the map boundaries and the airfield locations. This map is bigger than we initially planned (flyable area is 401 x 324 km - it is 129.900 sq.km) and several compromises will have to be made to make it a reality. It will stretch us to the limit of what is possible in our development schedule, but as with our other maps it will be really cool when it’s done.
You can discuss the news in this thread