Many of you ask us how is the development of the recently announced mobile AAA is going. The physical model of a wheeled vehicle is nearly complete while the visual model of the Soviet GAZ-MM with 72-K AA gun being developed by our partners at Digital Forms has made good progress. You can see the attention to detail on these screenshots, it's really a labor of love:
You may wonder how fast the German half-track chassis can be developed since it is partly wheeled and partly tracked, but in our engine, the player controllable vehicles have a sophisticated module structure where a combination of various propulsion types is possible. We plan to start the implementation of the German AAA half truck soon. On the other hand, the AA gunsights are a new thing, but we hope to make them as functional as Tank Crew artillery sights.
Meanwhile, we're working on updating all the existing aircraft in the sim with the new visual models of the crew. All the fighters were given the new pilot models where it was possible to do in a universal way previously, and now we're adding the new models to the planes where unique adjustments are required. In the coming update, you'll get the new pilot model for P-39L-1. More detailed pilot appearance aside, this also means that an American or British pilot will be displayed if a P-39 is set to one of the countries in the mission file. Also, our friend Martin =ICDP= Catney have created an additional RAF skin for this airplane.
Another of the many questions we got recently after showing the video of the new terrain effect on the vehicles, is how the new detailed terrain roughness will affect the aircraft outside the prepared airfields when making an emergency landing for instance or taking off from a field (which is an even more difficult task naturally). We think the best answer would be another short video:
The Sturmovik Team
Less than two weeks (wink-wink) have passed since the previous update and we just released another - 4.503. It doesn't contain so many changes, but it adds a new aircraft to the Battle of Normandy Early Access - Bf 109 G-6 late. With the MW-50 injection system engaged, it was a formidable machine capable of confronting the Allied fighters of that time. Normandy map and Battle of Normandy Career are still in development according to the development plan, but you can already use the new addition in the Rheinland career - we've added it to the five groups that have been using this Bf 109 during the Rheinland career timeframe historically.
Also in this update, 4K external texturing for the German heavy fighter Bf 110 G-2 (Battle of Kuban) is added. As with other updated planes, this change is a big visual improvement. There are several improvements for Tank Crew as well in anticipation of its official release. The full changelist follows:
1. German fighter Bf 109 G-6 Late is available for Battle of Normandy owners;
2. Bf 109 G-6 Late added to the following Rheinland Career mode (Battle of Bodenplatte) groups the player can join: I./JG 3, II./JG 11, III./JG 26, III./JG 27 and II./JG 77. It is also used by AI-controlled groups III./JG 1, III./JG 4, III./JG 53, I./JG 76 and III./JG 300;
3. German heavy fighter Bf 110 G-2 has 4K quality external textures created by Martin =ICDP= Catney;
4. Pz.Kpfw.III Ausf.M player controllable tank now has a lower armor plate under the rear overhang modeled;
5. All player controllable tanks now have bulkheads (made of regular steel) between the fighting and the engine compartments;
6. M4A2 tank commander animation corrected (due to an error he could be wounded by enemy MG fire when inside the tank);
7. AI-controlled ground vehicle tracks are resistant to combat damage similarly to player controllable vehicle tracks
8. Combat damage resistance has been corrected for several player controllable tank tracks;
9. The maximum speeds of the simple AI-controlled tanks now correspond to the detailed ones;
10. Tracked and wheeled vehicles move up the hills faster and more realistically;
11. Recently released Tank Coop missions were improved;
12. Tank gunner AI prefers APHE ammo when it estimates that the target armor can be penetrated with different ammo types at the current relative position;
13. Tank driver AI has been improved, resulting in less jerking while driving backward;
14. Oxygen mask breathing sound has been toned down a bit;
15. Bf 109 G-2, G-4, G-6, G-14 and K-4 wheels texturing has been improved;
16. Hurricane Mk.II compass now has fluorescent needles;
17. A rare issue with generating a new day in the Career mode has been addressed.
225 Dear friends,
The Summer is in full swing and we're working on finishing the Bodenplatte project. P-51D, P-38J, B-25 and Tempest 3D models are nearing completion, their textures are being made right now. Today we can show you the cockpit of Hawker Tempest Mk.V:
As we announced before, all Bodenplatte planes will have 4K external textures. Here are Bf 109 G-14 shots that show the texturing made by Martin =ICDP= Catney:
In addition to the models, we're working on the important features like more detailed pilot's physiology effects. Fatigue caused by a high G stress, (in)ability to bail out and other such things. After that, we'll get to repairing, refueling and refitting the aircraft on the ground.
At the moment we're moving to a newer FMOD version and our sound designer converts all the sounds to the newer sound engine. The main result of this work should be a fix of the disappearing sounds issue after playing for a while that was caused by having too many of them. We also started the research on making the aircraft and ships visible from several times farther distances. This task is very complex since it involves many various parts of the project - we can't make it at the cost of a significant performance loss in the graphics and network subsystems.
The work on the Bodenplatte map is nearing completion and we'll be able to show you the screenshots showing the result of this tremendous work soon. This also means we started the work on the Career mode for it that will be called Battle of Rheinland. Starting on September 17th, 1944 and ending on April 1st, 1945, it will include several new mission types characteristic for this timeframe on the Western front. All the required information - squadron histories and emblems, pilot biographies, awards, news, etc. - was accumulated with the help from our community members and we're very grateful to those who participated in this task.
Another important thing we must tell you is that American, British and German infantrymen models for Bodenplatte project are finished - they will man the guns, drive the vehicles and appear as airfield personnel. And here's the model of the Royal Air Force pilot for Summer of 1944:
Now let's talk about other our projects. For Tank Crew, the next update will bring Pz.Kpfw.IV Ausf.G that has autonomous electric turret turn mechanism for instance. And in September we plan to release the two scenario campaigns for Tank Crew - Breaking Point and Last Chance, telling about the fighting near Prokhorovka. Players will be able to participate in the battle from both sides. Today we can show you the title art for these campaigns that were created using in-game tank models and the screenshots of Pz.Kpfw.IV Ausf.G in the sim.
The next update is planned to include two - actually four - new aircraft for Flying Circus - Halberstadt CL.II, Halberstadt CL.IIau, Bristol Fighter F2 Falcon 2, Bristol Fighter F2 Falcon 3. After that, to complete this project we'll have to release Amiens-Arras-Lille map that will come with improved visual models for ground vehicles. Here are the screenshots of the coming planes:
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While, as you know, we're working on several projects at once, today we'll tell you about our the current main one - Bodenplatte. The most important new tech we're developing for it is the FM improvement to take into account the air compressibility and its influence on the aircraft stability and handling that is noticeable at high speeds. The late war aircraft are a pinnacle of the piston engine technology and they can approach the sonic barrier, especially in a dive. And of course this new tech is paramount for our first jet - Messerschmitt Me.262 'Schwalbe'. You may have wandered will the new tech work for the existing aircraft released before - it certainly will, we always update all aircraft to take advantage of the new tech so they all have the same modeling fidelity.
Meanwhile, our artists are working on several 3D models simultaneously (some are nearly complete and the work on others has just begun): Bf 109 K-4, Me 262 A-1, P-47D-28, Fw 190 D-9, Hawker Tempest Mk.V and P-51D-25.
We also decided to improve the recently released Fw 190 A-8. It will be able to carry 1000 kg SC 1000 bombs with reduced ring stabilizers and "M8 Panzerblitz 1" HE rockets and you will be able to remove the nose-mounted 13 mm MG 131 machine guns, resulting in four different modifications of this plane:
Fw 190 A-8 (fighter)
Fw 190 A-8 Sturmjäger (better armoured interceptor)
Fw 190 F-8 (attack plane)
Fw 190 G-8 (fighter-bomber)
So, while it may appear we have only one Fw 190 A-8 in the sim, in fact, you'll have 4 different modifications. This is also true for many other aircraft - in one of the coming Dev Blog releases we'll compile the complete list of aircraft including the possible modifications.
Since the words are best followed with visuals, today we can show you the WIP screenshots of Messerschmitt Bf 109 K-4 'Kurfürst', Republic P-47D-28 'Thunderbolt' and Focke-Wulf Fw 190 D-9 'Langnasen-Dora':
Our map designers also have something to show you today. In Dev Blog #193 we presented the early European map prototype. At the moment, th designers are working on the road network and settlements. The total amount of settlements will be around 300 including so many towns we have never modeled on one map before. To be able to finish this work in time while modeling the general layout of the cities and towns the special settlement block designer tool has been created. This is a small teaser, a Western European town made using this approach (this is not a particular historical town, but a test layout):
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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.
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