Before we return to telling about the Battle of Bodenplatte and Flying Circus in our DDs, today we'd like to tell you more about Tank Crew. The most important thing is that we prepare the next big update that will include two new tanks, M4A2 "Sherman" and Panzerkampfwagen III Ausführung M, that were used in Kursk area and the map of the southern part of the Kursk salient made for joint ground and air warfare. But of course, we work not only on the new content.
The main areas of the Tank Crew development at this moment are:
1. Improving the damage and armor-projectile interaction model both for the player controlled tanks we're making for Tank Crew and the other objects. Several consequent updates for the sim we released this month contained most part of this work, but this was only a part and we continue. Ricochet modeling will be improved and 'simple', non-player controllable, vehicles will get even more detailed armor (which will be noticeable especially when you attack them from the air). We're beginning the work on the detailed systems of the player controllable tanks (fuel, electric, transmission, cooling, etc.) which will allow for more variable and realistic damage of Tank Crew vehicles. We also plan to make them repairable in the field.
2. Developing and expanding the tank and tank platoon commander functionality. The basic commander functionality is done - a commander can give all the orders we planned for this stage of development in relation to the current position, target, firing, maneuvering and some additional commands that make the playing experience more diverse. A commander will be able to give orders to other players in his tank in multiplayer and to AI crewmen alike. It looks like the commander role will be the most interesting one.
3. Developing AI for crew members. Again, the basic functionality is done and now detailed tanks controlled by AI can follow the orders that can be specified in a mission like the simple AI vehicles always did. This means that detailed tanks can be fully used in a mission scenario. Now we begin the work on implementing the functionality that will make possible for a player to give orders to crewmen of his tank and other tanks in his platoon. We hope to have this functionality mostly done by the end of Spring and release it into Tank Crew Early Access.
4. Developing the scenario campaigns which should carry out the main idea of the project - let you experience not the fictional gladiator-like balanced tank duels, but the tank warfare of July 1943 with its balance of power and technical characteristics of the armored vehicles involved. Moreover, we'll try to show the historical events since the scenarios will be based on the tour of duty of the units that participated in these events. Later we'll tell you more about these scenarios.
All this - detailed, true to history tank models including interiors with crews, the historical map with variable detail level, buildings with detailed damage modeling, realistic movement kinematics, improved tank damage modeling, detailed weaponry, all important crew roles, especially the commander one, acting as a part of a tank platoon, history-based and educational scenario campaigns telling about the major event of WWII, ability to control one tank with several people in multiplayer - all this combined should give you the new experience and impression you can't get anywhere else.
To make this DD less dry, our studio and our partners Digital Forms prepared several WIP screenshots for you that show what will be released in the next big update:
The map of the southern part of the Kursk salient you'll see in the game. The zone containing detailed buildings developed for tank warfare and scenario campaigns in the historical events of Clash of Prokhorovka project is marked inside (106x106 km, the detailed zone is 19х23 km):
PzKpfw III Ausf.M impact shot demonstrating the improved damage modeling with certain parts detaching:
M4A2 "Sherman" interior renders:
PzKpfw III Ausf.M interior renders:
You can discuss the news in this thread
Good day my friends, part 1 of 4 of a great Interview is released on Stormbirds.
Im proud to see the interest in il2 is growing in our community.
So let me present you some great new infos about this great Adventure, called Il2.
It’s my great pleasure to introduce a four part series featuring two members of the 1C Game Studios team: Jason Williams and Daniel Tuseev.
Jason Williams is President of 777 Studios and Executive Producer at 1C Game Studios and hardly needs introduction to regular readers of this blog. Jason’s one of the driving forces behind the current direction of the IL-2: Great Battles Series and a frequent presence in the community.
Daniel Tuseev has been a Project Manager and is currently the Technical Producer at 1C Game Studios and has been involved with the IL-2: Great Battles Series stretching back to the very beginning of the project.
This first part of this interview is focused on IL-2: Great Battles in 2019 with questions on everything from hardware and VR to new content and new features for the series. There are three more parts planned on specific topics covering everything from IL-2: Battle of Bodenplatte, Tank Crew – Clash at Prokhorovka, and Flying Circus Vol 1. We’re also going to talk about the future of the series so look out for follow up segments coming in the next few weeks!
Part one: The IL-2: Great Battles Series in 2019
Let’s start by talking about your history with flight sims. How long have you been involved with flight sims and what were some of your old favourites?
Jason Williams: “Oh wow…this could be a long answer, but I’ll try to give a short one. My first exposure to a proper flight-sim was F-15E Strike Fighter at a friend’s house when I was a kid. I think it was on an IBM PC with a monochrome screen. A computer teacher of mine also demonstrated the very first MS Flight Simulator in class one day. That was 7th or 8th grade.
Later in the early 90’s my uncle had one of the first Falcon games. Then my family got a 386 PC and I played F-117 Stealth Fighter which I got as a Christmas present. In college I bought my first PC and started playing other sims/games including all the titles in the Jane’s series like ATF, USNF, Longbow, WWII, IAF etc. and anything else that piqued my interest including European Air War.
In 1997 I worked as a legislative intern at the state capital building. All the staff was invited to the Governor’s mansion for a big party. They would be hob-knobbing with the Governor and other powerful political people who could give them jobs after graduation. I was like meh… I want to go home and play my sims. After college I played Jane’s USAF and then Falcon 4.0 quite heavily. I also played Flanker a bit, but it didn’t grab me like Falcon did. I remember sitting in a cubicle at a big law firm I worked at in Silicon Valley just day dreaming about going home and playing my sims. Then in 2001 I dove into the original Sturmovik and that was a life changing event for me. My passion for the hobby became an obsession.”
Daniel Tuseev: “While my Grandfather was an aerospace engineer in USSR (he have participated in S-75/SA-2 SAM and “Shkval” torpedo development) and I’ve spend many time in talks with him about aviation in times even before school – aviation is my hobby and my love as far as I can remember myself. Flight sims was my first love in gaming from the moment I’ve received my first Sega Mega Drive.
My first sims were F-117, LHX, Janes ATF. And always I’d love not only just to play them, but to investigate the sim world, do something unplanned, study how the things works. My first “adult love” in flight-simming was Flanker 1.0. I’ve decided to study for an aviation engineer while I’ve played it. This game have allowed me to start to understand how the combat aviation works. After that, when I’ve started my study in Moscow Aviation Institute, I’ve spend many times in study of aviation in LO:MAC and MSFS. These days were awesome.”
The IL-2: Great Battles Series has expanded in scale and scope significantly over the last two years bringing a lot of new ways to play. What are some of the standout new features that you think are drawing new players into the series and at the same time satisfying the veterans of the series?
Jason: “I think our move to abandon the original design and go back to the classic formula of QMB, SP and MP content without unlock gimmicks has helped and the addition of great new content like Kuban and other improvements in the graphics department and good VR support. The Career has also been a popular addition. The big survey we did a couple months ago helped to clarify what attracts virtual pilots to our sim. It’s a wide mix of things that bring people in, but we got some useful data. Thanks to all who took it seriously and participated.”
Daniel: “I’m sure that the reason is consistent with the fast evolution of the project. We have performed several huge steps forward like switching to X64, moving to DX11, VR support, several major improvements in aeroplane physics and damage model, improvements of landscape model, adding Career, Cooperative and Scenario Campaigns game modes. All this was done so rapidly and with so good result that this have really addicted players attention and interest. Plus huge changes in gaming strategy – moving back from leveling system to classic sim gameplay – it is also have bring many positive from our community.”
What kinds of improvements are you hoping to see from PC hardware (GPUs, joysticks, etc.) that might make your job easier?
Jason: “Good question. Better VR goggles are on everyone’s list and I’d like to see large monitors with higher refresh rates for a reasonable price. How about a 32, 35 or 43 inch 4K 240hz monitor that is not just a stripped down television? And the video card prices are ridiculously high. There are a few joystick makers that really could benefit from committing to the North American market in a more serious way. All of their supply problems could be solved by now and sales would be enormous relatively speaking. The creativity is there that is for sure, just not the business vision. I have some experience in this department, which I won’t get into, but until they move west in a more serious manner their ability to grow will be limited and supply will continue to be an issue. I don’t want to see Thrustmaster be so dominant in this space forever simply due to supply and logistics issues.”
Daniel: “IMO one of the great misses on controllers market is lack of medium-cost reliable joysticks and rudder pedals with force feedback. In previous times there was a great choose of FFB joysticks on the market – now we have too lack of it. Of course it would be great to have 4K VR devices with wide field of view which will allow you to use your peripheral vision. Also, I believe that there will become a time when 6-D moving seat platforms combined with VR will be standardized and will have acceptable cost to be widely used in flight-simming. So as you see – all my dreams are around player sensoring and feedback systems.”
VR has become a selling point for serious combat simulators like IL-2. What do you see in the future for VR?
Jason: “I predict higher res units, but difficulties with framerates. I hope, hope, hope there are some tricks we can use to boost framerates at higher resolutions.”
Daniel: “As I’ve said above – for VR it is very important to have wider field of view which will allow you to full-use of peripheral vision. Also, virtual gloves technology is a great perspective.”
Are there areas where you’d like to improve performance or add additional features to VR within IL-2?
Jason: “The key to VR nirvana is higher FPS at a higher resolution. How we get there is still a bit unknown. With a custom engine like ours and a small team, solutions take longer to figure out.”
Daniel: “I’d like one day to have VR gloves support in IL-2. It is the main one.”
The team has been implementing new network related code over the last few patches. Are there plans to keep working on that area? How difficult is it to find and fix some of the issues that players have reported over the years?
Jason: “Yes, but it’s difficult. We have a small team as everyone knows and re-writing and improving netcode is pretty complex. Our only option is incremental changes, gather feedback and then tweak more or dump the changes. It’s not ideal, but it’s what we are forced to do. We agree it can be better and we are working slowly, but surely in that direction.”
Daniel: “Yes, we will not stop our work on that issue. It is very difficult area for debugging because most of the issues which we have fixed and improved I the recent past are related to situation of high population of game server. This fact has put serious restrictions on variety of methods which you may use for investigation and debug. In these circumstances the statistics and analysis become the main tool of the finding the reasons, this why these issues can’t be improved rapidly and requires time for develop.”
The issue of cheating occasionally comes up (and has again recently) in the IL-2 multiplayer community. What is the team doing to try and prevent some of these efforts? What can the community do to help report the few that decide to cheat?
Jason: “First, if we see concrete evidence of cheating, we ban the player, which we have done already to some. Second, we have built some experimental tools to try and stop more advanced cheating, but they need more testing. And finally, we have already plugged some exploits that most of the public didn’t even know about. Cheaters are assholes who don’t just stumble upon cheats. They create them and it forces us too divert resources to that instead of building the product you want. And “off the shelf” anti-cheat tools don’t necessarily work in a custom engine like ours. Remember, we have a custom engine built from scratch. I hate this subject with a passion because it’s complete intentionally caused destruction of our product. It’s malicious and wrong. Just play the game fair and square.”
Daniel: “While flight sim with complex flight model and 80+ players on one game server can’t be developed in the way of shooter (where all physics, weapons and damage are calculated on game server) – this problem can’t be solved “once and forever”. In this case it always will be a competition of the sword and the shield. And as you know, sword is always is on the step ahead. But in combine with administrative methods we doing good job in moderating such cases. Also, of course we work on methods of cheating detection and cheating prevention – but methods which we’re using can’t be told to outside because this will give new arms to hands of cheaters. So what I can really say – we continue our work on that.”
The ‘Havoc over the Kuban’ campaign is the first community created Scripted Campaign sold on the IL-2 store. Are more campaigns like that planned in the future?
Jason: “Yes, I hope so, but the quality needs to be there. That can be hard to judge sometimes and Scripted Campaigns take a long time to test and development can take a while. But I have two more that I know will happen, but for now I’m taking a break from greenlighting any more. And don’t forget there are some AWESOME free ones out there posted on our forum. Check them out! Some very talented mission makers in our community.”
Daniel: “Of course. The main reason of developing the Scripted Campaign game mode was to open the way for community to develop to distribute their result to players. Also, we are working closely with guys from community who doing really serious job on campaigns development helping them sometimes with advices and sometimes with specific changes in the game.”
The U-2VS was the first aircraft developed by a third-party developer. Are there plans to continue with that model in the future? Related question: Is the Li-2 (or C-47/DC-3) still planned?
Jason: “Yes, that is correct. The U-2VS was built by our friends at Yugra Media. They have a contract to build the Li-2 and maybe a C-47 if that works out, but we’re a long way from that at the moment. The U-2 was a very intensive process that took more of our own time than we had hoped. I’m still hopeful the Li-2 will happen as planned, but until I know for sure I can’t say more. Yugra is also making our Flying Circus planes and they are still learning how to make them efficiently and with high quality. Making planes from scratch or revising older ones up to our standards is a challenge even for an experienced team like Yugra. But they are making real strides.
And don’t forget our tanks are made by DigitalForms and that was an entirely new type of machine to for us to support technically and gameplay wise. Daniel, Mike and Sergey have done a tremendous job making tanks possible along with DigitalForms who are giving it there all. It’s been fun to watch the progress.”
Daniel: “Yes it is. We working hard to open our doors for everyone who is capable and interested to create content for IL-2 Great Battles. At the moment we have two studios in collaboration with us, we hope that after time it will be more. So, anyone who interested and capable in this – contact to us, we waiting for you. Of course, it is still requiring some work from our side because control, implementation and physics model development is on our side anyway, but this is means that anyone can be calm about quality and accuracy of the result.”
Fans of the series have also wondered about future Collector Planes that continue to add to the Eastern Front experience (the Yak-9/9T, IL-4, Tu-2, I-153, Hs123, Bf110F and others come up frequently), are there any plans to do those or work with a third-party team to build those in the future?
Jason: “Probably not third party for any of those. Those would be best built by us due to the subject matter. We do hope to make more collector planes in the future and we still like the Eastern Front. I’d like to see all those planes flying one day. Out of all of those the Yak-9T would be the most likely one.”
Daniel: “At the moment only ideas are kicked around, it is too early to say what exactly we or our partners will do next. But yes, some of these planes are inside of the circle of possible variants.”
You’ve talked about building an Air (and Ground) Marshal feature for a couple of years. How is the planning for that mode coming along and what are you hoping players will be able to get out of having a feature like that once it’s complete?
Jason: “We’re in the initial stages of development now. We’ve agreed to a design and begun optimizations of the GUI which was needed before we start the main building process. The design, if it works, has been improved from my early concept into a really neat system. Our hope is that it will make MP more interesting and increase teamwork as it was in real life. It will be an optional feature for servers if they don’t like it. It could be a game-changer for online wars and all forms of MP if the community takes such a feature seriously and tries to fly like a real coordinated air force.”
Daniel: “Marshall mode design is established and it is already in development. It will be a huge gameplay feature, comparable to Career by complexity of development. If everything will be good – this feature will be done before release of Bodenplatte. This feature also requires many GUI based improvements and optimizations, some of them you will see in 3.010 as a “bonus” from Marshall mode development which is still in progress. In result players on populated multiplayer game servers will have a new layer of gameplay and cooperation. First of all – this feature should bring an obvious and dynamically changed vision to each player of what multiplayer mission objectives are and what is the player coalition strategy and current tactical tasks. Also, it should bring a new proximity to immersion of real aerial battle to the players.”
You’re currently working with Pat Wilson and his PWCG software to add a co-op career experience for players but you’ve also talked about building the IL-2 Career mode into Co-op as well. Is that a long range goal or something you’re hoping to add in 2019?
Jason: “No, it’s a long-range goal for us. Pat is a very smart guy and when he said he could do this in a reasonable time frame I jumped at the chance to have him try and I’m confident he will succeed. For us to do it inside the game will take some serious time and right now we have other goals and things to build for MP. Fingers crossed Pat hits a home run with his implementation. Remember he has been working with his code for years now which is different than how we work. Sometimes, it takes one guy with a singular vision and a lot of time to build something super special. “
Daniel: “It is a long-range goal as Jason has stated. Our engine is designed around a central core and different modes of gameplay all share the same basic architecture, so different features of SP and MP can share things to make such hybrid features possible. It will be mostly a question of lobby and GUI design when we eventually focus on such a feature.”
Improving the multiplayer lobby is one of the goals that you’re hoping to tackle this year and you’ve previously said that it won’t be easy. What kinds of features are you hoping to have and how much of a challenge is it to build this in?
Jason: “I can’t say right now what the exact shape it will take. Obviously, people want chat and a lobby of some kind. Everyone remembers old Hyperlobby and how that worked. So, something that can make match-making easier, but with features users want. We haven’t sat down to draw a final design yet, but that time is coming soon. We briefly mapped it out over a year ago, but it was just to understand the resources we would need to do it. And yes, everything about MP is difficult. A very tough crowd to please. “
Daniel: “While exact design is in development now, now I can only say what we want to have there. We supposing to have common chat, chat rooms, friends, server pre-start lobby where players will bring together and start server when they will be ready and so on.”
The team is going to be very busy building a lot of previously announced content in 2019. Are there any surprises we should be watching out for this year?
Jason: “Mmmm… if I told you it wouldn’t be a surprise? Time will tell if there are any surprises. Right now, I don’t know of any… or do I. Hmmmm………”
Daniel: “I think you will have some.”
Three more parts coming
I hope everyone enjoyed reading part one of my interview with Jason Williams and Daniel Tuseev. The next three parts are currently in the works and I hope to be able to share them with you very soon!
This week was a hard one - we had to let you play during the weekend without problems, so we released another update that continued the work started in 3.010. The majority of the changes are in the GUI and are required for the new Marschal multiplayer mode that is coming this Spring and will concentrate on the interaction with the map. Other important improvements were made for tank weapons and damage calcualtions. We hope that now the basic damage model is adequate and we'll start working on more particular tasks in the tank systems and combat damage department next week.
This week we finished the map of the Southern part of the Kursk salient while two next tanks, M4A2 and PzKpfw III Ausf.M, will follow soon. The new tanks and the map will be released into Tank Crew Early Access after beta testing. Today we can show you the first in-game screenshots of them taken near Prokhorovka:
You can discuss the news in this thread
The year has just begun, but we're already preparing the new update for you. Version 3.010 will be focused on improving the functionality of several modules of the sim and some of the changes are long-awaited and important. In the meantime, the work on all the Early Access projects progresses according to the schedule and many new things will be ready shortly after 3.010 release, in Q1 2019.
Our map designers are finishing the map of the Southern Kursk salient that includes Prokhorovka. As we announced before, it will utilize the higher detailed landscape wireframe and higher detailed buildings damage. When it is finished, the work on the scenario campaigns for "Clash at Prokhorovka" will begin. The campaigns will recreate the large scale historical events of July 1943 to the South-West of Prokhorovka. Today we can show you several screenshots of this map:
We plan to show you the new tanks soon - M4A2 Sherman, Pz.Kpfw.III Ausf.M (to be released at the end of the Winter) and T-34 mod. 1943 and PzKpfw IV Ausf.G (to be released at the beginning of Spring). We also started the implementation of the major feature - animated tank crewmen. This is a very laborious and time-consuming task since each tank has 4-5 crewmen and each one of them has his own unique pose and animations (many can also lean out of their hatches). This forced us to find new technical approaches for character animation that open new prospects not only for the Tank Crew but also other projects:
For "Flying Circus" project we're making the map of 100 km front line near Arras (Spring 1918). It will be made using the same techniques we're using for the creation of the large Bodenplatte project map, so it should also be a step forward visually. Here are first in-game screenshots of Sopwith Dolphin and Fokker D.VII which will be ready soon:
For our main project, Bodenplatte, we're preparing the next wave of the new aircraft. FMs for P-51D, Fw 190 D-9 and Me 262 A-1/2 are already in the works, while artists create 3D models of Hawker Tempest Mk.V, P-38J-25, P-51D-15, Me 262 A-1/2 and B-25 Mitchell-II (non-playable). Here are some screenshots of Me 262 A-1/2 (its paint schemes and cockpit are nearly ready):
You can discuss the news in this thread
News, put together by Stormbirds
IL-2’s Lead Producer, Jason Williams, revealed plenty of new information today in a post on the IL-2 forums with plenty of far reaching details on the release order of content coming to the IL-2 series including some surprise changes to the order of new materials.
There has long been speculation on the order that content will release in for IL-2: Battle of Bodenplatte (not to mention Tank Crew and Flying Circus). In the post that went up a few hours ago, we’ve learned about each of the three titles and what content is releasing and when.
Me262 coming sooner than expected
Though long thought to be the last aircraft to be released, 1CGS has apparently made tremendous strides in getting the required flight model changes and jet engine modeling inserted into the engine – to that point that the Me262 will now release alongside the FW190D-9.
That means that the FW190D-9, already well known to be coming next, will come with the Me262. That is incredible news and a change of plans from 1CGS on release order compared to what we previously knew.
Here’s the new order:
Me-262 and Fw-190 D-9 P-51D B-25 (AI) Tempest Mk.V P-38J Excitingly, the P-51D is next in the line-up but it does mean that we’ll be waiting for a while yet for another two highly anticipated types: the P-38J and the Tempest Mark V.
Tanks will be coming in larger packs
Eight more tanks are coming in 2019 for Tank Crew – Clash at Prohorovka. While the tanks themselves have been well known for over a year now, the actual release order has been only guessed at based on what we’ve seen from the work in progress images.
The next release for Tank Crew will include:
M4A2 PzKpfw IV Ausf.G T-34 model 1943 PzKpfw III Ausf.M Following that, a second release will include:
SU-122 PzKpfw V Ausf.D SU-152 Sd. Kfz. 184 I would suggest to those unclear about this that it is very likely that there will be large gaps in between these releases as the models for these tanks are worked on.
Two additional vehicles will be offered as Collector Vehicles (like Collector Planes) and they are:
GAZ-MM + 72K Sd. Kfz. 10 + Flak38 These two mobile flak vehicles will provide a whole new aspect for the IL-2 series with a new mission – firing back at aircraft attacking ground targets and tanks.
One thing is certain and that is Tank Crew will be growing immensely from its currently very early access state into a complete package over the coming months.
Flying Circus aircraft still to come
We already knew that the Fokker D.VII and D.VIIF were coming alongside the Sopwith Dolphin. From there we were only making educated guesses, however, according to Jason Williams, the order will go as follows:
Fokker D.VII and D.VIIF and Sopwith Dolphin Albatros D.Va and S.E.5a Bristol F2B and Halberstadt CL.II and CL.IIau Flying Circus has four aircraft that have helped prove and cement the concept of bringing Rise of Flight’s aircraft to the next generation of the Digital Warfare engine – letting people experience VR WWI air combat and enjoying the benefits of years of development on the series’ engine. The rest of the aircraft line-up will help further sell the concept I think – and it leaves me hopeful for a future Vol 2 follow-up too.
Map release order too
We now have information on the release order for the new maps coming as well.
Bodenplatte Map Arras Map Prokhorovka Map Last in the order is the recently revealed Prokhorovka map which is interesting because we’ve seen this map in development while the Arras map for Flying Circus has not yet been seen in work in progress screenshots.
Many months ago we saw the first images of the Bodenplatte map followed up by images of new city layouts that would help the 1CGS team quickly populate the largest (and most densely packed) map in the series’ history.
Of course, the Bodenplatte map isn’t just one theme as it comes with all four seasons – summer, autumn, winter, and even a spring thaw version of the map that is something we’ve not really seen before.
And those other features
Sometimes I think we get so caught up about seeing our favourite aircraft or tank added that we sometimes forget that the thing that helps propel all of this along are those “other features” that are so essential to making something like the IL-2: Great Battles Series compelling.
1CGS has no shortage of that planned.
Bodenplatte Career Bodenplatte Scripted Campaign Another Payware Scripted Campaign or two from 3rd Parties Tank Crew Scripted Campaigns American and British Radio Calls Air/Field Marshal Feature Object Viewer New MP Lobby (Fingers crossed, this one won’t be easy) PWCG Online Co-Op Campaign (Go chew on Pat about this) and hopefully many other tweaks and fixes etc. as we go along. Things like a Career we’ve come to expect from the 1CGS team who delivered that feature in March of 2018 and which has, in my mind at least, transformed the single player experience. Other things like the Air Field Marshal and a new Multiplayer Lobby have the potential to be game changing for the multiplayer experience.
We’ve got a lot to look forward to in the IL-2 series this year and I think we’re in for another transformative year for IL-2: Great Battles. And who knows… 1CGS always has a few surprises rolled up their sleeves.