One week has passed since our previous Dev Diary and we have something new to show you once again. The rate of development is truly fantastic. Today we won't have so much text but will compensate it with WIP screenshots of two 'stars' of our Bodenplatte project.
The first star of today's Blog is the British fighter Hawker Tempest Mk.V series 2. These planes played a significant role in the events of January 1st, 1945 - the units managed to take off in time when Luftwaffe attacked the Allied airfields during Bodenplatte operation. Tempests were equipped with some serious firepower - four 20mm Hispano guns - and achieved good speeds at lower altitudes, which was handy for a dogfight near the ground.
The second aircraft we want to show you today is USAAF North American P-51D-15 Mustang, the most famous American fighter of WWII that was widely used in different theatres of war. To a degree, its exceptional range and altitude capabilities made the deep bombing raids over Germany possible. Mustangs had good overall maneuverability and climb rate, while their six .50 cal M2 Browning machineguns allowed them to engage any air targets. A Mustang could also carry bombs and rockets, making it a fighter/bomber.
It should be noted that while many Mustangs still exist around the world, including airworthy ones, most of them are combinations of different modifications, including post-WWII ones. Therefore we're spending a lot of time researching tech schematics, spare parts catalogs, and similar documents to make sure the final result will be as authentic as possible.
And to finish today's blog, here are WIP screenshots of the next Flying Circus plane - Fokker D.VIIF. This Deutsche Luftstreitkräfte late WWI fighter has been equipped with a great engine for its time, BMW D.IIIa, that gave it an advantage over Allied fighters at high altitudes. Coupled with good maneuverability, it made Fokker D.VIIF a very dangerous adversary.
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The Spring has come and in today's Dev Blog, after some delay, we're returning to our main project - Bodenplatte. This delay in the news has been caused by the fact that during the Winter all the work on this project was made at a deep level - it was hard to make a screenshot of something - but it was a hard work nevertheless. This was known beforehand and planned this way. If you were following us for some time, you may recall that such visible pauses in the development news in the middle of a development cycle happened in all our previous projects and are a result of the effective work and division of labor. But today we finally have some intermediate results to show, and there a lot of them.
First, we can disclose more details about the map of the project. Previously we mentioned only its size and location, but today we can tell you more information.
There will be more than 200 settlements of various sizes.
Air forces of the opposing forces will take off from more than 100 airfields.
The total length of all roads will exceed 20000 km.
The reachable zone of the map is 129859 square kilometers (400.8 x 324 km) while the entire map is 176947 square km (460.8 x 384 km).
The preliminary list of the cities we plan to have ready at the time of release follows:
Frankfurt am Main
Again, if you have followed our development before, you may notice that the parameters of the new map are breaking the record once again. This is also the first map to be released with all four seasons simultaneously - a hard challenge for the entire team. To be able to complete the project before the set deadline without compromising quality, our Lead Map Artist Evgeny Isaev has found new methods of development and large cities creation. Also, Evgeny has designed artistic approaches that will not simply repeat the visual quality of the previous maps but will also give players a new visual feel that is characteristic for flying over Western Europe. But enough words, it is time to show you something new - on these screenshots you can see the central areas of Bruxelles, Liege, and Köln:
But these map development news are not the only ones we have. We can show you the progress we have made on the three coming planes: P-38J-25 heavy fighter, B-25 heavy bomber (AI only), and Me 262 A jet fighter. For the first one of them, P-38J-25, we have used a new approach of creating the exterior and interior 3D models in parallel, not subsequently - at the early stage the model is divided into exterior and interior parts and the coordinates of their seams are stored, then both models are being worked on simultaneously to be connected back at the final step. This aircraft, of course, is unbelievable, what can we say - it's a legend:
The B-25 bomber will be AI-only in this project, but we'll try to make its exterior 3D and physical model at the same quality level as our player controllable aircraft. First, this is important for those who will be attacking or defending these planes in the Career mode, campaigns, single scenarios and Coop multiplayer. Second, who knows - perhaps a possibility to make it flyable will reveal itself in the future:
The exterior 3D model of Me 262 A "Schwalbe" is completely done, including the official skins. The interior (cockpit) model is almost done (currently the artists are working on its texturing), while our engineers are working on its FM and the physical model of a jet engine. When you look at this legendary aircraft, you can't help but think that it was ahead of its time:
To finish today's Dev Blog, we would like to congratulate the beautiful half of humanity on the coming holiday - International Women's Day. Dear girls, be happy!
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Salute, comrade pilots!
For some time, we have not covered the work being done in our aviation workshop, giving the news platform to armored vehicle enthusiasts. But today it is time to return to the planes. And I will tell you what our engineering team is working on now.
At this time our software engineers are simultaneously developing three legendary airplanes: the P-51D Mustang, the Fw-190 D-9 Dora and the Me-262 Schwalbe, which is the first jet airplane in the "IL-2: Great Battles" series. Undoubtedly, all these airplanes stand out from the rest of the plane-set in terms of their excellent speed characteristics. And as usual making a virtual copy of a new airplane to our stable brings new challenges and tasks we must perform.
For example, the Me-262 is the first aircraft in our project with a swept wing. It would seem that the difference is not very big, but this circumstance required us to refine the aerodynamics calculation technology. The result of this work will be more accurate characteristics of the stability and controllability of the airplane in lateral movement, which sweep has a significant impact. Daniel has already mentioned about a turbojet engine in the previous diaries, and now work on the Jumo-004B model is in full swing. A dynamic model of the turbo-compressor was assembled, and now work is underway on the engine's thrust, heat and fuel-flow characteristics. Virtually each of the above airplanes required us to make improvements in the models of units and on-board equipment. For example, this is a powerful developed wing mechanization, including slats across the whole wingspan of the Schwalbe, a new gunsight that the Dora and the Schwalbe will receive - they will be the first German airplanes in our project with a gyro gunsight. There is also an automated control of radiators and superchargers on the Mustang. I should note that the P-51D and Me-262 have a sensitive center of gravity when heavily loaded with fuel and ordinance. For example, the Mustang had such a small reserve of longitudinal stability with full fuel tanks that the pilot flight manual instructed pilots to avoid aerobatics with full fuel tanks because of the risk of stall and spin. This quirk of the P-51D will be present in our simulator.
In addition, two new biplanes for the Flying Circus project have entered the “factory testing” stage. These are the legendary Fokker D7 and Sopwith Dolphin, whose 3D models were revamped by our partner Ugra-Media. This stage involves a large number of in-game tests that we perform before giving the airplanes to beta testers. And for such tests, we use special developer tools that allow us to quickly check various animations, visualization of damage models, operation of instruments and visual effects, such as smoke, fires, dust from under the wheels and others. Today I would like to show you a short video with one of these tests. In this video you can see an in-game test (conducted at a special test base on a distant secret island) where the animation of the landing gear damage was checked. I recorded this video in the fall while working on the implementation of the Sopwith Camel to our project. Often, working on "serious games" we forget that our work is also fun. In this video I just wanted to have some fun with my colleagues, to cheer them up after a period of hard work. So today, my colleagues and I decided that maybe it is a good idea to share this video to you. If it evokes a smile on your face - well, then I recorded it not in vain. If you like it, it may possible that we will show you some more in-game tests that our very serious engineers do:
And finally, since we have touched on our Flying Circus project, we would like to show you a series of screenshots from the Arras map which our partners at Ugra-Media are actively working on. In these screenshots you can see the step forward in visualization of the map compared to our previous Great War simulation. Plus, here are the first in-game screenshots of the re-furbished Sopwith Dolphin and Fokker D.VII cockpits which are coming soon:
Fly for fun!
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