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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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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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:
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