Our team is proud to tell you that the work on update 4.601 is finished and it is up already. This update brings you three new toys at once. The first one of them is Supermarine Spitfire Mk.XIV Collectors Plane (included in Battle of Normandy Early Access). This late model of the legendary fighter has great fighting capabilities while retaining its captivating charisma. It has several historical modifications that make the Spitfire family in our project even more variable.
The second one is a new Collector Vehicle - Soviet self-propelled AAA - 25-mm 72-K gun installed on GAZ-MM chassis. Recreated with attention to detail, this vehicle is a new object class in our project. The experience you'll get operating it is unique - the life of the low-caliber AAA crews in World War II wasn't an easy one. It comes with a special mission type in QMB mode and new single missions.
The third one is the first airplane of the Flying Circus Vol. 2 - French-made single-seat fighter Nieuport 28.C1 that was exclusively used in US squadrons. This speedy plane with good weaponry for its time was used by the most famous US fighter ace of the Great War - Eddie Rickenbacker. This aircraft had a unique way of regulating the rotative engine power by ignition breaker. All in all, an interesting machine - and it officially starts Flying Circus Vol. 2 Early Access program.
Also in this update are two very important new technologies, one of which is tactical numbers that can be customized before the mission. At the moment, it fully works on all Tank Crew tanks thanks to our partners at Digital Forms. P-51D-15 also got this capability for USAAF and RAF (it depends on the aircraft country specified in a mission) and it works on Nieuport 28.C1 too. Later this year we plan to enable it for all other aircraft (it takes a lot of work).
The second new technology is Dynamic Visual Damage (DVD) that visualizes the hit marks from various projectiles on aircraft and tanks. Please note that is a visual tech that is intended to make the battle damage more vivid. In the absolute majority of cases, the DVD hit marks will properly show the impacts, but there are limitations caused by multiplayer and performance that in some cases can make them inaccurate - the good level of performance is always our priority. Nevertheless, this new feature should greatly increase the damage diversity. Just like tactical numbers, this new tech already works on all Tank Crew tanks and P-51D-15 and Nieuport 28.C1 planes. Again, we plan to enable it for all other 60+ aircraft this year.
Also in this version is a huge update of the graphical effects. This isn't an easy task to do since we not only have to make them look awesome but retain the level of performance. This time we have all-new explosion effects for all HE munitions in the sim with increased variety - now there are clearly visible differences between, say, 50 and 100, 250 and 500, 1000 and 2500 kg bombs. The water explosions became much better and the explosions better light the surroundings.
Martin =ICDP= Catney updated a lot of the external textures he made for us and this time two of the previously released aircraft were updated to 4K - Macchi MC 202 Folgore Collector Plane and Ju 88 A-4 bomber (Battle of Moscow). Please note that soon all the aircraft in our project will have 4K quality external textures. Oyster_KAI continued his work on improving the tremendous amount of aircraft cockpits, namely all Spitfires, Bf 109s, Bf 110s, Ju 87, Ju 88 and U-2VS. All the text above is just the highlights of the new update, you can read the changelist below:
1. Spitfire Mk.XIV Collector Plane is available to all owners of Battle of Normandy Premium Edition;
2. Nieuport 28.C1 is available to all owners of Flying Circus Vol. 2 and the Early Access program for Vol. 2 officially starts;
3. 25 mm 72-К AA gun on GAZ-MM truck is available to customers who prepurchased it;
4. New special mission type for QMB mode and 5 single missions added for AAA guns;
5. Dynamic Visual Damage (DVD) technology is added to the sim, that shows (with some limitations) the hit marks of projectiles on various objects. At the moment it works for all detailed tanks of Tank Crew - Clash at Prokhorovka, 72-K GAZ-MM AAA, P-51D-15 fighter, and Nieuport 28.C1 airplane;
6. Dynamic tactical markings technology is added to the sim, allowing to customize the tactical numbers on aircraft and vehicles. At the moment it works for all detailed tanks of Tank Crew - Clash at Prokhorovka, 72-K GAZ-MM AAA, P-51D-15 fighter, and Nieuport 28.C1 airplane;
7. More detailed railyards added to 19 cities on the Rhineland map (Bodenplatte): Antwerp, Liege, Mainz, Frankfurt, Bonn, Cologne, Duisburg, Brussels, Charleroi, Düsseldorf, Munster, Koblenz, Eindhoven, Tilburg, Nijmegen, Essen, Enschede, Hengelo, Osnabrück;
8. Completely new graphical effects are added for all munitions in the game for ground, water and object impacts and for midair explosions;
9. All F, G and K series Bf 109 fighters got the corrected tail models. Now the sturdiness of their elements are on par with the rest of the fighters and these elements can be shot off individually;
10. 4K quality external texturing added for MC.202 fighter and Ju 88 bomber while all Spitfires, Bf 109s, Bf 110s, Ju 87, Ju 88 and U-2VS cockpits were updated;
11. Spitfire Mk.XIV added to Rhineland Career mode (Bodenplatte) to the following squadrons the player can join: No. 41 Squadron RAF, No. 130 Squadron RAF, No. 350 (Belgian) Squadron RAF, No. 402 Squadron RCAF and No. 610 Squadron RAF.
12. The player flight takes off correctly in the 15th mission of the “Achtung Spitfire!” campaign;
13. An issue that could cause a AI fighter to approach to an air target too close and potentially to collide with it has been corrected;
14. AI fighter correctly attack balloons;
15. AI pilots aiming the MGs and guns at ground targets has been corrected;
16. Less experienced AI pilots engage the ground targets at closer distances;
17. Flying Circus aircraft visibility at large distances has been corrected to correspond to other aircraft in the game (it was 3 times lower);
18. Fuel tank and ammo explosion effects can be observed on other players in multiplayer;
19. An issue with potential fuel tank catastrophic detonation in case of engine(s) fire has been corrected;
20. The power of a fuel tank explosion now depends on the actual amount of ignited fuel or fuel vapors in a partially spent fuel tank;
21. Modeling of the putting out the fuel tank fire by sideslipping the aircraft at high speed has been improved;
22. Multiple ammo storage explosions are now possible (previously it could happen only once);
23. Maximum ATA near the ground level with C3 injection system on Fw-190 A5/A6 has been corrected (increased);
24. Roll shaking at high speed corrected for AI or mouse controlled Sopwith Dolphin;
25. A visual bar on the rotating Fw 190 A-6 spinner removed;
26. Rear formation light corrected on Fw 190 A-6;
27. Fw 190 A-8 small clock hand restored;
28. Added missing luminous paint on some Tempest, Spitfire Mk.IX, Bf 110 G-2 and Ju 52 instruments;
29. P-38 formation lights corrected;
30. Spitfire IX mirror position corrected;
31. Oil from the damaged engine on canopy effect corrected on P-51D-15;
32. A small visual issue corrected on MC.202 (attitude indicator tube);
Player controlled tanks improvements
33. All detailed tanks now have tactical numbers in Last Chance and Breaking Point tank campaigns;
34. Radio antennas on all Tank Crew detailed tanks can be damaged by enemy fire (in addition to damageable radio equipment that was modeled before);
35. Detailed tanks won't 'freeze in the air' after colliding with another object that was later moved;
36. AI gunners will properly burst fire the coaxial MGs of the detailed tanks;
37. An issue with the inability to hit the gun barrel on some tanks has been fixed;
38. Pz.Kpfw.III Ausf.M lower turret armor has been corrected;
39. The missing part of the Pz.Kpfw.III Ausf.M ammo reserve can be damaged by enemy fire;
40. T-34-76 UTZ (1943) coaxial MG can be damaged by enemy fire;
41. Additional external parts of Pz.Kpfw.VI Ausf.H1 like various covers and splashers can be shot off;
42. KV-1 and SU-152 splashers and rear deflector can be shot off;
43. A graphics issue that caused z-fighting of the shadows on certain buildings in MSAA x4 mode has been corrected;
44. External objects like trees, buildings and aircraft drop visible shadows on the player aircraft or vehicle and its cockpit in non-VR mode;
45. Gamma can be lowered down to 0.5 for more comfort in VR mode;
46. A visible city blocks shadow 'border' at large distances has been minimized;
47. A visible city blocks fog 'border' at large distances has been minimized;
48. An issue with certain European buildings glowing in the night has been fixed;
49. A GUI issue that could cause the regiment symbols to disappear from the Career creation screen has been fixed;
50. A GUI issue that could cause the mission start coordinates to reset to 0 on the Career HQ screen;
51. Water explosions of large bombs have dedicated graphical effects;
52. 50, 100, 250, 500, 1000(1800) and 2500 kg bombs now have more diverse graphical explosion effects;
53. Soviet Tank Crew tanks headlamp lens, visor, and mirror textures have been improved;
54. The issues with pilots and tankers animations have been fixed in multiplayer;
55. The bomber group leader will correctly proceed to the next waypoint after dropping the bombs.
Work on our next update, which is version 4.6 continues as planned and should be released before the end of this month. This update will be a pretty big one with new content, some new features and lots of small tweaks as usual.
We also continue to make new airplanes and other models that will be incorporated into the sim this year and beyond. Work never slows down for us as you know. Today I’d like to share some screens of ongoing work that you’ll enjoy as we finalize the next update.
Here are some images that help demonstrate our DVD system for our tanks and AAA vehicles along with our Tactical Codes technology. DVD definitely adds another interesting layer to our damage modeling.
Work on the Normandy map is going strong and here you can see some towns that are taking shape. The terrain textures are not final and borrowed from the Rhineland map at the moment.
And here’s the terrible vengeance weapon that terrorized Great Britain for many months during the war - the Fieseler Fi 103 or simply the V-1 “Buzz Bomb”. The British sarcastically nicknamed it the “Doodlebug”, but there was nothing cute about them in reality. It was the world’s first jet powered cruise missile, and it was a deadly, dangerous weapon that fell from the sky at seemingly random locations with little or no warning. About 8,000 V-1s were launched against Britain with about 2,400 of them getting through the defenses. Over 6,000 people were killed and many thousands more wounded by them. Over 44,000 Allied sorties were flown to try and intercept them along with the flak batteries that tried desperately to knock them down. Truly a flying terror. You’ll be able to simulate intercepting them before they are able to strike their targets along the southern coast of England when the BON map is ready. They were also used against targets in France and Belgium in smaller numbers as the Allies advanced.
We also have added more railyards to BOBP cities and here is the current list that has increased to a total of 19. We apologize for not having pictures of them, but COVID has decided to interfere with this operation. Just a reminder that we are not totally out of the woods yet with the pandemic.
And before we end this DD, here are three new posters Jason has created featuring all three Spitfire variants found in Great Battles including the new Spitfire Mk. XIV. We hope you enjoy this artwork.
Spitfire Mk.VB Poster
Spitfire Mk. IXe Poster
Spitfire Mk.XIV Poster
And of course, here are a few pics of the upcoming Spitfire Mk.XIV and Nieuport 28.
Enjoy your weekend everyone and stay safe!
The Sturmovik Team
Good news on all fronts this week as we continue our march towards completion of Battle of Normandy and ramp up work on Flying Circus II. We hope to have some pics of the first FCII plane, the Nieuport 28 soon for you, but today we’ll stick to WWII.
As you already know, We have several aircraft in development and the closest, actually very close, to completion is the Spitfire Mk.XIV which is currently in beta testing. Below are a few pics. This plane is a beast with its Griffon engine and shooting down Doodlebugs with it is going to be a blast. Speaking of Buzz Bombs, our V-1 is going to be treated just like an aircraft. It will have a detailed damage model, so you can damage parts of it like the wings, the pulse-jet engine, the warhead (boom!) or if you’re talented enough tip it over with your wing! More on the V-1 as we develop it this summer.
Next, we have some early pics of the very cool Me-410 ‘Hornisse’ and the Ar-234 jet bomber. The images speak for themselves. The Hornisse strikes me as the German response to the Mosquito no? Who do you think would win in a dogfight between a 410 and a Mosquito? Did they ever duel during the war I wonder?
.In addition to new planes, we have made some tweaks to some of our oldest, namely our 109 series. When we overhauled the damage system several months ago, we had to make a temporary change to the 109’s tail assembly to avoid a bug that caused certain parts to stay attached to the plane after other damaged tail parts had been blown off. All 109s other than the E-7 was affected. The temporary change we made was to fuse the vertical stabilizer and the horizontal stabs making them one part which basically tripled their strength and the likelihood of them ever coming off was three times less likely, so basically never. To remedy this, we needed the model team re-build these tails and make a new failure point in the vertical stabilizer (like on the E-7) and break up this fused tail into their proper damageable and detachable sections. Remember that before we did any of this, the 109’s tail assembly was the ultimate ‘kill button’, push it and the entire tail would come off, not just part of a stabilizer like other planes. Of course, you can also just blow off the elevators and rudder if you hit them right.
In the images below you can see this new reality in action during combat. I shot off the vert stab and rudder in one image and the horizontal stab and elevator in another. This should solve the so called “109 concrete tail” phenomenon. 109 tails now behave like all other tail sections in the sim.
An. Petrovich Lead Engineer's Note: Initially, 3D models of all 109s except the E7 had the point of broken tail in such a place that the loss of the vertical stabilizer simultaneously led to the loss of the entire horizontal stabilizer. One successful shot in the vertical stabilizer could immediately deprive the plane of all its tail surfaces. Of course, it looked catastrophic (you called it "crystal tails"). And only in the E7 (as in all other aircraft in the game), the 3D model made it possible to separate the vertical stabilizer and the central part of the horizontal stabilizer separately. When we completely redesigned the damage system a few months ago, this limitation of the 109's 3D models did not allow us to fully correct the situation with the strength of their empennage, and we had to temporarily block the loss of vertical stabilizer for these aircraft. Although the aircraft could still lose the ends of the left and right horizontal stabilizer consoles, elevators or rudder. However, the fact that it became impossible for all Messerschmitts (except for E7) to shoot the vertical stabilizer and the central part of the horizontal stabilizer caused criticism from the players, and now the tails of the 109s were called "concrete". It was only possible to do it "right" by completely reworking the 3D models of these tails and adding a new break point on the vertical stabilizer (as in E-7). Which is what we did in the end.
Work on the Tactical Codes feature continues and although we don’t have them working on all aircraft and vehicles yet, the technology works great and the images below gives and idea of how it will work and look. It’s not totally final yet so final result may vary a little. Work on the Dynamic Visual Damage system also continues and is currently being applied to our tanks. When it’s perfected on the tanks, we will then work to apply it to aircraft.
Finally, in the next update we will include 4K skins for the Mc.202 and Ju 88 A-4 made by our talented partner Martin “ICDP” Catney. To celebrate this, I have made these interesting posters showing these new skins side by side. They make quite a colorful display. We hope to do this kind of graphic for all our aircraft eventually. Speaking of new skins, Martin is now working on 4K skins for the Spitfire Mk.Vb. This means both marks of Spitfires in Great Battles will now have 4K skins soon. The beautiful image below of the Macchi skins reminds me to say that I intend to make an Italian pilot for the 202 later this year. Similar to how we made the female Soviet pilot. The images below are 4K so you can re-size them and use as wallpaper is you are so inclined.
Mc.202 Poster Full
JU-88 Poster Full
See you in the skies and on the battlefield!
Jason and the Sturmovik Team