(This article may be found at http://www.combatsim.com/memb123/htm/2001/02/il2preview)

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IL-2 Sturmovik: Hands On
By Len "Viking1" Hjalmarson

Product Name: IL-2 Sturmovik
Version: Pre-beta
Category: WWII Prop Simulation
Developer: Maddox Games
Publisher: Blue Byte Software
Release Date: TBA
Minimum Spec: PII 300, 64 MB RAM, 3D Accelerator
Rec'd. Spec: PIII 600 or better, 128 MB RAM, 32 bit 3D accelerator with 32 MB RAM or better
Past Articles: Click Here For List
Article Type: Preview Screenshots
Article Date: February 12th, 2001

My wife was giving me “the look.”

It happens every time I come upstairs with eyes bulging, cold sweat on my brow, and clammy hands.

“Honest, dear, this sim is like nothing you’ve ever seen before. Just come take a quick peek.”

“Oh, all right!”
(Pause while we tromp downstairs to my office).

“I thought people were saying that serious sims were dying?” My wife is very perceptive. After 30 seconds watching me fly the 109 in IL-2, there is no doubt in HER mind. This is a serious simulation.

Half an hour later I was still in awe of the work done by 1C:Maddox Games. It is simply unbelievable. I recalled a conversation with Bob “Groucho” Marks about the game.

“So you think this is really benchmark stuff? This is THE GRAIL?”

“Yep. It’s incredible. It’s two steps above anything else ever done in WWII simulations.” My throat felt dry. I had to see this one soon. Bob is not a man prone to hyping a product.

Raw Beauty

The raw beauty of IL-2 is enough to stop you cold. This is the first simulation I have flown that has me wanting to move from my 19” Viewsonic to a 21” display. I won’t blather on about the graphics, however, because a picture is worth a thousand words.

Briefing map interface

I WILL give you a quick briefing on the mission I flew against IL2’s just now. I came in low and picked up a pair that had separated from the main group. I ordered my flight to engage. Then I throttled back a bit because my closure was too high.

I attempted below the aircraft I was trailing. I was in range but wanted to get closer.

Suddenly the Soviet aircraft banked left. The gunner had me in his sights. He fired off a double burst and caught me near the engine. My engine stuttered and coughed. He must have damaged a magneto, because I saw the switch in the cockpit flip to the 1&2 position and my engine caught and revved up again.

I had managed to maneuver into a low position and was still closing. When I was where I wanted to be I pulled up and opened up with all guns and cannons. I saw the cannons rip pieces from the tail and bits of metal were flying past me. At this point I paused the simulation again and took more screen shots. The damage to my 109 and the IL-2 is impressive.

I re-flew this mission after losing my engine and crash landing. Some of the later shots in the series you will see shows damage in stages as another IL-2 chewed chunks out of my aircraft. You’ll also see flak burst in at least one of these images. In the shot where I start to climb skyward you’ll notice a cheat map of the battlefield that I have pulled up onscreen.

Incidentally, there are three levels of autopilot: AP Alt, AP Speed, and AP Direction. You can select them individually or AllOn or AllOff.

Impressive isn’t the word for this sim. There aren’t many words to use really, because most of them are overused to sell snake oil. All the really goods words DO apply, however.

Cockpits and Clouds
The cockpits.. ah, the cockpits! WWII Fighters move over. These are as good, but more complete. You’ll see what I mean soon. No matter where you pan outside or inside this aircraft, you will see the evidence of loving artists. And these guys are GOOD.

The clouds. Battle of Britain has you gasping when you see the clouds? Now add two or three more TYPES of cloud. Heck, pop up to 2,000 meters in a small plane from your local strip and gaze out the window at the clouds. They are the same. How do they do this stuff anyway?

Finally, I couldn’t take it anymore. I had to write Oleg another note. FANTASTIC, my friend. I cruised my 109 up to 3200 meters, pointed the nose down for fifteen seconds, and pulled a loop. I switched to an outside view at the bottom and took some more screens. There it is, the whole loop written in vapor in the sky. You saw it here first!

Note: all these screen shots were taken on an Abit KT-7 system with 1GHz Thunderbird and 256MB RAM. Video is supplied by Nvidia GF2 Ultra with 64MB. Game resolution was set to 1024x768 at 32 and AA mode was on 2x2. Image size has been reduced to 640x480 or images cropped. All images are compressed at 8x.

External view with in-flight map shown

The first ever, persistent contrail in the simulated skies!

Note the contrail loop I just made

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(This article may be found at http://www.combatsim.com/memb123/htm/2001/02/il2preview)