Fighting Online in IL-2 Sturmovik

by Len "Viking1" Hjalmarson

Article Type: Training
Article Date: May 08, 2002

Product Info

Product Name: IL-2 Sturmovik
Category: WWII Air Combat Simulation
Developer: Maddox Games
Publisher: Ubi Soft
Release Date: Released (Nov. 2001)
Min. Spec: PII 400 (or equiv.), 128 MB RAM, 3D Accelerator
Rec'd. Spec: PIII 600 or better, 256 MB RAM, 32 bit 3D accelerator with 32 MB RAM or better
Files & Links: Click Here

Fight's On!

The more I fly and fight online, the more I am struck by the fine points. Iíve learned a lot this past year; having spent somewhere around 250 hours flying in multiplayer online sessions in IL-2 Sturmovik and WarBirds III.

While this briefing is intended to assist players who donít fly online every day, even players who spend a lot of time online can benefit. Iíll discuss how to enter the fight, how to score more points, how to avoid vulchers, how to choose an aircraft to fly, and even how to drag enemies to a trap!

This briefing is intended, as you can tell, for the dogfight arenas and not for coop play. It also assumes a team play dogfight scenario. These are almost the only type of dogfight I fly in, and they are far more interesting than the FFA (free for all) arenas.

Letís get in the cockpit and warm her up.

Version 1.04 Dogfight

Building a map in version 1.04

Since the release of version 1.04, it is possible to design maps that limit the aircraft at each base. This has made a world of difference in the fun, since flying the same type of aircraft against each other wasnít very interesting, and players tended to neglect some of the types that are harder to master.

In version 1.04, you will find that blue bases often allow only the selection of German aircraft, and red bases often allow only Russian and Polish aircraft. Furthermore, in 1.04 you can find a great variation on the use of icons. Most players still choose either icons on or off; but some players who are leaving icons on are disconnecting them from the pop up map. This at least prevents the ďradarĒ system from spoiling the surprise.

How to Enter the Fight
Everything I write here assumes a basic environment that uses no icons or limited icons where icons are not shown on the map. Other settings are less relevant to the discussion.

Entering the fight in the dogfight arena is the most important move you will make. There are two possible approaches you can make, and a number of other elements to consider.

The best approach is to fly with a buddy. Itís surprising how uncommon this is; maybe it is a result of the challenge of finding someone we know who can fly at the same time of day.

If you donít fly with a buddy, consider arranging your takeoff for the same time as another pilot hits the runway. If you fly close together you will increase your survival, since one vs one fights usually become two on one.

IL-2 takeoff using WEP

If there is a furball or a number of enemies near your own base, take off on WEP and stay fast and low, heading away from the enemies. If they spot you, youíll have to engage or ditch unless you can find some handy clouds nearby.

This might be a good time to fly something that will stand some damage, like an Fw 190 or the IL-2. If you do get someone taking shots at you before you exit the area, you have a better chance of survival.

The next set of considerations regards your approach to the target area. Inevitably, most pilots take the shortest approach path. This leads to a number of problems, the worst being the nasty furballs that develop where even the skilled pilot has a low chance of survival. Better to spread out the approach path a bit. I tend to fly at a right angle away from the target for a few minutes and then turn toward the target area.

On the way to the target

This creates interesting opportunities. I often approach the target area from an unexpected direction. This means I can even sneak up behind an opponent who is heading toward my base. Second, when I approach the target area I often come across engagements in progress. I usually hang back and if the enemy wins then I dive into the fight. This leads to my next comment.

Avoiding Friendly Fire
On far too many servers I find I have just engaged an enemy when some other friendly pilot jumps in. This is really nasty, for a couple of reasons.

First, I have usually already got a hit or two. This makes the enemy an easier target, and now someone else may get the kill.

Second, I now have to worry about collision and friendly fire. I have been killed numerous times by a friendly who is on the tail of the same bandit I first engaged. Equally often, I have been hit by friendly fire while on the tail of a bandit who I first engaged. This drives me crazy.

Better to hover over the fight and see what happens. If the enemy gets on the tail of your ally, then jump on his tail. Otherwise, hold back.

Choosing an Aircraft to Fly

MiG 3U - Fight's on!

One of the most cool things about a simulation like IL-2 is that it allows SO many choices of aircraft. While most of us have our favoritesóevery good pilot should have a few aircraft he can fly to the limitóit is really handy to be able to choose alternates. Hereís why.

When the furballs are big and nasty I generally opt out by choosing a bomber. The choices are limited these days, so I usually go with the IL-2. Itís great fun sneaking off my base and choosing a roundabout path to an enemy airbase when vulching is allowed. I generally get a kill or two before someone takes me out, and I create a lot of havoc . Itís particularly fun firing over someoneís bow as they takeoff and watching them panic and lose control.

Heh! Nasty I know; but they get their chance for revenge.

Lately, my flying time has been split equally between the La5 and MiG 3U. I choose the La5 when I need speed, and the MiG 3U when I need better turn performance. The MiG is rather slow, but I really enjoy flying it.

La-5 with custom skin

Now, if the enemy is flying the faster 109s, I usually switch to the La5. If they are flying 190s, I can go with either. Occasionally if the 190s are thick Iíll fly the Yak 9 with the 45mm cannon. And if there are a lot of IL2s in the air, I may swap to blue and fly the Fw 190.

Occasionally, and particularly when there are some good clouds near home base, Iíll fly the PZL P11c. I really enjoy this bird (thanks to 1C: Maddox Games and David Zurawski for their fine work). It is really fun against 109s, and so far the score stands about 2 to 1 in my favor. But because it is so slow, I like to have some nice clouds to take refuge in when I run against more than one enemy at a time.

How to Drag Enemies to a Trap

Checking the score

When you enter the game in a red vs blue scenario, and if the HOST allows external views, check out the opposition using the ďSĒ key. This will bring up a list of combatants and their tactical number and allegiance. If I am outnumbered it will affect my choice of aircraft as well as my strategy.

When outnumbered I usually try to team up with a buddy. I also make special arrangements on occasion. For example, I was flying with TD_Cook the other night and we arranged a special signal that would indicate that he was dragging a bandit. What he would do is make a firing pass on a single bandit then drag the bandit back toward home base at around 1000 m. I was hovering a few miles away from the base at 2000 m. This makes for some quick points.

By the way, points arenít everything. FUN and fair play have more value in the end.

PZL P11c

Scoring points in IL-2, as most of you know, is partly dependent on server settings. But most games require you to land at your home base in order to collect your points. This makes for some tough decisions.

For example, you have just made a kill but you think you can make one more. Do you run for home to log your points, or do you stay in the fight and take your chances?

Decide based on these factors:
  1. Your skill level vs your estimate of enemy skill;
  2. The type of aircraft you are flying vs enemy aircraft;
  3. What are the chances that your one vs one could become two on one? How close to the enemy base are you? How near is home base?
  4. What is your guess as to remaining ammo?
  5. Finally, if you have taken any damage, just run for home

Max Ping and Autokick
Version 1.04 added the following lines in the conf.ini file in the root directory of IL-2.


If you installed version 1.04 in the normal way, however, chances are that this section is not in your conf.ini file and you will have to add it manually. Check the 1.04 README for information on settings if you want to try your own.

What this section does is set an AUTOKICK function for certain lag times. If a user joins your game and his PING rises higher than 700 with this setting, he will be warned that he may be kicked. If his ping stays high he will be kicked by the HOST.

In a dogfight session with eight or ten players, if you have two or three whose PING rises over 600, the entire game begins to see pauses. This makes shooting very difficult, and no fun for anyone.

You need good maps depending on the type of team sport you like. I found 61ShAP^Zuki using a map that was nice, and I added a little more flak at the home bases. This map has great hills and clouds, making it nice for hiding IL-2s.

I also like a little more distance between bases. Try this map if you like these options.

†††††Download 1: MAP Zuki2

Another map that is fun is the island map with four bases. I have built this map with two red bases in the north and two blue bases in the south. The map goes to 1942, but also includes the Fw 190 A-5 and the La5. Fighters and the La5 are available only at the eastern red base, and IL2s are available only at the western red base.

†††††Download 2: MAP Islands-4

You prefer dogfighting in a winter setting? Try this map.

†††††Download 3: MAP DF-Winter8

IL-2 Sturmovik Resources

IL-2: Forgotten Battles

Reviews & Features


Interviews with Oleg Maddox

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Historic Retrospectives

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