by Chuck "SmokingCrater" Norton
Article Type: Interview
Article Date: July 17, 2002
Product Name: IL-2 Sturmovik: Forgotten Battles
Category: WWII Air Combat Simulation
Publisher: Ubi Soft
Release Date: November 2002
Req. Spec: TBA
Files & Links: Click Here
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For those of you not living under a virtual rock for the past year or so, you’ve probably become familiar with, or at least heard of, a little flight simulation called IL-2 Sturmovik. For those of you that have been, let me provide some background: Originally released last winter, IL-2 burst onto the flight combat scene and took the genre to levels that until then, had never before been seen. This multi-award-winning sim took aerial dogfighting to a new level. For the first time in a long time (if ever), the physics and flight models of all the different airplanes (and there are a bunch of 'em) were accurate and unique right down to the last detail. In addition, the scope of the war covered in IL-2 was a first. From the German invasion of Mother Russia to the bloody battles at Hitler's doorstep, the Eastern Front was modeled in all its glory…and agony.
However, even this great (some will argue "the best") flight sim has room to improve. Over the course of the last year, Oleg Maddox and his crew at 1C: Maddox Games have endeavored to build IL-2 into an even better sim. Through multiple patches, 1C has managed to bring us, the average foaming-at-the-mouth WWII flight simming nut (did I say nut? I meant enthusiast, I'm sure), a vast assortment of gameplay enhancements, fixes, and new aircraft. A full list of these new birds will be included below.
Now, the clock ticks down on a new project for the crew at 1C. The next step in the evolution of this addiction called IL-2 is known as Forgotten Battles (FB). I recently got the privilege to query Oleg on this next installment of IL-2 Sturmovik.
Chuck Norton (C.N.): Could you give us a brief overview of what FB will deliver? How many new airplanes will there be? Where are the new maps focused?
Oleg Maddox (O.M): I can't tell you the exact date. But I think it will be roughly at the same time as IL-2 last year. In total there will be more than 100 planes. About 60 of them will be flyable.
The completely new planes will be:
- P-40s with variants,
- Hurricane MKI (Finnish Air Force)
- Hurricane MKIIB
- Hurricane MKIIC
- Hurricane Mk II Field mod with 2x20mm Soviet cannons 2x12,7mm UB
- I-153 M-62
In the end there might be some changes to the list of flyable and AI planes. Right now I can tell that it is the minimum number of new planes promised by us. And I am not counting user-made planes planned for add-ons. A list of which can be found at www.il2center.com. Probably the flyable P-47’s, multi-crew TB-3, and He-111 will also be released before or at the time of FB release.
- Bristol Blenheim MK I (Finnish Air Force)
- Bristol Blenheim MK IV (Finnish Air Force)
- Fiat G-50 (Finnish Air Force)
- Morane MS.406 (Finnish Air Force)
- Morane MS.410 (Finnish Air Force)
- Mörkö Morane (Finnish Air Force. Equipped with Soviet M-105P engine)
- Bf-110G with variants
- Me-210Ca-1 (Hungarian Air Force)
Before The Forgotten Battles we also plan to release some more flyable and AI planes. There will certainly be some Soviet and German planes, possibly including aircraft such as a flyable Me-262.
The areas where action will take place in FB is Hungary (Balaton battle) and Finland. When I talk about Finland I mean the area that covers the large region from Helsinki to Leningrad, Finnish gulf and Lake Ladoga. The "Finnish" scenario will be one large map. Helsinki and Lenigrad are included. In addition, we will keep all old maps and areas from IL-2 and as I think player will be able to begin new campaigns over these areas as well.
|An external view of the lend-lease P-40 Warhawk |
C.N. In a chat session at www.il2sturmovik.com, you mentioned that you were "reworking" the single player game type. Exactly what kind of changes can we look forward to in the single player campaign? Also, can we expect a German bomber campaign with the boxed game?
O.M. We are working on some sort of dynamic campaign generator, using experience of the well-known IL-2 community third party developer, Starshoy. At the same time we will keep the old system. So players will be able to select which one they would prefer to play.
C.N. Again, it was mentioned that changes were in store for the multiplayer side of IL-2. What kind of changes are you expecting to make?
O.M. The main feature will be the ability to record online tracks. It is an absolutely different technology to single player tracks in IL-2. And these tracks will be compatible with follow-on versions of FB. Also we plan new maps and some new gameplay for online. Not so much new in gameplay, but very interesting and useful.
|The cockpit of the lend-lease P-40 Warhawk showing off its intricate detail |
C.N. What prompted you to focus your attention on Finland and Hungary? Why not direct your attention towards a more "popular" theater, like the Mediterranean for example?
O.M. Finland and Hungary, it’s where we can see a great mix of planes of different nations. Especially in the Finland scenarios (currently). And with planned follow-on add-ons for FB, you may expect some well-known American planes [to be] flyable and AI as well. Say over Hungary we can see P-51s :) But as I said, in add-ons for FB.
We plan to completely develop a new sim for Mediterranean. We don’t plan to use IL-2 3D engine for that purpose. It should be better than IL-2 :)
C.N. Are there any big changes expected for the flight, physics, or damage/collision models in FB?
O.M. Yes, there will be changes but not so big. At first in FM. We still make it better and better, using new modules of real-time calculations. Simply, I can say that we try to make it as close to the real thing as possible with our new IL-2 FM modules and current CPU limits. I would like to say that with more powerful CPU’s, we may calculate more complex formulas :) and lots more parameters. :) Also I expect some additional functions for control of aircraft. For example a mixture control for these planes that really needed it (but not for all, like in some other sims ;)) and more advanced and more real control of radiators.
C.N. Is FB a stand-alone product or an add-on?
O.M. It will be possible to install FB as a stand-alone product. So really it is more stand alone, than a simple add-on. But at the moment I can't tell by which one way our publisher will distribute it. It may happen that in USA and Europe it will be released using different rules.
C.N. What is your team's primary focus right now?
O.M. To rework in some places AI. Single player gameplay.
C.N. What is your primary focus as far as improvements to existing features?
O.M. New graphics features, FM, online.
C.N. What are your plans for IL-2 after FB? What could we expect next?
O.M. I think it will be a completely new sim. But of course not right after FB :) The new sim will really be even better than our previous work. Of course we’ll learn from the experience with IL-2 and will use all the best ideas of IL-2. In addition, we will continue to speak to the sim community to find ways to implement as many new suggestions as possible. It is very important work. Without such work in the past, one can say that IL-2 wouldn't be so popular.
|A view of the non-flyable Bf-110 |
C.N. IL-2 is a very unique game in many aspects. The theater and the scope of the war that it covers has really never been done before. In addition, the quality of the game, both visually and functionally, is superb. What made you decide to cover the battles and the machines of the Eastern theater in such exacting detail?
O.M. Thank you for such comment. Because as you said already "The theater and the scope of the war that it covers has really never been done before." And I like details in all things, no matter whether it is the Russian front or another.
Slated for release in November 2002, Forgotten Battles promises to make an already groundbreaking sim even better. The list of new airplanes alone (notice the vast majority are flyable!) is simply staggering. If this new follow-up is anywhere near as addictive as the original title, there are thousands of folks out there who are, like myself, in for many a sleepless night. I'd like to thank Oleg for taking time out of his schedule to answer my questions. His efforts and those of all the folks at 1C are very much appreciated.
IL-2 Sturmovik Resources
IL-2: Forgotten Battles
Reviews & Features
Interviews with Oleg Maddox
Files & Utilities
Virtual Squadrons and Groups
Home of the VMF-124 Death's Head Squad