Dynamic Campaign Generator for IL-2

by Len "Viking1" Hjalmarson

Article Type: Review
Article Date: March 27, 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

Paul Lowengrin’s Dynamic Campaign Generator (DCG) is based on the same program for Combat Flight Simulator 2 (CFS2). The DCG generates missions and campaigns for IL-2 Sturmovik by 1C:Maddox Games.

Although Lowengrin titles the generator “Dynamic,” campaigns generated are still limited. Nevertheless, this program will generate an almost infinite number of unique missions for both the full retail version and demo of IL-2.

In fact, the program will run in AUTO mode and generate a series of missions for you without your exiting IL-2. And it will generate the missions based on some of the results of your previous mission.

DCG takes into account the movement of all ships, trains, and vehicle columns. These will be in the location they were bound for in the previous mission and they will continue towards the front (or sometimes away from the front). If located at the front, they will remain there and engage any enemy (or retreat). There is a random chance that objects will be destroyed (at this point it doesn't matter what type of vehicle or what engaged them since IL-2 does not track the destruction of anything but the player's plane). DCG will also update any squadron transfers from one base to another.

DCG for IL-2

In fact, if 1C:Maddox Games ever releases a patch which will log all targets destroyed, DCG will include even more dynamic elements (similar to CFS2's DCG which tracks pilots and even tank commanders and truck drivers).

Campaigns in the DCG

Currently the DCG will generated campaigns for Smolensk, Stalingrad, Kuban, Crimea, Kursk and Berlin. Users can also import their own custom campaigns for these areas through the use of IL-2's built-in mission builder and the "Import" feature. We’ll look at custom campaign generation in a moment.

The latest version will generate missions for campaigns and single missions. In addition, it can generate missions for the online "Dogfight" and "Coop" mode if one of those options is checked under "Mode". If the "Move Front" option is also checked, airfields may change allegiance over time and objects such as artillery and armor will appear and disappear.

Furthermore, squadrons will transfer closer to the front or bug-out should the enemy break through. Armor and truck columns and trains will also move from city to city during missions and ships will move from harbor to harbor, starting the next mission at the city or harbor moved to in the previous mission. The front line will also see the build up of guns and armor, and captured locations will have new defenses generated.

IL-2 DCG Installation and Setup

The following is from the online installation instructions:

Unzip to any folder on the same hard-drive as your IL-2 Sturmovik game with CREATE FOLDER options on.

When you run the program for the first time, you must set the paths. The first is to the IL2DCG.EXE program. Click on the EXE file in the selection box.

Select Folder

The second path to set is the DCG campaign data folder. Set the path to one of these folders by selecting the squadrons.dcg file in that folder. Depending on your selection and the mode you chose, DCG will select the appropriate folder under your IL-2 directory to place the missions.

You’ll know you are on the right path at this point because the DCG interface will pull up an image from the folder you have selected. In this example I clicked on the DeKursk folder and the interface pulled up a KURSK image.

Select Folder

The third path to set is to the IL2.EXE program (located in the game's IL-2 Sturmovik folder. These paths may also be set through the "File" Menu.)

Locate IL-2 program

Generate and FLY

You may be so excited about DCG that you want to simply generate a mission right now and fly it. It’s a good idea to check the OPTIONS first.

Options Menu

At this point, you can also set the density of various items such as active squads, road columns, and stationary objects. To set density click on the EDIT menu and select Set Density. The interface will change to show you additional options.

Custom Mission

For slower machines, reducing the density is essential to having smooth running games. Using an Athlon 500 the recommended settings are: Squads = Moderate, Columns = Moderate, and Stationary Objects = Dense. On my Athlon 1900 with GeForce3 I was able to run FULL settings on the Kursk map, and I then began experimenting with the Custom Campaign option.

The AUTO mode is the heart of the DCG. Simply select AUTO mode under the MODE menu, and DCG asks you for the campaign file to use. You then hit GENERATE MISSION and launch IL-2.

When playing the Career Mode, DCG does not have to be called up—it will run in the background and automatically generate a new mission when the player hits the "Apply" button after each mission.

But suppose you complete a mission and hit APPLY, but then want to generate a mission with some specific parameters? You really want to fly a train busting mission next. You can simply exit IL-2 and access the Custom Mission option.

The EDIT menu contains the Custom Mission option. Clicking on this option brings up another interface.

Set Density

Here you can specify a number of individual parameters according to your preference. You can then put the DCG back into AUTO mode, return to IL-2 and fly your new mission, still within the same campaign. Naturally, you can also access the DCG at any time outside IL-2 to generate a single custom mission of your choice.

Custom Campaign Design for IL-2 DCG

From the online installation instructions:

Included in the DCG zip file are six mission files (deSmolensk.mis, deCrimea.mis, deKuban, deStalingrad.mis, deMoscow.mis, deKursk.mis and deBerlin.mis) which can be used as the basis for user created campaigns. Alternatively, campaigns can be built from scratch using the guidelines below.

At this time, DCG utilizes only portions of each of the five campaign maps. Placing objects in locations beyond these "areas of operations" will mean they may not be included in the missions generated by DCG.

As noted below, the areas of operation are:
  • Smolensk Map: from Obol to Smolensk.
  • Stalingrad Map: from Stepnoy to Leninsk.
  • Crimea Map: from Dzhankoy to Balaklava for 1941-1942 and from Dzhankoy to Kerch after 1942.
  • Moscow Map: from Vyazma to Maloyaroslavets.
  • Kursk Map: from Trosna to Livny.
  • Kuban: from Anapa to Akhtyrskaya.
  • Berlin: from Koenig Wusterhausen to Swienbodzin.
Load the appropriate "master mission" files (MMF) that came with Lowengrin's DCG utility into the IL-2 mission builder and look at the specific locations where stationary objects have been placed to determine exactly which locations are active.

The Master Mission File

I created a master mission file (MMF) of the Eastern Crimea to import into a DCG campaign, using a higher density of objects than with the files supplied. I wanted to increase air defenses around air bases and industrial areas, and I wanted to include some additional Russian aircraft for the Crimea campaign.

To do this, I simply loaded the MMF that was supplied with the DCG. Then I placed additional objects at the locations where I wanted them to appear.

It may strike you as odd that you must place BOTH German and Russian objects at each location. Only one or the other will appear in the generated missions depending on the location of the front. Also, based on the number and types of objects placed, the forces at the "front" will appear in generated missions.

Flights are placed in an empty corner on the map, and not at an airfield. No waypoints are set other than 1 and 2, since DCG will place them when the first mission is generated. For each flight placed the player chooses the squadron, flight number, the number of planes, and skill level. IMPORTANT: the first flight placed will be the player's in the DCG campaign. Even if creating a Dogfight mission, one flight is required.

Placement of armored and/or truck columns or trains is done similarly to aircraft. Again, two waypoints are all that is needed. DCG will place these columns when the first mission is generated. You must have at least one armor or truck column.

Save the mission builder file and place it in a DCG directory. It is probably best to create a new folder for this file. I called mine DeCrimeaM since I built a more detailed version of the Crimea campaign map. After creating a new folder copy any squadron.dcg file into that folder from another folder so that it is recognized as a DCG campaign folder.

Run DCG and select the DCG folder (under "Files") where you wish to import the master mission file.

Quick Edit

Once you have selected the DCG campaign folder, select the EDIT menu and select "Import." Select the MMF you have created or use the one provided with this article. The MMF I built for the Crimea has roughly double the number of objects supplied with the default Crimea MMF, with a focus on increased air defenses. Air bases in the combat zone will sport an average of twelve AAA units, and major bases will have up to sixteen units.

Airbase in my generated mission

Remember, you have to choose SET DENSITY from the EDIT menu before you generate your missions. You’ll have to experiment to find the best combination when you generate your first missions but I suggest you choose DENSE for stationary objects in order to be assigned decent air defenses.

If you select DENSE air forces, you may have up to eighteen squadrons active in a single campaign mission. This may be too much for low end machines to handle, and moderate usually only places about four squadrons, which isn’t enough in my book. I talked to Lowengrin about this and he will release an update before long so that moderate is more like eight or ten squadrons in a mission.

After you have imported your MMF file DCG will prompt you to select “Quick Edit” from the edit menu. In the panel that appears, select the date you wish to start the campaign and then select the location of the front. Ensure that each side has at least one airbase behind the front lines. Do not select a location too close to the East or West edge of the map. If you do select a location too close to one of the map edges, DCG may either generate an error or tell you that the campaign has ended.

Finally, if you want your missions to have goals that must be completed for mission success ensure that you have selected Primary Objectives in the OPTIONS menu. After selecting these items hit GENERATE and the mission files will be created in your IL-2 \Missions directory. In this case the files are created in a folder under CAMPAIGN\DE\DCG. At this point, your custom campaign is ready to use.

My custom campaign first mission

Toward the Future

Lowengrin tells me that if there was a way for IL-2 to generate a LOG file which would list all targets destroyed, then his campaign generator could build missions based on those results. This would give almost a truly dynamic mission generation system, including use of limited resources. Wow!

Recently I asked Oleg if such a LOG file would be possible in a future patch. His answer was in the affirmative! If a future patch contains this mod, we might even see the release of a fully supported version of Lowengrin’s campaign generator with the patch. Very exciting stuff!

Remember that DCG can be set to generate coop missions just as readily as single player missions. Overall it’s a terrific utility—and freeware to boot.

Here's the Dynamic Campaign Generator download link again in case you missed it.

IL-2 Sturmovik Resources

IL-2: Forgotten Battles

Reviews & Features


Interviews with Oleg Maddox

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