This has been given a real work over. BOBII campaign features detailed reporting for the player on everything from pilot fatigue and morale, to squadron and staffeln readiness, infrastructure and factory production/damage and daily kill/loss statistics. There were however sometimes inconsistencies between reports, which were put down to “fog of war” but which were in fact bugs in the code. These have been dug out and the reporting interface significantly improved.
Below is an example of the revised “Airfield Level” report. Here we are looking at Middle Wallop airfield, which we can see is currently home to the 238 and 609 Squadrons. The report shows damage to airfield buildings and runways, and individual squadron reports on who the Commanding Officer is, what their morale and the morale of the unit is like, what the current skill level of the leader and unit is (inBOBII this is dynamic, and affected by combat results) and the readiness level of the squadron. From here the player can also move squadrons around between airfields, bringing in fresh units to replace depleted or demoralized ones.
The revised “Airfield Level” report
In the next image you can see an example of the strategic “Commander Level” report, which now accurately displays the number of aircraft your side had at the start of the campaign, what the level is now, how many are in repair, destroyed or damaged, and what the level of supply is from your aircraft production facilities. The campaign player now has an unprecedented overview of data key to their role as commander of either the Luftwaffe or RAF.
The strategic “Commander Level” report
Campaign AI Improvements
Multiple fixes have been made to the way the game manages the hundreds of game events: Luftwaffe gruppe leader death rate has been adjusted, RAF factory damage and recovery has been optimized, as has aircraft repair rate, Luftwaffe unit “lockouts” due to mission recovery, low morale, and low aircraft counts have been adjusted, and locked out units now receive a morale/fatigue boost while being rested.
The image below shows how Luftwaffe operational readiness is monitored and modeled. The report here is showing the number of available aircraft and status of every gruppe with symbols indicating “non operational due to low morale” (e.g. 37!),” non-operational due to losses” ( >35< ), and “in post raid recovery” (36).
Luftwaffe operational readiness
There is a new skill and and activity-based fatigue system. Units gain skill only through combat which costs morale/fatigue, and they gain morale/fatigue through rest. Furthermore, RAF units can not fly endless patrols anymore without showing a fatigue cost.
RAF units which need to be rested are now rotated in and out of 13 Group, as was historically the case. And while resting, they regain morale.
The way the game manages skill upgrades and downgrades has been adjusted so that pilot skill improvements come mainly through combat, not just stick time. And squadron scrambles have been simulated so that the amount of damage inflicted on units which are rearming or refueling on the ground when bombed, is more realistic.
Fuel values for various aircraft types have been corrected to better match historical reality.
Through the bridge
When the BOBII patch 2.12 comes out, the natural question will be, “which will be the better Battle of Britain simulation — BOBII version 2.12, or IL-2: Sturmovik Cliffs of Dover version 1.05?“. As a beta tester for the BDG and BOBII, and also someone very active in creating and distributing missions for IL-2: Sturmovik Cliffs of Dover, I can offer a perspective.
IL-2 Sturmovik: Cliffs of Dover v1.05 wins on:
- Graphics such as the aircraft externals, shadows, landscapes (hills, trees, roads, grass) and cockpits
- Damage modeling, which is the most detailed I have seen in any sim, and which adds enormous immersion to combat flying
- Full mission editor enabling almost total control of the game environment for mission designers and casual players
- Ability to model aspects of both ground (vehicles, trains) and air warfare
- Larger number of available aircraft types both flyable and non-flyable
- Inclusion of large area of France in the BoB map
- Online playability; which even though still a bit hit and miss in Cliffs of Dover, is completely absent in BOBII
Battle of Britain II: Wings of Victory v2.12 wins on:
- Unparalleled single player AI, so “real” you can be forgiven for thinking you are fighting against a human opponent, both in the campaign game, and also in first person perspective dogfighting against the PC AI
- Highly detailed offline dynamic strategic campaign game, plus closely researched historical single missions
- Fidelity of flight models and aircraft sounds
- Obsessive historical accuracy, with respect to locations of units, airfield layouts and facilities, factories and ports, coastlines, AAA emplacements
- Multiskin automated aircraft skinning
- Size of map, which includes all of 10, 11 and 12 Groups’ areas of operation vs Cliffs of Dover’s 11 Group map
- Clouds and weather; these are not only better implemented, they are historically correct for each part of England, on the particular day of the campaign. In Cliffs of Dover, weather and clouds are still not properly implemented
- Playability on lower end systems, especially the ability to put literally hundreds of aircraft in the air at the same time at high FPS
Battle of Britain II: Wings of Victory v2.12 is currently in Beta testing and should be released during summer 2012.
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Battle of Britain Air Combat Videos
SimHQ Review: Battle of Britain II: Wings of Victory (October 3, 2005)
SimHQ Review: Battle of Britain II: Wings of Victory – Update 2.06 (May 29, 2007)
SimHQ’s Battle of Britain II: Wings of Victory Forum