Tom: How does the damage model compare to the original IL-2? How detailed will the damage model be? Will things like internal components (like cockpit components) be damageable in the new game?
Oleg: Really, even in IL-2 series the internal structure of the aircraft was modeled as well as its damage. In IL-2 series it was up to 40 structure 3D details damage-able (depending of the aircraft). This wasn’t done for each of 300+ aircraft, the preference was given to these aircraft that most popular for users or that are necessary for the major gameplay. However such planes like Me-323, G-11 glider, transport or some old planes from original IL-2 had more simple damage structure due to time that need each plane that to model such things. However even more simple damage model was tuned as more as possible close to the complex one.
If to speak about Storm of War: The Battle of Britain we don’t plan to increase too much the details of damage, but we plan to get way greater looking images of damage and to add incredibly more physics to the behavior of damaged parts and damage of still flying aircraft, including such a case when changes of G-loading at the turn or other maneuver will damage completely previously partially damaged by the shot wing or other part of aircraft. So you will need to pay great attention to fly damaged aircraft in terms of G-loading, landing, etc.
Tom: The AI in IL-2 was considered state-of-the-art in 2001, but by 2006 many seem to think that the enemy intelligence needed a major upgrade. Tell me how you plan on keeping the offline player on his toes with your AI in Storm of War: The Battle of Britain? For example, will the AI be more likely to use aircraft in a realistic manner and will the limitations that a human has (night and cloud vision, blackouts, etc.) be more prevalent in the new game?
Oleg: I’m personally still thinking that AI of IL-2 series is the most advanced of any flight sim. Or you can name me another one? InStorm of War: The Battle of Britain we will pay for the new AI features that are requested by new features of the sim itself. We will pay more attention to the interaction between AI and player, will add more commands and various of AI response to them in both modes of single play and online. Night and cloud vision will be modeled as well.
Tom: One of the biggest draws to games like European Air War and the Rowan / Shockwave Battle of Britain was the large bomber formations that players could see in the game. Do you plan on having large aircraft formations rendered in this game and if you do what do you plan on doing to balance this with the obvious system slowdowns this may cause?
Oleg: In IL-2 series is also possible 1000+ bombers at once. Some users even make such missions where in air is 700+ aircraft and on the ground is 1200+ tanks, cars, 600,000 buildings, etc. And if you’ll compare the AI, the work of aircraft engines modeling, and all previously described to the named above sims, you’ll may find that it will be too slow running. Main FPS eater in IL-2 series for such a case was AI and modeling of each AI aircraft engine behavior like the player aircraft. Al planes are fair, the same as user, comparing to the simple programs of EAW and Rowan / Shockwave Battle of Britain.
In our Battle of Britain we plan to get possible large amount of aircraft flying in action, however for this we will need to use some smart technology that will decrease the level of AI behavior realism on some distance to the user aircraft. This isn’t easy task in programming, because fans ask to have large amount with the incredible quality of Aircraft, AI, modeling of physics for each stand alone object in air, including all flights to target of each bullet and shell. Hope you understand what I mean. The other limit is our features with track recording. Probably we will prohibit to switch camera to the other long distance areas after the track was recorded, because of described above problem of realism modeling. You know, all ask for realism and then do not understand what we will pay for it.
Tom: The campaign in all of the IL-2 games was considered okay but not the strong point of the game. I We know that you have planned on revamping the single player aspect of the game to actually involve the player in the campaign. How will the campaign in Battle of Britain actually differ from the one in Forgotten Battles?
Oleg: All I can say now — it will be different to IL-2 series.
Tom: In the same vein, how much individual control will the player have in his squadron or group? Will individual players have the ability to promote / demote AI players or to control more of the day to day activities of the squadron? In other words what do you plan on doing that will draw the player actually into the game?
Oleg: It will depends of Player rank.