IL-2 Sturmovik – New Update, New Aircraft

Developer 1CGS has released update 2.010 out into the wild, and with it comes a new aircraft, features, and fixes. Prominently, the update releases the IL-2 Sturmovik Mod. 1943 to all Battle of Kuban owners, which has a great deal of improvements over the existing version. The changes to the aircraft necessitated quite a few optimizations and new bits of tech to fully realize its potential.

One of the most exciting updates is to the modeling of the PTAB-2.51.5 anti-tank bomblets. Since the Mod. 1943 can carry up to 240 of these bomblets, 1CGS had to implement new optimizations as well as trajectory calculations for each individual bomblet and clusters of bomblets. Coupled with this rather large overhaul is the much anticipated release of fully functioning rear view mirrors:

It was a complex task even to choose how to implement them. The approaches our competitors use are very different and each of them has significant issues. In one game, the mirrors are like monitors – the image you see in them won’t change according to your view when you move your head in the cockpit in 6-DOF using keyboard commands, TrackIR or VR HMD. In another title, your own aircraft isn’t reflected in the mirror, visibility distance is reduced and the mirror image has a fixed resolution, which results in a pixelated image if you lean close to the mirror. Our lead programmer chose his own approach for this feature. It gives realistic and good looking results that are compatible with 6-DOF and VR technologies and are free of flaws found in the competing titles. We use optimization techniques for mirror rendering as well, but they aren’t critical to the combat sim gameplay, so we can say that our mirrors are the best among the flight sims now. You’ll see the rear view mirrors in the upcoming update 2.010 – they will be selectable in the modifications list of P-40E-1 and Yak-1b series 127 (they were equipped with mirrors in stock configuration).

IL-2 Sturmovik mod. 1943 features:

  • rear-firing turret with 12.7 mm UBT machine gun and 5 mm armor protection from behind is included in the stock configuration;
  • because of the increased weight, 4 rocket pylons are installed instead of 8;
  • collimator aiming sight PBP-1 has been replaced by the VV-1 mechanical sight that also helps during level bombing;
  • lighter, more compact and faster firing 37mm NS-37 guns can be fitted instead of Sh-37 ones;
  • bomb loadouts include 192 or 240 PTAB-2.5-1.5 HEAT bomblets;
  • the intermediate flaps stop that allows extending flaps to take-off position instead of full;
  • flaps indicator on the left wing;
  • increased engine power (AM-38F);
  • reserve pilot-gunner light signaling equipment;
  • compass locator.

Pilot to gunner light signals:

  • Green light, single flash – fire at will
  • White light, single flash – return fire only
  • Red light, single flash – hold fire
  • Green light, multiple flashes – engage the intermediate flaps stop
  • White light, multiple flashes – engage the fuel tanks pressurization system (after taking off)
  • Red light, multiple flashes – disengage the fuel tanks pressurization system (after landing)

Gunner to pilot light signals:

  • Green light, single flash – the target is far away
  • White light, single flash – no ammo left
  • Red light, single flash – we’re being engaged
  • Green light, multiple flashes – the intermediate flaps stop engaged
  • White light, multiple flashes – the fuel tanks pressurization system engaged
  • Red light, multiple flashes – the fuel tanks pressurization system disengaged.

Pneumatic flaps system allows extending the flaps to middle (take-off) position only from the fully retracted position. From the middle position, the flaps can be only retracted (Shift-F be default). Press the flaps release button (F key by default) and hold it to move the flaps from retracted to takeoff position. To extend the flaps from retracted to landing position, press F briefly.

Changelist

One minor, but very welcomed change, comes in the form of a slight re-balancing to overall aircraft combat performance. Along with this comes a slew of other fixes and tweaks:

  1. IL-2 mod. 1943 is available for all Battle of Kuban owners;
  2. Landscape anisotropic filter option that greatly reduces landscape textures shimmering at medium distances added, performance impact is minimal;
  3. Clouds detail increased on Ultra graphics preset, reducing shifting while looking at them perpendicular to an aircraft motion;
  4. Tree shadows are more contrast;
  5. Rear view mirrors added to Yak-1b series 127 and P-40E-1. Because of the mirrors tech implementation, distant landscape detail option is even more memory demanding. It’s recommended to have 4Gb VRAM or more for the х4 option, 3Gb for х3 and 2Gb for х2 detail.
  6. The ‘lagging hit effects’ has been fixed (minimized) both in singleplayer and multiplayer;
  7. SLI/Crossfire support has been reworked (it stopped working effectively when we switched to DirectX 11).Note that SLI/Crossfire gives a big performance boost if the game running on your PC is bottlenecked by the graphics card – for example, in situations when your FPS is limited by many light sources in the scene, many particle effects active at once or by an increased screen resolution. If the current scene being rendered is complex and contains many different objects, your CPU is likely to be the bottleneck instead and the performance boost from SLI/Crossfire won’t be significant. It is also true that if you have a powerful GPU, game performance will be limited by the CPU already, so adding a second powerful GPU won’t give you an FPS boost you want. Therefore, it is reasonable to use SLI/Crossfire in a case of two middle range graphics cards. In our beta version tests, we saw 50-85% performance improvement in the tank mission (where you need to cross the bridge) on SLI or Crossfire enabled PCs. It is also important to note that graphics drivers disable AFR (alternate frame rendering) in VR mode because of the additional delays it causes and we can’t control this, so you won’t benefit from this support if you play in VR;
  8. Basic TacView export functionality added. When you record a track in the game, .acmi file is generated in the native TacView format.
  9. Thanks to AMD software engineers who fixed the addressing in certain situations, we were able to return more optimized particle effects rendering. This might give you a minor performance boost;
  10. German 20 mm shell fragments have a higher initial speed because of their higher explosive mass to total mass ratio so they cause more damage;
  11. Bf 109, Fw 190 and some other planes durability is fixed (it was undeliberately lowered because of the many earlier changes in these aircraft). Now twin longeron Soviet fighters with delta-wood wings are roughly 20% more durable than Bf 109 fighters which have single longeron wings, while Fw 190s with triple longeron wings are roughly 20% more durable than Soviet fighters. P-40 is even more durable thanks to its five longeron wings. Pe-2 and Bf 110 planes are roughly twice more durable than Soviet fighters while IL-2 fits somewhere in between Pe-2 and LaGG in terms of combat durability;
  12. Ju 87 D-3 siren can’t be turned on anymore if it wasn’t selected in the modifications list in the hangar;
  13. He 111 H-16 bomb doors won’t visually disappear at larger distances;
  14. Altimeter and course indicator in the bombsight won’t stutter on the Expert difficulty mode.
  15. Navigation markers are visible on the map only if object markers are disabled (Expert difficulty mode);
  16. RCtrl+i command functionality restored (it turns off bomb and rocket aiming helpers);
  17. Altimeter and course indicator in the bombsight won’t stutter on the Expert difficulty mode.

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