Q. What members of the original development team worked on this? What was their part in the development of IL2:FB?
A. I’ve been personally involved with the IL-2 Sturmovik line of sims for quite a few years now. I’ve known Oleg Maddox for quite some time and we’ve become friends long before the original IL-2 was released. I’ve tried to help Oleg as much as I could before the original release by doing everything from translating texts to designing all the training missions. I’m listed in the original IL-2’s credits as the Lead Tester and Designer of Training Missions.
Another thing I’ve been doing since before the original IL-2’s release was build new planes for the sim. I’ve built the external model and the cockpit for the BI-1 rocket interceptor, which was the first 3rd party plane ever released for Forgotten Battles, and also the most controversial since it never saw front-line service. I’ve also built the cockpits for the I-16 fighter, and the external model and all cockpits for the TB-3 bombers. This was mostly a learning experience for me, and Maddox Games had their hands full the whole time reworking my models and fixing the many basic mistakes I kept and keep on making.
I’ve also helped in some way with virtually every 3rd party plane created for IL-2 and Forgotten Battles up until the last year Most Forgotten Battles fans will probably know me from my web site, IL2Center, which for several years was the driving force behind the 3rd party community for the sim. I’ve helped start and manage all 3rd party developers in the beginning, and the site was the place where so many people have learned the requirements and were able to coordinate their efforts to create the new free planes.
For many years I’ve been doing this as a hobby and had never even thought of turning this into a job, but then the opportunity presented itself about a year ago to release a Western Front campaign add-on for Forgotten Battles, and that’s how Battle Over Europe and Russian Rocket Games were born. We originally planned to simply release a bunch of new campaigns for the new American and German planes which Maddox Games were planning to release, but it eventually grew to include many other components like the new maps and ground objects. The Normandy and Ardennes maps, as well as all the new buildings and ground vehicles were created by me. A large part of the work created by our team as part of BoE was released for free to the whole community, and only the campaign aspect will be released as a commercial product. Maddox Games of course helped us immensely with the Battle Over Europe as well. They’ve helped us with advice, ensured our product’s compatibility with their patches and the Ace Expansion Pack, and compiled all of our models into the 1.21 patch. To make our free offering more interesting they’ve actually released some of their own planes for free, including the irreplaceable P-51D Mustang.
Another crucial person behind Battle Over Europe is Vadim “Starshoy” Kolosov. Most IL-2 and Forgotten Battles players will also remember his many contributions to the community. He’s the driving force behind the many popular free mission and campaign generators he’s been creating since the original IL-2, as well as the Virtual Eastern Front online community dedicated to playing historical campaigns online. He is the programmer of our dynamic campaign engine.
The final member of our team is Ian “Tatarenko” Boys, who all Forgotten Battles fans should also be familiar with. Like Vadim, and myself Ian has been an integral part of the community since before the original IL-2’s release, and his contributions include everything from custom missions and skins to beta testing and his excellent war stories. He managed all custom skin makers for BoE, as well as being a general jack-of-all-trades helping with testing, briefings, single missions, and virtually every other aspect of the add-on.
We’ve had many other talented people help us with Battle Over Europe and the free add-on that made it possible. Kelly Haugan created the excellent B-17 model, and his battleship Tirpitz will be released as part of the Ace Expansion Pack. Brian Koga, who created many excellent aircraft skins, has also created some skins for Forgotten Battles. All in all, we’ve had over 20 people work on the free patch and the Battle Over Europe, who were all longtime IL-2 fans and were a real pleasure to work with. My sincere thanks go out to everybody who’s worked with us on BoE, and I know the end result was worth it.
Finally, to give you guys a sneak peak at what’s in the future for me and Russian Rocket Games, as many of you have heard through the grape vine we’re now hard at work with Maddox Games on a full featured sequel to Forgotten Battles which should be officially announced soon. A lot of people who worked on BoE continue to work with us on our next project, as well as many new talented individuals. We remain committed to creating new exciting flight sims, and we hope that Battle Over Europe brings you guys many months of exciting gameplay while you wait for our next joint venture with 1C:MG and Ubisoft, and then of course Oleg’s Battle of Britain.
Q. Are the new ground objects and maps in your release the ones that are already added in IL2:FB? Or did you create these?
A. This is a rather complex question, and I hope I can give a clear enough answer. I have a very long history of creating free 3rd party add-ons for IL-2 Sturmovik and Forgotten Battles. When we decided to create a campaign add-on based on the Western Front we knew we needed much more than a handful of planes that were available then to make this fun. But of course with all the source code, engine tools and copyrights to IL-2 being held by Maddox Games and Ubisoft, we had neither the expertise nor the legal right to create new maps, planes or anything else specifically for our own use.
The only way for us to bring the Western Front to life was for our team to create these new maps, planes, vehicles and ground objects, and then hand them over to Maddox Games to compile and release as a free patch. This was a very easy decision for all of us to make of course. All BoE team members have a very long history of creating free stuff for the IL-2 community, and we were all very excited about this concentrated effort to bring something as important as the Western European Theater to life.
The maps especially were a major project for us. Initially we thought of doing a bunch of loosely historical campaigns on existing maps, since only Maddox Games had the map creation tools and it did not seem possible for them to create new Western European maps. However then the opportunity arose for us to license those tools from Maddox Games. MG spent much more time thinking about this than I did, and gave us enough warning not to do this. However I foolishly took it upon myself to learn and use those tools to create new maps, and soon found myself completely devoured by the project with no end in sight. Even Maddox Games probably regretted giving us those tools in the end, since they were never really designed for an outsider and I required an incredible amount of support from Oleg’s team on the staggering amount of basic mistakes and undocumented quirks I kept uncovering. The maps were finally complete after six months of almost full time work from me, and I’m sure that working with me on this was an experience Maddox Games will not want to repeat with anybody else.
Anyway, the new Normandy and Ardennes maps, a few dozen new vehicles, tanks and buildings, as well as the B-17 model were all created to make Battle Over Europe possible. That whole package was released for free as the 1.21 patch for Forgotten Battles, and the other part of our team’s work will be released as the commercial Battle Over Europe add-on.