The Autumn is here and our project is very close to another milestone. The next version 4.501 that will be released in a few weeks will contain very important improvements. For instance, after constructive discussions in our community, we have come to decisions on two aspects of the sim which are very important for the players: providing a required visibility level for the airplanes in a dogfight and modeling a pilot reaction to high-G loads. We're working on both things right now and the result of this work should be released in the aforementioned update. Another addition will be the MSAA x8 graphics setting, but please note that it will put quite a load on your graphics card.
We have almost finished two neat features for Tank Crew as well: controlling a turret using your joystick or buttons and looking through the visors and view slits with the help of preset cameras. Good news for Bodenplatte owners: the long-awaited campaign for this module will be included in this update as well - its author Alexander =BlackSix= Timoshkov has much to tell you about it:
In today's Dev Blog we'd like to tell you more about the new historical campaign 'Wind of Fury' that will be released for free for all Bodenplatte owners very soon.
It is dedicated to the No. 486 (New Zealand) Squadron RAF that flew Tempest Mk.V fighters and will picture the unfolding of the air battle in the skies of North-Western Europe since October 1st, 1944, till January 1st, 1945.
With the V-1 launch sites in Northern France captured or destroyed and this threat against the England territory eliminated, at the end of September 1944 it was decided to relieve the five existing squadrons of Tempest interceptors from the ADGB (Air Defence of Great Britain) duties and move them to the continent. Unlike Spitfires and Typhoons, Tempests could not carry rockets or bombs at the moment, making them inadequate for a fighter/bomber role, so the 2nd Tactical Air Force had tasked them with patrolling over own territory, intercept attempts against the German Me 262 jets and free hunting for enemy aircraft and road and railway traffic far behind the enemy lines.
The story of the campaign is based on the Operations Record Books of the 486th for the second half of 1944 and the historical works on the late war RAF and Luftwaffe actions available in English. After doing the research of the ORB, the most interesting missions were selected that were not too long to require the external fuel tanks which are not yet available in our sim yet. In reality, Tempests were flying with additional fuel tanks almost all the time and we'll add them to the campaign later, but for now, you'll be able to finish any mission with a default fuel amount.
There are no B-26 and Typhoon escort missions yet as well - these birds will be available a few months later in the Battle of Normandy Early Access program. We plan to add all the required, but not yet available, objects like B-26, C-47, Typhoon Mk.Ib, Spitfire Mk.XIV, Fw 190 A-6, Bf 109 G-6 Late as well as the British ground vehicles and artillery to the campaign at a later date.
It may appear counterintuitive, but having detailed reports on the squadron actions for many days and even hours may affect the campaign and its gameplay negatively if you use such data as is. During the long life of the IL-2 Sturmovik series, there were many attempts in the community to do just that, dramatize the historical documents or famous pilot memoirs word by word, but they reached only limited success, if not a failure.
This is caused mostly by the well-known fact that most of the missions were routine and repeating, 'Groundhog Day' type ones and enemy encounters did not happen in each one, but also by the peculiarities of the process of recreating real combat operations in a flight sim. Even when you select the most interesting missions with much action going around and that are not too long, you may have a rude awakening finding out that:
several subsequent missions happen in the same time of day;
direct time of day recreation makes a ground attack mission nearly unplayable during dawn or dusk hours;
too few aircraft or vehicles participated in the action so the players will find the mission too dull and empty, even if real pilots back then thought that it was more than enough action for them (or vice versa, too many and the performance reasons come into play).
Such factors mean that simulated events will differ from reality even if it is possible to recreate them exactly because of the performance, convenience and gameplay reasons. In the practice this means that a takeoff can happen in a different time, there will be less allies, but more enemy encounters or more enemy aircraft in a certain dogfight, etc.
In general, Wind of Fury campaign will make you familiar with nearly the entire range of the real combat missions flown by Tempest pilots during the second half of 1944, briefly including the Battle of the Bulge, and will end with the Bodenplatte strike on the allied airfields on January 1st, 1945.
P.S. We would like to thank the community member @Obelix for his 4K skins for the Tempests of 486th squadron which were used to create the images for the campaign and his advice on the additional official Tempest skin with the invasion stripes that was added to the sim.
We will continue our Dev Blog with another important change that affects the aircraft visibility - update 4.501 will include the atmospheric haze setting. It will be adjustable in Quick Mission Builder for your liking and can be set by an author in other missions. The minimal setting corresponds to the haze level in the current public version while higher values will look like these screenshots. By the way, you can see the progress made on another important thing on them as well 😉
We'll finish with a short report on the Normandy development. Here's our hero of the day - USAAF pilot in early war uniform and without the G-suit that was introduced in the theater later.