So, its Q4 2021 and that means the Holiday season is upon us. Yay Holiday discounts! It’s always a busy time as we try to end the calendar year strong and finish delayed projects and features. However, this year, along with last year has not been normal. For over a year and a half we’ve been working under COVID restrictions and protocols. We've dealt with COVID illnesses, family illnesses, vaccine rollouts and parent company protocols in Moscow, that personally don’t affect me in my home office, but have a large impact on the team in Russia. It’s been rough on the team and it’s caused delays in our dev plans unfortunately. But as you can see we soldier on, much like all of you have had to do during this pandemic. It's been a pain.
I know you guys want updates on several items that we can’t always get to in the Developer Diaries. We try to reserve the DDs for the larger hits. I’ll give you some straight talk about what’s going on to entertain you while we work on our next update.
First, we have an update scheduled for later in October that should include the new AQM and the Breguet 14.B2 bomber aka “The Baguette” for FC2. It’s just easier to call it the Baguette as an American who failed French class in High School. Then we plan to have an update in mid-November that includes the P-51B/C. The birdcage P-51 has taken far longer than anticipated unfortunately. However, our recent lack of details on the Malcolm Hood seems to have been solved thanks to someone in the community.
We continue to work on the other aircraft for Normandy including what I call the “twins” actually there are four not two of them – AI B-26, Ju-88 C-6, Mossie and Me-410. All are coming along, just significantly more slowly than planned for. The B-26, Ju 88 C-6 and Mossie should be out in Q1 2022 and Me-410 will be released likely early Q2 2022. We’ve recently hired a couple other modelers to help speed up this work, but it takes time before they are proficient. The Mossie and 410 cockpits are some of the most difficult we have ever built. And not all modelers are created equal so times vary. I would like for everything to go like clockwork and every beat deadlines, but it just doesn't work out that way.
The Normandy map continues to be worked on and is making progress. We’ve been able to expand the map team this year a bit so work there has been steady.
The Advanced Quick Mission (AQM) feature is coming along nicely and working pretty well. What this feature does is offer a very fast way to generate Scenario-style missions quickly that offer high quality combat. It’s not a campaign and it’s not the QMB. It’s kin of an in-between feature that lays the groundwork for possibly more detailed Scenario generating (building) in the future. It’s one more way to create combat missions without having to learn the complex Mission Editor. The AQM is more of a “generator” than a “builder” so inputs by users to create the scenario is limited, but the result is fun with lots of combat and flexible settings for enemy activity. The AQM is based on the very old Campaign generator we originally had for BOS that we set aside several years ago (that worked quite well) to make the Career mode. We never tossed the code and have now adopted it for Great Battles. The AQM missions I have flown so far, along with all the other improvements we have made to the sim over time, has given me lots of enjoyment this past couple weeks. We think you’ll like it.
So, the QMB along with the AQM, Scenario Missions, Scripted Campaigns, Pilot Career offer A HUGE LIBRARY of single-player content without the need to use the ME. Also, we recommend you check out the Easy Mission Generator (EMG) by SYN_Vander and Pat Wilson’s Campaign Generator (PWCG) to have even more options for creating combat missions. Both are excellent, excellent apps! We will continue to explore ways to improve both the QMB and AQM features in the future as well. Being able to adopt these AQM missions for Co-Op is also high on my wish list.
Speaking of new mission content, Alex has made a new free Spit Mk.14 Scripted Campaign that is designed for the BOBP map called His Majesty's Griffons! So, it’s something new for us in that it is a quality campaign that takes a plane from one product and uses it in another product’s map. You’ll have to own the relevant content to make it work of course, but we wanted to try something different. Also, I am working with our friend and partner Jaegermeister on a set of FC1 Scenario Missions and a couple free FC1 Scripted Campaigns that he has built. I may have mentioned these previously, but they are still coming and it's my fault they are not ready yet. I’m also working with him on a P-51 Scripted Campaign that will likely be payware. And finally, I am working with our partner Haash on new scenario missions for all our Collector Planes. Lots of localization to do for all this, but it’s in the works. Our community has some of the most giving and creative people anywhere in the combat-sim genre. Thanks to all of you!
Going back to FC 2/3 for a moment. As you can see the aircraft for FC2 is moving along nicely. The map on the other hand being made by Ugra Media is tougher going. Making a huge map for our engine takes a lot of work and detail and it’s tough even for our team, let alone our partners who had to re-learn this skill. Please don’t be surprised if the new Western Front map is delayed in its release. We want it to be a very good one.
Air Marshal is still having a difficult birth and I hope we can get it across the finish-line soon. But honestly, it’s not been easy and its release is not 100% solid for reasons I can’t really discuss here unfortunately. I will keep trying to get it done and work with the developer and the testers that have been helping me work out the kinks previously. I will keep exploring ways to make MP even more fun and interesting with or without Air Marshal if necessary.
We have also recently begun work on an USAAF crewmember/gunner model which will be followed by an Italian and Romanian fighter-pilot models. These are being built by internal 1CGS team member Alexey who has built all our newer character models. I did not have to contact out after all. And yes, I plan to make radio calls in those languages as well. I believe Viks has already asked for help on the forum finding information about Italian pilot gear.
Speaking of Romanian aircraft here is an early WIP pic of the IAR-80/81 cockpit being worked on by our partner Ivan. He is making steady progress, but it will take time to complete it. When I see it’s a bit more along, we’ll offer it for pre-order. Make sure to show Ivan the love when that happens by making a pre-order. If the IAR is successful I would love to keep him working on wanted planes for us.
The new clouds you saw in DD 294 are still WIP, but nearing the point where I can start to really see how they perform and look under most circumstances. It’s new technology for us and it’s similar to what others in the industry have done recently because they are all based on various white papers and other info that has been shared on the internet over the years. However, each engine is different and every team has different performance goals. The absolute final result of how it looks and performs in our engine is not quite known yet. We just recently were able to mate it to our existing mission structure so existing missions will continue to work with the new clouds. It would have been a disaster if they made all existing missions defunct. Imagine the chaos that would have caused.
And I know some will ask, yes, we still plan a review of our damage modeling after we complete our initial release of the new Fuel Systems and Drop Tanks, which as you have guessed has been slow due to its complexity and trying to model it realistically and having to revisit other issues not in the schedule. We recently changed some parameters of American .50 caliber bullets which appears to have pleased many of you or irritated those that are on the receiving end of them. War is hell what can I say? And when I say we will ‘review’ something that means we will do research and look to see what if anything we got wrong and possibly make changes. The final result is yet unknown. Some changes are likely, but not sure on overall changes.
And finally, we have agreed on two new Collector Tanks for Tank Crew and the Great Battles series. Work on them has begun and we hope to have them ready for Spring 2022. As usual, DigitalForms will make them and we are sure they will be amazing models. I will be announcing which tanks they are soon and offering them for pre-order. Both tanks fit within the established Kursk timeframe for the existing map to help define this battle a bit more. The Tank Crew user base continues to grow and I hope these new tanks are a sign of even more content for Tank Crew in the future.
I want to apologize for the delays in releasing some of the marquee aircraft from BON like the P-51B/C and the twins, but this year has just been one non-stop roller coaster for us, but BON is progressing every week.
P.S. I forgot to mention the Arado-234 in my post above. Yes, it is in development too and will be ready in Q2 2022. Cockpit is in development, but not ready to be shown yet. The Fi-103 "V-1 Buzz-bomb" is also being worked on of course and will be in Q1 2022. Our good friend Martin "ICDP" Catney did the textures for it which was a big help to us. Now we need to build the engineering, physics and mission logic for it.