As much as I can say that what we already have with the IL-2 series is great, I’m always hungering for more and I think most of the flight sim community is like that too.
The latest developer update from 1CGS gives us a look at some new content coming down the pipe and I think this is going to make a lot of people excited.
One of the big updates is a flyable Ju52 and that has been made evident by the release of a work in progress cockpit.
A lot of community members have been asking for this for a long time. I’m of the mind that “if it has wings, I’ll fly it in a flight sim” and the Ju52 seems to fit that fairly well. I have some skepticism surrounding how much use it will get but I also think that an aircraft like the Ju52 adds a level of battle realism in online scenarios that you may not otherwise get. Flying a transport run to the front line airbase or dropping paratroopers to complete an objective are just as serious as the air combat, attack and bombing missions.
It’s less exciting from a combat perspective but no less exciting from the simulation of flight angle.
I’m curious to see where this goes.
New Yak-1B model
I’ve become a huge fan of the Yak series of fighters since the release of IL-2 Sturmovik in 2001. Until that time, I was blissfully unaware of the prolific fighter but I’ve quickly grown to like flying them through two flight sim generations.
In today’s dev update, Han showed off an early 3D rendering of the Yak-1B. How does it differ from the Yak-1 Series 69 that we have? The 1B is actually a designation only assigned in modern times to denote the revised version of the Yak-1 which saw continued improvements. The Yak-1B has a couple of big distinguishing features:
- Single Berezin UBS 12.7mm heavy machine gun (200 rounds) replaces the twin ShKAS 7.62mm while the ShVAK 20mm cannon firing through the hub remains unchanged
- Bubble canopy with much improved rear visibility
The Yak-1B was the preferred mount of Russian pilots (and several aces) through the summer and fall of 1943 and some were reluctant to part with their aircraft even when newer and theoretically better aircraft became available.
Performance wise, I’m not expecting the Yak-1B to be statistically different than the Yak-1 Series 69 which already has a lot of improvements but the improved rear visibility and hitting power do make this a more dangerous fighter overall.
Needless to say, I’m a fan of the Yak series of aircraft and I definitely want this one in my hangar sooner than later.
What do these updates tell us about the future?
These updates don’t explicitly give us any indication about what future content might be coming. The Ju52 is an aircraft we already have in the sim as an AI only type and the stated desire of the 1CGS team was to ensure that all aircraft available in the sim are flyable.
The early inclusion of the Ju52 was mostly by necessity. While other utility types are important too, the Ju52 was a critical and iconic part of the Stalingrad battle. The Luftwaffe tried to fly in supplies when their forces occupying the city were cut off and the Ju52 was the type that was most used and most lost in trying to accomplish this task.
The Yak-1B doesn’t give us too many clues either. Its a type that first fought at Stalingrad and then was used throughout the war serving well into 1944 in some units. Its inclusion may indicate a new phase of development where missing types are added to the current scenarios (I-153, SB-2, IAR80, early LaGG models, MC.200, etc.) or it could indicate a 1943 scenario in development such as Kursk or Kuban.
We also have some news on other changes that are coming:
- The Steam store release is coming in a couple of weeks.
- Multiplayer server system is changing – Now you’ll be able to join a multiplayer server even if its running a map that you don’t own. What is unclear is if you’ll be able to play or only spectate.
- The single player campaign is currently being polished and will be updated in the next patch. Changes there include flying Stalingrad aircraft (where appropriate) in the Moscow campaign and Moscow aircraft in the Stalingrad campaign.
- New mission types and scenario missions are coming to the single player campaign – This was a major criticism of mine and I welcome the addition of more types of missions.
- Gunfire sound effects are being overhauled.
- Wingtip smoke generators can now be fitted.
This last one needs some added explanation. Through the years, many community members have used the complex flight modeling of IL-2 and DCS to showcase their aerobatic skills. Think of these groups as virtual versions of some of the aerobatic teams out there (Blue Angels, Snowbirds, Frecce Tricolori, Red Arrows, etc.).
These virtual air displays sometimes benefit from having smoke coming from the aircraft to create patterns and displays that are very fun to watch.
A new feature is coming that will let players add virtual wingtip smoke generators for aerobatic displays and it looks really great.
For the purists out there, I can almost guarantee that this will be an option that stays off in serious wartime matches but something that can be enabled for those wanting to fly in these stunning virtual displays.