Han, Project Manager for IL-2: Battle of Kuban, provided the latest weekly update with an early look at the Kuban map and provided some of the details around it. We also got some interesting bits of information about some technical improvements.
The Kuban Map
First, we get a good look at the map area. This is 120,032 square kilometers of space to fly around in and 32% larger than the Stalingrad map and 20% larger than the Western Front map from Rise of Flight.
The other thing that you should think about with this map is that it comes with a varied terrain set that we haven’t really seen before. We have ocean, coastlines of varying types (beaches and rocky), salt flats, wetlands, rivers, streams, and the Caucasus mountain range. There are sea ports, villages and three major cities. Compared to the flat steppes outside of Stalingrad and the also relatively flat terrain outside of Moscow – this will be visually different.
We also learned some other key information:
- Battle of Kuban campaign scenario is set to begin April 17 and end on October 9 of 1943 giving the battle a definitive beginning, middle and end.
- Three seasonal variations of the map will be presented: Spring, Summer and Fall.
- Initial work on the height map for the Kuban area is complete and texturing is set to begin soon.
Patch 2.004 is enroute in the next few weeks with changes to aircraft systems, physics optimizations, AI optimizations, damage models, ship improvements and the like. Han had quite a general list of changes that were coming and its more extensive than I would have imagined.
AI optimizations should help boost performance and hopefully lead to a situation where the game can handle more AI in the airspace at once. Kuban was the scene of some incredibly large air battles and it would be nice to see a few more aircraft filling the sky.
What is not yet coming is the DirectX 11 update. The current engine as you may remember operates on the now fairly old DirectX 9 system and going to DirectX 11 brings with it the possibility for performance improvements as well as much more robust VR.
This is what Han had to say:
We’d also like to let you know that while our work on DirectX 11 implementation is not finished yet and the new render isn’t ready to be included in 2.004 update, at the moment it grants a huge graphics performance boost, almost a 2x increase or more in FPS depending on the scene. We’re hoping to release the new renderer to the public this year and we’ll start its beta testing immediately after 2.004 release.
An improvement of 2x over the current frame rates would be impressive. What’s more surprising to me is that this new renderer will possibly be available by the end of the year. My initial expectations were that it would be coming along sometime in early to mid 2017. Its still possible that it will take longer to iron out some bugs than expected pushing it into early 2017 potentially… but I think that this is a positive sign. A performance boost with IL-2 would be a very welcome gain.
There’s more… So definitely read what Han had to say.