It’s no question that the second generation IL-2 series is a visual stunner. The series has pulled off some impressive pyrotechnics, aircraft models, and lighting visuals however there has always been a weak spot – haze in the near distance.
To be fair, I live in a partial maritime climate which sees plenty of hot, humid and haze filled days. Even in the winter, visibility on an otherwise cold and clear day can be affected by the humidity in the air (such as it is when its below freezing).
The second gen IL-2 series has had a relatively quick transition into haze which hides much of the distant landscape. DCS and other titles rely on this feature as well which can help rendering and boost performance but not always (as I learned tonight).
Jason Williams, IL-2 Producer, had this to say:
The horizon haze simply hides the “drawing” of the landscape. It’s a legacy holdover from our earliest days, not because we are trying to help performance, but because our guys didn’t know how to draw that far without bugs. After many years of experience and growing tired of this issue I spoke to our team and decided now was the time to try and make it better. We know what the competition does in this regard and we aim to beat them. The end result should be a better looking horizon. And seeing our map without an “atmosphere” will make your eyes bleed. Haze is needed to some degree always. The FSX/P3D/XP11 engines do a great job of simulating scenery at long ranges, but they also don’t do combat. We’d love to make a next gen scenery rendered, but that takes a lot of time of our lead programmer.
So it sounds like the haze will be dialed down a bit and a better looking horizon is … on the horizon *ahem*.
For comparison we can see how DCS does it and really the difference is there but not as dramatic as I sometimes think. Nonetheless, IL-2 is a bit further behind in this area and it will be nice to see it catch up – perhaps even surpass what its competitors are doing.
Further on down the road
IL-2: Battle of Kuban’s development has brought a ton of improvements to the visuals of the series and so it sounds like the work in that area will continue. I wouldn’t expect something like this to appear right away but be something that the developers continue to work on as time allows on their small team.
So don’t anticipate it for a while yet.