IL-2 in-depth: Flying Circus

Rise of Flight World War I aircraft are going to be joining the IL-2 series in Flying Circus. A recreation of Rise of Flight in the IL-2 series and its upgraded Digital Warfare Engine is hopefully the first of several releases aimed at bringing that World War I experience back to the fore.

A love letter to Rise of Flight fans

For a few years now, Rise of Flight fans have justifiably been left in the shadows as the 1CGS/777 Studios team moved on to develop IL-2: Battle of Stalingrad. While World War II is very much the future of the studio, it appears that a solid effort is now being made to bring World War I back into the fold.

il2-greatbattlesThis is what they are calling the IL-2: Great Battles Series. The concept is fairly straight forward: Every title in the series is fully cross compatible with each other.

DCS has their module system and IL-2 now has ‘great battles’ as a foundation. Flying Circus is now a part of that foundation and it brings Rise of Flight fans into the modern flight sim experience: 64bit engine, DX11 engine, enhanced graphics, and… VR.

Virtual reality in the age of canvas

Though I haven’t had a VR flight sim experience yet, I’m told its an absolutely jaw dropping experience and I’m told that IL-2 is likely the best VR flight sim experience you can have right now. Flying Circus will inherit that experience too.

It may even be more exciting in Flying Circus to experience flying a bi-plane or tri-plane with the power of VR making you feel that much closer to the action. While speeds in World War II aircraft make things a little less personal – in World War I the aircraft fly awfully close to each other and that makes it probably an even better proposition for VR. I look forward to hearing feedback from VR users when Flying Circus releases.

The aircraft list and the map

There’s a strong line-up of aircraft planned that holds almost nothing back.

  • SPAD 13 C.1
  • Sopwith Dolphin
  • Sopwith Camel
  • Royal Aircraft Factory S.E.5a
  • Bristol F.2
  • Albatros D.Va
  • Fokker Dr.1
  • Fokker D.VII
  • Pfalz D.IIIa
  • Halberstadt CL.II
The SPAD.13 may be the only French fighter to make Volume 1, but it is an excellent one to lead with. It’s an excellent all-round fighter.

The SPAD.13 is the only French aircraft to make the list right now so French aircraft fans will have to make due with just the one type. The Sopwith Dolphin, Camel and the S.E.5a are all extremely popular British fighters. Finally the Bristol F.2B is a two-seat recon and fighter aircraft. One that works fairly well as an attacker too.

For the German Empire we have the ever popular Albatros D.Va, Fokker Dr.1 and Fokker D.VIII. I always liked the Pfalz D.IIIa and that made the list too! The Halberstadt CL.II is the two seater and a good counterpart to Bristol’s F.2B.

The map is a limited one: just 100x100km. It’s about a 1/3rd the size of the Stalingrad and Moscow maps and smaller than the Rise of Flight channel map (200km x 150km). That said, the limited size is a little less of an issue with aircraft that fly at a quarter of the speed as their World War II equivalents. It does limit the scenarios slightly but I hope that its not as serious an issue as some may think.

This is Volume 1

From what Jason has said in the introduction to this, Flying Circus is intended to be a Volume 1. They have put a solid foot forward choosing to represent the most useful and the most popular fighters from the Rise of Flight series – no doubt driven by the sales data for these types and put them in Volume 1.

If Volume 1 is popular and justifies its worth through sales, it will likely see a Volume 2 and a follow up after that potentially.

What’s involved in making this project a reality? We don’t know the full details on how each of the aircraft will be rehabilitated and brought into the new engine. I can only assume that the excellent graphics and modelling that Rise of Flight had for canvas aircraft will survive the transition but they may also come with revised flight models and updated physics systems representing the latest that the IL-2 series provides.

Unquestionably – the series will benefit from the strong enhancements that the IL-2 series has made and continues to make in graphics. The quadrupling of terrain draw distance, 4K skins, more complex cloud effects (including multi-layer cloud formations), and enhanced lighting and visual effects will take that Rise of Flight experience to a new level. Rise of Flight always impressed me visually and IL-2 has upped the ante considerably since its release.

I’m excited for Rise of Flight fans, I’m excited for Flying Circus, and I’m excited that the IL-2 series is expanding its scope in such an interesting way.

11 Comments Add yours

  1. PIxel Dust says:

    Nice, tentative step in the very right direction; I, for one, am eager to re-equip RoF2 with all of the birds from my DX9 RoF installation. Can you imagine a Felixstowe, Handley-Paige or Gotha in VR?

    As sorry as I am about the disappointment over the Pacific theater, this is a veritable gold-mine for those of us who hungered for a VR WWI sim; it’s here!!

    These developers have no where to go but higher and higher up with this fantastic base for exploration.

    I’m sure it shows, but I could not be more excited.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. 57.GIAP_MADOV says:

    The Royal Aircraft Factory S.E.5a was flown and trusted by Mannock,McCudden and Ball and was christened later as ‘the Spitfire of WWI’. That tells you all you need to know.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ShamrockOneFive says:

      I knew there was a good reason for me to love flying the S.E.5a! 🙂


  3. Christian says:

    Sopwith Camel will be mine in VR!


    1. ShamrockOneFive says:

      That sounds like some great fun!


  4. vonklempter says:

    I’ll try a Fokker Dr1.


  5. vonklempter says:

    And what’s you guys favourite aces?


    1. ShamrockOneFive says:

      I’ve read about a lot of aces from both world wars. I don’t think I have a favourite – but there are many interesting stories.


  6. vonklempter says:

    Who’s the chef moderator?


    1. ShamrockOneFive says:

      I’m the writer, editor and moderator for this site.


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