If you haven’t been keeping up with all of the latest developments for the IL-2 series and specifically IL-2: Battle of Kuban, you may not know just what we’re waiting for in release 3.001. I thought I would make a summary of every announced feature we’re looking forward to with the release of IL-2: Battle of Kuban.
Three… or five aircraft
Three aircraft remain in the official IL-2: Battle of Kuban aircraft lineup. Two additional Collector Planes are directly related to IL-2: Battle of Kuban which brings that total up to 5 aircraft still awaiting release. Let’s have a look at each of them!
American made lend-lease P-39 fighters were immensely popular with their Soviet pilots during WWII and the aircraft made a major mark on some key battles – the one in Kuban being one of the most important for the type.
Armed with an array of two .50cal, four .30 cal and a 37mm cannon, the P-39 was sleek, well armed, and reasonably fast and agile at low altitudes. It will release with version 3.001.
The A-20B “Boston” was a twin engined American light bomber and attack bomber with the kind of specs and performance expected from some nation’s medium bombers. The A-20B could carry an impressive bomb-load both within an internal bomb-bay as well as on the wings.
It was armed with twin forward firing .50cal machine guns aimed by the pilot as well as a single .50cal in the upper rear and single .30cal in the lower ventral position. The A-20B was also fast and reasonably agile.
Yak-7B Series 36
Based on the trainer version of the Yak series of fighters the Yak-7B proved to be an effective fighter and one that was tougher and able to to carry around slightly improved firepower. The Yak-7 formed the basis of the incredible Yak-9 fighter popular in the middle and end parts of the war.
The late Series 36 is faster and more agile than earlier series with better aerodynamics. Twin 12.7mm machine guns and a single 20mm cannon in an easy to fly and agile fighter make the Yak-7B a capable fighter to compete with German fighters at lower altitudes.
La-5FN Series 2
Turning the capable La-5 into one of the best fighters of WWII took time but it finally happened with the La-5FN. Lighter in weight and sporting an improved bubble canopy design the biggest difference was the M-82FN fuel injected and boosted engine.
It promises to be one of the best of the available Allied fighters and certainly the fastest at low altitudes.
This Collector Plane is a separate purchase from IL-2: Battle of Kuban. It is well suited to the single player campaign and you can bet that it will make an appearance on Kuban related multiplayer missions.
One of the most numerous of the Bf109 series, this middle to late 1943 model of the Bf109 makes some big changes to the basic Bf109 design. Borrowing the enlarged landing gear from the G-4 as well as its boosted engine and adding increased firepower with standard MG131 heavy machine guns in the nose. The Bf109G-6 is also optionally fitted with the MK108 rapid firing 30mm cannon.
This Collector Plane is also separate from IL-2: Battle of Kuban. Similar to the La-5FN, the Bf109G-6 will be part of the Kuban single player as well as featuring in multiplayer battles.
The team at 1CGS/777 keep working on improvements to the visuals in the IL-2 series and there are some big changes coming our way.
Improvement in rendering objects at a distance
The team has been busy improving how the rendering system works and that has allowed them to implement a nearly 4x increase in the range that terrain objects are rendered. This means much less haze and much greater visibility on clear days.
This also has required some additional changes to the clouds…
Improved cloud rendering
Making the terrain render at further distances also means making the clouds render at the same increased distance. That required the team to go back and improve the way that clouds are rendered and improve the diversity in the cloud formations too.
At the same time the developers were able to implement multiple layers of clouds so you can now fly in clear air between two different layers of cloud formations.
New rain on the canopy effect
One of the coolest new effects that the team is implementing is the rain on the canopy effect. Water droplets will realistically hit and run down the canopy. They will also streak across the canopy once you start to pick up speed. It looks really cool!
What we don’t know is if this effect will ship with 3.001 or if it will be waiting for a later release.
Improved bare-metal aircraft effects
Another visual improvement is to the bare-metal aircraft visuals.
Improved rendering and reflection effects on aircraft that are unpainted is important for several of the new aircraft in IL-2: Battle of Bodenplatte and so the team has worked to improve the visuals in that area.
The MC.202 below is an example of what the new effect looks like.
Better visuals in winter scenes
Winter scenes in IL- 2 have always looked a little washed out at times. In fairness, winter does tend to be washed out looking much of the time but the team did some work that ups the realism and improves the visual look anyways.
Better snow reflections and more defined shadows help add depth to the winter scenery which is vital for Moscow, Stalingrad and the north western Europe map that the team will be building next year.
Stalingrad map makeover
The oldest map in the new IL-2 series is the Stalingrad map and it was suffering from having some overly repeated landscape textures with the new draw distance improvements. That problem is being solved with a major update to the visual appearances of the map using some of the new techniques and technologies that the team has built for Moscow and Kuban maps. Summer and autumn versions of the map will ship with 3.001.
New gameplay features
Two big gameplay changes are heading for the IL-2 series and we’re expecting them in the 3.001 update.
A game mode focused on the single player campaign system has been in development for many years thanks to the core technology being developed during Rise of Flight’s original release and then further improvements added when the system was brought over for IL-2.
Career Mode is expected to ship with IL-2: Battle of Kuban’s launch and it will feature a persistent pilot system where you create and then fly with a pilot through a career. That will involve joining historically accurate squadrons at their time period appropriate bases and aircraft.
We know less about co-op mode except that it will supposedly come with patch 3.001. It will be a mission oriented experience where pilots will join together in co-operative missions.
Positions within flights will be picked by human pilots with the remaining slots filled by AI.
It’s a long list
That’s a long list and its going to be one of the largest patches in the history of the series in terms of sheer numbers of new features and content. Version 3.001 will mark the official launch of IL-2: Battle of Kuban and the end of that title’s development. Of course, with IL-2 the development continues as you can see even the original IL-2: Battle of Stalingrad title is being updated in this patch with better looking maps and core game engine elements that affect the entire series.
Have I forgotten something? Is there a feature you’re particularly looking forward to in the near future? Let me know in the comments!