This is when you should get excited about IL-2: Battle of Kuban’s release

All quiet on the Kuban front. The team at 1CGS is working on finishing IL-2: Battle of Kuban and releasing version 3.001. This is usually what software developers call “crunch time” and its why we haven’t heard too much from the team since they returned. It doesn’t mean that things aren’t happening in the background.

Crunch time for Battle of Kuban

Through October and November the 1CGS team has released a constant stream of updates and details on new features. These ranged from increased draw distances and raindrop effects on the canopy to redoing the textures for the original Battle of Stalingrad map.

Of course the team has also been talking about putting the finishing touches on five new aircraft: the Bf109G-6, La-5FN, P-39L-1, A-20B, and Yak-7B.

It’s the single biggest aircraft release all in one patch that we’ve seen for the series and it includes three key Allied types for Battle of Kuban plus two long awaited Collector Planes.

And maybe the biggest feature which I’ve talked about quite a bit now is the new Co-op and Career modes which will offer up some new multiplayer and single player options for players. Career mode, in particular, is a huge change for the series.

With 90% of the flight sim community allegedly not ever venturing into the online arena, having a compelling single player experience is important. The current Campaign mode will be retired and Career mode will take over and from everything that we know – it will fill that single player niche really nicely.

Although the team has been showing us these features for a few months now, in reality it takes time to finish the details on all of these features and that has meant that the team has been in crunch mode.

They are working hard on bringing each of these features into the final release.

What we know about the current status of development

1CGS-A20-WIP29-01
A view of the recently textured A-20B cockpit.

A lot of people are riding the wave of excitement and disappointment as everyone seems to have different ideas of when IL-2: Battle of Kuban should be released. Let’s review the official information and then talk about when you should start really getting excited.

On December 7, Jason Williams posted an update about a slight delay for the release of IL-2: Battle of Kuban.

Here’s part of what he said:

Completion of Kuban and the large version 3.001 update that will accompany it will now most likely occur before the end of the winter and hopefully much sooner than that, possibly the latter half of January. Please accept our sincerest apologies for the delay. We are just as disappointed as you are. The Holiday season is upon us and it adds to the delay, but the team deserves a break after a hard year of work and I cannot expect them to work during this special time of year.

As we’re now in the latter part of January I think we should assume that we need to go with the ‘before the end of winter’ statement. This could mean anytime between now and sometime in March.

We have another clue in the last developer update when we heard from Han. He filled us in on some last minute pre-holiday details. In that post, dated December 29, he wrote:

Other stuff planned for 3.001 is ready. Today we plan to start 3.001 alpha testing, hopefully our testers will help us finalize all the work we were busy with for 4 last months quickly and effectively.

Traditionally in software development you have a period of development followed by an alpha test which brings together your content and code and where you build everything together. In beta the development goes from implementing all of your new stuff to finalizing and bug smashing so that you can have a quality release.

We haven’t heard that the team is in beta yet and that makes me assume that they are still in alpha at the moment.

This is when you should get excited

yak7b-skins-01
The Yak-7B is one of the three new aircraft from the Kuban release still awaiting release.

When should you get excited? The simple rule I follow is this: When we hear that the team is in beta, then we can start getting excited.

With this team, beta tests haven’t traditionally taken a long time (usually a couple of weeks). That may not be entirely true for this release as 3.001 is a particularly large release. Still, once we hear news that they are content complete and in beta, that’s when your excitement should start to build. Any time before that is just asking for some disappointment.

I’m right now tentatively guessing that release will happen sometime later in February. That could put us at about 4 weeks out from release. Still, you should take that with a grain of salt as its just my best guess.

One thing is clear, the 1CGS team is in crunch mode right now working hard on bringing us the latest release of IL-2: Battle of Kuban and a ton of features that a good many of us are excited for. It’ll be a significant milestone for the IL-2 series when this release happens and its one that I’ve been looking forward to for a very long time.

As always, I’ll be ready with the latest news and in-depth analysis!

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16 Comments Add yours

  1. PIxel Dust says:

    These are the folks whose success I am most anxious to see; when I consider where my next $80 is going, they are at the front of the line.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. xshinel says:

    How would you think about the new FM of the Bf109, it is wierd now, this FM make the roll ratio of th 109 even not good as a spitfire, is it real in the history?

    Like

    1. ShamrockOneFive says:

      I usually don’t get into flight model debates. That said, my reading on flying characteristics from several pilot accounts suggests this:

      Bf109E has the fastest roll rate at slow speeds and the Bf109F has a more even roll rate across the speed range.

      The Spitfire V has metal ailerons to improve roll rate over earlier versions of the Spitfire. Particularly at higher speeds.

      So is it right? Maybe. My guess is yes, it’s pretty close.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. 57.GIAP.MADOV says:

    Try to remember that these are not ‘pitch perfect’ flight models. I would put them in the good to very good category but these aircraft modules are not study sims of the kind that you might find from DCS or A2A. We have to accept that in some areas FMs are not spot-on. The Spitfire isn’t perfect either but we just have to suspend disbelief because there is so much goodness in the overall sim environment. As a WWII sim what we have here is way above DCS WWII and the bigger picture just keeps getting better. I can take that to the bank any day.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Francesco Kasta says:

    This sim is great fun (especially in VR!), definitely the best WWII sim aorund nowadays since it feels way more alive than DCS and vastly more polished than CloD/Blitz. I am pretty hyped about Battle of Bodenplatte.

    If only they could let you manually start-up/shut-down the engine it would be perfect, even a simplified procedure would do. But having a single button that does everything for you kinda kills the immersion.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. 57.GIAP.MADOV says:

    Having a clickable cockpit was an option that they discarded at the beginning back in 2012. Maybe they would like to have gone down that road now from the beginning but once design decisions are made and coded into the engine then it’s a done deal. It would take too much effort to retrofit such a functionality. BoS originally was targeted at a more game orientated market. That focus seems to have skewed currently more towards the immersion and CEM end of the market and that would appear to be down to the better direction provided by Jason Williams.

    For me personally I would love to see BoS moving towards the study sim aspects of DCS but for that development time becomes very much more elongated. What we have is a compromise and it works pretty well.

    Like

    1. Francesco Kasta says:

      They stated they would *not* implement clickable cockpits right from the start, I know that. I founded BoS before it was even out.

      I am not talking about that, what I mean is that functions and actions like “magnets on/off, batteries, fuel pumps” etc. could be made assignable to a button in order to have simplified yet satisfying start-up and shut-down sequences.

      Like

  6. 57.GIAP.MADOV says:

    Join the club, I did too. The clickable cockpit option goes hand in hand with complex engine start and it was discarded. The two aspects run in parallel, the functionality of a clickable cockpit gives you the option to assign axes and buttons of your hardware controllers. One can argue that they could have gone down the road of CloD which is a compromise, where the cockpit is not fully clickable but you are able to interract with a selection of controls in order to have a limited level of engine startup immersion. At that time they were more focussed on the mass market appeal that War Thunder was generating and saw that as a more viable business model. Too late now for them to retrospectively fit what I suspect they wished they had gone for in the beginning.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Francesco Kasta says:

      Bummer. I honestly thought that having clickable cockpits was NOT a requirement in order to have a few functions assigned to their respective key/buttons, I realize that it might make things easier to implement but I don’t see how that would be mandatory. After all the cockpits are NOT clickable now, yet you can assign lots of functions to your hardware controllers…

      So you are saying you are 100% positive it cannot be done now?

      Like

    2. PIxel Dust says:

      Keyboard taps or mouse clicks are pretty much the same. Clicking in a cockpit with a mouse pointer is just as immersion-breaking to me, personally, as keyboard inputs for the same function. Neither action is anywhere near being realistic. Both serve the same function and neither exist in real-world flying. Neither are compatible with VR unless you are a really good touch typist.

      However, to be able to perform cockpit functions, with the “mouse-touch” setup, is satisfying to a large group of players, and I acknowledge that. It’s just not for me.

      For now, my preferred VR is truly stunted by the limits on real vision; to stay in the virtual 3D cockpit, you have to have a mapped and memorized HOTAS, or have trained and programmed voice commands to do the same. Joystick controller mapping is at least comparable to the actual world of flying. Voice commands are no better than mouse or keyboard clicks. None of those non-HOTAS alternatives are remotely like what it takes to control a real aircraft.

      If a 3D cockpit responded to VR knuckles, or the like, that would be much more realistic. If I could actually reach out and touch the cockpit switches, dials and levers with my virtual hand, I’d be pretty happy. LNS have tried to implement that with their VR-enabled MiG-21, but it is not a very functional choice. The huge, clunky virtual “hands” that they created do not have sufficient precision to drill down and reliably touch one of the 21’s myriad flip switches which are neatly arranged in tidy-but-small rows.

      Until then, to me at least, a well-mapped HOTAS seems to be the most realistic approach to using a cockpit, whether it is built for 2D or 3D.

      Like

      1. Francesco Kasta says:

        Well yes, I agree that flipping switches on the HOTAS feels more realistic than clicking a mouse button or hitting a key. I am unsure about the virtual hands though since you wouldn’t have any tactile feedback.

        Like

  7. PIxel Dust says:

    Believe it or not, Francesco, when a virtual finger touches a virtual switch, you do get physical feedback and it’s called ‘haptics’. It works something like this: https://www.vrs.org.uk/virtual-reality-gear/haptic/

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Francesco Kasta says:

      No friggin way, now we are talking! That would be mind blowing!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. robinhj says:

    My feeling is that some form of clickable cockpit is vital for the future of BoX. because very soon VR will become as common as TrackIR (and its alternatives). The one last problem we have with VR (other than refining the graphics etc) is the fact that you cannot look at your keyboard and even the most expensive HOTAS system does not have enough buttons for every available function. If someone did bring out a HOTAS with enough buttons we would never remember where they all were. The simplest of VR gloves that do little more than allow you to point and click coupled with a clickable cockpit would allow you take many common functions off your HOTAS and allow easy access to rarely needed functions such as emergency gear release etc. that you would not want to set a button or key combo for.

    Like

    1. ShamrockOneFive says:

      I don’t think you’d get much argument from anyone for having clickable cockpits as an option. The problem for IL-2: Great Battles right now, as we’ve heard straight from Jason Williams, is that at the start of the project they didn’t plan to do clickable cockpits. Apparently making it a feature that works and works well after the fact will apparently take considerable effort.

      At this point I don’t think we’ll see it on the product roadmap any time soon. They have surprised us before so I never say never but its not an easy decision point to make and there are a long list of key features that they are still working on that are important too.

      You make a great point about VR gloves though. I can see that really becoming an awesome feature for the future of flight simming.

      Like

    2. PIxel Dust says:

      You can actually give this a try right now; LNS’ MiG-21 module for DCSW has some very large glove emulators in their VR cockpit; I think they qualify as the simplest of VR gloves.

      However, for me, they were just too large and imprecise for actual switchwork in the MiG with its rows of tiny flip switches.

      VR knuckles or the like, with more precise fingertip touch spots will be the best interim solution. I agree; VR requires switch work to be useful in our genre, because of the lack of vision outside the VR HMD.

      Liked by 1 person

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