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
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
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!