The number one question on IL-2 fans minds

If you’ve been following the development of IL-2: Battle of Kuban, you probably have one big question on your mind. It’s the question that everyone has been asking. The one that pops up in every other thread. When is IL-2: Battle of Kuban, aka patch 3.001, coming out?

What we know and don’t

And the answer is of course that we don’t know when.

I’d hesitate to say that 1CGS knows when although they certainly have more of an idea than we do. Still, I would suggest that they aren’t saying when specifically because there are items on their to-do list that have enough uncertainty that it’s just too up in the air to guess.

A few weeks ago I started making a guess that the week of February 19 would be a good date for a release. But maybe its a little further out than that.

The ‘Airacobra’ factor

P-39L-cockpit-wip

Today we saw a partially textured P-39 cockpit. It’s the first time we’ve seen the P-39 cockpit with some degree of texture on it but that also means that they are a little further behind with the P-39 than I had first thought.

Originally meant to be released in December, the P-39L-1 started showing up in developer updates in September. Things looked good then but it took a long while to see more progress. We’ve been seeing the aircraft’s external appearance for a while but the cockpit itself hasn’t really shown up until now.

Though it’s possible that the P-39 is delaying the whole thing, I doubt it. It’s a key aircraft and perhaps the star of the product but would the delay everything for that?

A lot of complex items

co-op (3)

There are a lot of complex pieces that need to come together for IL-2: Battle of Kuban and patch 3.001 to release. The campaign system is being replaced as I’ve said many times. This is a major component and something that is undoubtedly plugged into a lot of other systems. Its likely not just a separate module that you can unplug and plug in something different.

There are pieces of the Campaign system that probably plug-in all over the place. Career mode has to integrate into that.

There are also the mission types that plug in to career mode. Career mode is great but if the missions that you fly are endlessly repeated and not interesting in any way – well that’s a problem. The team has recognized that and has committed to 25 types of missions on the outset and 40 types of missions later on. These “types” of missions come with some variability of different types of aircraft, different locations, altitudes, times of day and weather conditions. Increasing the number to 40 means that we’ll see a lot of different types of sorties in the end with enough variability that things don’t feel that similar.

Co-op is a huge component too and it gave 1CGS an opportunity to correct a weak area in multiplayer: Scoring. To back that up I have this statement from a previous Developer Update:

Thanks to Coop development, we’re also improving the game statistics system, which will benefit all the game modes. First of all, stats will become more informative. After making necessary improvements that stats parser tool was designed to support from the start, in the future we plan to further expand and improve the statistics system. Moreover, the entire MP points assignment system will be revised. Difficulty modifier will be gone – on all difficulty settings, players will receive the same amount of points. We do this because it turned out that setting strict rules for set groups of users is not needed for the community, and most MP servers use custom difficulty settings where points are not counted at all. We also won’t set the player points to zero if he is killed or captured. Instead, we’re adding additional player states the community asked us for some time:

Airplanes:
Successful Landing at airfield : x 2.5
Emergency Landing at airfield : x 2.0
Forced Landing outside the base : x 2.0
Ditched : x 1.5
Bailed Out : x 1.0
Flight Canceled : x 0.5
Captured : x 0.5
Killed : x 0.5
Friendly Fire : x 0.0

Vehicles:
In Service : x 1.5
Broken : x 1.0
Killed : x 0.5
Friendly Fire : x 0.0

This all sounds simple on the end user side but for a programmer dealing with a complex title like IL-2, it’s a lot of work to make sure that everything keeps working and working properly.

Co-op and Career are going to be huge. I keep saying it but I think they are going to fundamentally change how I play IL-2 on a regular basis. I want 1CGS to make sure they get these things right.

So… when?

I’m revisiting my initial estimate. I think mid-March is now a safer timeline for 1CGS to release IL-2: Battle of Kuban. With beta testing now under way and the P-39 cockpit still a work in progress I think things will need a little longer to go before we see them finally release everything.

It’s a huge update and that makes waiting for it worth it – but it also makes waiting for it hard. Most are patient and recognize all of the great stuff we already have but others are impatient and we’ve seen that around the community. I don’t blame people for being a little impatient but we have to recognize reality: 1CGS is a small team doing some incredible things and pulling off a first rate flight sim (in my mind anyways) with very limited resources.

Bf109G-6-skins03

Give them time to polish this. I think in the end we’ll be pretty happy with the final result and that it will take us a good amount of time to appreciate everything that finally arrives.

I want to make one final point too. While some of the team are undoubtedly crunching away on IL-2: Battle of Kuban 3.001, other parts of the team are already working on other items. We’ve seen development work on new tank treads for Tank Crew. We’ve also just heard today that 3D work for the Spifire IXe, Bf109G-14 and P-47 have already started.

The people on the team who work on these things are clearly done with Kuban and are working away on the next set of exciting aircraft.

So while it may feel a bit like IL-2 development is stalled. I don’t think it is. Patch 3.001 may be taking longer to arrive than any other in the last few years of the series, it’s still coming, and the follow up patches to IL-2 are likely to come more quickly again. We may see Battle of Bodenplatte content fairly soon after Kuban releases and by spring we may already be enjoying some new aircraft from the next installment along with all of the stuff that we’ve waited a long time for.

Like I said a few weeks ago: Great stuff is coming and its just around the corner. We just have to buckle down and wait for it while we enjoy other things. And speaking of other things, I have some stuff to write about that too because there’s so much to enjoy in this series and in others that are available right now.

Soon my friends. Soon!

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