I didn’t think we’d see the IL-2: Battle of Bodenplatte’s map so early on in development but the IL-2 map team has been busy and they have some early work in progress screenshots to show us as part of this week’s Developer Diary update.
Four seasons on the Western Front
While some took IL-2: Battle of Bodenplatte as a narrow interpretation of the Operation Bodenplatte event on January 1st, it became quickly clear that the developers were busy expanding the timeline stretching on either side of the Bodenplatte battle and that the map that the team was creating would need all of the seasonal variations to go along with that.
Today, we saw some very explicit details on just how the map would look with some of the different variations.
First, we see that the summer map is about what we expect to see from the IL-2 map team and engine. Western Europe doesn’t have the terrain variation of the Kuban region but it does have some beautiful winding rivers and river valleys and we have an early look at that.
Next up, autumn, which is the fourth time the team has tackled what proves to be a very changeable season that starts off looking one way and ends up looking quite different. It’s hard to model all of those in between states so the team has chosen an early autumn look for the map – similar to that of the Kuban autumn version.
Then, we have a little bit of the new winter map which does winter a little differently than the snowy hellscape of Stalingrad and the frigid look that Moscow gives me. This one is a little more bare with some of the fields showing through snow with deeper sections and lighter sections.
And we also get a spring version of the map that is much different from the late spring of the Kuban. Here we have something suitable for the March timeframe with winter looking trees but with most of the snow melted away.
These are very early shots of what the team is up to. It’s also by no means the finished product and I expect they will continue to tweak things to find just the right look.
At the moment, we already have the map with height data, rivers and forests. The result is not final, but it required a lot of work already.
Now we’re working on the settlements. It is possible that we’ll increase their number in the course of development, but we’ll make the decision when we have the major towns and smaller settlements ready. The airfields list is ready and we have collected enough information to make them. In addition, we have a general concept of how we’ll texture the landscape for different seasons, but we’ll give it a bit more thought.
The new map combined with new objects, landmarks, villages, towns and cities will help to fill out the Bodenplatte western Europe map and make it its own unique map. I think that it already has its own unique flavour as do the other maps in the series. It’s difficult to mistake the Moscow, Stalingrad and Kuban maps from each other. Even Velikiye Luki, a third party effort, has its own distinct look despite using much of the Stalingrad’s textures.
Exactly how big is the Bodenplatte map?
The size of the low countries map from the IL-2: Battle of Bodenplatte announcement was always listed as “TBD” and back in November when it was announced the team probably didn’t know how big the map would be exactly.
In February, Black Six, responsible for a lot of the research and campaign building for the 1CGS team, started asking the community for help on finding resources around specific Luftwaffe and USAAF units. He said at the time:
We’ve not yet decided about time frame of the career and boundaries of the map so I want to find any info from September 17th, 1944 till April 1st, 1945.
Likely, the map team has followed with the timeframe set out and it makes sense. From autumn into the winter and then into spring of 1945, the front line slowed to a virtual stalemate as both sides prepared for the inevitable conclusion of the war. The hammer-blow would fall but not for a prolonged period of time. As far as covering a specific theatre without spanning too much of Europe, the September to April timeframe actually works quite well. September 17th is also, coincidentally or not, the beginning of Operation Market Garden.
If you view the threads that Black Six used to gather data, you can also see that the map will extend far enough south to encompass at least a major portion of the USAAF operations while encompassing most of the major bases that the RAF and Luftwaffe used further to the north and west respectively. RAF information is actually covered by an excellent series of books by Christopher Shores and Chris Thomas starting with “2nd Tactical Air Force, Vol. 1: Spartan to Normandy, June 1943 to June 1944.” They aren’t cheap but I own three of the four hardcovers and they have detailed day by day 2nd TAF RAF operations.
Meanwhile, for some interesting reading and back and forth on squadron locations and dates, see these threads: