IL-2 developer diary focuses on Tank Crew

Though far from our first look, today’s IL-2 Developer Diary was probably the most extensive look we’ve had at the new IL-2: Tank Crew – Clash at Prokhorovka tank simulator that is being developed in parallel with IL-2: Battle of Bodenplatte. Let’s have a look and, also, I want to pose a couple of questions to readers at the end too.

Kursk focused tank battles and air battles

KV1s_exterior_03

The Battle of Kursk is largely considered the largest armored battle ever fought and so it makes a fitting backdrop for 1CGS new armored warfare simulator – Tank Crew: Clash at Prokhorovka.

Twelve armored tanks and vehicles are included in this package featuring some of the most iconic and well known tanks of the Eastern Front and of the entire war.

Allies

  • T-34-76 model 1943
  • KV-1s
  • M4A2
  • SU-122
  • SU-152
  • GAZ-MM + 72K

Axis

  • PzKpfw III Ausf.M
  • PzKpfw IV Ausf.G
  • PzKpfw V Ausf.D “Panther”
  • PzKpfw VI Ausf.H1 “Tiger”
  • Sd. Kfz. 184 “Ferdinand”
  • Sd. Kfz. 10 + Flak38

The mix of tanks features light, medium and heavy tanks, tank destroyers, self propelled artillery and mobile anti-aircraft guns.

The new title features a simulation sized map of 100x100km in size covering the Belgorod area. This is a critical area of the Kursk battle where some of the most intense armored clashes were fought and it makes an ideal backdrop for this new title.

The new map is also smaller so it can feature a greatly enhanced terrain mesh. The devs report that it will have 16 times the usual terrain mesh detail typically used for maps featuring air battles. It will also feature trees and buildings that can be damaged by passing armor.

map_01

Scripted campaigns with several missions will be included to help fill out the single player experience. They will feature both sides of the battle and are intended to help tell the story of this battle and the intense clashes that were a part of it.

il2-greatbattlesMultiplayer is also likely to be a significant feature of the title. And that’s actually what has me very excited as Tank Crew is an IL-2: Great Battles Series title. What does that mean?

Tank Crew is a fully functioning and independent module that plugs into the bigger IL-2 series. If you are only interested in tank battles and armored warfare, you can just own Tank Crew, but in doing so you’ll join a bigger series that has until now been focused on realistic air battles. The size of the Belgorod map plays directly into that:

While being smaller than our other maps, this map size is still unequal among tank sims. We don’t do this just to boast about it either – the size of our map makes joint multiplayer with tanks and aircraft possible on the same multiplayer server.

Realistic air and tank battles will be a major feature of this title with fans on both sides of the battle playing major and direct parts in the conflict. The dream here is to have coordinated combined arms battles where the air and ground battles interact and affect each other.

Combined arms is not new for the IL-2 series

tank-pziii-adventure01
A screenshot from a semi-recent multiplayer match. Here, my Pz. III was only a few hundred meters from an airstrike launched by a Pe-2 dive bomber.

I’ve already experienced combined arms in IL-2 with the inclusion of the Pz. IIIL and T-34 tanks as simplified yet drivable armored units. In multiplayer, tank clashes raged back and forth on the ground while air battles took place above. Tanks altered the battlefield by capturing airfields and key points while the air battle affected the ground battle with bombers and attack planes attempting to hold back the onslaught and plug gaps in the line.

From both a strategic and tactical viewpoint, this was incredible amounts of fun and I don’t think any series has really done this to the level that Tank Crew is promising to do. Titles like Panzer Elite had realistic ground battles (with some air intervention) and War Thunder has armored battles in a bottle experience with limited air battles. IL-2 does air battles exceptionally well and promises to bring the same high fidelity experience to armored warfare too.

When will Tank Crew release?

Tank Crew: Clash for Prokhorovka is apparently going to release into Early Access as early as July 2018. The developers report:

We plan to start the Early Access program for Tank Crew: Clash at Prokhorovka as early as this July. Of course, we’ll have only a small bit of the final product available at the start. The official release date is more than one year ahead in the future, but early adopters of Tank Crew will have something to play with:

  • Highly detailed (exterior and interior) KV-1s and PzKpfw VI Ausf.H1 “Tiger” tanks;
  • Nearly complete physics model of these tanks;
  • Detailed ballistics model for 50mm, 76mm and 88mm rounds;
  • Ability to occupy any tank station (tank commander functionality won’t be ready, but you’ll be able to take the commander seat);
  • Numerous improvements to other game functionality which will improve a ground vehicle gameplay.

If your reading about the IL-2 series for the first time and are maybe a Panzer Elite fan or are coming over from War Thunder and looking for a more focused title with historical armor duels – let me explain how 1CGS tends to release their titles.

Early Access tends to begin early on in the development with a pre-order and early access content. As outlined in the quote above, the KV-1s and PzKpfw VI Ausf.H1 “Tiger” tank are planned to be available in the early outing. Things will likely be fully functional on the tanks themselves but full features and gameplay will be limited at first. Over the coming months, Tank Crew will expand to include the rest of the vehicles in the list and will grow into a finished title.

While we wait for Early Access to begin in July, check out the following video showing off the KV-1s tank. Read the rest on the 1CGS Developer Diary.

A question for readers

Tank Crew – Clash at Prokhorovka takes 1CGS previous flight simulator efforts and firmly plants an armored tank simulator in the middle of it. The expanded scope of the series and the combined arms elements have me very excited but I want to put a couple of questions out to readers on this title.

If you’re a big fan of the IL-2 series so far or of flight simulators in general, how excited are you about a tank simulator? Would you be interested in participating in the ground battle? I find myself a little torn as I want to support 1CGS’ efforts but I’m much less of a tank driver. Maybe I will change my mind over time.

I also want to ask you about coverage here on the blog. Stormbirds is very focused on flight simulators and combat flight simulators in particular. How often do you want to hear from me on something like Tank Crew? In the past, I have for example, focused on covering War Thunder’s aviation aspect but I largely ignore their tank and sea battles. Tank Crew more closely integrates with the core IL-2 experience so it may have some more relevance to flight sim pilots than the average armored game. I’m curious to know your thoughts on this.

 

 

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16 Comments Add yours

  1. Custard says:

    I think I’ll wait and see on tank crew, I think it’s very up in the air as to if it will flop or do well.

    Regardless the improvements to tank AI sound extremely promising, I was worried we wouldn’t see anything like that – hopefully they will have a degree of intelligence and not just blindly follow waypoints like DCS/BoX currently.

    Though there has been no mention of any such system, I do hope that 777 have their eye on a more replayable single player experience. The ‘tank commander’ role sounds like it would mesh extremely well with a ‘steel armour: blaze of war’ style mini dynamic campaign, where the player commands a tank unit over a number of days.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. William T Taylor says:

    I personally have found a strong love of tank sims recently nowhere near the 22 years of flight siming i have done but i am definitely going to purchase this. Besides the fact that I am interested in this sim i think that following tank crew is important because in the wide scope it will have and the effect on the air aspect of IL-2 and depending on the community of tank simmers the impact may be larger than expected. plus I have a strong feeling that by the end Tank crew will be in online maps like today’s coconut server and the tanks may have a significant impact there especially if player community tank units are formed. a tank company online will have a massive effect on the map.

    This is just my opinion long live IL2, Coconut Server, And Tank Crew… cant wait for more on flying circus as well

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Joshua says:

    I will gladly fly over the battlefield of Prokhorovka and drop bombs and rockets on the heads of the mudsuckers. When I think of Tank Crew it is the combined arms aspect and its potential that most excites me, and is why I would like to see this game succeed. I wonder if Tank Crew will give a boost to the development of a sort of forward air controller (I think 1CGS were calling it an Air Marshall role).
    I expect that I will at some point I will try my hand at driving around in a tank, but, I don’t really see myself spending a lot of time on the ground. That opinion may change, however. I am certainly willing to giving the role of tank commander a try.
    Like Custard said, I think it is very much uncertain right now if this game will find its audience, and by audience I mean those for whom tank sims are their bread and butter and not just a sort of side-show. Tanks sims seem to be as much, if not far more, of a niche than flight sims.
    As for how much you should cover it. I think you should cover any important developments in the game, whether you wish to post articles on the history of the vehicles or AAR of playing the game I think should depend on how much you are interested in playing the game and reading about WW2 armor. In the end it’s your blog. At the moment my excitement for the title is not as high as for Battle of Bodenplatte, but, it is slowly growing.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Francesco Kasta says:

    This is a title I am really looking forward to… can’t wait to get my hands on that Panther !!!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. TJR says:

    The only reason I play War Thunder, is there is no current generation WW II tank sim. The frustration of trying to live out the Wehraboo fantasies against guided missiles and centurions as a Tiger or Panther Crew commander is real. I think the key to this game, as it is quite a niche, will be getting the word out that it exists. Once this comes out, my only concern would be multi player match making, as who wants to play as a T34-42/ KV-1 76 against Tigers and Panthers, unless somehow they mesh the lack of relability/mechanical fragility of these tanks into the game play.

    Shamrock as Josh and Custard say, its your blog, but I wont complain if you keep updating on this title!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Rainer Diabl says:

    First of all, thank you for covering this game on your flight sim blog. I love tanks and this game very much reminds me of T34 vs Tiger, a game that got released many years ago. It also targeted a simulation sort of audience. While WarThunder is a great game in theory, the match making sucks (as TJR already mentioned). So my hopes are that this game will actually feel quite realistic, but still offers a lot of fun.

    I hope you will continue to cover this game as I’m quite excited for it 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Francesco Kasta says:

      “T-34 Vs Tiger” was great and so was “Steel Fury Kharkov 1942.”
      2008 was indeed a wonderful year for WWII tank simulators!

      “Tank Crew” shall put an end to this 10 year drought.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. Stephen L Parker says:

    It’s perhaps like the aircraft/car model making divide when you were a kid. The other’s interesting but not a passion. Two comments. First, I’m mildly interested in tank Crew but mostly in how it’ll integrate with our IL2 air game but I’m super-interested in Flying Circus. I never played Rise of Flight because I need VR or I don’t find it realistic enough. I flew military. Give me an early access SPAD to fly on the Kuban map and I’ll be happy as a kitten.

    Second, why the KV-1 and Tiger? Why not the Mk. IV? The Existing T-34 and KV-1 76mm gun cannot penetrate the Tiger armor whilst the 88mm can penetrate theirs. What’s the fun in that? Given the few Tigers available at Kursk, why not give the Soviets an Su-152? Both Tiger and Su-152 can kill each other while the KV-1 cannot. Since the few Su-152’s were important in knocking out both Tigers and Elephants at Kursk I’d release the pair together. I understand releasing Rata and Bf-109F together in 1941 but in July 1943 don’t release a 1943 German tank and a 1940 Soviet tank.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ShamrockOneFive says:

      I don’t know as much about tanks as I do aircraft but a cursory look at tanks says that the KV-1S is very much a 1942-1943 tank with production ending after 1,300 examples being produced in August of 1943.

      I don’t know how well it matches up against the German opposition but I’m guessing its considered “reasonably” close.

      Learning about the tanks is going to take me a lot more legwork than it does with the aircraft. I’ve been studying aircraft since I could read but tanks have always taken a back seat.

      Like

    2. TJR says:

      Bang on Stephen! I grew up doing both planes and tanks, liked the tanks better because there were no canopies to paint, or fog up with model glue. Shamrock, I would recommend reading Otto Carisus’ Bio “Tigers in the mud” to see the dominance a single well lead Tiger troop and the fearful toll they had on Soviet forces. I will say that Otto does look to defend the motivation of the average Wehrmacht soldiers at some points, and some might find it offensive, or to not quite ring true IMO.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Blue 5 says:

    Think I will buy almost anything they make – I love this series. I have read as lot on EF tank warfare (Robert Forzyk is good on this) and thouguh I disagree with some of the sales pitch from Han on the fourm (it was nowhere near the ‘biggest’ clash of the war) it is an exciting theatre for A2G and we have all the correct a/c for it.

    Question for everyone: if Early Access is July and it is June, can we buy it yet?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ShamrockOneFive says:

      We can’t but it yet but that should come in July!

      Like

  9. Blue 5 says:

    @TJR – I threw away my copy of Carius in disgust…

    Like

  10. Miguel says:

    Thanks very much for covering Tank Crew – as well as your outstanding covering of both IL-2 BOx and DCS.

    I’d advise that you keep writing about you what you feel interested in. So far, so good 🙂

    Like

  11. Michael Dwyer says:

    Well to tell the truth one of the reasons I bought IL-2 BoS was that it had tanks, and I was hoping they would expand on that. It just took them a lot longer than I was hoping. Sadly I am now hooked on flight sims and was planning to buy one of the DCS modules while they are on sale.

    I think it will take server admins like Coconut to provide a balance to the high quality German tanks vs the more numerous T-34’s and KV-1s.

    One note on the KV-1, the S stands for Skorost, or Fast. It is a lightened version of the KV-1, lacking some of the heavy armor. It was an attempt to allow the KV’s to keep up with the T-34’s, which it failed at and lacking the heavy armor, also failed to provide the protection of the fully armored version. Not that the KV was safe form the guns of the Tiger or Panther.

    I don’t expect the developers to model the unreliability of the Panthers, after all we don’t have that sort of modeling of early Soviet aircraft.

    I will probably buy it in August. I hope you will cover it, but as others have said it’s your blog, and I won’t complain if you don’t follow it, but lets face it, that video was great.

    Like

  12. 79vRAF says:

    Anything that adds to the immersion and playability of IL2 Great Battles is a bonus. I’m sure I’ll enjoy driving around in a tank at times. I just hope they do it better than DCS Combined Arms and it works in VR (Seeing as IL2 has VR support already I am sure they will).

    Like

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