IL-2: Great Battles 2018 year in review

Another year is nearly over and what a year it was for the IL-2: Great Battles Series. Let’s have a look back at 2018 and appreciate what kind of year it has been for fans of the IL-2 series.

A slow start and then… a bang!

January and February were slow in the news department for IL-2 as 1CGS pushed forward through the last of their development cycles on IL-2: Battle of Kuban. With players sticking at patch 2.012 for several months in a row, it often felt like we had ground to a halt while the developers worked hard on some core gameplay features – ones that needed to be released all at once.

IL-2: Battle of Kuban was officially launched in March with the release of patch 3.001. This was a game changer for the IL-2 series introducing some fundamental changes to the series:

  • Revised environment graphics and a 4X increase in draw distance dramatically changed the look of the series, particularly at higher altitudes
  • New Career mode single player generated mission system put players into a historical squadron flying realistic, yet randomly generated, missions for all three released titles in the series
  • New Co-op mode for new multiplayer experiences

Of course, Battle of Kuban also introduced the final 3 aircraft from the IL-2: Battle of Kuban aircraft line-up: the Yak-7B, P-39L-1, and A-20B. Joining those were two new Collector Planes that also released in 3.001… the La-5FN and Bf109G-6. Collectively these added a huge amount of content to the series above and beyond what was already available and it made a heck of a splash and absolutely shattered the status quo.

Beginning of Bodenplatte

The future of the IL-2 series was set in motion in May when 1CGS released the first two aircraft for IL-2: Battle of Bodneplatte. The Spitfire LF.IXe and the Bf109G-14 were the first two aircraft for Bodenplatte and they represented a start of new Western Front themed content.

While the Bf109G-14 was a fairly well known quantity in terms of its features, the Spitfire was the first to introduce a new type of feature: a gyro gunsight system – one that has since been introduced on the P-47D-28 and will surely become available on other types that had it such as the P-51D Mustang.

These two aircraft were just the start but they made a great impression right from the beginning.

Another major milestone

With the July patch, 1CGS hit another milestone for the year with the launch for both Tank Crew – Clash at Prohorovka and Flying Circus Vol 1. The 3.005 patch introduced us to the KV-1s and the Tiger I for Tank Crew and to the SPAD XIII and Fokker Dr.I for Flying Circus.

The introduction of these aircraft and tanks to the series were another big change for the IL-2: Great Battles Series being the first time that the series had included the air battles of the two world wars and included a detailed tank simulation inside a flight simulation.

3.005 also brought with it the FW190A-8 which was, I think, an initially overlooked aircraft but came with some smart extras from 1CGS. The FW190A-8 has options that turn it into the related FW190F-8 and FW190G-8 fighter bomber variants of the FW190, each with their own features, and a unique addition in the ability to carry the massive SC1000 bomb.

More changes and more content

Under the hood, the IL-2 series evolved through the year with changes to the AI improving performance and helping to ensure that they crash into hillsides less and strafe targets better. It’s not solved but there is a continued evolution.

There’s also been some more recent changes at the end of the year focused on multiplayer performance aiming to improve the online experience with less lag, fewer weird moments, and better performance overall.

One of the biggest changes to the series this year under the hood has also been to the damage model. IL-2 already had the best damage model in the combat flight simulator world and the update further refined some of its features. Revised structural strength and a greater variety of ways for aircraft to go plummeting towards the ground have expanded how each aerial battle goes. No doubt, this isn’t the last time 1CGS will make tweaks to this area of the simulation either.

Vehicles have also been given a slight damage model change with more component parts such as engines, wheels, and tracks being damageable components. A near bomb hit now will knock the track off a tank. and a heavy machine gun round will stop a car dead on the road.

First of the legendary trio of American fighters

Another big addition to content this year was the addition of the P-47D-28. The Thunderbolt was a highly successful high altitude interceptor and low altitude ground attack fighter-bomber. Oversized and overpowered compared to most of its contemporaries, the P-47 brings with it eight .50cal machine guns, rockets, bombs, and the K-14 gyro stabilized gunsight.

The Thunderbolt is also one of the three American fighters that formed the core of USAAF fighter operations in all theatres that it fought in alongside the P-51 Mustang and P-38 Lightning. All three were used in large numbers, shot down large numbers of enemy aircraft, and left an indelible mark on history. For the first time in many years we’re able to fly a beautifully detailed P-47 with a top notch cockpit.

New single player and mod content

There are just too many new mods being made to list but this year was also the start of official support for a sandboxed mod mode for players interested in trying out and making changes to some of how the IL-2 series works. A summer Moscow map, Zoom for VR, and a pilot in the cockpit mod are just some of what the community has been up to this year.

This has also been a great year for single player content with the release of three new premium Scripted Campaigns (one shipping with IL-2: Battle of Kuban) and free ones like “Fire and Ice” for the Bf110E-2, “Taman Bridgehead” for the Bf109G-4/G-6 (which saw a major upgrade this year), and the Platzschutzstaffel Pitomnik Campaign for the Bf109G-2 (I think it’s the G-2) are just a few of the examples of campaigns coming out this year.

Two new premium campaigns have just been released including Black Six’s Fortress on the Volga and Gambit21’s Havoc over the Kuban.

Here comes the U-2VS!

The first third party aircraft has come to IL-2: Great Battles as well with the U-2VS – an aircraft barely out of the World War I era that found a role for itself in World War II and in the skies of Korea in the 1950s.

Making a surprise appearance in patch 3.009 coming in December, the U-2VS (or Po-2) is as close to a general aviation aircraft as you’ll see in the IL-2 series. Fit the right modifications, however, and the U-2 turns into a combat aircraft that saw action flying night raids, performing artillery spotting and providing medivac services.

The U-2 is a fun aircraft with a lot of future potential.

A milestone year for IL-2

The release of Battle of Kuban and the introduction of three all new directions for the IL-2 series has setup a series of milestones for the the IL-2: Great Battles Series under the almost herculean efforts by 1C Game Studios and Lead Producer Jason Williams. Major strides have been made for the series expanding the scale and scope of the experience and turning weaknesses into strengths.

The series continues to evolve adding tanks, WWI aircraft, WWII aircraft from the Western Front, and adding new maps, Collector Planes and no doubt many more surprises. 2018 has been a great year for the series and I think 2019 is going to be another big one too.

How about you? What stands out for the IL-2 series this year for you? Let me know in the comments!

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13 Comments Add yours

  1. Nil says:

    Everything stands out! They are working so hard with passion to deliver the best for us. As a transport pilot, the U2 stands out, although no logistic modifications (never call it unlocks lol). This is so amazing to release such aircraft in a WW2 sim. They are a fantastic team, and they even improved communication with the community. In the U2 fan club topic, they even took the time to explain why the U2 can not take off on a fiel (this is the first time!). I hope for the Li2 now to complete my beloved Junkers 52. Thank you Shamrock to cover all this! I love read your blog!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Stephen L Parker says:

    The Kuban map added sea and mountain terrain we’d lacked and “Star Wars” canyons to fly up on raids. Kuban’s terrain, a/c (including the FN collector) campaign system and general improvements were, as you said, upended the status quo. I’m excited to see where the system will go after Bodenplatte. Since the compressibility problems of high-speed flight have been addressed for the P-47 and other BoBp a/c they might choose Korea, but I’d rather have the Battles of France and Norway.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ShamrockOneFive says:

      Definitely right about the Kuban map itself being a bit of a game changer too. We’ve had it now since August 2017 but I’m still impressed with it even now. What a wonderful map and an absolutely challenging one to top for Bodenplatte, Flying Circus and Tank Crew.

      I’ll be writing a future predictions type of post soon. I think Korea has a chance at being sometime in the next few years. France has potential, Norway 1940 had limited air combat, Murmansk and the far north has a bit more if that’s what you were thinking. Much more likely are Midway and Okinawa…but we’ll see! In the short term, some absolutely amazing content is coming our way!

      Like

  3. oboe says:

    It all looks fantastic, but above all, I’m most excited to see the P-38 in Bodenplatte.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ShamrockOneFive says:

      Extremely excited about the P-38 too. It’ll be a great aircraft to add to the series and I’m really looking forward to seeing 1CGS take on this iconic aircraft.

      Like

  4. blackhellhound1 says:

    The best thing was by far DD 197 where they show off the new flare pistols for FC 😛
    Hmm… Oke, maybe not. For me, the most memorable is, of course, my skins being implemented into IL-2 GB. I never expected anything like this when I started skinning. With the success of my headtracking guide a close second.
    I know, bit ego but hey! Who wouldn’t be 😛
    IL-2 GB has made a lot of great leaps and bounds this year. There is just so much that has been added and improved. I am really looking forward to the remaining content of BoBp. 2018 was a great year for IL-2 GB and I hope 2019 will be even better!

    Like

    1. ShamrockOneFive says:

      Your skin contributions are incredibly well appreciated by this IL-2 pilot. Keep up the great work!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Stephen L Parker says:

    Everyone wants to see Pacific theater. As Jason said, the specific aircraft data isn’t there for Japanese aircraft. One part was the metallurgy involved. Japanese aircraft aluminum alloys deteriorated faster than those of other major powers even without the harsh climactic conditions of the Pacific Theater. Thus there weren’t many around after the war as even those in hangers would deteriorate as the aluminum aged and became brittle.

    There have been flying, measurable German, Soviet, British, and American aircraft but few to no examples of flying Japanese aircraft after the immediate postwar period when they were used in Asia. Given the high fidelity flight model of the IL2 program today we may never have sufficient data for a Pacific War module.

    Like

    1. ShamrockOneFive says:

      I’m still holding out hope that 1CGS can pull a rabbit out of their hat and give us a couple of Pacific themed titles before they head to easier to research pastures.

      Like

  6. Novice-Flyer says:

    I thought 2018 was an okay year for IL-2. Definitely better than 2017, but not as good compared to 2016. The high,ights for me were BoK, Bodenplatte, update 3.006. I am very excited for what 2019 will bring us.
    1. Team Fusion 5.0 (Tobruk) release for Cliffs of Dover
    2. Bodenplatte map
    3. Li-2/C-47
    4. IL-2 1946 Patch 4.14
    5. Tank Crew.
    I feel that 2019 will be the greatest year in IL-2 history.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Pencon says:

    Hopefully the Mustang and FW190 D9 are out next .

    Like

  8. milopugdog says:

    Really puts into perspective how far the game has come in such a short amount of time.

    Sometimes I’ll sit in the QMB plane selection screen amazed at how many airplanes I can choose compared to when it was only BoS.

    Like

  9. Jota Fernandes says:

    Good text, there were really a lot of new things in 2018. I’m only for WWII planes, but I think the IL-2 variety is going to be positive and attract a lot of people

    Liked by 1 person

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