Welcome to part two of my interview with 1C Game Studio’s Jason Williams and Daneil Tuseev. In part one I talked about the series in 2019 and now I focus on some more detailed questions about a specific title: IL-2: Battle of Bodenplatte.
Announced in 2017, IL-2: Battle of Bodenplatte’s development picked up right after IL-2: Battle of Kuban launched with the first two aircraft for the title launching in the late spring of 2018. Since then, we’ve seen the Western Front themed title slowly add more aircraft to the roster. The Spitfire IXe, Bf109G-14, FW190A-8/F-8/G-8, and P-47D-28 are all now available with the FW190D-9, Me262, and P-51D next in the pipeline.
Another thing that we’re anxiously awaiting is the new western Europe map and that’s what I lead with for my next round of questions.
Part Two: IL-2: Battle of Bodenplatte
The new western Europe themed map is the largest that the team has put together. What kinds of challenges does that offer for development? What are the expectations with regards to performance versus the Kuban map?
Jason Williams: “Well, we expect performance to be about the same on average between the two maps, but Bodenplatte map will have some bigger towns and cities, so there may be lower performance near and over them. More objects, more polys, more textures more everything does have an effect, but we hope it won’t be too big a hit. We have made optimizations to the GUI that has opened up some more FPS and we have one or two more optimizations that could render more increases, but we don’t have time to do them yet.”
Daniel Tuseev: “The main challenge is much greater density of population on this map. This means more quantity of everything what is related to it – towns, roads, rivers. This fact has forced us to develop a new approach to map developing methods which will allow us to have greater amount of scenery without loss of quality and speed of development.”
Are there certain landmarks or famous areas that the team is hoping to model? (i.e. the rail bridge at Ludendorff) How does the team balance putting in those recognizable landmarks versus developer time spent building the map?
Jason: “I put my trust in the Map Development team. Evgeny I., Evgeny K. and Jury do a great job making our maps and choosing what we need to build and how it should look. Daniel, Viks and myself also do research to see what needs to be built. We also need to decide what our airfields will look like for this theater. If anyone has any info, drawings, pictures of the layout of the airfields in this theater let us know, we could probably use more.”
Daniel: “This balance is one of our “know-how”. Of course, there will be landmark objects, soon we will show you them in Dev Diary.”
What challenges did the team face when building high performance late-war piston and early jet aircraft?
Jason: “Mainly the physics at higher speeds and the jet engine’s inner workings. In this case I put my faith in Mr. Petrovich to make it happen. I’m an idiot when it comes to talking about advanced physics and engine technology. I know just enough to fool my friends and family, but not enough to speak in detail about different systems with my engineering team. Often, I say something to the engineering team and they shake their head at how dumb I sound. But as you can see, we’ve introduced a lot of the technology of late war combat planes like advanced gunsights and superchargers. This stuff eats up a lot of time and attention, but it’s made our engine even better. But once we build such technology, we have it forever and that’s a good thing.”
Daniel: “The main challenge was the “high-Mach” aerodynamic correction feature. It has taken several months to develop. A “bonus” from this feature is that now we have this effect not only for new planes, but for previously-developed planes too. Of course, the big challenge is the jet engine technology, it is already in development. But you can be sure that our Lead Engineer Andrew “Petrovich” Solomykin will bring you a great result – he has serious experience in his past of modelling the jets. And of course, much time is taken by developing the specific late-war systems and features of the combat airplanes, like gunsights, superchargers, new systems which were not presented in early-war period.”
How much work goes into modeling a specific engine type such as a radial engine with a turbo supercharger versus a jet engine?
Jason: “This is a bit of an unknown at this point for a comparison. All our current FMs take between 14-16 weeks to build from start to finish. No .ini files here. Lots of detailed research, calculations, measurements and algorithms. In our latest survey our FMs and “feeling of flight” was listed as huge draw for our product. We are clearly doing something right in that department. We’ll always have issues here and there and arguments about FMs will never end (which is a super annoying fact and some discussions get too nasty), but overall, we get high marks from our players and players who are real pilots. Not all pilots, but a many of them have told us our modeling is very strong. Our engine is always in development and the longer we stay in business the better it will get.”
Daniel: “This is a great question, but answer for it will be available only when we will finish Me-262 – statistics needed to answer it.”
Previously it was thought that the Me262 would arrive at the end of development, however, we’ve heard that it is coming in the first part of 2019. Was development on this aircraft easier than expected?
Jason: “We have had to change some timelines due to personnel illnesses or other unplanned events like hiring new people who need training which slows some stuff down or other planes getting done faster. Nothing really weird has happened and such changes are part of our normal cycle.”
Daniel: “Everything going by the plan, these changes are related to other tasks re-arrangement.”
What goes into deciding which specific version of an aircraft that you want to model? Have the specific production blocks of the P-51 and P-38 been decided?
Jason: “We try to make the variant that best fits the scenario, timeline or event or in some cases popularity. It’s a wide mix of things that determine the marks chosen or the planes themselves. I chose to make the Tempest instead of the Typhoon because it fits better with the high-performance late war planes of the timeline. I would love to do a Typhoon as well, but as part of an earlier plane-set. This damn Tempest saw me flying all over the place trying to get reference material. Was exhausting. I hope it turns out great. If we are successful it will be the most accurate and detailed simulation of a Tempest in any sim product ever. Fingers crossed Phil (the modeler) and the engineering team has enough data to make it fly great. I gave them a mountain of hard to find info to sort through.”
Daniel: “Yes, of course, because both planes are already in development. They will be P-38J-25, P-51D-15. Soon we will start to post some notes on them in Dev Diary.”
Are there new types of missions that pilots can expect to see in Bodenplatte’s career mode?
Jason: “Yep, that’s Viks department and one of his many jobs. We currently have 37 types and 11 more to add in. And we of course will invent more types as time goes on. Viks just recently added night missions to the Career for the U-2 so that is now an active mission type.”
Are there plans to build additional Collector Planes at the end of Bodenplatte’s development? Can you share any specific plans?
Jason: “I’ll just say that I’m exploring different options. I’m hoping we can spend some time after Bodenplatte to work on several things, not just more collector planes. I wish we could just pause for a while and focus on certain programming items and improving existing content, but the train has to keep rolling or we die, so I’ll have to find a way to do both. We have some ideas on what we can build next as far as collector planes go.”
Daniel: “It is too early to tell because we need to be closer to Bodenplatte release to develop our plans what to do next. But I can expect that yes it will be because there are numerous interesting planes to develop for this theater of war and period. “
On the multiplayer side, some players are concerned about competitive balance between jet fighters and some rarer engine mods for a couple of German aircraft. Is the team hoping to add additional modifications to some Allied types (i.e. engine boost options) to give them some added options as well? How difficult is it for the team to build these features into the sim?
Jason: “Adding more options takes valuable time, but I hope so. We know you want added boost and fuel options for certain aircraft. Battling the Me-262 is not the only reason they are requested of course. Maybe we’ll build the Meteor or P-80 just to give some jet on jet action. I’m sort of kidding, but anyone up for a Meteor, Shooting Star, Do-335, He-162 package?”
Daniel: “These features are hard to develop because it is means to have one more engine models and doubling of work of plane performance verification and fine tuning. But we always try to develop it for you because we know how it is important. For example, you may to look on Spitfire with its double engine settings.”
The B-25 Mitchell is coming to Bodenplatte as an AI aircraft. Are you still hoping to eventually make this a flyable type? Are there other bombers (A-20G, Mosquito, B-17, etc.) you’d like to see the series eventually tackle?
Jason: “Yep, that’s why I insisted we build it as AI first for BOBP. Couldn’t fit the cockpit into this budget. The interior is a huge project, but doable because I can get access to one or two real-life examples of the B-25. Quite a few of those still exist. A Mossie would be sweet and totally doable too. My biggest issue with American bombers is modelling the turret. Such a hard space to research and model. I believe the A-20G and B-25 has the same turret, but don’t remember for sure. If anyone has detailed info about American turrets like drawings, manuals, pictures etc. please send them to me. Proper references material 90% of the battle.
Daniel: “Yes, we hope one day to have it player-controlled. Due to this strategic objective we’re developing its external 3D model and physics model same as we do for all our player-controlled planes. So, after we will have release AI B-25 we only got to find occasion to develop interior for it. Of cause, its interior is a real complex thing, but we hope that one day we will find opportunity to create it.”
Part three coming soon
Thanks all again for reading through part two of my interview Q&A with Jason and Daniel. In part three I’ll be asking them about Flying Circus and Tank Crew and I hope to have that out in about a week’s time. I’ve also collected a few extra questions that I hope to be able to add into the final set of questions in part four. Stay tuned folks! More to come!