This weeks developer diary mentioned the P-51D and its rear fuel tank issues – namely, a nasty centre of gravity change that makes the P-51D quite a handful when full and a beautifully performing airplane wen empty. That has spawned a whole bunch of discussions on the forum with some notable and key responses from Petrovich and from Jason Williams too.
Updated fuel system
Long on the list has been an update to the fuel system. Currently there is no real management of fuel tanks and the fuel system but that is set to change with a future update. Petrovich reports that it will come later this year:
We have a plan to improve the fuel system for this year.AnPetrovich on the IL-2 forums
That’s not a huge shock but it is a nice confirmation. Next, we get to talk about the scale and scope of that system.
However I must say – please, don’t expect from us a high-detailed level of fuel systems for all airplanes, like a “professional simulator of cockpit procedures”. We are going to develop just some really important features, that could increase the interest in the gameplay, nothing more.
AnPetrovich on the IL-2 forums
Jason also jumped into the conversation and has helped to refine some expectations:
Petrovich is just setting expectations as players dream sometimes of super complex things we may or may not do. We want to have a more complex fuel system that includes drop tanks etc. but it’s not what we are actively building at the moment. Petrovich just wanted you to know that we will have a more complex fuel system that will be realistic, but fit within our design philosophy. Let’s see how that development goes before we promise too much or comment further to not confuse anyone. We’ll speak more about it later in the year.Jason Williams on the IL-2 forums
I find myself seeing a strong sense of balance here with IL-2 choosing not to go down to the same level of detail as DCS, for example, yet still offering a detailed experience. This seems very much consistent with what the series has offered in nearly all respects and it’s good to see the series focus on maintaining that fine balance between ultra-realism and unapproachable complexity – that niche in the middle is what has made IL-2 a success since 2001 as far as I’m concerned.
Confirmation on the P-51’s fuel management
Going back to my original point in the opener, the P-51D in particular has a very specific fuel tank management requirement. Don’t empty that rear tank first and you have an aircraft that will behave poorly but follow the proper procedure and it should handle extremely well.
In case of P-51 – 100% of fuel – wing tanks and fuselage tank are full. ~68% of fuel – fuselage tank is empty, wing tanks are full.Gavrick on the IL-2 forums
Good news! The Mustang may also be providing the impetus for the work on this kind of detailing but it will no doubt filter through the rest of the series too.
Though we may yet be waiting a bit for the P-51D (its still expected in June at this point), it seems the wait will be hopefully worthwhile with the team not only tackling this iconic American fighter but also working on some key features that surround it – in this case, which fuel tank to empty first. It’s a small thing that makes a big difference.