IL-2 developers detail new pilot physiology feature

1CGS developer AnPetrovich provided updates on the latest on the IL-2: Great Battles Series and there’s so much content to cover that I decided to break it into a couple of pieces. Petrovich’s work on the IL-2 flight model has now carried over into some extensive research and implementation of a new feature for the series: pilot physiology. He explains it in a lot of detail so let’s dig into some of the highlights.

Changing the way you fly

Our virtual sim pilots, up to know, are able to tolerate a lot of things that real humans cannot. Excessive and repeated exposure to G-forces can render humans unconscious in mere moments – especially without proper training and in modern times a G-suit.

From what Petrovich describes, the team has done some extensive leg work and research into studies on G forces and their effects on the human body to develop a model that can be used in the simulation. An average baseline combat pilot with some experience will serve as the model for this update to the IL-2 simulation. There’s some impressive stuff going on behind the scenes here that are described completely but I wanted to highlight just a few key pieces:

… every pilot’s maneuver performed with a large g-load is no longer in vain, and the more actively a pilot maneuvers, the worse he and his crew will suffer further g-loads. If the pilot is already pretty worn out by maneuvering combat, be aware that a new opponent who entered the battle will have a significant advantage, and maybe you should get out of the dogfight and catch your breath. This may take you a few minutes.

AnPetrovich on the IL-2 forums

This will have a big effect on how people fly in tense dogfight situations. Not only will tactics and positioning determine the fight but so will balancing the amount of G-forces that you subject your virtual pilot to.

Visual impacts too

These changes will have a big visual impact too.

Another important part of this work is the reconfiguration of the visual effects of visual impairment. We brought it into a full compliance with the sequence described in the scientific literature. First, under the influence of positive g-load, a pilot begins to lose color perception (a so-called “grayout”). Then his peripheral vision field (or a “tunnel vision”) narrows, until it becomes completely dark in the eyes (a so-called “blackout”). The visual impairment is also accompanied by hearing loss. On a negative g-load, the effect of “tunnel vision” and loss of color perception do not happen, because, unlike a positive overload, there is no oxygen starvation of the optic nerve. But on the other hand, the pilot feels a rush of blood to his head, which is expressed in the appearance of a noticeable red tint of vision (a so-called “redout”), and the sharpness of vision also deteriorates.

AnPetrovich on the IL-2 forums

All of this is an area that IL-2 has not really done well in this third generation of the sim. The first gen did it better and so this is bringing in what I would call a “next gen” iteration of the modeling for pilot fatigue.

Petrovich also describes what a G-suit can do improve the pilots resistance increasing physical tolerance by 1.5-2.0G. Apparently a negative G-load is not affected.

Options and final thoughts

I usually advocate for options and 1CGS has chosen to make this an optional feature with a simplified model for the pilot, similar to what is present now, on offer. Here’s what Petrovich said.

Preparing for the release of a new physiology model, we understand that for some players it incomprehensible and not obvious at first. Therefore, we left you the opportunity to choose a simplified physiology model in the realism settings, which will work quite similar to the current model, and will not take into account the pilot’s fatigue, the hemodynamics of his cardiovascular system, or limit the pilot’s endurance according to the duration of g-loads or the pace of their creation. Also, in a simplified model your crew will not be able to lose consciousness. At the same time, this simple model will use the new reconfigured effects of visual and hearing disorders, and the magnitude of the g-load at which these disorders occur will be brought into line with the updated data from the new model.

AnPetrovich on the IL-2 forums

So, if you want the simplified model you can pick it out in the realism settings screen and multiplayer servers will have the opportunity to decide on the level of realism offered. This is a very good move as it opens to the door to custom options.

In multiplayer I can see a server like Berloga possibly keeping the simplified model to promote intense dogfights that the server specializes in. Meanwhile, a server like Tactical Air War will go for the intense realism route.

With the new features enabled, we’re going to see some very different dogfights where continual high-G turns are going to wear the pilot out and more gentle tactics may come to the fore. It’ll be very situational and I’m curious to see what the new “meta” will be in multiplayer with this feature.

3 Comments Add yours

  1. bigalrico says:

    I am still speechless about this planned implementation. I think it’s fair to say that Il-2 will get one of the best pilot models of our time. These factors are likely to have a profound effect on the feel of the game. Moreover, they are also working on subjecting the AI to the same conditions, so that it has no advantage there, which hopefully will be successful and with future AI updates should certainly also improve this game feeling.
    I have high hopes that servers like Combat Box and Knights of the Air will include these new features.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Moelders109 says:

    I guess it would be very hard to implement, but I think it would be great if they could not only factor in G-Suit affect, but also the fact that the Bf 109 and (AFAIK) FW 190 had the pilots in a very reclined position for flying which apparently had much the same effect as wearing a G-Suit (though I have no idea how close or how much exactly it helped).
    My guess is they won’t implement this, and that it may lead to yet more salt on the forums, but will see!


    1. ShamrockOneFive says:

      That’s a great suggestion and point. I don’t know but I think, knowing the team, that they may have infact modeled this. It’s a good question to try and get an answer on.

      Liked by 1 person

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