With the release of the Arras map and the full compliment of aircraft now available, Flying Circus is closing in on release and things are picking up for multiplayer. Last night I joined a few fellow pilots as we flew on the FC JG1 server. It was fun, joyful even, to take to the skies over the Arras map and engage in some WWI multiplayer in Flying Circus. Here’s a short recap.
Firsts and coincidences
Rise of Flight has a strong multiplayer community that has begun to come over to Flying Circus as the title has expanded to its full potential for Vol 1. Last night I hoped on IL-2 multiplayer with indie developer Jon Coughlin looking to fly some P-38’s but as fate would have it… technical issued delayed our flight and Combat Box filled up to 70 players. This is on a Thursday night (North American time)!
Next on the list was a surprising newcomer to the top of the multiplayer server list… FC JG1! With 24 players before we joined (and over 30 once we did) we decided it was time to join in on the fun. Jon had been considering buying Flying Circus and this nudged him over the edge to buy it.
Before we got started two more from the multiplayer group joined in. Not having bought FC1 either, both of them ended up joining us on our first sortie in the gunner seat of the Bristol F.2B biplane fighter.
Bombing raid, with gunners
Four players in two Bristol’s set out to cross no-mans-land and hit a truck convoy traveling near an industrial site. With Jon in the lead, I filled into the second position and we quickly transited over Arras and into no-mans-land.
A nearby dogfight forced us to divert slightly to the south and under some cloud cover.
Crossing into enemy territory we spotted the truck convoy. WWI biplanes need careful engine management in dives or they will overspeed so we throttled way back and spiraled down towards the target
Low altitude attack on the convoy was what we were aiming to do and that was a complete success. Jon’s perfectly timed bombs landed at all of the appropriate intervals taking out all four vehicle in the convoy.
A follow up strike with my aircraft helped finish things off. Mission accomplished! But there wasn’t too much time to celebrate as the enemy was onto us.
A Halberstadt CL.II had spotted us and was moving to engage. Jon’s aircraft took heavy damage with his gunner returning fire on the target. With the CL.II breaking away I took the initiative and raked the enemy aircraft with my 7.7mm Vickers machine gun.
The enemy aircraft crashed in some trees in the nearby town. Success!
You can watch a few short clips from the sequence in my latest Stormbird Blog quick takes.
Selling more copies
That sortie was enough to convince the other two in our party to buy Flying Circus. Suddenly we were a group flying a recon mission to the enemy HQ. After an uneventful first part of the flight we spotted an enemy convoy and a nearby dogfight.
Our loose formation turned to engage the convoy. First strafing runs took out the rear truck.
A follow up strike exploded the fuel tank of another truck thanks to a trio of machine guns mounted on the front and top of my F.2B.
Once again, we had attracted attention of the enemy but we were prepared and outnumbered the enemy 4:1. With a Dolphin, a Camel, and two F.2B’s we had the upper hand and the Albatross D.Va quickly came under combined fire.
This was a particularly tense moment with four aircraft all vying to support the shoot down of this enemy fighter while keeping an eye out for more.
It was perhaps not the most coordinated of fights but it looked pretty impressive. Once again, I was able to get guns on target and raked another enemy aircraft with machine gun fire. He was done for not long after that.
Our sortie ultimately ended when the flak on the enemy convoy finally caught up with us and we were shot down or escaped with damage. But the result was the same – a completely fun teamplay experience in WWI aircraft.
The Arras map, despite a few issues with the texturing over no-mans-land, really holds up in these scenarios with the dividing line between the two sides, the good looking textures, and the excellently detailed cities and towns that dot the landscape really providing a great battleground for Flying Circus.
Post flight comments
In the slightly bigger picture, at the beginning of the night only one of us owned Flying Circus. By the end of the night three more people had experienced it, flew in the gunner’s seat, and then subsequently bought it. That Flying Circus so seamlessly integrates into the IL-2: Great Battles experience made the whole process incredibly easy. Before long, all of us were flying biplanes and having a great time.
This multiplayer experience was almost pure fun and I’m glad we stumbled onto JG1’s server last night. I hope to do more flying there and hope to see more virtual pilots taking to the skies there on a regular basis. Fun objective gameplay and great fun appreciating a different era of aircraft.
Look forward to more!