SRS for IL-2 adds immersion, teamplay possibilities

SimpleRadio Standalone, it’s become a staple of DCS World multiplayer and for the last several weeks its been available to the IL-2: Great Battles multiplayer community. Although many are now using it, others have yet to check it out. What is SRS? How can it be used? How do you set it up? How are some of the servers using it? Let’s have a look!

Simple radio

SRS is a voice over IP (VOIP) solution that’s not unlike Discord or Teamspeak. The uniqueness of the software is not really what it does but how it integrates with the sim. Although DCS World still has the best implementation, where you click the radio in the cockpit and SRS functions in response, the IL-2 version still works great.

Similar to TeamSpeak channels and Discord rooms, SRS will put you in with a group of players except the terminology and the attempt at simulation takes it a step towards the authentic with rooms and channels being replaced by radio frequency.

The controls? A configurable push to talk button, a radio channel change button and an optional overlay are all that you need to get it to work. Microphone is optional too.

There are resources for getting started with SRS and downloading the software. Here’s what you need:

Communicating with your fellow pilots

Most IL-2 servers now have SRS setup and running and with it the door to greater team communication is now open. SRS is persistent with the multiplayer server and in a situation where most people are on SRS it becomes a boon to team coordination as squadrons, already using their own private Discord and TeamSpeak channels, can also be on SRS reporting their actions and coordinating with the overall team effort.

Most servers now indicate which radio channel is intended for which purpose. Many WWII fighters had a series of four or five pre-set radio channels with numbers or letters together with a pre-briefed usage for each indicating their use. CombatBox for example suggests general command and control for channel 1 and channel 2 for airfield operations with the remaining available channels (now numbering about 10) for groups to break off into and use.

Added immersion

More than just another voice over system, something like SRS is at least partly intended to add some immersion to the WWII pilot experience. With the pops and clicks of radio transmissions and the appropriate levels of voice modulation to the calls, it sounds more like being there in a WWII fighter than ever before.

One server has taken this an extra step as well. Combat Box now has event driven information messages broadcast on the appropriate channels telling players about what’s going on in the scenario. I tried it last night and was impressed. The accent and way of speaking was perfect and it does so much more for making the online scenarios feel alive – above and beyond any subtitled text appearing on the screen.

How do I use it?

First, if you have no microphone, you can still benefit from the added immersion if other players are using it and even more-so if you’re on a server like Combat Box that is using pre-recorded messages in addition to regular human communications.

If you do want to join in, it doesn’t hurt to use some basic radio terminology and brevity to get your messages out quickly. You’re not obligated to do things this way but there were reasons for using brief radio calls.

For air traffic control, the easiest thing to do is pull in a tiny bit of real world terminology and apply it to your experience. Although we often fly from grass strips and don’t have marked runway or taxiways, you can still let your fellow pilots know your intention. For example, if you were taking off from the Eindhoven airfield you might say,

Eindhoven traffic, Shamrock, flight of four P-47, taxiing to runway.

Once at the runway,

Eindhoven traffic, Shamrock, flight of four P-47, holding short runway

And then taking off,

Eindhoven traffic, Shamrock, flight of four P-47, taking runway now for departure to the north

The terminology might not be completely accurate to modern or WWII standards but the basics are there. Who you’re directing it to (everyone flying or on the ground near Eindhoven), who you are, how many of you there are, and what you’re doing.

Once you’re flying along you may want to do a check-in on the combat channel.

Shamrock, flight of four P-47, checking in on channel 2, flying from Eindhoven to attack target near Dortmund

Now everyone tuned appropriately knows that a flight of four P-47’s is attacking a target near Dortmund. If they are in the area and appropriate tuned they can now potentially help you either by attacking fighters in that area, flying ahead of that area disrupting fighters from even getting there, or by joining in on the attack. Sometimes you’ll hear nothing and that’s ok too.

You can easily use it for fighter combat too,

Shamrock, bandits spotted near Bonn at 8,000 feet, engaging

Or with hoped success,

Shamrock, two Bf109s shot down over Bonn, continuing CAP

Or that you’re heading home,

Shamrock, flight of two Spitfires, disengaging from CAP near Bonn and returning to base

Nobody needs to acknowledge any of these but now you’ve told your team what you’re doing. If your team begins to reciprocate you can start to build a picture of what’s going on. If another flight is having an intense fight somewhere, attack planes may want to go somewhere else. Or, continue on in if the battle appears to be going well.

Encouraging people to use it

The more people use SRS the more I think IL-2 multiplayer in objective based dogfight servers benefit. Again, even if you aren’t able to transmit, listening in is still a valuable and worthwhile exercise for you on the server and for the potential spontaneous teamwork that it can provide for.

Last night when I was on there were 10 players on the Allied command channel calling positions of bandits and reporting in on what was going on around the objective areas we were defending and attacking. That kind of teamplay can make for a fun experience, make it feel less like you’re chasing dots on a screen and makes it closer to being part of something bigger being on.

I think that’s intensely satisfying and I heartily encourage people to use the software, try it out at least, and let’s see where it takes us. I think it will only get better from here.

11 Comments Add yours

  1. Eggnog says:

    Thanks for pointing this out! I’ve been using SRS on Combat Box and it’s awesome, just wish more people were on there. Hopefully this post helps give SRS some attention.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. ciribob says:

    Would you mind putting a link to the SRS patreon?

    Great article and thanks again to Combat Box for the collaboration

    Bit cheeky but it’s a passion project so any support is much appreciated. Especially now I’m supporting both versions 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. ShamrockOneFive says:

      Hey Ciribob! Absolutely I’ve updated the post and I should have done that when I did the post in the first place.

      Keep up the great work!


      1. ciribob says:

        Thanks! Will do my best. Going to try to get it working in CLoD too 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

  3. 336th_Ripper says:

    Hey Shamrock, you may want to correct this statement “Shamrock, flight of four P-47, checking in on channel 2, flying from Eindhoven to attack target near Dortmund” Should be channel 1 🙂


    1. ShamrockOneFive says:

      It was accurate when I wrote it. And then they changed the channels ☺️

      Liked by 2 people

  4. 336th_Ripper says:

    It would be nice if the overlay can appear in fullscreen or a read back confirming which channel we are in. Alt/Tab to see the overlay is less than desirable while trying to fly and spot, but definitely more immersive than not having it at a all. Keep up the great work CIRIBOB


    1. ciribob says:

      The overlay can appear in full screen, just not exclusive full screen. Turn off the exclusive mode and it’ll work.

      You can also make it semi transparent

      You can alternatively, or as well, enable the text to speech feature, and have a keybind to read out the current status for the selected radio

      Liked by 2 people

  5. 336th_Ripper says:

    Thanks CIRIBOB, I discovered the text to speech after I posted, so thanks, that is a great option. When you say Exclusive Full Screen, I image you mean when we select Full Screen Mode in Il2 correct? I do not see an “Exclusive Full Screen” option. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ciribob says:

      Yes just untick full screen but set the resolution to full screen and that should work fine with no real performance impact

      Liked by 2 people

    2. ShamrockOneFive says:

      1CGS recommends running in windowed full screen most of the time anyways. That should solve this one unless you’re having a compatibility issue.

      Liked by 1 person

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