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!
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:
- Installation and Usage of SRS for IL-2 (Voice Comms App)
- Download SRS from GitHub
- Support SRS creator Ciribob on his Patreon
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.
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.