It’s always nice to come home and find out that one of your favourite sims has seen a nice juicy update. IL-2 Sturmovik: Great Battles Series has just received update 4.604 which brings with it some new content. The SPAD VII.C1 180 HP variant, the Browning M2 .50cal has seen some updates, there are several new graphical effects for aircraft and tanks, and a few new objects are here for Battle of Normandy too. Here are some highlights.
This patch brings with it plenty of new things for people to check out. First, Flying Circus Vol 2’s aircraft set grows with the 180 horsepower variant of the SPAD VII.C1. My research on the aircraft previously suggest that the improvement in power puts this aircraft not too far behind the excellent SPAD XIII and so this one should be quite the performer.
The Browning M2 .50cal has seen some notable changes. Armor piercing bullets have seen their mass and velocity increased to better match real world data. New, more historically accurate, bullet dispersion values have been introduced for this weapon as well as the M2 .30cal, .303, Hispano Mark II, Hispano Mark V, Vickers Class S and M4 cannon. We’ll see what those tweaks ultimately do for the highly controversial .50cal as well as these other weapons. German and Soviet weapons have also seen some smaller tweaks to dispersion and overheat models.
Another big change are tweaks to the damage model. Especially when it comes to collisions with terrain which will cause more damage generally. Flying Circus aircraft, another area of contention recently, have been updated too with the patch notes mentioning that excessive control wiring damage has been corrected. Damaged control wires, will no longer jam in position but dangle in the airstream instead.
Pilot physiology has seen some big tweaks too. I’ll let the patch notes for this speak for themselves:
The accumulation of pilot fatigue from overload during long maneuvers has been reduced. This will allow for somewhat longer aerobatics and combat maneuvering. There is inadequate information on the fatigue accumulation under the influence of prolonged small overloads in the publicly available scientific articles, the rare data is very contradictory and therefore the model in this part was adjusted based on the collected opinion of surveyed pilots. Throughout the year we received feedback from experienced pilots and it became generally clear that fatigue was somewhat overestimated. This was corrected.
There are also new explosion effects for aircraft when they crash into the ground, new graphical effects for tracer based on speed and projectile size, AP damage effects have been altered, and there are new flame effects for tanks among a dozen or so other visual updates.
If you want to know everything, read the full patch notes here.
This has been a fairly big update for the IL-2 Great Battles series. I haven’t had chance to fully test what’s been changed so I can’t say yet what it will do for the sim but I am hopeful that it will be beneficial for two hot button items. Especially when it comes to the .50cal damage effects as well as the reduction in sudden control loss in Flying Circus aircraft. Those two issues prompted many heated debates, discussions, and so forth.
Although I suspect that there will be more debates on the subject (they tend never to end in my experience), I do feel that these updates continue to show that the series does continue to move forward. Even if not at the pace that everyone would like.
5 Comments Add yours
I feel like the whole .50 cals are worthless argument to be a bit overstated in my opinion. Most of the argument came down to .50s don’t cause enough loss of speed when doing damage to an airframe. But I don’t think that armor piercing bullets should be causing huge airframe deformations, like an explosive cannon shell would.
I’ve never really experienced any problems with bringing down an enemy with .50s. The biggest problem is that there isn’t always a great sign that you’ve killed a target, they just kinda start to spiral in, instead of having huge pieces fly off of them.
Granted, I fly mostly single player, with some multiplayer PVE thrown in, and rarely get involved in the PVP multiplayer scene. But even the rare times I do fly PVP, I never had a problem shooting down, or getting shot down with .50s.
I definitely welcome corrections to make them more accurate, and I wish we had armor piercing incendiary ammo, but overall the debate just felt like more of what the flight sim community always does, which is quibble over details.
LikeLiked by 3 people
Well said Robert. I’ve struggled writing about this issue a fair bit. On the one hand I always want to see a sim strive for accuracy and for issues to be identified and resolved. Obviously there were issues (and probably still are) with the .50cal’s representation.
On the other side, as you say, there’s been a bit of a hyperbolic streak where we’ve seen a few suggest that they are worthless. I don’t think that’s the case at all before and I’m curious to see what they are like now.
I recently came away with three air-to-air kills in a P-51D plus a bunch of ground strafing and I only ran out of ammo while chewing up the last 109 that bounced us. That was before. If they are more effective now I’m not sure if those numbers would be any different.
I guess we’ll see what the reaction is.
LikeLiked by 2 people
Completely agree with yourself and Robert. There might have been small mass issues with the .5s but I maintain that it is as much misunderstanding among players as to what they do as much as poor implementation. The one caveat is the lack of API which is needed.
If you have 30 mins to sit down and watch some of the gun-camera footage you will see very few examples of major visual damage. Against German aircraft about 90% of the time the aircraft is riddled, belches smoke, loses small pieces / control surfaces, perhaps the undercarriage flops out and some small fires start (API caused?). Very rarely do .5s result in major structural damage. Possibly afterward something detached as the target started to spin, but frankly most destroyed aircraft come down in more or less one piece. This is supported by pilot accounts on both sides.
Against Japanese aircraft, the most frequent difference is larger fires but even so very rarely do you see large pieces detach.
So improvements to the .5s is great but they are already excellent weapons if understood as an HMG not a plasma cannon.
LikeLiked by 2 people
It isn’t just about .50s, but also overall damage model issues still present in the game. Yes, API is sorely needed and frankly almost hard to understand why it is missing in a late war plane set for Allied birds. Picture the same correct armament missing from the Luftwaffe side i.e. no M-Geschoss rounds (spelling?). The reason why .50s were effective up till Korea was mostly due to API.
German 20mm is currently vastly overperforming with blast radius of around 10m, which makes possible to hit left wing tip and blow a hole on the right wing tip on your typical fighter size A/C. That coupled with nasty lift penalties with just a couple of hits to the airframe. While I am no expert on this, some people are even reporting non historical ammo belting on certain Axis fighters.
But by far the worst offender is MG131. Just one hit in the tail section of a plane will trigger the scripted severe pitching up and down which is very hard to control as it is completely random. Some of this is hard to notice in SP, as AI has the ability to control damaged planes much better than a human pilot can. In spite of the fact they are using the same FM (unlike in DCS).
There are videos available on how big holes AP rounds such as .50s should do upon exiting the airframe. Lift and drag penalty due to .50 hits should be IMHO increased as well. The current DM is still heavily shafted in favor of the HE belting. No one of the complaining bunch wants to suddenly transform .50s into “mini 20mm” guns. Simple historical accuracy and how effective they were. Nothing more, nothing less than that.
Last but not least, but to all of this – 30mm armaments are actually underperforming.
Pilot G-force modeling adjustments will probably have a much bigger impact on overall balance as Spitfire pilots won’t blackout after 2 turns, and high speed turning is again possible.
This patch is a huge step in the right direction, but we’re not there yet.
This update may actually get me to try IL-2 again. The game seemed balanced to support Luftwaffe hit-with-a-cannon-and-run tactics rather than the knife fights I enjoy. I once sat behind a Dora in a P-51 and used every bit of my ammo and didn’t bring him down, but getting one-shotted by diving Luftwaffe fighters was common. And not being able to fight for more than a turn and a half before my pilot called it a day and started daydreaming about playing golf meant that seeking close-in BFM fights was a losing game. So this update is encouraging.