I’d like to address a couple issues that have been causing much heartburn here in the community and inside the team. But first let me say that accusations and other untrue comments made by a few in the community that we either ignore or otherwise don’t address legitimate issues raised by our customers is 100% false and we have a 12-year history of solving issues you ask us to address. And as our history demonstrates, some we can do quickly with little fuss and some take weeks, months or in extreme cases years to research and address. IL-2 is a very complex piece of software and making everything perfect is very difficult under even the best conditions. Plus we are human and sometimes we make mistakes.
Due to the requirements of our development schedule (which is often written months or years in advance) it is difficult for us to “go backward” and address certain issues without severally hurting the current product dev cycle. We have business obligations that we have to meet that require us to balance building new features, content and technology with changing old ones. During the pandemic, this has become and even greater challenge than before and has created unforeseen delays in all areas of development. We are struggling to meet our current deadlines without additional distractions.
Now back to the issues I mentioned above.
Effectiveness and ballistics of US .50 cal. bullets of WWII planes.
Control surfaces “jamming” due to cables and rods being damaged of WWI planes.
Frequency of catastrophic wing failure of WWI planes due to damage.
General ammo and damage modeling concerns.
First, there has been a rather long-standing argument that our .50s are not performing as well as they should. I won’t go into the history of this topic as it is long and it is a tough subject to know the exact right answer too. However, in re-researching this issue, we have discovered something odd. Thanks to a well-researched report by community member Yak_Panther and other modders, we have found that certain parameters for our .50s somewhat out of spec. Hmmm…. we’re not exactly sure how this happened. We first built our .50s in 2015, but strange things can happen and our memories fail us on this as we often don’t remember all details of work done years ago. Regardless, Han and Viks have researched the issue anew outside of normal work hours and discovered we have a mismatch with the data that has been posted. So, Han has made adjustments to both the parameters of the bullet and dispersion of the bullets. Will the community like the result? These changes may make them more potent or possibly it won’t be noticeable. At least they are now set to proper parameters and entering testing.
Second, complaints about the behavior of control surface mechanisms that become damaged in Flying Circus aircraft have grown over time. A couple things have happened here that warrant more explanation. We agree that the “jamming” is happening too much and the proper behavior of a control surface becoming loose instead of jammed when cables are severed is also wrong. This was baffling to us, because there is no such problem with WWII birds and these complaints did not seem to appear early in FC’s life cycle.
Players have told us that this issue came about when we last revised our ammo and damage system in a previous update which largely dealt with how ammo and materials interact. So, we assumed this was the case based on community comments, so any fix for this could only be solved when we did another general revision of our damage modeling. The issue was put in the que to be included in that future work. However, this is actually not the case.
The issue has actually been there since FC1 was first developed! Although we basically ported over the FMs for FC from ROF (with a few tweaks), our engine has been improved for WWII birds to allow for “limp” control surfaces and less frequent jamming of them. The problem is, we failed to update the WWI aircraft to include this new feature or adhere to the new limits of jamming frequency. Oops… to put it mildly. But why was it not so obvious when FC1 was first released? Another mystery lost to time, complexity of the product and a fast pace of development. This week, after I explained that this issue is more widespread than originally thought, one of our engineers decided to look at this during his vacation of all things and he discovered the cause. The engineering team is now working to correct it. However, this entire issue will take several weeks to fix and test. The good news is this is an issue that can be corrected without having to wait for a general revision of our damage modeling.
Third, FC pilots often complain about the frequency of damaged wing failures of our WWI planes. This is another issue that is hard to know the totally correct answer to. Our math and the various designs of some WWI planes, says it should happen, but maybe we have something wrong and it happens too often? Play tests also seem to suggest it happens in MP more often than MP. We suspect it is more of a general issue that cannot be resolved with a quick fix, we also don’t know if this behavior is indeed truly wrong. Data on WWI planes is hard to find in general. It requires more research and time to look at. Its definitely in our list of things to work on.
Finally, there are general complaints about the effectiveness of certain ammo in the sim such as big caliber ammunition like 30mm or 37mm. Of course, we hear you, but we don’t know if the complaints are justified, but maybe they are. Maybe we got it wrong in our last revision and we need another one? If you remember, the previous damage revision was aimed at solving another huge issue that was controversial in that wings folded way too easily when damaged by smaller rounds. For those that want us to simply revert back to how it was before, you should know it’s impossible and will not put us on a path of real progress. What needs to happen, and what we will do, is examine the general damage modelling or all planes and all caliber of weapons and decide if changes should be made based on any additional data we have acquired or other research. I have scheduled this to happen after we finish the Fuel System and Drop Tank update. We did not anticipate Fuel Systems and Drop Tanks to take so long, but it is so far along that we need to finish it. It’s ridiculous that it’s taken us years to have proper Drop Tanks. As usual, our Lead Engineer Mr. An.Petrovich is aiming to have our new fuel systems obey real world physics and be quite detailed in how they are modeled.
We are also considering making a new public beta test option when we do bigger updates because clearly relying on a core beta test group is not producing the results we are hoping for. The testers are all good people, but we need many more testers. Setting up a public beta test system will take some time and we are not even big fans of this idea, but we are probably going to try it at least on this next damage revision. Should be a gigantic headache for all.
I also know you want a time table for all this to occur. Well, that’s hard to say and I hesitate to give any timelines as we still work under Covid conditions and have some significant delays. So, I will say this, the adjusted .50s will be about a week from now, control surfaces jamming fix will be probably a month from now and another general WWI wing failures and general damage review and possible revision will be several months from now. Those are my best estimates based on what I know today as I write this. I’m sorry I can’t be more exact on some stuff. The fact is that we have until June 2022 to complete Battle of Normandy or our ability to make any further products will be jeopardized. The era of Covid has wrought havoc on our schedule, our team and our vision of what we can accomplish. We need your support, patience and encouragement more than ever, not pitchforks and insults.
Also, you should know that for us to ever be able to continue and make more ambitious products in the future or even update existing titles, we need to add several positions on the team. You can view most of them here at this link. As you can see some very core competencies are needed and we have been looking to expand the team for several months already, but it’s been difficult to find the right candidates. When you ask why don’t we do this or why don’t you do that or claim we are ignoring you – we likely lack the needed bodies and talent to do everything we want to do for you. Our longtime dream is parallel development in many key areas that will allow more flexibility in dealing with bugs or surprises while also allowing us to innovate. Right now, this is impossible and has been for a long time sadly. Yet we still soldier on making IL-2 bigger, better and more entertaining every year, even during this pandemic.
THANK YOU to all who have continued to support us, contribute to IL-2 and spread the word about all that IL-2 Great Battles has become and where we are going.