AVSIM Commercial Combat Simulator Review

IL-2 Sturmovik 

Banner image

Rating Guide


Publisher: Maddox Games / Ubisoft
Description:
A richly detailed multi-aircraft, panel, missions and scenery package; and comprehensive representation of the World War II Eastern front
Download Size:
N/A
Format:
Boxed CD (auto-install)
Simulator type:
WWII Fighter Combat
Reviewed by: David Slavens, AVSIM Sr. Staff Reviewer
Contributing reviewers: Bill Dailey, AVSIM Managing Editor;
Jeffry Babb, AVSIM CIO

Possible Commercial Rating Score: 1 to 5 stars with
5 stars being exceptional.
Please see details of our review rating policy here

Ok everyone test time, that's right, time for a 10 second quiz. Put your right hand in front of you. Good, now count all the World War II flight sims that have covered the war on the Eastern front using your fingers. How many did you get? ZERO, ZILCH, NONE and that my friends is a crime. Book'em Dano. The Eastern Front had some of the biggest battles in the war. The sheer numbers involved were staggering to the mind—that many men and machines seem almost impossible to imagine. To this day no one knows for sure how many soldiers, sailors and airmen from both sides were killed. There are places in Russia where farmers are still digging up bones. On that note alone should tell you how terrible war is and that we seem to never learn from our mistakes. However, it sure is fun to simulate it. Why beat around the bush, no one is getting hurt and it is fun. Just remember though that it did happen and real people did die in defense of their countries and ideals. Enough grandstanding.

Reader Survey

This survey is intended for those that have used this product or add-on. If you have used it, please let your fellow simulation enthusiasts know how you rate it by taking this survey. Please, if you have not used this product, do not take this poll (you can view the poll from the "Results" link below).

Review Poll
Have you used IL-2 Sturmovik?
Excellent
Good
Average
I can live with it
Taking it off my system

view results

Installation and System Requirements

Installation was straightforward and I had no problems. It did a full install to my hard drive, which I noticed is the only option. There is no choosing what components to install; it's either all or none. The system requirements seem fair enough as opposed to some sims that need some serious hardware to run them. Of course, to get the full affect of this sim more horsepower will be needed. Below are the minimum system requirements:
Pentium II 400 or AMD K6-3 400 Mhz (Pentium III/AMD K6-3 600 or better recommended)
128 MB RAM (256 MB RAM or more recommended)
3D Video Card with 16MB RAM DirectX 8 compatible (32MB RAM or more recommended)
Sound Card (DirectX 8 Compatible)
DirectX 8 or higher (DirectX 8 included on the CD)

I didn't have any graphics hiccups at all. But I am also running a 1 GHz PIII with 768 MB RAM and a Geforce 3 TI200. So horsepower was not an issue. You can set it to run either in DirectX or Open GL. I am using DirectX at 1024x768x32. My frame rates are smooth.

User Interface & Manual

This is the part where you get the sim to do what you want it to do. Well designed, intuitive, and clearly written interfaces can make all the difference between a satisfying sim experience on the one hand and a frustrating one on the other. Often it's a make or break situation. Let's take a look at how IL-2 does in both the on screen and hard copy print areas.

Test System

PIII 1GHz
768 MB of PC133 Mhz SDRAM
Windows XP
64 MB Geforce 3 Ti200 with 23.11 drivers
16x/40x DVD-ROM
Creative Audio PCI Sound Card
Microsoft Precision Pro 2 Joystick
17" Monitor

Flying Time:
41 hours over 24 days


Click for larger image
The hunter becomes the hunted! Sometimes superior speed will get you in trouble. In this shot the German BF-109 in the foreground is in an overshoot situation after having gotten a few hits on the Yak-9 rolling in from the left trailing smoke, but now with the advantage in the fight!

Click for larger image
Never leave your wingman

Click for larger image
One on One

Click for larger image
The largest number of aircraft I've seen in the air at one time is 32. Here a formation of Pe-2s are on patrol over the skies of Moscow.

Click for larger image
IL-2 Cockpit. The long nose profile on the IL-2 requires some altitude and a fairly steep dive angle in order to be able to see ground targets over the nose and line them up in your sight for a gun or rocket attack.

Click for larger image
This interior shot of the IL-2 instru-ment panel shows the beautiful detail found in all of the player-flyable aircraft cockpits. The control column, rudders, and throttle move with your control inputs.

Click for larger image
IL-2 gunner's seat. High loss rates early in the war led to the original single place IL-2 being modified with a rear facing seat for a gunner to defend against attacks from behind. You can jump between the pilot and gunner seats with a keystroke.

Click for larger image
Check your six!

Click for larger image
Gotcha

Click for larger image
LaGG 3 cockpit

Click for larger image
Inside the MiG-3 cockpit

Click for larger image
Inside the U.S. lend lease P-39 cockpit

Click for larger image
Glider towing

Click for larger image
Looking down into the BF-109's cockpit. Another example of the excellent and accurate instrument panel detail found in the player-flyable aircraft. This also gives some idea of the cramped space in the BF-109 —a frequent complaint of both German pilots and allied test pilots who flew captured German aircraft to check out their capabilities.

Click for larger image
BF-109's guns blazing

Click for larger image
Focke Wulf 190 cockpit

Click for larger image
Inside the Focke Wulf 190 cockpit

Click for larger image
The German Ju-87 "Stuka" dive bomber was one of the most feared ground attack aircraft of the war. With its distinctive gull wing appearance and piercing siren whine when diving for an attack it struck terror throughout much of Europe. Rumor has it that a player-flyable version will be released in a forthcoming IL-2 update patch.

Click for larger image
Ju-52 transport

Click for larger image
A Rumanian Air Force fighter heads out on a mission. A largely forgotten aspect of the Eastern Front conflict—the German forces in Russia contained a large contingent of Rumanians who fought with distinction on both the ground and in the air alongside their German allies.

Click for larger image
A clear day

Click for larger image
Dawn patrol. This shot gives you a good example of the superior atmospheric effects in the sim. The cloud, sky, land and water combinations in different lighting are breathtaking in their beauty and realism. Definitely one of the highlights of IL-2.

Click for larger image
The clouds can cause some visibility problems – but not for the three fighters on the FW-190's tail.

Click for larger image
Dogfighting in the rain is a whole new experience

Click for larger image
Missing an engine, notice the crew has bailed out already

Click for larger image
The flak is so thick you can walk across it. After coming off a target in this shot they opened up on me.

Click for larger image
A group of tanks is about to get a taste of some aerial armor

Click for larger image
Coming off the target the tanks are smoking hulks

Click for larger image
More tanks feel wrath of the IL-2

Click for larger image
Trains are fair game as well. If you look close you can see smoke coming from its stack.

On-screen wise getting into IL-2 is via the Main Menu screen. On the Main Menu there are 12 menu buttons that take you to a series of sub-screens and menus for choosing and starting pre-defined missions and campaigns, building your own missions, setting up and tracking a pilot identity, configuring your hardware settings, and setting overall realism and difficulty levels.

The menus and screens in IL-2 are pretty standard for contemporary combat sims, and for the most part I found them intuitive and easy to use – particularly the Quick Mission Builder. Both combat sim veterans and beginners alike will be at home pretty quickly with most of them. A couple of the menus, however, are not "intuitively obvious" and the User Manual doesn't do a whole lot to help out in understanding them.

The most difficult interface in my opinion is the Full Mission Builder. As combat sims go the ones that have full mission builders tend to be pretty similar in that it takes a fair bit of trial and error to get to the point where you can easily use them to build complex missions. IL-2 is no exception and – as is often the case – the explanations in the User Manual are not especially helpful. The answer here is to look around for third party explanations of how to go about it. One of the best of these is at Dogfghter.com, which you can get here As an alternative to the write up in the User Manual I recommend you run through that before attempting to use the Full Mission Builder. That will avoid a lot of frustration.

The Quick Mission Builder – on the other hand – is very straightforward and easy to use and will have you in the thick of action in a flash. Pick your side, number and type of friendly and enemy aircraft, weather, terrain and ground targets and you're off. You can build some fairly complex scenarios here and have a lot of activity going on around you in very short order. I predict it will rapidly become your favorite.

Click for larger image
The Quick Mission Builder screen lets you set up as many planes and situations you want. It also enables you to to set targets, defenses, locations and weather.
Click for larger image
Career Statistic Screen keeps track of your air and ground victories. It also keeps records of how many missions you fly, your score, rank and how many aircraft you have lost.

One of my other favorite screens is the "View Objects" screen which lets you take a look at all of the various 3D objects you find in IL-2 including all of the player and AI aircraft, the ground vehicles, and ships. Together with a rotating and zoomable 3D view there's a full detailed text giving the pertinent information about each of the truly fantastic variety of objects you can interact with in this sim—a virtual catalog of WWII Eastern Front air, land, and sea combat gear.

All the on-screen interface screens are what you would expect of a sim of this depth. They provide you a very flexible and highly capable way of configuring the sim to your needs, system capabilities, and interests as well as providing a wealth of reference information.

Now we come to the printed User Manual. In the midst of all the great things about IL-2 here's where things don't go so well. It seems a sad fact of contemporary sim development that the printed user manual is the place where developers have apparently decided to cut corners. Whether because they see it as a way to save costs or because writing is hard work and takes too much effort is unclear, but the bottom line is that combat sim user manuals aren't what they used to be. Regrettably the IL-2 printed manual falls right into this hole. What you get is the typical small pamphlet style booklet with illustrations barely larger than postage stamps—totally unusable in most cases. While the booklet is about 85 pages (not counting the credits) of nominally useful information, the actual write-ups are spare; and as is typical these days are short on details of how to use the sim. To make matters worse the print typeface is so light in color as to make reading it very difficult if any amount of light is falling on the page. It gave me eyestrain.

Much more useful is the included laminated Quick Key Reference card. Considering the amount of effort which clearly went into the other aspects of IL-2, the lack of attention to a decent user manual would seem an inexcusable lapse were it not for the fact that this approach to printed manuals is the industry standard these days. Pretty disappointing all the same. In case any developers should be reading this here's a message for them: serious simmers want a good, large format, packed with information, printed user manual. They will pay good money for it! Write it and they will come! But enough of the bad and ugly – let's get to the good – and there's lots of that!

Basic information

What we have here is a World War II, Eastern Front flying simulator in which you can fly 31 aircraft in 2 campaigns for either the German or the Russians. This simulation is the brainchild of Oleg Maddox who had planned and developed this for over 5 years. You get to fly a number of aircraft—that to this date some I have never seen modeled in any other combat simulator. For example, can anyone tell me a simulator that has a La5 in it? Anyone one, Beuller, Beuller? Again thought so. Yeah we can find and fly tons of Mustangs, Focke Wolfs and Spitfires but I can't seem to find any MIG-3s. Do you all see where I am going with this yet? IL-2 has everything we have been missing in the past. The IL-2 alone makes this sim perfect—all the other aircraft are a bonus. So lets take a walk around some of these fine aircraft and see how they stack up?

The Aircraft (Flight Models and Cockpits)

As I said you get 31 flyable aircraft. Do not be misled though, it is 31 different aircraft but some are versions of others. Like there are 3 versions of the P-39 Airacobra for example. The flyable aircraft include: BF-109, FW-190, La5FN, Yak1, and 3,7,9, the Mig-3, IL-2, P-39, and LaGG-3. That is a lot of aircraft to have at your disposal. The later versions of the IL-2 have a gunner that you can control. I find that to be especially fun. So far I have racked up 4 kills as a gunner and at least 2 probables.

But none of this is worth a hill of beans if they fly like bricks. One of the biggest problems with a flight simulator review is that most of us have never seen let alone flown in any of these aircraft. So how does one know if the flight models are accurate? Well here is what I do or use for that. 1. Oleg Maddox himself made sure every plane flew like its real counterpart or it didn't go into the sim. So based on his reputation I have very little cause to dispute it. But I also run a few tests myself. All you need it a stopwatch, a note pad and TONS of technical data. I have so much that Jane's calls me for information (just kidding). I have technical data on every one of these aircraft and all their sub versions. That information includes: Time to height stats, engine rpm to throttle setting, load out stats, you name it, want to know rivet size of the aircraft armor plating in the IL-2? I got it.

So when I say this I am backing it up; these aircraft are some of the best, most highly accurate flight models ever made for combat sim flying. Period. The BF-109 is the best example I can give of that. The BF-109 was not a forgiving plane—in fact it killed a lot of pilots before they could get into combat. It had little narrow landing gear that liked to collapse a lot. To make it worse its high engine torque made it harder to take off with a tendency to pull to the right. Now couple that with a bomb load and high winds. Oh fun. Add-on aircraft will be possible in the future but Maddox Games is keeping a tight control on it. They will not release a new aircraft unless it is accurate right down to the cockpit. In fact they have released an FW-190A5 and some missions to go with it.

And every cockpit in the sim is accurate to a T. Find me a picture of the cockpit and compare to the sim and you will not be surprised, they match. The AI aircraft are incredible to boot. There are Ju-87s, Ju-52s, I-16s, Me-323s, FW-189s, He-111's, Pe-2s—the list is almost endless. Each is modeled in winter and summer camouflage. Correct gunner positions, etc. No AI plane was neglected; each got the same treatment as the flyable aircraft.

Damage Modeling

This is one of my favorite parts of the sim. Things get shot up, shot off and shot down in a loud grotesque military manner. I hit the ground one time with my tail and woops there it went. Plane no fly good without tail. Wings get shot off. Oil on the canopy. Smoking engines. Missing wing tips, Holes all over the aircraft and windscreen. In fact, it is time for: "How to turn your IL-2 into Swiss cheese in 6 easy steps."

1. You dive on an armored column.
2. The ack ack starts.
3. Pull up and start jinking.
4. Listen to the sound of bullets hitting your plane.
5. Wet yourself.
6. Look at the outside view of your plane and presto, Swiss cheese.

There were so many holes in my wings that it made me ill looking at them.

Click for larger image
Time to hit the silk. You can't miss the fantastic damage modeling in this screenshot.
Click for larger image
The damage effects also include pieces of the aircraft being shot off as this Pe-2 is doing to this Focke Wolf.

Click for larger image
Those are big holes in the wings, but still flying!

Some planes are still flying though with damage that is just a little more than I think was possible and I wondered about that. I would think that if there were a hole in my wing so big that I could drive through it the plane wouldn't fly. Yet in contrast on one mission I got slightly peppered and I couldn't keep up with the other planes. I had to go back. Also I learned a little more about a plane on fire. Yes staying in the cockpit for too long while the fire is spreading is not recommended. Because if it spreads too much you are not getting out. Pilot Killed.

The Campaign and the Missions (Training and Single)

The 20 single missions they come with are done quite well, but the 9 training missions left me feeling stale. I felt that there could have been more to them. Maybe more in-depth. There aren't enough of them either. In my perfect world of combat simming, for every aircraft you should have a good set of training missions based and what the aircraft "quirks" are. What good is a set of training missions if it doesn't really train you on that aircraft? Some will argue with me there but that is just my opinion.

The campaign however is great. Yes I know it is not a dynamic campaign but it does have some random aspects. You never really fly the same mission twice; it's based how you do on the previous mission. Also most of the missions are historically accurate. (I think that is what the developer was going for as opposed to a dynamic campaign.) So you really can't have a dynamic campaign then—but I don't get bent out of shape too much. I like history and to fly historic missions to me is a thrill.

Click for larger image
The awards screen shows the medals you have earned in the course of your career.

You get to fly in 3 different careers as a German Fighter pilot, a Russian fighter pilot or Russian bomber pilot. In your career you get medals, promotions and of course your kill count. Right now I am deep into a German campaign with roughly 30 kills and just at the beginning of a Russian one. I do not know how long the campaigns are but I am only up to 1942 in the German, so I suspect I have a long way to go. One thing you must do to get to another mission is pass the one you are on. If you fail you have to do it until you pass. That can be frustrating at times.

The little things

You know what makes this sim so great is those unexpected details. For example I was watching an AI Ju-87 start its dive-bombing run when I heard it wind up with those noisemakers that were built into it. Those were made to scare people and it did. Turn your speakers up loud and listen to it as the Stuka dives. I can see why it did. Also another great detail is that the pilot's head moves in correspondence to the way the plane is turning. It is also cool to see the pilot looking at the enemy plane during a dogfight.

Click for larger image
Taking the silk elevator
Click for larger image
On the ground and looking for cover

There's even more features—like when you bail out of a plane and you land on the ground the pilot start to head for cover. You can look through windows of the other planes that have more than one crew member and see them manning their positions. You can see tanks engaging each other. Troops running away from vehicles getting attacked. Vehicles taking evasive action when they are being attacked. Boat wakes.

Scenery and Weather

IL-2 is such a comprehensive package and such a totally new experience in terms of immersion (definitely picking up where EAW leaves off in this area) that the scenery seems to blend in and enhance the feeling of "being there." If you are expecting the quality of FS2002 or even CS2, IL-2 isn't as good in some respects (topography and variety in land classification) and slightly better in others (water effects and a well-blended horizon). The ground is essentially there to provide reference for navigation and targets to bomb. I prefer to "move mud" myself and was not too disappointed with the scenery, but with my other recent sim acquisition being FS2002, it was strange to see how much more basic IL-2 is.

There are three main scenery areas in the quick-mission mode (one that I think many will spend time in), Moscow, the Crimea, and Smolensk and each are faithful renditions of these areas in terms of urban areas and such. I can't confirm that rivers are exactly where they should be, but each area is very close to real. However, things are generally sparse. Forested areas are represented by a multi-tiered horizontal textures which give a 3-D feel, but are nothing like the trees in FS2002. Urban and populated areas are well done – if a bit sparse – but the smaller details, including ground targets, go by so fast on strafing and bombing runs that it is hard to concentrate on the ground objects too much.

What really sets IL-2 apart is what is happening up in the sky around you. While approaching an armored column as it moves along a road (open road areas are somewhat plain in appearance) the targets remain very small right up until you are upon them. However, in my first 10 hours or so with this sim, I was more fascinated by the tracers and the flak coming up at me than the target. The realism of these features alone would sell me on this sim in a heartbeat. The blue streaks of the tracers with the shroud of streaming smoke and lead, the black and gray puffs of flak, and the incredible arsenal of death that pours out of the business end of the IL-2.

The Urban areas are down well, with townships and factories abundant in most of the maps. Moscow is done in a winter coating while Smolensk and the Crimea are in warmer months. In the towns there are nice 3-D trees ala FS2002 and houses and buildings similar to autogen. The moving map that is called up by pressing the 'm' key corresponds to the exact topological features; the elevation contours produce a very decent level of detail in the undulations of the terrain.

All of the ground textures are exceptional and make up for the generally spare nature of the scenery in IL-2. The snow textures give the feeling of being there and also the dangerous illusions of being farther away from the ground at times than you are. I augured in a few times by thinking I was a little higher up than I was. As with any combat sim, getting down low can mean life or death, so it is nice to contend with this realistic difficulty. The urban area textures have roads that seem to be hand-laid, as do most of the roads in the countryside. While the streets in urban areas are mostly laid out in a grid, the country-side roads meander a but, but are very angled in some places and not smooth and flowing. I can't be sure if this is due to lower detail in exchange for frame rates in areas outside of cities.

One interesting detail present at times in the textures is subtle irregularities that add to the realism. There are little foot trails and what appear to be bushy areas in some of the non-winter textures. The textures around the airports, which can be paved or dirt/grass/snow, are very detailed and typically have a spider-web of little jeep and foot trails just around the runway and apron areas. Some of the airports seem to be near modern in facilities (almost more modern than I guess would exist during the period) and others are quite sparse. There is no way to refuel or reload that I could pick up on in the manual or during gameplay, so once fuel and stores are gone, your mission is over.

Click for larger image
Click for larger image
The weather effects are incredible. You can see and hear the rain. The lightning illuminates the sky and your aircraft. You can even see it in the distance.

The sky and weather far outshine what is down below in terra firma in this sim. The sunlight, dawn and dusk graphics are like no other that I have seen in a sim. For being a combat sim – which is about killing and destruction – the skies can be so calm and serene at times that you get lost in skyward daydreams. Go up in a quick mission over Moscow at about 1700 hours and look at how well the sky is rendered to the west as the sunsets. Look at the purples, oranges and shades of blue and how the sun seamlessly blends with the sky. Nobody has gotten this down as good that I have ever seen. Go up on any map in the early afternoon or mid-morning and look towards the sun; there is no corny lens flare, there is just a very shiny sun which is not round but looks just like the sun would were you to sneak a peak at it in real like. It is brilliant and you can't make out the true round disc of the sun as the brilliance prohibits this. This is modeled in IL-2 and is simply amazing. Go out in "blind," "rain/snow" or thunderstorm conditions and find out that you really should be IFR if this were a civilian sim.

Click for larger image
A little fire practice while watching the sun behind horizon.
Click for larger image
A good example of what sun glare effects look like in IL2. Is there a German fighter in the sun?

Lastly let's talk about the water effects. I believe the reflections of the sun off of the water are far more realistic in IL-2, in terms of coloration and blending in with the haze on the horizon than FS2002 is. I must apologize for continually comparing a civilian sim to a combat sim, but FS2002 and IL-2 came about the same time and thus can serve as points of comparison from a technological standpoint. There are many lakes and rivers in most of the maps available (no, the whole of western Russia and Germany are not modeled, only specific areas) and they all play off of the sunlight at different times of the day. I truly believe that the visual appearance of the atmosphere in IL-2 will set a new standard. I did not test the effects on wind too much in the sim, save for on takeoff, but the eye-candy aloft is stunning and breathtaking.

Some slight nitpicks would be the look of rain and snow if you ever become stationary (after crashing or bailing out). The rain and snow remain as small horizontal "bars"—no more than a few pixels worth, but definitely horizontal rather than round. The strange forests, this rain/snow phenomenon and the sparse nature of some areas are the only minor issues are what a visual treat is otherwise.

In conclusion

The flaws in this sim are small; no sim is perfect. What you do get is a well thought out, almost bug / crash free combat flight sim. Hours of enjoyment will be had. With the excellent mission builder it guarantees almost endless replayablilty. This is the sim most of us wish we had a few years ago. I also suspect we'll see more great things to come from Ubisoft that has to do with this great sim. If you are not flying this, well, you are missing the boat.

For further information, a downloadable demonstration, and to order see the Official IL2 Sturmovik website; and also Sturmovik Technika for history, additional missions, and more.

 


 [Editor's Note:] Miro Majcen, our Managing Editor - Europe asked one of IL-2 Sturmovik's beta testers to share his impressions with our readers. Dalibor Jovanovic graciously agreed; his remarks follow:

IL 2 Sturmovik—a different view
By Dalibor Jovanovic

I'm in!

In summer 2001, I've received an e-mail from Oleg Maddox, saying :"...congratulations, you are in the beta team!". And all I wanted was a press copy for preview! At first I was a bit uneasy, because I was not sure if I had enough time for proper beta testing, and I didn't want just to play around. After I've fired IL- 2 for the first time, the dilemma was quickly solved!

I was simply stunned from pure beauty and simplicity of this simulation, not to mention many refreshingly new things, which were already coded in. I was able to fly planes, which were relatively unknown to the western world, but contributed in great deal to the allied victory in WW 2. In the matter of fact, the whole Eastern front was more or less pushed aside in gaming industry. Planes like Yak-1, Yak-3, Yak-7, LaGG-3 and IL-2, have never been modeled as flyable so far, not even in on-line games such as Warbirds or Aces High. There is also a plethora of AI controlled machines, many of which were total surprise to majority of players from Western hemisphere. On Russian side – glider G-11, I-153, I-16, Li-2, MBR-2 AM-31, Pe-2, Pe-3, Pe-8, R-10, Tu-2 and U-2 – and on the German side there are Bf-109E, Fi-156, FW-189, FW-190D9, He-111, He-111 Z Zwilling, He-162, Hs 129B, IAR 80, IAR 81a, Ju-52, Ju-87, Ju-88A, MC 202, Me-262, Me-321 and Me-323.

IL-2 looks like, feels like and in the matter of fact is product of love and competence. You can tell that from great flight and damage modeling, level of details, weather effects (especially the sun) and AI. That is no wonder taking in consideration the fact that Oleg is graduate from well known Moscow Aeronautical Institute, and has worked as aeronautical engineer for 11 years. So he knows something about aerodynamics. He is also a great fan of European Air War, WW II Fighters and other simulations. So he knows about gaming. He is also a pilot. So he is acquainted with "feel" of flight. At the end, he is also in love with history, especially WW II aviation. His reputation helped him to gain access to many locked treasures in shape of flight tests data from airplanes, used on both the Soviet and German side during the Great Patriotic War. Many other members of his team are also graduates from aeronautical (Igor Egorov, Yuri Antonov, Kuzma Lykov, Eugene Inozemtcev) or other similar institutes. Bunch of well educated and experienced people then...

I have taken part in three beta tests, last of which was IL-2. I must say, that this looked more like "pixel hunt", since there were no fatal bugs! During whole testing, Oleg has shown unbelievable capacity of his team—he listened to suggestions which were backed-up with good arguments, and coded them in time for the next beta release! Beside that, he promised and delivered some extra stuff during testing period and on top of that – from last beta to final version (approx. one month) – he added even new ones (like the sun glare, improved cockpit and AI...)!

There is some strong debate on the internet over IL-2. Mostly it is about FM. Interesting fact is, that very strong words are used to describe ones favorite plane being under- and "the other ones" over-modeled. The funny part is, that this argument is used on both sides! Majority of people tend to believe to Oleg and his cross-examined data base, backed-up with veterans, who were actually flying in Eastern front. Oleg has cooked a soup, in which he has put ingredients from all sides—he used sources from German, Soviet, British, American and who knows who's else original aeronautical data. He made nice compromise in which historical facts and gameplay were successfully married.

Security

At the end, let me throw light on some issues which are bothering the community. First there is some alarming news about IL-2 already been hacked—this would completely destroy on-line experience. But fortunately this is far from being true, All the important data (FM, AI behaviour, ballistics) are buried deeply into the code and encrypted. Any cracker/hacker would have to be in possession of source code, location of certain parts of code, and very detailed description how code is interacting. Very difficult job indeed. Besides, all aircraft commands are interpreted on server side, so every participant of certain on-line event would have the same conditions as hacker, and at the bottom line – the server must have hacked software, otherwise it has no effect on other aircraft behaviour.

Next urban legend says, that IL-2 is coded in Java. Again, this assumption is based on rumors only, and has no substance. Java is used in IL-2, but just in small part. C++ is mostly used in coding this baby.

The biggest concern of all is probably the policy of add-ons and skinning. Oleg has no intention to offer 3rd party models to be incorporated into game without his approval. This has upset many, mostly US gamers, who are used to producing their own models. Oleg has a strong reason for his decision – he doesn't want to ruin on-line fights (cheating on-line is one of worse things happening in gaming world these days); beside that, he wants to offer his customers the best possible models. This is the only way he can control the development of his game. Skinning is only possible for on-line events, because skins for off-line are hard coded. This is in tightly connected to increased security issues, described above.

Concluding remarks

When you have people, who are working on a game with love and a lot of knowledge, then that product is on a good way to cross that line dividing great games from legends. And IL-2 has landed way across that line!


We asked Dalibor to tell us something about himself and his background:

If my first spoken word were "AIRCRAFT" and not "MAMA", it would have fit into my CV perfectly. As far as I can remember, all flyable things were fascinating to me from my early age. Our family legend says, that already at age of 2, I was staring into air whenever I heard the noise of aircraft. Maybe this was because aviation was in our blood – my father was military ATC, aunt flight attendant, uncle civilian ATC, grandpa head of maintenance in Zadar Airbase and...I was born in a hospital just few hundred meters away from Air Force HQ!

At age of 11 I saw strange thing, called ZX-81, and immediately fell in love with computers. Flight Simulator from Psion, was my first step into this aviation-computers mix. Five years later I was screaming from joy and forgot to spit on (for a first time) empty back seat of Blanik L-13 glider. I was flying by myself! In 1990 I spent a year in Zadar Airbase (strange co-incident, don't you think?), training for National Guard Pilot on jet trainer Galeb G-2. Upon successfully finishing the school in 1991 the war in ex-Yugoslavia broke out, so I returned to Ljubljana, now capital of Slovenia, where I live now. In 1994 I finished basic training for ATCO (yes, history repeating, again!) and went on TWR in Ljubljana airport. Today I strive not to collide two airliners on Radar Approach position and enjoy the simulation of all kinds. In my spare time I also act as cover CD-ROM editor of PC & Mediji (PC Media) magazine, and write articles about aviation and ATC.

 


What I Like About IL-2 Sturmovik
  • Accuracy of the aircraft and cockpits
  • The special effects (tracer rounds, damage affects, splashing water, pilot bail-out – the little things)
  • Excellent missions
  • Lots of replayablilty

 
What I Don't Like About IL-2 Sturmovik
  • Manual too thin and not informative enough
  • Training missions lack depth
  • Land terrain is too basic


 

Tell A Friend About this Review!

 

Standard Disclaimer
The review above is a subjective assessment of the product by the author. There is no connection between the producer and the reviewer, and we feel this review is unbiased and truly reflects the performance of the product in the simming environment. This disclaimer is posted here in order provide you with background information on the reviewer and connections that may exist between him/her and the contributing party.

2002 - AVSIM Online
All Rights Reserved