Learning about Co-op, Marshal modes

Some IL-2 developer updates come with large numbers of visuals and others are blocks of text that give us an insight into the latest development work – even if there is nothing visually to show right now.

This week’s Dev Diary update give us an insight into Co-op mode as well as a better idea of what the Marshal mode is like. We also get to see some aircraft in development.

Bf110G-2 armament options spotted

The Bf110G-2 is a different aircraft from the Bf110E-2 that we currently have. Default armament change from the slower firing MG-FF/M 20mm cannon to the improved MG151/20. Improved engines, aerodynamics, and rear gunner station are refinements to the overall design. What the Bf110G-2 also came with were a variety of optional armament kits above and beyond typical bomb carriers.

Today’s update shows us two of those possibilities.

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Additional 2×151/20 cannon pod.
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The BK3,7 gun.

The MG151/20 pod nearly speaks for itself. An external pod with a pair of MG151/20 cannons adds to the two MG151/20s mounted in the fuselage for essentially double the forward firepower. The concentrated fire from four MG151/20 cannons would be enough to eliminate most heavy bombers nevermind the light and medium bombers and attack planes we currently see in IL-2.

There is also the Bordkanone BK 37 firing a 37mm flak shell from it. This gun will likely come in high explosive anti-aircraft and armor piercing anti-tank versions.

These examples are helpful reminders that while we are retreading some familiar ground when it comes to some aircraft – these variants come with some unique options.

Marshal mode

You’ve heard about this mode before, the Marshal operates as a team coordinator who can help the team overall but isn’t directly in the battle. Think something analogous to Commander mode in Battlefield 2 or 4, ARMA III’s High Command mode, etc.

Marshal mode is something that can be enabled on multiplayer dogfight servers. The mode is intended to add teamplay depth to dogfight server scenarios and I can see some of the more organized teamplay based organizations taking to this mode (hopefully en-mass).

Each team can have a single Marshal who then directs the overall battle from a top down map of the battle. The Marshal can see positions of friendly units and has visibility on enemy units based on what friendly observers can see. The Marshal can also give limited commands to ground forces telling them to hold fire, engage, etc.

The potential for competitive team-based scenarios is huge. Individual players are engaged in tactical operations on the air and on the ground (potentially) while the Marshal operates from a more strategic overview and is able to direct players to specific tasks and missions as needed. Everything relies on the ability to gather information and operate within the fog of war.

With the right kind of team organization, this could be incredible fun.

I do worry that the average player won’t see very much benefit from this, however, there are large scale organizations that may jump on-board to the IL-2 world with a mode like this. Even casual players may get drawn into scenarios where the Marshal becomes of paramount importance. Let’s hope this ends up being a great killer feature.

Co-op mode

Han spends a good deal of time describing what Co-op mode opens up that dogfight mode does not.

The biggest one that he mentioned is being able to host and play at the same time. A Co-op server can be setup but players can also host their own games and play in them which brings back some fond memories from the old days of IL-2: Forgotten Battles where Co-op Friday was hosted through HyperLobby. These were lots of fun to play.

PvP, PvE and simultaneous start are all on the table so this is a true return of the Co-op mode to the IL-2 series and a very welcome one.

It inherits many of the features from Rise of Flight’s Co-op but it also strongly reminds me of what we used to have in the previous IL-2 version.

Aircraft previews

In addition to the Bf110G-2 with its interesting armament options shown off, we also got to see work-in-progress views of the Bf109G-4 and the He111H-16. Both familiar types, these two have unique and sometimes subtle changes to them. The wheel well bulges on the Bf109G-4 are particularly prominent.

Remember, these are work in progress and we’re seeing untextured (and brightly coloured) versions of these aircraft. No doubt there is a lot more work to do on these before they are ready.

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So… go, read the update from Han. He has a lot more to talk about there!

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