Anti-armor cluster bombs, mirrors round out IL-2 update

1CGS shows off new PTAB cluster bombs, mirrors, bullet strike improvements and a few more sneak peeks at the Kuban map in this week’s update!

The IL-2 Model 1943 and PTAB bombs

The PTAB is a type of anti-armor cluster munition that the Russians began using in combat in July 1943. It was extremely effective!

Trials determined that the RS-82 and RS-132 suffered from accuracy issues and required direct hits to kill enemy armor. A near miss would cause virtually no damage at all to the target so efforts were made to make the IL-2 into a more capable anti-armor weapon.

Each PTAB bomblet was capable of penetrating up to 70mm of armor which was enough to kill even heavy tanks. The IL-2 could carry 240 bomblets which could be dropped all at once in a line. Employed properly and an IL-2 could take out clusters of tanks.

The developers had to do some significant work to ensure that these cluster munitions, if employed in a full release of 240 bomblets, would not cause the game to grind to a halt and it seems like they have a good means of doing that as Han reports:

We implemented a system where the flight path is calculated for each bomblet if there is a possible target near the projected impact coordinates. If the possible targets are far away, the flight path is calculated for a cluster of bomblets at once, maintaining the realistic calculation accuracy.

We’ve also learned that the IL-2 Model 1943 will come with the NS-37 cannon as an optional add on. The NS-37 was another weapon used to try and make the IL-2 into a potent anti-tank weapon. In this wing mounted installation, the NS-37 was not proven to be very satisfactory. Jamming of either gun would prevent steady aim.

Mirror, mirror

The second gen IL-2 has lacked mirrors to date but that is changing. Many aircraft of the error had internally or externally mounted mirrors allowing the pilot visibility backwards. Sometimes these were modifications, other times they were standard features. In some cases they were all but necessary such as in the Hs129B-2 where a mirror enabled much needed rear visibility that was otherwise blocked by its small and cramped cockpit.

Coming in Patch 2.010 we’ll see mirrors for the first time.

Mirrors are actually a difficult thing to do in a simulator and while there are a variety of techniques, the guys at 1CGS claim that their unique mix of compromises is probably the best way to do a mirror compared to their competitors. Han commented on that as well:

Our lead programmer chose his own approach for this feature. It gives realistic and good looking results that are compatible with 6-DOF and VR technologies and are free of flaws found in the competing titles. We use optimization techniques for mirror rendering as well, but they aren’t critical to the combat sim gameplay, so we can say that our mirrors are the best among the flight sims now.

Improved bullet strikes

We’ve already talked about this before in an update from last weekend where Jason talked to the community on the forums about some bullet strike improvements.

A second video from Jason shows more of the hits to more types of aircraft. The effect is subtle but effective and it’s a really nice touch in a long list of new features coming along.

Graphical optimization

This one didn’t make the official update but Jason took to the forums to note that an optimization that the team had previously introduced and then taken back because of compatibility issues with AMD cards has been re-implemented.

One other small item not mentioned in this DD is that the particle processing method that we had to remove because of AMD card issues with it has been restored. So particle effects should not be such a big hit on FPS. Helps both nvidia and AMD cards.

SLI/Crossfire is back in IL-2 after being an issue with the DirectX11 update. Players that have systems with dual graphics card in SLI or Crossfire configuration should now see a boost although it will be dependent on if your system is GPU or CPU bottle-necked. Both are a possibility in IL-2.

Every improvement in graphics performance in this game is good news. One interesting side note, however, is that SLI and Crossfire do not work with VR. Apparently this is due to latency but I don’t understand the detailed mechanics.

Now go back and look at those screen shots

If you were all caught up looking at just how cool the new features were, you weren’t alone. But now you should go back and look at those screen shots because nearly all of them were taken on the new Kuban map. You can see the hills, valleys, rivers, and other elements that we just don’t have in other IL-2 maps at the moment. They look outstanding!

Check out the whole update right here!

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