Hello everybody and thanks for having me on your forums.
This is my first post here - which I feel a bit guilty about because since July of this year I have been the PR person for Team Fusion Simulations. Each month I've been posting on the (1C 777 forums) updates of the work we are doing to introduce a new theatre of operations and aircraft into IL-2 Cliffs of Dover.
Without further ado though, here is this month's update:
Team We welcome another new member to the team this month. He is a New Yorker going by the name of “American” and is a 3D modeller who in the past used to create 3D models for IL2 1946 mods.
If you’re wondering why we need more modellers it is because we need the Tobruk environment to be rich and befitting the period. So, whilst existing creations (aircraft) are being imported, we are expanding and improving the number of objects for v5.0. To this end we continue to look for new members who are interested and familiar with WWII Tanks, Vehicles and Ships... with a good background knowledge of specifications and details of weapons and armour. Experience with Blender or 3DMax would be an asset, as well as a knowledge of C# code.
If you think you could contribute with these skills we’d love to hear from you. Also, those accepted would be entitled to a share of any revenue.
Schedule There are some challenges ahead if we are to remain on track to our internal schedule. The import process is a complex one and it would be fair to say it is a bit of bottleneck because it requires specialist knowledge and skills. Morale is good though, and the new content coming into the MEVs is exciting the whole team.
Progress Map I regret that I’m still unable to show you the new map. Work continues but given its importance, the team are understandably sensitive to me showing it too early. What I can say is that being newer to the map team, I had failed to comprehend how hilly parts of the North Africa coastal area actually are. I think there is going to be a lot of fun to be had flying and fighting at low level down the dry watercourses and valleys. Please bear with us on this one.
As an aside, here is a video of work in progress on the MC202 cockpit instruments:
AI A second release of updates to the AI is in internal testing.
Effects Audio and visual effect updates continue to be worked on and will be shown in future updates.
So now on with a few of your questions from across the different forums (again, forgive me for paraphrasing). Note, the best place to post questions for me to find them is always the latest update thread. Some questions have been asked before so if you can’t find the answer to one of your questions please check the previous updates:
Q1. Are you fixing Grass tiles so that they no longer pop into view and also default markings so that they no longer appear in replays (trk files)? Also nose art working from the menu and finally AI trucks that can cross bridges? We have built a new version of the grass tiles which displays less popup and we expect with further development there will be improvement on that Alpha. We think we have a solution to the .trk not showing custom skins. This will be tested further before we confirm. AI trucks crossing bridges is a well-known problem for which a fix is currently is eluding us. We continue to work on it (and many other documented issues) for inclusion in future updates.
Q2. If TF 5.0 is a commercial success and the development effort can be continued into further updates, will TF 6.0 as well as the carriers be hopefully released before BoX releases a Pacific Theatre? Whether Team Fusion moves on to develop a 'TF 5.5' or 'TF 6.0' is dependent on how successful 'TF 5.0 - Tobruk' is. This is one of the reasons we are taking our time in releasing TF 5.0... we want it to be an exciting and successful release.
Q3. Roughly how long does the import process take for an airplane? The import process is a labour-intensive activity which often results in problems being found with the model which require correction. It can therefore go back and forth between the modeller and the integrator several times. The process itself requires every internal and external moving part animation to be handled correctly, establishing correct linkage between the cockpit instruments and the performance model, the damage model to setup correctly for the position of all damageable items and corresponding textures, and finally, the game engine itself to have awareness of the aircraft type, e.g. for the FMB and player missions. In parallel to this we have skinning to do. This requires co-ordination between the modeller and skin maker because the textures have to be mapped into a template the skinner can use. We’re therefore talking about many dozens of manhours.
Q4. Any news on the interim patch that is supposed to be released before TF 5.0? Will it address issues with Bf-110 speeds? The 110's had their speeds corrected for Cliffs of Dover Blitz edition. The fastest 110 at altitude is the C-4N. The fastest 110 on the deck is the C-4B. We are working on the patch and will be beta testing in the next month or so.
Q5. Are the Mc 200 and SM79 included in the development? No, the Macchi C-200 is very similar in performance to the Fiat G-50 and therefore the Macchi C-202 was a better choice for our limited resources. The Savoia-Marchetti SM-79 was too large a project to be completed for TF 5.0, but we might see it in the future.
Q6. Is there any news on a SP career mode? TF 5.0 will include Desert based Single Player campaigns for the major new aircraft.
Q7. Any possibility of being able to use custom skins on stationary aircraft as in IL-2 46? We hope to include this option.
Q8. Will we ever see clouds more in line with the BoX clouds? How much further can the engine be pushed in the looks department? Extended clouds are one of the goals for TF 5.0.
Q9. Will the auto-release mechanism be working with the kurssteuerung in "course" mode? Have you found the reason behind the super annoying aircraft bouncing in mode 22, and will this be corrected in 5.0 ? Will altitude holding of mode 22 be improved so to stop losing 1km altitude before stabilisation? Will the two scales of the gyroscopic compass and the kurssteuerung be tuned to be in line with each other (especially in the heinkel, being off the mark by 15° or so) We are working on solutions for the 'Mode 22' issues.
Q10. Any news on the Ai recoding and radio commands would be appreciated (stuff that's been done rather than hope to be done) please? The 2nd rework of the AI changes is in internal testing.
Q11. Can we have navigation lights and flares enabled? Navigation lights are already part of the game. We discovered that they had been disabled because the AI had a habit of turning them on at inappropriate times – so it is something that is being looked at. We’ve also done work with landing lights – but turning those on also revealed problems which is why they were turned off in the original release. Overall, we are working on a comprehensive revision of the night graphics. Flares are currently not in our plans.
Q12. Is a pre-Christmas release a pipe dream? Announcing Release dates is not TF's responsibility, however in regards to this question, we can provide some information:
We probably could have achieved a Christmas release, but this would mean excluding some of the new aircraft types, a reduction in the number of vehicles and ships, less improvements to the code and AI, and a less polished map. For that reason we decided against rushing to complete on this date. Our experience with TF 4.5 told us it is critically important to have a product which is refined and bug free out of the gate. First impressions are important. And clearly, a substantial amount of new content with an exciting new environment will be a major factor in generating player interest. We will freely admit TF 4.5 did not have the impact we had hoped for... we've learned our lesson and will make sure TF 5.0 has much bigger punch!
So with that in mind, we continue to work hard on creating this new module, and will have it ready as soon as it is done to a standard which we think the community expects in IL-2 products.
Q13. Will Cliffs of Dover and BoX ever become one game? No. The two have completely different game engines.
That's pretty much it for this month. I will finish with a short video…
If you have any questions please capture them here and I will try to give you answers in the next update.
Wow! It all looks really good. That CR42 cockpit, AMAZING!!! Very nice. Well I was hoping for Christmas, but it is what it is. I really want to see CLOD 5.0 succeed so do what you have to do. I hope you guys are still having fun doing this. Great job by all within TF. Keep up the great work. I am very ready to throw money at you.