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Meet the most insanely authentic flight sims ever: IL-2 Sturmovik: Battle of Stalingrad and Ilya Muromets

Hayden Dingman | Aug. 11, 2014
"This is how we do games: To understand what it's like to dogfight, we just go outside of Moscow, put ourselves in planes, and do some dogfighting," says IL-2 Sturmovik: Battle of Stalingrad's producer Albert Zhiltsov, showing me a video of the team flying maneuvers in real planes.

It's a beast of a plane. And barely anyone knows about it.

"Recently we were contacted by the Russian Military Historical Society," says Williams. "They said, 'Hey, you did such a great job with Rise of Flight, we'd like to fund the building of a flight sim about the Ilya Muromets and spread the word about early Russian aviation.'"

Ilya Muromets is based off the same technology that drove Rise of Flight, and follows the same core tenets as Battle of Stalingrad. The game takes place in a section of what's now the Ukraine, and again 1C used period maps to reconstruct a portion of the countryside as it was in 1916 — although due to the lack of documents left over from the time period this was much harder than with Stalingrad.

"The Ilya Muromets was used to bomb railway stations and troop concentrations," says Williams. "We'll have a campaign — a string of missions you can fly that have been crafted with high detail to give you a sense of what the Ilya Muromets missions were like."

The Ilya Muromets itself is a strange aircraft — a far cry from today's modern aircraft or even the planes of World War II. It's all bronzed gauges and exposed pulleys, coupled with an enormous glass windshield that Williams jokes "is like driving a Winnebago."

"It's really great for sightseeing, not sure if it's so great for combat," he continues, laughing.

Also included are a handful of other Eastern Front-planes — the Ilya Muromets's contemporaries on both the Russian and German/Austro-Hungarian sides.

And, as I brought up earlier, mouse support. Battle of Stalingrad is strictly for HOTAS/flight stick users, but Ilya Muromets will experiment with mouse and keyboard controls. "If it works, we'll look at putting that in our other titles," Williams said with, I should note, the most skeptical tone I've ever heard used to describe something as ordinary as mouse and keyboard controls.

Did I mention 1C is hardcore about its flight sims? I haven't gotten hands-on time with either title yet, so I can't speak to how the game feels or how the missions play out. 1C has my attention, though — and with built-in Oculus Rift VR support planned for both games, I'm looking forward to hopping into some exquisitely-modeled cockpits sometime soon.

 

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