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  1. It happened two years ago - best as I remember, it was a career mission. Something about changing the audio output seemed to have caused the game to hitch and hard, but I don't remember much beyond that. Apologies, I had forgotten this had even happened were it not for the notification!
  2. I was thinking about this earlier - this is a question more aimed for the developers, but I was curious as to how Il-2's career mode works in the sense of "how does it create a pilot, how does it set a pilot as the player controlled aircraft when generating a mission," and stuff of that matter. So much of the career mode's inner workings are a mystery to me, and I'd love to understand it more!
  3. Here's hoping! I wish I could try and take a crack at making some prototype for it, just as a proof of concept, but I don't think I have the tools or the skills to attempt it.
  4. I would be happy to see this come to Il-2 as well! It's more or less what I had in my mind when I refer to "Azazel" mode in my original suggestion, and I think it would fit in great. I am, though, still attached to being able to play as a guiding spirit for the unit, taking whatever role in the flight I choose. However, I'm not sure how feasible this would be able to build versus what you suggested. If you had to guess, are either concepts capable of being built?
  5. (Good morning, everyone!) This is partially true. Azazel was an alternate mode for the Call of Chernobyl mod for STALKER: Call of Pripyat (iirc) that allowed you to change characters randomly to an already existent NPC if you were to die, and to keep swapping bodies until you simply get tired of the run (as there isn't a fixed end state to the mod afaik). What I am suggesting does require a lot of the infrastructure of the squadron leader systems, but instead of a career being over should your pilot die or be captured, you are able to progress forwards and inhabit a new body. Unlike a traditional Azazel mode, what I am suggesting is that you are able to swap bodies at any time (between missions), meaning that you can choose who to fly as for each flight at will - or, like I mentioned in a footnote, choose to fly as no one and just simulate day after day to see what happens.
  6. I apologize for the late hour in posting this, as I’m minutes away from falling asleep and won’t be able to respond for several hours. I suggest that a step be added during the start of a standard career playthrough, introduced between selecting a squadron/regiment and creating a character. This step would be an additional choice between a “pilot career” (what we have in Il-2 currently, where you follow a single pilot through the battle and the larger war) and a “squadron career”. Choosing squadron career means skipping the character creation stage and heading directly into the headquarters screen, sans the “pilot” tab (if removing this would be too difficult, then perhaps the tab should have some placeholder). This suggestion is similar to an “Azazel” mode that others have suggested before, but with a minor twist - instead of following a pilot and then switching upon death*, the player represents the “spirit” of their unit. They are able to assign pilots, aircraft, and appropriate modifications to each mission as if they were squadron/regimental commander, but are then able to select who in that formation they wish to fly as.** After the mission, losses and victories are tallied (the career continues even if the player-controlled pilot for that flight dies) and the war progresses onwards. I am not certain how easy this would be to execute in practice, as I am not someone familiar with Il-2’s inner workings. However, as players are able as commander to assign and modify flight arrangements, which then affects the generated mission, I believe being able to “possess” a pilot should be theoretically possible. Further, as Il-2’s career already simulates missions either not flown in or in which the player is forced to retire from, we know that campaign continuation should the “possessed” pilot dies is already doable without making much, if any, additions to the game. The advantage this new system would bring is to add a new way of interacting with the already existent career mode while also (ideally) circumventing the difficulties of an “Azazel” mode. Further, it would add to Il-2’s already-present commitment to show the war “as it was” within the limitations of a digital space - the war does not stop on the account of one pilot’s death. Rather than career mode only being the story of one person, this new mode would allow players to tell and experience the story of a squadron, one that goes through trials and tribulations. Il-2’s career mode is unique amongst its peers. I believe that this addition would continue to distinguish it from, and above, the rest. *I do believe an “Azazel” mode would make for a good addition to the game, but it may prove more difficult to implement than this **Players should reserve the choice to not “possess” any pilot on a mission, should they choose to. Il-2’s career already possesses the capability to simulate missions without a human being there to witness it, making this theoretically extremely easy to implement
  7. I second this, and I was actually just about to come on here to post something similar to what Gimpel said. Individual control settings per aircraft would be a lovely quality-of-life change, and I hope the sim sees it added in the near future!
  8. Hey, everyone! Just a quick few things: first of all, I do plan on there being a regular set of updates this week, hoping to go live with those sometime after noon tomorrow and Friday, CDT. Second, I'd like to admit that I'm kind of feeling some degree of burn-out with the project. The weekly updates I don't think is the issue, just more a kind of tension between how I'd like the series to be (one pilot in a sea of thousands, exceptional in that the story is about him but because he's an ace of aces) and how the series is progressing in game. This is really quite frustrating to me, as I feel like my victories list is starting to resemble more an Ace Combat game than something quote-unquote "truer to life." I stepped the game's difficulty up to hard (before it was on medium - I don't fly with icons on, ground start, and the last few sorties I've put the front-line up to "dense") and I don't truly feel the difference. I'm not sure what I can do on my end to find a more balanced approach. I'd take any suggestions anyone throws at me, though! Third, and finally for this update, I do have plans for a new AAR series once this one is over. I don't want to talk about it much right now, as this is something that is, quite literally, months away, but it will be another Battle of Moscow series, and this time we'll be taking over as regimental leader! Exciting stuff - someday soon, hopefully!
  9. Chapter Nine: Hello, Vnukovo! Aleksei clambered out of his plane, helped by a waiting engineer that he didn’t recognize. It would still be the better part of the day for the 34th’s own ground crews to arrive at the Moscow outskirts. Perhaps longer, if the Germans decided to make their presence known. There was little to be done about it now, other than to wait and hope. As he caught his bearings, stretching for the first time in an hour, a large GAZ truck rumbled towards him. The big vehicle looked worn, and its flatbed had no tarp cover to hide its metal skeleton, or its cargo. The GAZ came to a stop in front of the Junior Lieutenant, and from the back waved Golubev. “Climb aboard, Lieutenant!” Aleksei walked to the back of the truck and with a hop clambered on. The GAZ’s driver didn’t wait to be told to go - there was a sharp jolt as it resumed down the parkway to the next taxiing MiG. Golubev smiled, relieved, as Aleksei took a seat across from him. Emilyanenko was the only other 34th man aboard, and shared a friendly nod with Kozlov, but it wouldn’t be long before their number grew. When it was Taras’ turn to climb on, the two Junior Lieutenants greeted each other with tired grins. They had made the journey safely, and took small comfort in that. The truck stopped one last time in front of a large building at the fringe of the airfield, unmistakable in purpose. Golubev stood, followed by Tsvetkov an instant later. The two officers climbed down, then turned on their heels to face the truck again. “Dismount!” Golubev barked. One by one, the pilots complied, dropping down from the vehicle’s bed to the hard surface below. They formed a parade line dutifully as the GAZ, its purpose finished, drove off to its next task behind them. Tsvetkov paced off wordlessly towards the building, and disappeared inside its doors. A minute later, he returned alongside a Sergeant. The NCO examined them briefly, counting their number, before saying something quietly to Tsvetkov. The deputy commander nodded, then stepped forwards. “Comrades,” he began, “welcome to Vnukovo. The Sergeant here-“ Tsvetkov’s arm gestured laxidazily towards the man “-will bring you to the cafeteria. Once the rest of the regiment arrives, you will be assigned to your rooms.” Tsvetkov turned slightly to face the NCO. “Sergeant?” Stiffly, the soldier nodded. He wore a staff uniform, obviously in charge of regular operations in the barracks. “Thank you, comrade Captain. If you’ll follow me, please.” Quietly, though not without some murmuring, the pilots walked behind their guide. Golubev and Tsvetkov stayed behind - they had business to attend to. “Do you think they’ll let us choose?” Melnikov whispered. Aleksei shrugged. “I don’t know.” There was little else he could say - things were well out of his hands. They would have their answer soon enough, that was for sure. He hadn’t been with the regiment when they had arrived at Rzhev, and had been assigned just any open bunk. If he had to guess, the room arrangement at Vnukovo would be similar to what it had been, barring some adaptation to the situation at the airfield. It seemed unwise to break up men who had grown accustomed to each other’s presence morning and night. Through the halls of the barracks, the pilots quietly followed the good Sergeant. As they walked, the incumbent pilots at Vnukovo stopped and stared, observing their pilgrimage. They were watched in the same way that one might watch a neighbor move in next door - that kind of silent fascination and rapt attention to any tell as to the caliber of person they were about to share an environment with, even if contact between the two parties was scarce. Aleksei stared back as he passed them by - they were tired, haggard pilots. The war had finally come to their doorstep, but they had been fighting it for as long as anyone else. They were kindred, brothers in arms. Finally, the trek concluded in a large room that was filled from end to end with chairs and long tables. Far in one corner of the room was the mouth of the kitchen, where meals would be claimed by hungry pilots. As soon as Aleksei entered the room, his nose was filled with the pleasant smell of cooking. Meat was being cooked, potatoes boiled and mashed - it was almost certainly an identical menu as it had been at Rzhev, but in a way that only made it better. Vnukovo was beginning to feel only ever more like home. It was a late breakfast for the men of the 34th, but it was one that was deeply appreciated. <><><><><><><> The second squadron landed at Vnukovo not long after the first started eating lunch. They could all hear the MiGs purr overhead faintly through the stone walls. Aleksei was relieved to count a full flight - no one had been lost during the rebasing flights. Somehow, the 34th had made its way perfectly intact. Within half an hour, the entire regiment was reunited in the cafeteria, breaking bread and idly chatting about the new base, their planes, and plans on what they’d do the first chance they could visit Moscow. The gaggle of new Junior Lieutenants joined Melnikov and Kozlov at their table, weary but happy. The hour passed slowly, and as noon approached there was a roar as a flight of Pe-2 bombers, one by one, came in to land. With their lunch finished, the men of the 34th crowded around the cafeteria’s windows to watch the twin-engined aircraft make their approach. It was strange to see the Peshkas perform their dance from the ground - Aleksei had seen it before while in the air, but this vantage made them seem graceful, not vulnerable. Magnificent, not endangered. It was a terrible shame, terrible beyond description, that such a beautiful machine could be destroyed. There was a sudden, loud whistle from the back of the cafeteria. In unison, every pilot in the hall spun to face the noise only to find themselves staring at the regiment’s command staff standing at the entrance. Major Fokin’s hand lowered from his lips, a childish grin on his face. “Pilots!” He yelled, his voice filling the space. “Fall in!” Quickly, but not so quickly that one might think that there was any real rush, Aleksei followed the others to form a tight cluster at the mouth of the cafeteria. Fokin observed all of them like a proud father, the relief obvious on his face that he could count every one of his care present and accounted for. He smiled thinly before starting to speak. “First, let me welcome you to Vnukovo.” Fokin began, his arms folded comfortably in front of his chest. “For some of you, this may be something of a homecoming, but I am sure that for many this will be your first time at the airfield. I expect all of you to put your best foot forwards, as you represent our regiment.” He turned slightly, and gestured back into the depths of the barracks. “Second, regarding your rooms and your luggage, I have good news - your bags will be here by evening, and after speaking with base administration I was able to secure permission for you to bunk in the same groups as we did back at Rzhev.” Aleksei shot a glance at Taras, who glanced back with a quick grin. Their luck was holding together strong. “Finally,” the Major resumed, his face suddenly serious, “and this is important - we start combat operations tomorrow.” The room grew, ever so slightly, colder. No one was truly surprised to hear this news - the war afforded them little time off. Still, to have it delivered in such a blunt fashion was something of a shock. “I have heard from the crews, and they report they’ll be here by late tonight. Once they arrive, they will resume their duties maintaining your aircraft.” Fokin’s voice echoed back at him in the nearly empty hall. There was, suddenly, movement from far behind the Major, and the sound of chatter - the Peshka pilots were starting to arrive, exhausted and hungry. Fokin glanced back to see what was causing the growing racket, and when he turned back he had a thin smile. “I suppose I can’t keep you any longer.” He shook his head slightly, bemused. “Get some rest today, pilots. If you have any questions, speak to Captain Tsvetkov or myself, and we’ll do what we can to help you.” With that, the pilots broke from their rigid stance and parted from the entrance to cede right of passage to the bomber crews. The Peshka men, who seemed to still be riding an adrenaline high, exchanged strange looks with the PVO pilots standing around them, but didn’t ask any questions. They had other, more tasty things on their mind. Two by two, the pilots of the 34th left the cafeteria, escorted by some Private or Corporal to their new room. When it was Taras and Aleksei’s turn, they simply stood up from the chairs they had been lounging in and walked into the dimly-lit hallways after the soldier. <><><><><><><> Once the regiment had gotten settled, the work of warfighting resumed. Every pilot was ordered to attend a series of briefings regarding the new area of operations, friendly regiments operating in the region, and the objectives of operations in the months to come. It was a pleasant surprise to have an actual briefing room, though it was not much more than a small, single-room building with long rows of chairs and a large blackboard for the use of whoever was giving the lecture. Still, it had walls and a roof, and with that some modicum of warmth. It was a sight more comfortable than the open-air camouflage net at Rzhev. The strategic picture at Vnukovo was, unsurprisingly, grim. The German advance was encroaching further and further towards the capital, and it would not be long until the full might of the Wehrmacht collapsed on the new defensive line. Fighter and bomber squadrons were operating out of only recently-Soviet airfields that put them in striking distance of the front line and, beyond that, the city itself. That was where their war would be fought - in the skies over Moscow. Theirs, and hundreds of other pilots all across the line. There were more regiments being transferred to the region by the day in order to provide some degree of force parity, but Aleksei couldn’t even begin to guess if it would be enough. It would have to be enough - the stakes were just too high. When the barrage of briefings were over, it was already dinnertime, the sun beginning to set. Kozlov felt exhausted, overwhelmed by the information. He was eager to eat and turn in, to try and grab anything resembling a good night’s sleep before the morning’s sorties. From looking at the others’ faces, he could tell he wasn’t the only one. It would be some time before any degree of “normalcy” could settle in. If such a thing could exist. <><><><><><><> The new barracks room was humble, about as much so as it had been at Rzhev. There was something comforting in that, in the uniformity of military spaces. One never had to worry about unfortunate surprises - you would be given the barest minimum, and anything better than that was a happy accident. By late in the evening, trucks carrying their baggage - and, thankfully, the ground crews - had arrived, and after standing in queue with the other 34th men for a few minutes he was able to regain possession of his duffle bag. Taras and Aleksei worked for about an hour to spruce their room up and get squared away, unloading their possessions into closets and drawers. When they were done, life resumed as it had at Rzhev - Melnikov had his book, Kozlov simply stared at the ceiling. He had never been one for hobbies, though he had tried his hand at a few off and on in the past. Nothing had ever really stuck, unfortunately. Perhaps in time he’d find something that called to him. Painting, perhaps? Or poetry? There was a knock at the door. Aleksei craned his head down to look at it, slightly startled. “Come in.” The wood door opened slightly to reveal the unmistakable figure of Commissar Fedoro. “A moment of your time, Lieutenant Kozlov?” The political officer asked. Immediately, Aleksei was scrambling out of bed, hurrying to make himself look more presentable as he crossed the room. The Commissar watched with silent amusement. When Aleksei made it to the door, Fedoro opened it wider to let Kozlov slide through, then closed it quietly behind him. The Junior Lieutenant was nervous. He couldn’t stop himself from speaking first. “Is something the matter, comrade Commissar?” Fedoro gave a toothy grin, and shook his head. “No, Junior Lieutenant, nothing is wrong.” He gave a “comforting” pat on Aleksei’s shoulder. “I, in fact, came to talk to you regarding that contested victory of yours from a few days ago. You remember the one.” Slowly, Kozlov nodded. “I do. Did the Army change their mind?” The political officer chuckled. “Not quite, but I was able to make an… arrangement with them.” He reached into his vest and produced a small box. Opening it revealed its contents - a small medal that Aleksei instantly recognized as the Medal for Courage. He looked at the award, then back up at the Commissar, surprised. The Medal for Courage, an early-war version of the award “I don’t understand.” He admitted, bewildered. “The Army unit maintains its victory, that is unfortunately set in stone.” Fedoro explained. “It’s become something of a point of pride for them. However, as you-” he cleared his throat in an obvious fashion “-assisted them in their kill, I have arranged for you to be awarded for your bravery.” Fedoro softly plucked the medal out from the box and held it between the two men. Aleksei, slowly, extended a hand and took it. The Commissar smiled as he closed the box and put it away. “Congratulations, Junior Lieutenant.” “Thank you, comrade Commissar.” It was really the only thing to say. Fedoro turned on his heels and walked away, to where Kozlov couldn’t say. He watched the officer leave before opening the door and stepping back into the room. Taras looked up at him from over the lip of his book, concerned. “What did he want?” Aleksei flashed the medal, at a loss for words. Melnikov sat up in his bed. “You’re kidding.” “It was part of some deal.” Aleksei explained, as best he could. “That 110 I shot down a few days ago stays a kill for the Army, but I get a medal in exchange.” “You make it seem so simple.” Taras said, sounding a little jealous. Kozlov shrugged. “I didn’t expect to get anything.” He stashed the piece of tin away in the closet. When he had the mental where-with-all to put it on his dress uniform, he would. “God,” he sighed, “I don’t understand anything anymore.” “You’re not the only one, Aleksei.”
  10. Appendix A: Soviet Regiments at Moscow, October 1941 By early October of 1941, the Soviet Air Forces - both VVS and PVO - were in desperate straits. Casualties since the start of hostilities had been horrific, as were material losses. To compensate, regiments were reorganized and shrunk from 63 planes per fighter element to a mere 21. These 21 planes were divided into two 10-aircraft squadrons and reserving one for the regimental commander. BAPs (Bomber Aviation Regiments) and ShAPs (Ground Attack Aviation Regiments) were similarly affected by the needs of the war. As the German front line approached Moscow, the Soviet air forces consolidated what forces it could to fight one last, desperate struggle for survival. 27th IAP Formed in 1938, the 27th IAP is one of a few fighter regiments in the Moscow region that do not belong to the Air Defense Forces. Veterans of both the Winter War of 1940-1941 and the opening days of the Great Patriotic War, the regiment has been operating in the Moscow area since July, reduced to only three squadrons by the time of their arrival - a number reduced again in August when the 27th IAP donated aircraft and pilots to form a new IAP. Currently, the 27th IAP operates out of Klin airbase, located adjacent to the city of the same name. Its two squadrons fly both I-16 and MiG-3 fighters in standard green colors. Due to manpower and aircraft shortages, the squadrons fly mixed formations often. 34th IAP PVO Created in early 1938, the 34th IAP PVO spent much of its early history acting as a kind of reservoir for other forces, with squadrons being redistributed often to various other units in the years leading up to the start of hostilities. The regiment was reorganized in August of 1941, losing its I-16 squadron and most of its MiG-3 aircrews. The 34th operates now out of Vnukovo airbase, southwest of Moscow, and flies only two MiG-3 squadrons. White 2 through White 11 belong to the first squadron, while Red 12 through Red 21 belong to the second. Yellow 1 is the regimental commander’s aircraft, easily distinguishing it from the rest. 46th BAP Founded in 1938, the 46th BAP avoided significant combat deployment in the years leading up to the beginning of the Great Patriotic War. Deployed to combat operations in the Baltic region, the regiment was badly mauled and pulled back to reform and retrain to use the Pe-2 dive bomber. It was pressed back into service in September of 1941, deployed to the Moscow front. The 46th BAP operates currently out of Vnukovo airbase, alongside the 34th IAP PVO, and flies factory-green Pe-2 bombers. 62nd ShAP During the first days of the Great Patriotic War, the 62nd ShAP effectively ceased to exist as a fighting force due to the intensity of combat. It would take until 8th October for a new regiment to take the place of the old, and it was quickly deployed to assist in ground-attack operations in the growing Battle of Moscow. The 62nd ShAP currently flies Il-2 ground attack aircraft out of Vlas’yevo aerodrome, south of the town of Shiryayevo. Their aircraft are painted a standard factory green. 126th IAP PVO Formed in 1940, the 126th IAP PVO saw its first combat during the opening days of the German invasion. After taking significant losses, it was recalled rear-wards for reformation and conversion to lend-lease P-40 Tomahawk fighter aircraft. Returned to the front on 12th October, the 126th has seen a great deal of action since their arrival. The 126th IAP PVO operates from Khimki airbase, just northwest of Moscow. They fly squadrons of P-40 Tomahawks with a flat dark-brown paint scheme. 136th BAP Created in 1940, the 136th BAP saw combat since the beginning of the Great Patriotic War flying bombing missions against the invading forces. It was reconverted recently to Pe-2 bombers, only arriving to the Moscow front on 5th October. Currently, the 136th BAP is the furthest north regiment in this section of the frontline, and operates Pe-2s wearing a green-black camouflage pattern. 233rd IAP Created in 1941, the regiment was not long in existence when war broke out between the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany. Initially consisting of I-16 fighters, the regiment was mostly converted to MiG-3s and was dispatched to the Moscow front by 7th October. The 233rd IAP operates out of Tushino, adjacent to the city of Moscow, and flies mixed MiG-3 and I-16 squadrons. While their I-16s fly using standard green, their MiGs bear red arrows and a green-green camouflage to aid in distinction during combat. 243rd ShAP Unfortunately, little can be said about the 243rd ShAP. What is known is that the regiment operates out of Vlas’yevo aerodrome, and that its Il-2 aircraft are painted in a green-black camouflage pattern. 321st BAP Founded in mid-July 1941, the 321st BAP was created in response to immense bomber losses during the opening days of the Great Patriotic War. The regiment was pulled from combat duties in late August in order to convert to Pe-2 bombers, and was redeployed to the Moscow region by 8th October. The 321st BAP operates out of Vlas’yevo aerodrome, and can be easily identified from other BAP regiments due to the distinctive white lightning-bolt markings they bear alongside the fuselage. 495th IAP PVO Created on the last day of July, 1941, the 495th was rapidly pressed into service as German forces rolled east towards Moscow. At the time, the 495th was not yet the 495th, but rather as the 177th ‘A’ IAP, a support unit to an identically named IAP. It would not be until 27th September that the regiment received a unique name. While possessing a squadron of MiG-3 fighters, the regiment primarily operated I-16s throughout its stay in the Moscow region. The 495th IAP PVO flies out of Vlas’yevo aerodrome, and uses factory-green camouflage for their aircraft. 519th IAP Little is known about this regiment. However, it can be said that the 519th operated out of Tushino alongside the 233rd IAP, and also used an identical green-green camouflage pattern.
  11. This seems like something the career mode sorely needs, and hopefully it’s something we’ll see implemented in the future in some way, shape, or form. All of those changes sound fine by me, though from my experience Soviet regiments already fly at least twice a day. I’m not necessarily assigned to both of them, but they seem common as it stands.
  12. Sorry for the heavily belated reply! Personally, I would be all for bumping the squadron/regiment cap up to 20, but I suppose part of me wonders if it might be more elegant to split the regiments into component squadrons, similar to how each of the German JG have selectable Staffels. How difficult is it to make new units in the Career? And if it’s not horrifically difficult, would it be worth the effort to retroactively introduce them to the game?
  13. I've been doing some research - as best as someone can without access to scholarly sources or a mastery of the Russian language, I must admit - and I've found that Soviet aviation regiments, be they fighter, ground attack, or bomber regiments are considerably smaller than their real-life equivalents. I've found, in my experience, Soviet fighter regiments in the career mode tend to be approximately 9-14 pilots in size, which while a respectable amount, would be historically an over-sized squadron at best. At the start of WW2, Soviet IAPs were in the range of 63 aircrews, and even following the first grueling months of combat still operated in the size of two squadrons of 10 each for a total of 21 aircrews. This size would grow to a larger number as the war progressed, but in any case the historical number is considerably larger than the one represented in game. I understand that having a list of 21 pilots to sort through and, if acting as a regiment leader, manage might be unwieldy. However, I do think that it would add some degree of realism and also impress upon the player better the scale of aerial combat during the Second World War over Russia.
  14. Hey everyone, just a quick update! Unfortunately, there won't be any new chapters this week - I'm still trying to get some flights in at Vnukovo, and I'm trying to come up with a consistent system for how regiments and their sub-squadrons work for all future entries in the series. My plan for next week is to have an appendix of sorts that will go into the regiments in the Moscow area and some details on them, and a chapter about the first day the 34th spends at Vnukovo as they get acquainted. After that, it's back to combat!
  15. The new Velikie Luki looks great! Makes me hopeful we might see the terrain added to the career mode in some shape or form!
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