Hello all, merry Christmas. This will be probably a long post, but I hope a constructive one. First off, some caveats. I apologize for the clickbaity title. Second, I’d like to make clear that BoX is the best WW2 simulator on the market and excellent overall. I have great respect for the developers and what they do. Now having said that, there’s some things I’ve been thinking out lately (and not so lately) that I’d like to find out. Some things would be best covered by dev blogs, other by just some communication from 1C/777. With that in mind, here’s a list of things that I’d (and probably most other people) would like to know. I’m aware that some of these things are probably not feasible for various reasons – technical, scope, budgetary etc – but what isn’t doable today frequently can be doable tomorrow so I’ve included them anyway.
TL/DR for the lazy: Could we get some details please?
1. How does the damage model work? While 1C/777 recently improved it, to my knowledge, no one ever from the devs has stated how or what kind of damage model that BoX uses. This is why some people will say that it uses HP boxes while others will say it has complex system modeling better than anything else. The truth is that while I suspect the latter is much more truer than the former, no one has ever actually said how it functions. Why not? How does it actually work? Related, how does the game display graphically damage? Could 1C/777 tell us?
2. Engine modeling – same thing. Here I think the community has done a decent amount of work to reverse engineer the engine model that is used, but why should we have to? Is it possible for them to simply say how the design functions? This seems basic.
3. Could we get a BoBp roadmap? During the development of Kuban, fairly early we got a roadmap of their planned releases. Since game development is a very much in flux type of thing, it didn’t work out exactly that way, but it was appreciated that we had an idea what they were thinking. Why can’t we get one of these for Bodenplatte?
4. Could we get a roadmap for tank crew and flying circus? Since these are much less further along, it is of course understood that these are much more in flux, but I’d like to know what is planned beyond next release (tank crew) or any release, for FC.
5. 3rd party development. What is the status of this? Obviously we have the Po-2 which is just released. This in my opinion is very important because there are a lot of planes that are missing which would round out the sim. As it stands I openly question how we’re ever going to get them without other developers selling them to us (in other words, the DCS type model). I’m quite concerned that the first 3rd party plane is a night bombing biplane in a sim where there is no night combat dominated by high performance fighters, with no apparent purpose. I wonder how well it will sell, and if it doesn’t will this discourage further development/developers. Especially in the early war period, BoX is missing a lot of planes that would really round out the sim. There are well enough aircraft that a 3rd party developer could create a “forgotten planes” pack and I’d buy it, for sure. For example, this is just what I’d say is missing/would be valuable to add:
I-15 Bis, I-153, I-16 series 20 and 29, Lagg-3 series 4/8 and 66, early series Yak-1, early series Yak-7 (BoS timeframe), Ju-87B/R, Do-17Z, MC200, IAR-80/81, Yak-9 (early for BoK), He-177, Me-110F, Late series SB bomber (series 18?), IL-4, FW-190A6, LA-5F late series (in other words, with the FN style cockpit), SU-2 attack aircraft, Hs-123, Me-410.
Probably have missed some here, but there’s enough for several plane packs. The only way I can see us ever getting all of this is if outside developers take this on, so this is actually very important.
6. Graphics technology. 1C/777 upgraded from DX9 to DX11, and there was a big increase in performance when they did that. Are there any plans for DX12, or better yet, vulkan? I’m aware that they probably don’t know much about this (matter of fact the only game I know that supports vulkan is X4 foundations), but I suspect that would be another performance boost. Also, as far as I know, BoX doesn’t use physically based rendering (PBR), is this something that they may take on?
7. Contact spotting/visual bubble. You can’t spot anything in the air beyond 10km, which should depend on atmospheric conditions. I know they’d like to improve this but beyond that, is there any ideas on what would be needed to make this a reality?
8. Multiplayer/netcode. As anyone knows who plays, while it’s functional, that’s a long way from saying that it’s where we as players want it to be. I’ll just go and state that what I’d consider – and probably most would consider – the ideal state would be an online war that could be played out in real time built into the game. Meaning, support in game for something similar to the campaign that you see in Falcon BMS (which, 20 years later, is still a masterpiece). Funny thing is that with the single player campaign that already exists, there’s a lot of the functionality built into the game. If that could be made available to a multiplayer environment – co-op against the AI and players on both sides – that would be incredible, especially if it allowed tank crew at the same time. Server admins that have done realistic expert and TAW have done amazing things by using script language, but it would be ideal if they didn’t have to. On the netcode side, it needs work to support more. More players, more AI, and more objects. Currently most servers make use of only static targets because moving, live tanks etc use up so much resources that it takes away from what actual players can do. There are also the occasional desynch issues which must be killed, where one person sees something different than another. It’s not common but occasional isn’t never, which is what’s needed.
9. Lobby system. For disclosure, I’m a member of Air Combat Group (www.aircombatgroup.co.uk) which is a 150-170 man combat flight sim organization. We run a weekly campaign that re-enacts historical battles; each player is assigned to a squadron and missions are run in full squadrons. Currently, in BoX, the joining the server portion of the campaign is a dumpster fire (I wish I could say otherwise but I just can’t). Since full squadrons are joining at about the same time to ensure that they make their assigned mission times, getting in correctly is extremely difficult. It can take over 30 minutes for a squadron to join, simply because of the apparent 5 man limit of simultaneous connections that the dserver will accept. We even have designated people that order who is joining when – even a custom bit of software that a member wrote to regulate the joining process – and it’s still a root canal, every week. BoX desperately needs some kind of system that regulates the joining process and queues up people joining – preferably with a notation of where they are in the queue – instead of rejecting them and throwing them out in the lobby with no explanation of what is wrong. In short, the lobby system needs a total rework. It is known that devs plan on redoing it, but what form will it take? We would very much like to know if the new system will address our issues or if it’ll just look nicer and address nothing.
10. Air marshal. Other than what it is in extremely general terms, I can’t tell you what it is. Could 1C/777 at least provide what they are planning with regards to this? It’s ok if plans change – and we are informed – but right now I couldn’t tell you much more than “air marshal”.
11. API support. In CLoD, because of the data that we could access, we were able to write a full ground control radar interface in unity. You can see that here -
12. Missing mods/mod labels. With few exceptions, modifications don’t have the right labels. For example, blister turret on a Pe-2 s87 option when installed makes the aircraft a series 110, not an 87. German modifications are not listed by R number (R2, etc). It would be nice if this was changed. Other mods not in game currently, say like La-5F with the newer canopy, would be appreciated.
13. Future of product. Is the idea to do BoBp and then the pacific still? Do they still plan on doing midway, or another area first? Myself and more than a few people think that New Guinea would be better for starting the pacific out in, but what are their plans? How is the work on that coming? If we could get a update on the intent, that would also be appreciated.
I’m sure there are more things than this that others would like to know. If you can think of any please add them below. My point is that as customers of the product – I’ve been supporting them since beta, mostly gladly – I’d like to just know what’s in mind about the above. I’d like to know what you all are thinking below, thanks for reading if you went through it all.