banniere

I got acquainted with Oleg few years back acroos beta-testing.

It had been a while I considered going to Moscow in order to meet him and talk directly instead of by mean of a computer monitor.
So there I went on February 16th in a flight toward Moscow.

locaux de 1C


On the 17th as it had been arranged with Oleg I went to his studios in Moscow for a small visit and the opportunity of an interview.
After ringing him Oleg came to fetch me in the street down his office. Once we passed the security filters where I was nicely asked my passport I found myself in the middle of the very studios where IL2 was born and BoB was being created.
I had barely come in when Oleg walks me all around the place! There are a lot of stuff to see and I am going to be in for quite a show!

Oleg introduces me and I show him the comic books of Romain [Hugault] which attracts all the studio's programmers like flies! It is not every day that a french comic book is using the russian front as background (these books garnered a lot of interest!)

This was the time Oleg let me in the hands of his lead programmer Roman Deniskin. Indeed Roman is in charge of the programmation of engine management, damage model, aircraft systems, structure and so on...

Roman Deniskin et moi


He begins by giving me a demo of his work loading a quick mission with a Stuka.

Then I got my first big surprise: Roman is busy starting up the Stuka and its systems using his mouse, clicking here an there!!! This is the first big new: the cockpit is clickable!
Roman completes his starting procedure by switching the sight on and adjusting to his preferred brightness.
Then come the take-off and the initial climb, everything goes well when I notice that as we are climbing higher and higher ice is forming inside and outside the windshield!
I mention this to Roman who then looks at me smiling and just look toward the right cockpit console and clicks the windows de-ice button!!!
A light goes on then on the Junkers instrument panel and the ammeter reacts, confirming the de-icing system is on.


Happy with his little surprise Roman decides to show me something else on the Stuka, he begins showing the new physics engine and has fun letting mortar shells fall besides the Stuka on the ground. There is no possible comparison with Il2 anymore, the blast of the explosions damage objects and may even disturb them. As soon as he gets too much near the Ju87 it somersaults and and gets half destroyed with a thick pall of smoke.
The smoke effects are brand new and Oleg takes the opportunity to explain that they will be influenced by the wind.
The weather will be fully dynamic and the wind cones will be usable.
Roman carries on with demos of the Junkers damage model. He is using his mouse and select an english .303 weapon. He then clicks like hell on the Stuka and explains that all small caliber bullets will be taken in account in the aircraft DM and indeed after two dozens of mouse clicks I notice after every click a hole appeared in the aircraft fuselage at the exact location where he clicked.
For shells the behavior will be a bit different as visually the effects will be similar to IL2 but the damages themselves will be modelized within the internal structure which has a very detailed modelization. 

DM du stuka        DM du hurricane

As a conclusion Roman explains to me the different circuits and systems which will be part of the damage model and the evolution in respect of our beloved game is impressive indeed.
He shows me that many subsystems of the engine are modelized like for instance the oil pump, the hydraulic pump and more surprisingly engine pistons!
Indeed he starts the engine of a Tiger Moth and the slows the simulation time! There we can watch the exhaust smoke out of each pipe one after the othe and this not just eye candy...this is part of the damage model.

   



I have seen enough and let Roman to his work to look for other stuff!

Oleg takes me to the 3D-modellers which are having a titanic task!
Not only because the internal structure is modelized but also because Oleg asks them to optimise their 3D models to the maximum extant in order to improve game smoothness.
There is no doubt however that a lot of progress has been accomplished in this respect.
I am shown the Bf-109E3 cockpit which is absolutely beautiful especially with light and shadow effects.
Oleg takes advantage of the discussion to show me the documentation they use and it is very simple: for this aircraft (and for many others) he makes use of the original manufacturing drawings of the builder he keeps a permanent contact in.


Then we go to see the people working on vehicles. Once again precison and optimisation are the master words here!
Oleg shows me how his modeller used a vehicle to create another one.
They are quite smart at Maddox Games and they use nifty tricks to gain time.
Oleg explains that on some vehicles the payload will be parametrable and this will have consequences on this vehicle damage model!
For instance a fuel-laden truck will not react to straffing in the same way as it were empty.

vehicules     vehicules 2


They also showed me the modelling of the buildings which will be present in the cities !
Some of them will include animations, like the London bridge (which will open itself when needed to let boats pass through) and Big Ben which will be synchronised with the mission time. Maddox Games really goes far into realism...
Oleg explained to me that at the moment the London Bridge is blue, but was brown in 1940... They of course modelled the bridge in the accurate colour. He showed me as well that by changing the texture of a building, you can change his whole aspect, which is handy to gain time while having a good diversity in the cities.



building modeling


Another detail on which they worked is the modelling of the pilots !
When in IL2 we had only one pilot whose uniform color changed, BoB will bring a whole lot of different pilots, in totally different clothes ! Even parachutes will be different... Indeed Oleg told me that the English parachutes were steerable, while the German ones were not at the moment. They are different in the game as well...
Thus Oleg's team dedicated itself to the modelling of all these differences.

The DM of the ships also evolved and are now more complex, so the straffing will have a measurable effect on the ships. Each ship will be divided in several sub-assemblies which will bring a lot of immersion. A seabed was modelled, and the wreck of a ship will have an impact on the water surface and the waves.

After a good meal offered by Oleg we get back in the office, and spend some time with the team responsible of the map.

The person working on it is using an old map which he superimposed on his modelling tool and is reproducing all the ancient roads exactly where they should be ! I think that it's really insane to give such a hard work to the team, but in a way, that's why we love Oleg's games !
Oleg gives me informations about the new textures they will use and told me that his photo experience helps him a lot to get the most realistic textures possible !
For those who do not know, Oleg is gifted for photography and is known in this field ! He often tests the last Canon cameras and is a specialist in underwater photography... I advice you to visit his website, you will be able to see by yourselves what he can do : http://www.maddoxart.net/

fontaine    pierre

After this most interesting visit, Oleg met me in his office to answer the questions of my interview, most of which coming from C6 members. 

Let's begin the questions ! The answers were given by Oleg Maddox(OM), Dmitry Soldatenkov(DS) and Roman Deniskin(RD).

- What kind of new improvements will be done about the AI in BOB ?
DS: AI is more proficient in interacting with other units and acting in large groups. It employs varying tactics in both attacking and defending, and looks more personalized as AI skills may vary from unit to unit.
OM: I would say
it is simply way more complex AI than in IL-2. If with the release of original Il-2 users were impressed with the most “humanized” AI behavior on the market… Then with BoB you will be more than impressed in comparison to any flight sim.

- Will clouds, night or sun affect AI behavior ?
DS: Yes
, as well as the shape of the aircraft, AI skill and level of awareness all count in its ability to see and distinguish targets.

- Will the interaction between players and AI be improved ?
OM:
Yes.

- What kind of new improvements will be made about the FM in BOB ?
OM:
Will be more precise for each aircraft, and a more complex model of internal airplane structure adds more details into its behaviour.


- Will the icing condition in high altitude be simulated ?
RD:
Yes. At least it is working now in code – it is not so a dramatic effect now for the airframe, but has a strong effect on the engine and prop.

- What kind of new improvements will be made about the DM in BOB ?
OM
&RD: It is a mix of Il-2 and new DM. Better to say some part - the way more complex than Il-2 type DM (improoved due to more complex internal structure) plus actual hits (holes) shown for the small caliber weapons.
And in general in short words - more complex interaction of DM due to way more modelled details of the internal structure.

- Which aircraft systems will be simulated in the game ?
RD
: All listed. Even more : all the listed systems are modelled, they can be damaged, they wear down from abusement, and they affect each other as they perform. Say losing hydro pump from a stalled engine will shut the hydraulic-operated landing gear, or abusing electrical system would degrade plane electrical instruments, and if you try to press out pneumatic-operated landing flaps with a battle-damaged pistons, you would lose pressure in braking system as well, and so on, and so on.

- Will we have a clickable cockpit ?
RD
: Yes. As an option.

- In Il2 we had 2 main playing methods : cooperative or dogfight.
Is there anything new about that ? A new playing method ?

OM:
There will be similar to old modes and completely new. Say in dogfight will be possible to fly bomber with multicrew positions... just one sample. There will be possibility to connect and replace the bot, if there is permission for that action (many options to limit or to add in settings).

- Will it be possible to reload guns from the gunnery stations in the bombers ?
RD
: Yes, but simplified at the moment.

- How will the engine management be improved ?
RD
: It is too much to tell – the engine model itself is a very complex one, and includes many features of a real aircraft. In full-real mode you are to operate the range of controls – from throttle to mixture, wep enablers, radiators, carb heaters – and failure to keep the engine in its limits would result in premature wear, loss of performance, and failures. This applies to all-out full real, you can change into a il-2-like simple system where you can’t damage your motors whatever you chose to do.

- Will it be possible to rearm and refuel in a cooperative mission ?
OM:
Proabbly. The question is how to make it looking more or less realistic but at the same time to keep playbilty. Speaking about many aircraft in reality the ground crew wasn’t able to refuel (rearm) them for a shot time... Do you want to sit (wait) in the cockpit for a couple of hours?

- How the radar will improve the game ?
OM
: It will work according to their real life features (including speech). For German and British side – by different way.

- The radio chattering is really important for the atmosphere especially during the BOB because there were a lot of different nationality of pilot and there was a lot of radio guidance due to the radar
What kind of new improvements will be made about that in BOB ?

OM:
Totally new speech engine

- What kind of new improvements will be made about the user interface in BOB ?
RD
: Absolutely new GUI. Nothing common with IL-2. With lots of new ways to customize your controls and personal aircraft set-ups.

- Will it be possible for some human players to exchange positions if they are in the same plane ?
(we have already talked about that but if you can give me more details …)
OM:
If the pilot killed and gunner would conrol aircraft? Should be possible, however the body of pilot must be disappearing. This feature is under question.

- What kind of new improvements will be made about the FMB in BOB ?
OM:
Copy-Paste, including many objects at once and completely new features. But general interface we’re keeping like in Il-2 – more easy to learn when you are experienced with Il-2 mission builder.

- Will you release tools or technical information about the things that will be need to be worked by third party, like maps, adding 3d models (humans, vehicles, buildings, ships, and so on) previously to the release of BoB?
That way, we can start gathering information while we wait for the sim.

OM: After release. Some things are impossible to release untill the time when we’ll get final version. It is separate work. The core is ready, but some simple user interface will be later. Also, to make instructions – that is a big deal and time. So I don’t expect the release of external tools for third party right with the release. But I personally hope that it may happens soon after release.

- What kind of things will it be possible to do for a third party ??
OM: In time, not right with the release – all these things: Aircraft, ground and sea objects with AI (then possibly controllable by player), new maps. But size of maps will be limited. We will make big maps only ourselves that to go for the next sims in a series...

Will we have a victory sharing system in the game ?
OM: It is possible

- Will the game be compatible with the 3D technology ?
OM:Such things define now only graphics cards, their drivers and power. We don’t need really to make anything special.

- Will the game be compatible with the triple screen technology ? (Triple Head Matrox)
OM: Yes.

- Will the game be optimized for the multithreading processing ?
OM: Yes.

- Will we have more human’s life on the ground ?
OM: In time - possible. Now all things depends of our own speed of work. And how many different types of human (soldiers or even civilians) will be in the sim – just god knows. We plan many. But can’ say right now how many will be in release.

- For the track IR user. Did you think about a head movements limitations according to the G factor ?
OM: Yes. And according cockpit (canopy glass) limitations as well

- Will the weather be dynamic ?
OM: Yes. Very complex code. Details – more close to release.

- Will we have the trail wind from the other inflight planes ?
OM:
Yes.

- What kind of new improvements will be done about the sounds in BOB ?
OM:
Completely new 3D sound engine

- If you were a normal player what would you like the most in the game ?
and what would you like the least ?

OM : I personally would like to have simulation with elements of the gameplay.
Or by other words I would like to have the good game, that we may really name by this word : s_i_m_u_l_a_t_o_r. Last time I didn’t see such games, offering these both features in comparable level between each other.
In additionall we also need to implement so easy settings of customizable difficulty level that would be useful for complete newbies.

- Will the oxygen system be functionnal ?
OM:
If you mean manual use of oxygen mask then I would say yes. As an option of difficulty settings.

- How Will you change the black out system ? (for positive and negative G)
OM:
We don‘t plan to change it in graphics. But just small changes will be in program code. In Il-2 it was almost optimal replacement comparing to the real life.

Now the interview is finished , just a little photo finish :)

Oleg et moi

I would like to thanks Oleg and all the team of Maddox Games who warmly welcomed me in their offices and who answered all my questions.
I just want to say in conclusion that even if user who we are have sometimes the impression that Oleg doesn't listen us we have to keep in mind that he is very close to the communauty !!!! Oleg read the forum of 1C between 3 and 4 times a week.
During my visit he asked for my opinion on many things and his mailing list is more than impressive !
As soon as he has a doubt he questions someone of  his contacts everywhere in the world to have an answer.
He works in close collaboration with big English and Germans museums to make of this simulator a must have !

Thanks to you to have read this review and see you soon for some fresh news

Grégory "PB0_Foxy" Lemasson
great thanks to jvmasset & krasno for the translation
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