The last month of Autumn has begun and we're preparing the next update for our three projects. We plan to release it in two weeks (doh!) or so and today we'll tell you about the upcoming additions. Of course, the stars of the show are FOUR new aircraft, two for Bodenplatte and two for Flying Circus.
USAF P-47D-28 Thunderbolt is one of the biggest, powerful and menacing single-engine fighters of WWII. Its radial 18-cylinder engine with turbocharger, intercooler and water injection boost system enables this monster to reach 700 km/h at 7000 m altitude. Eight 12.7 mm M2.50 Browning machine guns with 3400 rounds total give a new meaning to the phrase 'spray and pray'. In addition, for strike missions, this fighter can be equipped with six unguided rockets and up to three 500 and 1000 pound bombs (225 and 455 kg). Being a late war aircraft, it has many interesting design peculiarities you'll be able to experience in the near future.
Luftwaffe Messerschmitt Bf 109 K-4 "Kurfürst" is a glaring example of the inconsistency of the late war aircraft production in the Third Reich. This plane combines the newest weapon and engine technologies with maximum possible simplification and cost-cutting of the secondary systems. Its engines are a pinnacle of DB-605 line - standard DB-605 DB with water-methanol injection system and DB-605 DC with higher boost and power - and both of them will be available in our sim. Armed with 30 mm MK-108 gun and 13 mm MG-131 machine guns, it could also carry 250 or 500 kg bombs for strike missions (this is the first Bf 109 modification in our project that can carry a 500 kg bomb). It is interesting to note that this modification could retract its tailwheel to reach higher speeds - up to 715 km/h at 6200 m.
Royal Air Force Sopwith Camel was one of the mainstay fighters of World War I. It was a contradictory machine, but in the right hands, it could face any foe. Carrying 168 liters of fuel (a very big reserve for its time), it could go on long patrols. This amount of fuel hampered its performance and made it hard to control and inert in a dogfight while full, but with about a half of fuel spent, the aircraft got a second breath and its horizontal and vertical maneuverability became on par with the best fighters of that time. Its two 7.69 Vickers Mk.I machine guns (late modification with the rate of fire increased to 750 instead of 500 and 745 m/s muzzle speed) were linked belt fed instead of fabric ones, reducing the misfire chance. It could also carry four 20 lb Cooper bombs.
The Deutsche Luftstreitkräfte Pfalz D.IIIa was a second line fighter mainly used for escorting bombers and attacking the enemy balloons. It had very simple cockpit instruments because of the cost-cutting. Its one-and-a-half plane airframe (a design previously adopted by the French) was sturdy enough to sustain higher loads during sharp turns and dives. Its armament is standard for a late WWI German aircraft - two 7.92 mm Luftgekühltes Maschinengewehr LMG 08/15 (based on the original design of Hiram Maxim) with 650 RPM rate of fire and muzzle speed of 825 m/s, fabric belt fed. This fighter had an advantage of an excellent field of view, especially in the upper hemisphere.
For Tank Crew - Battle of Prokhorovka project we plan to release 4 new player controllable tanks and the map of the southern part of the Kursk salient, but it will happen early next year. However, you'll see the new functionality being developed for this project earlier - it should be noted it will benefit not only the tankers but pilots as well. For instance, in the coming update, you'll experience the higher fidelity damage modeling for AI controllable ground objects such as trucks and tanks. Before, there was no difference where you hit a truck, but in the new system, each 'simple' vehicle has many types of simulated parts - wheels or trucks, engine, ammo rack, fuel tanks, driver, turret, main gun. By hitting a simple AI vehicle at these parts you can immobilize it or render it inoperable by damaging a turret or main gun if any. Statistics system will consider it destroyed if its ammo, explosive cargo or fuel tanks detonated or its crew was killed or its engine was destroyed or its suspension has been rendered inoperable (at least two wheels or tracks damaged). All this not only makes the tank missions more interesting but also increases the simulation accuracy of the ground attack missions for pilots. We also develop two scenario campaigns (USSR and Germany) for Tank Crew, each one containing 10 missions set in the second week of July 1943 near Prokhorovka.
Another important change in the upcoming update is the adjusted logic used for scoring a kill. Previously, an aircraft was considered destroyed and a kill was awarded for it if it was damaged enough to prevent it from continuing the mission (for example, heavy damage of the controls, no fuel left, engine damage). Now, the 'aircraft lost' and 'kill awarded' events will be separated and their logic will be adjusted. An aircraft will be considered lost if its fuselage or wing at the base is broken, its pilot is killed or ejected. The victory, on the other hand, will be awarded if the scored hits were followed by the mission exit or disconnect in multiplayer, 'aircraft lost' event or the landing far from an allied airfield. Thus we motivate multiplayer players to try to reach a friendly airfield even if their aircraft is heavily damaged - even a hard landing there (as long as you don't break a wing at its base or fuselage) won't count your aircraft as lost and your enemy won't get the kill.
We'll have other multiplayer improvements in the coming update as well: we have managed to find a way to synchronize weapon fire events on different multiplayer clients better, minimizing the total time of the delay to the total client-server-client ping and optimize the net delay compensation routines for transmitting aircraft positions and orientations. Server ping calculations will be also corrected - this is required for further improvements in the multiplayer lobby. Of course, we never forget about the singleplayer experience too - in the same update, we'll add 2-3 new mission types for Career mode, including Cargo airdrop and Free hunt.