• You should play this one, if you haven't already.Here's the link over at SAS.

    Having seen the poster on this site I thought I'd have a squizz to see what the fuss is about. I've been away from the IL2 world most of the last couple of years other than when I get a momentto try and finish off our Tunisia campaign. I haven't tried the BOB one yet as the Malta campaign took my fancy. This battle has always appealed to me - great setting, clear skies, plucky underdogs vs the Fascists, crap planes as far as the eye can see (hint: when you UPGRADE to a Hurricane, you know it's a fun campaign).

    Anyway, I'm now four missions in - this is the most IL2 I have played in months, I should point out - and it was hard for me to close down the game. Here are the things I like about it so far.

    -It sucks you in straight away. The first mission was really unexpected and a great way to familiarise yourself with the island yet without being a drag.
    -Everything works right (not as easy as it sounds)and it was a snap to install - like the old campaigns before mods.
    -It has a great planeset - I'm still in the Gladiator and enjoying the experience. I'm flying against a relatively uncommon foe in IL2 campaigns - the RA and its assortment of birds.
    -The difficulty level is pretty fair. The AI level and number aren't overwhelming (yet) and that's a good thing as the player starts off in a Gladiator. You can mix it up, bag a couple of planes by aiming carefully and jinking around, but you won't shoot them down in droves, especially not without getting tagged yourself. This may change as the campaign progresses of course-it's still very early days.
    -There are some great details on the base, shipping in the harbour, boats patrolling the area. I like this kind of thing.
    -Briefings are accurate and clear.
    -I've never played a campaign that uses radar so am finding the intercept messages soooo helpful. I must work out how to do this myself. It makes fighting in the Gladiator much easier.
    -Missions are a good length. I don't have time nor the interest to fly for 20 minutes in a straight line just to get shot down instantly.

    -The main skin looks great (Kristorf!)but doesn't seem to fit the particular Gladiator model perfectly - there's a bulge beneath the fuselage which juts out from the skin.
    -The RA birds would look nicer in better skins. Pilots with nationality specific skins is always a nice touch too - though man it is boring to do.
    -Personally I prefer not to have the historical info of the mission right at the start of the briefing as it ruins the surprise. However, that's just me and I know many enjoy it. Also, it can be gotten around by just scrolling down a bit.
    - Just a question. Is the altitude of the missions historical? 3-4,000ft is very good when you're trying to climb in a Glad but it struck me as being pretty low. I would've thought more along the lines of 3,000m. It still 'feels' high enough to be enjoyable though.
    - The same jeep drives alongside the runway at the start of every mission. That's being picky I know, but varying things like that makes it more interesting.

    As you can see, there's not much I don't like about this campaign. Looking forward to playing though more missions, time allowing. Oh, and that whole Tunisia thing, too!
    Anyway, cheers for the effort Monty27.


  • Thanks, FlatSpinMan, it goes without saying that you wrote the book on immersive campaigns. I did every one of yours from way back before I got into Il2 Mods.

    You mention a number of excellent points that are all on my list to address. To build in layers of detail I make a pass through the whole campaign to alter one or two specific areas each time and then further passes for different areas. It took months to get it to the level its at. I would certainly like to make a few more runs over this following your suggestions. Enough passes with feedback of your quality will improve the campaign immensely.

    On altitudes: my research indicated that the RA did like to go in pretty low, when they bothered to complete a strike at all! Luftwaffe attacks vary a great deal more. When Fleigerkorps X arrives it all gets a lot more fierce with Ju88s, fast and low, more Ju87s but escorted more effectively and Heinkels at all altitudes.

    The skins/Gladiator models are an old issue that I thought had been patched. It should be 2-Bladed MkIs up to mission 04 then 3-bladed MkIIs after that. This is one of the things to correct with the new Malta Skinpack, no more wierd Seaglads.

    As you have pointed out, this is an arena absolutely crying out for a proper A&A Skinpack, this along with the scenery/mission tweaks would constitute a new release, a major update. This campaign is almost a year old now and DBW has moved ahead quite well. The idea was to engage people in modded campaigns and missions from a fairly common baseline, to make the install easier.

    The trouble I found (previously) with skinning a campaign, is that not all skinners actually like to share their work or reply to (several) email requests. Many intrepid campaign builders simply ignored this issue and gave credit where its due but used whatever they could find in the public domain. The trouble is that many others abused this privilege and poached stuff without credit. In any case, I feel you must have personal permission to pack a skin in any package other than the original. Skinners quite rightly like to keep tabs on where their work is and in what context it is applied, I certainly do, having worked hard to produce campaigns to a good standard. So ultimately, I just left it well alone but always knew a big element was missing.

    Imagine my joy to discover the best Il2 skinners all in one place and quite happy to talk to me? I have a lot more experience now, work faster and learned a ton of new mission tricks (CY6s DZ, know that one?), so working with you guys I would like to finally skin and polish Battle of Britain, which is progressing nicely, skin and update Malta and finalise a couple of other 55-Mission campaigns that are in the works and will be built with A&A skins right from the start, having already spoken to several key individuals. These campaigns are also nearly ready and are: - Ace of Spades, the history of JG53, and The Flying Tigers.


  • Really looking forward to the Flying Tigers one Monty. We spent a long time on the skins and I've been hoping that somebody would use them for a good few missions. They really are my favourite skin pack that we have done smile

  • Your skins were the inspiration to approach the subject. The original notes on colour matching and compensating for old kodachrome photos were fascinating and are also emphasised in the illustrated manual.

    The campaign takes advantage of all of the skins and of course we have a great Lower Burma map. I also built the bases at Baoshan and Kunming in China which fit really well into Agracier's Hankow map.

    So far its a beautiful campaign to look at, the maps are stunning. Have to look out a few mission pics...

  • Whoops! Dodgy connection today...


  • That does look good. What does JG53 cover? They were a busy unit so there's lots of scope.
    I know what you mean about doing multiple passes in campaign building. There's a phenomenal amount of details. I can't really spare much time for it now but I fully understand how long it takes.
    Like anything in this weird hobby/part time job we all share. You'd know about that, too, Rob, eh?

  • Well as you know, I like detailed missions and scenery and found the variety of JG53 very interesting.

    The campaign presents a 5-mission 'snapshot' from 11 different theatres: The timeline is chronological and progresses through several scenarios and variants of the Bf 109, from early Emils to late Gustavs.

    The Battle of France
    The Battle of Britain
    Operation Barbarossa
    The Siege of Malta
    The Siege of Stalingrad
    The Western Desert
    The Second Malta Blitz
    The Kasserine Pass
    The Sciacca Staffel
    Monte Cassino and Anzio

    ...And of course what a platform to showcase some beautiful skins. Phas3e?s Sciacca Staffel, featuring cartoon Pik A's characters, springs to mind right away. Boelcke and Emel have also studied JG53 in some detail, and Travis himself has since expressed an interest in looking over the whole thing. So we would aim to present each snapshot as authentically as possible, I have written the missions and begun the scenery building.

    The skins here have changed my whole attitude though. Plain vanilla campaigns are only half-done, I now understand...

  • ... yep Monty, the African part of the JG53 looks very appealing ...

    I am currently turning your 55 mission DAF campaign into a DAK blue side one for my personnal use and am currently nearly half done ...

    Just a (constructive) suggestion, in order to break any repetitive pattern, I change the location and type of nearly all stationary vehicules, humans and AC on the base that is daily used for our missions as if some sort of life had taken place since I last took off from it, this is of course very time consuming and I understand that you don't have any time left to do it once you have completed a campaign ...

    I also did it for the FlatSpinMan'sTunisia missions I beta tested.

    I do the same with convoys too and "de"populated the red bases (including palm trees) in order to have FPS friendly missions because of course I had to populate the DAK blue ones ...

    I also added quite a bunch of Italian flights, but all this is just for my personnal fun as I didn't even try to respect the "Historical" whatever ... wink

    Monty if you feel like having your African bases sort of tweaked, don't hesitate mate I'll do it for you, and of course will take no credit for that ... wink

  • Oh yes you will, I'll make sure of that!

    Love to take a look at your mission tweaks Mick. Could you do a few and send them to me? - Just the mission files would be needed. I have an ongoing patch for issues that come up, this sounds like we could post an update/enhancement.

    Also, why not go the whole hog and let me do new briefings/tweak weather if necessary for the German campaign so we can release it as a proper DBW campaign from another POV, so that everyone can enjoy it?

    While we are about it, lets take a look around here and find some better Italian Skins. Boelcke, cheruskerarmin and Kristorf did a great job on everything else in there. - Apart from the No.112 P-40, which JaRink is looking at for us - (when is up to you mate, just mentioning it.)

  • ... sure Monty, no prob, just PM me an email address and I'll send you the first 20+ mission files ... wink

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