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Canvas Knights - Interview




Canvas Knights - IL-2 W.W.I Mod - An Interview with the Modding Team


by Gremlin, Wings Of Honor Staff
on 24-Apr-2009



Canvas Knights - Fokker D.VII - Screenshot by EasyRider (05-Mar-2009)

The Canvas Knights Modding Team is a relatively newly formed group of dedicated W.W.I flight sim enthusiasts who want to bring W.W.I into Maddox Games' highly appreciated W.W.II flight simulation IL-2.

The effort started in late 2008 / early 2009 and has since then made some progress on the mod.

We wanted to know how far the team is with the mod and what their plans are.




Wings Of Honor: Who had the initial idea for this effort and how did the team form up?

Canvas Knights Mod Team: It was just a matter of time before someone talked about doing such a mod, really many of us were thinking the same thing at the same time. We already existed as a team.

WoH: Who are the team members and what are their tasks?

Canvas Knights - Handley Page O400 Bomber 3D Model - Screenshot by Von Deutschmark (12-Mar-2009)

CK:

  • Fireball (Programmer)
  • Mr Jolly (Coding work & 3D)
  • RAF_Magpie (3D)
  • Deutschmark (3D)
  • IAF.116~Jagr (3D)
  • American (3D)
  • RAF_Wolf (3D)
  • Hunin (FM)
  • Lt.Wolf (FM)
  • 4./JG53_Howlin (FM)
  • Friction (Textures)
  • Hawk (Textures)
  • RAF_Loke (Textures)
  • EasyRider (Map Making)
  • Asheshouse (Map Making)
  • CamelJock (Importer)
  • Davew (resourcing)
  • P/O W. 'Moggy' Cattermole (resourcing)
  • Devil952 (resourcing)
  • Ulrich Rudel (sound work)

Canvas Knights - Fokker D.VII and Ground Units - Screenshot by EasyRider (17-Mar-2009)

WoH: Could you provide me with a road map of milestones you want to achieve?

CK: Well without anything being written into stone let us answer that one on a conceptual level. We plan to release a cohesive plane set in the very first package. Something that is instantly usable by the community on a larger scale then just the quick dogfight server. What that means in practice is not totaly up in the air, but not solid enough to state any facts right now. We hope for a two digit number of planes in a set that reaches beyond the usual single seater suspects - again speaking for the first package only.

WoH: Is Canvas Knights aimed at to be a W.W.I mod of IL-2 or do you want to make a total conversion?

CK: We are not sure yet what options we will build into the finished intaller - an examplary question at the moment would be wether we want to offer the new content in total conversion form or just enable users to include the WW1 content into their allready existing modded Il-2 instal. Right now we think that letting the user decide on installation might be the best route to take.

WoH: Do some of you have experience with OFF Phase 3 and was the fact that an old sim like CFS 3 could be transformed totally to a W.W.I flight sim an inspiration for your idea?

CK: No this wasn't the inspriation for our idea, however our inspiration has really been the technical quality of Oleg's IL2 itself. To elaborate on that: IL-2s flight and damage modeling still stand head and shoulders above the rest of combat flight simming products. Although new products are on the horizon and we watch them with great enthusiasm we are rock solidly convinced of Il-2's tremendous vitality.

CK: At the moment it is still the definitive combat sim and who wouldn't get exited about the idea of modeling the dawn of air combat in that wonderfull technical environment.

Canvas Knights - Handley Page O400 Bomber Cockpit 3D Model - Screenshot by Von Deutschmark (12-Mar-2009)

WoH: Probably 50% of flight sim enthusiasts are strictly single player users. Will you work on the multi player aspect of Canvas Knights only or do you want to provide also a single player experience with missions and possibly campaigns?

CK: We want to provide both a single player game as well as an online experience.

Canvas Knights - Handley Page O400 Bomber 3D Model - Screenshot by Von Deutschmark (12-Mar-2009)

WoH: Do you think the physics model of IL-2 can be tweaked to reflect flight and damage characteristics of the first combat planes in history?

CK: Luckily the IL-2 engine is not the standard tabloid based system we are used to from other sims. To describe a complex topic in one sentence: It deals in physical absolutes. Soon we will see Fokker D. VIIs and F.86 Sabres fly side by side in the same sim - without any specific need to change the underlying engine parameters. First tests with beta flight models look very promising and natural aswell. A very exiting sight we have to say.

WoH: What about the Artificial Intelligence (AI)? Is there some potential to transform the W.W.II AI of IL-2 into W.W.I combat pilots?

CK: At this stage it's too early to say. They behave resonably at the moment but yes it's just too early to say. If we encounter problems later it will be adjusted in time.

WoH: Will you offer fighter planes as well as 2-seaters and multi-crew bombers?

CK: Yes!

WoH: What planes will be on your list for the first release and what planes will be added in the long run?

CK: Right now we are working on the most prominent aircraft of W.W.I however we are also working on some of the lesser known aircraft too. Our ultimate goal is to make for a complete picture of all aerial warfare in W.W.I.


Canvas Knights - Scenery with Airfield and Town - Screenshot by EasyRider (09-Apr-2009)

WoH: Which features do you have in mind for Canvas Knights?

CK: We are looking to include all the dynamic features that we can possibly include into the IL-2 engine.

WoH: Will you provide a historical accurate environment, for example historical squadron markings, a landscape reflecting the war torn areas in Belgium and France, squadrons assigned to certain aerodromes and moving around depending on the date and other vehicles of that era?

CK: We will first deliver a scripted campaign with a variety of dogfight setups & co-ops but we are in the process of looking at into the possibilities of using the IL-2 dynamic campaign engine.

WoH: What timeframe of W.W.I will you cover? 1914 - 1918 or late years only?

CK: We plan on covering 1914 to 1918 but the first release will focus on the late years.

WoH: Will there be various weather effects? Changing weather during flight?

CK: At the moment IL2 does not support dynamic weather but we will be looking into it.


Canvas Knights - Some Fokker D.VII - Screenshot by EasyRider (31-Mar-2009)

WoH: Wind had a bigger influence on the lightweight W.W.I crates than on W.W.II planes. Will you simulate that?

CK: As stated earlier the IL-2 engine is quite sophisticated in it's physical simulation. The effects of external forces on aircraft are all in the game from turbulence to temperature. So even in our very first tests it was already a rather challenging task to operate the lite airframes in heavy weather. Flying in thunderstorms will be suicidal - just like it should be.

WoH: I once read a post by your team member von Deutschmark where he states something like that modelling planes in IL-2 is a major pain because every state of damage needs a whole new model of the same plane. I think something like over 16 damage models for the same plane. Will that slow down your game building process?

CK: IL-2's system is quite complex yes. In general it is an easily observable trend in the pc software industry that development times become longer, in proportion the amount of resources and time spend on products is inflationary. It's just a logical consequence of complexity.

The same is true for third party developers and modders. We have team members with experience in various game engines - reaching from IL-2 over Operation Flashpoint, Armed Assault, Lock On: Modern Air Combat all the way to games like The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion and Crysis. Everywhere one can find the tendency for more complexety, more detail and larger scope. Naturaly both the volume and the difficulty of actual work grows. It's as they say: Good things take time.

WoH: Take your time and thank you for the interview.