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Author Topic: Nightfighting in Il-2...how to get started and how to get the most of it  (Read 20367 times)

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sputnikshock

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Nightfighting in Il-2.
How to get started and how to get the most of it.


You can decide for yourself if this is a case of (self-)advertising certain mods, or just a service to the lazy bums who don't like browsing the forums... ;)

Anyway, my real intention behind this is to promote nightfighting in IL-2, especially to new users or those who have not yet ventured into the darker skies.
It's easy to get lost in the jungle of which mods are available and what one actually needs to have installed to get started.
So this will be a mix of a short tutorial and one-stop-shop links collection, hopefully useful for newbies and nightfighter aces alike.


Please note that not all the mods which are linked here are necessarily compatible with each other, and that certain missions require certain mods to work. It's your duty to always make sure that what you
install will actually work together. The following is thus a general guide, not a checklist you can just follow without using your brains and doing your reading.


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1. Basic requirements

You need Il-2, obviously.
Make that v4.10 or better, as a new daylight/drakness lighting system was introduced with 4.10, which for example takes into account phases of the moon according to mission date and time etc.
Also, the realistic navigation feature along with a range of radio beacons came with 4.10.
Of course, any modpack based on 4.10 or better will do fine as well.

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2. Basic setup

Ok, so lets make sure a few settings are right for nightfighting to be fun and challenging.
Go to your diffculty settings in Il-2 and make sure that:    

No Icons is set to ON (red light is lit, switch thrown to the left side)
No Padlock is ON
Realistic Navigation is ON
No Map Icons is ON
No Player Map Icon is ON
No Minimap Path is ON


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3. Realistic navigation

Your good to go for a first nightly flight. Technology level is early war, meaning no radars in the game yet. But a good opportunity familiarize yourself with the realistic navigation features and its associated cockpit gauges, as well as the runway lighting system. I strongly recommend reading the readme PDF that came with the 4.10 patch, as it includes a very good explanation of the realistic navigation features.
After that, may I suggest trying the Bf 110 night landing missions which also came with 4.10, as they provide a good opportunity to practice what you just read in the PDF. Oh, and for the complete noobies, don't forget to switch on your cockpit instument lighting by hitting the L key ;)
You might finally want to create a few training flight missions in FMB trying out different date, time of day and weather settings to see the differences in terms of visibility/darkness.

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4. Radars

Now that you are starting to get used to instrument flying in pitch black darkness, let's move up the ladder and introduce the “Radio War”. This is where the fun starts...

Make sure you get and install CY6's latest Command & Control Mod version 3 -
http://www.sas1946.com/main/index.php/topic,26654.0.html


Make sure you get and install CY6's Command & Control Mod version 2.0 - http://www.sas1946.com/main/index.php/topic,16973.0.html
An earlier version of it comes with DBW, but we definitely want version 2 here, so install it on top of DBW.


Next read the C&C mod readme to get a basic understanding of what it does and how it works.
This is the most important and only must-have mod for nightfighting in Il-2.

But we will move on and spice things up a bit further.
So next download and install AIRPCC, the Air Intercept Radar Pack for C&C v2 - http://www.sas1946.com/main/index.php/topic,26404.0.html
This will bring your aircraft radars to the next level of realism. Again, read the readme PDF!

Note: AIRPCC has become part of C&C v3.

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5. NF aircraft

With electronic equipment in place, we now need the nighfighter aircraft themselves. Here you have a wide variety of choices.

From the stock install you will already have a Bf 110 G-model. In DBW your choices are considerably expanded. Since it all depends on your DBW version which nightfighter mod planes are included – or will be included in the future – I will ignore DBW plane lists here and just focus on what's available as standalone mods on SAS. It is then up to you to check if the latest versions of these planes are already included in your DBW or UP.   

Me 110G-4http://www.sas1946.com/main/index.php/topic,1034.0.html
Ju 88C-6http://www.sas1946.com/main/index.php/topic,14025.0.html
Ju 88G-6http://www.sas1946.com/main/index.php/topic,23846.0.html
He 219http://www.sas1946.com/main/index.php/topic,15057.0.html
Ar 234B-2http://www.sas1946.com/main/index.php/topic,1362.0.html
Me 262B-1ahttp://www.sas1946.com/main/index.php/topic,12278.0.html
Go 229A-3http://www.sas1946.com/main/index.php/topic,25102.0.html
J1N1-Shttp://www.sas1946.com/main/index.php/topic,25283.0.html
Mosquito NF.IIhttps://www.sas1946.com/main/index.php/topic,42218.0.html
Mosquito NF.XII/XIII/XVII/XIX   http://www.sas1946.com/main/index.php/topic,23634.0.html
Mosquito NF.30http://www.sas1946.com/main/index.php/topic,18781.0.html
Mosquito FB.VI Intruderhttp://www.sas1946.com/main/index.php/topic,23913.0.html
P-61http://www.sas1946.com/main/index.php/topic,19018.0.html

This list is not necessarily complete or up to date!

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6. Target aircraft

These birds need prey of course. Plenty to choose from in Il-2, but a few main actors of WW2 nightfighting are missing, so here is an incomplete list of what was commonly brought down by nightfighters. Again, check with your modpack what you already have.

Do 17Z http://www.sas1946.com/main/index.php/topic,21566.0.html
Do 217K-1   http://www.sas1946.com/main/index.php/topic,18856.0.html
Ju 188A http://www.sas1946.com/main/index.php/topic,26335.0.html
Lancaster   http://www.sas1946.com/main/index.php/topic,4359.0.html
Halifax http://www.sas1946.com/main/index.php/topic,1071.0.html
Wellington                              http://www.sas1946.com/main/index.php/topic,2737.0.html

This list is not necessarily complete or up to date!

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7. Missions & Campaigns

Finally all the pieces are in place. Time to fly a few missions.
Here is where things are very different from what you are used to, because QMB is not an option.
Unless you or someone else will make nighfighter QMB missions FORGET QMB.
FMB is your friend here. But let's take it step by step. Because first, there is a small but well researched
number of high-quality NF missions/campaigns available. You can just strap yourself into your seat and start the engines, no need to worry about which equipment to combine or what objects to place on a map.

Defender in the Dark 1944    Ju 88G-6 http://www.mission4today.com/index.php?name=Downloads3&file=details&id=1110
Baby Blitz 1944 Mosquito NF.II   http://www.mission4today.com/index.php?name=Downloads3&file=details&id=926
Kattegat Nights Ju 88G-6 http://www.sas1946.com/main/index.php/topic,24423.0.html
Hunter in the Dark 1943 Bf 110G-4 http://www.mission4today.com/index.php?name=Downloads3&file=details&id=1167
Killer in the Dark He 219 http://www.mission4today.com/index.php?name=Downloads3&file=details&id=841
Kommando Welter Me 262 http://www.mission4today.com/index.php?name=Downloads3&file=details&id=838
Kammhuber Line 1941-42 Bf 110 http://www.mission4today.com/index.php?name=Downloads3&file=details&id=711
Berlin 1943 Ju 88C http://www.mission4today.com/index.php?name=Downloads3&file=details&id=437
Berlin 1943 Bf 110G-4 http://www.mission4today.com/index.php?name=Downloads3&file=details&id=435
Nachtjagd Mission Generator    anyhttp://www.sas1946.com/main/index.php/topic,18884.msg203284.html#msg203284

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8. FMB

You are done or borde with all these missions, or want something different? It's FMB time.
First, if you are unfamiliar with, or maybe even afraid of FMB, no worries.
KiwiBiggles has released a fantastic set of FMB tutorials here on SAS which will teach you everything you need to know about FMB.
http://www.sas1946.com/main/index.php/board,7.0.html

The major difference of creating a nightfighter mission  in FMB is that you need to get an understanding of to handle C&C/AIRPCC objects in FMB. First you should do some research about the equipemt which was used in your type of mission. That all depends on the aircraft you intend to use, date of the mission, theater, and well, the mission itself of course. There is a huge difference between say a major RAF bomber stream attack and a small-scale nightly mining operation. The tricky part is to puzzle together the right combination of C&C objects for the mission and assign the respective objects to the right player/side, and for some, to figure where it is appropriate to place them on the map.
A full tutorial or explanation of this would easily fill a thread here on SAS as the possibilities are endless and with a bit of FMB-smarts almost any historical aspect of the “Radio War” can be reproduced in a plausible fashion. Therefore  I suggest re-reading the C&C readme and studying existing nighfighter missions in FMB. You will soon see that making NF missions is almost as much fun as flying them.

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9. Extras

Realistic Lights v1.5 - http://www.sas1946.com/main/index.php/topic,3718.0.html
Improves the appearance of landing lights, navigation lights and runway lights

Realistic Airfield Lighting v1.51 - http://www.sas1946.com/main/index.php/topic,23695.0.html
Adds additional airfield/runway lights, FIDO landing system and an airfield flare.
Fully ompatible with Realistic Lights v1.5

Checkyerflak! + Arty Barrage! - http://www.sas1946.com/main/index.php/topic,13517.0.html
FPS friendly solution for heavy flak concentrations.

Sniper Turret Gunner Fix v 1.1 - http://www.sas1946.com/main/index.php/topic,13045.0.html
Resolves the unrealistic head-shot accuracy of AI aircraft gun turrets. Also includes reduced night vision of defensive gunners.
This is very highly recommended!
Should be included already in the latest version of DBW, however there was an ongoing debate about whether or not it was working properly, and I am not up to date about what the situation currently is. So when in doubt, you can always try and install the standalone Sniper Turret Gunner Fix on top of your DBW.

Wuerzburg-Riese + Freya - http://www.sas1946.com/main/index.php/topic,24193.msg247745.html#msg247745
GCI radars modelled after their historic prototypes

GEE + Navaid - http://www.sas1946.com/main/index.php/topic,18977.msg204126.html#msg204126
Adds GEE hyperbolic navigation and provides a realistic navigation workaround for aircraft that lack proper gauges.


Finally a reminder to those who have an install-first-read-later-mentality. If you know you are that kind of type, please go back to the top of the page and start re-reading... ;)
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BT~Tarik

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Nice guide, much appreciated :) i'll read it tomorrow, only overflew it now.
My first and only experience as a NF involved getting lost and crashing when engines ran outbof fuel... ::) i believe i endèd up in scotland :D
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RedSpade

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I've seen the mission for night fighters and the skins.  Thought about it, but not sure I have the Cojones . . . er .. skill level.  But I love this and I will work toward this as a goal.  Thanks Sputnikshock! (love your avatar!)
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CWMV

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Good write up sputnik.
Our patron saint of nightfighters.
I enjoy everything about IL2, but nightfighting is something else entirely. Soooooo much fun!
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Eldo

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Would having two Arty Barrages break the game?
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SAS~Malone

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break the game?
no mate, you might get fps issues, at the most a ctd, i guess, but it won't 'break' your game...
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sputnikshock

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While the superflak from Checkyerflak! + Arty Barrage! mod is really FPS friendly and you can place many(!) of them on a map without running into trouble, I did have issues with the arty barrage. Serious FPS drops and even game freezes.

However, I think mod specific problems should better be addressed in a particular mod's thread instead of here, which would be the place for more general nightfighting related issues, or things related to using relevant mods in combination etc.
Juts my opinion...
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SAS~Malone

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if anyone is interested, here is a link i found to an Osprey book pdf 'German Night Fighter Aces of World War 2' - http://rapidshare.com/files/146304278/mg-ebook-oaota020.rar
it has some interesting stories and info of night-fighter action.
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ggrewe

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Thanks Sputnikshock for this comprehensive run-through – very interesting & a whole new level to this wonderful game. Need more posts like this & KiwiBiggles FMB tutorials.
Also thanks so much for the Ju-88G, my favourite night-fighter - but closely followed by the P-61...and He219...or Mosquito; hell! - actually all nigh fighters are cool  8)

Cheers Malone for the e-book link, nice material for future missions, once I’ve finished these
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sputnikshock

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Here's a good reference which will assist you in finding dates for both dark and bright nights:
http://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/phase/phases1901.html
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KiwiBiggles

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Super guide Sputnik!  :)
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sputnikshock

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Thanks Kiwi!
Maybe we can team up to make a nightfighter/bomber FMB tutorial one day.

Anyway, here's another tip for the hardcore nightfighters among you. This will take things one step further in terms of realism:

HOW FINE TUNE YOUR GRAPHICS FOR NIGHTFIGHTING
4.10's new environment lighting (or should I say darkening) is very good, but moonless nights are still too bright. Actually, variations in brightness in a dark night are so small that your monitor/graphics card settings play an important role here.
Here is what I do to calibrate a nightfighting graphics profile.
1. Create a quick mission in FMB. Put yourself in any aircraft, and place it behind a typical target like a Lanc or Halifax. Make sure things will take place at reasonable altitude.
2. Set mission date to a very dark moonless night (by using the link from my last post), maybe even do a few tests with time of day. You want the darkest possible. Make sure weather is set to clear.
3. IRL, in such conditions you should not be able to see a large target from further then 200-300m away, when looking at it against the night sky, i.e. from behind and below the target.
Now either turn on aircraft icons in the difficulty settings or better place a very precise AI radar, like the A.I. Mk.VIII from AIRPCC on the map. Both ways will give you a good range to target indidcation.
Now fly the mission, close in, and once you are within 200-300m, pause the game. Alt-tab to your desktop and open your graphics card software, like Catalyst Control or its Nvidia equivalent (dunno what it's called).
Now reduce gamma. In my case 0.9 to 0.95 is working well, but you have to find out for yourself. Apply changes and alt-tab back to Il-2.
Adapt your gamma and/or brightness and contrast until you can just BARELY make out the target. Unpause, slowly increase distance to target by reducing your airspeed and note the distance at which you can't distinguish it from the night sky anymore. Close in again and check when it starts to reappear. Alt-tab in out of Il-2 and make the necessary changes to your graphics settings. Repeat this process until the visibilty threshold ends up around 200-300m from the bomber.

Now you will be in for a challenge. Try it, you will have to completely rely on your R/O until you're within shooting range. It can become very scary rather quickly. Oh and btw, easy on the controls! ;)

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