View Full Version : Transition to Online Play

05-02-2005, 11:22 AM
Some background:

1. I've been playing simulations since the late 1970s. My first 'flight simulator' was an X-Wing program on my TRS 80.

2. I've played a variety of flight sim games on-and-off over the years. Red Baron still ranks as one of my favorite of all time.

3. I suck online.

I really relish the idea of playing against live opponents online but I get my azz handed to me every time.

I installed the game on Friday, practiced a few times, then headed to the arena. Nothing like flying for 20 minutes to get somewhere only to have your screen go black and say "XXX has been killed."

Lots of fun.

Heck, even getting off the runway was a saga most of the time.

Now I've resigned myself to the fact that I'm only going to get frustrated and quit playing if I try to go online. But really the main reason I bought the game was to do just that.

So the question is - on average - how long will it take of playing single-player on max difficulty before I'm even close enough to being able to enjoy the game online? What are some tips for improving to the point I don't just provide fodder for you experts?


Sitting Duck

05-02-2005, 11:30 AM
From what I have learned off line play does little for you other then getting familliar with your ride. My best advice is drop the offline play and just go on line. Yeah you will get shot down a lot, but you will find your self getting better and better each time. In online game play staying with your planes best strengths and staying with them usually means you will come home more often. Getting better at seeing what is a safe time to engage that best suits your plane for the best chance of a kill and still staying alivce afterwards, only happens on line.
I suggest maybejoin a squad as well as having buddies on line as in real life will save your butt numerous times. Plus they can help your flying out and give you tips to get the max out of your plane. Ive been flying for 2 years now and still can barely handle my 190 like others on line. I still have fun though and getting a kill here and there keeps you going back for more online play.
Soon offline play wont be fun anymore, only online.

good luck!

05-02-2005, 11:39 AM
Not sure what timespan you're looking at, but I never played a sim before IL2, and it took me over three months to get somewhat proper at dogfighting online. http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

I'd say the best way is the one with the least frustration, to keep having fun. For me this was slowly learning gunnery (starting with bombers, rookie fighters and later on the aces) trying an occasional landing and takeoff, practise it specifically sometimes..
And read up on tactics as well! Unless you already have. http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

05-02-2005, 12:13 PM
Hello Vaporizeme

Keep in mind that knowledge is your best weapon in aerial combat. Know your plane, know enemy's, know what one of you is capable of doing that the other isn't. Know who is faster, who is better climber, who is better diver, turner etc etc, and then use this advantage against him. Performance varies with altitude very much... For example, when flying Fw190A6, if jumped by a spitfire, dive (close your raidator - which of course you kept open before - to be able to reach some kph more and escape him)! he will not be able to reach such high terminal speeds as you are.

Know what most likely enemy will be flying, and equip your plane accordingly before flying. Never use 100% fuel. On most online maps with most planes 50 is more than enough... Learn to use at least radiator manually (also prop pitch, but is not so important as radiator)

And to get knowledge, read forums, take a look at IL2_compare (http://www.airwarfare.com/Sims/IL2_PF/pf_essential_files.htm#018) and at HardBall's aircraft viewer (http://www.airwarfare.com/Sims/FB/files/essentials/HardBalls_Viewer_AirWarfareUpload.zip), I have learned MUCH from them. They are both available at www.airwarfare.com, (http://www.airwarfare.com,) where you can get tonns of other useful material.

I started flying online in January this year. (had 56k before).

05-02-2005, 01:52 PM
Thank you for your responses.

I've gone to Airwarfare.com and it is indeed a good resource.

I'm reading some of the guides (CEM in particular) and many things are becoming more clear to me. I can see that it is going to take some time.

I do have another question:

I have a Wingman Extreme and it has several buttons that the game does not seem to recognize. Is there a way to configure the game so it sees the other buttons?

05-02-2005, 01:59 PM
I disagree with RufShod completely.

I'd recommend playing OFFline for at least the time it takes to complete an entire Pilot Career - doesn't matter which plane or airforce, but should probably make it a fighter campaign, though the IL2 missions are fun. I think campaigns are usually about 40 missions. By then you'll know what's important and what's not, where all the commands are, the basics. So maybe a month to 90 days of training depending on how often you fly. You have to learn how to nurse a damaged plane home, use the gunsight view, pull tight turns using prop pitch and trim, and you simply can't online - too deadly out there.

Before you get online, it would probably be useful to have a TrackIR and a separate throttle. People might disagree because they cost and you don't NEED them, but they helped me bigtime.

05-02-2005, 02:06 PM
Originally posted by Vaporizeme:
Thank you for your responses.

I've gone to Airwarfare.com and it is indeed a good resource.

I'm reading some of the guides (CEM in particular) and many things are becoming more clear to me. I can see that it is going to take some time.

I do have another question:

I have a Wingman Extreme and it has several buttons that the game does not seem to recognize. Is there a way to configure the game so it sees the other buttons?

Yes you can configure the buttons in the HOTAS section off the main menu... in there look for the control you want to set then click the mouse over the left side where the comands are it will open a window, click the button on your stick and it will enter it alongside the keyboard command if there is one, then do the next etc..... when done click on ok at the bottom http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

I found jumping in is the best thing online but mastering take off helps a lot.... some squads have a teaching programs for new pilots too basic thing for take off is the rudder they need em, some of em swing like a b*tch on takeoff.............

welcome aboard http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gifhttp://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gifhttp://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gifhttp://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

05-02-2005, 02:11 PM
Flying on-line is a whole different ballgame. Now it comes to who's the coolest. Sweat in your hands, so much the stick becomes slippery. Heartbeat is up to 180 when you're at last on is tail. Distance to far, closer, closer! Where is his wingman, tracers! Break! No, I don't care if he hits me, I'm gonne make my first kill on-line...(screen becomes suddenly black)
Welcome to the real world!
I do flying on-line for about a year now, and when I can kill 3 planes in one flight I freak. But most of the time I can barely make a good shot before bailing out. But those three kills make me come back each time, that's the thrill.

05-02-2005, 11:44 PM
In my mind there are two types of *serious* players online; the 'professor' and the 'artist'.

The professor is the person who knows EXACTLY what his plane can do and what it can't. He knows EXACTLY what his opponent's plane can do and what it can't. He is a thinker and a library. He knows the best climb speeds, roll rate, turning speed, crtical altitude and every other dmension of his plane so well that he can fly it to the maximum advantage. A 'professor' is a clinical, thinking pilot who takes few chances and can fly an opponent into the ground through sheer, mechanical precision.

The other type of serious online player is the 'artist'. 'Artists' are the players who skill lies in mixing it up, usually at low alt. They can turn, loop, roll, dove, spin and generally gyrate their plane all over the sky in unbelievable ways. When it comes to getting into close quaters they have all the moves. These are the pilots that turn the tables on you before you realised it has happened. an 'artist' is the guy who makes you think "How the H-E-L-L did he do THAT?"

The professors advantage lies in knowledge, the artists lies in skills. There are some flyers out there who have both skills and knowledge and are simply dangerous to be around.

Offline, polish your skills and gain knowledge, it really helps. I consider all my offline time as 'training' for my online sessions. Fly like you have real opponents instead of the AI. Gunnery, stall riding, situational awareness, stall recovery and heaps of other stuff that helps online is much better practiced offline. I flew IL2 for 2 years before I got online and was pleasantly suprised to find a lot of pilots who were far worse than the AI.

It does take practice and you do have to be more adaptable. Humans react in strange ways, they are not predictable like the AI.

My other advice would be to find a good squad with a training program. Mentoring from a guy with more online time (and who might be a better pilot) is a VERY good way to get better.

05-03-2005, 03:35 AM
You and I are in the same boat. I started playing three weeks ago. One thing I've learned is to stay away from the combat area until I've gained enough altitude and speed for my liking. If you come in low and slow, the meat eaters will pounce on you like a wounded deer.

Never get into a turning match if you can boom and zoom. If someone is on your six and you can't shake them, head for the nearest, biggest pack of friendly fighters. Somebody will probably take an interest in your pursuer and get him off your back. There are times when flying streight and level will allow you to outrun an attacker- this is particularly counter-intuitive. Of course it isn't true if your aircraft is slower than the one attacking you.

This is what I've learned so far. I've gotten a few kills in the past weekend. I'm not a big threat by any means, but I am getting better. My ability to judge when to attack and when to run is far better than it was on my first day of online play.

05-03-2005, 03:54 AM
I agree with Imp Star about the artist's and prof's and, further to that I'd like to suggest that the best pilots altogether are a mixture of these attributes. Better still perhaps, is having a wingman who is the mirror to your inclination - which brings me to a very important aspect of going online, "comms".

I'd follow the earlier suggestion of finding a team or squad to fly with - then install TeamSpeak or Ventrillo or whatever prog the group uses - and go from there. Stereo headsets with attached mikes are very cheap, and the comm-programs are easy to operate. There's nothing as good as receiving a clear warning when a con is "looking at you", or being able to call for help if necessary.

There are always coop missions being flown in Hyperlobby, and that's another good way of dipping your toe in. Pick one with easy settings, and remember to check ahead of your plane before you roll!

05-03-2005, 04:48 AM
Joining a squad is a good idea. I learnt quite a lot in a short time - even things like using trim.

What I found not so good was all the admin and time it took to get everyone together. Waiting 30-60 minutes to start a coop put me off a bit. But that's probably longer than normal.


I also get my *** kicked online. I just want to hook up with one or two people to fly together and increase our chance of survival and success and have a bit of fun.

I'm free most weekends if you're interested, flexible time.




05-03-2005, 06:11 AM
I think everyone is missing the target here.

What needs to be done is you have to change the way in which you get enjoyment out of the sim. Your pre-conception of success being attached to not being shot down is ruining it for you.

During the winter of 2001-2002 I had just started flying the original IL2 online and I of course was shot down all the time, now three plus years later, I am still shot down all the time, and so is everyone else. So it is ridiculous to think you are going to reach some god-mode level of skill where you are going to fly around and not get your a$$ shot off.

Someone will always have an energy or alt advantage, or they will simply bounce you and you will never know what hit you.

Some of the guys that were around in that first year just disappeared, they had the same attitude you do and they quit. Boy did they ever lose out! I surely got, and get frustrated many times, but what I had that they did not was I just enjoyed BEING THERE at all, with the great friendly guys that would shoot you down one moment, then help you out with some tips the next.
Enjoy the virtual scenery and cockpit of the craft. Get teamspeak and get in with some guys to talk to you and look out for you.

And on and on............S!


05-03-2005, 07:20 AM

Pick a plane and stick to it for the time being. It could be your personal favourite, one with great performance attributes, funky paint scheme....whatever. Pretty soon you'll know where it's limits are and a little further down the line you'll know where it's absolute limits are. Once this plane becomes second nature to you you can then start absorbing what's going on around you a lot easier. The whole swirling maelstrom of a dogfight will become less confusing when you know inately what your plane is capable of. You'll be able to judge relatively the performance of the enemy's aircraft; that one can outrun me...that one can climb better...that one can turn better...etc, and use this knowledge to make on-the-hoof tactical decisions.

Learn to fly the nuts out of one aircraft and finding the limits in another is much easier. The rest will slot into place over time.

All the talk of keeping your speed up, staying high, checking your 6 religiously mean nothing if they're not applied....and these are the hardest habits to foster. It's easy to charge into a fight, much harder to get out if it goes pear-shaped....and it will.

Be prepared to get shot down over and over, only practice will cure it. But each time ask yourself "why ?". You'll know the answers soon enough.

Everybody whoever flew online could tell you about really crappy days when nothing goes right but dont be dis-heartened.

Good luck !

05-03-2005, 08:18 AM
Practice the basics offline (gunnery, manuevers, not stalling, landing, take-off, etc..) and w/ the type of difficulty settings you prefer.

Online has two flavors.

Dog-fight servers which is more like Quake. Folks are there to rack up kills and rarely do you see folks work as a coehesive unit to achieve an objective. Folks always steal kill so you have to go into a df server expecting a cage match and other unsavory behavior. It's about point whorin' but it's a good way to learn how to operate in hostile skies. Not very immersive in the long run but serves a purpose - quick fix. I think it's a great practice arena for the real style of online play - coops.

Coops are where Il2 online shines. I would recommend this stye over mindless dog fight servers any day of the week. Coming from Red Baron background, you'll know what I mean. Furballs aren't the main objective. Coops that are part of a progessive war is the richest and most immersive style of play especially when pilot careers and survivability are more respected than a guy that might have a million kills but dies every mission. In this environment, it's about being smart not necessarily being a great furball master. A lot of the challenge lies in decision making and discipline. Making the right decisions will save you a lot of pain. I'm not a great furball pilot but I do well in coops in terms of completing the mission and getting back alive.

05-03-2005, 12:19 PM

Only you can define what is fun for your online "reality show".

Mine are learning new things, immersion, teamwork.

Learning new things: From the peculiarities of each plane (flight models, using loadouts, cockpit layout, CEM, take-off and landing tips/tricks, etc.) to ACM, proper communications, situational awareness, joystick and accessory settings, history (planes, pilots, missions, campaigns, fronts, etc.), strategy and tactics to win a map. There are soooooo many interesting things about this "game". All this stuff and more keep the game constantly interesting and fresh.

Immersion: Heart-pounding, sweat generating, live-and-let-die, experience! Voice activated commands for coordinating my AI (in offline or Co-Op missions) to attack the bombers or ground targets while I and my wingman engage the fighters, calling for help, helping my wingmen when they are under attack, the feeling of success when landing on a carrier and NOT tumbling overboard to my death and getting subsequently run over by the moving carrier, HOTAS joysticks to minimize touching the keyboard, TrackIR2 to make searching and tracking other planes intuitive, rudder pedals with brakes, comms that only come through my headset so my four speakers and subwoofer can replicate the game sounds, nursing a wounded plane back and deadsticking the landing when it seized up meters above the runway.... When four hours have passed (feels like maybe one), it's way past your bedtime, and you just want to fly more.

Teamwork: Comms (teamspeak, ventrilo, etc.), or chat as a distant second. Calling for help and getting it. Having others call for help and trying to save their "bacon" (and getting the occasional "Thank you!"). Coordinating with others to achieve the mission objective (whether it is protect or attack or both). Making friends from around the world who go on your "friends list" in hyperlobby. Finding a squad of like minded individuals where you can call home. Befriending other squad mates who invite you to their home (re: sense of community).

My point in typing all this out is to say this --> enjoy the trip to becoming the online ace that you want to be. If you do, you may still get frustrated from time to time, but you will never quit because it is a blast (read: ADDICTION). Share your experiences and ask for help and others' experiences. You have already found these forums (which is a great start--should be mandatory for all new players, IMO). Don't be afraid to communicate and ask "How did you kill me so easily? What am I doing wrong? Right?" Find servers with active voice comms (beats the heck out of typing in the chat window to me). Learn how to record your on and offline sessions and review them. Then you can see what others do and what you do.

Good luck. Hope that answers your question in an oddly esoteric way http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif .

* _54th_Speeder *

05-03-2005, 04:57 PM
I flew 3 months offline.Went through IL2,Bf109 and Yak campaigns.Been killed by AI one time on every 6 sorties.What I learned weas the controls.Getting familiar with stalling characteristics and looking around the canopy.

After that I went online and after first Yak9T encounter I knew that knowing the plane is the most important.After a year online I had pretty much all T&B habits off me as I flew Me109 exclusively.After two online years I started surviving more than 20 sorties and after another year I started getting really good with shooting.The problem was effectiveness.I could put a nice shot at 500m but the enemy always managed to get away.

Started shooting from 120-50m and most of the time the attack is successful after first pass.That doesn`t mean I cut planes in half.Mostly I mess up their ailerons or engine.Enough to down a plane.

05-03-2005, 06:46 PM
Ya know there is a lot of good info and tips above.

I have been flyin online for about a year now. I never went through an offline mission. I never got past that how did he do that thing while I was online. How did I learn you ask? Online friends most of whom I don't know thier real name. That is the heart of this game. The guys you are starting to play with. They all have gone down the road you are travelling. So ask questions THEY have all the answers. I always enjoyed snaching that pea from the mentors hand. I know the other side as well as it is a fine feeling when you give somone the knowledge and see it take hold. Every player in this community has a good trait and rest assured they will show it to you if you let them. I started out in UBI online and mostly played with the same group of guys. We were all pretty new and did not know of Hyperlobby. So we met when possible and learned to fly. First in wonderwomen mode with all the externals and gradually working to full real. Each day someone would come to the runway with a new tip or tactic. Now in about a year we have all made it to hyperlobby and still tangle with each other.

My point has been made above. Get comms as this is a team game. It improves your play, teaches you much faster, and makes your wife think your nuts.

~S~ Welcome to our world!

05-03-2005, 08:26 PM
I have to agree with Nutcase.

The best way to learn is to be taken under the wing (so to speak) of a more experienced and more importantly, a patient, player.

It can be very overwelming to jump right in on the df servers, as there is no one to support you as you get shot down time after time after time. Some friendly advice from a squaddie on coms goes a long way in these situations.

See you out there, Freelancer