Air to Air and Track IR
After reading Patrick Bishop's "Fighter Boys", and reading that out of some 2700 pilots who flew for the RAF, only some 900 ever got credit for even a shared hit on, and that most fighter pilots even in that airplane-dense war never shot anything down!
This somehow made me feel better, because... I suck at guns. But that didn't prevent me from marching downstairs, installing IL2FB Gold, firing up a Hurricane and having a go at some Jerries.
The He-111 and Ju-88 proved to have too many guns, so I tried the enormous, lumbering Me-323 "Gigant" (easy to hit, impossible to down), and finally the Ju-52 "Tri-Motor" (which surprised me with a top turret gunner, but just the one). At first I was totally disoriented because I was also using the Track IR3 with the default settings for IL-2 Sturmovik , and my view was jerking around like crazy (I soon turned off "head bounce" in the IL-2 Sturmovik realism settings since the Track IR 3 gave me enough jitters without this).
I couldn't always tell whether I was turning the plane or turning my view.
Finally I figured out that I had to modify the IL-2 Sturmovik profile and re-save it with the "dead zone" and smoothing parameters I had chosen in the Track IR3 control panel (I had changed them before but apparently it reloaded the default config file).
With this, things were MUCH better.
The dead zone (see screen shot) meant that even if I moved my head a little in the front view, the gun sight and the panel instruments were pretty stable. In fact it got to be quite fun and even intuitive to locate the bandit and still keep the plane in control - much like a padlock view but with the ability to glance at the front and then back easily.
With this I finally got a couple of kills on the Ju-52's. Not a challenging enemy, I admit, but you need to take baby steps when you're as rusty as I am!
So now I finally see what this IL-2 Sturmovik thing is all about. It's a great sim, really solid and fun and with gorgeous graphics (1024x768x32 for me).
I haven't looked at frame rate, but it seems pretty smooth on my old 1.7 GHz Dell with GeForce FX 5700 (LE I think - it was cheap, maybe US$100) video card. I had installed this a couple of months back to help with Microsoft Flight Simulator 2004 frame rate, realizing that a 3 year old PC would not benefit from a current high-end card anyway.
As I looked at the screen captures I realized there's a special setting for wearing the Track IR3 "dot" on the brim of a hat, which is what I do. It works OK anyway, but maybe this will help somehow. I'll try it tonight. What a great little toy.
But once again it's the slippery slope. There are dozens of flyable planes in IL-2 Forgotten BattlesGold, but Pacific Fighters is out now, with two of my all-time favorites, the F4F Wildcat and F6F Hellcat, plus the agile little Zero and various USAAF planes such as the P-38 Lightning.