What is the poly limit for cockpits?
RD: Even 4000 if it looks marvelous.
XY: 2500. Up to 3000 in special cases like bombers or very
JP: 2500, I think more complicated can go higher like Ju-88,
LT: Ideally 2,500, but can go to 3,000 or even a few hundred
polys more for extremely busy cockpits like the He-111ís nose.
Anything above 3,000 is to be specifically cleared and pre-approved.
With a multi-crewed aircraft, is this poly limit for each position, or
for the whole thing entirely?
XY: Each position is normally independent. For pilot, same as
normal aircraft, although at some point it can go higher, depending on
how complex the cabin is. For gunners should be 1500+ but can go higher
if required. Remember the guns will be seen from very close, so they
will take high poly count. There is an exception when several position
will be seen from several crew: in He-111 the belly gunner is below the
waist gunners and both positions are almost identical (as if you look
down you will see the other gunner's place) and so they are done
together with combined count of 3000 polys.
JP: For each position, because only one position is being
rendered at a time.
LT: This is for each position separately. In cases of two
positions visible from each other, as again in case of the He-111 pilot
and nose gunner, each position should be a separate 2,500 file with
detail concentrated around the camera spots.
What scale is the cockpit built at? 50%, like the external models, or
RD: I can take any.
XY: Well, I only know that it can ge re-scaled as required with
ease (uniform scale doesn't give much of a problem). However, this is in
the case the person doesn't have the external as reference. If you have
the external, then is placed in the model, so scale in reference to the
external is 100%.
JP: Build to fit external model.
LT: The cockpit should fit inside the external model, therefore
it will use whatever scale was used for the external.
For two-place aircraft, are front and aft cockpits modeled in separate
XY: For multi-crew, each part is modeled separately unless it is
next to the other and visible. Then modeling both (or several) combined
may be an option. Otherwise, a basic "shared" model can be
done of it 1st, then each position get individual and more detailed in
respect of the crew POV.
JP: Eventually yes. Sometimes easier to start with one file, then
In the aft cockpit, is it necessary to model the whole cockpit area, or
only that which can be seen by the gunner when his viewpoint moves with
XY: Rule of gold: Always model only the stuff that will be seen.
The rest, either delete it or don't model it ;-) Place a camera, make a
mock up space and determine what will be visible and what won't.
Important: remember that POV cameras from crew sometimes move when the
plane moves extremely, so be always on the safe point when deleting back
or side faces.
JP: Yes, everything has to be modeled.
LT: The whole cockpit can be seen from the gunner position using
the panning keys (Numpad). Therefore the whole cockpit should be
All of the backface polygons that you don't see from the pilot's
eye-point...are they deleted? And if so...doesn't that affect smoothing
RD: You should delete those yourself. Regarding smoothing: Yes,
it is affected. The correct way to avoid this is to assign them a
material named "NULL". This will exclude them from rendering
retaining the smoothing full extent.
XY: Always delete the back faces. Some smoothing may change, but
you can simulate the shadows and highlights in the texture department.
JP: They are deleted.
LT: Yes all invisible polys should be deleted to lower the
polycount. Keep in mind that the POV camera moves during maneuvers, and
that some objects move as well. If you delete the backfaces from the
control column for example, make sure that none of them would have been
visible from the extreme deflection positions, etc.
Are there any parts of the cockpit where the entire structure should be
modeled (as opposed to having faces removed to save polys)?
XY: If it is not seen, then it shouldn't be there. Unless the
object moves and by so it would show its back or sides, then you leave
those parts (this of the control column or stick).
JP: One has to remember that some objects will be movable, and
maybe can be seen from the other side as well.
LT: No, except for reservations in question #A06.
What is the object naming convention?
XY: Always name parts in respect of what they are. No convention,
but NEVER use spaces. For example the front panel that contains the
instruments could be named "fpanel" or the pedal "pedal_r".
Use names to easily locate parts and where they are (left or right,
etc). Also, if a part is damaged, then it has a "DMG" at the
end (i.e. "fpanelDMG"). A good idea is to use prefix for the
instruments. Like "c.altimeter" and "c.altimeter_m"
(for the needle of meters) and "c.altimeter_k" (for needle of
JP: Use reasonable naming, for example, gas lever = GasLever01.
LT: No spaces in object names. Other than that the only
requirement is clear descriptive names - not Cylinder07 and Object26 but
Seat_CoPilot and ControlColumn_Top.
Are there any linked objects? How should the hierarchy go?
XY: Linking is good for seeing if the parts work together (like
the stick), but most parts will get collapsed into a single one. So
linking is not important, and almost non-existing. In case of a gun, the
link would be: Mobile part of gun (if any) < gun (collapsed) < gun
holder/support. Remember that parts don't fall off if they aren't liked.
So instruments and all will be as is. Even needles are not linked
(unless Roman uses that for progamming reasons. I do not know).
JP: I haven't used any.
LT: No linked objects.
What are the pivot positions and orientations for the parts?
XY: Same as the external. If it moves, then it should move around
its green pivot (Y). Look at the ailerons section on the external
"manual". If it doesn't move, then you just go to "heirarchy
panel" and then in "Pivot", select "Affect Pivot
Only" and then "Reset Transform". That will align
non-moving parts to the same axis. NOTE 1: I asked Luthier and he said
that no matter what he did, he always seemed to do the pivots slightly
wrong. I guess the game engine is very "picky" on how they
should be placed, so even if this is the way, they may be wrong in the
end. NOTE 2: Be especially careful with dials and needles. Make sure you
test their rotations in local coordinates to see if they turn OK and
that they don't touch the instrument itself.
JP: I haven't used any special orientation, pivot point in the
pivot point ;)
LT: Same considerations apply for all cockpit objects as for the
How many parts are animated? Can you give an overview of instruments and
gauges, etc. which must be able to move?
RD: Well, I never thought of it, as it seem quite obvious for
everyone. Those of course include stick and pedals, engine, flaps, gear
and dive brake controls, and aerial instruments (excluding pneumo-,
hydro-, and oxygen systems, and battery instruments).
XY: Animated parts: Well, most parts are individual, so if they
need to animate them, they will. Look at the MG 15 in Stuka or the wheel
handle on the I-16. The part is collapsed and the pivot set, then they
program the animation. Nothing is up to the modeler. Parts that animate
are the dial needles, stick, guns and other small details. AFAIK nothing
is done by the modeler.
JP: Moving parts of instruments like needles etc., throttle-,
prop pitch-, flap-, landing gear-levers at least.
LT: Animated objects are: Stick, rudder pedals, throttle, prop
pitch, pneumatic flap and gear levers (360-degree rotating wheels and
cranks are not animated). Animateable gauges are too many to list.
Usually if itís something obscure like the electric needle temperature
in the BI-1ís rocket engine, or the gear wheel pressure indicator,
those will not be animated. Itís best to provide needles for all the
gauges in the cockpit that can possibly be animated, and maybe have some
of them remain static when the cockpit is put into the game. A needle is
only two polysÖ
Are all guages placed flat on the actual surface of the instrument
panel, or do they float above it?
XY: Gauges (clocks) are mapped on a polygon over the panel in
which are mounted. Just slightly off it, to avoid contact and visual
problems. Shadows are then simulated by painting them on the panel
JP: They float just a little bit above it.
LT: They should float maybe a couple of mm above the dash just to
prevent any kind of graphic artifacts on certain video cards. Some
instruments though like the artificial horizon sphere or the compass
band should have a part of it sunken into the dashboard.
In the Bf 109F example file, the gunsight floats at a certain distance
away from the instrument panel. Why is it set up this way?
JP: Because it was that way in the real aircraft, but unviewable
parts are not modeled.
LT: Because the handlebar is obscured from view and thus not
Regarding tubular frames: The intersection point, where for example 6
tubes meet... How do you solve this? Can it be several independent
cylinders intersecting with one another?
RD: I am personally against using of any sort of boolean
operations on these. We just make tubes that go through one another, and
may be cap the intersection to our liking.
XY: Geometry can intersect into each other with no problems.
However, visually it will be quite poor (they will fight to get on top
and would look like jelly). For tubular frames, I use "boxes",
and so if three get intersected, I would collapse them and make a box to
join them. Otherwise, use a bigger piece modelled as a "joint"
(so you hide the other intercepting bars behind).
JP: Just make them go into each other.
LT: Of course. Use your own judgment to pick the best modeling
approach. Usually the one with the least polygons is the most preferred
When the pilot or gunner can see into the rear-fuselage (like in the
Fokker situation) must that also be 3D-modeled? Or can it all be
replaced by some smartly placed textures? Does it blur or black-out into
RD: Of course you can do a trick to replace some things with
textures. As for the fade out - there are no fog in cockpit.
XY: Interesting point. In He-111 pilot can see the gunner crew,
which had to be modeled. So all the nose area is modeled roughly and
then pilot position and gunner position take it from there. They are two
different models. One for pilot (with all gauges etc.) and the gunner,
which can see some parts from the pilot. But they are two different
models. The rule is: If you see it, but is not the normal POV (like in
the back), model it in low res and low detail. Otherwise, they could be
combined as one model (see how much polys that would be) and then use it
as two positions. Camera would change, but model stay, or make some
parts appear or disappear when switching position, depending on POV and
visibility. Best to plan it in low res, then ask Roman or modelers at
JP: Black it out because it will be darker (as in real life) than
other parts that get more light. This is done by using darker textures.
3D modeling is needed only in the very front.
LT: This really depends on how much can be seen. The He-111ís
nose gunner is actually located inside the same compartment as the pilot
- for him the whole thing should be modeled in geometry. For something
like a portion of the other cockpit seen through a window or a door or a
small opening, just take a screenshot of the other position from the
approximate location of the current POV and place it there. If itís a
large opening it might be better to place it on a low-poly hemisphere so
it appears more or less 3D.
How is the damage created? Does it follow the regular Il-2 damage
RD: Well, the new yet unpublished standard has the following
options to damage your cockpit: When attacked from right, when attacked
from left, when have instruments broken, when the front armor glass is
shot, when the engine is springing oil. It's up to you what to do with
XY: Damage: Basically, second set on the panel (mainly the front
panel) that is fallen, with a new texture (holes and damage scars) and a
DMG extension in name. Placed where it should be. Gauges can be then
duplicated (with damage texture mapped and dials fallen, etc.) or
omitted. All use the DMG extension in name. Then, when damage occurs,
they are swapped with the non-damaged. Glass holes are sprites, two-poly
squares placed over the glass canopy. They have a texture on them and
use transparency from alpha channel. Parts that can be damaged are:
panel/clocks, glass holes, smoke/oil marks on windscreen (mapped and
JP: Mostly with damaged textures. Bullet hole are done with
LT: No, just place some strategic bullet holes around the cockpit
as a single object, and maybe make several layers of it. Also, for the
gauges you should have the Instruments_Normal object(s) and
Instruments_Damage object(s) which show the destroyed objects in
Can it be programmed that the hood can be opened/closed or ejected
whilst in flight?
RD: Well, since there is no such an option in Il-2, no key or
command, there is no use for opening hoods.
XY: I don't think so.
JP: It would need a key binding, until that no.
Is it possible to have a template pilot example to see if it fits well
JP: Yes. :)
M5: I have used the low-poly External pilot/gunner models from
the Ju 87 to check the cockpit arrangement of the Ar 196's External
model. However I don't know if such a trick would be valid for the
Internal cockpit model.
TEXTURES & MATERIALS
Should the cockpit use Multi/Sub-Object Material like the external
XY: I didn't use a Multi/Sub-Object Material, but it could be
used. I asked Roman and he said it didn't matter, that he would see if
it is necesary. I used a Material for each texture. The gunners only use
two or three textures, so only three materials are used. In the cockpit,
there were about 20-25 Materials, one each for each map in use.
JP: I haven't seen any need for that. But it can be used.
LT: Not necessarily should, but it may.
Is the NULL Material used anywhere in the cockpits?
XY: I didn't use a NULL Material at all, and Roman never
LT: I donít see why it should, but I suppose you might use it
if you can find a purpose for it?
What is the practical limit on the number of textures and Materials?
XY: Many Materials and textures (maps) can be used, but with
moderation. The total file size (all .TGA files in cockpit) shouldn't
exceed the 5MB mark unless necessary.
LT: Total number of textures depends largely on texture size -
you should try to keep the total file size of all individual textures at
no more than 3-4MB.
What size and format should the textures be?
XY: Maps are maximum 256x256, targa files in 32-bit with alpha if
needed, otherwise 24-bit. There can be many, but a number about 15-25
should be OK.
JP: 256x256 Targa (.tga), with possibly an alpha channel.
LT: Individual texture size is no more than 256x256x32 .tga,
however you can use other smaller sizes like 256x128, 96x96, 16x16, etc.
Can the alpha channel be used for cockpit parts?
XY: Yes. It can be used for cutting holes & shapes, using the
alpha from the source file (.TGA 32-bit).
Are flat 2D textures sometimes used to mimic a 3D effect? I don't mean a
moderately 3D object like a profiled metal plate, but something
seriously 3D like a box?
RD: Somewere it is used to represent spherical lever handles, and
wires of course. I don't know if you can come up with more.
XY: Sometimes. If it far away or if changing the POV the viewer
wouldn't percieve that it is faked 3D volume, then it can be used. For
example the trottle ball in the MiG-3 is painted. Some other cockpit
elements too. Use it wisely.
LT: Yes of course. The technique I often use is to model a
far-way model as a high poly mesh with high-res texture, take a snapshot
of it from the playerís POV and map the shot onto a flat 2D sprite. 2D
sprites are also used to create nice spheres for non-movable lever
Can the gauge-texture be a photo or must they be custom made, in
Photoshop for example?
RD: Most of the gauges in game are photos heavily processed with
Photoshop. Plain photos are just awful. A few are built from scratch, as
we could not find good photo references for those.
XY: It can be a photo. However, when that is used, all textures
should resemble the same "look and feel", and same gamma.
Otherwise, mixing them will make it look like a collage cockpit, and
therefore, the quality will be poor. I advise re-doing or retouching
them to make them have a very similar style or look.
JP: Better results can be achieved by drawing them.
LT: I suppose you can use a photo as long as it doesnít stand
out from all the custom Photoshop around it.
Do all guages have a damage model, or just some of them? How many?
RD: You decide.
XY: Some of them. Think of how and where it would get damage in
an attack, then model it (to a degree). In He-111 the frontal main panel
had damage, with a total of four gauges broken and one missing. It is up
to you. But leave some intact! We still need to land. :-)
JP: Only some of them.
LT: Up to you completely, destroy whatever you feel like.
Must the modeler provide a 'lit' version for a night situation?
RD: If you want a phosphorous paint glow in the darkness, make a
grayscale texture of your gauge texture, where the glowing parts are
white. If you need a lamp, put an omni light there.
XY: The night textures are basically a black & white .TGA of
those parts that are light-emitting: The numbers and marks in the gauges
are whiteish and the rest (non-emitting) are black. This will be used in
a special channel (like the alpha) when the time comes. There may be
also a light placed in the cockpit. In this case, place a light and set
the attenuation and colour appropiately.
JP: Not always, usually yes.
LT: Yes. You should have the following textures: Day (no damage);
Day (damaged); Night (no damage); Night (damaged).
Are light and shadow handled entirely by the game's lighting system, or
should highlights & shadows be painted on the textures?
XY: Paint all shadows and highlights as if there will be no
light. There are no shadows from the light in the engine, and the amount
of shading is very limited. If the front instrument panel is covered, as
in the Fw 190, the shadow look is painted on the textures. But don't use
JP: Shadows and highlights should be on the textures.
LT: You should definitely provide light and shadows on the
Can you provide examples of standard textures used for gauges and
cockpit parts? The metal rim, typical '30's and '40's fonts, cracked
glass, damage, screws, rivets, bullet holes in windscreen, lights,
wear-and-tear, cloth, welds, etc.?
RD: Well of course. Many have already been sent to modelers on
demand, but they were specific, and most of them asked for German
instruments. There should be two cockpit examples available for
downloading on Il-2 Center, I hope those can provide you with some.
XY: Ask Luthier or Roman.
LT: E-mail me (Luthier@il2center.com) for examples.
Do you use specific typefaces for lettering within the cockpits? Are
these available somewhere for download or purchase?
XY: Use the font that most resembles the original.
JP: Arial and Trebuchet are good fonts.
LT: No specific typefaces. Try to emulate the font on the actual
object you see on the photos.
M5: Some German cockpit equipment labelling uses a font called
"URW Topic". This typeface is very commonly used on all things
government-related in Germany, both now and in the past. It is
commercially available. Just don't ask me from where, exactly. :)
Is it possible to put the builder's name somewhere in the cockpit? Very
small, as proof that that person actually made the plane?
RD: Well, it's OK with me, but still, the cockpit is to be seen
realistic. So I guess you'll have to find some smart place for it, or
disguise it somewhere in the cockpit tablets.
XY: Untrusty, aren't we? I suppose you could, but if it is seen,
people may flame you. Anyway, proper credits are given on the readme
files, and I guess it can be confirmed by Maddox at any time. I must
confess I was tempted to do it.
JP: It is, but is that necessary?
LT: No, unless your name was somehow included in the original
How many gauges are there in a texture? A combination of 4?
RD: Usually yes, 4 bigger gauges, more/combined with other
details for lesser ones.
What are the dimensions (in pixels) of a single guage on the texture?
RD: A major gauge is almost always 128x128.
VIEWPOINTS & CAMERAS
How many virtual cameras are there?
XY: Two in the pilot position, and one for gunners. These are
used for reference only, as the game uses probably a different system.
Place them where the POV of the crew should be (head) so Roman has an
idea where to program it, and for the modeler (you) to see what you do
and what to delete/model.
JP: One for every viewing position, not absolutely necesary.
Where are the camera's pivot points?
JP: In the middle of the camera.
Where is the pilot's eye-point?
RD: Where you place it. Actually there are 2 places - normal, and
aiming (toggled between by Ctrl-F1). Of course, the "aim"
point should be in front of the reticle.
XY: Set the camera at the pilot's eye point. Make a profile
drawing (scale) to see where this would be or make an estimate.
JP: Estimate according your model.
What's his field-of-view?
RD: They are 30, 75, & 90 degrees.
XY: FOV for camera are 30, 75 and 90 (close, medium and wide).
How does the rear gun view animation work; is the camera viewpoint
slaved to the gun?
XY: I guess it is linked to the gun. Place the camera in the
place were the gunner would have his eyes, looking at the crosshair and
JP: It is slaved to sight line, Roman sets it up.
LT: Yes, but players can use numpad keys to pan.
Are there any 'dead zones' where the pilot or crew can't see? Where are
RD: It may turn in any direction. Plus, the head shake makes the
camera move +/- 3 cm along all axes.
JP: Depends totaly on the model. (usually behind & under seat
LT: No. You canít rotate the camera directly behind the pilot
but it can still be seen by zooming out and panning all the way to the