3D-model of the Castle of Vyborg.

Finnish Virtual Pilots Association's part in the Il-2 and Aces High simulators

IL-2 Sturmovik simulator was produced by 1C: Maddox Games and was published by Ubisoft for Microsoft Windows in 2001. Several updates and add-ons were published to the game after its initial release such as the independent sequel IL-2 Sturmovik: Forgotten Battles.

Finnish Virtual Pilots Association participated in the production and planning of the Finnish front content included in the Forgotten Battles add-on with a large amount of effort in the beginning of 2000's. For example this Gulf of Finland map below and it's historical airfields situations were planned together with the developer and the Finnish Virtual Pilots Association's members:

2003: The Finsgulf map in the IL-2 Sturmovik Forgotten Battles at size 430km x210km.

Ismo "Kanttori" Homanen has been a member of Finnish Virtual Pilots Association and also the Aces High online simulator's Terrain Team since 2002 and was, among the North Americans, the team's only European member for a long time. Here are some of the published Aces High I and Aces High II maps between 2006 - 2012:

2006: Karelia I -terrain's navigation map in the Aces High II game (200km x 160km). 2010: Okinawa terrain's navigation map in the Aces High II game (800km x 800km).

2008: North Sea -terrain's navigation map in the Aces High II game (800km x 800km). 2012: Karelia II -terrain's navigation map in the Aces High II game (400km x 400km).

Aces High developer Hitech Creations officially published all of the Kanttori's six maps and they were extensively used in Aces High's Special Events Arena (SEA). Aces High is a massively multiplayer online air combat game using WWII equipment.

As an example, Aces High scenario 'Stalin's Fourth' (SEOW-style event) which was designed by Finnish AH-enthusiasts had 150-200 players fighting it out over the small 200km x 160km Karelia-map in the span of four weekends in the spring of 2006.

As Kanttori moved on from Aces High to IL-2 Sturmovik 1946 he right away started get acquainted with IL-2's "unlocked" Full Mission Builder and made new textures for the original Finnish Gulf map. Using the historical reference materials he has collected over the years Kanttori then started making a new Karelia map for the game. After about a month the new map was ready for alpha-testing. Here are some screen captures of the map in work in progress-phase:

IL2 1946 Karelia map was tested succesfully on December 2015. 2015: Karelia map by Kanttori - Rompotti Airfield near Viipuri in the IL-2 1946 Full Mission Builder.

K2015: Karelia map by Kanttori - Viipuri town in the IL-2 1946 Full Mission Builder. 2015: Karelia map and Viipuri town in the IL-2 1946 Full Mission Builder.

2015: Karelia map by Kanttori and Viipuri's textures comparison to the old map from 1930 and an aerial recon photo from summer 1944.

2015: Karelia map by Kanttori - These countryside textures are edited from the real aerial photos from the Karelian Isthmus. 2015: Karelia map by Kanttori - Viipuri's railway station (and other railyard buildings) 3D-models by Finnish virtual pilot Opex. These old 3D-objects needs only retexturing with better resolution.

The huge (560km x 430km) Karelia-map was in beta-testing in the end of 2015 Virtual Pilots Association's multiplayer server and was found to be working well. However, Kanttori decided that it is not sensible to complete such big a project (which still would have required a lot amount of work) for the old IL-2 1946 platform.

It would be much more useful and beneficial to make a map featuring the Finnish front to the new IL-2 Sturmovik Great Battles -simulator if there is a possibility to get the permission and blessing to get to use the tools needed to complete this task. Kanttori is very excited with the properties of the current IL-2 Sturmovik series after he has played BoS/BoM/BoK very actively from February 2016.

The plan for the New Finnish Front!

As 1C Gaming Studios announced the new Battle of Kuban sequel and the coming move to the Battle of Bodenplatte, Finnish IL-2 enthusiasts decided to gather a group of able individuals under the Virtual Pilots association to produce a Finnish front map for the IL-2 Sturmovik independently as a volunteer effort. The group consists of specialists who have been making maps/terrains for different simulators, are 3D-modelling professionals or 2D-artists and also makers of historical missions and military history enthusiasts.

The new Karelia map contains Gulf of Finland and Karelian Isthmus at size of 220km x 240km.

The above map is showing the historical eastern Gulf of Finland and Karelian Isthmus theater of operations. The map has a size of 220 x 240 kilometers and it covers most of the Finnish Fighter Squadrons operating areas from summer 1941 to autumn 1944. Undoubtedly the most important city of the area are Viipuri and Kotka. The blue dots are Finnish air bases, Soviet bases are red and German bases are black.

French cartography professional Laurent Cunin has generated the water bitmap (resolution 10m/px) which contains lakes (coastlines) data and height bitmap (resolution 25m/px) which is the elevation data.

Here are couple of example pictures of the current status of the map on October 2017. At first map was divided to four sectors, because the water bitmap is so huge file:

Karelia map editing in Photoshop

Here's the sector 2 which contains the Eastern Karelian Isthmus. Here you can see the old Karelian Isthmus maps from 1930-1940 decays (60% transparency) and under them is a black and white water bitmap:

Karelia map editing in Photoshop

Here's the River Vuoksi in the making (editing) with the Photoshop, four of our team members are just now editing all the "missing" rivers and small lakes:

Karelia map editing in Photoshop


Ismo "Kanttori" Homanen

Ismo alias Kanttori is 59 year old member of the Finnish Virtual Pilots association with a masters degree in pedagogy and former class teacher. Nowadays Kanttori is a musician and freelancer artist producing multimedia, web pages (also these Lentorykmentti 3 pages) and music in his home studio. His hobbies include active flight simming since 2001, building simulator cockpits since 2015 and producing maps/terrains and skins to flight simulators since 2002. Kanttori plays nowadays only the Il-2 Sturmovik Great Battles simulator and he is also the inspector of the Finnish Virtual Flight Regiment 3 (LeR3) which is the community of our biggest and oldest "Lentolaivue" Squadrons with over 50 members.

Kanttori has always made all the landscape textures for all of his maps, including city and air base textures, by himself. In addition he has textured existing 3d-objects of the games to better suit his maps. Kanttori has also made many aircraft skins for different versions of Aces High and in the spring of 2016 he published 40 different Finnish Air force Messerschmitt Bf 109 G-2 and 12 historic Junkers Ju88 A-4 skins for IL-2 Sturmovik Great Battles:

Bf 109 G-2 Finnish skins by Kanttori 2018. Ju 88 A-4 Finnish skins by Kanttori 2016.

Ismo "Kanttori" Homanen would be working as the head of the map project as he is the most experienced Finnish flight simulator map/terrain-maker. Kanttori would be managing the project and its progression on "all fronts" and would be dividing the work load among the members based on the different attiributes and schedules of the group. Kanttori himself would be mostly working with Photoshop and he is starting to create the airfields, big cities and landscape textures as soon as he can have a couple of default Moscow and Kuban textures that he can check them more closely.

Nikolay "GANZ" Zavizistup

Vitaly is from Ukraine and he is modelling Leningrad and Russian buildings in this project. His specialty is the maintenance of computer equipment and local networks. He is also supporting the working capacity of the softwares. Vitaly's main hobby is 3D graphics. His 3D models for Velikiye Luki map was his first creative work for the IL-2 Sturmovik project. We Finns are very satisfied that he joined to our team. Here are couple of Vitaly's great looking 3D-models he has created to the Leningrad:

Petropavlovka fortress 3D model in Leningrad by GANZ. Petropavlovka fortress 3D model in Leningrad by GANZ.

Winter Palace's 3D model in Leningrad by GANZ. Issakievsk Cathedral's 3D model in Leningrad by GANZ.

Joni-Petteri "Waris" Kivistö

Waris is 31 year old 3D-artist and coder. Karelia map will be needing great number of new Finnish 3D buildings to Vyborg and other big towns, airfield stuff, countryside houses etc. and that is Joni-Petteri's main job. Also therefore we we will be needing competent 3D-modellers. Here's examples of his fine works in his Crowcage-page!

Joni-Petteri alias Waris has created this Castle of Vyborg 3D-model. It is the symbol of the Vyborg city and also the symbol of the Karelia map.

Teemu "Temuri" Hietanen

Temuri, 38, has a bachelors degree in philosophy. Since 2008 he has been working for QPR Software Ltd in R&D as a user experience designer. His responsibilities are gui-design, end user documentation and localization.

Temuri has been flying flight simulators since 2006 with last four years online. He has been building historical missions with a mission editor for Virtual Pilots association's multiplayer server for a second year now. At the same time Temuri has been compiling requirement specifications for the java-application running behind Virtual Pilots association's Il-2 server which uses API that is built into to the missions which ran on the server.

In the possible map project Temuri would mainly be using Mission Editor, Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop. Using the Mission Editor, his task would for example be the construction of the cities like Kotka and help Kanttori in placing air bases and other objects on the map. Temuri would also teach the other group members how to use the Mission Editor. Kanttori's huge historical maps archive is easing very much that job. Below you can see couple examples of his Viipuri town plans and maps:

Viipuri City Block Composition.

Viipuri map from 1940 decay.

Jarmo "Jami" Happonen

Jami is a 65 year old engineer who teaches and works in different projects in a school of applied sciences. During his teaching career Jami has used many different applications including CAD-software and virtual production modelling tools like Quest. Photoshop has also been in use on his freetime.

Jami has been building IL-2 Sturmovik 1946 missions and terrains with Full Mission Builder for almost ten years now. He has been involved in map projects like Karelia, Lapland and Archangelsk where Jami made historical air bases and improved and made corrections to road and railway networks. In this project, Jami would be working on infrastructure of the different air bases.

Jami and Ismo has collected during many years all the Finnish front airfields' maps, aerial photos, airfield plans etc. and they have very good historical references from all those bases. Picture below is maps and aerial photos from famous Finnish Immola Airfield.

Historical Immola Airfield Maps

Markus "Modo" Aalto

58 year old Modo has studied and graduated on education technology and computer science. He has taught Photoshop, Gimp and image editing in general for over 15 years. Modo also teaches programming, database management (SQL), video editing and audio production.

In this project, Modo would be making the road and railway network with the Mission Editor using Kanttori's old historical maps as a reference. Below is the Haapakangas map from the Leningrad north region.

Historical Haapakangas map from the Leningrad north region.

Pentti "Buffalo" Kurkinen

Buffalo is 60 year old 3D-modelling and 3D-printing professional and teaches information technology in vocational school. In our project he would be converting existing 3D-models to make them compatible with the game and the map. Buffalo is very familiar with all kind of 3D-models and softwares: below is one of his very interesting 3D-test: he found a data from internet to the whole Viipuri town and then he made that "Quickly build Viipuri" below!

Pentti alias Buffalo has tested the WHOLE Viipuri town 3D-model as soon as he joined to our team.

Other members of the team

Ville "Camo" Pitkänen (military history expert, member of the Forgotten Battles -project, 2003), Heikki "Untamo" Siltala (chairman of the Virtual Pilots association and spokesman between the group and 1C Gaming House), Vesa-Matti "Veccu" Isojärvi, Joonatan "Lukkari" Koskinen and Markku "StableAce" Kajava (they all are now editing of the lakes and rivers shorelines).

So here we are, a small band of enthusiastic Il-2 Sturmovik Great Battles flight simmers who would like to approach you with a proposition of bringing Finnish-Soviet front to the sim. What we are asking from you is to have your permission, 'blessing' and access to the tools needed for the final construction of the map and nothing more. We promise you that no one needs to hold our hands at any time and the end result would more than likely be a new high quality map to Il-2 Sturmovik Great Battles free of charge. We are confident that the Finnish-Soviet theater would prove itself popular among the existing user base of the Il-2 franchise, add value to the product and also could grow the customer base especially in Finland.