Plane visibility – spotting – In IL-2

I have a 2K monitor but in multiplayer I turn the resolution down to 1920×1080 instead of my native 2K resolution of 2560×1440.

At 1080 and with all the enhancing tick boxes unticked and everything turned off, I get acceptable spotting. This is on the basis that with tracer gun fire I can detect a plane and fly to the tracer and eventually hopefully see the plane.


Some possible pathways to improvement:

One possible solution: To differentiate planes from the background, a formula could force the colour of the plane’s pixels to be at least X % different than the background colour. This might solve the problem of planes disappearing over forests when viewed from above. Example if a plane’s pixel is black and a forest’s pixel is also the same black colour and the plane is over the forest, the viewer above could see instead a black forest pixel, but a plane’s pixel made by formula automatically say 14% lighter than the forest pixels behind it.

To solve the problem of 2K and 4K monitors making planes too hard to see, the shrinking factor could be discovered and then a formula could be employed to bloat up the planes. Result might be that one can run a 2K or 4K monitor at native resolution, but still see planes as well as 1080p Full HD monitors do. Example, If I set in IL-2 settings resolution 2560×1440, the game automatically will respond by increasing far away plane’s pixel count by 1.4 times in relation to a benchmark. If I select 4K resolution the game automatically increases a far away plane’s pixel count by 1.7 times in relation to a benchmark. The benchmark would probably be what far off planes look like in 1080p Full HD monitors. There could probably be some objective way to count a far off plane’s pixels and to measure their size. The desired result would be that 1080p Full HD, 2K and 4K monitors would all display far away planes as the same size. For example that a far away plane at 500m might be measured in size at say 2mm or 3mm, on all types of 27 inch monitors, and at 4mm or 6mm on all types of 54 Inch monitors etc. Note the numbers I gave are not prescriptive, but to use to describe the overall concepts.

  • If aircraft visibility improves, that means the game becomes more realistic.
  • If aircraft visibility improves, that means the number of players will increase.


Another thing that might be useful is that Flak black cloud explosion bursts, and tracer bullet gun fire are very visible, so whatever mechanism makes them visible, could possibly be the way forward to apply that to planes to improve visibility of planes. Example, I often see flak, then I fly to it and then after some time has passed  and I get a lot closer to the flak bursts. I see a plane or several planes. But I can only see the Flak bursts against the blue sky, but not looking down at the ground, but with tracer bullets I can see them the best, both against sky and against ground.

Another thing: Looking down at a plane I can often not see the plane itself, but I can see the smoke trail behind it and I can see the plane’s shadow on the ground next to it.


Plane visibility – spotting – In IL-2

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