Working with Icons in IL2 Sturmovik 1946
This article assumes that you have 4.13m or higher installed to coincide with the new Icons editor in the GUI. If you’re running version 4.12 or earlier, that is okay too; some sections may not apply to you (the RCU file and the subsequent utilization of that file will still work regardless). This also works fine with MODS such as HSFX, DBW, etc.
This will be as short of an article as possible to cover how to modify your icon settings (HUD Icons) and the methods by which icon settings occur in the game. Its main purpose is to create a coop multiplayer session with HUD Icon Settings that you can modify to introduce a little more “realism” or some variation while still allowing for some player-comfort.
- You should have an understanding of editing a file in notepad (or a text editor of your choice).
- You should have an understanding of creating a multiplayer session.
- You should have an understanding of how to access the console in IL2. (SHIFT + TAB; or, if in the chat menu, preceed your command with a greater-than sign >)
Enabling Icons in Difficulty Settings
Ensure the Icon system is available to you.
Each time you start a mission (or the first mission in a multiplayer session), you have the opportunity to change difficulty settings. Consecutive missions loaded in a multiplayer session inherit the initial difficulty settings (to change any difficulty setting previously set in multiplayer mode requires you to re-initialize the session).
Where is it set?
In the Difficulty screen you can toggle whether the icon system is enabled or not under the Icons & Map section, if you enable No HUD Icons, you are disabling the entire icon system regardless of individual icon settings you might have or elect to change. My recommendation is to always have No HUD Icons disabled to give you fine control over customizing the icon settings at practically any time.1
From this point on, when I refer to icon settings, I mean the HUD Icon display symbology—the text and information you see next to a plane in the game (distance, color, type, etc.). In addition, icon settings in multiplayer are dictated by the HOST. Clients only have the ability to toggle three variations of the server’s HUD icon settings (off, truncated, or complete).
Understanding where the icon settings are located and how they are derived.
The game refers to all editable icon options as variables used in conjuction with the mp_dotrange console command. Even though its main use was initially targeted for multiplayer mode, they work just fine in single-player mode as well. Used by itself, the mp_dotrange command (entered in the console) will display all of the current icon settings as seen here:
This is extremely helpful to see the current settings that are in effect.
The RCU File
The RCU file, in the root directory of the game, is where everything starts. Among the other settings contained in this file are the parent icon settings that the game starts with. We will cover that in detail later.
IL2 derives its icon setting depending upon which game mode you are in—Single Player or Multiplayer. Icon settings always need to be assigned to an ARMY—either FRIENDLY or FOE. Even if they are the same, you have to indicate whether the settings you are changing are for the FRIENDLY settings or the FOE settings.
When you create a new pilot and start your first Single-player mission, an icons file gets created in your (new) Pilot’s folder. The settings placed in this file are copied directly from the mp_dotrange icon settings in your RCU file (if none exist, they are set from the game’s default icon settings).
This file is referenced each time you play subsequent single-player missions or campaigns using this pilot. You can edit this file and change its settings at anytime. If the file is deleted, a new one will be created. Your pilots are located in subfolders inside the Users folder in your game directory.
SINGLE PLAYER NOTE: You can use the in-game GUI to set your icon settings which will update your Pilot icons file. This is also the only location where you can choose between metric or imperial (the icon file generated will still be in metric).
This does NOT affect Multiplayer. Only manipulating the RCU file will affect multiplayer.
Multiplayer (as the server only)
The icons file in your pilot folder is ignored. Instead, the game relies solely on values in the RCU file (or commands typed directly into the console) to get the icon settings. If no icon settings are IN your RCU file, it uses a default setting which you can set (and view) by invoking the following commands from the console:
mp_dotrange FRIENDLY DEFAULT
mp_dotrange FOE DEFAULT
You can type in icon settings directly into the console at ANYTIME. These two commands will override the currently set icon settings.
mp_dotrange and What it Means
mp_dotrange FRIENDLY|FOE [option] [value]
Let us break down the full set of mp_dotrange command options. Each distance value can be modified but there is a limit of about 25 or 30 kilometers for each option. For each option, you first would indicate whether the options are for FRIENDLY or FOE armies.
All numeric values are presented as examples for each setting. You can use your own numeric values.
The rule of thumb is that if you want to essentially “disable” an option, use a distance of 0.01.
mp_dotrange FRIENDLY COLOR 5 DOT 15 RANGE 5 TYPE 5 ID 5 NAME 5 ALTICON 0.1 ALTSYMBOL + ALTCOLOR 0 mp_dotrange FOE COLOR 1.65 DOT 25.0 RANGE 0.05 TYPE 1.65 ID 0.01 NAME 0.02 ALTICON 20.0 ALTSYMBOL + ALTCOLOR 0
At 5 kilometers and closer, the game will color the text to the army color. Color indicates the color of the army. In SP or COOP mode, this is blue (axis), red (allied), or black (none). In DF mode, color is dictated by the DF mission.
At 15 kilometers and closer, the game will render contacts as a dot in the distance until the models of the plane would otherwise be available and take over. This is a little bit confusing as I believe there is a limit of about 25km maximum distance.
At 5 kilometers and closer, the game will display the distance in kilometers of the aircraft in relation to your plane (or camera).
At 5 kilometers and closer, the game will display the plane type in relation to your plane (or camera).
At 5 kilometers and closer, the game will display the player name in relation to your plane (or camera) if the plane is not occupied by a human player, the plane’s flight designation is displayed (White 1, Yellow 3,etc.).
At 0.1 kilometers and closer, if an ALTSYMBOL is defined (plus, minus, asterisk, etc.), this is where it will be displayed.
When the ALTICON condition is satisfied, the game will show a plus sign next to the plane (or whatever character you choose).
The color of the ALTSYMBOL (mutually exclusive from the ARMY color!)
0 = Black (NONE)
1 = Red
2 = Blue
3 = Green
4 = Gold
5 = Purple
6 = Aqua
7 = Maroon
8 = Navy
9 = Emerald
10 = Olive
11 = Magenta
12 = Teal
13 = Orange
14 = Turquoise
15 = Brown
16 = Salad (what the fuck is Salad?)
17 = White (sorry, I mean White)
IL2 can use aliases to shorten the amount of typing you need to do.
An alias is a way to have the game execute a sequence of one or many commands and represent those commands as a single typed word in the console. Think of it as batch file. The syntax is:
@a [alias name] [full command]
In the RCU file, you define any and all aliases you might use. To do so, you preface the alias with the @a command2. Opening your RCU file should show this:
@a md mp_dotrange
(if this is not in your RCU file, simply add it)
This means that you can simply type md instead of the full command mp_dotrange.
Create Your Own Aliases (Recommended)
You can edit the RCU file in notepad and add lines to create your own set of commands that you can invoke in the console when you either host multiplayer missions or when you want to have different icon settings in your single player experience. At the bottom of this article is a copy of my own personal RCU file for reference.
(Substitute coop_fr and coop_foe for whatever you like. You can create many different variations depending upon the circumstances!)
@a md mp_dotrange
@a coop_fr md FRIENDLY COLOR 1.65 DOT 25 RANGE 0.01 TYPE 1.65 ID 0.01 NAME 0.01
@a coop_foe md FOE COLOR 1.65 DOT 25 RANGE 0.01 TYPE 1.65 ID 0.01 NAME 0.01
When you start a mission and at ANY TIME, invoke the console and type:
coop_fr (press enter)
coop_foe (press enter)
Then disable the console. Your icon settings will be immediately adjusted (works for SP and Multiplayer).
You can also change individual options such as:
mp_dotrange FRIEND RANGE 8
mp_dotrange FOE RANGE 4
mp_dotrange FRIEND NAME 10
mp_dotrange FOE NAME 0.01
See how that works? You don’t have to type EACH AND EVERY option each time.
@set fast off @set echo on @set alias on @set history 20 @file gc.cmd @alias a alias @a h history @a s show @a md mp_dotrange @a mdfr md FRIENDLY COLOR 5 DOT 15 RANGE 5 TYPE 5 ID 5 NAME 5 ALTICON 0.1 ALTSYMBOL + ALTCOLOR 0 @a mdfo md FOE COLOR 0.1 DOT 15 RANGE 0.1 TYPE 0.1 ID 0.1 NAME 0.1 ALTICON 20.0 ALTSYMBOL · ALTCOLOR 0 @a coop_fr md FRIENDLY COLOR 1.65 DOT 25 RANGE 0.01 TYPE 1.65 ID 0.01 NAME 0.01 @a coop_foe md FOE COLOR 1.65 DOT 25 RANGE 0.01 TYPE 1.65 ID 0.01 NAME 0.01 @a mdofr md FRIENDLY DEFAULT @a mdofo md FOE DEFAULT @a md92ndfr md FRIENDLY COLOR 1.65 DOT 25 RANGE 0.01 TYPE 1.65 ID 0.01 NAME 0.01 @a md92ndfo md FOE COLOR 1.65 DOT 25 RANGE 0.01 TYPE 1.65 ID 0.01 NAME 0.01 @a fon fps START SHOW @a foff fps STOP HIDE
Auto-Executing Custom Icon Settings
- You do not have to use aliases.
- If you consistently only use one icon configuration, this may work well for you.
- Icon settings are stored in a file of your choice in your game directory (e.g. my_icons.txt) and you only have to worry about editing this one file.
- This works great for Single Player and Multiplayer (mostly handy if you’re running 4.12m or earlier—before the icons file has been introduced)
- You can’t use aliases. If you do use an alias, the timeout function will invoke the custom icon file and override any icon changes you make in the console.
- You have to manage another text file in your game directory.
How it Works
Create a text file and save it in your game directory (for example: my_icons.txt). Open with notepad and add two lines that will correspond to the icon settings of your choosing. Note the third line of this example. This is a new command called “timeout” and its variable is in miliseconds. We will cover it next.
mp_dotrange FRIENDLY DOT 25.0 COLOR 1.65 RANGE 1.65 TYPE 3.00 ID 1.65 NAME 3.00 mp_dotrange FOE DOT 25.0 COLOR 1.65 RANGE 0.05 TYPE 1.65 ID 0.01 NAME 0.02 timeout 60000 file my_icons.txt
Add The Command to Your RCU File
That’s all you have to do. The line in your RCU file will invoke the my_icons.txt file which will change your icons. Then, notice the third line:
timeout 60000 file my_icons.txt
This command will automatically execute the file every 60 seconds.
1 In the IL2 GUI, when you enable a setting, you are disabling an effect. This is the de-facto definition of counter-intuitive. It must be a Russian thing held over from the space race. Pay attention to what you are “turning on or off” and the resulting effect.
Popular ALTICONS Symbols (copy and paste for convenience)