Cockpit Models

Cockpits in Il-2 and Il-2: Forgotten Battles are generally considered to be the most detailed, authentic cockpits found in modern World War II flight sims. They are constructed to a high standard of precision and quality, using historical references wherever possible. Despite their complexity, though, as 3D models they are fairly simple. There is no real complicated system of parts and damage like with the External aircraft models. Structure is represented as simply as possible, in consideration of one rotating viewpoint locked in space. As a result, the cockpits do not warrant a multi-page explanation; rather, the general guidelines are arranged here on this page by subject.

General Overview

The canopy is actually built inside the external fueselage section that holds cockpit. The virtual "viewpoint" is inside the fueselage; the only difference between pilot's view and external views in the game is that when the view moves inside the cockpit, the cockpit model is rendered in place of the interior of the fueselage section. Wings and other surfaces are rendered as normal, so as to be visible from the crew viewpoint. Poly limit is about 3000 polygons rendered at any one time, no matter what view the player is using or where in the airplane they are (for multiple crew stations). In other words, even complex cockpits with multiple crew points must hold to this.

Parts & Naming

The cockpit's parts and naming convention does not follow that of the external aircraft's, but there are some basic constrictions. As per usual in Il-2 modeling, a part's name cannot contain any spaces; spaces should be underbars. Other than that, the idea is basically to keep things logical, organized, and descriptive.

Materials & Textures

Unlike the External model, the cockpit model can have more than one Material, up to a maximum of 32. Individual items can be assigned individual Materials, though generally multiple items are logically grouped to the same Material. For example, typically there are four instrument faces grouped to each Material on a 256x256 texture. The texture size and the number of Materials allowed are the only limitations.


Instruments are simulated by building gauge faces on a flat square that "float" a very small virtual distance (a few mm) above the surface of the instrument panel. Needles and other moving indicators are then themselves small textured 2D shapes which float above the surface of the instrument. The resulting complete instrument is only 4 polygons. In the case of more complex instruments such as compasses or artificial horizons, parts of the instrument may be more three-dimensional.

Moving Parts

The following controls are animated within the cockpit:

Please note that rotating wheels and cranks are not animated. For animateable instruments, it is better to make all gauges animateable and not worry about it. A needle is only two polygons. Generally all instruments are animated except for pneumo-, hydro-, and oxygen systems, and battery instruments.

Damage Modeling

Damage in cockpits is simulated simply by changing out an undamaged part with a damaged one.


Cameras should be installed in the cockpit during construction. It is not clear if they are actually used by the game engine, or if they are placed as a reference point only for a proprietary camera system, but it is good to set them up in any case. If for no other reason, it helps the modeler get a feel for what the cockpit looks like in-game, and it makes a nifty way to check out the pilot's POV. Pilot's viewpoint is determined by the modeler, who determines as best as possible where the crew's point of sight would be. There are three primary cameras, and they are set up as follows:

Construction Techniques

Please see the old Cockpit FAQ for any questions about building cockpits.