Information about the server
COMBAT BOX is focused on late-war, historically-inspired scenarios including BoBP plane sets. Each map has been meticulously hand-crafted including realistic airfields, challenging targets, spectacular effects and strategic mechanics such as radar zones.
Available planes and maps will evolve over time.
- Be nice. A little bit of smack talk is expected in online gaming, but don't get nasty. All chat is logged. Leave politics and religion to other servers. Racist, sexist, homophobic or religion-based slurs will result in temporary bans from the server.
- Play fair. If you find something unbalanced or broken, please let the server admins know so we can fix it. Exploiters will be warned, then banned.
- Attacking players near a 'protected' airfield is not allowed. See the "no vulching" rules below for full details — not every field is protected.
- Disconnecting shortly after being damaged awards a kill to your opponent and ends your streak. While network connections can be flaky and the game can crash, 'convenient' disconnects can be very tempting for pilots, so we discourage them.
- Bailing out of an undamaged plane incurs a stats penalty. Some players "hit the silk" as soon as they lose an advantage. This is an online multiplayer game -- bailing out to deny an opponent a kill is unsporting. While bailing out is not against the rules, it will hurt your statistics. Command takes a dim view of pilots who fail to get their bird home, especially a pristine aircraft!
- These rules are not comprehensive. Admins reserve the right to use their own judgement rather than a big rulebook. Don't be a dick, and we'll all get along fine.
Use of SRS Radio
Thanks to the game developers and Ciribob, pilots can now enjoy realistic radio communications integrated into their IL2 experience. For full details and installation instructions, please read the guide on the forums. Once you have installed IL2-SRS and have it running, your SRS radio client should automatically connect when you join the Combat Box server. You'll initially be placed in the neutral 'intercom' channel, then channel 1 for your coalition once you spawn a plane.
On Combat Box, pilots should use SRS channels 1 through 10 for the following purposes:
- Channel 1: Command / Coordination. Monitor channel 1 for important messages from Allied or German command, and to coordinate with other pilots.
- Channel 2: Airfield Operations / Tower. Ensure you switch to, or monitor, channel 2 when operating near an airfield.
- Channels 3-10: Operation-specific communications. At pilot's discretion, use these channels for specific operations such as CAP, ground strike, or intra-flight comms.
SRS now supports two radios per aircraft. We encourage pilots to use both radios. For example, you could leave the first radio set to channel 1 at all times and use your second radio for task-specific communications.
"CB Radio" and AI Ground Controllers
Combat Box features artificial intelligence that provides strategic mission updates as well as new experimental voice recognition. You may hear AI voices on channel 1 radioing that targets are under attack or warning of heavy fighting, or broadcasting airfield conditions and traffic updates on channel 2.
If you wish to use the speech recognition, first join channel 2 and say "tower, radio check". The AI should respond that it can hear you. You can then say "tower, request call sign" in order to be assigned a call sign. Please listen carefully and remember your call sign -- currently you cannot request a specific callsign, one will be assigned to you. If you forget your call sign, do another radio check and the bot will use your call sign in response.
Radio calls work best if you use the "full" radio call sequence each time, i.e. [ident you are talking to] [your ident] [your location, if relevant] [your request].
"Kenway, this is Voodoo-2 in grid 1218, request mission" will be more reliable than "Voodoo-2, 1218, need mission." Abbreviated calls do work, but if you're having trouble getting a response from the bot, try the long/formal version. The bot supports the following commands:
- "Tower, radio check", "Command, comms check", "Mic check" — Request a radio check.
- "Tower, request call sign." — Request a call sign for the duration of your mission. Call signs persist through death but are reset on map roll. If you forget your call sign, just do another request or a radio check and the bot will remind you.
- "Tower, request call sign Uncle-4" — Request a specific call sign. If it is available, the bot will assign it to you. Note: Sometimes it's hard to get the bot to hear you correctly. Try distinctive call signs like 'Tomahawk', 'Raven', 'Voodoo', 'Eagle' and 'Quicksand'.
- "Tower, flight of three, type 109, request call sign." — Request a call sign for a flight of up to five aircraft. Only the flight lead should do this, and the bot will assign the 'lead' call sign to whoever made the radio call. Wingmates should follow up with "Tower, request call sign Voodoo-2" (or whichever call sign it assigned) to register that they are wingmen.
- "Tower, permission to taxi", "Ground, this is Vulture-5 request taxi" — Request taxi clearance.
- "Tower, request takeoff clearance", "Tower, this is Voodoo-2, ready to take off" — Request takeoff clearance.
- "Control, Nighthawk-2 in grid 3130, request assignment.", "Kenway, this is Uncle-3 in grid 1015, request mission.", "Command, this is Tomahawk-2 in grid 2024, need orders." — Request an appropriate mission for your location and aircraft role. For fighters, the bot suggests nearby friendly objectives that need protection or nearby enemy targets where friendlies need cover. For bombers, the bot will suggest a nearby enemy objective that you can attack, but it doesn't know when targets are destroyed, so it might send you to something that's already destroyed. The bot knows if you have bombs/rockets and will treat you as a fighter or bomber. Jabos will automatically be treated as fighters once they have dropped their bombs.
- "Command, Maniac-Lead, strike package en route to grid 1716, ETA 5 minutes.", "Kenway this is Tomahawk-2, en-route to grid 2526" — Declare a bombing objective and optional ETA. GCI should respond with the enemy target name, indicating it understands your intentions. Along the way to a target you can do "Command this is Maniac-5 in grid 1015 ETA 4 minutes" or "Longbow, Voodoo-2, ETA 3 minutes request cover" to update your ETA. A few minutes before you reach the target, GCI will look for a nearby fighter and vector them to cover you. This functionality is new and might be buggy. Please let us know how it goes.
- "Kenway, this is Anvil-1 in grid 1015, request cover" — Ask for immediate cover, regardless of whether you previously declared a target. The GCI bot will attempt to locate a nearby untasked fighter and vector it to your location.
- "Command, Tomahawk-1 in grid 1817, request picture" — Ask GCI for a 'picture' of action in your immediate vicinity. If there's a "hot" location or heavy fighting within about 20km, it will let you know. It will also look for any enemies it knows about in your sector, and either say "picture clear" if it can't find anything, or it will warn you of the general amount of enemy activity. The bot is not all-seeing, so even if it says "picture clear" you cannot be sure you're actually completely clear of bandits, but if it says "caution, heavy enemy activity" it really knows there are enemies nearby.
- "Longbow, this is Voodoo-5 in grid 2411, need vector to friendly airfield", "Control, this is Arrow-Lead in grid 1017, request bearing home" — Request a compass heading for you to fly to the nearest friendly airfield.
- "Tower, request airfield information", "Tower this is Anvil-2 in grid 1017, request runway in use", "Airfield, request advisory" — Request current airfield conditions such as the runway in use and traffic.
- "Tower, Banshee-2 in grid 1012, request landing.", "Melsbroek Airfield, Tomahawk-Lead, request landing.", "Control, Banshee-2 inbound for landing" — Pilots can ask the tower for a landing clearance. Due to the fact that many pilots are not on SRS, the tower can only give an advisory, but it should help you on your approach. You need to give a grid at some point in your interaction with the tower, to establish that you're nearby, but once you've done that you can request clearance without including a grid.
- "Tower, Maniac-3 in grid 2417, emergency landing" — Declare an emergency at a nearby airfield. The tower should give you landing clearance and advise nearby traffic, as well as denying takeoff clearances during the emergency.
- "Longbow, say again", "Command, repeat your last transmission" — Ask for a repeat of the last transmission. This only works if you include "Tower", "Command", "Longbow" or another specific station name, to avoid clashes with pilots chatting to each other. This command is useful if the GCI bot gets stepped on by another player.
Please use channel 2 whenever possible for setting up call signs and doing radio checks.
Channel 1 can get swamped with pilot chatter, and the bot will respond on either channel. If you are Allied, you can use callsigns "Kenway" and "Longbow" to address the bot, in addition to "Command" and "Control" that are used by Germany. If you're on channel 2 the bot will also respond when addressed as "tower" or "airfield".
Improving speech recognition
The bot is trained on speech samples from the pilot community. If you want to help train the bot to recognize your voice and accent, please join our Discord and see the #voice-recordings channel to download our bot-trainer utility. We really appreciate pilots submitting their voice samples — it helps make the bot better for everyone.
Rules around airfield "vulching"
The admins take a dim view of vulching; we think it is anti-fun and unrealistic; airfields historically would have had upwards of 300 flak guns protecting them. There's no perfect answer to the vulching situation, here is our approach.
- Most player airfields on Combat Box are 'protected' airfields. This is an area of heavy flak and AA guns that, in real life, would have been lethal to attackers. Not all airfields are protected -- capturable, landing-only, or frontline airfields do not have this protection. Check the map for each mission to see details. As an example, the two fields Heesch and Volkel (to the right) are protected airfields.
- Attacking players within 8km of a protected, friendly field is not allowed. This is a simple 8km limit, no altitude or "time since takeoff" constraints. If you are defending against a vulcher, feel free to shoot them down, that's ok.
- These rules will be enforced automatically by robot. The bot will kick players who break the no vulching distance limit. We hope that an automatic kick will be enough, but we may upgrade this to an automatic ban in future.
- All protected airfields feature respawning "puffy" flak. If you have chased a bandit back towards their airfield and think you're maybe too close, look for puffy flak. If you see sustained heavy flak, you are likely within the 8km limit.
- Non-protected fields have no rules. If you choose to spawn at a non-protected frontline field, with a bandit on the radar and AA guns firing, you are taking a risk. As an attacker, if you want to gain air superiority over such a field and shut it down, that's within the rules.
- Outside the 8km limit pilots are not safe. Away from the protection of an airfield, you are on your own. Check six often!
Examples of how these rules apply:
- Chasing a bandit back towards a protected field and shooting them down further than 10km away - ALLOWED
- Chasing a bandit back to base and shooting them down over a protected field before they land - NOT ALLOWED
- Patrolling airspace between an enemy field and mission objectives, and attacking players while they are in their initial climb out - ALLOWED, as long as you are more than 8km from a protected field
- Attacking players who are landed or ditched at a protected airfield, strafing, bombing, rockets, whatever - NOT ALLOWED
Pilots are advised to check the map to see which airfields are protected. 'Standard' rear airfields are generally always protected. Front-line, capturable, or "landing only" airfields are generally not protected. Pilots operating any airfield should always check the map for nearby enemies, listen for heavy flak firing, and watch for a red warning flare from the tower.
How to get support
Our Discord server includes a #support channel. Please use that to get support, report bugs, and access our reports bot. If there's a server problem, post there and tag @admin to let us know.
You can create a "support ticket" to report player behavior that contravenes the Combat Box rules. For example, attacking other players while they are on the ground, tail gunner griefing, deliberate team kills, repeated egregious friendly fire, or use of racist, sexist, homophobic, religious or other slurs in chat. Creating a ticket makes a new private channel for you to report the problem, you don't need to call someone out in public if you prefer not to.
Our server is located in New York, in a commercial datacentre. We have thousands of pilots each month playing, including pilots from Australia, Brazil and Europe. If you are getting ping kicked, the problem is most likely your internet connection, not the server. Try using a wired connection instead of home wifi. You can ping combatbox.net to see your current ping. Our maximum average ping over one minute is 350ms round-trip. We will not increase our ping limit; we already have some players warping around with jittery ping, and increasing ping limit makes the experience worse for all the other players.
If your ping is good but you sometimes lose connection, you might need to optimize your MTU to reduce packet fragmentation. Yes, that probably sounds like gibberish. Here's a guide to doing it.
Administrators: Alonzo, Haluter, Mordrac, Psyrion, Sketch, Talon
Mission designers: Alonzo, Bjorn, Hawkmoon, Talon, The Nines, Psyrion and our Patreons.
Massive thanks to: Red Flight for all their help testing, especially Col. Ninny and Haluter for in-depth airfield testing and feedback.
Combat Box has been migrated to new server hardware! Thank you to all who generously donated to the cause. In alphabetical order: Alonzo, Atomic_359, Blake, Haluter, HE187, IngegnerTommy, Jakerthesnak, Jim, Jon, Jorge HFJ, JG1/Vonrd, Mewt, Mordrac, Nabuli0, Siggi, Strat, Talon, The Nines, Tim and VA_SDRiEMLiNE. Thank you also to our Patreon donors who allow us to continue to operate! See the Supporters page for more info.
Join our Discord to get help, report problems, or give feedback: discord.combatbox.net