Octagon is working on a new concept within the simulation genre. Instead of working on a flight simulator, they are working on something a bit different, that focuses around crew training.
The idea is not to have someone multitasking (flying a helicopter, operating the winch, controlling the vertical position of the aircraft, etc.) but, instead, having several users performing their assignments just like in a real environment.
The team of three developers is currently using Unity to develop the simulator that will go beyond the SAR role. In fact, the goal is to provide a plethora of training scenarios (all around helicopters).
You can have someone acting as a landing point commander (a marshall) that will have to use hand signals to direct another user (a pilot) so that he can land the helicopter. Other training scenery can involve sling loads, formation flying, gunnery, fast-rope, formation flying or CASEVAC.
Weather and time of day will, of course be configurable and you’ll be able to perform these operations on both land and sea.
The need for such solution became clear when Damien, the team leader was taking part on a landing point commanders course. While at the course, they would be training procedures without a helicopter but rather another student acting as a helicopter.
While talking to the instructors, it became clear that something else was needed in order to provide a better training tool. Having a training software and using VR would be much cheaper and, of course, much more realistic, than having a guy pretending to be a helicopter in front of you.
The idea was there, and Damien decided to go forth.
The team is still working on the project. As you can see from the images and the videos, they are still in the early stages of the project. The intention of the team is to provide the most realistic VR environment as possible to get crews to work together in a plethora of different situations and get them ready in the virtual world as to reduce costs, save time and make things safer for when they start practicing in the real life.
As for the market they are catering, one of the goals is, of course, to reach the professional market, but they will also release a “consumer” product so that we can work together with our friends and perform some missions as a team.
There’s no estimated release date yet but we’ll keep you up to date on this project as we get more information.
For more information, check out their Facebook page.