Combat Air Patrol 2 Preview & Interview

Ok, let’s do a quick experiment. We’ll need a measuring rule, a bucket and (optionally) a towel. I’m going to list some things from a new PC flight sim coming out in 2015 (yes you read that right, this is like ‘Bigfoot Found In Walmart’ breaking news) so let’s set up the experiment:

Place the towel on the floor. Position the bucket beneath your lower lip.

Here’s the features of this new flight sim:

  • AV-8B Harrier II with 3D clickable cockpit using TrackIR and HOTAS support.
  • Single Player emphasis, with Multiplayer Co-op available, including drop-in play.
  • Dynamic Campaign engine.
  • Flight and Naval Strategic fleet battles.
  • Carrier Ops. Wingmen, Helos, Civilian traffic in shipping lanes.
  • Realistic campaign map set in the Straits of Hormuz using 250,000 sq km satellite imagery and modern graphics.
  • Dynamic Campaign engine. Yes, I just said it again.

Ok, now let’s use the ruler and see how much drool just entered that bucket. I’m betting a good couple of inches, so feel free to use the towel now and go rehydrate.

Gameplay footage of a preview build:

Combat Air Patrol 2 is a new title still in development from Sim155 of the UK. It’s been greenlit for the Steam Early Access program for October, with a small but experienced dev team, and should be in general release for Q4 2015.

http://www.combatairpatrol2.com/

The title is in Steam Green Light early access, and is still actively gathering feedback for ideas and suggestions, which is always great to see.

http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=353863895

We haven’t had the chance to get our hands on this title as yet, but Sim155 reached out to Mudspike and we set up this short Q&A to see what’s up:

Q1. What’s the balance between single and multiplayer content in CAP2? Is this primarily a Multiplayer game?

I’d say it is 50-50. For single player there’s a collection of training missions, single missions then an open ended dynamic campaign. For multiplayer there’s quick start dogfight, fleet defense/attack and fleet vs fleet. In addition any player in a campaign can invite players to join in a mission and take the place of AI controlled wingmen.

Q2. What’s a good comparative title for CAP2, it seems similar to Gaijin’s Apache Air Assault – is that a fair comparison in terms of sim fidelity and gameplay? Fun and action more than hardcore simulation?

I’d say we lean more towards a simulation than AAS. CAP2 has a strategic element in campaign mode which I don’t think you’ll find in many titles.

Q3. I’m old enough to have played Combat Air Patrol on the Amiga 500 (great game btw), what would be the main advances Ed and the team have been able to feature in CAP2 on today’s more powerful hardware?

Glad you liked it! With CAP I developed a 3D engine in 68k assembler as we didn’t have GPU’s. With a CPU running just over 7Mhz you could see the impact of just a few extra polygons. Now we’re pushing millions of polygons per frame we can draw pretty much anything we want. Terrain in CAP was limited to a few blue water polygons, CAP2 has over 250,000sq km of geo accurate terrain. Shaders allow us to render complex atmospheric lighting, water, shadows and post process effects.

Reference material is one of the biggest differences between developing CAP2 vs CAP. Back in the 90’s I wrote to the DoD asking for material on CVN-71 and actually received info & pictures a few weeks later. Today you’ve got a thousand images/movies/schematics available in seconds so things have changed massively.

Thanks to Ed and the Sim155 team for taking the time to answer our questions. We can’t wait to find out more, especially on the dynamic campaign side. For those that loved the gameplay fun of Strike Fighters and IL-2, this looks like a really nice ‘fidelity middle ground’ with a mix of tactical fleets mixed in. Awesome.

Recently announced is the new Kickstarter for the sim, that differs from a lot of others in that it is for additional features rather than the whole game’s initial development. This represents a ‘less chance of getting burnt’ in that the stretch goals are some things that would be great to see, but won’t kill the entire game if they’re not reached. It seems like a pretty sensible way for people to show support of features they really want to see without feeling they have to carry the entire ship on their backs (or wallets).

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1413102387/combat-air-patrol-2

See something you really want in the kickstarter list, well, you can help make it happen.

Ok, on with the eye candy, sprinkled with some features touted for release and kickstarter goals:

Multiplayer:
Play co­-op or against other players in single missions.
Invite players to participate in missions from your campaign
Play fleet vs fleet with a mix of players and AI opponents.

VR Support:
Oculus
HTC Vive

Naval simulation:
Civilian traffic transit shipping lanes
Enter and leave ports

Campaign mode:
Dynamic open ended campaign
Set in the Straits of Hormuz

Head Tracking:
Track IR

Screen display:
Supports very wide screen aspect ratios

Audio:
3d environmental audio
Radio comms and chatter

Training modes:
Learn to fly the Harrier AV8B II
Learn to deploy its weapon systems

Detailed 3D cockpit:
Selectable, articulated controls

Accurate terrain:
Campaign is set in the Straits of Hormuz
Over 250,000 sq km of terrain

Day/night cycle:
Geographically accurate environmental lighting based on longitude, latitude, date and time. Accurate star map

Tactical mission planning:
Control your fleet and air assets.
Plan your mission waypoints and target ingress/egress together with your fleet formation, route and speed.

Multiple controller support:
Flightstick
HOTAS
Rudder and MFD panel support
Gamepad mode

Plus some earlier dev shots:

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steamworkshop_webupload_previewfile_353863895_preview
steamworkshop_webupload_previewfile_353863895_preview

Hmm, we’re going to need a bigger bucket..