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Mike.Popoloski

space movement

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OK, I have been thinking about the optimal solution to a question I have and I was wondering what you guys thought about it. I'm making a space trader type game, but I am not exactly sure of the view and controls just yet. I have ideas, but I'm not sure which one to pick. First Case View when travelling by spaceship would be first person viewing out the front. Weapons would be selected with hotkeys and fired with mouse or spacebar. This gives several advantages, the greatest of which would be the free view of the soroundings. The disadvantages are that the player can only see in front of him, which may be accurate for single-man fighters but not for larger ships. Second Case View is from isometric point of view. Players select destination and targets with mouse. This gives less of a view of the soroundings as you can't see close up, but allows greater vision all around the ship. The main problem boils down to 3d movement in space. Should the player be allowed to move in 3 dimensions, or only two? Using three dimensions would be much more complex, but 2 makes it seem not as real. If you were designing or playing a game like this, which would use, or would you use a different method altogther?

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Personally, if playing any kind of combat, or dog-fight game I prefer the first person perspective (X-wing, WingCommander) you really don't get the same involvement with the thrid person perspective...
Alternately, for space strategy, empire building, rpg, in many cases the thrird person perspective can be more informative, especailly as you say, with larger ships.

I think what matters here is the feel, you are hoping to achieve, the first person lets you feel like a flying ace, gritting your teeth and shooting baddies, thrid person shows you the larger picture, and allows you to concentrate on more than just what's infront of you to shoot.

If your project encompasses both elements, what about a "view change" button, that lets you switch from first to thrid person.

As far as 3D movement in space, it can be a tough one, most games use a combination of 2D and 3D, ship movement and combat are in 3D while interstellar maps and travel are largely represented in 2D, I've even seen games use a small cylindrical environment for vertical movement (for example if your radar shows an enemy is "above your ship" and they keep moving "up" they will eventually be "below your ship" while not very accurate, it is often difficult for players to notice, and works well for the players to understand. It seems very like a flight simulator, wherein navigation is 2 dimentional and things will only every be a reasonable distance "above" or "below" you.

I have offen wanted to build a game with realistic space movement (no "max" speeds just rates of acceleration, and when you turn your ship you still continue to move in the direction you were going, not your new facing....) But I figured no one (myself included) would ever be able to play effectivly.... realizing that if you hold down your thrusters for 5 minutes, it will take you (at least) another 5 minutes to come to a stop again, and when you turn it changes you direction of facing but not your direction of travel, would be very tough to get used to... lets face it, people want playability not realism.

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When I was younger my grandfather, who worked for NASA (Mercury through the early Shuttle programs), bought Space Simulator for me. It was easy to use in the realistic mode but you had to get used to how ships handled. It also came with an unrealistic mode, but I found that better for long journeys between planets and such.

So yes, I would say people could easily "play" such a thing effectively.

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Quote:
Original post by Caitlin
So yes, I would say people could easily "play" such a thing effectively.


I suppose, and for simulation (docking with a space station, etc.) would likely be alot of fun, I just have a hard time imagining playing a dog fight that way...

I am sure it would be a big hit with a select group, but the mass-market would quickly get frustrated.. at least, I believe so... if you think I'm wrong, everyone let me know and I can convince myself to finally tackle that project :)

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The idea behind my game is that you don't always have to be flying a small, single-man craft, and the larger ones have turrets that can fire not only in front but 360 degrees around. First person would be really cool but I don't know how firing multiple weapons would work.

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I might suggest a third case. For large ships with significant arcs of fire, I suggest putting the camera outside the ship, but make it possible to move the camera around and point in any direction you want. Like in homeworld or eve-online. I believe that the best would be to switch between the two.
I also like the idea of interminable acceleration. If accelearating for five minutes really limits your mobility, people will learn not to accelerate for five minutes.

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