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SymLinked

Space simulators and orientation.

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Complicated stuff Am I the only one who has a hard time grasping different space simulators out there, and how to orient myself in their world? I just get very confused as soon as they drop me in. Where do I go? Example: I recently tried Eve Online, while perhaps not a simulator, I still got lost when I wanted to go somewhere. Ontop of that I often found myself up-side-down and struggling to find the ship I just launched from. How about you? I love Sci-Fi and I played Wing Commander back when it was hot, and perhaps I have just gotten too old. Have you played any games that combat these situtations, and do you think it is nessecary? Any similiar games that are "simple" yet immersive that I should know about?

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I loved X-wing vs. TIE Fighter. I loved Frontier: Elite 2.

Both are very, very different. I tried X3 and couldn't get into it at all. I thought it was a bloated mess.

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Never having really enjoyed space sims before, X3 was really great.

I found the piloting quite natural in combats. Autopilot was on about 99% of the peace time, I just turned it down to enjoy flying around sometimes. :).

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A friend of mine has the same problem as you.

However, I've played lots of space sims and as far as I can tell most of them have enough tools to help you orient (some have radars, others have good target selection tools or target direction indicators, others have both, etc.). You might give a bit more attention to the tutorials.

Beside you should change a bit the way you're thinking, because in space there is no up or down, it's just a mather of references.
In most space sims there is no need to be oriented with some other object from space, ... you just have to bring your target in the reticle ;) ... and fire.

Well, ... in conclusion Freelancer has done something in this direction (perhaps to help casual players): in the mouse selection mode it's alligning the ship automaticaly with a plane, and somehow the player is used to switch to that controll mode when it's done fighting.

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Eve was very difficult for me to adjust to - but a large part of that was due to the controls. I no longer have a joystick, and I just couldn't adjust to the bizarre setup I was using. XvT, however, was a wonderful game that I had no trouble adjusting to - but the controls were better, and I even had a joystick.

Anyway, X-Wing vs Tie Fighter is worth a look.

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Quote:
Original post by SymLinked
Ontop of that I often found myself up-side-down and struggling to find the ship I just launched from.


There is no "up-side-down" in space. You're in freefall. If you've read the book "Ender's Game", the strategy they always used was: down = the direction of your enemy.

Anyway, other than needing to retrain your brain, maintaining orientation in space is also a problem of interface. You need some kind of mini-map that is able to display information in 3 dimensions. I haven't played Eve, but I'm guessing they have a system that you just haven't figured out how to use yet.

-me

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EvE's not really free-axis. It subscribes to the "Space is full of water" school of video game design. You coast to a stop, top out around 5km/s in the fastest available ships, and have no roll value, only yaw and pitch.

It's also done all in third person, with the mouse as pointer to steer. I have no idea how anyone can be confused by it.

Descent, on the other hand, confused the crap out of me. I could fly around the same room and think I had gone a million miles. I had no idea what was going on there.

Generally, I find that space flight games (X2, for instance) are best played by instruments, and visual orientation is almost irrelevant. Get a heading and follow it, use basic combat tactics, etc.

Regardless of the setting, a fully populated 3d environment is a pain. Experience SCUBA divers with their own senses and advanced gear often get confused while swimming at depth. A game that gives you a narrow field of view and requires you to navigate with no tactile or inertial feedback cannot be made intuitive.

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