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david_watt78

space flight models

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david_watt78    133
I am curious to hear opinions on space flight models. Whether arcade style throttle controls speed and you go where your pointed flight model or the frictionless newtonian style is better. I have at this time implemented both and a toggle to change them as well as the ability in the newtonian to thrust forward and backward. However , as I plan a PVP element, I am concerned that allowing players to turn with out changing direction of motion will degrade into the guy with the bigger guns will always win. Since players will always be able to face their opponent by simply turning. I am wondering if anyone has played PVP in games like Jumpgate and Vendetta that have those models and if I am correct in my assumption.

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I pulled a copy of Independence War II: Edge of Chaos out of a bargain bin when I noticed my joystick getting a dust layer. It uses the directional throttle flight model, and the different agilities of the ship classes count for a lot. Big ships with big guns simple can't turn fast enough to track the little guys without building up so much inertia that you just strafe them and maybe clip them once or twice, while the lighter ships can settle into an orbit, keeping the larger target in the crosshairs at all times. Missiles add a wrinkle, since the smaller ships have to evade them, which is tough to do without giving the bigger ship a shot at you once or twice, and of course if there are multiple enemies, you can't orbit them all.

On the whole, it's a very good time, and it keeps me entertained on the "instant action" NPC combat marathon mode. I don't think anyone plays online anymore.

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swiftcoder    18437
I used to play a lot of Escape Velocity, which uses a Newtonian model (albeit with the maximum speed capped for each class of ship). Differing turn and acceleration rates serve nicely to keep the game from to devolving into a biggest-gun-wins, and in fact, it is possible for a decent player to take down a destroyer with a single fighter.

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david_watt78    133
I would imagine in a capital ship/ base vs fighter/bomber scenario newtonian would be quite fine. My concern is fighter vs fighter. Basically position and pursuit angle and other standard fighter tactics would be pointless it would seem to me.

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You've got to choose between aiming to accelerate and aiming to pewpew, so there's a tradeoff there as well.

Just don't let them "glide". Changing heading without engaging the main engines shouldn't modify your velocity.

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Edtharan    607
Why not allow both? You could have the Newtonian system as the main system, but allow the ship's on board AI to attempt to model the arcade style. The arcade style would use up a lot more fuel, but the player would end up having better dogfighting ability.

For instance, the player might wish to use less fuel while at a longer range and stick with the newtonian moddel. If they then engage a single fighter, they might choose to stick with the Newtonian model (again mainly for fuel conservation, but somtimes the tactics might favour the model). However, when several of the enemies buddies show up, they might switch their fighter into the arcade mode so as to give them more manouverability to avoid enemy fire.

If such switching could be done quickly, then use of the switching becomes a piloting skill. When to switch becomes a game choice (and a complex one with no choice being absolutly the best).

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david_watt78    133
at present that is the case there is a single joystick button assigned to the toggle. Also the newtonian is also setup with no friction(ie no velocity change without thrusting) but a top speed limit based on weight as well as the ability to thrust forward or backward to either slow down,speed up , or fly backwards if you thrust back enough. there is also 4 slide buttons for up,down, left, right. Its a necessity of helping the user control the newtonian model especially when docking. I have tried in the newtonian model to dock its extreemly delicate flying.

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Werty    134
In my experience the newtonian flight model is a whole lot more fun than the arcade one. In a game using the arcade flight model, like Freespaces for example, you're usually just pulling back on your joystick and hoping to hit your target a few times when you see a glimpse of him before he goes off screen again. Dog fights in I-War 2 were a lot more fun, although I found it a bit annoying that the maximum speed wasn't limited. A lot of times I was just flying past my target too fast and couldn't hit him.

In our game Novawar: Skirmish (http://www.novawar-game.com) we use the newtonian model with speed limits. All ships have maximum accelerations to every direction, with forward acceleration usually faster than the other directions. How fast the ship accelerates depends on how much energy is assigned to engines (energy is divided between engines, shields and weapons). The game also has a brake button which stops the ship. Usually the joystick throttle axis controls the ship's thrust but we've take a different approach. The throttle axis controls the engine energy and you use the keyboard to control the thrusters. So it's a bit like playing a first person shooter with a mouse and a keyboard, but you're using a joystick instead of the mouse. You can even use two joysticks to maneuver your ship by assigning pitch, yaw & roll to one joystick and the thrusters to the other. I'm using two Logitech Attack3s and it's really fun, although it takes a little practise first. You can however configure the forward thruster to the throttle axis and have your ship behave more arcadily if you want to but burning the forward thruster all the time will consume your ship's fuel fast.

This kind of complex flight model works pretty well in PvP and a good pilot with a smaller ship can beat a bad pilot with a bigger ship. Although in my opinion "the guy with bigger guns" should usually win. What's the point of having a battleship if a single fighter can destroy it?

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david_watt78    133
well for now i shall keep them both and have a toggle. Will see how it is when I have actual weapns on the ships. I actually just have a planet, a moon, and a spacestation which I can fly between no guns implemented as yet.

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I just picked up the demo of a Battlestar Galactica-themed Freespace 2 mod called Beyond the Red Line that uses a toggle to disable your arcade style point and steer controls. It's pretty handy, and puts a lot of the benefits of the newtonian model at your fingertips, while maintaining the intuitive arcade feel.

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Timkin    864
The arcade style should be the default flight model available to all pilots, with the Newtonian model accessible as an 'advanced feature'. The arcade model should have limited capabilities (for example, lower maximum speed, reduced turning rate) but should make it easier for pilots to get into the game. More advanced users who spend the time to develop the necessary input coordination needed to control the Newtonian flight model should be rewarded with better ship performance.

For some added complexity, why not consider a relativistic flight model, but with reduced maximum speed ('speed of light') to bring it back into a space-time frame that is easily represented on a small screen.

Cheers,

Timkin

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