Welcome to some more Star Citizen with a load of new information on the New Flight Experience that has just gone to the 3.5 Evocati Build & is being tested now, this is a Summary of RtV New Flight Experience from the 1st of March 2019 as well as some additional insights and corrections by the Devs.
In Reverse The Verse they took questions on the New Flight Model coming with 3.5 Alpha as well as giving a Demo. It is worth mentioning that the Model is in quite a lot of Flux atm.
The Flight Model is the set of rules they use to move ships. The underlying system for this is physics based. You don’t have direct control over individual thrusters the IFCS (intelligent Flight Control System) crunches your inputs to desired outputs.
Weapons, Combat, Individual Systems & how they balance are not part of the Flight Model they are separate to it. They are not balanced in isolation though, they do work with other teams to get every part of ship flight and function working.
John Pritchett created the original SC IFCS system.
The System has been iterated on & evolved a lot since it’s original conception and now entirely reworked for the games needs in Alpha 3.5.
David Colson & a dedicated team have now taken the reigns.
In 3.5 they are not having G-Forces throw crew and passengers walking around on a ship.
It would be extremely hard to appropriately animate characters for this.
They are talking about having limits to inertial dampeners so if you take a massive impact, ram an asteroid or something then this could cause some issues for the crew.
They have reduced the rotation velocity & acceleration of ships in 3.5.
Larger fighters will have slower rotation velocities.
Smaller ships may be able to track close targets and stay on them as they turn much more easily.
This is one of the things that is at the top of their test priorities in Evocati, expect it to get very tuned.
Combat in the new model is slower than before though, that is a design choice.
They don’t want ship combat to feel like an FPS shooter, combat requires a bit more planning and foresight rather than twitch shooting.
Each ship will fly differently, their mass and choice of thrusters making a difference.
The Larger the ship, typically the less agile it will be.
That is why turrets will be extremely important, allowing larger ships to fend off small ones.
In 3.5 ships will still feel floaty in atmosphere, they are planning to address this potentially in 3.6, they don’t want ships feeling like ships are in space when planetside.
And in regard to atmosphere:
There is lift in the new atmospheric flight model.
Different Altitudes and Atmospheres will both affect the way you fly, ships that are more suited for atmospheric flight will have an advantage.
Atmospheric density is scaled to exponentially decrease as you go up.
The higher you are in atmosphere the higher your max speed and acceleration.
Low altitude maneuvers can make you blackout.
These aerodynamic ships will also benefit from gliding even with their engines entirely off, where as something like an Aurora may not be able to glide at all. You won’t have much control and you will eventually come crashing down.
Taking hits in atmosphere can cause you to lose control or at least feel the kinetic impacts.
The afterburner in game as of 3.5 just gives you an acceleration increase.
It’s meant to be used in short bursts as it causes a lot of heat and wear through prolonged use, having thrusters fail is bad as it can paralyse your ship or cause you to hit things… like the ground. There is no boost mode anymore (as it’s become afterburner and the old afterburner no longer exists).
Damage to thrusters will cause ships to lose thrust in a particular direction, making your ship more sluggish with certain movements. Your ship won’t entirely lose control if you lose a thruster or 2 BUT if you lose a lot then you could have a lot of issues.
Some ships are impractical for atmospheric flight, they will not be able to leave planets or moons atmospheres without assistance.
This is going to be based on mass (of both ship & astral body), the ships VTOL and any damage the ship has received.
Shedding Cargo, Repairing OR getting a SRV to help you may be ways to get out of the atmosphere.
They mentioned that the Reclaimer might not be able to take off from certain planets BUT then clarified that on spectrum saying
“The accelerations of the Reclaimer are not enough to lift off, when the thrusters are not rotated downward. We just tested it, and if you rotate them downward you are able to lift off.”
If you vertically lift off with thrusters rotated down, and then rotate them back to normal and point up you will have the same thrust and still be able to leave the atmosphere.
It is still the plan to detach the landing mode from VTOL engines BUT this is not in 3.5
There is going to be a G meter on the HUD. One of the things I hope we get is a gravity warning so that we don’t repeatedly strand ships XD
Different ships will have different max speeds in atmosphere.
You can more easily do banking turns in atmo or at least it’s preferable.
The HUD & Model have seen some work since CitizenCon
W & S is now strafe forward and backwards by default.
You can set your cruise/velocity control speed then press a button to auto cruise at that speed. The Mousewheel can set your throttle/velocity limit.
There is a true speed indicator, showing your velocity in any given direction,
The speed gauge goes red when you are beyond recommended SCM speeds, this means you’ll see a reduction in maneuvering speeds.
You could set the limit at 1% if you wanted to do precision landings or maximum if you wanted to speed off into the distance.
The Thruster Power Slider was removed – You can still lower thruster power in the MFDs by literally lowering power to the thrusters. Though this experience still needs some work, so this will likely return in some form.
Grav-Lev Vehicles on the ground are also entirely reworked, kind of acting like jet skis while on the ground now. The closer to the ground you are the more control/grip you have.
Getting hit will cause you to lose SOME control too.
There is no decoupled mode for Grav-Lev vehicles when they are on the ground.
You are able to hover on water just like it was ground.
Taking a Dragonfly from space to ground is a bad idea, grav lev only works close to the ground so you a likely to hit the ground hard.
Decoupled mode can be toggled on and off OR there is a push and hold key for it too now.
ESP has been “weakend” in general BUT it is getting reworked too and is of a high priority (sounds like 3.6) Combat in general is a priority.
Ships crashing into each other or into asteroids will have some dampening and been toned down so that you don’t entirely lose control of your ship.
Ships crashing into the ground and bouncing and that sort of thing were bugs, though they didn’t mention if they had resolved them yet.
The said they could easily implement an Altimeter that tells you where the actual ground is BUT they didn’t think it was important.
However they have since said
“You’ve been heard loud and clear. We’ll look into adding a radar altimeter.”
This will be in addition to Sea Level Altitude
They will expose more information to the players on the HUDs in the future.
The Demo they showed was rough around the edges.
The Grav-Lev Vehicles were janky and rigid.
The Gladius in atmo seemed extremely drifty to me too.
They want to get this into the best possible state for 3.5 using Evocati Feedback so this is going to get some work.
They sound like they have currently removed the acceleration control as it appears that it wasn’t really being utilized in testing (previously it was on mousewheel but now velocity control is) I feel that acceleration control has some extremely good uses BUT I’ll know more once I have tested the model hands on BUT it’s very possible that it will be back in for 3.5 if it has tangible use.
Lots of the older issues with flight and grav-lev have been solved BUT expect a load of new ones!