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Star Citizen 3.6.0 What’s Going on with Hover Mode?

Welcome to some more Star Citizen 3.6.0 has been working it’s way through the PTU and is getting close to release BUT there are still major issues with Hover Mode and some blockers. I wanted to take a very quick look at the fixes that 3.6.0r Patch brings as it is starting to address VTOL/Hover Mode and then look at what I like and my problems with the system currently.

Feature Updates & fixes for the latest PTU are they

  • Disabled hover mode when not in atmosphere.
  • Hover mode should no longer cause the player’s ship to get stuck in no-fly zones.
  • All misfires now trigger at a lower threshold, including criticals, but are less frequent.
  • Further fixes for FOIP to make animations play player to player.
  • Bounty hunter AI ships that spawn as part of environmental missions should no longer despawn in front of the player.
  • Fixed an issue that causes the hacking terminal to be unusable if a player aborts a hack.
  • Players should no longer be required to accept a customized character every time they log in to the PU.
  • The scanning ping particle wave should no longer come from the landing pad rather than the vehicle.
  • The Hurston security depot should no longer appear to be under water.
  • Switched AI Valkyrie and Caterpillar to gunship type behavior.
  • Fixed 2 client crashes & a server crash.

There are a few Known Issues that they’ve been powering through, Security reinforcements aren’t working, Hacking Chips can fall through the world. FrameRate Performance Issues, Textures will display across on some visors. & AI ships have wing wobble.

Hover Mode / VTOL

Hover mode is started to be being addressed in this patch, I’d also expect the next couple to either tweak it into a good place OR remove it temporarily. 

There is a massive lack of precision for landing in Hover Mode, even with velocity & acceleration control the current VTOL is too floaty, unresponsive and then suddenly you’ll be moving too fast or drifting into a wall or the ground.

I have no trouble landing on flat areas or open landing pads.

The Real Challenge I find is landing a Valkyrie at Lorville on Hurston or enclosed landing pads in medium – large ships. Those tiny box hangars are about the same size as the ship… and as you are floating slightly and lack that precision beyond going up and down.

Hover Mode has some great points, it makes atmospheric flight more dangerous & feel different. Ships have more weight to them. It makes sense for ships wanting to engage in ground combat to lose their speed, so that ground forces and defenses can attack them.

On paper I very much like the system… at the moment however it just lacks some important features:

There are a lot of plans for landing and improvements for this:

Toggle for VTOL / Hover Mode – This would enable a lot of extra control for pilots.

3d Ground Sim / Landing Cam – They are at some point bringing back the low res ground cam that used to be on landing pads for landing BUT this is planned to be used on all terrain. Very Useful.

Some bits I would like to see potentially:

Space Break & strafe work properly – Hold X kind of stops your ship BUT then you can’t move at all – I then want to be able to strafe or move up and down in a precise way.

Also when you release X you ship will still drift, sometimes quite fast… which can lead to pain.

Some form of auto-stabilization could also help a lot with this.

In the Short term enabling auto landing at a wider range & distance so that you can get near a hangar and auto land if you want could really help with this too.

When it comes to precision landings, I want control BUT I also don’t mind things being dumbed down for that. I am not going to be fist bumping pilots about how sick their landing was at Levski… maybe cool combat landings will get some hi-fives.

There are some tips I can give you in the short term for Hover Mode:

The 3rd person camera can be tempting and sometimes helpful to use when in VTOL but don’t use it in all situations. I really find the using the HUD indicators as part of flying incredibly useful.

The Nose & Horizon indicator are useful now when using VTOL. As you can see when the nose is below the horizon then you’ll be pitching forward.

There is an indication showing input direction & what direction you are flying in.

Set Your Velocity Control to about 50% of your SCM Speed half way between 0 and the Red Line basically.

And I set my thruster power throttle between 70 – 45% based on my needs.

As the PTU is open to all backers I’d recommend you give Hover Mode a go in the lastest PTU & tell me what you think. This is one of those features that very much does better out of short term feedback that CIG can rapidly implement. With Hover Mode I do think it’s something they can get in a good state for LIVE and then further iterate on it.