Welcome to some more Star Citizen as we talk about the new Atmospheric Flight Model as it has really changed in Alpha 3.10.
Aerodynamics now are different for each ships hull and it’s shape.
This affects ships in a whole range of ways… if you are in a Gladius you have big wings and can glide and surf pretty well BUT turning when the wind is blowing against you can cause a lot of resistance. Small ships will really get jostled around by the wind and storms.
I am letting the wind move me to some extent here and it’s pulling me around.
If you are going at a bit of speed, you can’t just turn in atmosphere like you can in space, you need to roll your ship OR maneuver into a turn… trying to turn rapidly will have you fighting against your ship.
Thrusters do not respond immediately at 100% of their full force with a given input; this gives ships a weightier feel and you really sometimes have to consider your movements.
Thrusters are just weaker in atmosphere as well and more prone to overheating.
If you are speeding towards an area it’s going to take you time to slowdown and stop.
Getting vertical lift is much harder for larger ships.
Ships that have VTOL or can change their thruster orientation can toggle this with [J]
You can get some stable height OR hover with VTOL very well now BUT you are not going to be travelling very fast (especially horizontally) while having your main thrusters pointing downwards.
When you combine all of this together with all the variance of planets with different atmospheres and gravities, storms and winds that changes and damage to ships or overheating you get a very fun and in depth set of mechanics for Atmospheric Flight.
If you are a returning player you will immediately notice your ship feels a lot more HEAVY.
If your ship is too Large/heavy then it may take you a long time to get out of the atmosphere, if you are damaged then you might not be able to get airborne very well at all…
They plan on more accurately having weight/mass affect your ship with cargo and loadouts in the future too BUT also the ability to have ships with tractor beams help tow you out of the atmosphere.
Overheating especially if you try to use Afterburner will have you shaking and losing control.
You still don’t really fall out of the sky with this flight model… as long as you have your engines powered… turning them off OR them being overly damaged will cause you to fall… maybe you can glide to some extent with some ships
HOWEVER more commonly I expect you may lose control so much that you crash while taking hits…
The new entry effects look great and it’s an application of the same tech that will be used to have form fitting shields. You’ll only see these effects from coming into a planets atmosphere from reasonably high going fast.
I really love the changes, there are a load of tweaks and balance that will need to be done.
I don’t think that the VTOL engines are effective enough and feel they should feel a lot different then just what appears to be slowing you down and making you more stable.
Some ships at the moment feel they should be better in certain areas as well than they are, I am putting that down to testing during the 3.10 PTU and there being some bugs and balance that needs to be done.
Currently ships will still be pretty overpowered in atmosphere still BUT these changes go a long way to having a more risky and accurate atmospheric model…
When we have objectives, missions and reasons to protect areas with ground vehicles OR missions to assault facilities that have better anti-air then I feel that we will see more fruits of these changes.