Flight Model is implemented so well, it's perceived as bad (updated with DEV feedback!)

Alki

Posts: 418

Posted:
Edited: by Alki
Posted: -
Hello all,
although this may seem one of the usual "flight model is bad" threads, I would like to explain why, in my opinion, the flight model is GREAT, but does not meet the expectations of many.
Most joystick users complain about lag input and overcorrection.
That is true, both exist.
Why?
Because CIG implemented perfectly the thruster system, and how it is handled by the IFCS
There is lag because the maneuvering thrusters, being gimbaled, have to turn to the appropriate direction, and need a little time to pass from zero to full thrust.
There is overcorrection because the pilot, feeling the delay, pushes harder, requiring even more power from the thrusters - and this extra power then means that when the input is ended, the ship still moves as thrusters need to spool down. Basically, we have a case of pilot induced oscillation
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pilot-induced_oscillation

This is not so much a problem with a mouse, since there you are telling the IFCS where you want to go, and the IFCS calculates the correct vectoring of thrust to orient your ship. Basically, your are telling the computer "point my nose towards that asteroid"
With a joystick on the other hand, your are not telling the IFCS where you want to go; you are providing him inputs of pitch,yaw,roll. YOU, the pilot, is the one that must calibrate his input to make sure he stops turning when his nose is pointed at the asteroid.
And this requires getting used to.
I do feel that the maneuvering thrusters need a shorter reaction time, as currently it makes precise maneuvers very difficult. But this is, I believe, something that can be fine-tuned easily by CIG. Increase thruster gimbal rate and shorten time needed to go from zero to full thrust, and you improve overall handling of the ship.
Therefore in my opinion the flight model is not "bad", but perhaps too realistic, and actually easier to use with a mouse, than a joystick, at least for part of the population

TL:DR
i do not perceive the flight model to be bad, but it needs tuning to increase ships response, especially for joysticks.
Update: multiple posts from the Dev working on the flight model clarify that CIG is actively working on this, and there is ample flexibility in the system. The current release is missing several features, and rough. Feedback from the players is VERY important

EDIT: this post from Chris explains his views on IFCS
https://forums.robertsspaceindustries.com/discussion/comment/1667470/#Comment_1667470

EDIT 2: response from a Developer on the flight model, MUST READ: https://forums.robertsspaceindustries.com/discussion/comment/2722695/#Comment_2722695
Further cpmment and explanation for Zyrain aimed at current concerns and issues: https://forums.robertsspaceindustries.com/discussion/comment/2731231/#Comment_2731231

EDIT 3: added further links to posts from Zyrain, that appear in other threads but are relevant to this topic
https://forums.robertsspaceindustries.com/discussion/comment/2714175/#Comment_2714175
https://forums.robertsspaceindustries.com/discussion/comment/2721296/#Comment_2721296

EDIT 4, June 9th: interview to Travis Day, lots of good info here
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  • BronxBrew

    Posts: 196

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    +1 I endorse this thread.
  • Pinky

    Posts: 129

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    [hide]


    I do feel that the maneuvering thrusters need a shorter reaction time, as currently it makes precise maneuvers very difficult. But this is, I believe, something that can be fine-tuned easily by CIG. Increase thruster gimbal rate and shorten time needed to go from zero to full thrust, and you improve overall handling of the ship.

    Well said.

  • X2-Eliah

    Posts: 1153

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    "but it needs tuning to increase ships response"

    Sounds reasonable, tbh. Decrease delay -> decreases the jank.
    ---
  • starchao999

    Posts: 163

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    Yeah, you got the basic idea right. Simply put, this is pretty close to how actual combat space flight would work, much like combat atmos flight, its a very finicky affair, and is certainly not idealized. An example of an idealized system is like Freespace, where the ship always goes exactly in the direction you point it in, and can literally change vectors instantaneously.
  • Captain_Sternn

    Posts: 12

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    Agree. +1

  • Krangan

    Posts: 516

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    For some posters I agree, they think it's bad because it's actually implemented so well (control "lag", ship wobble, it's all intentional for a ship using numerous thrusters and reorientating them).

    There are some though who just want planes in space. They want to fly through space as if they're flying through air. Basically it's Star Trek & Star Wars flight model VS Babylon 5 & Battlestar Galactica flight model.
  • Yahnoosh

    Posts: 913

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    freaking thank you!
  • Valkyre

    Posts: 289

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    Good to see others that think that way :-)

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  • Gamgee

    Posts: 3079

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    I know it drives me nuts they don't even realize what they're saying. Taking away from MY experience with the game being a simulator like this.
  • PvtHike

    Posts: 460

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    I can dig it.
  • blaznee

    Posts: 146

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    Well said.. And I totally agree.. I read all these threads about overcorrecting and things being "too sensitive" or what not.. I personally have not really had any issues.. It takes a little bit to get used to, but I'm having a blast flying around..

    Sure it could need a tweak here and there, but the basics of it feels good in my hands, and I agree totally on the right "feel" of the thrusters adjusting is the reason for many people overcorrecting..

  • Logical_Chimp

    Posts: 8361

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    Good post. personally, I found it took about 20 mins to get used to the handling, and then I didn't mind it too much (I have more gripes about the default control setup than the handling - and we already know controller config is coming, so even that isn't an issue). Anyway, the first time I flew, it took me 20 mins or so to get used to it, and then I continued on to wave 11 in the Aurora (including 20 mins or so taking down waves 8 & 9 using just one gun, cos I was feeling obstinate :D).

    Personally, I think this is one of those elements of 'Player Skill' that people have overlooked. Player Skill doesn't just mean 'twiddle the joystick to point the crosshair at the target' - it means adapting to the craft you're flying (as each one has different characteristics) and adapting to the flight model.

    As for improving gimbal rate and ramp-up - those are probably attributes of the uprated thrusters etc (given we can replace thrusters will better ones at a later date, and the ones we have now are (by default) low quality ones). As such, we need to be careful that we don't try to make the 'cheap junk' equipment as powerful / capable as the intended high-end gear just because we don't yet have access to that high-end gear.

    Edit: grammar booboo
    I'm not a complete idiot. Some parts are missing.
  • Z3roCool

    Posts: 129

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    Edited: by Z3roCool
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    I for one have had, not bitched, but been vocal about how the Flight Model feels and handles. Not worried about Mouse vs Joystick debate, just the overall feel of the control input and being worried that it will not be changed much as this is the template CIG are going for.

    Your post has made me think - a lot.

    It makes very good sense.

    I actually went back into AC which I did not plan on doing and did some Free Flight playing with the settings. Aiming the ship at a gap in some super structure from a long way away and then switching to uncoupled mode and flinging the ship around and fly sideways/backwards through the hole in the ship/structure.

    After playing for longer I feel you are spot on. The model is very well done...too well done. It definitely needs tweaking to make it more responsive...almost more arcade like (never thought I would say that). The delay from inputting the move to the thruster powering up initially feels laggy and bad but it is actually just a very well modelled effect.

    Feeling a lot better now as was really worried about where this was going.

    Great post OP ;)
    Aegis Dynamics Avenger
    Origin M50 Interceptor
  • Luqin

    Posts: 654

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    Edited: by Luqin
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    +1 yeas that it.

    ...realize that all sims we know until now simplyfie ship to a point with a mass, that has evenly distributed density and every thrust of an engine is simplified to affect center of mass as if the thruster was just behind it.

    THis is first game ever that simulates ships so well and people dont know it so they say its wrong. People who studied mechanics know that what we see is manifestation of real physics.. and possibly crappy engineering of Aurora (which i love and it makes sense.. frankly it was never here before)

    Nobody else did it because its hardaware heavy and it requires some actual Engineers to tell you where to put thrusters to design perfect ship.

  • Spalas

    Posts: 28

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    It is nice for those who believe this excuse, but it is far from reality.
    Unfortunately.
  • Osmosisboy

    Posts: 61

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    After having put some hours into flying with joystick I have to say I agree with OP. There is definitely some time needed to get used to the handling of the ships but I have to say I am really starting to enjoy myself here.
  • Luqin

    Posts: 654

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    I know it drives me nuts they don't even realize what they're saying. Taking away from MY experience with the game being a simulator like this.

    Same frustration here brother, youre not alone.
    Those people speak dirty about it and i love it..
  • Daw00tness

    Posts: 828

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    Yeah, this seems like a valid explanation for the lag I experience when playing with my joystick.

    (hmm, that didn't entirely come out right)

    Anyway, I do kinda like the mechanism. Just needs a bit of tweaking as you said.
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  • Koln

    Posts: 18

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    Isn't it funny when people claim they want realism and then complain when it's given to them?

    I wonder what would've happened if the model were completely realistic.
  • Avon

    Posts: 402

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    Hey, just wanted to let people know I did a topic on the physics behind AC, that support the OP's story

    https://forums.robertsspaceindustries.com/discussion/140838/

    put a lot of time in it, but it got snowballed by the mkb -> joystick stuff.
  • SendoTarget

    Posts: 317

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    The over-correction on the yaw does make sense when given into context with the physics. There's some careful adjusting to do.

    All I need is my own custom-keybinds for the X52 pro and I'm good to go.
    An old Wing Commander of his time
  • SpaceElmo

    Posts: 2176

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    I agree with the OP and actually that's the first proper explanation of why mouse works so much better.

    It's much more apparent when you lose a thruster or two. The mouse point calculates vector thrust perfectly whereas with the joystick you feel like you are fighting the ship.
    "All reality is a game. Physics at its most fundamental, results directly from the interaction of certain fairly simple rules, and chance; the same description may be applied to the best and most elegant games"
    -Iain M Banks - Player of Games-
  • SendoTarget

    Posts: 317

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    It's much more apparent when you lose a thruster or two. The mouse point calculates vector thrust perfectly whereas with the joystick you feel like you are fighting the ship.

    "Fighting the ship" also could translate into "taking the ship into its limits".
    An old Wing Commander of his time
  • Brainiak

    Posts: 146

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    The flight model is good. What people really are complaining about is the fly by wire system... Honestly current aircraft could be controlled the exact same way as mouse and keyboard in this game... it just isn't practical because it would be hard to use a mouse and keyboard while pulling so many G's in a fighter, AND there is no room to put either in most cockpits.

    What people really want is the boresight firing mode to be a little better for joystick. Right now the boresight is very similar to X3. Mouse lets you freely aim within a certain cone in front, and the joy has a much smaller auto aiming radius, but it seems unfair to people that if using a joystick it is harder to line up shots. For me, I only find this to be true on the hornet right now, and there are no current controls for turret tracking. I expect these all to be features that get rolled in with regular updates to AC. The flight model is the best flight model for any space sim ever (unfortunately this isn't saying much, but it is still good, and better then most flight sims... I think the only flight sim that is legitimately more accurate is DCS, but as I have stated before, DCS isn't a game, it is a job haha).

    haters gonna hate, the flight model is awesome, the flight modes for advanced tactics are welcome, well thought out and awesome (although i would LOVE to be able to use them with a joystick by mapping it to buttons on my throttle stick, since I don't have 3 hands, and I cannot remap controls, well... at least without editing game files :)
  • Logical_Chimp

    Posts: 8361

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    It is nice for those who believe this excuse, but it is far from reality.
    Unfortunately.

    Any details to back up that comment? Just rubbishing it without providing a counter argument (or details of how said OP was 'far from reality') is meaningless. If you have an alternative theory, I'd be interested in seeing it (anything that helps us think about the flight model and why it behaves the way it does is a good thing).
    [hide]

    Yeah, this seems like a valid explanation for the lag I experience when playing with my joystick.

    (hmm, that didn't entirely come out right)
    --chop--

    "That's what she said" *cough*. Sorry - I think the morning caffeine has just kicked in :D

    As a secondary thought - I'm also wondering if there is an element of 'IFCS lag' as well. Different ships have different CPUs etc, and you can allocate power away from individual components (or to them too). As such, I'm wondering if the Aurora is lacking some grunt in the CPU, meaning that the IFCS can end up lagging?

    I don't think this would be an issue (this is probably a case of taking the simulation too far :D) but it might explain some of the yaw judder and hop (especially when yawing back-and-forth repeatedly) in the Aurora.
    I'm not a complete idiot. Some parts are missing.
  • Luqin

    Posts: 654

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    It is nice for those who believe this excuse, but it is far from reality.
    Unfortunately.

    Care to elaborate..? people give reasons why they think flight model is actually right.. yet you just say a statement.. seems to me almost like you are the one OP speaks about.
  • Eera

    Posts: 1898

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    just straff + roll !!!
    Corporation des Unifiés > Guilde Star Citizen Française
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  • Marblecake

    Posts: 124

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    This is a very good post. Thank you!

    I am one of those who immediately posted about the jerkyness when playing with a joystick. Others have used the terms "flying through molasses" or "like ice-skating" and I totally agreed. Then a played some more AC and realized it was *meant* to be that way.

    And I find it awesome. It makes for so much deeper gameplay, because you really have to know how your ship handles to be good at flying. Of course, some argue that the mouse is in that case better because you just have to point and click. But other people have pointed out that it's a trade-off: the mouse is far more accurate, but limited in the maneuvers it can achieve. Flying with a joystick gives you more options in outmaneuvering your opponent and doing crazy stuff - but you are less accurate.

    This is an amazing thing. It really allows players to set up their perfect control scheme. Flying a ship that is a slow-poke or generally unmaneuverable? Or one in which the pilot is placed so far from the center of gravity that sudden spins in decoupled mode would make you black out? Use the mouse!
    Flying a ship that is fast and agile? Maybe competing in a race where you need to get the most out of your ship's maneuverability? Use a joystick!

    All this is so far from "arcade" I can't even...

    Anyway. Yeah, consider me humbly corrected. I was wrong about the jerkyness. It's a feature. And a bloody great one at that.
    Any sentence consisting solely of the word "buffalo" repeated any number of times is grammatically correct.
  • Graf_Blutwurst

    Posts: 8

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    this .... so much. I'll wait for customizable controls to make a more precise statement. I like the flight model as it is, what is gonna need some tweaking is probably how the weapon tracking, HUD responses and the decoupling.

    A lot of people are going "decoupling is bad, it makes you a turret in space". Well ... kinda, that's the idea behind it. I'd recommend to look at Diasporas (a BSG mod for FreeSpace2) Glide mode. it was reaaaaally well done and added a whole new layer to maneuvering.

    Also once customizable controls are out I hope someone does a really good side by side comparison between the different input devices.
  • warbaby33

    Posts: 413

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    Well, that may be, but if the controlls are bad (ie. not really tuned to the flight model) then the flight model is bad... I agree that it's probably easily fixable, but it will take time for all the different control methods.
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