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Dogfighting Demo

croberts68

Developer

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Hi everyone. I've been reading a fair amount of the posts about the Dogfighting demo we gave during the live stream. I thought it would be useful for me to clarify a few things, as there’s a few misconceptions – mostly because people are forming their opinions on a very limited view of what we were showing. As I know exactly what is under the hood and how it plays I’m going to help you all out with the inside information :-)

Physics. There’s been a few posts where people think the physics aren't correct or fully implemented yet when they were watching the dogfight. Just to be absolutely clear – the whole game runs on CryPhysics – which is a fully fledged physics system on a par with other physics engines like PhysX and Havoc. Everything is simulated correctly. Any ship movement is achieved by applying impulses to the rigid body of the ship – there are no cheats on position or velocity. It has been like this since the beginning – even before I showed the initial prototype! If you actually looked closely at the dogfighting footage you would indeed see that the ships have inertia – they don’t immediately turn or stop on a dime – just look when someone enters a turn and notice the movement of the asteroids relative to the cockpit view. It’s one of the reasons why there were a few asteroid collisions in the demo. People weren't intentionally ramming or clipping an asteroid they just misjudged their inertia and their turning radius. There are however a few things that make this not as obvious to the untrained eye. Firstly there is no “space dust” to give you a visual cue on your speed and relative velocity vector. Space dust was something I implemented all the way back in Wing Commander to give the player some visual cues as to his velocity and direction of movement as in space you usually don’t have a good reference for your movement as its just normal empty space with no close objects for reference. It’s completely fictional but most space games use space dust (which can look / feel like streaking stars) to give cues as to your movement. It’s currently disabled in our build as we’re refactoring some particle system features, so you don’t get the same motion cues you’re used to on other space games (including all my past ones). Secondly the amount of slide or sense of inertia in your movement is a result of your mass and the strength of your maneuvering thrusters. If you have very powerful thrusters they will be able to correct your velocity vector with very little or no slide. For the test we were playing with values and had juiced the maneuvering thrusters on the Hornet so the dogfighting would be quick and fast as we wanted something that didn't drag for the live demo with lots of “kills” (to show off the nice explosions and damage!). This is definitely not final and will have a lot more tweaking, especially when the G-Force modeling comes on line for the multiplayer (as this will have a big effect on what maneuvers are best) and the energy management interface on our new WIP HUD is implemented (which will allow you to direct more power to the thrusters for a tighter turn at the expense of other systems like your weapons or shields)

Flight Model. When I see posts about the physics not being correct, or the flight model being WW2 and not Newtonian – it really means that current implementation of the Intelligent Flight Control System (IFCS) is not what people would like / are expecting as there is no cheating on physics (as I describe above). In Star Citizen (and pretty much every other space games – including the “Hard core” sims) there will always be some level of fly by wire where the computer interprets the players input on the controls and translates them in a way to maneuver the ship intuitively. Why? Because individually controlling 8-16 thrusters simultaneously to achieve a desired action is incredibly hard – just doing it in 2D in the classic video game Asteroids was difficult enough – it becomes exponentially difficult with a third dimension. Even in the real world the newest jets and helicopters interpret the pilots input and then manage the control surfaces. Most modern jet fighters are aerodynamically unstable – if a pilot tried to directly control the control surfaces he wouldn't be able to make the 100s of micro adjustments needed every second to keep the airplane stable. This will be even more so going forward. So it’s not so much about being “Realistic” or “Newtonian”, it’s really about how the game (or in our fiction the IFCS) translates the players control inputs into physical actions in the game. For instance the current speed cap is all done by the IFCS – if your ship goes above the top speed (say getting an impulse from a collision while at maximum velocity) it will start to fire retro thrusters to bring you back inside the allowed velocity range. The current IFCS is still a work in progress – currently it is set up very much like a traditional Wing Commander that prefers yaw to roll (although you absolutely can roll as well – it’s just the X axis on a stick is mapped to yaw, Y to pitch and roll is modifier plus X axis.) The newer IFCS (which we didn’t show as its not working smoothly over multiplayer, which has an extra level of complexity due to being server authorative) has a bias towards roll and pitch for turning as it is trying to manage the G-Forces on the pilot’s body and we’re built to absorb positive Gs better than left/right lateral Gs. But why would every IFCS behave the same way? My goal is to have more than one IFCS setting (possibly needing a different avionics package) with different “flight models” and the more sophisticated packages will allow a pilot to switch off and on aspects of the IFCS – for instance letting your fly-by-wire system know that you input is now only about angular position / velocity and not your linear velocity vector, or that your input is now just requesting a velocity /adjustment without a heading change. The goal from the beginning of Star Citizen has always been to allow players to set up and customize their ship the way they want. There will be a huge amount of plug in items / systems that will allow a player to significantly tweak the abilities of their ship and part of this is the flight computer.

Cont'd on next post...
  • croberts68

    Developer

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    Peripherals / player input devices. I noticed a lot of people being concerned that the game is set up like Call of Duty and is just a WASD FPS keyboard / mouse shooter because they saw a few of the team members just using their mouse and keyboard during the demo. Star Citizen is set up to be input agnostic – it supports keyboard, mouse, gamepad, joystick and HOTAS (and pedals!) Most of these can operate at the same time – for instance you can use a HOTAS, mouse and keyboard all simultaneously. This past week in our 6-8 person internal people were flying with a selection of all the above – an X65 Pro HOTAS, an X52 HOTAS, MS gamepad, keyboard + mouse, Logitech Extreme 3D joystick. So don’t worry we’re not biased to any control scheme! If you want us to be, well I’m sorry, our goal is tune the game in such a way that no one input device is the winner – it should be about personal preference, which I think is completely in the spirit of PC gaming that we are trying to uphold.

    First person vs Third person. I saw quite a few posts that were concerned about the third person view and it giving an unfair advantage over people playing first person. Putting aside the fact that everyone has the same range of views, so no one will have something that someone else doesn't, Star Citizen will be just like my Wing Commander games – it’s primarily built for 1st person, but we allow you to pop out to a chase plane view to appreciate the detail and coolness of your ship (and perhaps check the external damage). When in third person mode you don’t have any of your HUD, radar or targeting information available. Make no mistake you will be at a disadvantage trying to fight in third person instead of first person. If you go back to the live stream video you will notice most people were actually performing kills from the first person camera view NOT the third person – that’s completely because in fast moving dogfights your targeting computer with shot lead prediction is pretty vital to scoring a hit on your opponent and your HUD target turn indicator lets you know where you need to turn to get your opponent in your sights. And this is before a new cockpit 1st person view that I've been toying with comes on line – essentially it’s going to dynamically scope your field of view and depth of field based on where you are looking, which simulates what we do naturally when looking around – which I think will add a whole new level of intensity to the 1st person cockpit view.

    I hope you find this small info dump useful!

    As always thanks for your feedback and support.

    UPDATE - Further clarification made in this post:
    https://forums.robertsspaceindustries.com/discussion/comment/1674610/#Comment_1674610
  • Lancelot

    Posts: 661

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    Thanks for the clarificationsc Chris.

    As a personal note, for something that is still very early wip, i was very impressed with what i saw.
    Time to rest now, and merry christmas. :)
    Si hay que huir, YO PRIMERO!
  • jim-martens

    Posts: 148

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    Great post and thanks for the clarification. I hope many read this post before continue scamming about 3pv, controls, etc.
    With kind regards
    starFriend123
    Intel Core i7 3770 4x 3.4 GHz, EVGA GeForce GTX 660, 2GB
    16 GB Crucial DDR3-1333 RAM, 64GB Crucial m4 SSD
    2TB Seagate Barracuda 7200 HDD, Windows 7 64-bit Professional
  • Obsydian

    Posts: 1782

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    Good clarifications there, and should hopefully reduce the amount of 'noise' on the forums over the topics mentioned.
  • juras

    Posts: 99

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    Thanks Chris

    Its the way i expected it to be and a lot more:)

    Most People forget its something in development - early development.
    - Trace -
  • walltar

    Posts: 5617

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    Thanks for clarification Chris and Happy Holidays.
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  • Vorsythe

    Posts: 42

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    Its good to hear it from the man himself! I have faith in CIG and your abilities and I'm just happy to be along for the ride.
    Imperium Recruitment
  • cyphyr

    Posts: 252

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    Cheers Chris.
    Good clarifications here.
    Freelancer ... ??? pwetty pwease ;)
    Have a great Christmas
  • Hilarius

    Posts: 1015

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    Thank you! Awesome post(s).
    Warning: This is not a warning!
  • Padishah_Emperor

    Posts: 107

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    The team continues to amaze me with all the attention to the forums and related feedback we are given. Thanks again guys. Merry Christmas to all of you.
    It's pretty simple, but the whole thing hinges on whether or not this is a cure blade.
  • Deliverance

    Posts: 207

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    Am looking forward to seeing the game take shape over the coming year! :)
  • Murku

    Posts: 1545

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    We are grateful you are willing to jump in and take the time to reassure us Chris, rather than just hitting us with press releases.
    Joystick and Mouse play FTW!
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  • boxcee

    Posts: 70

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    Thank you! Love this game. Cannot wait to play!!!
    Discoverer
  • MrSmithCZ

    Posts: 14

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    That's a great info you have given us Chris, but now is time to rest and enjoy the Christmas. Happy Holidays to everyone in CIG and to every backer of Star Citizen :)
  • Maximillion

    Posts: 84

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    Excellent - it is great that this forum is being monitored and so close to Christmas too, with important clarifications given. Makes me feel that CIG are on top of this beast of a development!

    Glad you clarified the space dust thing - I know it is more realistic to not have it but I think it really will add to the experience in flight in terms of judging speed and maneuvering.

  • eminussleepus

    Posts: 2080

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    @croberts68 - thanks for the input I have a question though.

    what about those ships that has their radar and other electronic disabled? would putting them on 3rd person view defeats the advantage of those who disabled the electronics of your ship?

    18tIM5K
  • BleiserTheHarbinger

    Posts: 77

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    Appreciate it! Thanks!
    Merry Christmas!
    dXz</center></div></body></html>
  • cfourdk

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    Thanks for the post Chris. Love the dedication this guy has.
  • zephh

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    The demo looks great so far, my biggest concern was actually that fire animation which doesn't look like something burning in space. I know that a lot of stuff are just placeholders, but it still worries me that things like that may end up slipping through the process. Also, the 3rd person feels a little unfair, I know that people have different preferences, but it just seems way easier that way.

    You guys are doing an awesome job!
  • Pwnzilla

    Posts: 462

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    Thanks for taking the time and effort to post feedback and update, Chris. Now take some time off and enjoy the holidays. Merry Christmas!
    Never try to teach a pig to sing, it wastes your time and annoys the pig.
  • dalfi

    Posts: 9

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    Thank you for this information. Happy holidays to everyone at CIG.
  • jim-martens

    Posts: 148

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    Also, the 3rd person feels a little unfair, I know that people have different preferences, but it just seems way easier that way.

    How can it be way easier if you have no HUD, no aiming help, no energy information, basically nothing but the plain sight? Actually it is way more difficult to play in 3rd person view without any help. From inside the cockpit you have all the technical info and the HUD, etc. and the radar in which you see ships that are even behind you.

    And you don't really see more from the 3rd person view than from cockpit view. You can look in the direction you are flying and a little bit to the left, bottom, right and top and that's it. With all the disadvantages mentioned, how can it be way easier?
    With kind regards
    starFriend123
    Intel Core i7 3770 4x 3.4 GHz, EVGA GeForce GTX 660, 2GB
    16 GB Crucial DDR3-1333 RAM, 64GB Crucial m4 SSD
    2TB Seagate Barracuda 7200 HDD, Windows 7 64-bit Professional
  • Sajuukhar

    Posts: 75

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    That information about the input device is worrisome. War Thunder allows for multiple input devices as well but mouse users have a huge advantage over joystick. If all other things are equal them the mouse wins, you just can't beat its precision. Now I am not saying you shouldn't be able to use a mouse; and my fear may be completely resolved once we get the DFM, but I am hoping the mouse isn't as easy to use.
    The Chosen of He Whose Hand Shapes What Is
  • jim-martens

    Posts: 148

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    If CR says that SC will be controller agnostic, it means that they will all have the same effect. You won't get any advantage out of any controller. He didn't say they will be all the same, he said it won't matter which one you take. That means there is no such thing as mouse or joystick superiority.
    With kind regards
    starFriend123
    Intel Core i7 3770 4x 3.4 GHz, EVGA GeForce GTX 660, 2GB
    16 GB Crucial DDR3-1333 RAM, 64GB Crucial m4 SSD
    2TB Seagate Barracuda 7200 HDD, Windows 7 64-bit Professional
  • CalmEyE

    Posts: 13

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    To further parrot what others have said; Thank you for coming on and giving us some under the hood info, it was a good and fun read.

    Happy holidays, and thank you for all your hard work!
  • darthyryn

    Posts: 306

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    Hi Chris, thank you for writing us, it's always great to know that you are listening .

    Thank you for the hard work and Happy Hollidays to you and the team !
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  • Zaremba

    Posts: 178

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    I still think that allowing third person view in combat at all is a bad idea! People switch to 3rd person view to see more of their surroundings, then switch to 1st person to kill the enemy. That's how dogfighting goes in many games now. My main concern with that is that that playstyle in SC would probably make you very sick when you play with the Oculus Rift on, and if you don't use that playstyle you are at a huge disadvantage. I'll adapt either way of course, but in my opinion 3pv in combat is a bad idea. Thanks for the clarifications on physics and stuff!
    http://sc-vikings.com/ Let another's wounds be your warning.
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  • zephh

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    Also, the 3rd person feels a little unfair, I know that people have different preferences, but it just seems way easier that way.

    How can it be way easier if you have no HUD, no aiming help, no energy information, basically nothing but the plain sight? Actually it is way more difficult to play in 3rd person view without any help. From inside the cockpit you have all the technical info and the HUD, etc. and the radar in which you see ships that are even behind you.

    And you don't really see more from the 3rd person view than from cockpit view. You can look in the direction you are flying and a little bit to the left, bottom, right and top and that's it. With all the disadvantages mentioned, how can it be way easier?
    I assumed that there would be some kind of HUD for those who want to play it exclusively on third person, but that was just an assumption, and even without it, if you can switch quickly from first to third it's a very useful tool

  • Cathulhu

    Posts: 803

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    Wow, an early christmas present by the man himself. That was a really nice read and i really appreciate doing that, even in your free time.

    Now get out of here, enjoy the holidays and get some rest. You earned it.

    Fröhliche Weihnachten und einen guten Rutsch ins neue Jahr!
    Merry Chris(t)mas and a happy new year!
    Proud owner of an Origin Jumpworks 315p and Aurora LN
    Thank you guys at CIG for making August 24th, 2013 a really great day. Thank you all for this memento.
  • IMWeasel

    Posts: 4412

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    Cheers, onwards...to BDSSE.

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