Battlescape combat flight model

Having been playing quite a bit of the Elite: Dangerous combat prototype recently I’ve been reminded of what a great achievement the original Infinity Combat Prototype was. If Infinity: Battlescape holds on to a similar flight model then I’ll be very happy.

The one thing that perhaps you could criticise the ICP for was the general feeling that you were shooting at dots in space because of the relatively long engagement distance. That phenomema can be seen in any of the many videos uploaded to youtube that show combat in that prototype. A good example is this one:

(that should give Hutch a bit of nostalgia)

To reduce the “shooting at dots” problem I wonder if it’s worth considering scaling down all dimensions and velocities in the prototype by a factor of about five. To visualise the effect of this change imagine that video above, with exactly the same speeds and flight behaviours, but with every ship model scaled up to five times its size as rendered in the video.

Is that crazy talk or could that work?

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The problem could be solved by a mechanic forces (or encourages) players to match their velocities. Wasn’t there a mutual-warp-interdiction mechanic discussed on the old forums? Something like that could bring combatants close enough in range and velocity for ships to be recognizable. Reducing relative speed and weapon velocity is more or less equivalent to increasing ship size.

I also wouldn’t mind seeing a more robust zoom function. I know the old ICP had one, but you had to hold a button down I think (which screwed up either aiming or maneuvering, one), and it zoomed the entire view which was disorienting - threw off your sense of place and motion.
A toggle switch that zooms in just the center 9th of your screen and reduces pitch and yaw accordingly could help a lot.

We are talking here about inside the Battlescape where the warp interdiction (or whatever system will be used) is allready at full potential and all ships are in newtonian mode.

Reduzing the scale (has the same effect as incresing the size of everythinh in it) of the Battlescape compared to the ICP could work. It would cerrainly help with the Star Wars esque battles. Tweaking thruster force and weapon speed are the two screws that could be used primarily to test this out.

Yeah, your weapon’s maximum range is also a big factor in how close the combat is. In both Elite Dangerous and the ICP it’s common to stay at the extreme range of your weapons so that it’s easy to withdraw if necessary. I wonder what the ICP would have played like if the ship’s weapons had a maximum range of 800 meters instead of 4 kilometers?

Elite weapons range is at around 3km and it plays very different to the ICP. It’s also much more fun to close in for the kill than stay at maximum range, the maximum range and “flying-backwards” trick doesn’t work too well when in a larger combat zone where you have multiple enemies to deal with; and you are at an advantage when tailing an opponent, as he can not shoot back.

Personally, I found the long distance engagements pretty nice. It was a change from most other titles, the increased ship and projectile speeds made everything feel faster, more dynamic, it felt more “modern” (compared to the more “WWI”/“WWII” feel most have.
Also, with Newtonian physics, it feels better to have longer distances IMHO.

It could have been slightly closer, maybe 1.5 or 2 times, and with a better zoom function, but putting everything 5 times closer is overkill and would make it loose one of its main strengths.

Providing a range of weapons (if you’ll excuse the pun) with varying ranges would offer a good mix, I would think. Ideally, you’d want smaller, faster ships to use shorter range weapons, and larger ships to use longer range weapons, but offering more nible craft longer range weapons with some other drawback would offer the kind of variety that allows for niche gameplay.

Mind you, I’m primarily a miner, so WTF do I know about entertaining combat options?

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Although I have nearly no experience in such game play, I could imagine, that also weapons which get weaker at longer distances would do the trick.
When dealing with energy weapons, inside an atmosphere this effect would be extreme. So a dog fight inside an atmosphere would bring lower velocities and weapon range.
In deep-space again it’s rather natural, to have high velocities and an insane weapon range. To win a battle in deep space you need a larger ship, with better shields…

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Well, it’s got me going and that was even before my time!
Man, I miss the old days though…

On to the point at hand though. I never had a massive problem with the long engagement ranges, the problems I most frequently encountered in the ICP was that even with a good connection you’d frequently encounter netcode glitches where you couldn’t trust ships to be exactly where you expect them to be, and that often the ship’s orientation didn’t match the direction of (powered) travel. I think part of the appeal comes from forcing people to consider that you’re a target at any distance if you’re detectable.

But I can’t say I’m overly attached to it, so if INS want to twiddle with the combat range mechanics during Alpha and Beta I wouldn’t have a problem with them doing it and picking whatever works best :smiley:

Oh, I like that. I like that a lot, actually.

That opens the door to a lot of things, too. Specifically, better differentiation of ammo types. I know what kinds of weapons should be used in Infinity has been a long fought battle between those of us in the peanut gallery, but if we just look at the typical sci-fi game variety in weapons, we have things like lasers, which, while traditionally considered to be a long range, instant transmission weapon with zero energy dissipation, actually do lose energy density (due to beam spreading) over larger distances (although, a weapons grade laser wouldn’t lose coherency over 4 or 5 km), and would be nearly useless in an atmosphere due to the ionization of the gasses of said atmosphere.

Then you have plasma weapons, which have, on the old forums, been rightly called a joke as they’re dead simple to guard against (EM fields and a conducting hull), and which would dissipate rapidly (but that gives a built in reason for them to be close range weapons focused on damaging shields). They would, also, be counterproductive for in-atmosphere use.

Bullets have a firing cone, and so the farther away you are from your target the less likely you are to hit it, regardless of aim. The same is true for railguns, or pretty much any ballistic projectile.

Then there are guided missiles, which would, in effect, remain consistently effective up to the range dictated by its fuel.

And, of course, all those other types that all you combat nutters know the ins and outs of. The point is that, unless each individual component of a weapon’s fired round (bullet, ion, photon, bomb, what have you) is guided to its target, the energy density (and therefore the something something damage something) of the weapon will decrease with distance. Just set up convenient inverse-n relations for each weapon/ammo type (perhaps with a noise function thrown in, just to keep things interesting), and you can keep people as close as is convenient.


[quote=“Kichae, post:10, topic:400”]
The point is that, unless each individual component of a weapon’s fired round (bullet, ion, photon, bomb, what have you) is guided to its target, the energy density (and therefore the something something damage something) of the weapon will decrease with distance.[/quote]

I just wanted to point out that any mass projectile weapon (bullet) wouldn’t in space. Mass Effect and Halo got it right, projectile weapons have the same energy from 1 meter to infinity unless they are affected by gravity. There’s a joke one of the sergeants say to some new recruits in ME where if you miss the target in space, some guy somewhere at some time in the future is going to have a bad day. Although for practical reasons I assume that the engine can’t be arsed to keep track of every missed projectile shot speeding through the solar system XD

Would be hilarious if the nearly impossible happened and one of those did hit someone half an AU away, a week down the line during the match.

So yeah, I agree the weakening damage model is the simplest, and makes the most sense at this stage.

But that wouldn’t be any problem. It will always just be a matter of a good balance:

  • Fast or heavy projectiles with much kinetic energy will require heavy weapons which will make your own vessel slow in reaction. Thinking about larger ships which are heavy anyways maybe the weapon dome will not turn that fast…
  • Low energy projectiles will cause not that much damage and it will be hard to aim on large distances
  • Guided weapons like missiles will be very expensive and limited and again are rather slow

naturally. As Kichae mentioned, the cone of accuracy is going to spread out the further away you are. I imagine that mass projectiles have the potential to be the least accurate of the weapons

Definitely love the idea of decreasing effectiveness at range. This would likely encourage people to stay close to their opponent to cause maximum damage as opposed to sniping over long distances. Although… a sniping weapon (probably some sort of laser like Kichae mentioned) could be included, but it may be much harder to hit something with at close range.

Overall, I thought the flight model of the ICP felt new and interesting. Not to mention a little challenging. Particularly when you lose an engine on one of those fighters and spin uncontrollably. Ah, those were the days…

I’m going to take a guess at the fact it was the mix of Newtonian physics with a simplified FPS control system that made it so effective. It felt like space.

As Sniping Weapons usually cause alot of damage and as they are made for good aiming over long distances, such weapons should have a longer reload time. So that the frequency of shots is low.

As you’ve pointed out in a later post, I covered this, though perhaps not as intelligently as I could have liked. It’s not the energy per projectile that I was talking about, but the energy density of the weapon, which, even for a cannon firing bullets will decrease due to that firing cone. Fire 5 rounds at 100 MJ per round up close, and you’ve hit for 500 MJ of damage. Fire 5 rounds at 100 MJ per round at a distance, and you’ve hit for 100 MJ of damage due to 4 of the rounds missing entirely. That’s what I was trying to (unsuccessfully, I guess) say.

Perhaps an interesting twist on this would be for rail-guns, where, strictly speaking, very massive weapons wouldn’t be required, just very strong magnetic fields. But a light ship firing a high energy rail-gun slug would experience extreme recoil due to their low mass.

So, on the plus side they get to keep their manoeuvrability, but on the minus side their own weapons knock them around link a plinko chip.


Concerning the types of weapons it would be interesting to know if the original principle of the MMO is still upheld; the one that any ship can be freely fitted with weapons and technology as long as it fits in the hull. forcing the player to balance it out to get something flyable. Many games nowadays seem to go the other way in that aspect.

Highly custom ship configurations might be a good stretch goal (such as the ability to pick and choose all main components for a hull, from maneuvering thrusters to power generators to weapons). From the game view they are only numbers that affect how the ship behaves, but it would add a lot of depth for players. And you’d never know what technology a hull hides, making each encounter somewhat special.

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This can take a tremendous amount of resources in terms of the assets and balancing the gameplay depending on the amount of variation. We haven’t made a final decision on this yet but if we do it then it’ll likely be a stretch goal as you suggest.

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There is no such thing as a real vacuum. Not to infinity.


It certainly would be nice to see this as a stretch goal, though as Keith said it would obviously take a lot of development. I think the key to it would be to make sure no weapon type is intrinsically “better” than another. Make players think about trading off manoeuvrability for power etc. That way people might be able to find a combination that best suits their play style, while still staying competitive.