Beta 0.4.4.0 Feedback Thread

#1

Somehow this explosion patch became the awesome combat teamwork patch. We had bomber groups, i was peeling bombers off capitals, corvettes supporting people, capitals working together, it was all flowing really nicely. Gotta say there’s been some huge progress lately. It’s nice.

Missiles felt a lot better, and the majority of my deaths were still from missiles so they don’t seem like they’re underpowered now either. Maybe i just need to git gud and learn to drop chaff in a way that the missile doesn’t sometimes wreck my face, in atmo straight up dodging them is harder so i rely on chaff more there, and that’s where it gets me. Should be fine though, im interested to see what direction missiles take when we have a loadout system and capships have point defenses.

Minor improvement: it’d be cool if you didnt need to hold ctrl to look around the station area in the spawn screen. Looking around the battles in that screen is awesome and it’s not obvious to people that you can do this, if moving the mouse just always turns the camera in the spawn screen though it will be natural.

I was starting to notice a bit of lag creep in today, i rarely notice anything but i had two cases of other teleporting and one case of what looked like a short term server hitch as i was landing clean hits on an NPC corvette for a second without doing any damage.

I dont have a whole lot of other feedback, but i figure other people might be waiting for a thread to be made, so here it is and geez that was a fun playsession today.

11 Likes
#2

Thanks for the feedback. You’re making a good point about the spectator mode. Maybe even a free-fly camera ( up to a certain range from the station ) would be even nicer to observe battles.

As for server performance, all these battles going on have been increasing the server load quite a lot. The other day it reached 650 ships. We’ll have to do an optimization pass in the not-too-distant future and I think reaching 1000+ ships as a whole shouldn’t be too difficult.

Also, at the moment there are still a couple of annoying systems running on the server that are synchronous. One that comes immediately to my mind is the local database saves. It happens once per minute, and according to the logs it “freezes” the server and all operations for 200-300 milliseconds. As a result, player inputs are queuing up, and when the server “resumes”, everything gets executed instantly and you get a significant hitch. I really need to spend some time to make the local database stuff asynchronous.

10 Likes
#3

650 ships and i only noticed some minor lag, haha what the fuck flavien, that’s crazy good. I thought the record was 350 ships.

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#4

The battle notifications should be persistent, it’s confusing to see a “defend X” overwritten by another “attack Y”.
The blast force from explosions is a bit extreme, I would expect a cruiser to be only nudged by a torpedo or mine.
I think the capital control scheme doesn’t allow to set a heading and then strafe while the ship is turning, it cancels the heading instead. Strafe and rotation should be independent.
I managed to find a station with the scanner, so I guess it’s workable. There is much less information when at the planet though. Maybe increase the color shifting at low speed? Or I just need to scan from higher altitude…


Edit:
It would be nice for team colors to show up in the chat.
We could also show what ship teammates are flying in the tab screen (and maybe enemies when it is known).

3 Likes
#5

This update was amazing. Well done team!


I mostly played Bomber.

Flying the Bomber felt incredibly satisfying.

Torpedoes are amazing. Both hitting and missing feels good. A miss does a lot less damage, yes, but the spectacle is grandiose.

All the effects update did so much to add satisfaction. Getting kills with the shotgun felt fun too.

Pushback from the shockwaves felt at an alright place … yes capitals get knocked around quite a bit but it is fun!
Camera shake is a bit too pronounced to my liking. All of it, also boosting.

In the bomber the minimum distance to an explosion and the amount of damage received is quite small compared to the big fireball. I feel like torpedoes are more mid range brute force weapons. I think strike craft should go skin to skin with capitals but more when it comes to shooting down modules and such.

Shockwaves have a travel time yet sound and screen shake does not. Now the shockwave effect is much less pronounced and less noticable compared to last patch, still there’s a disconnect there. I feel like they both should be more closely connected, time wise (occur more closer together in time). Or maybe leave sound as is but connect screen shake to the shockwave.

I was playing and just earning money without specifically having to grind for stuff. Great! I did some turret destruction and such but never to earn money and still got enough to fly capships after a while. Felt great. Just doing what was fun and being rewarded.

Battle system was great. Like. Directions! Yet still options to decide and interesting decissions too. Stay here and finish the fight or head over to the critical one? Which one is more important? That’s super great! It brought urgency and excitment when it wasn’t expected.

Capital ship mode works quite alright yeah. It limits a lot of options though. Haven’t tested with the modifier key yet, guess it is not in yet. Heaving the “set direction” function though made it so much more managable to fly these ships without stress and the camera feels so liberating and removing those blinds from before.
The camera in cap ship mode has a blindzone at the top, that one is reasonable and not too big, and one at the bottom. The bottom one is huge though. Multiple dozens of degrees. That’s not acceptable. I should be able to aim down and shoot down at more then 90%. I guess that limitation was not intended.
I also agree that strafing should be prioritised with maybe the modifier key switching to rotation or the arrow keys at the keyboard. Strafing is important in I:B in many things more then just dodging.
The “set direction” should be the main way to steer capitals in my opinion. Does anyone use they keyboard? I can imagine but it seems inferior and kind of like two ways to do the same thing.

I had quite a bit of network and general FPS slowdown during big battles. The GPU didn’t seem to be using its full capabilities during these battles (otherwise it is going 100% max FPS) and I think neither my CPU did (Maybe single thread was maxed) … so I don’t exactly know where the bottleneck was.

Something feels wonky when it comes to atmospheres. The change in density is definitely noticeable. I am still waiting for a serious atmosphere flight mechanics update before that though.

Warp damage interrupting warp doesn’t allow to trade shield for speed anymore to pass atmospheres faster.

Scanner

I feel like the scanner should also use the engineering notation for numbers like the distance displays do and not the scientific notation. So comparison would be easier. Also. A unit would be good so we know what it is even displaying … at least on one axis … ha.

From left to right

10^0 10^1 10^2 10^3 10^4 10^5 10^6
1km 10km 100km 1Mm 10Mm 100Mm 1Gm

Decluttering flight modes

Here’s a (potentially cotnrovesrial) suggestion to unify the controls of the flight modes as well as make binding clear and less ambiguous.

There are three flight modes: Direct, Virtual Navigation and Capital

Some of them have hard-coded elements in them that work in tandem or on top of the input profile configuration.
For instance the Virtual Navigation mode is usable even if no mouse input has been bound anywhere in the input profile or the capital mode allows one to use the strafe command to rotate the ship and a modifier set to the same event as “view” switches this behaviour back.

I would suggest to do away with separate sections in the input profile for the different control modes.

This here is a suggestion which in my opinion more represents the structure of the control system in the game right now.

Most important thing to note is that if the mouse is used it should be “captured” like in many other games. Meaning it can only be used for one thing. This stops conflicts.

The priority would be such:

  1. View Controls
  2. Menu / Cursor Controls
  3. Flight Controls
  4. Others

So if the mouse is bound in bound in multiple of these groups the event/function in the group with the highest priority would always “capture” the mouse and not allow firing of events in other groups but only if it is needed like in a menu or in a mode that has a cursor.

The flight modes would still all be there but use the events slightly differently.

All flight modes now pull from Generic Flight Controls. The generic controls now have all 6 Axis.

Virtual Navigation

The generic controls would work in this mode but it would primarily use the Menu / Cursor Controls.
Above “capture” logic stops conflict.

Direct Flight mode

This mode does not have a cursor and as such just uses all the generic controls.

Capital Mode

This mode would use the “view” controls to move the camera like already the case as far as I know. As well as the generic controls.
As you can see in the example above the “switchover” (using WASD to pitch) has also been realized by just adding bindings to already existing events.
With the added benefit of working in all control modes.

Edit:
There is a potential problem. When in virtual mode and activating freelook one want to be able to look arround with the mouse.
But when in capital ship mode and then activating a menu, acording to the priority list above, the menu would not work and the freelook would still prevail …
I think openening menues should disable freelook while they are active in order to handle this special case … or maybe I have a logic error in there.

6 Likes
Using a Space Mouse as a joystick
Using a Space Mouse as a joystick
#6

Few other things i remembered while reviewing some video i recorded: An “ammo empty” sound effect or even a voice that said “ammo empty” if you try to fire guns that are out of ammo would be very useful. When it happens on caps or inties it can take me longer than it should to realize i’m zero ammo, on capitals sometimes you’ll have some strange number of bullets left but not enough to keep firing, so you cant just look for a zero either.

I usually just play the game in exploration mode all the time and i feel like it should be the default, i sometimes forgot to switch it and it reminds me each time that combat mode isnt great. Being in combat mode can make the scale of the battles feel smaller than they are, hindering the feeling of grand scale. It also hides a few elements that should are nice to have on screen and can be confusing to newbies when they auto hide, like current money, and it generally hurts situational awareness a bit i think though maybe with a navigation map that wouldnt be a big issue

To improve combat mode, maybe if far away ships were reduced to small dots rather than just dissapearing altogether it might retain scale, but im not sure there’s much benefit to hiding things like the currency compared to the confusion it probably makes for newbies wondering if they’re progressing or not.

I also wish there was an indicator/timer for warp cooldowns and warm jams. Sometimes in my laziness i start spamming the warp button during a cooldown, it finally cools off, i hit warp and then hit the warp button again like an idiot and i’m stuck waiting another cooldown cycle. There is that warp indicator box on the top right, if it appeared maybe a red color when warp is on cooldown instead of only indicating being in warp, that’s probably handle that as there’d be no guesswork.

Killing mines with missiles as an interceptor isn’t rewarding any credits. I think it did reward credits when i used guns once, probably a bug.

It’d probably be nice to have a way to swap ships without suiciding, a lot of the time once you get too badly damaged in a capital repairs would take so long that it’d be better to just buy a new ship. Econ at times still seems to provide a lot of money leading to situations where multiple cruiser losses wouldnt matter.

8 Likes
#7

I like combat mode, except for the fact it hides planets/stations and credits. I want to see these all the time.
And credits should be displayed when spawning (can I afford a replacement?).
I want a way to reimburse a ship too, maybe according to its hitpoints left.


Edit: In the login screen, ESC exits the game (got me several times in a row, I thought it was a crash) despite the “hit any key to continue” indication.


Edit 2:

  • Strafe backwards doesn’t work on capitals
  • Torps and missiles suffer from the fact we lose the lock if we try to anticipate the target movement (if torps have 1/2 the speed of bullets, we should aim at twice the lead reticle distance), especially with a high tangent velocity.
3 Likes
#8

You guys totally nailed the bomber. :star_struck:
It was super fun.
Coupled with new “splosions” totally cool. :ok_hand:

Also don´t know if it was something added way before since i rarely use big ships.
But Cruiser guns felt lot “awesomer” to shoot. :smiley:
Alpha strike from all the guns had this great UMPF to them.
You really feel you using big guns.

bugs i noticed

  • stuck thruster issue lot more often.
  • worse performance. Especially near one planetary base that was surrounded by smoke effect.
#9

@INovaeFlavien
I want to reiterate matt’s point. Most games can’t even do 200 entities on screen at any time fully rendered or otherwise without some form of lag. And you’re telling us we only got hickups for .3 seconds? That’s amazing.

1 Like
#10

Well the goal is to reach 1000+ ships per server, spread over multiple battles, and hopefully 200-300 in a single battle.

We’re not that far from being able to reach that objective. The server currently can handle 600+, but without serious optimization it can’t go much higher. Unless we spend crazy $ on better server hardware. But the current server is basically a “simple” 6700K which we rent for a hundred dollars a month. If we had the budget and wanted to go crazy ( and better, had enough players to fill such a server ), renting a monster server and reaching thousands wouldn’t be theorically impossible.

On the client side, it’s gonna be more difficult. We need to do significant engineering effort to do better multithreading, especially related to the renderer, which hasn’t aged well. It’s mostly single threaded. The client game entities are all heavily multithreaded, but that only goes so far. Keith started the DirectX12 / Vulkan renderer some time ago, but until it’s ready, well tested and integrated with the rest of the engine, it’s not usable yet.

Once we optimize shaders and various low-hanging fruits on the client, I believe we can easily reach +50% performance, and being more agressive in the render distances, we can probably double the battle sizes for the same framerate ( or, double framerate for the same batte sizes :wink: ). At some point I think it’d be worthwhile to do a stress test by having a massive battle hosted on the server, maybe 500+ ships, and see what it looks like in terms of client and server performance for actual players.

8 Likes
#11

small bug in control config utility.
Even when both primary and secondary keys (axises) are set utility reports wrong warnings
vid example

2 Likes
#12

DirkLarien: yeah, I’ve already fixed that one :slight_smile:

1 Like
#13

I have a warning because because I bound “R” for “set target orientation”, even though there is no conflict in capital mode.

#14

Just bringing this into here as it triggered some thoughts for me too! This is because, as much as I appreciate the improved scale due to speed restrictions, I really miss having the option to override it and fly faster.

I agree with this post that “quadrants” or “gears” may be a good idea for speed control. It may also simplify the control scheme and save keybinds.

For the sake of this example, imagine keeping the speed bar as it is in the HUD, but only portions of it become ‘active’.
E.g.

  • Emergency Stop (applies to all gears)
  • Gear 1 - manoeuvring (key 1) 0-100m/s
  • Gear 2 - combat (key 2) 100-350m/s
  • Gear 3 - flight (key 3) 350+m/s
  • Warp (as current)

As said in the other post, shifting to a new gear could automatically raise you to the minimum speed of that gear, then you can use throttle to control speed within that. Perhaps some tweaks to Gear 3 would ensure people still mainly use Gear 2 for combat (maybe disable weapons?).

For more detailed thoughts/alternative variation, see original post - I take no credit for thinking of this, but I like it!

Speed management needs tweaking at the moment, as it’s quite clunky.

1 Like
#15

Actually, that sounds more complex / less beginner friendly to me. And I’m not sure what the point of it is. Just to be clear, are you implying that you wouldn’t be able to use your weapons in gear 3 ( flight mode ) ? Cause if you can, this system brings complexity with no particular benefit ( compared to the current one ) ?

I’m not sure why you think the speed control is “clunky” at the moment. Also, you can definitely override it manually. So I guess I’m pretty confused as to what you dislike so much in the current system, that we’d need to introduce multiple speed categories and make controls even more complex than they currently are.

3 Likes
#16

Is this a joystick-specific issue?
I manage speed mostly with the 1-0 keys, I can see how clunky it would be if I had to rely only on the mouse wheel like a joystick user I suppose.

2 Likes
#18

Okay, attempt number 2 at useful feedback - pretty sure I rambled on the first go. :smile:


My dislikes of the current system:

  • Automatic speed limits in certain situations (I will point out I’m not clear on how to override it)
  • Speed control favouring pressing number keys over more fluid methods
  • Too many speed controls (num. keys, w/s and mouse wheel)

What I would like to see:

  • Manual speed limiters that can be activated in combat to keep my ship at useful speeds. In essence, I think that is what the idea of “gears” boiled down to. I don’t want to stop completely, or go too fast, so I want to set max/min limits on myself. Otherwise, throttle can work as normal, as before the speed cap was introduced. (This could also give an advantage to more experienced pilots or those who like to boom’n’zoom.

  • Focus on more fluid speed control, using W/S or mousewheel. Everything else about the game is so smooth that hitting discrete speed increments feels wrong and unnecessary to me. If we keep the increments, I would like to see them with much bigger steps (e.g. 50m/s - 300m/s - 600m/s… picking numbers from thin air). That would encourage people to set a speed, then vary it in a more analogue way.

  • The above would also free up lots of the number keys which could be used for other things. Speed limiter could have a simple on/off toggle even.


  • Alternative idea: make the increments on the number keys more like cruise control, where the ship tries to return to the set speed. You can set 250m/s, but slow down/speed up using W/S as needed. When you let go, the ship defaults back to 250m/s until that value is changed.
#19

But… that’s exactly how it currently works in the game ! You have no idea how confused I am reading that thread at the moment.

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#20

… Lol, perhaps I need to go and check my facts…

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#21

That’s the soft speed limits, isn’t it? The only way to override is to continuously press one of the translation keys to keep accelerating.
See the last section of Weekly Update #131: AI and flight model experiments.

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