Currently Capital Ships (Destroyer, Cruiser, Carrier) are controlled the same way the smaller ships are controlled.
I-Novae mentioned that they will implement a separate scheme for controlling these Capital Ships.
Several options have been discussed off and on over the past months in the community. Here’s a thread just for this topic.
I would like to hear what others think would be optimal and why they think it would work for them or in general.
I want to list all options I’ve heard up until now and my opinion to them as well as some ideas for other options @Playbenni and me discussed on Discord today.
First up the Idea I think might work and is based on @Playbenni’s Idea from today:
Rotational Set and Edge Rotate
This idea looks similar to the “Virtual Navigation Cursor (Target)” mode. The ships rotation is controlled the same way as with it but the inputs are given differently.
The white cursor is confined in the same circle as with “VNC (Target)”.
The white cursor can be moved around this circle without affecting the ship.
When a “Set” button is pressed the ship target rotational speed is set to the current position of the white cursor on the screen.
A second indicator is placed on the screen showing what the current set target rotational speed is.
The player can use the cursor to select targets (or fire weapons directly) inside that “confinement circle” without affecting the ship movement.
If the player tries to move the white cursor outside the “confinement circle” it will behave like an edge in an RTS game: The view is rotated proportional to the amount the mouse is moved while it sits on the edge of the “confinement circle”.
To rotate the view into the other direction the player first has to move the cursor across the “confinement circle”. Due to the small size compared to the whole screen this happens much faster though.
(Optional: Headlook could allow to rotate the camera even without touching the edge, but locking the white cursor)
Translational Controls and other Controls
The same as with smaller ships.
Commands to the ship can be assigned instantly. No switching needed.
Stable view for Long range engagements.
Disconnect from ship control minimal as it only requires one click (no view change, no mode change).
Restricting “free mouse” movement to partial screen may feel restricting. (Compared to X games, EVE etc.)
P.S.: The “confinement circle” isn’t really necessary. If movement outside the circle is allowed and when the “Set” button is pressed outside the circle the target rotational speed could be set to the maximum with respective angle.
I feel like confining the cursor might help reduce the disconnect between flying and aiming and reducing the delay between performing these two actions, I’m not sure though.
Here others I heard/thought about.
Direct / Virtual Navigation Cursor (Target) ( + Switchover)
These are used on smaller ships and work quite well for them. For capitals, not so much. “Target” mode works somewhat as it doesn’t require constant input to maintain a rotation. The downfall of both are in my opinion that they can’t be used while looking around at the same time.
There’s a “headlook” option in the game that allows one to switch between control and looking around. I have tried converting that “headlook” into a toggle so I could metaphorically “run to the helm” and change where the ship was heading and the go “take out the binoculars” again but this didn’t work at all. The delay between switching between the modes felt really bad and I was quickly overwhelmed.
The only way I see these two working as is is if all capital ship functions could be controlled with two hands and most devices don’t have enough buttons/axis easily accessible to do that.
Heading Control / Advanced Commands
Pretty much what EVE does.
There are commands that allow you to have your ship approach a target, orbit and other simmilar moneuvers.
You can also click one direction and the ship will rotate to point into that direction. To fly “manual” turns you would either have to use momentum to drift or click a lot while flying the curve.
Advanced Commands could be introduced to allow you to set to orbit, close, fly curves or other commands.
No need for switch over. Focus on management and other ship systems. Movement of ship is easily dealt with.
Maximum disconnect from ship controls. No real “manual” manoeuvres possible (without moving hands).
Ships are controlled by giving them move orders to specific location/headings/rotation. Similar to heading control but more focused on map and tactical view game-play. I’ve seen some games where you can project a hologram of your ship to where you want it to be in 3rd Person without a map. Such stuff.