G-Force as a game mechanic

Often its hard to figure out ways to deepen 6dof fighter combat without hindering the basic formula that we love about it. Simulating pilot G-force can do just that, though. You can raise the skill cap, limit excess/spammy maneuvers, without making flying irritating or actually removing the player’s ability to respond. A simple “unconscious if you hit a turn limit” system is insufficient for this, though.

Instead, gforce needs to be a bidirectional scale from somewhere negative to somewhere positive, with on either extreme being “this pilot goes unconcious until the Gforce normalizes again”, and somewhere near those extremes being some subtle visual indicators. The key point is that the number can be played with by a pilot, meaning they should be able to stack positive g maneuvers with negative g maneuvers to level out their overall g force. Additionally, a continuous decay towards 0 needs to be applied to the number to represent the natural ability for a body to cope with extended high G’s. This also adds increased importance to the roll axis, as through the roll axis your controlling the orientation of the vertical axis which the Gs are relevant along. Roll is something most 6dof games miss out on making very relevant to the pilot, or shoehorn harsh turn rate limits that cease to resemble a space game. Having roll be important for controlling the stress your pilot takes is a great way to handle it.

We can assume, similar to modern anti-gloc suits and breathing techniques, there is some level of technology that has advanced enough for us to put the G limits more or less wherever we want, probably where we are at right now for fighter gameplay. Keep in mind this probably won’t apply to larger ships in space due to their slower accelerations, but if a large ship suddenly decides to pancake in atmosphere, its likely to feel the same effects as the tremendous acceleration takes place.


But does it make sense as a game mechanic? I don’t think there is any focus on “the pilot”. While the devs COULD implement a system of g-forces you would have to ask what purpose it serves for the gameplay. It’s much simpler to simply say that there’s an intertial dampener around the ship or the pilot has a technomagic suit that solves the issue and skip over it altogether and let the ship mechanics handle the balance.

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Its not about handling balance, its about adding depth to the fighter gameplay, giving more for people to play with and think about while fighting. Its probably one of the best reasons to add a feature to a game. Despite the obvious presence of a pilot and a cockpit, we could indeed handwave it away, even if we were going for “realism”. But, the system i suggested is only realistic in a broad sense anyways, the effects of the human body in reality are far more complex and certainly arent so simple to mitigate through maneuvering as a positive and negative bar. My suggestion is solely gameplay focused.

Features like this can be tough to fully envision if you’ve never played a game with something similar, but i’ll try to explain the interactions in more detail. For two fighter pilots facing off, gforce becomes a new “resource” for each pilot to spend and try to drain his opponent of. Imagine flying at an enemy ship, juking up (relative to your own heading), then rolling while juking down. You’ve equalized most of your Gs with your maneuver allowing you to perform your next move from 0 gs, accomplished an evasive attack, and changed your direction of translation relative to your target. Your target is doing the same thing, but because players tend to respond to the g limits in similar ways, you can predict their movement using this knowledge and based on their roll, prefire where you know they’re going to accelerate towards.after expending their negative Gs. Or maybe, they know your a player who makes those kind of prediction shots often, so instead of doing the technically more efficient way to evade, they boost horizontally, where gforce isnt as important to the pilot, and let their Gs settle on their own in return for less predictability in the immediate. But now, your opponent knows you cant boost up without blacking out, so as you roll for your next evasion one out of the four directions you could choose is cut off to you, allowing your opponent to better predict your movement. All the while exchanging shots.

In short, the gameplay purpose gforce serves is more depth in evasion decision making, prediction decision making, and all without comprimising any of the basic fundementals of newtonian flight. Flavien was considering clamping your thrust direction in FA-on mode and has already removed the orientation stablization in FA-off, those are bad examples of how to do what this gforce system does, because those remove depth, this adds it.


An interesting idea. I’ve seen a Gforce limit in a flight game (can’t remember honestly) but have never played one. This will indeed add depth to the combat and make it an easy-to-learn-hard-to-master kind of thing. Obviously this will affect the Interceptor pilots the most and will raise the skill level requirements of this ship as a new player is just going to black out on their first maneuver and get shot down quickly. If you do add this in you might want to make an in-depth tutorial about it.

Suddenly I remembered a Sci Fi series called Babylon 5. There was a part where Humans where trying to learn and fight like another race to better combat them if needed. It was stated that the other race would make high G maneuvers and risk a black out if they can get a shot with their their auto pilot. Ok, put it in, I want to test it lol

One option could be to primarily focus the limits on the ship and not the pilot. I do agree that there should be a black/redout mechanic to make flight authentic (with obviously a much higher tolerance “because sci-fi”), but I think the real potential is using the two different environments to alter the behaviour of the pilots.

In atmosphere perhaps the G-forces could be most felt through the ship via structural limits so that you incur damage if you push it too hard. A simplistic example would be the stress limits of present-day aircraft ailerons and the wings themselves. Heat stress as well as air resistance are two important factors that would tie to the feel of gameplay planetside. I’m not sure what the limits could be in space though :\

As I’m sure people are aware, there is a G-force system in SC and, while it does have frustrating camera effects, the system itself does function quite accurately. DCS is the other one I’m aware of (among other flight combat sims).

I will add the caveat that these mechanics can also become quite infuriating if they become too obstructive to the general flow of gameplay so they need to be balanced well.

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In space it would just be the gforce on the pilot not the ship unless it has low structural integrity. In atmosphere you will have effects on both the pilot and the ship. Granted since this is Sci Fi, the ship could be made out of a very strong very light metal and you would only notice the effect if you again were low on integrity. Not as low as in space but you get the idea.

The most violent forces acting on a plane would also happen in space. The difference is that in an atmosphere and with an airplane the wings need to transfer the forces needed to change the velocity of the craft onto the whole craft where on a spacecraft the engines do that.

The forces on the whole structure stays the same if the craft is using engines to perform the manoeuvre in space or in an atmosphere.


I was wondering exactly that.

In space you can obviously travel at much higher speeds, but if you try to force the ship to turn too hard, the game could perhaps impart damage on the hull, or cause certain thrusters to temporarily fail or overheat.

The balance to that being you would use the FA-off mode and rely on main thrusters to change course. This would also be where I would encourage the automatic rotation control so that it is more approachable for players to readily use as an alternative to FA-on.

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The difference is air resistance. But if you think about it, air resistance is a counter force to the force of the engines. Meaning that the atmosphere actually helps keeping the ship intact by limiting how much net force you can put on the structure.

Another difference spaceships have from air planes is that the engines can be placed much closer in line of the centre of mass (or the ship can rotate). Meaning the force they excert puts much less stress on the structure as it has to transfer the force much less arround the ship. Compare that to an airplane wing, where the force needed to perform a turn mostly come from the wings/controll-surfaces that are far from the centre of mass and the force vector is not even closely going trough the centre of mass. Meaning there’s a big lever action going on.

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Hmm, I forgot about the speeds you can move in space. I bet it would be even higher since most battles will take place near planets close enough to be pulled by their gravity. I wounder if it would be as bad near say an asteroid belt.

Makes sense for our current planes, but so far only the Interceptor has wing like surfaces and it would only work the way you stated it if there are control surfaces on the wings. This might be added in later but again only the Interceptor looks like it might. Unless they take one of my ideas and make wings for atmosphere flight an available equipment piece.

Concerning the idea. Extreme accelerations will (and actually already do) happen in the game. Putting a limit on both Pilot and Craft could be fun. But maybe also not … War Thunder consciously disabled damaged to aircraft trough G-Overstress in Arcade Mode and severely lowered it on Pilots. In the other modes like Realistic and Simulation they add a lot of depth but allow for a lot less hectic, crazy maneuvers while anticipating strategic manoeuvring.

What matters in a fight in space (on this topic) is only the relative speed to the other ships. Not to other objects like a planet.

I was just trying to introduce some context to how I think the stresses on a ship in atmosphere would compare to space and relating it to why the stresses on a winged craft are actually a problem.


Ah I see. i was just wondering how placing what was being talked about in to the current game and the way the ships seem to be built. Idea forming I guess.

I might have been over thinking. Was remembering KSP and how staying in orbit works. Figured you would still have gravity pulling on on you from one side or another and it might somehow affect your ship while doing complex maneuvers.

Also while all this sounds awesome, as an actual mechanic to the game it might just over complicate things. Maybe just limit it to the pilot.

G forces put greath stress toThe body.
So may I suggest XP points for the player himself?
So not everyone passes out at the same time and training becomes a game mechanism?
I suggest a scale of 20 like is used in 2e audition ad&d books and the player gets 3 roll chances for dexterity ,strength and health giving him a base score.

As a reference War Thunder has all the mechanics mentioned up to this point.
There’s black-out, red-out impeding the players vision as well as gradually removing control.
The Aircraft can disintegrate if overloaded for too long.
You crew levels up and you can spend the points on either maximum G-Resistance or stamina.

Although there’s some discussion between the players regarding possible changes to it:


I have a suggestion for mechanics:

Inertia is defined as an object’s resistance to its change in motion. We use mass to measure it.

Based on the mass of the pilot and a ship, they will each experience a certain amount of “G’s” when they try to change direction.

In order to experience a lower “G-force”, one can temporarily lower the mass of the object. Nothing is free however, and this will still require energy to lower one’s effective mass.

Gameplay-wise, if we use the “pips” power distribution methods, it would be tied to the propulsion power distribution (or I’d call it “inertial propulsion systems”). With a lower pip rating, a pilot will blackout/redout at relatively low velocity changes, but with a high pip distribution, the pilot can alter their velocity much faster before blackout/redout. (On a side note, I’m in favor of energy buffers for each of the different systems that can drain faster than its filled so no one can indefinitely out-maneuver someone else)

This concept also dove-tails nicely with my elsewhere mentioned concept of anti-gravity systems for capital ships. If one were to effectively make a negative mass rating for an object, it would oppose the force of gravity. The power requirements are such that you can only add sub-systems as an attachment to capital-ships in order to create a “buoyant” force in a gravity field because applying it to the whole ship would be too expensive. Like-wise, smaller craft can only reduce the effective inertial mass, but not turn it negative due to lower power output.

For a whole future sci-fi concept, we didn’t create insanely powerful propulsion methods. We simply lowered ships’ inertial masses. This would explain why we’re still flying around with newtonian propulsion systems and not mass-less propulsion systems.

Turning and changing velocity are two very different things for a spaceship. The only serious g-forces that apply to the pilot are directly tied to the ship’s acceleration.
*(Unless you do something monumentally stupid like a non-stop 10,000 degree rotation while keeping the manouvering engines firing the whole time)

Why anyone would fit engines into a ship powerful enough to rip the ship apart when firing at full power and/or kill the pilot, I don’t rightly know.

**I’d much rather see a solid heat-management system to used for ‘raising the skill cap’ than a system that would put a hard limit on how fun your flying can be. That’s just personal preference on my end tho.


I wish I had more time to comment on this a bit deeper, but if we added GForces for pitching, you also need to add it for roll and yaw. Say you have a collision and you begin one of those deathspins that happens so often? You better believe you’re blacking out because you’re experiencing some serious G’s in that rotation. This where the analogy to other games fails because planes don’t just spin like that, but it’s very easy to do in space and can be an intended, or unintended side affect of gforces affecting pilots.

Then, without any form of ‘inertial dampening’, anyone on the ship would be instantly killed by the insanely high G-Forces from the collision’s instant velocity change. The ship spinning away afterwards or not would be a moot point. :slight_smile:

Has anyone thought about the possibility of ignoring damage to the ship and pilot, and looking at this from the point of view of targeting and navigation with the ship computer’s positioning system?

So high-speed/high-G turning and maneuvering with a ship could throw off how well the player’s hud tracks targets around them?

Doing this would mean someone highly skilled at approximating where to shoot would have an advantage over someone who relied entirely on the hud’s ‘shoot at this patch of sky’ marker. Might be a better way of ‘raising the skill cap’ as you say.

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The point I was trying to make is that regardless of arguing semantics, the point is that it’s not just pitch gforces you have to think about but also rotational acceleration which will probably be more extreme than the “pitch battle warfare” found in elite and war thunder.