Gravity, Orbiting, etc

I don’t actually remember if this topic was every covered in any section before, but if it has - please, link and ignore me! I haven’t seen any explicit demonstrations of it in any tech demos either, so I’m really starting to wonder…

Is there gravity? And by that, what I’m wondering is - will ships and stations actually be moving at some velocity relative to planetary surfaces in order to remain in orbit a la Kerbal (or…you know…real life)? Not that we as players would necessarily have to consciously establish that, but will it be a factor? If I shut my engines down in space, will I start to drift towards the nearest massive body?

As a gameplay mechanic, I can see it being somewhat useless if we have ships with engines that are capable of counteracting the effects of gravity, but even they must have their limits. Super gas giants, stars, or even black holes all exert phenomenal gravitational pulls that surely must be able to overpower even the strongest of futuretech engines. But visually, can players sit on the surface and watch a station or capital ship fly overhead every 90 minutes? Or will “orbiting” ships and stations be motionless relative to the ground?


IA has said in one of the videos posted on YouTube that one of the marks on the speed bar is the orbital velocity, so it sounds like gravity is in the game.

Ah, cool. It’s kind of funny how irrelevant something like gravity becomes when we have super ultra mega engines to propel our ships.

The first thing I did when I got to play test was accidentally shutdown my ship inaide a hanger bay and immediately started drifting. My first thought was that I had excess velocity but it was just the pull of gravity from the moon. Its fully supported :smile:

What I am curious about @INovaeFlavien is if it’s nbody or sphere of influence based. Basically, can I find and orbit L-points? :smile:

Edit @INovaeKeith @Hutchings

1 Like

Interesting. I’m assuming that’s because the station or whatever it is your were docked at didn’t actually have any tangential velocity to the planet? I know nothing’s orbiting in the prototype yet, so…

I think I remember that happening in the combat prototype, but that’s because the capital ships were accelerating when you turned off your engines, so naturally it would appear as though you’d start drifting toward the back of the hangar. I wonder if something like that is going on in I:B?

I rather like the way KSP represents your velocity as either relative to a target or an orbital (tangential) velocity relative to a planet or moon. I wonder if we could expect something like that down the road (assuming gravitation is a thing in I:B)

I actually tested a slingshot manouver today (recorded it too). I approached the planet at a super high speed and aimed at the edge (horizon) of the planet, I disabled flight assist und the warp drive. I don’t know if it glitched or not but the moment I hit the planet at this high speed I was accelerated really fast and not a second later far I found myself away from the planets.

Either this was a very lucky and successful slingshot (was way to fast) or a crazy glitch (don’t think so, why would that happen otherwise).

I try some more tomorrow and will upload if successful. Unfortunatly my free time is very limited during the week.

Nice! I think a lot of people would like to see a recording of that. Are there any moons that don’t have any atmosphere which you could use to better test?

Or, alternatively, try using the Oberth Effect to get a large boost (if that’s not what you already tried). Essentially, approach a body with an initial velocity and let gravity take you in a parabolic trajectory. Note what your speed is at a specific altitude. When you’re at the lowest altitude of your flight path, go full thrust in your direction of motion for a few seconds (or tens of seconds). When you’re done boosting, power off and see what your new speed is at your previously recorded altitude.

(In the real world, this works because more work is done over the same period of time due to the fact that W=F*D, assuming constant exit velocity from the engine. You cover a greater distance in the same time period than you would at any other point along your trajectory, so you impart greater work on your spacecraft. More generalized, rocket propulsive efficiency increases as your velocity increases, to a certain point. It works best with rockets that can impart a large delta-v, which I assume the engines in I:B are capable of!)


At the risk of having the UI cluttered with too many things, it would nice to see the m/s of gravity next to altitude, or something, and your current m/s of acceleration/plane-change instead of just total m/s of velocity.

When super high gravity planets come into play, it’s relevant information to have.

Like maybe it should show the ship on your UI similar to how you see other ships targetted with the line in front of them showing their direction of travel, but with another line and a m/s number at the tip showing where they are accelerating toward and what rate, then another line pointing toward the planet that shows the m/s of gravity.

The current planets only seem to be in the single digit m/s/s, but for the gas giant or some super-Earth type planet, it could be significant on handling and good to have presented on the UI.

1 Like

Yeah that’s exactly why. Its stationary relative to the planet(rotation not-withstanding)

Held in place with anti-grav engines etc

Maybe it could be part of an acceleration display, one vector showing your current acceleration with the option to add more vectors showing the components of that vector: gravity (possibly from multiple sources), lift, drag, thrust, etc. Might be part of a customizable mini-compass or mini-map.

My guess is that it is definitely not an N-body simulation meaning each planet/moon has a sphere of influence around it. So you’re only ever going to have 1 gravity vector pointing towards the center of that object. It makes it very simple to do orbital maneuvers that way and far less complicated to comprehend, but takes some extremely unique gameplay that as far as I know no other game has attempted out of the equation.

Mostly because nobody wants anything to do with nbody…and it’s computationally expensive to simulate as the amount of objects increase.

Well sure, it’d be useless to display an indicator tower each body when they’re pulling at less than 0.1 m/s/s anyway, even if it was a proper N-body simulation.

Another line showing the direction of drag and the negative m/s/s is another thing that’d be nice. Forgot about that one. Might there be lift as well?

I would still simulate it because if it were, I could create orbits around L points in the middle of space, power down my ship except for passive sensors, and then watch everyone until a nice juicy target swings by and they have no idea I’m there. Without a stable orbit around one of those L points, I would be flung mercilessly around the system over time…regardless of how small the acceleration is initially.

Unfortunately, I’m fairly positive Nbody is out of the scope of the Inovae engine but I would LOVE to be wrong on this one.

You have nearly unlimited power to stay in one spot, though…

With my ship on and engines lighting up sensors millions of kilometers each way, you are correct. If I wanted to be undetected I’d have to be powered off. Currently, if you power down your ship starts drifting towards the planet if you aren’t in orbit. I’m talking stealth tactics here(they are my favorite types of gameplay which is why I’m currently dreaming).

If the moons aren’t actually orbiting the gas giant, that’s pretty much guaranteed. For obvious reasons.

1 Like

I remember Flavien said this could be easily done, but he didn’t for reasons of simplicity in the prototype. That statement alone is keeping my hopes up, but realistically I know it to be true… :cry:

Edit: “this” being the orbiting of stations around moons/planets and the moons around their planets and planets around the star.

I mean, you use 0.1% of your ships power or whatever to counter the marginal gravity from other bodies when you’re in space. So maybe turning everything off isn’t really turning everything off. That’s true of lots of electronics, that they’re just in a super minimal power mode when you turn them off. Low enough that there is virtually no signature, but 0.1% of power is used to keep you there.

If they are taking a semi-realistic approach to sensors. Having any engine active would blow up your IR signature and be visible from another planet(probably not for gameplay reasons) but at least throughout the moon/planet system. My whole goal is to stay undetected within that system. That is all.

Besides, for RP reasons that really doesn’t make sense to me. The reactor powering the engines is still on completely. That generates a lot of heat and is easily detectable. I just want to run off battery power to keep my sensors online and that’s it. That’s way more stealthy to me that humming along with my engines firing to maintain a constant 1g(relative to the planetary system) acceleration.

Edit: For example, this is what ~~ 1g of acceleration looks like…It’s a little more but if the planets/moons are bigger than Earth this is comparable and it is a lot of energy.