Missiles and Jousting Combat

In the BlueDragon interview, I-Novae said that they were looking at using missiles to help deter jousting combat.

To that end, I wonder if a really simple change would make the missiles work extremely effecting against Newtonian Jousting:

Give all missiles a Proportional Navigation guidance algorithm.

The standard guidance for missiles in video games is tail-chase, the missile thrusts to point at the current vector connecting the missile to the target. This algorithm has a very standard appearance for video games but it is extremely inefficient. Virtually every air-to-air missile uses PN for interceptions. That is because PN requires no guidance inputs when neither the missile nor the target is accelerating.

In jousting combat, the two ships thrust towards each other, then switch to a Newtonian flight mode and angle the ship onto the target. (Another word to describe this is turreting.) If missiles have a tail-chase algorithm, the missile is constantly thrusting to hit the target. But, if missiles have PN, the missile accelerates to interception speed then holds constant velocity and velocity vector as long as the target is not accelerating.

The challenge for this guidance is that it requires each missile retain a history of the target’s position, so that the missile can compute a rate-of-change of target angle. This may pose network constraints on the missiles which are too high for the game.


The assumption that “jousting” is a bad thing aside, why do you think that missiles on intercept would force this to change any more than missiles on a more tradional (as far as video games go anyways) path? If missiles go on proper intercept, people will very quickly find them nearly impossible to avoid through manuvering, the options left become flares/countermeasures or straight up shooting them down, neither of which changes your flight path at all. Or slow the missiles and their turning down enough to where they are defeated by a simple direction reverse (like a joust) On the other hand, missiles with lesser turning ability that don’t follow intercept courses and have long enough lifetimes can be dodged using circular movement. If your goal is less jousting, and for missiles to “pin down” targets, then isn’t this the more desired outcome?

To be honest, I doubt missiles would be an effective deterrent to jousting given collisions happen so quickly it is virtually impossible to fire before colliding. Of course if it is really slow intentional collisions then sure but that is rarely the case.

Jousting is really just a side-effect of trying to deal with a newtonian flight model. People are basically just flying straight towards their opponent and they inevitably overshoot each other, leaving them to have to turn around and fly back towards each other.

It takes a bit more thought and patience to intercept and stick with another player like this, some of which may entail anticipating what the other player is currently doing. Are they flying straight for you? In which case, you may just want to wait for them to fly by you so you can boost at them to get in behind and get some close range shots off. Or, perhaps, they’re figuring you’re going to fly past them and they are just waiting there themselves.

If missiles become as adept at intercepting players as they are at intercepting planes in real life, then they will become the weapon of choice. Not because it deters jousting, but because its that much easier to damage other players with them. People will default to what works, and jousting currently leads to long drawn-out fights with a plethora of missed shots (of course some people may enjoy this over other games where you die in seconds)


Can’t help but wonder if a ‘deflector shield’ would be a better option: something that deflects other ships in head on collisions making it pointless to attempt such gameplay, or griefing.

Back in the ICP, overshooting was typical for new players, experienced ones would start orbiting around each other and zigzag around. The max speed cap was a lot lower though. But still, i think the extreme overshooting will not always be the main movement style in space combat. In atmosphere, the overshooting is not a result of the speed but of the reduced ability to do controlled turns, dont have an idea how that will develope in the long run.

Missiles are always hard to do in a fun way. The most boring version is click to auto hit with homing missile and click for auto save through flares. In newtonian combat, inheriting the velocity of the shooter could and should play a mayor role in effective missile useage.

Imho, having different weapons that are better in free space / in atmosphere will also provide great variety and tradeoffs. E.g. energy weapons losing damage in atmosphere and airodynamic missiles pushing themselves faster through the atmosphere than the non-airodynamic ships can.


Pushing themselves faster through the atmosphere, and producing shock waves. Explosives don’t produce shock waves in space, so it would be nice for explosive weapons to have greatly reduced damage outside of an atmosphere.


I hope the ships will behave even more like planes when flying in the atmosphere, it would stop the overshooting of each other and be more fun I think.

I agree.
It would be interesting to see how people try to lure enemy into a fight in preferable medium. :slightly_smiling:

After some testing of the prototype, i really did miss a button for toggle between atmospheric flight and space flight (one that would just swap yaw and roll axis when toggled) since it is lot more effective to roll into a turn when in atmo.
Not to press and hold (like it is now by default) but toggle.

I’m not saying it won’t still hold true, but you’re making a critical mistake in this line of thinking. Current aircraft turn faster when rolling and pitching into a turn due to the way control surfaces work on aircraft (ailerons, elevator, rudder). AFAIK, not only do ships in infinity not have control surfaces, there is not much reason to have any one axis have preferential maneuvering thrust, except for the forward vector. This means atmospheric agility should be based more on resistance, which is roughly based on profile. Ships wider than they are tall should actually maneuver best by yawing, using this logic.


Given the lack of lift generated by the ships, ships that are wider than they are tall should actually maneuver best by pitching, since they’ll have a lower moment of inertia around their left-right axis than around their up-down axis.


p.s. A game where you had to turn everything upside down in order to turn best would be hilarious.


The only reason I would disagree is that to me, a proper design of thrust and maneuvering nozzles would result in identical rotational and linear accelerations in all but the forward vector. After all, in space (with unlimited fuel) you just want to get pointed the right way as quickly as possible, rather than having to make multiple maneuvers for optimal speed (yaw vs. pitch + roll).

Also, should you lose thrusters for one direction or the other, it could be compensated for with the aforementioned multiple maneuvers, and you would not have to adjust your expectations of responsiveness significantly.

EDIT: I guess the simpler way of saying it is that I would expect, in the ship design of being wider than taller, the yaw thrusters would be larger/more powerful than the pitch thrusters. The result might be that linear acceleration differs, though I would consider the equality of linear thrust lesser than the equality of rotational.

But, I’m not a pilot, nor an astronaut, nor do I have a ship with unlimited fuel.

I think jousting is a symptom of objectiveless combat. In the full game the nature of combat will be quite different because it’ll have a proper context. There’s a huge difference between a few dudes deciding they wanna shoot each other and a battle/skirmish that involves multiple teams with various different craft trying to complete specific objectives. I myself hope for a lot of high speed chases at low altitude :smiley:


Issue with this is that flying higher into thinner air lets you overtake anyone who tries to fly low and fast.

I guess there might be times where both you and the ship you want to kill are both hiding from the 3rd team and use the terrain to avoid detection?

Is that something that something like increased agility at lower altitudes could help balance out? Easier to chase from up high, but easier to dodge from down low?


I don’t see that as an issue. If you want to gun the guy you’re chasing, you’ve got to close with him, and that means dropping to his altitude. Either you race ahead of him and try to ambush him as he flashes past or you get into a canyon chase.

The general idea is that if you want to maneuver with an enemy, you need to get into the same control regime.

Unless you have missiles that can cross the control regimes for you. Which is one reason I don’t like missiles.

“Oh, look, a guy in a canyon. I can either get into a dramatic chase involving elite flying and gunnery skills or I can fly in the open, picking a spot of my choosing above the canyons and shoot one missile and laugh as he tries to evade and slams into a wall.”

Fox 1.


missiles are not that bad, you just can carry a few of them and they can’t turn too fast due to aerodinamics, and they have to move in a spiral in order to follow a target, worst if they are used on open space, they won’t be able to use aerodinamics to make turns, which means more expensive missiles with auxiliar propulsion, that will probably last a few seconds chasing your enemy’s tail.

That and IRL they are no good in not open areas, so if you are not really close to your enemy, you will just waste a missile, wich is something since you just can carry a few, unless Inovae decide to make the weapon part like arcade games where you carry 100 missiles in 2 wings (?)

Oh and missiles do have also a significant weight

Fox 2, Fox 2

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I think missiles should be specifically designed balancing wise in consideration to the other weapons instead of putting them in another class. They would be guns with different stats and effects. I think with that mentality it’s easier to make missiles less strong and ask oneself at every step of adding a feature like guidance if balancing would be influenced by it.

Some of the missiles I would love to see. Because I imagine them to be fun:

  • Rockets / Unguided, high spray, low damage
    Comparable to Kinetic Weapons
  • Itano Circus / Guided, high speed, low damage, easy to evade, chaotic flight pattern
    Comparable to Gatling Guns
  • Missiles / Guided, medium damage, little harder to evade then Italo, flies straight and sprais little
    Comparable to Blasters
  • Anti Capital Torpedoes / Slow, High damage, easy to evade
    Comparable to Heavy Blasters

Also …

  • Bombs / unguided, unpowered
    Comparable to … suicide attack?

None of them should have any guidance system that can’t be evaded in 5 seconds max and would only be needed to evade them if the shooter fired them at the right time in the right direction.

With a plethoa of fun missile types I think I and probably others could accept not having the traditional Sidewinder or AIM style missiles.

I find balancing them with weight and ammo restriction really annoying, boring and frankly not a lot of fun. Even in the Infinity Combat Prototype. Missiles had most of the negative tendencies JB mentioned. And them being expensive and the low amount you could carry didn’t really make them fun either.


This makes me remember … anyone played:

That game totally eliminated jousting by its use of 3 weapon types. Rockets, Bombs and Mines.
If the opponent was Jousting, Mines would totally wreck them.

In principle Mines in Rockets, Rockets, Rockets are high radius explosive devices that start off with the same momentum when you drop them and then slow down rapidly, if an opponents flies to close to them, they go boom.
This means if an opponent is directly flying towards you he will fly into the mine.

Playing … RRR I noticed how fast it made you stop jousting. Transferring that from a top down 2D world to a first person 3D world could be difficult though, as there’s quite a lot of information that isn’t visible in the 3D first person view.


Low altitude flight is strictly worse than high altitude flight, unless you’re trying to avoid being detected.

In this situation, a group of bombers would fly at low altitude to evade air defense radars. The other team could have fighters on CAP to detect incoming bombers and destroy them. The attacker has a trade-off, risk early detection by flying high or risk easy destruction by flying low.

I don’t see how much work would be required here, other mechanics would balance the situation.

Interesting. Why is that? And is it something that would translate to an object that doesn’t use the atmosphere for lift?