Ship Orientation Limit in FA on and Orientation Stablization in FA off

I wanted to give some preemptive feedback on the blog post’s: upcoming changes bit, mainly the orientation constraint and the stabilization change. I don’t think that limiting orientation will be very effective against jousting(rather i think it will just push unaware players towards an absolute 0 speed before they start doing so) but thats something testing on the server would be more effective in confirming.

My main concern is the idea of balancing through controls. Fundamentally flight assist on and off are part of the control options of your ship, and hitting controls with a nerfbat is very wrong to me, the extreme equivalent would be removing analogue throttle and replacing it with on/off to try to balance people overusing their throttling ability to stay behind ships of slower speeds. The ship orientation limit is very much that, turning around and making full use of your strongest thrusters to slow down makes the most sense in a Newtonian game and saying newer players who need the assist cant do that because they are also using the mode that adjusts their strafe thruster outputs for them feels and is arbitrary, these two things don’t go together for any real reason and it just becomes an irritation for the player, “why cant i have this button pressed with this other tool i dont want off” where the answer is “because there’s a certain type of flight pattern we’re trying to discourage you from doing”.

Flight assist off is an option with real benefits and disadvantages, on one hand you need to manage all your strafe directions manually, on the other hand you gain full control of the momentum of your ship. Pilots pick this mode when they want to use specific maneuvers that require it or just generally think they can handle the increased control. Only if flight assist off were a novelty for pilots, would make sense not to have orientation stabilization, as there is no advantage, tradeoff, or utility to turning orientation stabilization off for the pilot, it is only disadvantage. it also very quickly becomes a controller dependent issue. For example, if you roll with q and e (using mouse 2 means you lose access to your other axis while your trying to roll and is suboptimal) then having orientation assist off means you will never stop rolling as you hopelessly attempt to feather the your keys for just the right period to get you to stop rotating. And you’ll need to do this for every single rotation maneuver you make, its completely impractical. Elite dangerous did this with it’s assist off mode, and despite all the attempts i made with it, i never found the assist off mode helpful simply due to this element, and this coming from someone who primarily flies in assist off mode in 6dof games. Most others also seem to only find it a novelty. I briefly tested the implementation on the current IB patch today and its pretty much the same as E:D’s just with faster turning exacerbating the problem.

As for jousting itself, an extent of is is normal in 6dof space games and should be embraced, but you can tune a game to have less of it. You can adjust TTK(time to kill) and balance it against weapon range/acceleration, allowing you to set a likely limit on the number of jousting runs that can occur during gameplay during a single dogfight. You can add elements like pilot gforce, different strafe strengths, different ship profiles, shield segments that give players potential ways to outplay their opponents through other kinds of manuvering. this is a question with many potential solutions, one of the reasons i made this thread is to get some more discussion on the various gameplay elements that could encourage more interesting flight patterns.

But right now, i feel like the immediate limit to non-linear gameplay is the hit detection/netcode. At 50ms~ping for both parties, flying in parallel or on an angle with someone at sufficient speed means neither party can damage eachother despite clear hits, as a result jousting becomes the only viable method because when flying in a straight line at eachother, not even wonky hit detection makes hitting a challenge. On the plus side, right now we do have a pretty visible bullet collision effect so its easy to test when we should be hitting but aren’t, we just need to ignore HP while testing until its sorted. Clientside might be an option

Not to beat flavien over the head with a wall of text, this is what the development period is for after all, and my post is premptive since not all the changes are live yet, but thats my 2c.


What he said. Bad idea, and one of the reason so many “flight” games have no appeal to me.


I’m completely in agreement with matt50k here.

Unassisted flight mode that included orientation stabilization was one of the strengths of the original ICP, and something that Elite Dangerous got wrong.


This ^^
As soon as you introduce uncontrolled rotation or limitations on orientation it becomes more frustrating than fun.
I don’t see the merit in trying to mitigate a perfectly normal combat instinct. Jousting is a maneuver that will get you very damaged or killed when facing a more experienced player. You simply do not let your ship maintain a predictable course for too long. Also at the speeds we are seeing in IB, the chances of overshooting your opponent are very high, so the challenge is really to better anticipate the encounter.

Now I’m reminded of Jumpgate and its strict use of newtonian-only flight. (see page 102-113 of this old doc)
The systems were primitive by today’s standards, but they worked. Really well.


So how would you combat jousting then ?

Then point about the networking model is fair but it can’t be the only way. There are a LOT of people who dislike jousting in space games; keeping the game as it is right now is a good way to turn off a lot of players.

Just for people who want to read around about the topic, here have some links.

Here are some opinions from other communities:

RSI Forums - Why do people consider Jousting and Circling such a bad idea? Also, what is Space Turreting?

Frontier Forums - Jousting

Science Forum - How Newtonian Physics Ruin Space Combat…

Frontier Forums - Why Newtonian Dogfights are more interesting

Frointier Forums - Jousting! does it happen in ED?

SC Reddit - Whats going to stop “space jousting” or circle strafing?

As well as discussion about jousting on our forums:

Some discussion about this very topic at the end of this thread:

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Jousting was just as easy to do in the original ICP, despite its speed limits. Once a pilot learned how to control the relative position of his ship it didn’t happen though.

So jousting is a “first impressions” problem. I don’t feel that improving the first impression of new players is a good trade off for diminishing the simulation for experienced players.

If catering for the new player experience is very important then make the intercept mode on the autopilot work well. It should close to effective weapon range of the target at relative speed zero and then disengage. Then in your tutorial hints tell the player to “Use Intercept Autopilot To Attack Enemy Ships”.

You could have the autopilot not disengage and attempt to stay within weapon range, but experience with the formation flight autopilot suggests that this doesn’t work well. The ship controlling itself to correct its position when you as a player are also trying to control it gets unpredictable and is a bad experience.


There are numerous ways to combat the “problem” that jousting presents without introducing intrusive mechanics.

The primary thing I think we must remember is that current prototype engagements are all pointless. They’re done with no concrete objective other than “shoot the other ship”. Because of this (not to mention the missing weapons and other content) I don’t think current combat is indicative of the way fights will turn out in the final product.
The way people approach combat will be fundamentally different in the proper game. You cant effectively escort, defend or destroy an objective with dueling tactics, a jouster who only enters combat for short periods of time will be of little use. Hell, when fights are centered around specific things it may not even be the preferred approach for a newbie.

In addition, the environments must play an important role for combat. Space combat should be fundamentally different from atmospheric combat, which in turn should differ from planets with very thin atmospheres, gas giants, yadda yadda. Even if jousting prevails in space to a degree (why not? I kinda like the idea of strike craft attacking their targets at multiple km/s, it’s something unseen in games), it might not ever happen in other environments.


I always say that when taking into account the feedback of large groups of people is that usually there really is a problem that inspires all the complaints, but big masses of people don’t articulate what the actual problem is well or suggest good solutions. In this case, its people seeing bad flight balance and lack of interesting mechanics and just going with “jousting” as a catch all descriptor for the gameplay they dislike. Jousting is only a problem when its the only option or the most effective option.

Lets go over all the possible “options” for space flight.

  • Jousting: players make either very dumb runs at eachother without making any use of their strafing keys, or smarter skidded jousts that, have them jockeying for position by making use of the strafe keys that lead towards or away from the direction of the target they are also making a skidded run away from. This is “good” gameplay, it can be fun and it should be noted that it takes two new players to cooperate do the boring joust, wheras in most situations we can hope there will be plenty of regulars to demonstrate. When a player is jousting predicably, its a good idea to make tools available to the player to punish predictable behavior, such as missiles, fine tuning of TTK(time to kill, factors in healthpoints, damage, avoidance rates, etc), gforce that punishes rapid changes in direction, there are just endless possibilities.
  • Orbiting: Players orbit a point somewhere between themselves always keeping their nose and guns faced in a position where they can shoot the opponent. Because leading exists, orbits can never be perfect and to maintain the orbit players eventually are forced to nose up breifly while their energy recharges to “expand the orbit” breifly. Bad orbitting combat is just as bad as bad jousting combat, if not worse to the extremely stagnant nature of the fight. The main challenge in advanced orbiting combat comes from mechanics such as
  • Tail chase/turn war AKA WW2 planes in space AKA elite dangerous AKA EA’s battlefield 4 AKA EA’s battlefront ?3?: This is where typically only one side can shoot at the other at a time, because one ship will be behind and one ship will be in front. Both ships will be turning endlessly to try to get the other in their tail sights, and typically in a space game its very difficult if not impossible for a player who starts on the wrong end of the turn war. Even in battlescape’s atmospheres, this is not a realistic way for combat to work considering the different physics of an overpowered brick and an underpowered wing.

For me the most obvious kinds of flight strategies we want to support are jousting and orbiting, with nearly complete exclusion of the tail chase/turn war except in some situations in atmosphere where it makes sense to exist, mainly with corvette sized spacecraft.


Allow me to contradict a point in my earlier post by saying that in Jumpgate each ship model had unique turn rate limits for pitch, yaw and roll. However, there were still orientation limiters to make the flight easier to comprehend. You only had to worry about your velocity vector.

I don’t think you can avoid jousting 100% no matter what you do because you are dealing with large 3D space with barely any obstacles and a large range of velocities.

There is the “mass lock” system in Elite where ship presence could affect the ability to travel beyond dogfight speeds until you charge enough energy. That might at least prevent the high speed jousting.

The high speed is exactly what Graviteros is talking about in that SC thread

Find ways to hold players in closer proximity (ie. around a point of contention) and the rest is up to player skill.

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From what I’ve seen from all the prototype videos so far, IB is already doing a great job in this regard.
SC Arena Commander, while being extremely fun, is (it seems to me) an example of ‘jousty’ gameplay because A: The combat speed limit of around 200m/s keeps things flying in circles, B: Easy aiming + bullet-sponge hitpoints and C: No objective beyond jousting!
IB seems to have inherently solved these problems. We have: A: Ultra-wide range of engagement velocities and approaches, B: The placeholder blasters are great (imo) and seem to require a lot of skill, concentration and careful maneuvering, C: Wide range of planned objectives, strategies and dangers (bases, capships, atmospheres, orbiting)

Mattk50s first paragraph of his last post summarized my feeling about the question pretty well.

The actual question is: “How to make duels fun?” (In space, just two ships in space)

And that’s a complex thing to achieve. That’s why balance in games is so critical, a single value or mechanic can throw everything off.
Maybe we don’t see the whole vision, so the planed mechanic makes less sense to us.

I also didn’t really see “jousting” in the prototype yet. All I saw were people overshooting … everything, not just targets but also locations or planets. All fights I had were a lot more complex and changed from one pattern to the other. From circling to merging and yes also some minute of overshooting. In atmo they were even more complex. But I’ll concentrate on void space for now.

Maybe duels are already fun.

If “jousting” turns out to be a problem, the thing to do first would be to look at the whole and see if something out of balance that makes a certain tactic have a wonky “easy of execution / success” ratio with none or little answers to that tactic.

Then there are several ways to try to bring that back into balance. Either changing things, adding things or removing things. All with complex consequences. But I’m sure everyone is aware of that.

I’m a supporter of maximum freedom. I don’t like removing or limiting things.

Lets look at the pros and cons of jousting.
Pro: Hard to get hit, easy to disengage
Con: Hard to hit, Low Time on Target, hard to manoeuvre (extreme relative vectors)

The main problem with “jousting” is that it’s easy to get into when you are not accustomed with Newtonian flight and really hard to take advantage off. In itself it is balanced pretty well.
BUT both parties have a bad time if just one of the two starts jousting. The jouster can’t hit anything, the other can’t catch the jouster.

Instead of stopping one party from starting a joust. Give the other party the means to stop it. Currently the only thing you can do is merge, which is a “relatively” adv… well it requires you to not be a noob. Which changes the patern of the fight, though the other party can still switch to jousting again.

Unless you kill him right away. Have a weapon ingame that is hard to evade when you have an extreme big relative vector, like a missile or … something like this mine thingy. Something guided or with a big explosive radius basically. But that also requires some skill.
You could put it on the starter ship as a secondary weapon, that would help. Still, if the user doesn’t utilize it and get killed by someone who, now, can defend himself against jousting … well …

Honestly. All the scenarios I can think off are due to inexperience. That’s not a problem with the mechanic, it’s a lack of basic knowledge or lack of assistance of/to the Player.


I think jousting is not necessarily always a bad thing.
Too much jousting can be countered with more complex fighting mechanics for example.
One such thing could be proximity mines, when an opponent approaches on a linear path towards you and is certain to overshoot, a timely placement of an proximity mine could deter such behavior nicely.
Jousting and overshooting would guarantee a severe penalty this way.
Also noobs tend to joust severely, more experienced players are not jousting that often in my observation.

I don’t like the turn limiter for other reasons as well:
Right now atmospheric flight doesn’t feel that much different to space flight, the ability to turn 180° during flight even on planets is pretty nice, however for some reasons it feels a little bit off in atmosphere, probably because we are accustomed to planes.
Limiting the turn rate would artificially force the gameplay to be more like plane flying, but it would probably still feel off because changing directions right now is pretty unconsequential due to the lack of wings. When changing the ships orientation in atmosphere the ship still maintains its direction like a brick, attaching wings to it would change the direction significantly, with wing mechanics the same effect like the turn limit could be achieved without crippling the controls.
Problem is the ships don’t have wings.
A solution to that could be a “flying on rails” flight assist mode, in this mode the ship could simulate a plane like flying approach by making heavy use of the lateral thrusters, when changing orientation during flight, for example yawing left at maximum, the ship could fire its right thrusters at full capacity to simulate the effect wings would have on a similar orientation change during atmospheric flight, as soon as the sideways thrusters can’t negate the sideways drifting the yawing brings, it could cap the yaw rate to maintain the fly on rails effect.
However this should be an optional flight mode!