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.