Hey all it’s time for your weekly update. Now that Flavien has been back for a full week and Kristian has returned from vacation the pace of development has regained its momentum. On the coding side we’ve merged the camera system with the new networking code along with a number of improvements to the ship control scheme. We can now fly around in the game with the new networking code however the combat systems still need to be re-implemented. Several bugs with our UI path rendering were squashed and we’re nearly ready to begin work on fonts/text.
WIP material pass for a station piece
On the art side Jan has started work on the materials for 3 more station pieces. Kristian is working on the secondary modules for land bases. He’s also produced a short pre-rendered video of the command center which we’re working on releasing soon. Dan has been playing around with some different designs for the destroyer engines.
Prototype of an engine for the destroyer
Overall the primary focus remains on finishing the merger of the new networking code, wrapping up our multi-threading performance improvements, and releasing the next patch. Once that’s complete we’ll have some Alpha backer free play weekends as our full attention shifts to releasing the Alpha build. That’s it for this week!
Would be great if we could have an all access free play week/end
The problem with going straight to an all access free play weekend is that our infrastructure needs to be more robust. The reason we’re having iterative free play weekends is that they actually take a tremendous amount of time as new bugs are discovered and an iterative process allows us to better manage that without potentially disenfranchising a large chunk of our player base.
One quick example is that when things go horribly wrong for people I personally service most of those tech support requests. Sometimes, as those of you who sit in Discord have likely noticed, I actually hop on conference calls with people having problems so I can help diagnose what’s going on. If I suddenly have thousands of people experiencing issues I personally don’t have the bandwidth to deal with that all at once.
Interesting! Does this involve Flavien’s dissatisfaction with the way some of the ships felt a little while back? Are we going to see some subtle changes to atmospheric flight (we miss banking to turn)?
Yes though I forgot what the full extent of those changes will be though I recall him describing them to me .
The previous control scheme was direct mouse. It had its own strengths, but also many weaknesses. The main ones being 1) force people to roll over the mouse, which is fine for fast turning ships, but horrendous for the slower/bulkier ones; 2) hard to reconcile with gamepads. So the idea is to have a cursor which you move on screen and whose direction and distance to the screen center determines the ship’s rotationnal acceleration. That’s basically what most other space games do. I’ve been particularly looking at Everspace’s (which I thought was feeling pretty natural and easy to use, better than SC/ED), so the end result will probably end up pretty similar.
Nooo! Please can there at least be the option for direct control? I’ve always been under the impression it would be twitch FPS style controls like the ICP. Obviously not for the bigger ships but definitely for the smaller ones.
Personally, I am fine with direct mouse control with the corvette. Given the choice between the two, I think I would still prefer the direct control. I haven’t played Everspace, so I’m not sure how that would work with the corvette.
Currently, the corvette ‘drifts’ a lot after a turn, so if it is changed to a more retro-responsive system, I could see the alternate as a more viable option for the corvette. I would just keep both systems and have the user choose between the two.
I’ve quite enjoyed the direct mouse controls for the small ships, but I agree the larger ones like the corvette need something else. If anything, it will be hardest to implement this new relative mouse control on ships like the interceptor. The fast turn rate could make it quite difficult to control accurately with that scheme, particularly in combat.
Having said that, I do like that the relative mouse control gives a smoother, more natural look to flight in space games, rather than the jerky turning of direct mouse input! So if you can get it right, it will likely improve immersiveness as well!
One suggestion though, please don’t do weapons tracking towards the cursor. Keep them fixed forward (unless the ship is large enough to have turrets, but that’ll need new controls anyway).
I find direct control quite special. There are virtually no space games that do it. The downsides are apparent though. Another big one is acceleration maximum.
One problem I had with Virtual Joystick is that it became impossible to both see the position of the virtual joystick and the Crosshair on my 30 inch Monitor at the same time. Allowing for an UI option that sets the “Diameter of V-Joy Indicator Area” would solve that though. Except if there’s gun Tracking …
One allready has to Track (on Screen) his Target. Having to look for an Indicator additionally to that is too much in my oppinion. If it can be seen, as in effective human clear vision, that miniscule circle one can see, when looking at the middle of the screen at the crosshair, it’s alright.
Flavien described in the past how he tried to apply a max acceleration to the direct control and how that, understandably if you think about the implications, failed.
Now you could say that the Interceptor and the Bomber have magical Infinite Acceleration Thrusters and have direct mouse controll as a default off Server option. That could work in my opinion.
Even though I am a big proposer of allowing as much freedom for players to play the game as they like I think having one control scheme not only be better due to how the hardware works (which is okay, direct mouse input is just better when it comes to aiming, that’s how it is) but effectively changing the max rotational acceleration of the ship as going to far in the unfair department.
As said. As a private server option, alright. But by default? How do you think that could work @hrobertson?
Wouldn’t it work to have a virtual heading that has is directly controlled by the mouse, with the same sensitivity for all ships, while the ship itself follows it as best as it can?
Some games do that. It works. Most prominent usage probably in WarThunder.
I dislike how much it disconnects you from the vessel you control though. It solves the problem by just adding an annoyance instead of a challenge. That annoyance being that delay until the ship aligns. Where with a virtual joystick you have to do the same stuff a player with a joystick would need to do. I find it a little more engaging.
It is an effective solution though. It’s more in what direction you want to go.
- Unfair ingame advantage or jarring/offputting max acceleration
- More Like Shooters
- When Aiming, High Hardware Advantage
- Aim at Target, Wait, Fire
- More Like Shooters
- Delay removes “Rapid Aim, Fire” satisfactory (PC) shooters have.
- Controll Acceleration, More work for the player
- Player has to play the role of a controller.
- More Like Flight Sims
- Very close when it comes to hardware advantage over Joystick
- Pretty much the same as Virtual Joystick
‘Twitch controls’ has been a recurring motif of Flavien’s vision since the original idea for the MMO, successfully demonstrated in the ICP and reiterated in the Kickstarter page for Battlescape:
Small ships with first-person, twitch based newtonian controls
I strongly feel twitch controls is a core tenet of the I-Novae Studios offering and would be really disappointed if it was missing from Battlescape.
The idea of nerfing mouse control so that joystick control isn’t disadvantaged really makes me sad. I understand people have a romanticised vision of using HOTAS for space sims, but the reality is that joysticks are appropriate for aeroplanes in space, not for Newtonian physics where rotational acceleration is unrelated to velocity and far greater than linear acceleration.
I-Novae are doing a great thing by not having aeroplanes in space, it would be a real shame if the control scheme essentially made it feel like aeroplanes in space.
I agree with you but I really don’t think that’s the primary motive.
The problem is that currently mouse controll is not only superior im aiming due to its design but actually allows for infinity rotational acceleration. Infinite! Not speed. Acceleration. Do you suggest nothing should be done about that?
Thinking about it. It could be an option to just allow unlimoted acceleration on the bomber as well as the Interceptor. The Joystick players could have a setting they could set to what ammount of max acceleration they would want on those ships and their axis.
You clearly need an Upgrade, Keith 2.0
Re: Control changes: Small craft need fast and direct mouse controls, there is no acceptable compromise on that. Since i did not test those changes yet i wont comment further, but i highly doubt there will ever be a control style that fits both small and large ships.