Weekly Update #67


People will never reconcile mouse control with gamepads either way, gamepads are just bad at precision of any kind. I would argue trying to balance on a control scheme level is pointless and gets in the way of players, giving people options to choose what they prefer is usually better.

Capital ships especially really need the virtual joystick solution you’re describing, but for fighters i imagine there are a lot of people who would prefer either one. A lot of players are very particular about how they control their spaceships, so i think giving people the choice would just be the best solution.


I’m sure I’ve seen space games that have a hybrid of @Lomsor’s Virtual Heading option. That is, make the small ships turn very fast, but also include modest gimballing of the weapons. That leaves the ship able to turn at a reasonable rate while allowing the player to instantly track targets out to some range of off-axis angles. That still leaves lag when trying to track targets far off-axis, but I consider that a good thing. What “far off-axis” means is an issue of balance. The point is that fast-turning ships give instant access to some range of angles, gimballing weapons give access to more, and instant-turning ships (or weapons) allow access to all.

As the fiction chosen is one of physical objects turning by use of thrusters, instant-turning ships seem inappropriate.

Note that if the game was really implementing twitch weapons on fighters, then fighters would be spheres with energy weapons that fire off the surface of the sphere. As fast as you can indicate a target direction, the energy weapon can form a shot on the surface of the sphere that lances out in the desired direction. Gameplay First, Fiction Second strikes again.


Agreed. Please don’t nerf mouse controls.

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While I agree that the current controls of the ships in space feel really precise and work well, I still believe the plans to change the controls are necessary.

  1. The controls as they are now don’t work for bigger and slower ships at all
  2. The don’t work for in atmosphere flight, since the ships aren’t as maneuverable
  3. They aren’t superior to the new alternative, since this game requires the player to aim on a target for longer durations, this is almost impossible to achieve in some situations since you have to lift and recenter the mouse when turning long
  4. They aren’t even that ‘direct’ because the turn speed is capped even for small ships

I think this is something that has to be playtested extensively to reach a solid conclusion.
I don’t think it is the devs intention to nerf mouse controls to level the playing field, it will still be twitch controls.


The biggest problem with cursor directed control is overshooting and overcompensating on turns. It’s not so bad for an atmospheric flight model, or something with ‘flight assist’ that counters pitch yaw and roll automatically. But it’s just plain awful at dealing with 100% flight-assist off newtonion flight.

We’re going to need a separate attitude assist to turn on for flight assist off to be fun with a mouse so people not using a hotas or 3 axis joystick system aren’t heavily penalized to the point of leaving flight assist on in any and every circumstance.


As naiba mentioned the forced rotational assist off when you want your translational assist off would become even more hellish than it currently is. In any case i really don’t believe the game should be trying to ‘balance’ assist on and off modes by adding nerfs like no rotational stability that provide no potential benefit, where any real pilot would properly only disable the parts of the assist he didnt want. Assist offs in games should be harder to master but also actually have more depth to them. In other games there are g-safe on and off modes, everyone just accepts that the gsafe on mode is the mode for newer players, and turning it off is more difficult but ultimately much more rewarding. The assist off mode doesnt need to be nerfed.


This is not true for the current pre Alpha build. Rotational speed appears to be limitless.
The mouse appears to directly controll the rotational thrusters. Mouse distance traveled/time = impulse or something like that.
If there is a counterforce. Like in atmospheres, it will alter the ammount of net impulse you get and thus appear to decrease acceleration. Also, counterforce is increased the faster you go in atmosphere and not liniary. So at some point you will reach terminal rotational velocity because you won’t be able to move your mouse any faster. In space this is not the case.
All with flight assist off of course.

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My main concern with any control system that might be used, is how it feels.

Currently, in the prototype, despite some of the drawbacks I love the feel of twitch-controlled Newtonian flight with the interceptor and bomber in space. It’s responsive and glide-y and fun for barnstorming stations etc!
I don’t like it in atmosphere - it doesn’t feel at all like controlling a lump of metal careening through the air that - for example - KSP does so well (though that could be the atmospheric flight model more than the controls).

So, my only condition with a new control scheme is whether it feels fluid and exciting, with enough control to not make it feel like point-and-fly autopilot.

In short, I hope the ships still feel like they’re in space!

(So many space games don’t because of the way ships control. Yes, I’m looking at you Elite: Dangerous.)


Only things that really matter to me when it comes to control schemes is the practicality of it.

  • Having to wave your hand over a few meters distance to turn a ship around shouldn’t even be an option and that’s what direct input does when turning rates get limited.
  • Having to turn into a target with some virtual joystick is also annoying, the whole point of having a precise pointing device is to be precise.

On top of that IBS is supposed to be competitive, which means the control scheme should be fixed and the same for everyone as to limit any advantages that can be gained from hardware, it’s the skill that should make one person better than the other rather than input choice.

Considering the posts in this thread it also seems obvious that the different class ships should have different control schemes.

  • Very small ships with no rotational lag are nicely fitted for direct input.
  • Medium ships like the corvette and its slow turning rate fits the virtual joystick slot fine.
  • Capital ships, I would argue, should be point and click.

Having different control schemes used on different class ships like that could open up IBS to many more play-styles and player demographics, everyone from FPS to RTS players would have something to play with.


I personally disagree with this sentiment. I quite enjoy the corvette’s current control iteration, and would be sad to see it change.

The corvette isn’t designed to track a close range target with fixed forward firing weapons Interceptors + bombers could run circles around it. It is going to have to rely on it’s turrets/missiles in order to cope. In CQC the control scheme would be irrelevant in that regard.

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I think from the discussion one can see why the direct control scheme seems to connect one closer to ones ship.

It is not uniform, predictable. It controls some hardware on the ship directly.

By directly connecting mouse movement to the thruster the player experiences the hurdles the ship does. The player notices how he has to move more, work more, when the ship encounters resistance. Be it from outside or from its own mass.

And one can see its drawback.

It is not uniform, predictable. (It controls some hardware on the ship directly.)

Virtual heading would be uniform and predictable … (v)Joy would also be, but only if it would control acceleration instead of thruster impulse.

So if you add (v)Joy to bigger ships but still have it control thruster impulse you would still get that connection to the ship. The difference is that instead of constantly having to move the mouse, you just set and forget …
By that one can see that the struggle having to reset the mouse also plays some role in connecting with the ship.

Concerning competitiveness. I think a game should never just be competitive or just be casual. It should, and can, cater to both by either being modable or providing presets for servers.
Now if you fear minimum playerbase. Competitive people can train by playing the Default preset. But when playing a serious match they always will disconnect from a, for instance, I-Novae server and connect to their whitelist/password competitive server. There they should be able to control enough parameters of the game in order to level the playing field.

In BF2142 you could unlock stronger weapons. Competitive players created a mod that would only allow the standard starting weapons. It also added quality of life features.


I agree with this.


I’ll be happy as long as it feels good with an xbox controller. (360, One and Elite). And or a HOTAS set up. I’m not a fan of K&M any more.


If I want a slow ship with (v)Joystick control, I’d play E:D.

As long as “feels good” doesn’t mean “able to compete with”. I don’t agree with balancing ship handling to peripherals, so that the handling is the same across controllers.

My opinion is this: Give the players the tools. Allow for variance in control schemes, not balancing them so that there isn’t any difference, but allow for variance so that the players can find their individual play style.

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I think there’s some misunderstanding or at least miscommunication.
Direct input is a term that has long been used in gaming and refers to the mapping of mouse movement to cursor movement.
Direct mouse input would not control the thrusters, it would control a cursor setting the desired heading of the ship.
It would therefore be 100% uniform, consistent and reliable. I move my mouse x inches, my heading moves 45°, every time. This enables twitch reflexes and muscle memory.

Whether or not rotational acceleration is instantaneous is a separate but very much related question.
If it is, then you get that classic FPS control. For discussion, lets call this Direct FPS control.

If it’s not instantaneous then it’s still consistent and predictable: If I move my mouse x inches, my heading moves 45°, every time, it might just take non-zero time to get there. For discussion, lets call this Direct non-instant control.
Edit: This is my preference, if implemented well.

If it’s not instantaneous there is a second question which is whether the ‘cursor’ is constrained by the view port, ie you can only move your desired heading to the edge of the screen and then you have to keep pulling it across as you turn. This makes it consistent only within the bounds of the view. ie you can turn 20° with a single movement, but not 180°.
This is the Freelancer scheme (and Everspace?).
For discussion, lets call this Direct Freelancer control.

Then there are the other schemes that I would call non-direct but I’m leaving the office and heading home now :smile:

Patch 0.2+ - Feedback thread

I agree with this

I love flying about with my joystick and throttle,
but it would be perfect if I could switch to mouse during battles.
(I know @Lomsor and @Playbenni have been experimenting with dual controller setups).

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Semantics can get confusing. Ye.

The current build of the game doesn’t let you. directly controll the heading. Only indirectly by controling, directly, the ship thrusters. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

So what would you prefer? As controll scheme.

I would suggest adding some:
Heading Controll
Acceleration Controll
Impulse (Thruster) Controll (allready in)

Then have defaults for each ship and let players alter that default in the setings. Also a button for ingame on the fly switching.
Then have server setting that allow dissalow each controll method.

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He would prefer to be able to use his twitch muscle memory to move the mouse in an instant to snap his fighter around to a specific orientation. FPS controls, but on a spaceship flying in space instead of a guy running around in a maze of rooms.

I dislike FPS controls intensely because they are a severe break with reality. They fall into the same category of gameplay as teleportation; highly artificial. On a PC, I should be able to look around at twitch speeds, but I should not be able to reorient anything physical at those speeds. In VR, I get twitch speeds for glancing around, but looking beyond my initial field of view involves reorienting the physical object that is my head.

In short, I think FPS controls are an outmoded ‘gamey’ construct that should be dumped on the refuse pile of gaming history. That’s why I suggested a fighter that reorients at high speeds, combined with gimballed weapons that reorient even faster. That would be as close as Battlescape’s fiction would provide to FPS speeds. Even then, mouse users would remain dominant in twitch fights because of their superior ability to provide fast, precise motions.

The gimballed weapon system would be just like our vision system. The gimballed weapons are like our eyes and the ship is like our head. We turn our head quickly, but we can glance around with our eyes very quickly. So if you are tracking a fast moving target that succeeded in getting out of your field of view, you turn your head/ship. Stick the controller in the direction you want to turn. When the target is in your field of view, you can snap your weapon around to shoot.

Taken to an extreme, VR would literally rely on head movement to turn the ship and eye movement to target weapons.

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While FPS is tempting, for realism I think I’d actually prefer direct non-instant. So I can position my desired heading with a consistent mouse movement, but the ship would take time to align to that heading. I think I’d like about 3 seconds for a 180° rotation (in the interceptor and bomber) - that’s actually slower than you can turn your head or even your whole body.

This would be achieved by the flight computer accelerating for half of the rotation and decelerating for the other half to come back to a halt on the desired heading.

A side effect of this is rotational overshooting:

  1. Say you flick your mouse 180° to the right
  2. Your ship accelerates as rapidly as possible until it reaches 90° right
  3. It then starts decelerating as rapidly as possible which would stop the rotation at 180°
  4. However, before it reaches 180°, you move your mouse 90° to the left
  5. It can’t decelerate any faster than it already is, the effect being it would keep rotating to 180° then start rotating back to your new desired heading.

I believe this would be easy to learn, difficult to master.

Edit: Freelancer/Everspace prevent this over-rotation by having high acceleration but a low rotational speed cap so even if rotating as fast as possible, that rotation can be stopped very rapidly. Obviously for I:B we aren’t a fan of speed caps, least of all rotational speed caps.

Weekly Update #69

I’ve never seen people actively ask for input lag before. Weird.

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