Weekly Update #69


In which ways do you think it was superior ? Please elaborate.


It allows for more precise and less messy movement and targeting, and feels better and more natural, while taking nothing of value from the gameplay.

Decision-wise, it is the same: the goal is almost always to point toward a specific direction (which may not be fixed, for example when leading a target).
In the old scheme, I point at a direction and the ship does its best to turn as fast as possible with the right rotation speed (or stopped rotation) when aiming there.
In the new scheme, I have to manually make it accelerate and decelerate, and it is nearly impossible to get this perfect immobile alignment, which is rather important for precise flight and targeting. The impossibility to fly perfectly straight on a specific vector is particularly infuriating.

As far as the “twitch-gameplay” challenge goes, having to manually perform rotation and compensation feels messy to me, and most of all artificial. It is not unlike having bad latency in a FPS, or the old random movement added by some games when using scope sight.
I:B should not need this extra, artificial difficulty when positioning, prediction and flight are already requiring skill to perform well. Basically, it feels like I am turning the craft instead of actually flying the craft.

I personally also find it much more natural, as it is like that that several space/air sim games I played work, in addition to being close to the ever-popular FPS scheme (which from time to time also adds inertia in aiming).
With the new system, I just feel crippled, as if I had to manually pull flap cables instead of relying on a fly-by-wire control stick on a plane. Or if I was suddenly playing QWOP instead of actually running.

There may be edge cases where some forms of direct control over directional aim is superior, though I doubt they would appear in any but the most extreme super-agility dogfights.

Some may also find direct control more natural, particularly as it is how actual vehicles (particularly aircrafts) generally work in the first place, and it may be more suited for control sticks, so it would be best to have the choice. But if it does require only small amount of work to add the old scheme back, please consider it - even though calculating the optimal solution for a moving reticule may not be trivial.

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I see. Thanks for the explanation!

So two systems: One where the user controls the desired thrust as you describe, and one where the user controls the desired heading.

Regarding the desired heading ‘cursor-target’ system, will the cursor be constrained to the view window? My preference would be not constrained, and I believe this is what @ThornEel has just described:

I believe in the ICP rotational acceleration was instantaneous like in an FPS, though I may be wrong. - This doesn’t seem to be what @ThornEel described. “ship does its best to turn as fast as possible” implies non-instant rotational acceleration.

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To be honnest, my memory from ICP is a bit fuzzy ( and finding back the code, hidden somewhere on a 10 years old backup hard drive, almost impossible ) but I do not recall it being that different from the “current” (latest public build) control scheme, besides balancing (ships having different physical parameters/thrust abilities).


‘Direct FPS’ thing and the ICP system everyone is talking about is what you find in games like Counter Strike or Battlefield, as you turn the mouse the reticle and the ship immediately points where you moved your mouse.


I’ve just reviewed a few videos of the ICP and it’s clearly very different. As @cybercritic says, it was FPS controls - your mouse directly controlled your orientation with instantaneous rotational acceleration.

While there is a valid argument in favour of instantaneous rotational acceleration, I believe the most important thing is having a mode in which the mouse is used to set the desired orientation rather than the quantity of thrust.

It sounds like the ‘cursor-target’ mode will be this mode and I’m looking forward to trying it out in the next build.
My question remains however, will the ‘cursor’ be able to be anywhere, eg 180° behind you, or will it be constrained by the edge of the view?

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You guys need to stop confusing things, there is no acceleration in that control scheme, it’s immediate, the ship doesn’t do anything with the thrusters, except fire off a particle effect. It’s plain point-where-the-cursor-points, that’s like the first tutorial any hobbyist 3D game-maker has to tackle.

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No acceleration is the same as instantaneous acceleration. The rotational speed instantly matches the speed off the mouse.


Acceleration implies that the ship is doing something, like firing the thrusters, thus accelerating in one direction or another. As soon as you start firing thrusters you not gonna get that instant FPS aim, or if you do manage to balance the thruster output, from a coders perspective, you are reinventing the wheel and doing completely unnecessary calculations.


Readers understanding what I’m trying to say is my only concern really. I think ‘no acceleration’ is likely to be confused as implying the ship doesn’t change orientation at all.

I’ll use instantaneous orientation change in future.


I do not recall ICP having instant turning like in a FPS. However it had a fast acceleration and high friction, which kind of made it feel like that. In other words the control scheme itself was the same, but the ships were balanced differently.


As flavien said, the ICP did not have instantaneous orientation change. Wasnt certain of myself so i just went and double checked, since the ICP still works on my rig. It is very fast but in no way instant.

Personally im not a fan of ships having instantaneous orientation changes, regardless of input scheme. its good that they have some acceleration, though i do think its more fun if that acceleration is very high.


Agreed. The small, light fighters were extremely quick at turning, but not instant like an FPS. (Somewhat echoed with the current Interceptor, but more extreme). The larger ships definitely moved in a familiar way, with slower, more ponderous turning (like the current bomber and corvette).

The major difference I can remember is that it was a relatively small arena, so speed was capped. This is probably the biggest change in the prototype - much faster engagement speeds.


Oh cool. Thanks for checking.

I agree.

This will hopefully be the ‘cursor-target’ mode that Flavien has implemented. I just hope that the cursor isn’t prevented from going beyond the sides of the screen.

If I move my mouse x inches, my heading moves y°, every time, it would just take non-zero time to get there.

That should apply if y=10 or y=180. Obviously the ratio x:y depends on mouse sensitivity.

Can’t wait to try it out in the next build!


I much prefer a control scheme where I point where I want and the ship tries to catch up at its performance limits. Say i see an enemy to my upper left :arrow_right: i instantly point my camera at it and the ship then takes a second to realign itself to that point at the limit of thrusters performance.

Essentially, decouple the mouse/camera from the ship’s agility, I don’t want to make a hole in my mouse pad by having to fight against the game’s interface.

And don’t misunderstand this with that other control scheme where the mouse is always centered and if you move the cursor away from the reticle it “drags” the reticle alongside. Nothing is more frustrating than fighting against the UI and being unable to play effectively because the interface tries to be “immersive”, a mouse is not a joystick.


I think I would like to see how having the ship follow the view would work. I think I would also prefer that.
So it’s the “point where the ship should go” but with the pointer always in the middle of the screen and the view changing when you move your mouse.
Some games have “view always fixed to ship heading” others have a hybrids like Everspace does.
What I dislike with both is, like @hrobertson mentioned that they stop at the edge of the screen and abruptly change how they work at that point.

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For play-testing, it would be great if the camera could be toggled between following the ‘cursor’ or the ship’s heading.
Actually, there’s no reason such a toggle should only be for play-testing. Let players use their preferred setting.


I find space games where you have to move the mouse to the sides of the screen to make the ship start turning not very fun and even frustrating. Imagine a Corvette in third person, as you move the mouse a bit to the right, the ship starts to slowly turn right without stopping. Moving the mouse to the “edge” makes the ship turn at it’s maximum speed. That’s very difficult to control. I’d prefer it if i move the mouse a bit right and the ship also turns a bit right and then stops.


That’s how it is right now in the prototype. It works really well with the extremely fast fighters and bombers. But since the corvette is hugely more heavy and slow, the concern is as Flavien mentioned that in order to turn it around it would requiring swiping the mouse several times.

A possible solution is a simple toggle that disables the ship from counter acting your movements. Not unlike flight assist, however it continues to counter act gravitational forces etc.

Actually that sounds like something that could/should (?) be able to be customized: Allowing the player to select what actions the flight assist would counter act.


Why not have (slightly) different control schemes for each ship class? All the way to a Homeworld2-style RTS controls for the biggest ships.