What if you just ignored landing gear?

No, seriously. Based on what I know of the design of I:B, it seems like you really don’t need them.

The ships in Battlescape will be either be flying around shooting at stuff, in which case the gear will be retracted; they’ll be viewable in some kind of 3D weapon loadout interface, in which case the gear will be retracted; or they’ll be sitting in a closed garage and not visible at all. We’re not going to be able to leave our ships like in Star Citizen, so it’s not like we can admire them from the ground, and landing on a planet’s surface would seem to serve no real purpose in the first place, unless there were buildings (with garages) nearby.

So rather than design, model, rig, and animate a unique set of gear for each flyable ship, you may as well just forget about them and implement unique cockpits instead, which will get vastly more more screen time and contribute far more to immersion, for a roughly equal amount of work (assuming you build “dummy” cockpits with a copy-pasted holo-interface, which are just better anyway).

Yeah, I suppose ships will just sort of hover above the ground/deck when landed, but older space games have always gotten away with this, and in some cases very believably. Just seems to me like, from a cost-benefit standpoint, landing gear are a pretty useless.

Could anyone else here live without landing gear, or are they Serious Business?

While landing on a planet will still theoretically be possible within Battlescape, as you say there will be no real point as there won’t be any buildings or anything. However, as Battlescape is only a prototype for showcasing the I-Novae engine for what will ultimately be developed into Infinity, in which landing on a planet will be a key part of the game, it’s best to design ships with that future functionality in mind, regardless of whether or not they work in the present.

What if they did design a few ships for Battlescape with no gear, and then when it came to adding those ships into Infinity they have to significantly alter the design of the ship to accommodate it, further increasing the time spent on development.

However, if it is the case that simply adding some gear to an existing design when it becomes necessary is not too taxing a task, then it makes sense to omit them for Battlescape. I’m sure when developing Infinity most ships will probably go through some overhauls anyway.

As much as I’d like to be able to land properly on planets, I would be satisfied with the ships just hovering a few feet or more, depending on the size, above the ground.

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That makes sense.

Still, it strikes me as odd that things like cockpit interiors have been dismissed as extraneous detail that can be safely omitted, while landing gear have not, especially when considering that landing gear would only every be used when your ship is just sitting there doing nothing. Hopefully, just sitting there doing nothing will not constitute a significant percentage of gameplay, in Battlescape or the eventual MMO.

For the purposes of docking and refueling, it seems that some sort of universal adapter/umbilical that can be copied and pasted onto all ships like a hardpoint would allow small ships to interface with buildings and motherships more simply.

If getting out of your ship and running around becomes a feature at some point, then landing gear begin to serve a purpose, but the devs have consistently stated that that’s basically never happening so…

You think it might have something to do with cockpits being a whole lot of work while landing gears might actually speed up asset creation as the artists get a better feel for “yeah, this looks right”?

I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’d sell my firstborn son to be able to sit in the cockpit of my Hammerhead mk. 42 with an Oculus Rift and a pair of joysticks, but making that happen would require sacrificing a lot more than landing gears.

I really don’t like that you can use 3rd person view. It destroys immersion totally for me. I wouldn’t mind it implemented but it should not be able to replace cockpit view as in it wouldn’t provide you with all the vital infomation to be sucessful in combat… Sure, it would properly be best to use 3rd PV for larger ships, but not for fighters/bombers… Anyway that’s just my opinion. I don’t want to see Infinity become an Arcade as we have more than enough of those already.

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I’m sure in any case it will be up to the player to decide how they want to experience the game, nobody should force the user to play a certain way.

There needs to be a balance between realism and fun (not to say that realism isn’t enjoyable, but you have to think of this as a game rather than a simulator). I don’t really know what plans they have for views at this time, but I would imagine they would have at least third person and first person (no cockpit), both with standard UI/HUD elements. Perhaps we will be able to choose what, if any, elements we want on screen so it can be as immersive as we want (and that the game allows), regardless of what view we use.

As long as you can choose which view to use, removing third person view makes no sense.

Cockpits are much much harder to do properly than landing gears. Specially if you intend on having interactive 3d displays. Landing gears are just animated objects.

Sort of branching off the main topic here, but I would assume that by Infinity when atmospheric flight has been refined, all planet-worthy ships would operate VTOL systems and so would have skids or something similar as opposed to a conventional undercarriage.

Thinking about that though, while I very much enjoy flying and would love to be able to bring my ship in for a nice landing, that level of control might make the game less accessible to a lot of people who just want to enjoy the game rather than turn it into a simulator. What do you guys think of having the option of performing a manual landing or engaging an auto-landing?

The issue with this however is time. Landing manually would take far longer than if you choose to auto-land and get teleported right to a base/city/etc. It is the typical trade-off in games like EVE that using autopilot has significant time penalties compared to flying (in the case of EVE, clicking) manually. So perhaps if the player chooses and auto-landing, they are not just teleported, but rather the game actually takes the ship into a slow steady landing pattern, making it take slightly longer than your average player’s manual landing.

If there is a situation where a ship needs to land, can’t it just hover with some sort of magical internal hover device?

I’m not sure why you are arguing one or the other. I believe these are both features we want to have regardless, and if cuts need to be made I don’t think these would be the priority.

The plan has always been that all ships have side thrusters capable of negating the acceleration of any planet’s gravity, so all ships could simply hover like a helicopter if they wanted to. No need for special VTOL systems.

And the simplest way to ignore landing gears would be to hide the landing animation. You enter a hangar door and after a loading screen or whatever you see your ship on some sort of stand that extends from the garage door. But in the end the effort of coding and trying to make this look good would be a bigger waste than actually just making the landing gears to begin with.

For the record, I’m well aware that a fully functional 3D cockpit with human scale details and interactive control surfaces is far more complicated than a few landing skids, and that removing those skids is hardly enough to “pay for” such a cockpit.
I wasn’t suggesting implementing a cockpit this complex and should have clarified.

I think the best kind of cockpit you could implement is an extremely simple one; just an elevated seat surrounded by windows. The UI, which may or may not be 3D, will take the place of the dashboard buttons and control mechanisms, so those need not be modeled or anything.
All a cockpit needs to do is provide some 3D context for the game camera. The more things in the cockpit, the more visually intrusive it becomes, so the simpler the better.

I agree.
Elite is using something between full 3d displays and full holographic displays, and I think it looks pretty cool. I imagine it would look even cooler with something like the oculus rift, where you would have to move your head down to see some of the info, while still having the most imediate data available wherever you look.

edit: What in the… Why was my post edited by the “system”? I even got a notification about it. Weird.

I really don’t like not being able to see anything but my room out of the corner of my eye, or being unable to feel acceleration either through sense of balance or touch. It destroys immersion totally for me.

Accepting that it’s a game, though, 3rd person view provides a lot of the information your other senses and full field of view would usually give you. It’s not perfect, but it’s a step in the right direction.

Just be careful with 3ed person view used to see things that should not be able to be seen.

Now I have to ask:

Like what?

In DDN I can look down and see if there are any zombies upstairs. In Everquest it is great for looking around corners. Works to see if it is safe to go places. See the other side of trees ect.

Except for clipping trough ships and stations I can’t see a problem taking into account the scales and speeds we will probably see in Infinity:B.

Which in the real world you could do by poking part of your head around said corner or tree at a height where people wouldn’t look, or using a mirror, or using your various senses to detect sounds of breathing, stirring of air, unexpected shadows*, or even the smell of a rotting zombie.

Sure, in civilian life most people rely almost entirely on their sense of sight to give them information about their surroundings, but I’m willing to bet that either the habit or the person wouldn’t last long in a zombie apocalypse or as a medieval adventurer.

Oh yeah, and the most important detail remains: Our spaceships will have sensors able to detect other ships without light-speed lag. Why shouldn’t they be able to see around corners?

*) This has recently started becoming an optional feature in some games if your computer is powerful enough.

It depends on how they want to run the game. We can get an idea of what the Milky Way looks like by studying reflected light off another galaxy. Star Trek sensors can see behind plaints, what will I:B do? EQ 3ed person goes 10, 20 whatever yards out in any direction, kind of silly but that is the way that game is.