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Improved atmospheric physics to improve designs: Aerodynamics, lift, etc


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Hi everyone!

One thing I noticed in a lot of NQ's videos is that the physics applied to a dynamic construct are by far not as realistic as they claim. You can put all of your engines on one side and still not experience any turn unless you add adjusters. This is because the position of the engines relative to the rest of the construct is not included in the calculations, which are literally just a sum of all forces acting upon an object to equal one force, which equal one force vector, which in turn determines the total directional vvelocity.however, I can still understand that Novaquark don't want all of their players to have to do their own math to make constructs. However, I find it highly likely that most ships will end up being either shapeless gray cubes or jumbles of necessary elements pieced together with as little voxel as possible, since at the moment it has no functionality apart from protection, which is only applicable to some ships. So, I would like to suggest some functionalities which could be given to voxel mass:


1. Aerodynamics. This would also enormously improve the way efficient designs look, and make math pay off for those who are willing and able to apply it (by means of calculating if it's worth it to add more voxel (and weight) to increase aerodynamic efficiency) while not making it necessary. I know that there is a feature for air resistance already included in the game, but I assume they only have the program "look at the ship from the front" and calculate the area which will be causing air friction. 


2. As a Heat Shield. Again, a feature which could  a) improve the look of efficient designs and  b) get players to think while building ships. Different materials could be more or less vulnerable to heat caused by friction upon reentry, again causing a trade off in between weight and protection from heat. 

To be fair, this feature may already, unbeknownst to me, already exist in game.


3. Lift. To start this off, I do not expect this feature ever to be added to this game, but would it not be cool if different voxel shapes actually displaced air and the object experienced the "equal, opposite reaction", thereby in some cases generating lift. This is just taking it one step further from aerodynamics, but it is a large step, and aerodynamics alone would already require serious work. 


I'm sure you all can come up with other great ideas about how else voxel mass could be useful, and about how else physics might be improved to make the user experience in DU be as realistic and amazing as possible. 

Also, a lot of you will start to defend the game, which is fine, but please know that this is not intended as a complaint that the features I mentioned do not exist, but as a suggestion how to improve the game even beyond what is being aimed for at the time being. Also, I am aware that some things I mentioned would be difficult to achieve without causing server lag. Please do not write a paragraph purely about how server lag would make if all impossible. 

Thank you! I look forward to reading your comments!

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Aerodynamics is a pain to calculate, and it should be noted that various factors such as drag, lift, aerodynamic/adiabatic heating are all different effects of one thing - how the air as a fluid interacts with constructs. It also should be noted that most of these properties have little to do with mass of weight of the vessel, but rather the geometry and force vectors applied to it. A ship is going to behave the same aerodynamically regardless of whether its made of lead or plastic. 


I wonder if it would be practical to "pre-bake" aerodynamic properties by clientside simulation of low-fidelity aerodynamics at different "regions" of airspeeds and extrapolate from the few data points that exists.

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Thanks for the reply!

I Nearly completely agree on most topics addressed. I would, however, like to clarify what I meant when talking about the mass of a DC. Currently, when trying to build an efficient DC, the only objective is to minimize mass not contributing to propulsion. What type of material is used was not really my point, but how much of a material is used to create a more aerodynamic shape. My one reference to the type of material used was that some materials could be more resistant to heat, making it a thought through decision what material to use on your DC, instead of mindlessly checking the densities on the different materials offered.

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1. Very unlikely to ever be put into the game, the computing resources it would take would be enormous.


2. Good idea, I am pretty sure they are planning to implement that.


3. You are right, it will probably never be put in the game, they already have elements that produce lift.

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