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Player/Ship Movement - Personal Jetpacks, and Construct Mobility Balance


Mjrlun
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How much do you agree?  

10 members have voted

  1. 1. How much do you agree?

    • I agree with sprint jetpack removal
      3
    • I agree with changes to construct engineering
      0
    • I agree with both
      2
    • I agree with both to a lesser degree
      0
    • I agree with player sprint jetpack removal to a lesser degree
      1
    • I agree with changes to construct engineering to a lesser degree
      1
    • I do not agree at all. (Please write a comment, but also I'll be sad regardless)
      3


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Player jetpacks vs. hover vessels

 

The sense of scale in this game has always been weird to me. When I started out back before having any talents, the world felt very big, and very mysterious. In this, a sense of immersion was there, not knowing what was over the hill in front of me, while also taking a long time to get there. This, of course, is no longer there in much manner.

 

Currently, the idea of a hover vessel is entirely overshadowed by a player's two feet (and a jetpack sprint), for literally any purpose other than short-distance lugging of some resources early game. Especially with a maxed out jetpack-sprint talent, you move at 81km/h, which is literally faster than a hovercraft that's trying to stay safe.

 

Additionally, players can jump extremely high with the use of a jetpack, with an oversimplified "refresh" method. Side note, but a better method is how Empyrion Galactic Survival does jetpacks. Google it :)

Due to these very simple, but highly underbalanced features, the sense of scale, immersion, and a need for hovercrafts is broken (as mentioned before). Therefore, buildings and ships feel much smaller, planets feel much smaller, to the point where even a kilometer feels much smaller (a KM in the real world takes a while, even in a car!). 

 

To fix this issue, of player movement being comparable to a hover craft, I suggest 2 major changes. First, remove the double tap sprint* (in this, of course reimburse the players that have it upgraded). It's quite confusing to have 2 different sprints, and on top, one that is objectively better than the other for literally all purposes but immersion. Removing this alone makes need for a ship of some form a lot more valuable (including slowing progression in a sense). My second suggestion regarding player jetpacks is to simply make the jetpacks very similar to Empyrion.

 

*Double tap sprint would just enable the normal sprint instead.

 

Mobility Part 2: Electric Boogaloo
Let's talk engineering and aerodynamics!


The second part of this post I wanted to direct attention to the engineering side of the game. There's 2 major problems within the game's progression and ship construction, of which stem from 1 major issue: calculations for proper center of lift, lift itself, are not very advanced.

 

The first of the two reasons for needing this is that hovercrafts, the most simple form of ship design, as well as normal omni-directional thrust space ships are almost extinct, due to literally being able to slap some wings on them and call it good.

 

While of course the major downsides of a change such as this would be scrapping a lot of designs that rely on wings to function, I see a lot more major upsides for at least me personally (and I'm sure others will agree with me).

 

First, ships that want to use aerodynamics (and wings) will have to prioritize proper shape, to optimize the amount of lift (and where the lift is located), will need to go through more rigorous engineering, and give more meaning to each ship crafted.

 

Due to this, planes will be a specific market, of which space ships (without wings), and hover crafts will once again have a purpose due to being more simple to engineer. Additionally, anti-gravity will be even more valuable to larger vessels, due to air-space maneuvers being much more difficult, and requiring more skilled piloting to do normally.

 

Continuing on, a better marketing image for the game, as well as an interest from the space ship engineering side of the community, would most likely arise from this. Due to the changes in how well crafted ships have to be, each ship will have a higher chance of looking more believable, and help with both marketing of the game (in luring people interested in aerospace engineering), and of course immersion. 

 

Lastly, major changes to ship progression within the game. This is because it would make each ship's thought toward the engineering side more pronounced, will make the progress slower, and for a lot of people more interesting and fun. Making your first proper plane will be an accomplishment, and if done right very rewarding (achievement tree for this stuff maybe?).

 

On a side note, similar problems that this change would highlight would be the flight model, which doesn't work very well for omni-directional thrusters, due to not having automatic dampening against gravity (see most other space piloting games, one of the best examples would be the flight model of Elite Dangerous for this matter imo).

 

What I would like to see specifically change to how wings and aerodynamics works is very similar to how Kerbal Space Program (and actual aero physics work). Firstly, surface area for not only drag purposes, but also rotational purposes would be appreciated.

 

The way this would work, is that you have pre-baked model wings to work with (of which are literally just props), but additionally have "ailerons", or a more simple name "control surfaces", of which are controlled using yaw/pitch/roll depending on how they are set, and help control your vessel.

 

While of course on their own, these mechanics don't really make sense in the current model, as aerodynamics don't exist (past drag), adding proper use for the cross sections of ships, as well as the aforementioned player-built wings, and pre-baked control surfaces, of which depending on how they are animated (extended, retracted, inverted extended) will apply to the cross section differently, would have 1 major effect. Due to the sudden change in the "air current" on one side compared to the other in terms of center of mass, and the surfaces seen (such as a control surface extended), would rotate the craft accordingly.

 

Going "too fast", and turning suddenly would create a sudden increase in lots of drag, of which of course would in turn rotate the ship, as well as not only (potentially) damage elements (due to drag and high G forces), but also decelerate the ship, causing it to fall, and also cause the player to lose control of the vessel, if they are not skilled enough. High stakes KSP, OUCH!

 

The final change that this would make is changes to air brakes, to become directional. First, I must preface this as "only if omni-directional thrust flight model is fixed". If it is not, this feature will make the game too difficult to actually brake properly not in a plane.

Since by themselves, air brakes only increase the amount of surface area of the plane, proper placement would be necessary to make them functional. The proper mechanic here would be more that they extend and retract, and the drag mechanic does the rest. Of course, their "goodness" is still given in a different quantity (surface area when extended) as a stat.

 

When piloting a plane, a player will have to use a combination of both braking properly to not decelerate too much to drop out of the sky, while also using drag of the wings to "skip in the air" (pull up, dive, repeat), to both glide with efficiency, as well as land.

Good piloting will of course be required with this feature. Did I mention that already?

 

The final change I'd make is indirect with the topic of aerodynamics, but more simply to do with space brakes. Since air brakes require more knowledge to use, a similar amount of thought should be put forward to make space brakes omni-directional, and apply thrust only where they are facing, of course the angled ones would also provide braking force to those directions as well.

 

Conclusion

While of course this post is 2 pronged, the first being the player jetpacks, the second being construct engineering, I felt that the topics combined in a way that they merited being in the same post. I hope that you enjoyed reading the post, as much as you hopefully want these feature changes in the game.

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I'm more for better jetpacks, but have them use fuel from Nano.
Replace the "compactable" ship.
 

I wouldn't mind fall damage either.
 

As for real aerodynamics, of course, but we may want to get past the simple things like OP air brakes, and overlapping elements first.
If ship builders want their ships/planes to look "real" we need to get rid of the WOE (wall of engines).

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 7/9/2021 at 10:25 PM, Mjrlun said:

Especially with a maxed out jetpack-sprint talent, you move at 81km/h, which is literally faster than a hovercraft that's trying to stay safe.

What kind of lame hovercrafts are you building? Mine go considerably faster.

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