Pushing the envelope

Gimpy

2nd Lieutenant
Ever since playing Prophecy and then some other space sim games, not to mention watching BSG, a more complex flight engine using greater physics would be a nice addition to a WC game. Granted the flying on rails setup is needed for a broader audience, every now and then you're in a sticky situation where more freedom of movement would save your skin. For example, got a boogie on you like glue or a missile up your butt with no decoys or fuel left? The Vampire is a good example for this, with those big ole engine pods on the sides. Aside from greater motion in pitch and roll, those puppies could be used for viFFing similar to a Harrier. Potentially, you could radically change direction to put you above/below and behind your pursuer or out of the line of the missile. All sorts of things come to mind, such as continuing to fly forward while the center mass of the ship can turn on its axis and take shots at an enemy behind you or strafing a cap ship (though doing that in a Panther may BBQ you in the cockpit in the process :eek:).
 

AD

Finder of things, Doer of stuff
I'm at a loss as to what you mean by "on rails." To me the limited flight of games like the original Rogue Squadron and Rebel Assault 2 are "on rails."

All sorts of things come to mind, such as continuing to fly forward while the center mass of the ship can turn on its axis and take shots at an enemy behind you or strafing a cap ship (though doing that in a Panther may BBQ you in the cockpit in the process ).
You do realize that you're describing the Shelton Slide which already is in most Wing Commander games.
 

Flashpoint

Rear Admiral
The terminology is wrong, but I think by 'on rails' he means the way a lot of Space combat systems err more towards an expanded atmospheric flight model, rather than truer space physics like you see in BSG and B5

I like the idea, but it would be a completely different way of flying.
 

AD

Finder of things, Doer of stuff
Yeah, some games like Independence War veer into the realistic physics area. It's not really a technological limitation so much as a design choice. Wing Commander uses more realistic physics when it wants to for flight simply because it's goal is more fun/arcade action as opposed to realism.

While some people find realistic physics fun, it does hamper the kinetic (pardon the pun) nature of the combat. And even if the physics were more realistic, we'd still be talking about shades of of unrealism.

A purely newtonian physics based game would be downright awful. Combat would be near impossible and you would never see the other fighters either until they smack you in the face and it's too late. And chasing a fleeing fighter that had a head start would be near impossible as well.
 

Gimpy

2nd Lieutenant
Depending on how you define it, on rails could be a term for flight without the effects of inertia, I tend to think of the Rebel Assault as a shooter on rails. You got me on the Shelton Slide, though my thoughts were of more radical manuevers in the three dimensional plane while simulating the directions of the engine pods in relation to the facing of the main body of your fighter, such as a rolling scissors rapidly changing from the x and y-axis repeatedly while being oriented on your target.

Exactly right Flashpoint, since the fighters in WC are compensated against the harsh effects of gravity, you could pull a crazy 100g manuever and not end up being a puddle of gibbs in your cockpit.

I agree a pure physics setup would suck, a keyboard command setup such as ctrl-(whatever) would cause a cerain action, such as vectoring down and back. As for fleeing ships, since most of the time you're fighting an AI that doesnt follow rules of engagement so unless its programmed to do otherwise, it'll still attack you until its fragged.
 

Ilanin

Captain
A purely newtonian physics based game would be downright awful. Combat would be near impossible and you would never see the other fighters either until they smack you in the face and it's too late. And chasing a fleeing fighter that had a head start would be near impossible as well.

I am unsure whether this paragraph means you did or didn't play Frontier (Elite II).
 

t.c.cgi

Vice Admiral
A purely newtonian physics based game would be downright awful. Combat would be near impossible and you would never see the other fighters either until they smack you in the face and it's too late. And chasing a fleeing fighter that had a head start would be near impossible as well.

Oh, the horror of the 'I've Found Her' fan project...

Depending on how you define it, on rails could be a term for flight without the effects of inertia, I tend to think of the Rebel Assault as a shooter on rails.

There's inertia even in WC1, though. It's just heavily bottled. You notice it quite profoundly when you afterburn toward a capship, turn to avoid it... and still hit it dead center in brilliant fireworks anyway.

I know exactly what you're getting at, though. But I think what you're describing is just a very fancy way to build a turret.
 

Madman

Vice Admiral
A purely newtonian physics based game would be downright awful. Combat would be near impossible and you would never see the other fighters either until they smack you in the face and it's too late. And chasing a fleeing fighter that had a head start would be near impossible as well.

Not to mention that there would be no top speed and at relativistic speeds the lasers would be worthless ;)
 

Gimpy

2nd Lieutenant
I know exactly what you're getting at, though. But I think what you're describing is just a very fancy way to build a turret.

While mounting an AI turrent on the back of the ship would be far easier, performing a split s and jamming a dumbfire down the throat of the unsuspecting s.o.b. while doing so would be much more fun and give you major bragging rights.

Not to mention that there would be no top speed and at relativistic speeds the lasers would be worthless ;)

Until something new is created beyond our current comprehension or we finally get contact with little green men in a better manner than anal probes, all objects we've sent into space with active engines still have a top speed of sorts. If you want to get really nitty gritty, lasers are so fast you wouldnt have time to dodge it any ways :(.
 

AD

Finder of things, Doer of stuff
all objects we've sent into space with active engines still have a top speed of sorts.

Well, only because they run out of fuel, after which the argument becomes useless anyway because you can't manoever or slow down at all untill you hit something. Relative to your point of origin you could never acheive more than a quarter of your supposed max velocity since you need shy of a quarter of your fuel to get up to speed, shy of a quarter to slow down and stop. A small amout fuel to turn around, and then equal amounts of fuel for the return trip.

I'm certain there's a place for some other kinds of fancy manoevers other than the Shelton Slide, but no matter what the next itteration is, I don't see it moving to a more newtonian flight model. You might see more technobable to explain the the physics of why WC fighters fly like they do (they already have Acceleration absorbers ) but I don't see it switching from the more fast-paced arcade-centric gameplay style.
 

Ilanin

Captain
Not to mention that there would be no top speed and at relativistic speeds the lasers would be worthless ;)

I'm not entirely sure what you're driving at here, but if you think that trying to hit something with a beam that travels at c when it's running away from you at 0.9c is going to be a problem, you're wrong.

One of the wonderfully counterintuitive results you get out of special relativity is that the speed of light is an absolute reference and your inertial frame doesn't matter. In other words, the ship being shot at will see the beam approaching at c regardless.

Einstein's explanation for this was to imagine a man looking at himself in a mirror on a rocket travelling close to c and accelerating. Going by classical mechanics, when his velocity reached c his image would disappear, because the light leaving his face could never catch up to the mirror. That can't be true, as it violates the principle of relativity - that an observer inside a body at rest cannot perform any experiment to determine whether they are moving or stationary.
 

-danr-

Vice Admiral
Fun>Realism

IMHO

icon14.gif
 

Gimpy

2nd Lieutenant
Physics class was a long time ago, but I'm rather certain your motion potential is still determined by applied force, otherwise anything would be able to achieve FTL. But, getting back to the original intention of this post, there's plenty of potential left to explore without taking away from the fun factor.
 

Mancubus

Rear Admiral
I'm not entirely sure what you're driving at here, but if you think that trying to hit something with a beam that travels at c when it's running away from you at 0.9c is going to be a problem, you're wrong.

One of the wonderfully counterintuitive results you get out of special relativity is that the speed of light is an absolute reference and your inertial frame doesn't matter. In other words, the ship being shot at will see the beam approaching at c regardless.

Einstein's explanation for this was to imagine a man looking at himself in a mirror on a rocket travelling close to c and accelerating. Going by classical mechanics, when his velocity reached c his image would disappear, because the light leaving his face could never catch up to the mirror. That can't be true, as it violates the principle of relativity - that an observer inside a body at rest cannot perform any experiment to determine whether they are moving or stationary.

Yep, but all these would have nothing to do with newtonian physics - it would require an engine that that accurately simulates special relativity now THAT would be real pushing of envelope, but completely pointles gaming-wise.
 

Madman

Vice Admiral
I'm not entirely sure what you're driving at here, but if you think that trying to hit something with a beam that travels at c when it's running away from you at 0.9c is going to be a problem, you're wrong.

One of the wonderfully counterintuitive results you get out of special relativity is that the speed of light is an absolute reference and your inertial frame doesn't matter. In other words, the ship being shot at will see the beam approaching at c regardless.

Einstein's explanation for this was to imagine a man looking at himself in a mirror on a rocket travelling close to c and accelerating. Going by classical mechanics, when his velocity reached c his image would disappear, because the light leaving his face could never catch up to the mirror. That can't be true, as it violates the principle of relativity - that an observer inside a body at rest cannot perform any experiment to determine whether they are moving or stationary.

A valid point, but my gist was more that the challenge is hitting a target moving at 0.9c, not them dodging it! plus you've got doppler shifts and so on and so forth.

Now i think about it though, aside from the calculation problems in predicting where the ship will be when the laser arrives (which is surely a mammoth computing task), i guess theres no major problems to hitting them.

There is however still the problem that at relatvistic speeds you re definitely fighting enemies who are significant distances away, the required collimation on a laser to maintain reasonable power levels at distances of a few kilometres is challenging enough, to make a weapon that can hit a target a metre wide with reasonable power at a few million miles is nigh on impossible.

This does raise a good point for the topic here though, rather than having a maximum range any laser cannon should simply disperse over distance with the damage it can inflict decreasing too. This does not imply to things like the mass driver which should have no maximum range at all (or at least not one on any scale we need to worry about).
 
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