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Author Topic: A rethink of ship acceleration and top speed  (Read 7166 times)

ClosetGoth

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A rethink of ship acceleration and top speed
« on: February 29, 2012, 07:23:25 PM »

The one extremely frustrating thing to me is how ships accelerate in battle. Currently, ships accelerate at a fixed rate, and abruptly cease to accelerate at their speed limit. It is completely unrealistic and obnoxious. Now, you may say: "But Catattack, it is hard on both developers and the game engine to make this game that realistic. This isn't a simulator!" Well, I completely agree, but I propose a method that is just one level above this system in terms of realism, and hardly more taxing on the game engine.

My Proposition:
Ships should have an acceleration curve, to represent their engines providing less and less thrust as they approach their listed "top speed". I don't propose removing speed limits at all, and don't take it that way! Ships should have an acceleration curve based on their top speed and their mass. Also, it would make sense that low-tech ships would have a steeper acceleration curve (meaning that they reach low speeds faster, and high speeds slower), and high-tech ones would have a flatter curve (meaning that their acceleration changes less). This would represent the differences between older propellent-based rockets and newer ion-engine-like thrust devices.

Benefits:
- More realistic, doesn't break immersion like current system
- Instead of reaching max speed and coasting, the player can feel the tension mount as they keep their engines on to eke out every ounce of speed they can (until floating-point rounding cuts them off)
- Makes ships realistically more maneuverable at lower speeds
- Just generally gives more character to the engines (and therefore to the ships)

Drawbacks:
- Ever so slightly more taxing on game engine
- Takes some time to code (although my experiences with coding an acceleration curve tells me that it isn't that hard)
- Makes the game more realistic (This is a drawback if you hate reality)  ;D

EDIT: Link to post with my original idea: http://fractalsoftworks.com/forum/index.php?topic=1332.msg13876
« Last Edit: February 29, 2012, 08:13:36 PM by catattack998 »
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Reshy

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Re: A rethink of ship acceleration and top speed
« Reply #1 on: February 29, 2012, 07:26:24 PM »

Shouldn't it be that smaller ship accelerate and maneuver faster than larger ones, but have a lower top speed?
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Thaago

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Re: A rethink of ship acceleration and top speed
« Reply #2 on: February 29, 2012, 07:30:22 PM »

I have to disagree with you on this one - if you are going for realism then the only thing that matters for acceleration is thrust/weight ratio. The size of the ship doesn't matter at all.

If you are going for balanced gameplay however you want small ships to be faster and more maneuverable, or else they have no role :(
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icepick37

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Re: A rethink of ship acceleration and top speed
« Reply #3 on: February 29, 2012, 07:35:26 PM »

If you are going for balanced gameplay however you want small ships to be faster and more maneuverable, or else they have no role :(
Have you tried it? The smaller ships should accelerate and turn more quickly, so they'd be better for hit and run and sudden attack to distract/break formations.

I dunno though. I have never tried this.  :/
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ClosetGoth

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Re: A rethink of ship acceleration and top speed
« Reply #4 on: February 29, 2012, 08:12:00 PM »

Due to the fact that things tend not to scale up well, I would expect the large ships to have a much poorer thrust/weight ratio. What I am adamantly AGAINST is removing the speed cap already. Speed is important enough as it is, and I don't want people easily escaping due to them building up immense speed by the time they encounter the enemy.

What I am proposing is just a change to the acceleration mechanics. Ship acceleration is broken down to acceleration along each axis. I am proposing that acceleration along each axis be based on the curve, not constant (as it is now). The effect would be that ships maneuver (change direction of velocity) faster at lower speeds, and reach top speeds slower and slower.

A good comparison is with cars. I am sure that all of you know that as a car speeds up, the speedometer moves slower and slower, as the car has less torque (inefficiency of gas engines at extremely low rpm notwithstanding). Since this is space, we won't count air resistance, but that is not the only limiting factor in car engines. Car engines have a maximum rpm (from friction and fuel power, among other things). Similarly, rocket thrusters have a limit with the speed of the particles they emit. While I am not suggesting that ships should have top speeds that are sizable percentages of the speed of light, I am suggesting that they have non-static acceleration.
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intothewildblueyonder

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Re: A rethink of ship acceleration and top speed
« Reply #5 on: February 29, 2012, 09:58:19 PM »

If you are going for balanced gameplay however you want small ships to be faster and more maneuverable, or else they have no role :(
Have you tried it? The smaller ships should accelerate and turn more quickly, so they'd be better for hit and run and sudden attack to distract/break formations.

I dunno though. I have never tried this.  :/

well you can try it with just the max speed changed here http://fractalsoftworks.com/forum/index.php?topic=1332.0
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kwekly

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Re: A rethink of ship acceleration and top speed
« Reply #6 on: February 29, 2012, 10:27:53 PM »

Quote
abruptly cease to accelerate at their speed limit. It is completely unrealistic and obnoxious.

That and everything in your post is 100% wrong. First, it's not obnoxious, as it makes a solid gameplay mechanic in the trade-off between firepower/armour vs speed manoeuvrability.

Second, the engines are neither "propellant based" nor "ion-engine-like". They rely on a different technology that has an acceleration curve and upper speed limit exactly as you have described above, and thus the simulation is 100% realistic, accurate and immersive. The apparent similarities are only cosmetic.

Don't be too embarrassed by the enormity of your error however, it's a common mistake for those who don't understand the physics theories used to develop the engines in the Sector.

There's nothing "taxing" about implementing the system you described, it's just that it would be completely unrepresentative of Sector technology and thus ruin the game experience (not to mention boring).   

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Dreyven

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Re: A rethink of ship acceleration and top speed
« Reply #7 on: March 01, 2012, 01:41:53 AM »

it might feel wrong to you, but the way the ships accelerate right now is the way they would work in real life (except for the max speed thing)

unlike mechanic engines (cars), thrusters don't suffer from degrading efficency when attempting to reach higher speeds
combined with the lack of air resistance acceleration = mass * force
this means that acceleration stays the same as long as you don' turn down the engines or change shipmass
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Icelom

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Re: A rethink of ship acceleration and top speed
« Reply #8 on: March 01, 2012, 07:24:58 AM »

it might feel wrong to you, but the way the ships accelerate right now is the way they would work in real life (except for the max speed thing)

unlike mechanic engines (cars), thrusters don't suffer from degrading efficency when attempting to reach higher speeds
combined with the lack of air resistance acceleration = mass * force
this means that acceleration stays the same as long as you don' turn down the engines or change shipmass

Well to be technical,
Acceleration = (Force / Mass)
Not what you have above.

But yes you are right in space there is no friction, no air mass to displace. Therefore acceleration would be constant, the only thing that really physics broken in starfarer is the max speed there should be none other than the theoretical speed of light but now we are not to sure on that limit with the recent neutron experiments.

So game play wise you kind of need a top speed. So besides that and the fact you slow down if you turn on your shields while at max speed the acceleration in starfere is correct.
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Dreyven

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Re: A rethink of ship acceleration and top speed
« Reply #9 on: March 01, 2012, 09:33:12 AM »

oh i'm terribly sorry... i can't believe i screwed that up so much XD
terrible typo because i was using my phone :/
will leave it like that so someone can put me onto the wall of shame
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LuckStealer

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Re: A rethink of ship acceleration and top speed
« Reply #10 on: March 01, 2012, 10:19:30 AM »

yeah cause space battle are realistic, and simulators for space battle would exist if we will have what to simulate(no space battle for now, go 2 centuryes in future for it)

still i like your ideea, it will make it more arcady i think, in a beter way. I love momentume
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intothewildblueyonder

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Re: A rethink of ship acceleration and top speed
« Reply #11 on: March 01, 2012, 10:31:54 AM »

well I have tried playing around with it and there is one problem in that the game spits-out the ships when deployed and so they don't really have to accelerate at first. Additionally I have to try and figure out how to balance the acceleration/deceleration (and turn rate).
It also makes escaping a bit too easy (although the AI doesn't seem to fully understand the need to GET OUT OF THE WAY OF THE ONSLAUGHTS) 
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Flare

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Re: A rethink of ship acceleration and top speed
« Reply #12 on: March 01, 2012, 02:37:25 PM »

Due to the fact that things tend not to scale up well, I would expect the large ships to have a much poorer thrust/weight ratio.

There is a ceiling where the efficiency tapers off given a design, but the same is true for small vehicles that have to squish things into the smallest space possible. If we're talking about the same engine designs or principles being used on the capitals and fighters, I think the optimal efficiency rate would be somewhere in the middle leaning on the heavy end.
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Gaizokubanou

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Re: A rethink of ship acceleration and top speed
« Reply #13 on: March 01, 2012, 05:20:35 PM »

Due to the fact that things tend not to scale up well, I would expect the large ships to have a much poorer thrust/weight ratio.

There is a ceiling where the efficiency tapers off given a design, but the same is true for small vehicles that have to squish things into the smallest space possible. If we're talking about the same engine designs or principles being used on the capitals and fighters, I think the optimal efficiency rate would be somewhere in the middle leaning on the heavy end.

Would this really be the case for space crafts?

I mean if you get 10 frigates and somehow link them together, theoretically they should still accelerate as fast as a single frigate, right?  Because we are dealing with straight mass to thrust for acceleration, with engines that can individually push mass M at speed S, 10 of them should push 10M at speed S.

The only limitation I can think of would be the actual size of the engine, meaning that the engine can only be so long, so eventually, the ship will wound up looking like a thin line to maintain identical forward propulsion power as a smaller craft using same engine tech.  Not to mention turn rate, unless we get a thin sphere ship with hollow inside lol
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Flare

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Re: A rethink of ship acceleration and top speed
« Reply #14 on: March 01, 2012, 06:50:13 PM »

Would this really be the case for space crafts?

I mean if you get 10 frigates and somehow link them together, theoretically they should still accelerate as fast as a single frigate, right?  Because we are dealing with straight mass to thrust for acceleration, with engines that can individually push mass M at speed S, 10 of them should push 10M at speed S.

The only limitation I can think of would be the actual size of the engine, meaning that the engine can only be so long, so eventually, the ship will wound up looking like a thin line to maintain identical forward propulsion power as a smaller craft using same engine tech.  Not to mention turn rate, unless we get a thin sphere ship with hollow inside lol

From what little I know of engineering and size constraints, this seems to play a very big part in small craft. There is often an optimal design or scale that accompanies a principle employed in engines or any other mechanical device. The more room you allocate to the engine the more complex it can be. While the total percentage of space might be the same for both a fighter and a frigate, the frigate has a lot more total sum space to work with. You can do things with such space that would be precluded from the fighter due to its size. Likewise, while the same percentage of space might be allocated for a capital ship's engines as a fighter's, the sheer complexity, the ability to push past thresholds of energy might allow for an exponential  increase in speed relative to its size.

I think this has to do with the economics of scale and the technology available. Getting the same efficiency in a very small system as the large one requires a great deal more technical expertise and technology than the large one. Given that there are limits to both of these, the bigger engine will probably out perform the smaller one generally.
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The battle station is not completely operational, shall we say.

"Now witness the firepower of this thoroughly buggy and unoperational batt... Oh, hell, you know what? Just ignore the battle station, okay?"
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