Author Topic: Ship movement mechanics -- should they be realistic?  (Read 1620 times)

Offline Wingflier

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Ship movement mechanics -- should they be realistic?
« on: September 22, 2016, 12:19:11 AM »
This may be a personal quirk of mine, which is why I want to create an open discussion and dialogue on the subject.

The way ships acted in AI War Classic left a lot to be desired. The physics themselves were extremely simplistic and unrealistic. The smallest fighters and the biggest Golems accelerated at the same rate, only differing at their top speed. All ships turned from left to right almost instantaneously, regardless of mass or size.

One thing I'd really like to see in the sequel is an attempt to make these physics a little more interesting. It doesn't have to be anything dramatic, but just having the huge, lumbering units take time to rotate. To have Starships accelerate a little slowly at first, before they reach their top speed. For units in general to have turn animations or even to leave trails in their path.

I know this isn't the hugest deal, but I think small things like this mean a lot to players. The feel of the experience is one of the intangible qualities that can make or break a game. Especially since we're transitioning to a 3D model, I think it would be even more awkward not to have at least pseudo-realistic physics at the very least.

What do you guys think?

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Offline Captain Jack

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Re: Ship movement mechanics -- should they be realistic?
« Reply #1 on: September 22, 2016, 12:43:23 AM »
Hell no.

Offline Draco18s

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Re: Ship movement mechanics -- should they be realistic?
« Reply #2 on: September 22, 2016, 12:53:31 AM »
Pretty much "hell no."  Realistic physics in space games actually makes them borderline unplayable.

Offline kasnavada

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Re: Ship movement mechanics -- should they be realistic?
« Reply #3 on: September 22, 2016, 01:19:52 AM »
The way ships acted in AI War Classic left a lot to be desired. The physics themselves were extremely simplistic and unrealistic. The smallest fighters and the biggest Golems accelerated at the same rate, only differing at their top speed. All ships turned from left to right almost instantaneously, regardless of mass or size.
This I agree with.

Pretty much "hell no."  Realistic physics in space games actually makes them borderline unplayable.
This I feel like I have to enforce.

Longer acceleration time and turning rate could be ok though.
« Last Edit: September 22, 2016, 01:46:09 AM by kasnavada »

Offline chemical_art

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Re: Ship movement mechanics -- should they be realistic?
« Reply #4 on: September 22, 2016, 01:42:44 AM »
I do not want "realism" to the basis of anything, for "realism" sucks for making a game. I do not want a game where munitions are measured in minutes for when they hit a target. If one was to explore that target then warping would take hours...

I current naval terms, in 6 months you may have 3 day of actual combat. If one wanted "realism" it would reflect that. In "army" terms the tedium would be in some ways worst...so it has no basis.

Just no.

To reiterate something I said in a previous thread...

AIW is balanced on preventing micro vs marcro. On all levels. I want that to continue.
« Last Edit: September 22, 2016, 01:48:14 AM by chemical_art »
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Offline Cinth

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Re: Ship movement mechanics -- should they be realistic?
« Reply #5 on: September 22, 2016, 02:05:57 AM »
3 day of actual combat
Where you shoot at stuff you can't reliably hit :)
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Opened your save. My computer wept. Switched to the ST planet and ship icons filled my screen, so I zoomed out. Game told me that it _was_ totally zoomed out. You could seriously walk from one end of the inner grav well to the other without getting your feet cold.

Offline chemical_art

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Re: Ship movement mechanics -- should they be realistic?
« Reply #6 on: September 22, 2016, 02:08:46 AM »
Where you shoot at stuff you can't reliably hit :)

If you were working in the engine room then you would hear about the success a month afterward.

You never head about the failures  ;)
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Offline Cinth

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Re: Ship movement mechanics -- should they be realistic?
« Reply #7 on: September 22, 2016, 02:13:26 AM »
Where you shoot at stuff you can't reliably hit :)

If you were working in the engine room then you would hear about the success a month afterward.

You never head about the failures  ;)

Machinist Mates don't care either way.  They're to busy making the ship work.

The average hit rate of a Battleship was somewhere around 3% in WWII (iirc).

Quote from: keith.lamothe
Opened your save. My computer wept. Switched to the ST planet and ship icons filled my screen, so I zoomed out. Game told me that it _was_ totally zoomed out. You could seriously walk from one end of the inner grav well to the other without getting your feet cold.

Offline chemical_art

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Re: Ship movement mechanics -- should they be realistic?
« Reply #8 on: September 22, 2016, 02:34:02 AM »
Where you shoot at stuff you can't reliably hit :)

If you were working in the engine room then you would hear about the success a month afterward.

You never head about the failures  ;)

Machinist Mates don't care either way.  They're to busy making the ship work.

The average hit rate of a Battleship was somewhere around 3% in WWII (iirc).

I agree. But that 3% rate was what all the stories were based on. The gas turbine crew was not excluded in any way. Unless the ship was almost sunk but damage control saved the day. But that is a different group. Even then there is a wholesome mentality involved, for it is indoctrinated that everyone is a part in that function.

Propaganda is a powerful force. I am not meaning that in just military terms. I worked for a company who surpassed even the military in that regard. My point is this: It exists.

How it expresses itself varies, which is how the different command stations function (to go full circle)
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Offline Wingflier

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Re: Ship movement mechanics -- should they be realistic?
« Reply #9 on: September 22, 2016, 03:02:59 AM »
Could be just me then.

I'm wasn't advocating any kind of ultra-realism, but at the very least pseudo-realism. Some kind of indication that the ships you're controlling have mass and weight. Man, for me that just adds so much more to the game.

But if you guys are fine with glorified icons in space, let's do it.
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Offline Sestren

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Re: Ship movement mechanics -- should they be realistic?
« Reply #10 on: September 22, 2016, 03:21:12 AM »
Can a more 'weighty' non-sim visual acceleration be layered over a more simple sim model of movement? Some sort of non-linear interpolation thing based on starting and ending points? If that's possible I wouldn't mind it, being purely visual flair, albeit potentially misleading flair, but I second the "hell no" to actually having to deal with acceleration and turning in the sim. All the guns are omnidirectional anyway, what would the point of a turning radius be?

And I just realized it would make spire beam weapons the most frustrating thing to use ever.

EDIT:
For me the greatest issue is that mimicking such a movement involes a cost of sort. Whether it be gpu or cpu, it still forces resources. I would rather those resources be devoted elsewhere. Even if it did not invoke a cost in these resources, it still forces a micro cost. Which I echo "hell no".

I want marco, not micro.

I can't imagine this taking more than a negligible amount of performance. I predict that its either easy and cheap or requires extra work (think custom animations for u-turns) but still cheap or flat impossible. And if it doesn't touch the underlying sim positions then it categorically can't affect the need to micro or not because the ships are still in the same position they would be otherwise for purposes of fighting, its just visually smoother.
« Last Edit: September 22, 2016, 03:32:32 AM by Sestren »

Offline Pumpkin

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Re: Ship movement mechanics -- should they be realistic?
« Reply #11 on: September 22, 2016, 03:23:12 AM »
I may have a sort of middle ground solution.

With the new squad stuff and the "shots are technically from squad center to squad center but displayed with firing and target offset", I imagine something similar for movement would be feasible.

For instance, when a one-unit-squad or a multi-units-squad moves, their technical position start moving at full speed with no acceleration. However, the units are drawn as if they accelerate: their position is at first a bit behind the squad center (because the technical squad start at full speed but the graphical units accelerate slowly), then they catch up and the technical position and displayed position are the same again.

Turning movements could be similar: the squad instantly change direction while the displayed ships drift a bit, turn and catch up with the squad.

That could be very discrete, like one second or so of a very minor position shift. The fast units would give the feeling they accelerate fast (because their position shift can't be wide) and the slow units could have a slower acceleration and longer catch-up time (because the squad won't be moving far "ahead" at low speed).

Middle-ground?
« Last Edit: September 22, 2016, 04:34:31 AM by Pumpkin »
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Offline chemical_art

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Re: Ship movement mechanics -- should they be realistic?
« Reply #12 on: September 22, 2016, 03:25:40 AM »
Can a more 'weighty' non-sim visual acceleration be layered over a more simple sim model of movement? Some sort of non-linear interpolation thing based on starting and ending points? If that's possible I wouldn't mind it, being purely visual flair, albeit potentially misleading flair, but I second the "hell no" to actually having to deal with acceleration and turning in the sim. All the guns are omnidirectional anyway, what would the point of a turning radius be?

And I just realized it would make spire beam weapons the most frustrating thing to use ever.

For me the greatest issue is that mimicking such a movement involes a cost of sort. Whether it be gpu or cpu, it still forces resources. I would rather those resources be devoted elsewhere. Even if it did not invoke a cost in these resources, it still forces a micro cost. Which I echo "hell no".

I want marco, not micro.
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Offline Wingflier

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Re: Ship movement mechanics -- should they be realistic?
« Reply #13 on: September 22, 2016, 05:39:42 AM »
One thing I will say is that the "no realism in AI War!" argument is somewhat strange.

If realism didn't matter at all, you wouldn't need a story. You wouldn't need game lore to make sense of everything. You wouldn't need all these beautiful planet backgrounds Chris has gone through all the trouble of creating. You wouldn't need the awesome 3D models Blue has been working on either. You wouldn't need sound effects. You wouldn't need dozens of other mechanics too numerous to list that are basically only there to make the game feel more realistic to the player.

AI War could just be played with different shaped icons on a blank background and it would make absolutely no difference in terms of the gameplay itself.

Too much realism is definitely a bad thing. But not enough is also bad. Knee jerk reactions to anything that could potentially make the game more realistic are emotional arguments devoid of logic.

I'm also not understanding the arguments that space games with pseudo realistic ship physics are unplayable. The Homeworld series was far from unplayable. Sins of a Solar Empire was far from unplayable. Maybe some obscure 4X titles I would never touch with a 50 foot pole tried too hard to do this? Anyway, that's not what I mean.

It makes sense that even a simple physics system could make the game much more resource intensive. I will accept that as a rational argument. Thank you.
« Last Edit: September 22, 2016, 05:54:09 AM by Wingflier »
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Offline kasnavada

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Re: Ship movement mechanics -- should they be realistic?
« Reply #14 on: September 22, 2016, 05:59:51 AM »
@Wingflier
Your title points to the movement being realistic. Aka inertia, acceleration, no max speed but light-speed... there are really valid reasons why those scare people, IMO. Bad gameplay, abuse, difficult to understand, difficult to code, hard on the calculations and scale... all summed up in one word. I think we've all seen games fail at being "space" realistic before. Hence the backlash.

The proposal in the OP points to simply making them a bit more "realistic", as in "having weight", the ships having turning rates, having to actually turn and stuff. (I'm ok with that as far as my opinion is of any value).

I think you scared people here.

About calculation time, really, I hope it's not relevant. Other games handle that just fine and with barely adding micro if any.
« Last Edit: September 22, 2016, 07:04:59 AM by kasnavada »