HellcatV here: I have finally implemented a system to control a starship using realistic physics in space (no air resistance). Note that many people have previously decried "realistic physics" as evil or uncontrollable. I tried them in vegastrike classic, and agreed with the masses. However, upon reading a manual, I was struck with a rather interesting idea...the whole idea behind afterburner slides made me realize: "Wing Commander Physics" == "Real Physics": it's just that in Wing Commander Universe, the computer is smart enough to correct for the lack of oxygen by applying counteractive forces in such a manner that the pilot won't know he's flying in space. With this in mind, I constructed a system I called "fly by wire" after the AI computer in the F16 Falcon that turns that unflyable craft into a pilotable craft (it would tumble out of the sky) I designed a method in "real physics" to make it feel like wing commander physics...that brought along with it afterburner slides, missile collision bouncing (like in WC1 and 2) and all sorts of wonderful Wing Commander realisms :-).
So let me pronounce with conviction (and 10 seconds of successful testing) that Realistic Physics are a GOOD thing...because it lets the player have the flexibility of turning off the computer (wow what if the nav computer gets shot) and flying where forces don't get compensated and doing terribly cool maneuvers, and then switching it back on again and seriously having fun fighting just like WC1! Here are the details also available at my page (http://vegastrike.sourceforge.net):
- Major AI code modifications have been accomplished. Navigation orders have been slightly fixed so a starship doesn't going off careening in some random direction tryin to get where it's going and never getting there and hence never stopping. (note the exploding midway demo on the web)
- A "Fly By Wire" interface has been completed conceptually. It is as of yet almost untested except for a very brief 10 second test by myself...seems to work.
- This "fly-by-wire" is what was mentioned in the manual in regards to 'afterburner slide'. In space (and hence in vega strike) no forces exist to compensate the thrust of your ship or the sliding of your craft--or even the turning of your ship. The manual states that the computer cannot properly compensate for hitting the afterburner then turning. This gave me the idea that unlike in prophecy where a magic water exists to slow your ship down and make sure you don't go too fast, your ship computer compensates every control on your joystick to attempt to boost you straight forward even though your inertia is pushing you to the side. Falling naturally from that, your natural maximum speed is that which your computer can compensate for and keep you moving more or less straight ahead at the instant after a turn. Punching the afterburners will give it a few seconds of trouble, but no problem.
- The computer is completed... its never-ending job being to attempt to get the ship you're piloting to travel at the "SET-SPEED" in the cockpit, no matter where you're flying after a missile blast or a collision--or a tight turn.
- A system for interacting with the computer is also underway...where you can tell it 'stop compensating...I really do want to fly backwards because that's the way I'm heading' This will allow both players and AI to do seemingly impossible maneuvers...though mostly letting the computer control is the only way to seriously fight.
- A system for humans interacting with the control computer via keyboard has been completed. Mouse support will follow closely behind if necessary; however, joystick control is pending a decent API choice. (recommendations?)
- What does this mean? You keyboard jockeys can FINALLY control a ship instead of just a lame camera--a ship with pitch,yaw, roll limits, etc etc etc.... it's--wonderful! When can you expect a demo? In a matter of days/weeks depending on how done it really is (this computer doesn't have the hardware to conduct a thorough test of the movement)
While surfing MP3.com, TC has found... an entirely different sort of Wing Commander music! A group called The Theta Project has a song posted titled Wing Commander... and it's described as "The basis of this song is an answering machine message from 1993 that a friend left for me, describing his completion of the original "Wing Commander" PC game." That's pretty darned crazy!
If you're in China, (or on eBay) you can pick up one of these nifty new 'legit' Wing Commander VCDs...
Here's the first of the Wing Commander Armada sector maps in an updated format... one each day, for 11 days!
It's not often that you get an opportunity to help make the universe... but that's exactly what Darkmage wants you to do! He's looking for Visual Basic programmers to help develop Wing Commander Universe 's system editor... drop him an e-mail to find out exactly what's needed.
The Jincilla and Kiowan clans have been negotiating a hostage exchange. Each clan has occupied one of two adjacent Nav Points, 192 and 193 and at each one is their respective hostage, held in a cargo pod. As a precautionary measure both clans have surrounded each pod with six laser turrets. THe turrets are primed to fire if the deal turns sour, or if any hostiles approach. The clans aim to complete the exchange using escorted shuttles. Your job is to take out the turrets and capture both hostage pods and deliver them to Hades local space, before the exchange can take place. Pull this one off and we'll be impressed!