Flight model

In the first posts in the blog I talked about the space flight model and controls. Now that I have a nice way to take manual control of the ships I can show it a bit more. Essentially it uses real physics but has some restrictions to prevent some unwanted things. For example, there is a common upper limit for all velocities. If that velocity is exceeded, the object is slowed down gradually to the upper limit. There also is a max speed limit for each ship depending on the ship’s mass and drives etc. These speed limits are of course unrealistic. Mass and drives should only affect acceleration and not set any max speed limits, every ship should be able to accelerate to any speed they want (well, at least up to the speed of light). However, having no max speed leads to too complicated and unwanted situations in the game so this is why these restrictions exist. Angular velocities work in a similar manner.

Other than that, space flight works as expected. The ships are controlled by linear thrusters accelerating the ship along three axes: up-down, left-right and forward-backward. The most powerful of these thrusters is the forward thruster, others are only for fine tuning the velocity. Then there are angular thrusters to apply torque to the ship. These thrusters provide angular velocity around roll, yaw and pitch axes. Mass of the ship naturally makes all of these accelerations smaller. The physical size of the ship (height, width, depth) affects the rotational accelerations.

The result is that big ships and small ships have quite similar linear accelerations and max speed, but big ships are much slower to turn.

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