Pioneer is a great game, but one thing lacks: ATMOSPHERIC FLIGHT.
When I enter into planet's atmpsphere, the flight mode should switch into planetary mode. Something like in Evochron. It should be possible to make normal flight maneouvers: barrel roll, loop, horizontal flight and so on.. When I'm at 2000 meters I shouldn't care about position of vector marker, and I should flight like aeroplane. For example, when I enter into atmosphere over Australia, I should can flight to Japan only in horizontal flight. In original Frontier was this possible, how will be in Pioneer?
Technically speaking you can perform any flight maneouver, you just won't be generating lift when you do it.
There was no such thing in the originals. But it would be very nice to have some ships generate lift, but only if they either have wings or a wing-shaped body.
It could be very handy for some big trader ships that don't have the full thrust to directly over-come gravity, they could use their lift producing hull/wings to allow takeoff and landing instead.
When I'm flying in atmosphere, I want fly like a normal aeroplane - WITHOUT care about velocity indicator. In current version I have to constantly observe my velocity indicatro, because it isn't in the constant position all the time. When I increase time factor, for example 2x, I see, indicator jumps down or over. And I can't fix my altitude, like normal aeroplane. I can't fly like in normal flight simulators, because either I'm going up or I'm going down rapidly. This make VERY difficult normal atmospheric flight especially with a time compression...
Of course, but most of the time your not flying anything like an aeroplane 😉
Dont get me wrong, its something I would love to see in the game. Ships seem to handle like giant flying beach-balls. It would be great if some settings were used in the .lua to determine how aerodynamic the craft is and how much lift it can generate.
Ailerons and Elevators could be faked simply by adding a multiplier to the rotational controls based on atmospheric density.
Now do this 😀
I too would love to see "atmospheric flight" in Pioneer, but I bet most Pioneer spaceships would fall from the sky like a brick on an earthlike planet 😀 .
Plus, I think it's going to be quite a chore to program & implement a decent flightmodel. I hope it's do-able though because it would be awesome. As long as spaceflight remains untouched that is.
I'd like to point out that in Frontier, there were runways at some open-air spaceports. You couldn't actually use them, but they were implied. You'd have to have the ability to taxi, but for certain ships with feeble hover thrusters, runways could be the only way they could land and take off from medium sized planets. Also, I like the idea of aerodynamic parameters added to ships.
I might look into this. It sounds fun.
Lots of the ships are basically bricks with big thrusters though.
I've heard it said that the space shuttle flies like a brick. It would be really cool if Pioneer could simulate atmospheric effects on ships. 😀
Probably not every ship should be suitable for operations in earth-like atmosphere. That would give smaller ships/shuttles an important role in the trading chain...
Unless of course we assume that thruster design and performance is so advanced that aerodynamics are obsolete. Why bother giving a ship control surfaces when you can make a brick hover with ease!
There are reasons for keeping an aerodynamic-looking shape even for ships that aren't intended for atmospheric flight. Micrometeorites, rarefied interstellar/interplanetary clouds of gas etc. at the speeds we're supposedly going can be obstacles. The less frontal area exposed and the shallower the angle of attack, the better your hull will fare.
That does make sense except most ships are likely to have shields fitted.
Correct, but are those shields supposed to be effective against rarefied gases? Dust?
In my experiments I found that cross section areas made a substantial difference to space combat. A small cross section is a huge advantage in low-evasion cases. In high-evasion cases, it's strongly beneficial to evade in the direction of your next-smallest cross section - sideways for most ship designs.
Of course, the tradeoff here is that a "fatter" ship will have smaller total cross sections in proportion to its volume, so a very flat ship probably isn't optimal.