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My Time at Portia enters Early Access on Jan 23rd 2018!

Author Topic: Increase Flight Cieling and remove the Rediculous terrain following mechanic  (Read 424 times)

Mike Loeven

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Just started getting into aircraft and honestly I don't know what the devs were thinking when they designed the flight mechanics. First of all the flight cieling is way WAY WAY too low and the way that the vehicles maximum height seems to follow the terrain is the worst implementation of flight mechanics i have ever seen.

First of all aircraft height limits are related to atmospheric density and have nothing to do with the contour of the of the terrain. While there is a mechanic called ground effect which produces additional lift when the rotors are close to the ground this effect does not really extend very far beyond the ground at which point the aircraft is relying entirely on the lift generated by the wings / rotors. Needless to say while this help the aircraft initially take off the contour and height of the terrain has nothing to do with the altitude limits of an aircraft. Basically the height ceiling for aircraft needs to be a static value above sea level and it needs to be a good amount higher than the tallest terrain feature. The fact that flying over a canyon makes most aircraft drop suddenly and can cause you to crash into a cliff face demonstrates a deeply flawed physics implementation and why a terrain following height ceiling is really bad game design. The fact that aircraft can barely clear the trees even in the best conditions with generous thrust to weight ratios further reveals the problem. when traveling from point to point no aircraft flies that low nor would any player desire to be limited to a arbitrary height ceiling where they are constantly in danger of hitting trees or mountains. The average cruising altitude of modern aircraft ranges from 15000-25000 ft for prop driven craft and up to 40000 ft for passenger jets. It is ridiculous to have such a low max altitude and ridiculous to have that max altitude follow the terrain. It makes no sense from any known laws of physics. The height Cieling needs to be a static value above sea level and it should be significantly above the tallest terrain feature on the map
« Last Edit: July 03, 2018, 02:13:54 AM by Mike Loeven »
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Omidawn

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Judging from your comments, I would hazard to say that you are talking about SP Story Mode.  The flight mechanics are different in MP and in Adventure Mode.  The ceiling in Story mode is actually higher than in Adventure Mode, but to get there you have to use thrusters, not VTOLs.  Also, you can stack the VTOLs and face them in different directions for different performance and ceiling capability.  I think the maximum is 12 on a standard aircraft, and if you are doing VTOL then you need all 12.

This is an old old old discussion.  Bottom line, you will not see real world flight physics in a world that has no calculations for aerodynamics. IMO this would bog down the game, and load speeds for flight are already a problem without throwing that wrench into the gears.  For SP Story Mode, you just have to resign yourself to the fact that your aircraft are actually hovercraft pushing against the ground, not actually flying.  For MP and Adventure Mode, you are untethered from the ground, but you still need to build designs that maneuver well.  You will find yourself going back to the drawing board often in order to perfect your designs... especially with regard to balance.

Even after you have a good working aircraft, you then will still hit a much higher but very real ceiling.  You will also run into "walls" traveling at top speed, while you wait for chunks to load (depending on your computer capability).  For me, it is actually faster to travel on the ground, because fewer chunks have to load as you travel (visibility range).  I will spend most of the game using ground transportation and leveling roads.
« Last Edit: July 03, 2018, 06:35:12 PM by Omidawn »
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Mike Loeven

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Actually never said i wanted realistic flight mechanics but rather a non variable flight ceiling. Even the simplest ultralight craft would be able to achieve an altitude well above the tree tops of any forest regardless of the terrain height. the bigger problem is the fact that the ceiling is calculated from terrain level when it should be calculated from sea level. what this does is cause problems in mountainous regions where going over a crater or valley or any dip in the terrain causes a rapid loss of altitude and than subsequent energy loss from the user having to manually fire the thrusters to regain the lost altitude and the vehicle is further more forced to reduce speed every time it encounters a steep slope as the vertical acceleration regardless of thrust is not strong enough to avoid collision unless forward momentum is reduced. The point of aircraft is fast point to point travel without being obstructed by terrain features.

But the point remains that I took a known working VTOL craft with 6 downward facing airship thrusters and got the very low flight ceiling. I proceeded to both apply more thrusters which did not increase the height to useful levels additionally i also changed the hull materials cutting the crafts tonnage by more than half with no improvement in height or increase in vertical acceleration. additionally with many designs increasing forward speed beyond a certain level causes loss of altitude even when holding the space bar. It may also be a old issue but regardless of game mode aircraft need a much higher flight ceiling and the current mechanics represent a serious problem
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Omidawn

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agreed.  I always have to make an adjustment when I go back to story mode.  I forget how annoying it is.  I'm honestly not sure why they did it differently there... perhaps it is more stable.  Now that you mention it, I don't think even the thrusters can get you higher, they just get you there faster so navigating mountain ranges is a little smoother.  You still have to rise and fall with the range.

It may have to do with the visibility range at higher altitudes: running into walls in your aircraft is just as annoying as having a low ceiling, especially when it still eats up your fuel while you are waiting for chunks to load.  They may have forced the low ceiling so that chunk loading would be smoother in story mode.

Anyway, my best aircraft can only just clear the treetops in story mode.  You can build higher than the ceiling... you just have to be innovative to get that high.  That's why I said that the ceiling is higher in story mode.  I was talking about the stability of building at high altitude without breaking the game.  Then of course you will need to glide back down, since your aircraft won't take off above the flight ceiling.  That's one of the reasons people like to build the sky cities:  they are difficult to get to, so are pretty secure from tampering.
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