Turning, Speed, Acceleration Ratios

What is a good ratio that makes the ship easy to handle?

I'm designing a plugin and I'm wondering what good ratios for a ships turning speed, max speed and acceleration. Some numbers would be greatly appreciated.

It's been a long while since I've cracked open Mission Computer, but my general suggestion, since this will come down to personal preferences anyways, would be to play around in Nova, fly lots of different ships, find ones that handle like you want for your own ships, then look up their stats in the data files. Copy these to your own plugin and then modify them up or down from there. This will save you from just inputting random numbers into it and then have to go back and test it (although you could do this and it wouldn't really take any more time).

But if you've been playing Nova quite a bit then you'll have a good idea of how the different ships all handle...you can then apply that to the ships that you're designing quite handily. I would tend to avoid trying to stick to set ratios...it's possible this could work well, but since you'll be play-testing your plug anyways just fiddling around with things is going to happen anyways...

Hopefully this helps, though I'm sure someone will be along shortly with some of the ratios that Nova uses. 🙂

The first thing I learned when making all new ships: what the players can handle and what the AI can handle are completely different questions. I can't give you any numbers, but I can give you a few guidelines. First and probably most importantly, make sure that acceleration for most ships is at least twice max speed. If the ratio gets out of balance, you'll find that the AI will blow past its target at full speed, turn and slow down in a process that lasts far, far too long, and then blow past at max speed again. Also, if ships with turrets move too fast, their turrets won't be able to cope with the speeds and will fire backwards. Finally, ships that rely heavily on stand-off attacks should have a decent accel/speed ratio because if they take too long to move around and stop (they only fired when at a full stop as far as I can tell), they'll never fire a shot and will instead just get chased around until they asplode.

The next most important thing is to balance turn rate with other factors like weapons and other speed values. If the ship has only forward-firing weapons, it will need decent maneuverability. If not, you can cut down on it a bit, but you'll find again that if it dips too low compared to acceleration/speed, it will spend most of its time trying to correct its course rather than actually engaging enemies.

Once you get all those working together, it's pretty much a matter of preference. The fastest ship in stock Nova, the Nil'kimas Manta, has 1175 acceleration, 660 top speed, and 120 maneuverability. Anathema has a ship that goes up to 2125 acceleration, 850 top speed, and 125 maneuverability (and is inertialess). Nova's AI seems to handle both fine, so those numbers should be pretty safe. The highest I've personally seen a ship go is one in my hypothetical TC which has 3490/1210/150. The AI seems to break down a bit there, but I don't think it's anything a little tweaking can't fix. What tends to happen is dogfights deteriorate into both squads flying circles around one another. Of course, it gets tough for human pilots around those levels too, but that's very skill dependent. You pretty much need swivel-mounted guns at that point to hit anything smaller than a capital.

I hope that helps a bit! Remember it's mostly how the stats work together with one another, not the numbers themselves, that determine how well the AI and human players can handle a ship.

As speeds increases, your acceleration multiplier should probably increase, whereas at very low speeds you can use a low multiplier.

For example, a very sluggish ship at speed 50 will do just fine will at .5x for an acceleration of 25.
But .5x acceleration of 1000 is unacceptable on a ship with a top speed of 2000.

Acceleration being 2x of speed is a good place to start.
Do some tests and play around. Then map out what ratios you like for various sizes/factions of ships and then stay consistent.

Ah yes, one thing I forgot to mention. I asked a similar question a while back about if people would like to see the plug I'm working on faster, slower, or about the same as Nova. The answers that got the most were "all-around faster" and "greater speeds, lower accelerations." Do with that what you will.

QUOTE (GutlessWonder @ Sep 19 2009, 03:19 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>

It's been a long while since I've cracked open Mission Computer, but my general suggestion, since this will come down to personal preferences anyways, would be to play around in Nova, fly lots of different ships, find ones that handle like you want for your own ships, then look up their stats in the data files. Copy these to your own plugin and then modify them up or down from there. This will save you from just inputting random numbers into it and then have to go back and test it (although you could do this and it wouldn't really take any more time).

Thanks, I was hoping I would not have to resort to looking at already made ships, but I guess its better then random numbers.

QUOTE (Archon @ Sep 19 2009, 05:39 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Remember it's mostly how the stats work together with one another, not the numbers themselves, that determine how well the AI and human players can handle a ship.

That was long, but much appreciated. It gives me a basis to work off of, and now I realize I have to look at how the AI uses the ships. One problem is that I dont have a feel for what the numbers do, like if you give me a 500 for speed, I'm not going to know what that is, so I go and test it in nova, it then takes me a few tries to get it right. But with 2 others that link up and control the total handling of the ship just makes it too much for me. So now I can see where to start with my other stats of the ship.

Thanks for the numbers and tips to get me going. Hopefully I will get my plugin out of the private stage when I get new 3d models for ships (as I have been using some ships from other plugins for temporary ships), and I'll try to make my ships faster.

If you're familiar with the general feel of ships in stock Nova, it may be helpful to open up Nova Data 1 and make a spreadsheet or something of a few touchstone ships, just to cut down on the amount of time you spend testing trying to get the numbers right. Then again, you may be more of the hands-on and guess/check/revise sort; they're both valid, but I just like having lots of sexy numbers in front of me. 😄

This topic got me thinking about TCs again. I wonder, what about making Player version and AI versions of all ships, giving the player versions much higher top speed (i.e. 4x acceleration), but giving the AI versions super-efficient afterburners. There would still be differences between the two, but I wonder if the AI would handle it better? (I don't know much about AI and afterburners, other than the fact that they can use them).

The only aspect of an afterburner that isn't hardcoded into Nova is the number of units of energy per second it drains. Also, I'm pretty sure that when the AI uses an afterburner, it doesn't drain energy, so customizing them to be particular to AI ships is a moot point. The multiple versions of ships part would work fine unless you had an ungodly number of ships in the plug, but then you'd also run into problems with people just Monty Pythoning the AI to death with their superior speed.

QUOTE (Archon @ Sep 19 2009, 05:42 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Ah yes, one thing I forgot to mention. I asked a similar question a while back about if people would like to see the plug I'm working on faster, slower, or about the same as Nova. The answers that got the most were "all-around faster" and "greater speeds, lower accelerations." Do with that what you will.

That's interesting. That will result in ships swooping past each other with a fraction of a second to fire guns at each other. Unless you increase the range of guns. But I find it completely annoying to fire unguided weapons off screen. You can't see what's going on. Also, no one is going to see your pretty graphics if the ships are always off screen. But I wonder if these responses were trying to get at something closer to real space physics. That is, top speed is large for all ships, with ship mass varying mainly acceleration and also turn rate.

One thing I've been playing with is reducing the speed and size of everything. (actually more variation in sizes, too) To give the feel as if you were looking down from a higher vantage point. This seems to give you more room for stuff. Not sure if this will eventually work out, however.

Oh yeah, you also have to remember that ships warp into a system at full speed. If their turn rate and acceleration are comparatively low, you can conceivably fly right past the system center before slowing down. Also annoying.

This post has been edited by Desprez : 19 September 2009 - 06:05 PM

QUOTE (Desprez @ Sep 19 2009, 06:04 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Oh yeah, you also have to remember that ships warp into a system at full speed. If their turn rate and acceleration are comparatively low, you can conceivably fly right past the system center before slowing down. Also annoying.

Ahh, Leviathan jousting...good times.

QUOTE

The answers that got the most were "all-around faster" and "greater speeds, lower accelerations." Do with that what you will.

Although, those responses were for a TC, for a general overhaul of the numbers, not for a smaller add-a-few-ships plugin

QUOTE

I'm pretty sure that when the AI uses an afterburner, it doesn't drain energy, so customizing them to be particular to AI ships is a moot point.

I figured that would be the case. I don't know how often they use it, though.

QUOTE (Desprez @ Sep 19 2009, 07:04 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>

That's interesting. That will result in ships swooping past each other with a fraction of a second to fire guns at each other. Unless you increase the range of guns. But I find it completely annoying to fire unguided weapons off screen. You can't see what's going on. Also, no one is going to see your pretty graphics if the ships are always off screen.

That's how CTC worked out, and it went alright.

QUOTE

But I wonder if these responses were trying to get at something closer to real space physics. That is, top speed is large for all ships, with ship mass varying mainly acceleration and also turn rate.

The "faster" options was because a lot of people play with capslock. The "top speed" was for the realism fans, yah. However, it would allow for different strategies, such as "not holding accelerate 24-7", and lying in wait for a ship to pass you, then shooting its backside while it has trouble turning.

QUOTE

One thing I've been playing with is reducing the speed and size of everything. (actually more variation in sizes, too) To give the feel as if you were looking down from a higher vantage point. This seems to give you more room for stuff. Not sure if this will eventually work out, however.

I was thinking the same thing, actually. Doing that, but leaving the top speed proportionately higher would increase the difficulty level, but I think it'd be fun. I don't know if the AI would handle it as well, but it'd probably work out okay.

There was an old TC in EV Override that did that. It compensated for the top-speed problem by adding an outfit called a "restrictor", which would stop your ships engines from going past a certain speed. It warned you not to let your friends know you had one, or face their laughing scorn.

Hmph. Now that I think about it, if we want to continue this discussion, we may want to make a separate topic.

QUOTE (Desprez @ Sep 19 2009, 06:04 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>

That's interesting. That will result in ships swooping past each other with a fraction of a second to fire guns at each other.

Yeah, hence the warnings I put in about the speed/accel ratio in an earlier post. Just for fun, I put in a faction whose large ships have about a 1:1 ratio that grows to a 2:1 and then around 3:1 accel:speed as they get smaller. The Dreadnought has 365 accel 355 speed 25 turn, and it seems to work out fine. Of course, some of the fighters hit the human g-force threshold, so acceleration caps out for everybody who doesn't have artificial gravity (or unusually hearty constitution), which then means that for some fighters, the ratio closes again.

I've thought a lot about the "higher vantage point" idea, which I think has real potential. Right now, however, I'm leaning towards greater range of ship sizes instead. Not only does this give small ships a bit more of one advantage they really do deserve, but I think having a greater range can really reinforce the "whoa" and "oh s###" factors of seeing really, really big ships. In stock Nova, the Raven was the only ship whose size I viscerally reacted to, and I personally loved the shock factor of seeing something that disproportionate to the rest of the Novaverse. Of course, then you run into the problem of "nobody likes firing at stuff five screens away," which can make weapon range on the larger ships seem really... weird.

Then there's a few plugs that take the greater range to the utter extreme, like medium-large capitals in reVisited. Serious shock factor there when you run into your first Fed Frigate and wonder just how huge the Cruiser has to be. 🙂

(edit)One more thought as long as we're on the subject of Afterburners, I find that especially for small ships, the degree of extra top speed and especially acceleration they grant is just ludicrous, especially given how easy energy recharge is to come by in Nova. For that reason, I've become a big fan of either a) restricting access to afterburners (maybe not all ships can use them, or maybe some factions haven't even found a way to make them practical), 🆒 making them much larger, and/or c) making only some ships able to use them. Of course, I'm sure plenty of people would take issue with such stringent restrictions, but that's my thoughts.

This post has been edited by Archon : 19 September 2009 - 09:17 PM

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