Hi Patrons & Star Citizen Pilots!
I'm sitting inside this weekend, along with almost all of you, as we're practicing all hopefully doing our best to practice social distancing and contribute to reducing the covaid-19 curve. I hope you're all doing your best to stay healthy and happy. I've been working on updating the Solarfly Warthog Profile key bindings for Star Citizen this weekend, and have been putting in a lot of thought as to how the throttle, flightstick and rudders are best mapped to the new features of the 3.8 flight model.
Before knowing exactly which bindings need to be remapped, the first thing is always to examine the flight model and IFCS features that offer varying levels of control depending on the ship being piloted. Over the years, from Star Citizen 1. 0 and along the way to 3.8, we've had a change of concepts in how thrust, boost, afterburn, acceleration, braking, strafing and decoupling interact. Some of you may be used to toggling the throttle between coupled and decoupled and using the throttle in a "balanced" mode during strafe that lets you move forwards and backwards.
Noting the Differences Between 3.1 and 3.8
- Braking automatically applies afterburn thrust. This was a feature I introduced into the Solarfly profile a long time ago, because it always made sense. This is now default behavior
- It appears Boost is a thing of the past. Boost and afterburn were separate concepts. Afterburn would add boost with throttle at max to exceed normal cruising speed, while boost would increase the power applied to a thrusting action (such as braking or accelerating). This appears to have been simplified with the introduction of acceleration power management.
- Speed limiting replaces COMSTAB. Effectively, if you keep your speed inside the "white zone", your ship has the highest degree of control in dogfighting and atmospheric flight. Adjusting the speed limiter sets the 100% mark and affects throttle travel accordingly, so that's one way to gain finer control.
- Acceleration/Power/Thrust limiting is another effective way to manage your maneuverability.
- In 3.0, you could not go backwards while in Coupled mode, but in 3.8 you can fly backwards.
- Cruise control sets thrust to the maximum where Speed Limiter is set.
Proposed Flight Movement Profile Changes for 3.8
With the new mining mode, Speed Limiter and Thrust/Accel limiter, I felt it was more important to use the Throttle Slider to apply to power adjustments across the board. So the SLIDER1 will be used in all contextual modes to increase/decrease power:
a) Speed limiting by default
b) Thrust/Accel adjustment when Pinky switch is in Power control mode
c) Mining laser control when in mining mode (even FPS)
I need to mention these here because SLIDER1 is currently used for fine vertical strafing control. So... here's the big changes coming!
1. Split Throttle as a general design. The right throttle will control longitudinal (front/back) thrust as it always has. I'll have to do some exploration on how to apply that to front-back balanced strafe mode. The left throttle will be used for vertical strafe.
2. Enable the toggle for Speed Limiting. This lets the HOTAS pilot quickly toggle between a limited ceiling (say, for combat or fine maneuvers) and maximum thrusts into the "red" area.
3. Toggle cruise control - still needed for when you want to leave the pilot's seat and walk around. One feature I could add is that if you are in Cruise control, the minute you move the throttle, it could disable. Let me know your thoughts.
4. Forward/Reverse and Strafe just became complicated. There's 3 options for dealing with this:
(a) Toggle a direction reverse mode so that the throttle applies thrust in the opposite direction;
(b) Switch to a mode that sets 0 thrust at center throttle, then allow pulling the throttle back to go backwards, or push forwards to go forwards (my profile has always supported this on a toggle option for strafing, so I can just enable that behavior for thrusted motion as well if it feels right)
(c) put reversing on a keybind (this is the least ideal from a fine control standpoint
5. Decoupled flight in the 3.0 profile gives you two choices: Decouple without any strafe throttle input being active, which was useful in some cases; or, decouple and set the throttle to allow strafe forward/back with 0 thrust at center position. I don't know if both of these are required now and need to fly in decoupled to feel it out.
Let me know your thoughts on these ideas in the comments!