Star Citizen is "controller agnostic" and flying will take some time to get used to | PCGamesN

Star Citizen

Star Citizen is "controller agnostic" and flying will take some time to get used to

Star Citizen flight and controls

Since Star Citizen’s Arena Commander module launched, there’s been a lot of chatter about the flight model and control methods, with some citizens not gelling with the way ships control or having issues with the methods used to fly these vessels. 

Chris Roberts has addressed some of these concerns, clarifying why some systems work the way they do and promising to continue working on these things to keep the citizens from staging some sort of bloody space revolution. 

Roberts reckons that some of the issues folk have been having with the flight model is down to the depth of the simulation and the massive differences between it and atmospheric flight. “We model what would be needed on an actual spaceship, including correct application of thrust at the places where the thrusters are attached to the hull of the ship – in our model moment of inertia, mass changes and counter thrust are VERY necessary,” says Roberts. “Star Citizen’s physical simulation of spaceflight is based on what would actually happen in space.”

The model requires pilots to anticipate where they want to be and the ship can feel twitchy when lining up a target. It’s not the norm. “As this is different than what people are used to, a portion of our community clearly feels the current flight model is ‘wrong’,” says Roberts. “But if you think about what we are doing, we actually allow for a LOT more variation and nuance in flight and combat than a simplified Wing Commander/X-Wing style flight model. Like learning to drive a car really well…it requires some learning. You have to anticipate where you want to be and plan for it.”

Roberts also assures that there is no preferential treatment being given to any control method. “Firstly let me state the goal for Star Citizen will be controller agnostic. No one control mechanism should have an advantage over the others. Personally I am a joystick pilot (either through HOTAS or Gamepad) as opposed to a mouse pilot. I just feel like I have more precise flight control with a joystick. In our various studios there is a huge variety of controller use – some prefer mouse, some joystick, some HOTAS and some gamepad. This is the best guarantee that any one control mode will not dominate.”

If you’ve been in the alpha, how have you found the ship controls? 

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Jeul's picture
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I'm using a HOTAS and my only real complaint is the lack of keybinding ( which I'm sure is on the burner somewhere ). So, I really don't have too much to complain about. The stick I'm using seems to be a bit touchy at times and some sliders and such would really make the difference, I think. Decoupling works really well and allows for some really interesting flight paths and styles.

Overall, I've enjoyed the bit of time I've flown in AC. Looking forward to flying my Cutlass. ;)

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352ndChaco's picture
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I've flown around in the alpha, and you only notice how complex the flight model is once some of your thrusters are damaged. And holy cow, is it complex. I think 4 of my 8 (?) thrusters were damaged and trying to maneuver around the station was difficult to say the least (sliding, skewing, etc.). So, my take is they've done a great job of hiding a really sophisticated flight model beneath a very flyable package. Kudos to RSI. I love it so far, and I'm looking forward to more customizable options as far as flight modes go.

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agent1138's picture
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Thats good to here, I drop any space sims which make flight too easy.

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subedii's picture
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On that note, this looks like it might be a good primer series once he gets to episode 2:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1o0OTEg0W8

I can appreciate that he gets the basics out of the way in the space of 3 minutes. Succinct.

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