Star Citizen 3.5 is in ETF testing, sort of

This week the ETF received a patch to test the new Flight Model that will be available in patch 3.5
Technically this is NOT the full 3.5 patch for testing, it is just a single ship in Arena Commander for testing MAJOR changes to the Flight Model.

Not much to report (and still NDA anyway) other than to say it is a big change, be prepared to relearn how to fly AND it is awesome. There is a bit of a learning curve but once you understand how the new FM works I find it leaps and bounds above the old one.

For those interested, here is a summary of the new FM and how it works.

No longer are there multiple flight modes (PRE/SCM/AFB) those are gone and now it is a single throttle from min to max, where min is 0 and max is the fastest the ship can go, previously its AFB speed.
Added to the throttle is a limiter. This allows you to set a temporary limit to the max speed. So for instance you could be trying to park and you don’t want your throttle to go to 600 m/s so you set the limiter at 50m/s. Keep this in mind, the limiter controls max speed.
You also get a new nifty Cruise Control toggle. When toggled on the CC will lock your throttle to the speed you were moving when you toggled it. So if you are travelling at 215m/s and click the CC your ship will lock in at 215m/s even if you were in the process of accelerating to a higher speed.

That is how the controls work, now a bit on how the ship flies.
If you have ever played Asteroids you know that your ship could spin around while moving in a particular direction, but when you engaged thrust your ship would attempt to move in the direction it was facing at that time. This is very similar to how the new FM works. There is a lot of drift at higher speeds, and I mean a LOT of drift. Combat takes place at speeds around 100-200m/s and right now anything faster is very difficult to maneuver. But we knew that combat would be slowing down, the devs made that clear months ago. And it works so far as I can tell with the bit of testing we have been able to do.

So when you are flying you spend a lot of time turning and thrusting, turning and thrusting.

And finally there is an Afterburner but it is not the old AFB we had before. The new afterburner engages max acceleration on you main thrusters. That means if you are trying to make a tight turn, you spin you ship to face the direction of your turn and then fire Afterburners to give max thrust in the direction. And of course afterburners use extra fuel so apply sparingly.

As soon as we get more ships to test and more things to see (and we are allowed to talk about it) I will share more with you all.
Until then, I will be hopping around Arena Commander trying to kill pirates and not run into asteroids.

See you all in the verse!

Sounds more like how space ships actually “fly”, but they don’t really fly, it is all vectors and thrust. So the main takeaway if I read it right, you can AFB, remove thrust, spin 180 and shoot at the guy on your tail. Speed should continue or do they introduce “false drag” on ships?

This is what I’ve been waiting for

Works for me. One of the reasons I haven’t gotten on and flown in years. So once it hits the live servers , then I can put in the effort to learn to fly (and hope they don’t change it again).



No false drag that I have noticed so far.

Now this is cool. This might actually get me to play SC again, since the previous flight models were utterly horrendous to me. :slight_smile:

Sounds flippin amazing! You should be able to accelerate to a speed then kill thrusters and should keep moving at that speed until you change it again (either by adding more thrust in same direction or changing direction and adding counter thrust.)

Just an FYI to put a damper on the tin foil hats, it is normal for CIG to slowly piecemeal out big developments to Evocati.

The entire purpose of Evocati is to test, not to “play”. If they gave the Evos the entire new build, people would be too busy trying to explore everything new rather than testing what they are supposed to be testing.

So when you have something like a new flight model you want to test up the wazoo, you only release that to them, with as few variables as possible. For example only giving them one ship at a time to test, one game mode, etc…

This ensures you have as few variables in play as possible and get the most relevant feedback.

Makes a lot of sense! This way if something is broken they already have a much more targeted piece of code to dig through instead of an entire games worth.

They patched and sent us an update. Nothing major, polish on key mapping naming more than anything.

Still loving the FM, even with the bugs (currently a big one affecting acceleration in turns) and I still think this will be a major improvement and boost to players in the verse.

One thing to remember, it is very different. It has a steep learning curve for the controls and how the system works.

That is part of why I am bringing the news to you this early, so you can all start to wrap your head around the idea. For some reason we are seeing quite a few people who just don’t understand the speed limiter. Think of it as a variable max speed that you can set. And your throttle always goes from 0% to 100% regardless of what that 100% equates to in actual m/s.
It really is not that complicated but it seems that mouse + keyboard users are suffering the worst. This system is a dream for any type of analog input (Stick or Throttle or Pedals, anything with an analog axis) but using digital input is less intuitive it seems. I have always said that there is no effective way to use m+kb to simulate axis control effectively. Seems CIG is finding that out too.

The takeaway here: if you don’t already own one, seriously consider buying a HOTAS/HOSAS or at least a Joystick. It makes a difference today, and will make a HUGE difference in 3.5 and the new FM

So does the speed limiter “expand” the varibility of the throttle? What I mean by that, is say you set your speed limiter to 50% of your total speed, do you now have finer control of your speed now that moving a 1/4 on the trottle is like 1/8 when you don’t have the speed limiter on.

Or if you set the speed limiter to 50%, then only 50% of your throttle is responsive and once you go past that, it doesn’t do anything?

I know you stated you didn’t believe there was any false drag added. Can you accellerate, turn off your engines and continue in the same vector at the same speed? Also, if so, can you then rotate 180 degrees and basically go backwards at speed? That would make a huge difference in combat. If people are still constrained in their thinking of atmospheric drag and gravity in their flight profiles when neither exist, that is a huge difference. The concerning factor in your post was the “acceleration in turns” comment. In null gravity/no drag, you don’t accelerate through a turn, you stop acceleration, turn and then apply acceleration. Sure you have to compensate for the inertia you had, but it is more like ‘drifting’ than turning using a car as an example.

I will try to answer the questions as best I can…

First, yes the limiter offers more precision at lower speed caps. That is kinda the point too.

I have not personally tested it but from what I am hearing decoupled mode works exactly as you described. I will try to remember to test it out next time I log in. Even when not decoupled there is much less drag and a lot more drift than before, especially when at speeds that are over the old scm max. So for Instance the gladius scm was around 300. If you fly over 300 now the drift is quite noticeable but if you fly half that, say around 150, then you have very tight control. And again all of that is in coupled mode.

Does that answer your questions?

Yep, that is good and good to know. So coupled mode sort of imparts an atmospheric feel to flying, whereas decoupled mode is actual space travel.

yeah that’s about right.
So far

It is still testing, still changes being made but I get the feel that it will remain that way with tweaks to make it work for each ship

@brohawk I have confirmed that you can decouple, stop thrusting, spin around and fly backward without any drag to slow you down.

Also they added a couple more ships for us to test with and the FM is amazing. The Hornet flies like a tank, slightly nimble but heavy feeling. The Vanguard feels like a beast of a ship that is hard to maneuver at any significant speed but it packs a wallup.

Really excited for where the game is going with these changes.

That is good to note and totally changes ship combat. Thanks for confirming.