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Author Topic: Explaining the Relativity Effect  (Read 1956 times)
Shiver
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Explaining the Relativity Effect
« on: July 16, 2009, 05:39:48 am »

You probably thought I was going to post a clear and concise description of what this is and how it works as I did a few months back with VUX limpets. Well, I'm not. I'm looking for help trying to word an explanation of this properly. The Ultronomicon has a section laid out for this, but nothing is written about it so far. If anyone can explain this well, their text is going up on the wiki.


Here is my clumsy attempt at explaining it:

The "Relativity Effect" is a term used to convey a certain characteristic of Star Control's projectiles. Contrary to real life physics, most in-game projectiles (but not all) do not factor in your ship's current speed or trajectory when they spawn. For this reason, projectiles will appear to travel at a lower velocity than default when fired in a direction your ship is moving towards. Projectile velocity is always the same in fact, and that is the cause of the irregularity; using real life physics a projectile fired in a ship's direction of travel would have the ship's velocity added to their own. The tactical advantage or disadvantage caused by the Relativity Effect is very real. High duration, low velocity projectiles such as Spathi torpedoes and Mycon plasmoids are affected by this the most.


This should probably be a PM to Death 999 rather than a forum thread, but in case he doesn't pull through someone else can take a crack at it.
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SweetSassyMolassy
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Re: Explaining the Relativity Effect
« Reply #1 on: July 16, 2009, 06:05:17 pm »

What's wrong with that explanation?

From my understanding, the projectile fires at a fixed speed, regardless of the direction, so if the ship happens to be moving toward it it will have the appearance of being slow because your eye (and the camera) is trained to follow the ship. In the ship's frame, the projectile is actually moving more slowly, sometimes even backwards.

I think the real advantage comes from the chasing effect. If a projectile is launched in the opposite moving direction of the ship, whoever is chasing the ship will see the ship and projectile separating at twice the speed if the projectile was fired while the ship was stationary. (Assuming that the ship is traveling at the projectile's speed away from it). So, not only will it play tricks on your eye, but the pursuing ship will also approach the projectile at twice the normal speed.

In the case of the Podship, if it were chasing an opponent and fired a projectile, the camera would see the projectile moving slowly, because the camera chases the Podship and the ship it's chasing so in that frame the projectile will in fact have less speed.

So, here's my concise explanation.
To explain the "relativity effect", imagine two Spathi Eluders in battle. In the first scenario an Eluder is being chased and fires a BUTT at its opponent. The pursuing Eluder will approach the BUTT much faster than if it were stationary because the speed of the missile and the Eluder add together in its frame, so the projectile will have the appearance of traveling faster to meet it. Now imagine that the pursuing Eluder fires a BUTT and somehow and comes out at the front of the ship. In this case, the BUTT will simply crash into the front but for a split second it will appear to be moving more slowly. The BUTT chases the front Eluder until the faster moving pursuer catches it. Since the camera moves in the frame of the two Eluders, it will show that the BUTT is moving more slowly (since the speeds now subtract), than if the Eluders were at rest.
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Death 999
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Re: Explaining the Relativity Effect
« Reply #2 on: July 16, 2009, 06:18:52 pm »

The shots with relativity are those that add their source's velocity to their starting velocity. Most UQM shots do not have relativity, and that's why there's strategy around which way you're going.

So, Shiver, you kind of got it backward with the naming, but of course right way around with the actual effect.
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Shiver
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Re: Explaining the Relativity Effect
« Reply #3 on: July 16, 2009, 07:30:08 pm »

That sounds about right, Sass, though I like my first draft of an explanation better. A frame is a unit of time in melee, so I'm a bit perplexed by your use of that term.


The shots with relativity are those that add their source's velocity to their starting velocity. Most UQM shots do not have relativity, and that's why there's strategy around which way you're going.

So, Shiver, you kind of got it backward with the naming, but of course right way around with the actual effect.

Never thought of it like that. I'm not the one who coined the term "Relativity Effect" in the first place, so I haven't really questioned its usage. That bit of clarification should make my job easier.
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Zeep-Eeep
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Re: Explaining the Relativity Effect
« Reply #4 on: July 16, 2009, 08:03:23 pm »

The explaination in the first post is fine. I'd go with that.
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CelticMinstrel
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Re: Explaining the Relativity Effect
« Reply #5 on: July 16, 2009, 08:14:43 pm »

A frame is a unit of time in melee, so I'm a bit perplexed by your use of that term.
He meant a "frame of reference", ie something fixed that you're measuring with respect to. In the ship's frame of reference, you're measuring with respect to the ship. In the camera's frame of reference, you're measuring with respect to the screen. So we view the melee from the camera's frame of reference.
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Shiver
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Re: Explaining the Relativity Effect
« Reply #6 on: July 16, 2009, 10:19:34 pm »

I went onto the wiki to write my stuff in only to find that this is already covered, just not under the heading of "relativity effect". The rewrite of what I posted in the OP is wordier than the wiki paragraph on the subject, but it goes into greater tactical depth. I will hold on to it for the melee guide I'm trying to get back to and not screw around with the wiki page too much. Thanks again D9.
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