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jaychant
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A question about SC physics
« on: July 18, 2009, 11:28:52 pm »

I am making a game heavily inspired by SC2 Melee called Comet Fighter, and I have a question about SC physics in relation to the real world: Is there even a such thing as max speed? In SC, every ship has a maximum speed that it can thrust to, and past that an increase in speed can't happen via thrusting. But I'm not sure if this is true in the real world; while it doesn't make sense that thrusting slows you down like it does in SC, it seems to me that it would make sense that you can't thrust to any speed you want (just like cars having some sort of limit to the speed they can go).
« Last Edit: July 18, 2009, 11:42:31 pm by jaychant » Logged

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Re: A question about SC physics
« Reply #1 on: July 18, 2009, 11:57:38 pm »

You're correct that in UQM (Star Control) thrusting has a max speed. So if you're going faster than your max thrusting speed, hitting the thrust button slows you down.

This isn't the case in real life. In theory, once something gets close to the speed of light, then physics starts to change. One might consider the speed of light a "max speed".

However, for normal, everyday physics, there is no max speed. I think the Star Control folks put that in there to
A) Make coding the game easier.
B) Make the player controls easier.

If you don't have a max speed, then turning becomes a bit more of a challenge. For example, let's say you're moving up at 10 units per second and right at 10 units per second. If you want to just be going up and not right, in the real world, you'd have to point your ship left and gently apply throttle until your left/right vector became zero. In UQM you can just point your ship straight up and hit the gas. The ship will slowly lose its right/left vector as all its thrust goes into the Up direction.
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Re: A question about SC physics
« Reply #2 on: July 19, 2009, 12:51:04 am »

In real world physics there is an absolute limit to speed that you can reach, its called the speed of light.

According to the Theory of Relativity, the faster you go, the more massive you become. As you become more massive, it takes more energy to accelerate to a faster speed. Since you have to some how store that energy to accelerate on your spacecraft (as fuel), it makes your spacecraft heavier as it starts to accelerate, causing you to burn large amounts of fuel at lower speeds.

I'm sure someone has posted some napkin math somewhere about sizes of fuel tanks, maximum velocity, size of craft,  etc.
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Re: A question about SC physics
« Reply #3 on: July 19, 2009, 03:38:53 am »

I just ran a test, and I found that it wasn't especially hard to turn when I took out the max speed. It was different, but not really harder. The main problem was controlling speed; it wasn't hard to go to uncontrollable speeds very quickly.
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Re: A question about SC physics
« Reply #4 on: July 19, 2009, 06:13:42 pm »

Do you mean that you can't thrust or change direction when you're flying at max speed? That's because thrusting in about the same direction would increase your speed.
To solve it, you need to multiply the velocity vector by a certain factor which is the maximum thrust divided by the current speed Smiley.
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Re: A question about SC physics
« Reply #5 on: July 19, 2009, 08:01:11 pm »

Do you mean that you can't thrust or change direction when you're flying at max speed? That's because thrusting in about the same direction would increase your speed.
To solve it, you need to multiply the velocity vector by a certain factor which is the maximum thrust divided by the current speed Smiley.

No, I mean, without a max speed, acceleration quickly adds up, giving a ship uncontrollable speed. This forces a player to control his speed himself. I was merely stating that turning is really not much harder without a max speed, since it's already smart to come close to a stop anyways.
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