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  Controls for a space based combat thing  (Read 4936 times)
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Offline endolf

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« Posted 2007-04-03 23:46:11 »

Hi

I'm trying to get a bit of the feel of x-wing, but slightly updated. I'm using accelerations rather than the x-wing setting the local velocity style controls, but I still want the same feel. I have spent quite some time working this out, and I think I have something close, you now drift slightly when flying round corners etc as the velocity vectors update due to the thrust kicking in.

I have a webstartable test client up, it's 14 meg because I put some music in early on. I can remove it again if it's too much of an issue (would only remove about 6 meg of the download). I would appreciate some feedback with constructive critisism.

The controls are mouse up/down/left/right increase/decreases pitch/yaw, cursor left and right controll roll, cursor up/down increases/decreases desired velocity.

Holding down the right mouse button changes to move camera mode and the mouse wheel zooms in/out.

This is designed for multiplayer, but right now, you'll have to use the dummy server Smiley

Thanks

Endolf

Offline Abuse

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« Reply #1 - Posted 2007-04-04 00:36:47 »

It swapped around my desktop res abit, and then died.

running full screen 640x480, on a dual monitor (1280x1024*2) Vista machine.
Latest nvidia drivers (on a GF6800GT), with Java 1.6.

windowed mode works fine...... until the mouse leaves the window area, then the ship gets into a crazy super-fast spin Cheesy

It's highly likely that Vista is the cause; I've had a number of Java related problems in Vista - most of them Eclipse related.

A perfect time to find the answer to a long-standing question i've had actually, does webstart pipe console output anywhere useful?

:edit:

I don't think momentum should be maintained on angular rotation, it makes it quite easy to lose control.

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Offline endolf

JGO Coder


Medals: 7
Exp: 15 years


Current project release date: sometime in 3003


« Reply #2 - Posted 2007-04-04 11:18:15 »

Hi

You should get some .dvsf*.log files in your users home dir Smiley

I'm not sure what you mean by
Quote
I don't think momentum should be maintained on angular rotation, it makes it quite easy to lose control.

The logic is that if you were traveling in the local z axis, and you rotate 90 degrees, within a short time, you should once again be traveling in the local z axis, is that not what you are seing happen?

Or do you mean that moving the mouse should affect the rotational velocity instead rotational acceleration like it currently does?

Thanks for trying it Smiley

Endolf

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Offline Abuse

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Medals: 14


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« Reply #3 - Posted 2007-04-04 22:20:20 »

yeah, roll, pitch and yaw rates should all be kept within sensible (human tollerable) limits.

I would imagine such a space craft would also automatically bring the crafts rotation to a stop when the controls are released, as I can't think of many situations where tumbling endlessly is a particularly helpful ability. (possibly with an override key if you realy realy want to be tumbling through space)

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Offline endolf

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Medals: 7
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Current project release date: sometime in 3003


« Reply #4 - Posted 2007-04-05 06:33:05 »

Hi

I could do with some limits on roll/pitch/yaw agreed Smiley. I imaged the being like a joystick, so pulling back on the joystick (moving the mouse down) would start you moving, centering it again would stop you (moving it back to where it was). I think thats how it should be. Does this seem very odd when you play?

I'm wondering if 1/2 the issue isn't vista though, when I run the game windowed, I don't have a mouse pointer, so I can't move it out the window causin the huge spinning you seem to be getting.

A constant roll rate will be useful for matching your roll rate to that of the hangar entrance on the space stations that rotate, that don't exist yet Smiley

Thanks for trying it, it's useful to hear others views of the system.

Endolf

Offline Mr_Light

Senior Devvie


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shiny.


« Reply #5 - Posted 2007-04-06 23:17:18 »

I'm getting download stalled  Huh

anyways perhaps a useless comment(since I haven't played it) but have you looked at freelancer, I remember liking the controlls and also has a controll where you can disable the stability system on command allowyou to drift while flying (you can rotate the ship slowly wilst still going the same way, proved to provide intesting dogfights.

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Offline Jamison

Junior Devvie




We're all idiots in one way or another.


« Reply #6 - Posted 2007-04-07 03:22:33 »

Crashes after selecting a display mode (both windowed and fullscreen).

Pentium M 1.4GHz
512MB RAM
ATI Mobility Radeon 7500 32MB VRAM
(laptop)

Will try it later on my beafy desktop.

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Offline endolf

JGO Coder


Medals: 7
Exp: 15 years


Current project release date: sometime in 3003


« Reply #7 - Posted 2007-04-07 08:03:07 »

Oops, at a very quick guess I'd say thats because I've hard coded the number of samples at 4 for now, other than that, I can't think of anything I'm doing thats complicated in any way. There should be a hint in the traces that webstart dumps out.

Thanks

Endolf

Offline endolf

JGO Coder


Medals: 7
Exp: 15 years


Current project release date: sometime in 3003


« Reply #8 - Posted 2007-04-07 08:52:08 »

Hi

I was getting some serious issues with webstart lagging, it would say stalled downloading for minutes at a time. I've just installed jdk 6 update 1 and it seems to have disappeared. It might be unrelated, it might be a coinsidence, but it's worked here for now Smiley

I've updated the webstart to use no FSAA and to use 16 instead of 24 depth bits. This isn't supposed to be a graphics demo, just a controls demo, so we don't need that lot right now.

I've also turned off the visual velocity/thrust vectors as they were a distraction rather than an aid in testing at this point Smiley

Thanks

Endolf

Offline MickeyB

Senior Devvie




my game will work, my game will work!


« Reply #9 - Posted 2007-04-07 16:52:35 »

Webstart downloads, I get login then screen res choice and then it flickers once and poof....nothing. 

MickeyB

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Offline endolf

JGO Coder


Medals: 7
Exp: 15 years


Current project release date: sometime in 3003


« Reply #10 - Posted 2007-04-07 17:20:39 »

Whats in your webstart logs?

C:\Documents and Settings\<WINDOWS USER>\Application Data\Sun\Java\Deployment\log

I'm guessing there should be a .trace file that was from the appropriate time.

Check for a line right near the top something like
INFO: org.newdawn.darkvoid.client.gui.DVSFJMEDisplay: Using jar:http://www.darkvoidonline.com/dvsf/dvsfdata.jar!/data/images/dvsf.png for properties dialog image

After that, the jme bits should start, and it sounds like it fails creating the display.

Endolf

Offline Riven
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« Reply #11 - Posted 2007-04-08 15:19:20 »

Why don't you replace System.out with System.setOut(..) with a 'pair' outputstream (one to the STDOUT and one to a socket-outputstream targeted at your server)

It simply sucks to have remote crashes, without the traces (and having to ask for them)

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Offline endolf

JGO Coder


Medals: 7
Exp: 15 years


Current project release date: sometime in 3003


« Reply #12 - Posted 2007-04-08 17:00:55 »

When I have a game client aimed at players, rather than a 'does this control system make sence' that I've targeted at a developer audience I might. For now, this is a noddy little demo to see what people think of the control system. If it crashes, then yes, I'd like to fix it, but I would anticipate that most people on JGO could manage to find some logs.

As I'm not doing anything graphically clever, I expected it to 'just work', but I over estimated the odds of that happening I think Smiley

Endolf

Offline Riven
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« Reply #13 - Posted 2007-04-08 18:32:56 »

One thing about those space-shooters is that there is 'too much' freedom. It only takes a few moments of not paying attention, to get completely lost in these three dimensions. After a while, I turned around and found the big fleet again (more by luck than anything else). The biggest problem is that there are no reference-points, unless you have a superb memory and navigate on the starmap. Maybe add some ehm... hydrogen gasclouds?

The controls don't really feel natural.. just think about it, when you want to steer in space, you won't tilt your spacecraft (it's not an airplane, there is no air/gas to justify that behaviour). We also need some visual feedback of the steering, to make it more natural - now it *feels* like vector-math, instead of fiddling with the thrusters a bit.

Update:
Hm... I'm totally not into the space-sim genre, but I've seen some games that have a quite long (glowing) trace behind the spaceships, and a bigger viewingdistance from it - that might help.

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Offline endolf

JGO Coder


Medals: 7
Exp: 15 years


Current project release date: sometime in 3003


« Reply #14 - Posted 2007-04-08 19:09:42 »

Hi

Thanks for the feedback.

The lack of reference will be solved with some floating things, gas clouds or debris or something, and there will be trails from the ship. I'm anticipating a location read out too, plus a radar type thing with prehaps multiple levels of zoom, so if you get lost, you can find our way back to your mates. All valid points, but beyond this test.

The controls, you meantioned not needing to tilt in space?, do you mean the roll that appears to happen?, roll is attached to the keyboard right now exactly for this reason. The primary controls are pitch and yaw, purley so you travel in the direction you are looking. In theory there is no need to do that, but traveling sideways/backwards you really *would* get lost Smiley. Is that what you mean?, I'd like to clarify incase there is something that needs improving, which is the point of this test Smiley

The visual feedback of steering, do you mean you want to see some kind of thrusters on the front of the ship so you can see the thrust changes?, your point is you can't see the thrust changes, only the effect (you rotate slower or faster)?

Again, this is useful to me, so thank you for trying.

Endolf

Offline Riven
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« Reply #15 - Posted 2007-04-08 20:23:36 »

Hm... seems I was a little unclear I guess.


This is what I meant:

1  
2  
3  
_
  - o _   (right turn)
        -


1  
2  
3  
        _
  _ o -   (left turn)
-      



This is not needed, although it might be convenient with
G-forces 'n such so all the machinery in the spaceship
doesn't shift all over the floor in a tight turn. Hmpf... Smiley

About the thrusters, just at the backside. Having steering
thrusters at the nose is too... realistic? Smiley

About the radar, you might want to make it logarithmic, so
that you have multiple-levels of zoom without 'transitions'.

About the controls...
Some feature to break (to a hold) would be nice, because
right now, when you try to turn, you might miss your target
(a sitting duck) because you're circling around it. Without
the (debug) colored vectors it's hard to see whether you're
moving or not - even with referencepoints, because they
tend to be HUGE and too far way to determine your velocity.

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Offline endolf

JGO Coder


Medals: 7
Exp: 15 years


Current project release date: sometime in 3003


« Reply #16 - Posted 2007-04-08 22:06:23 »

The roll like a plane when turning doesn't happen unless the user uses the left/right cursor keys. Any other percieved roll is a result of pitch/yaw.

If you sit still when you log in, then pitch up 45 degrees, then yaw 90 degress, it will look as though you have rolled 45 degree, but it's a result of how you got there.

I was thinking of adding a 'halt' command. It won't stop you instantly, but will slow you to a halt and stop all roll/pitch/yaw too.

Endolf

Offline Kova

Senior Devvie





« Reply #17 - Posted 2007-04-08 22:09:43 »

Without
the (debug) colored vectors it's hard to see whether you're
moving or not - even with referencepoints, because they
tend to be HUGE and too far way to determine your velocity.

This actually makes me feel more like I'm in space... more lost and alone Smiley

I've played the game, had no problems. I find the steering to airplane like, not as quite as good as I remember when I've played other space ship games. Maybe you could try with thrusters sideways and on top and below of the ship, like they have on raptors on "battlestar gallactica". That way ship would turn around it's center very fast and you would still have much velocity (well, the same velocity as space doesn't slow you down) from your old direction. Could be interesting.

btw. how about starting in one of those X fighter you have instead of this flat one which looks like one of those animals that wait for their pray at sea bottom Smiley
Offline endolf

JGO Coder


Medals: 7
Exp: 15 years


Current project release date: sometime in 3003


« Reply #18 - Posted 2007-04-08 22:29:28 »

The lost and alone thing is part of what I'm going for. I liked the realistic manouvers of elite, but found that in combat, when the 2 players came at the fight from different sides, they just overshot each other by huge amounts because of how long it took to slow down, and I ended up having to spend a few minutes hitting F4 (or shitf F4 or what ever the key combo was) to time skip trying to slow down. On the other hand, I didn't want to go quite as far as x-wing, which is very very arcade style. I wanted something in between.

Currently, the 'physics' of the space flight does indeed have thrusters all over, it's just that players can't control them all yet Smiley. Moving the mouse sideways gives you some yaw thrust, which will yaw around the ships center (stay still when you first start and try it). Once you are moving, this effects your 'I want to be going this way' vector. The speed once it has rotated you should be the same. It's all done with 'fly by wire', if I turn that off, you are back to elite style controls. This may become a feature, lose the computer and you have to control it all yourself Smiley

Do you think the option to turn it on/off will add to the game play when it's a proper space combat thing?, that should be easy enough to do.

There will be limits on the speed of rotation and the velocity of the ship, but that will depend on which ship you have.

Endolf

Offline jojoh

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« Reply #19 - Posted 2007-04-08 23:10:35 »

That is a really cool start. I thought that the controlls were generally quite OK, but as it is right now, it is quite easy to spin out of control. It also seems like one "slides" a bit much when turning at slow speeds. But that's just a matter of taste. I think you should try to make it as easy to control as possible and fun rather than realistick and really hard to get the ship to do what one wants. Radar, some sort of gyro and more things might give feedback of what is happening might make things easier, but hart to tell without trying. I think that joystick contol might work very well here. Given that a shot? Might be nice to slow the roll a bit automatically, sort of like most plane sims.

AND I really wanna blow things up! I mean, just to test how easy it is to target things  Wink

Offline Abuse

JGO Knight


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« Reply #20 - Posted 2007-04-11 00:02:24 »

This little demo inspired me to go back and have a play of 'Babylon 5: I've Found Her ' - a freeware Fan made game that lets you fly a starfury.

It has ultra-realistic newtonian physics, but still manages to play ok.
However one feature that seriously impacts on the playability is the uselessness of the 'match speed' function.
It is a feature that has been stolen from both the Wing Commander & X-Wing series.... however, it hasn't been adapted to make it useful when dealing with true newtonian physics.
In every dog fight, I find myself wishing that it was actually a 'match velocity vector' function; that would instruct the autopilot to make a best effort to match the targetted crafts flight trajectory. (without altering the attitude of the fighter)
This would simplify the combat maneuvering significantly, as it would (more or less) allow the 2 craft to maneuver as it they  were operating in the same coordinate system.
I guess this isn't something you will have to worry about if you arn't making a realistic flight model.
Still, no harm in putting the idea out there, as I've yet to see a game feature this flight control aid - definitely a USP  Grin

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Offline endolf

JGO Coder


Medals: 7
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Current project release date: sometime in 3003


« Reply #21 - Posted 2007-04-11 06:17:41 »

Cool

Thank you for giving it a try, some good suggestions and comments coming out.

Thanks

Endolf

Offline endolf

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Current project release date: sometime in 3003


« Reply #22 - Posted 2007-04-14 16:54:39 »

Hi

I've just updated the webstart. I've put up a location read out for those that want to know where 0,0,0 is Smiley. I've set up wasd keys to mirror the cursor keys, and I've added the 'T' key to turn on stabalisers. If you are out of control, hit T and it should bring things back. It's not designed to stop you instantly, it's designed to get the ship to a point where you can take back control, so just hold down T untill you feel comfortable with it again.

I've also added collision detection (detection, nothing else) and shield effects. This means it's a 14 meg download again I'm affraid.

Feedback welcomed. I'm keeping some of the other suggestions in mind that came up here for future work. I feel the need to get billiard ball like collisions and killing each other working Smiley

Thanks

Endolf

Offline Jamison

Junior Devvie




We're all idiots in one way or another.


« Reply #23 - Posted 2007-04-15 17:05:39 »

Very cool demo you got there. Finally got a chance to try it on my desktop. Runs very good. Over 90 fps even when all ships are visible.

1GB of ram
2GHz AMD CPU
256MB video memory

Wait till I try it with 2GB of ram, 2.6GHz dual core, and 512MB of video memory. Wink

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Offline bahuman

Junior Devvie





« Reply #24 - Posted 2007-05-17 14:40:57 »

My $.02:

I've run it on an AMD2800+ with NVidia GeForce 7600 and it ran at a consistent 90 FPS at 1280*1024*32bits.

About the controls:
Coming from helicopters in BattleField 2 and Desert Combat, I can't help but expect the mouse horizontal movement to control the roll. This gets very confusing very quickly :-)
On the other hand, First-Person shooters (where horizontal mouse movement controls yaw, rather than roll), I usually don't play with the vertical mouse axis inverted. So when I get into "shooter" mode, I try to move the mouse up in order to look up. Once again; general confusion is the result!

So, I suggest you make a choice:

Shooter controls:
- vertical axis is not inverted
- horizontal axis controls yaw
(left/right arrows can control roll)

Plane controls:
- vertical axis is inverted
- horizontal axis controls roll
(left/right arrows may control yaw)

Since you said you wanted the mouse to act like a joystick, I think you should go for the last, the plane-like controls.

If I may make a suggestion, I would have the CTRL-key switch between the two sets of controls. The "plane"-like controls have inertia dampeners active, so your spacecraft will act and feel like a plane in atmosphere. The "shooter"-like controls have no inertia dampeners, so while you look around and try to target a bogey, your plane will just continue in a newtonian straight line.

While it may feel a little arcade, I think it will provide interesting choices to the players: if they press CTRL to easily target something, it has the disadvantage of being an easy target themselves.
It would be interesting to find out if the switch from CTRL to non-CTRL type flying will be confusing, because after all the vertical mouse axis will be inverted in the blink of an eye.

PS: most shooters have a checkbox "invert vertical mouse axis" in their options list. That is the simplest patch to your current control scheme, and it will keep me happy because I can play the thing like it's a flying first-person shooter.
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