Debate Magazine

Star Citizen - One Hand Thrust Control - Star Map Scanning Interface

Posted on the 05 May 2018 by Freeplanet @CUST0D1AN

Star Citizen - one hand thrust control - Star Map scanning interface

simple and intuitive control sphere

anyone who's worked with me on 3D games like Medievil, Ghostmaster, Gun, Simpsons, Star Wars etc. know I hate ugly sim-based spread-sheet interfaces heavy on keyboard layouts per situation. So now, I've turned my attention to the convoluted keyboard-mapped speed-control flight-models of the MMO space games Star Citizen by Cloud Imperium Games.
For example: you can't actually take-off with the Star Citizen speed-based flight model because (when you're parked on a planet) you're exhibiting zero meters per second. They had to invent the Space Bar Press to actually direct thrust directly down so you can take off! And you need both hands to fly these convoluted control systems. One hand on a mouse. The other hand on another input device or hotas or joystick etc... with other functionality too on the keyboard. So it's really grindingly labor intensive just to get going.

So, I've come up with a lovely unified control system that can be controlled with the mouse hand alone. The thrust-pointer moves along the surface of a sphere.
Shift Key is a local rotation override for the ship within the thrust sphere.
Ctrl Key is a camera rotate override for looking around the sphere.
Alt Key is a camera translate override for moving the sphere screen relative.

The scale of the thrust-pointer (the bright arrow in the shot above) perpendicular to the spherical thrust-interface is the direction of the necessary thrust in the reverse momentum vector. So if your ship has landed on a planet, the up-vector will be 'the weight of your ship'. When you roll the mouse wheel you'll scale that directional thrust vector until the ship can take off. You can mouse move this thrust vector all over the surface of the sphere. Pointing the thrust vector in the direction of the nose of the ship means you're adding forward thrust to the ship. You can also shift-mouse move to rotate the ship within the thrust sphere... your ship will be pointing its nose in the direction of the thrust vector.
The sphere, you don't even need, as games like Star Citizen already have force-fields or shields around their ships upon which you could project the two-dimensional mouse-move interface and therefore the thrust vector itself.
What more do you need? 

I'll tell you what you need, a scanning mechanism for planets, moons, stars and jump gates... and companies like CIG already have the basis of a scanning mechanism for materials like metals, gases, minerals. It takes place out in the view frustrum. There's no looking down at Multi-Function Devices or MFDs, there's no activating a  view-overlaying wrist-device while you're flying. It all takes place out there, where the data can be overlaid by the military-style HUD or HeadsUpDisplay all these ships seem to have.
Just add Distortion Field as one of the alread-available scan parameters.

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