Alpha test feedback June 14, 2014

Continuing the discussion from Alpha test feedback June 7, 2014:

Join us at for a 30 min playtest Saturday, June 14, 2014 at 8pm UTC, 3pm Central US, 4pm East US, 9pm UK

Release notes to follow…

Release notes

IMPORTANT - Controls Change

  • Speed controls + and - added for velocity changes
  • Mouse flight by default, rather than by dragging - “Return/Enter” key switches mouse mode
  • Mouse flight: Left click or space to fire
  • Mouse flight: AWSD/Cursor keys strafe your ship up/down+left/right
  • Strafing is an energy transfer from your forward momentum, zero speed = zero strafing
  • Strafing transfers 1/4 of your forward velocity to a lateral direction
  • Turn speed is a function of your engine output - starting at quarter speed at zero velocity
  • Mouse dead zone inside target reticle
  • Max turn speed achieved by moving halfway off center, rather than full screen.
  • Moving mouse to edges of screen will also center ship (as well as in center); so you don’t go into a unsettling spin when mousing out of the browser window.

Other changes

  • Guns cycle x3 faster, but each plasma bolt does 1/3 damage
  • Server message round trip time displayed rather than latency (one way previously)
  • Faster end of match forwarding (still will take a few seconds though)
  • Roll speed doubled
  • Speed transitions between levels rather than instantly changing - no instant stops
  • Indicator bar on speed dial for your target velocity


  • Double turn speed (mouse+keyboard) has been removed
  • Uniform maximum rotation - previously if you maxed pitch and yaw the additive rotation would be much higher than your max total rotation speed, now if you are rotating up/down, left/right or a comibation the max rotation speed is the same. Equally this applies to strafing the total displacement from a combined strafe, is the same as a single direction strafe
  • Stuck turn keys should now be resolved
  • Name - undefined - has been resolved during match

Obviously these are trial settings and we value your feedback on how these changes work out. Next post linking some of the feedback considered.

Really looking forward to strafing!

Mouse flight by default, rather than by dragging
Mouse flight: Left click or space to fire
Speed controls + and - added for velocity changes

Speed transitions between levels rather than instantly changing - no instant stops

Double turn speed (mouse+keyboard) has been removed

Roll speed doubled

Mouse flight: AWSD/Cursor keys strafe your ship up/down+left/right

Turn speed is a function of your engine output - starting at quarter speed at zero velocity
Strafing is an energy transfer from your forward momentum and slows you down, zero speed = zero strafing

Earlier QA follow ups

Mouse off center as now, else you’d expect your turn speed to be a function of how fast you turn the mouse - rather than as a function of your ship

  • Mouse dead zone inside target reticle
  • Max turn speed achieved by moving halfway off center, rather than full screen.


Speed controls + and - added for velocity changes (also is mousewheel)

Stuck turn keys should now be resolved

Turbo currently is a doubling of turn speed and strafe speed - will see how it goes, may need to revisit this :laughing:

The two new controls systems switchable with the “Enter/Return” key:


There was a snafu with names when we added the bots :frowning:

Alrighty people - this was a bit of a surprise ambush set of changes today - and quite deliberately so!

I think some things worked well, some things show promise (in limited ways and areas), and some things were truly awful.

Rather than tell you what I think, though… please give us all your feedback on everything!

Hello guys!

Well, OK, it wasn’t so good today to be honest. Ok so first about the new controls, they’re pretty good, I like the new mouse flight thingy, it’s pretty reactive and works well for that. The mouse click for firing is also good. I found myself alternating between Space-bar and Mouse click. The choice is nice.

Then one thing that changed and that I hated, from the bottom of my soul. Why is the boost now in straight line?? It’s the only evasive maneuver that we have and now it’s utterly useless!!! That made me thinking btw that you could maybe add a cool-down ability for evasion, something that would truly be efficient like a loop or something like this. The cool-down would make sure that it’s not spammed and it would give a shot at the pilot to get out of a tricky situation. Just a thought.

Then another thing that annoyed me, and it’s maybe just me. The firing shots that are now a 800 laser shots per second, while visually pretty cool, made me cut the sound on the game. It’s loud and quite unattractive.

There was also a lot of bugs that you probably noticed. No scoreboard, no names of players during the BOTs phase, and general lagginess when around explosions. I went down so far as 25FPS, which doesn’t happen even in BF4.
My friend Sylens didn’t see the explosions at all and apparently stayed at 60FPS all the time. Not sure why. Anyway you have to be pretty close to the explosion for it to slow you down.

In summary it’s mostly unchanged on the big problem of evasion and the rest is pretty much the same or worse due to some bugs. I’d say I’m getting a bit bored as there are no objectives and trading 1/2 kills for 1 death is a bit redundant.
It would be really nice to work on objectives by the way, something to keep our attention from the shooting and dying ^^

Ok I think that’s it, I’ll post another message if I remember something else later.

Cheers guys! Sorry for a bit of negativeness but it’s part of the deal of beta testers ^^ Keep up the good work and I’m sure we can work things out.

The new system was pretty cool, though I feel pilots who did without it performed better. I was a little unimpressed by the strafing, I expected it to be more significant of a maneuver. But maybe there’s not enough feedback in that regard to really see what’s going on.

I don’t feel that the issue brought up last week was addressed in the slightest. And my video recorded properly this time, so I can present specific cases.

My main concern is that it’s just too easy to aim. Maneuvering is still rather pointless, and 90% of the time a battle will be determined by who shot first or who had more health. If the intention was to have it be that simple, I’d say remove aiming all together and turn it into a tab-target based game.

I have several scenarios that illustrate this issue:

  1. The best response to being shot at is to turn and shoot back. It’s not to boost and run, it’s not to zig zag unpredictably, it’s to turn into your attacker and do as much damage to them before you die.

  2. DPS trains. I saw time and time again where a long string of ships would start chasing each other. Red, blue, red, blue, red, blue, and they’d all be flying straight and shooting each other in the ass. While I can see this working in a highly communicative team based scenario, ultimately I find it dull gameplay.

  3. The only significant advantages you can gain mid fight is to group target. We could notice this in situations where there’d be a swarm of red in the middle and blues would trickle in and immediately get slaughtered. Eventually red would break off and split up and blue would overtake them and set up shop. Repeat several times throughout the match. I’m sure many others have noticed that the life expectancy of two was far greater than twice the life expectancy of one. Getting lost in the crowd was the only active defensive maneuvering I did and it worked amazingly.

I still adamantly believe that all of these issues can be completely resolved with the removal of hitscan weapons. With player hurtboxes being so massive and easy to follow, being fast is completely irrelevant with any kind of distance from your enemy. The only reliable way to avoid fire is to mechanically avoid it (as in, to out pace your attacker’s turn speed) rather than to try and skillfully avoid it (by being unpredictable and evasive). At certain angles, projectiles don’t even collide with your enemy when you’re doing damage.

I agree with Konduur that to boost is to die. I panicked and accidentally hit it and suddenly I became a slightly easier target to hit. To boost is a deathwish. If boosting is going to be like that, I think player should be able to turn it off and on whenever they please.

I agree with Konduur that the high rate of fire is cool, but a little annoying. I’d rather see tracers than plasma balls flying like that.

I disagree with Konduur regarding objectives and goals. I think it’d be better to hammer out something as major as basic combat before adding other gamey things that can mess with the data you get from the alpha play tests. It’s my personal believe that first and foremost anyone coming to these Saturday matches should be here to volunteer their time as testers with the intent of testing the game, and their fun should be derived from that rather than the game itself.

And now other suggestions:
Add an element of gradient/acceleration to the mouse turning to aid with precision. Make the turn power per mouse distance from center a non-linear function.

Actually I forgot the rest.

I also don’t like the boost being a straight line, since it was really easy for me to get shot, and a lot of times I kept accidentally hitting it when trying to accelarate, essentially trapping me in that straight line, and strafing didn’t do much to help there.

That’s another thing, while the strafing worked, the movement was minimal, so I question the usefulness of it. Perhaps if we can strafe faster or be able to slide along while firing, then that could be a useful mechanic.

The shots being faster did look cooler, but like Konduur mentioned it makes too much noise. I am more concerned that the extra amount of visuals might cause more lag. There were a few times when there were gaps and the shots seemed to slow down.

I didn’t really have any other problems with lag or explosions, but I couldn’t see scores or the scoreboard. I did notice that the shape of the battle was different. Other times it was a big area of ships flying in all directions shooting and chasing, but this time it seemed that it was just walls of ships heading towards each other. I constantly found myself going head to head with a wall of enemies and having a hard time finding someone to chase.

The dead space in the aiming reticle made it easy to have a spot where the mouse wouldn’t move the ships aim, but it also made it harder to aim when I needed to make a small adjustment. I couldn’t make a small adjustment with the mouse, because I had to move it to the other side of the reticle and most of the time I would move it too much. In that case I preferred the classic control.

I also like the slower turning when traveling at a slower speed, that way one can’t just sit there and shoot everywhere.

I agree with Romeo, that the basic combat mechanics should be figured out first, and then build from there.

Very useful feedback - mirroring many of my thoughts, but also highlighting some things I hadn’t expected. VT feedback with commentary (PsychoRomeo) would be very useful indeed, as it removes the likelihood of misunderstandings.

You guys are all very awesome for helping us out with this. We need to get this right, otherwise everything else we plan to do will founder on the rock of “unsatisfying PvP mechanics”.

I’ll wait to see if any more comments come through before running through the main points one-by-one.

Also, please note that we’re not having a test next Saturday - we’re skipping a week to get some larger step changes into the system. So the next alpha playtest will be June 28th at the usual time.



I like the new turning system, much improved over the system from last week. Now that the problems with the turning system have been resolved, the main issue that resides is the weapon. The plasma cannon in its current state is completely overpowered and evasion of a distant enemy is impossible. The only tactic that I have seen to be effective is to try and fly behind your enemy. This is impossible at a distant as you take too much damage and die before you can get behind your enemy. Turbo is now a deathtrap and I did not use it for much of the game, really only when I spawned and needed to get closer to the fray.

I disagree with what Konduur said about adding objectives as the worst thing that can happen to a game is to have unbalanced game play that leaves only one path to victory. These are alpha tests, many times I see it listed as pre-alpha, so there is basic game play but our time invested now will make it a much better game in the future.

Yes, but do remember that this is alpha testing, really pre-alpha, imagine when there is a multitude of different ships and activated abilities (really just a piece of tech with a cool down time) that could change the course of a battle. I do not see this as a problem in the full game, but it shows in the alpha testing.

Finally, the main problem that remains is the plasma cannon. The plasma cannon is a short-medium range weapon. If you are close to your target, it is very effective, but at a distance it fails utterly. Currently it is very effective at any distance and this makes it overpowered. The most obvious solution is to make it a non hitscan weapon, but if the Dev team has something else in mind, that may work too.

I really like how the Dev teams works with the players to make a more enjoyable experience.

Here’s the video. When I’m not so sleepy I’ll make note of some of the significant times that illustrate some of the more common issues everyone’s having.

I’ve yet to try the new version, but…

Thanks for increasing the roll and changing the thrust keys.

I guess a linear thrust acceleration would make following enemy ships much easier… in an actual airplane dogfight pre-missile era, ability to accelerate/turn make a big difference.

Here every ship is the same so the variable between getting blown up and not is whether you manage to suddenly stop your ship and allow the other plane to overshoot. (neat trick, that!) So yeah, perhaps some sort of timer on a sudden deceleration action would help keep it interesting? (acceleration might not be so useful though, since the other guy usually accelerates too… deceleration makes it possible for the pursuer to suddenly lose visual contact.)

I don’t really agree with this at all. Generally if a pilot falls for that it’s because they were to close to begin with. While it is a neat trick when it happens, I think it’s going to be due to another element of the situation, something more fundamental (such as a bizarre approach angle). Point being I think overshooting is a symptom, and speed modification as a defensive maneuver with that intent isn’t really a good tactical decision.

This weeks release notes are posted: