Nuggets for Nuggets | Propulsion and Thrust

Hello Citizens and Civilians, and welcome to our new blog version of Nuggets for Nuggets! As well as giving you new, exciting, bite-sized tidbits of information during the show, we thought we’d post them all here for your viewing pleasure!

Propulsion and Thrust

There are at least 4 kinds of space propulsion that we know about in the game.  Maneuvering thrusters, main thrusters, jump engines and jump points.

This game is going to be a quasi-Newtonian, real-as-possible-without-sacrificing-fun-gameplay-or-cool-immersion experience.  Laser guns will still go pew-pew in the vacuum of space, and by and large, your F7C Hornet will fly much like a P51 Mustang.  But, unlike WWII fighters, in order to achieve the yaws, pitches and rolls you need to dive in on your opponent’s six, you’re gonna need maneuvering jets, not ailerons and elevators.  Ranging in number from 6 on the Aurora to 16 on the Cutlass to who knows how many on the X’ian scout, these jets will provide in-engine impulses to your digital airframe to get your nose pointed in the right direction.

And when you do get pointed the right way, your main thrusters will provide you the power to get where you’re going.  All playable ships – with the apparent exception of the Xi’an Scout – will have one to eight main thrusters to provide powered flight.  The In Flight Control System is still a work in progress, and we’ll link you to the developer thread where the programmers are discussing it with the community.  Right now, the system is evolving in the direction of making your maneuvering thrusters and main thrusters work together in different ways.   Depending on the quality and type of avionics you have installed AND whether or not you have certain safety and stability features turned on, you might be nimble as a jackrabbit or graceful as an elephant with a hangover.

This game is quasi-Newtonian, so you’d think that you could just light the fires and accelerate to infinity and beyond.  Well, not so fast.  Your top speed in Newtonian space will be limited for in-fiction safety reasons – to prevent you from jellifying yourself in a tight turn.  Also, for in-game reasons: this is supposed to be WWII dogfighting in space, not Space Invaders on amphetamines.  

Also, even the best science-fictiony chemical thrusters aren’t practical for interplanetary travel.  Space, is big. Really big.  I mean, you may think it’s a long way down the road to the chemist’s, but that’s just peanuts to space!   For really long trips – like from planetary orbit to a jump point – you need a jump engine.  The details are still under development, but as far as we can figure out right now, it’s going to feel like when Firefly’s Serenity did one of its main engine burns.  

In-fiction, lighting this drive off will result in travel at a not-insignificant fraction of lightspeed toward your destination.  In-game, you’ll likely be switching instances from orbit to jump point.  In-fiction, EM, gravitational or physical disturbances might cause your jump drive to cut out.  In game, the system might decide to throw a random encounter at you and force you to deal with a rogue asteroid or hostile intercept.

And finally, we come to the depths of interstellar space.  To get from here to light years from here, you need to traverse a jump point.  Your jump engine will reconfigure itself and interact with your avionics to easily and safely cross any and all charted jump points stored in your computer.  Is this point uncharted?  Are your charts outdated or incomplete?  Well, things just got a whole lot more exciting for you.  Hopefully they can recover your escape pod. 

So, what’s in a name? Well a ‘nugget’, as well as being a small, bite-sized piece of information is also the name for a trainee pilot. Nuggets for Nuggets is a weekly section of the show where we delve into the mechanics of Star Citizen and give you the gory details from the inside out. As the game is still in active development, all the information given is subject to change but we will revisit sections in the future to bring you up to speed.







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