A video demonstration of "Combat Landings," showing off some new FS2_Open engine features and a flight of Vipers on final approach.
Posted by sushi_cw on Jun 7th, 2011
One of the FS2_Open engine features we've been working on is adding support for BSG-style "combat landings," where ships fly into a landing bay and skid to a halt. Without further ado, a quick&dirty FRAPS capture demonstrating this working, (music by Phrey, original for Diaspora):
We had to add a few new features to make this possible. For example, in regular FS2_Open, collisions are extremely bouncy: it works fine in the context of the game, but presents a problem when you try to land because the ship behaves like it is on springs. We made some tweaks to the physics engine so that we could have more control over the collision physics, and allow relatively smooth touchdown&slide maneuvers.
Another obstacle was the AI: the path-following algorithms used by the FS2_Open engine were created and tuned with different ships and physics in mind, and did not work well with what we had created for Diaspora. We were able to improve the pathing algorithms so that ships would do things like adjust for their momentum when following paths.
Beyond that, the rest just comes from the judicious use of SEXPs (FS2_Open 's built-in scripting language) to have the AI slow down and glide onto the deck once inside the flight pod. The overall effect looks pretty nice, and although there is still room for improvement, should give you a taste of what landing a Viper feels like.
The music also deserves a mention: this is another track by Phrey, created specifically for the end of a mission when the FTL clock is counting down and you need to get your bird home or be left behind. It's a wonderful piece of work, and really helps build tension right at the end of the mission.