Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Artificial Gravity in Space Engineers

In this blog-post I will describe the solutions we considered and tried in Space Engineers regarding artificial gravity, I will reveal the one we finally chose and explain how close to realism it is. 

Warning: Space Engineers is still in development. Everything in the game is subject to change. 


Why do we need gravity in Space Engineers? 


Humans need gravity to avoid adverse health effects of weightlessness during long-term space travel and habitation. Natural movement such as running and jumping requires Earth-like gravity as well. 

A game with no gravity (player moves only by jetpack) offers limited experience. Furthermore, the construction constraints that are imposed on players building space stations in a gravity-enabled environment are vastly different from a situation where gravity isn’t possible. 


Scientifically correct solutions 


These are the scientifically correct methods for producing artificial gravity. Unfortunately, none is suitable for our game.

  • Rotation (centrifugal force) – generated by a large rotating ring (example: “2001: A Space Odyssey”). The gravity felt by the objects is simply the reaction force of the object on the hull reacting to the centripetal force of the hull on the object. This method wouldn’t work on static asteroids and it’s too impractical for our game. Although, this method may become available if we decide to implement the “rotating motor module”.
  • Linear acceleration – when a spacecraft accelerates in a straight line, it is forcing objects inside the spacecraft in the opposite direction, thus providing g-force. Gravity would be present only during the acceleration and deceleration. This method is impractical as well and is not “player friendly”.
  • Mass – this is in fact the natural gravity. To create Earth-like gravity, you would need an object of equal mass (not necessary size). Asteroids don’t have enough mass to generate noticeable gravity and can be discarded as a gravity source.
  • Magnetism - similar effect to gravity has been created through diamagnetism. It requires magnets with extremely powerful magnetic fields; yet it required a magnet and system that weighed thousands of kilograms, was kept superconductive with expensive cryogenics, and required megawatts of power. With such extremely strong magnetic fields, safety for use by humans is unclear.

 

Solutions we tried and discarded


  • Magnetic boots – those would allow an astronaut to attach himself to the ferrous floor or hull and walk. This must not be confused with artificial gravity, as the person would still perceive weightlessness. Running, jumping and advanced movement wouldn’t be possible. Boots wouldn’t work on an asteroid surface and the astronaut would get pulled down only if there’s a surface under his feet - if he steps out of a platform and the closest surface is meters below him, nothing would pull him down and he would just float in space. He wouldn’t fall.
  • Spherical gravitational field – a hypothetical gravity generator that would exert an attractive force on all objects in its proximity, equally in all directions. In other words, objects would fall towards the generator’s center. This is how it works on Earth – every object falls to Earth’s center. We tried this method and it’s not suitable for small surfaces found on mother ships. It would require a very large surface to neglect the radial nature of this type of gravitational field. Imagine this: you move on a flat surface and a gravity generator is somewhere below you. The gravity force pulls you to the generator’s center and this vector keeps changing as you move on that flat surface.

 

Artificial gravity in Space Engineers 


We had to accept the fact that there are no feasible solutions for producing artificial gravity. Therefore, the direction we followed is shaped by the requirement of intuitive game-play and not by our drive for realism.

Gravity generators are modules that consume energy and produce unidirectional gravitational force – a vector that’s parallel to the generator’s main axis. Let’s put it this way – a gravity generator installed on a platform will pull down all objects above and below this platform.



A gravity generator has an effective radius of 150 meters. Gravity forces from multiple overlaying gravity generators aggregate.

Gravity generators don’t have mass proportional to their gravitational force, as this would require extremely powerful thrusters to move a ship if it had gravity generators installed.

The purpose of this screenshot is to show how gravity generators aggregate their force. There are five gravity generators; green lines demonstrate the direction of pull/fall. Notice the gravity indicator in the right-bottom corner: grey lines show all gravity vectors and the white line shows the final aggregated gravity.



The HUD indicator tells you that there’s no gravity source near you.




Actual limitations in Space Engineers


Gravity affects astronauts and small objects only.

Gravity doesn’t affect asteroids, small and large ships, static objects and astronauts who have jetpacks on.

We plan to reevaluate this model and enable gravity on more types of objects. Right now we have to stick with this. Also, in the future we should redo how gravity influences character animation (running and jumping in high gravity environment, running in multi-gravity environment with vectors changing each step, climbing on a ladder heads-down, etc.) 

Since our implementation of gravity is not natural (we are breaking the laws of physics here), some obscure situations have emerged and we have to solve them carefully before we enable gravity on every type of object:
  • Imagine a scene with two mother ships, each one having its own gravity generator. The problems occur once the gravity generator on the first ship starts pulling the second ship, and the gravity generator on the second ship starts pulling the first ship. The ships get in contact and one ship will push (not pull) the other. It’s funny that sci-fi movies don’t consider this effect; probably nobody ever tried to simulate it.
  • Imagine operating a jetpack in gravity-enabled environment, especially if there’s no certain way to tell where’s up and down and there can be potentially multiple gravity fields
  • Imagine piloting a small ship in a field of multiple arbitrarily oriented gravity fields

 

 

Conclusion 


It’s interesting that our universe is configured precisely the way it is. One slight deviation to the algorithms and constants that regulate it and things don’t work anymore. 

Trying to replicate the reality – when developing a sandbox game – proved to be useful. No need to reinvent the wheel; nature already did its job. 

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Thanks for reading this!

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Warning: Space Engineers is still in development. Everything in the game is subject to change. 

UPDATED: Forum thread for this blog-post: http://forums.keenswh.com/post/gravgens-6530078

85 comments:

  1. Amazing! Looks like you found a good way to make artificial gravity in space engineers. Cant wait to try it out in game! ;)

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  2. This is one of the most fascinating and impatiently intriguing games I
    have seen in a long time.

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  3. Brilliant. I don't want to be 'that guy', but what about gravity plating (or paint) that creates a small cube or sphere of 'gravity' directly in front of it, with the gravity pointing towards it. The size of the cube would be based on the size of the plate, so a 1 meter plate would make a 1 meter cube. I'm no Trek expert but I think the this is the Star Trek explanation? The cool thing about this is you can go around plating any surface you want to be walkable, and even create large rooms where the walls and ceilings can have their own 'gravities' without effecting each other.

    I'm just thinking out loud here, there may be other constraints that prevent this from working that I haven't considered.

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    1. Thanks for the reply. Isn't your proposed solution similar to "magnetic boots"?

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    2. Well I was hoping by having a fairly small box of gravity it would allow for running and jumping without 'detaching' from the surfaces gravity. Assuming a player wouldn't be able to jump higher than a meter that is, and that even if only a portion of the player was in the gravity influence the whole player would be effected. Also it would mean that not all surfaces are 'walkable' unless they are 'plated'.

      From a scifi point of view they would be in full 1g the whole time they are walking down a grav plated corridor, but as soon as they leave the plated area they would be in 0g.

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    3. Yes, this is exactly what we tried with magnetic boots. It worked, but when you stepped out of a platform (there was nothing near under your feet) you didn't fall.

      It felt very strange.

      It was like if you run out of a cliff and don't fall because everything under you is so distance that it can't pull you :-)

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    4. Why not have the field "spill out" from the surface a little, giving the astronaut a little "downwards" acceleration when they step off? This could also be a toggle-able option, when you actually don't want that kind of effect.

      Another thought: why not make the field created by the generator rectangular, with adjustable dimensions in all six (or just three) directions (or coming in multiple sizes...)? You'd then be able to create a field encompassing you entire ship (roughly) without the potential limitations of having to design your ship/station around a sphere.

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    5. Hah, well I kinda like the sound of that description of the 'magnetic boots'! I suppose it will take some testing to see what most people prefer and what feels most 'natural' to the player.

      Another option could be to have multiple gravity options for the players to be able to choose! (the hud could even warn you what kind of gravity field you are in).

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    6. I like this idea - also the points someone said below about having square fields, in addition to magboots. I want to tromp around in magboots dangit!

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    7. I like the idea for creating rectangular gravity fields around ships/stations, being able to define the exact area that is influenced by the gravity generator would be fun. With multiple generators you could have overlapping fields if still wanted that...

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    8. I like the idea of using gravity generator blocks to mark out a pre-defined area so that gravity only exists within that area. The direction and strength of the gravity can be set by the player to meet his/her wishes. This way, ships and structures of any size can have their own custom gravity. Here's an example of this feature at work: Let's say you have a ship that has a catwalk or a balcony that the player can walk off. That same ship also has gravity generators along the outside that mark out the inside area of where the gravity would exist. The player can walk off the catwalk inside the ship and fall to the floor of the ship.
      Then, the player can walk out of the ship, into the void of space, and start to float because the gravity is only found inside the ship. I think this is what players would expect to happen in this scenario because we already find it strange when we walk out of our ship, expecting to float in space and only to find that we start falling into empty space. So, this solution would be best for solving that problem. On another note, planets, if they are added in the future, can have their own natural gravity field. Also, the gravity inside a ship should be automatically shut off when inside a planet's gravitational field so that there is a smooth transition between the ship's artificial gravity and the planet's natural gravity. Asteroids, like in real life, should have their own very weak natural gravity field. The ship's interior gravity will not be affected by the asteroid's gravity.

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    9. A little late to the conversation here, but I really do think that gravity plating idea is one of the better ways to implement it in the Space Engineers environment. Consider using it like a cosmetic attachment, similar to how interior lights are placed on the surface of blocks now. Make the visual a light mesh that is nearly invisible, so the color of the block below is not lost.

      For the mechanics of it, the "pull" of the gravity plating is directly normal to the plating, in the down (towards the block it was placed on) direction. The pull of that plating is 1 block wide, straight up, a set distance OR until any armor block is encountered. That serves to localize the gravity effect, lets you shape the fields you want, and prevents the gravity field from extending outside your structure.

      Require a gravity generator to be within a set radius to power the plating's effect...

      Anyhow, my take on it. Seems like that could make for some very interesting gravity mechanics (and very creative ship/station designs).

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  4. Oh and I forgot to mention, this game looks excellent and I cant wait to try it out!

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  5. can you place gravity generators on angled surfaces?

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  6. >It felt very strange.
    In the trailer (0:43) it didn't felt strange at all to me.
    However, my two cents:
    1 - With your system it will be really hard to maintain consistent gravity across bigger ships - you will either have holes with no gravity or slices with too much gravity, or both. So you should consider a)making area of effect more blocky and predictable and b)making the force constant 1g even when direction is given by multiple generators.
    2 - You don't have to limit yourself to only one type of gravity generators. You can have your current AoE ones AND 1-block-above gravity floors. And those central-pulling ones too. You personally may not like them, but I can imagine some AMAISING ship designs with that thing.

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    1. I second the motion of having the gravity at 1g no matter how many generators you have. This way you can put the generators at overlapping distances to cover your entire ships with no adverse effects. Though it could be kind of cool if you hand blind spots ^^

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    2. Why not make it possible to "link" generators, so that they act as one unit and create 1g, but also allowing the inverse, where you can have more than 1g? This would enable large ships to have "consistent" gravity fields, but then also let you use the niche situation more than 1g uses as well.

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    3. Add both the ability to make units act in tandem and individually, so that you can have consistent fields where you want them, and stronger fields when you need them (like a launch gate for small fighter craft, by stacking them you can have a very rapid accel out to fight).

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  7. I think the type of magnetic generator you're using seems like a good idea, but i also think magnetic boots should still be implemented to some extent as well, because they just sort of make sense.

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    1. I agree with Cam. Not exactly a vital feature but magnetic boots could be a neat feature. For example, your gravity generators break down / lose power and you have to space walk to fix them. Personally I would have more fun with magnetic boots walking around on my hull instead of just jetpacking over to them.

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    2. I agree too. I think the artificial gravity generators are an excellent solution, but the jetpack right now feels too powerful. I definitely still want it and the generators to be in the game, but it seems like it would be cooler if you could decide to play with something like magnetic boots instead of the jetpack. This presents the problem of moving between two different things, and I understand it would be hard to have the player be able to push off of things, so maybe if magnetic boots were added then the player's jetpack would need to recharge between firings or somthing of that nature.

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    3. The jetpack felt too powerful for me as well, i built ladders between floors and couldn't figure out when I would ever use them, because if the gravity goes out, I have a jetpack, and its about 4-5x faster to use it than climb the ladders.

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    4. YES, I would love to be able to switch on my magnetic boots, then walk onto the outside of my ships hull while it spins out of control, but able to fix it!

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    5. YES! One of the things that really bugged me was I was in a large ship, and I turned of my generators so the ship would cruise on its momentum, got out of the pilot seat, and was plastered to the back wall of the command room. My jetpack couldn't fly as fast as the ship, so I had to just cut my way out and lose the ship (I couldn't reach the chair again). Magnetic boots would fix this as they would give you a way to hang onto a ship without gravity/power (a very important ability in a space combat environment).

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    6. The problem there is more the flawed, maximum velocity in reference to immobile station block grid, instead of allowing you to go as fast as the ship is. Your top speed, not your actual thrust, is causing you to be pinned to the wall. If all objects could handle a speed, based on their size (larger is slower maximum) but not effecting thrust, it would probably be pretty workable.

      if you removed the top speed limit on jetpack motion, you could navigate in any ship easily. You might even observe centrifical force on rotating ships. Jetpack probably ought also be effected by gravity fields, so long as you add certain critical limitations. (ensure that you don't fall out of the ship)

      Here is a few other ideas.
      Make gravity require something on the same hull in two polar opposite directions of the effected object to be effected. so, it will conform to your ship, and will only work inside a ship. Possibly instead only check downards specifically. It would give you gravity outside in a number of places, and if you have a bottom hole in the ship, you would be unable to fall out.
      Having the generator startup, and calculate all of this, and set up persistent fields, which then do not change without rebooting the generator, could have fun effects if you take combat damage.

      Make gravity falloff over distance, but still facing downwards, with strength from(max(x-distance,0)).

      This may require a significant amount of generators, which is intended (instead of a single generator covering a whole ship). You would use this, possibly with a strength, and range modification bar (strength being the base g, and range is how far before it is nullified), and larger, more powerful generators.
      Rather than combine 2 or more gravity fields, perhaps instead have the strongest one steal some force from the other generators. (up to 1 g maximum, rest gets added normally) This would allow, if placed and tuned correctly, you to have wall-transit.

      Add xy, and xyz axis generators (or allow it to be set inside the console)so as to allow all feasible surfaces to be covered.

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  8. So how would this system work for hangars in ships? Since you said it doesn't affect small ships.

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  9. So if small ships aren't affected by gravity, how would you go about making a hanger deck on a large ship without your small ships flying all over the place? Could the landing gear be made to be magnetic?

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    1. Yes, landing gear is something we should do at some point. Gravity wouldn't help here, because small ships in hanger would jump around during acceleration and deceleration anyway.

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    2. That's true. Though, it would seem odd to me if a fighter just drifted off from an asteroid base within range of a gravgen just because you bumped it.

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    3. My suggestion would be to add anti-grav generators as well with the simple function of removing a limited size object from the gravity calculations.

      Say you have a small ship with such a generator. When the ship is landed and "turned off" the anti-grav-generator would not work so it would get pulled down by the gravity generator. When the ship launches the anti-grav-generator kicks in (maybe slowly not instantly) and the ship becomes weightless and needs to be controlled by thrusters.

      This way you could have both: Realistic gravity assisted landings and navigating throzugh fields with many generators without unplayable interference. And it would save you processing time - when the anti-grav-generator is on, the ship simply isn't affected by gravity anymore.

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    4. Yeah, anti-grav that depends on the state of thrusters is something we are considering.

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    5. You know, with the current state of gravity research, it does not seem outside the realm of possibility that in 60-100 years we could have limited functioning gravity manipulation. I don't think you would be violating the "reality is the best designer" principle by making gravity neutralization fields, focused gravity generators, or shaped gravity fields.

      It does seem like it may be a kind of iteration-based design process, especially after the game comes on on early release. See if the changes are fun without shifting the focus of the game completely to gravity manipulation.

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    6. Another great idea, being able to equip a small ship with an anti-gravity generator, it's very much in-line with being able to "turn off" the gravity when enabling jet pack, makes sense to have the same apply to ships... :)

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  10. Does gravity gen fields go trough ships "outerhull/walls?" it would be kinda weird when field extends out from ship if you go and try some spacewalk near your ship and suddenly there is gravity outside :P

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    1. Except that gravity does not affect jetpacking characters.

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  11. Please do look into having gravity affect other items. I want gravity generators like the ones in Larry Niven's Known Space books.

    I want to build mass projectors, gravity traps, and other impossible architecture.

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    1. A rather extreme thought: How about a gravity mine?

      Imagine a construction consisting of x gravity generators overlaping. Have this structure disguised as an asteroid to mine or something that will attract evil players. And once they get in range of our little gravity mine the generators turn on and tear the enemy ship appart. ^^

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  12. I agree with Teodzero in that the gravity generators should follow the block styled grid along with the build grid, and should be consistent with the maximum amount evenly being 1G. However, maybe the generators should only affect the specific planar area, or within the confines of a particular building.

    Say, for instance, you build a multiple-layered ship modeled like the ones in the alpha footage, and install a large gravity generator. The generator would "project" the 1G gravity, causing it to affect anything connecting to the ship from the inside. Once it has touched the final outer layers of the ship, the gravity would be held within the ship, only affecting the inside rooms, corridors, and hanger bays pointing in the direction the generator is sitting. That way, when you leave the confines of the ship, you also leave the generator's projection of gravity, and therefore the confines of gravity within the ship.

    This can be realized when one player can land upside-down on the belly of the ship outside compared to another player who is walking parallel to the generator's projection inside the ship's corridors.

    Also, astronauts with jetpacks should have to fight against the gravity they are in if they want to fly, otherwise there is no point to have the gravity actually take affect on astronauts, as you could just have any or all players decide to put on a jetpack and defy the gravity of someone's ship.

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    1. While I like your idea, what if you plan on having a generator on an outside area, like on a wing, or an incomplete build? Could you only use it on the inside of a ship or station? What if I want to party with my friends on all six sides of a cube-shaped spaceship?

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    2. You install generator at any place, there just has to be nuclear reactor nearby.

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    3. Well, like I said, the generator could affect the specific planar area OR the entire inside of an enclosed building. So if you have it on the outside, the generator would only affect the area within the geometric plane it's sitting on, while if it is actually within a large ship, it would project the gravity to the entire inside of the ship, and restrict it's gravity once it's touched a barrier, like a wall or the ceiling, to the inner areas.

      And Marek, would there have to be a specific connection to the nuclear reactor, via wires and such, or would it be affected via proximity (as in, would it have to stay within a certain distance to it to provide the power)?

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    4. Thomas, almost every block in the game conducts electricity, even armor. To get electricity from a reactor to thrusters, you just need to have some blocks that connect them.

      We didn't make special blocks for wires, they would eat up some space, ship design would have to count with them, etc... but we considered it for a long time and perhaps we will get back to this idea.

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    5. My suggestion would be to divide devices into high and low power. Low power devices could be powered by small cables "inside every block".
      High power devices like thrusters would require special cable blocks to connect them. This could add some level of tactical designing for multiplayer as well as a well placed weapons hit could potentially disable half the ship.
      The same way I would also add fuel cells that would explode if hit, making it necessary to construct the area around them in order to protect them or minimize damage if they blow.

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    6. I actually like Marek's original idea, as it makes things a whole lot simpler. Unless you wanted specifically complicated mechanisms, it would save a lot of time.

      Anyways, I looked up Shattered Horizon, a space-combat FPS game between different astronauts in zero G, and they have this thing called the "attachment" feature. Basically, when you use the button to rocket downwards onto a surface, it will keep you on that surface until you rocket back off. The system acknowledges your presence on that surface and creates a sort of artificial gravity up until you launch off. You can still run off of ledges and stuff, but if you want to stay on a curved or edged surface, you just hold down the rocket down button as you walk forward, and you'll just simply walk downwards. It's like magnetic boots, but it's less specific and can help with running around on asteroids and strangely-shaped surfaces.

      I dunno, just a thought. I like it more than the original generator idea.

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    7. Thomas, you just remind me that we actually considered "jetpack push" as a way how to simulate gravity, or at least allow walking. In this idea, jetpack would push you at all times perpendicular to the surface below you.

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    8. Sounds like a great way to implement walking on asteroids :)

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  13. Can't wait for this game to come out, when will the game be available on steam early accsess??

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  14. Have you considered an implementation similar to Dead Space? Ships can have gravity, but where it has failed or on the exterior hull of the ship the player's suit can activate a "sync" mode with magnetic boots that aligns and lands them on the nearest metallic surface. It would offer a good fallback in case your ship's gravity generator is damaged or you have to latch onto a passing ship.

    I'm very interested in how you are handling landing smaller ships on motherships, in internal bays etc. and having them move with that ship. Starmade uses a very static docking system for this (not terribly fun), but it seemed in your latest video that the smaller ship was able to sit in a bay, held down with gravity and unaffected by the impact of the two larger vessels.

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  15. I like your "reality is the best designer" principle. Though as a big fan of scifi movies and series like 2001, 2010, Space Cowboys, Babylon 5 etc. I can't wait to test some of their designs, mix 'em and construct something on my own. The posters above mentioned some great ideas and solutions. So why not put some together and try it in the early release you're bringing 'soon' ? ;)

    If I were to set the way it is I would choose this:
    -The gravitation of mass should be ingame. Planets and other big objects have an impact and it's right to be there(Maybe I've been playing too much Kerbal...)
    -Rotational gravity in vessels and space stations like Babylon 5 or the wheel-like-station in 2010 seem very attracting to me. God I hope this game gets a multiplayer-part too! XD
    -magnetic boots as a emergency-solution for GravGen-failure seem right. Well I wouldn't switch them on often though.
    -the GravGen which affects all platforms in one layer it is attached to seems kind of scifi but if you can't maintain rotational grav this seems necessary
    -the AntigravGen for smaller vessels or motherships with the ability to land on planets is not invented yet but would solve some of the problems mentioned on September 18, 2013 at 2:43 PM...

    Regardless which path you choose with gravitation I'll be likely purchasing the game on steam as soon as it's available.
    Keep up the good work! =D

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  16. Will we be able to turn gravity generators on and off in some easy way? Like a button connected to multiple gravíty generators or some cool stuff?

    I had this idea, if someone gets aboard your ship and trying to mess with you, you can change the gravity genetors so someone falls up onto the roof onto some spikes or out of the ship through some trapdoor that also opens with the same button as the gravity generators.

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    1. Yes, you can control all modules that are connected to a grid. In other words, if you have a mother ships and it's made of "blocks", they all are connected, so they carry electricity and "network" signal.

      When you connect to some block that has a terminal on it (e.g. reactor, cockpit, ...), you gain access to the whole network and can turn on/off any block in that grid, check its status, inventory, etc.

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    2. So on a ship, you can have a Terminal that controls all blocks connected to the terminal.

      How are the blocks connected to each other and the terminal?

      Also I guess we can have more than 1 terminal controling each block?

      It would be cool if we could open up a block and have wires inside of them, or maybe it would get too complicated.

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    3. Different types of blocks can have terminal, e.g. doors, reactor, cargo container, etc.

      Terminal itself is not a block, it's just a "feature" on a block.

      Blocks in a grid are connected if they are next to each other, then they carry electricity and networking signal. If you split a ship in half, blocks in those two separated parts won't be able to "talk to each other"

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    4. Are terminals different from each other?

      Like it would seem weird if a door terminal could control a reactor for example.

      If a ship splits in half, can we control both part of the ship?

      Like if a ship gets split in half like in the epic trailer, can we save the ship somehow? Or do we just take the main part and start repairing it like the small ship during the intro of the trailer?

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  17. Yes terminals are the same. It's just a connection to the network. You can see it as "remote desktop" in Windows.

    Yes, if ship splits in half, it becomes two separate objects. You can control both of them if you have cockpit/reactor/thrusters/gyro on that part and you are sitting in that cockpit.

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    1. SO what is stopping someone from sneaking up to your mothership and attaching parts to it to take control or sabotage?

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    2. Yeah, anyone can sneak in your ship and take control. Or disassemble it and use those components to build his own ship :-)

      Hehe, I guess what will stop them is: turrets, radar and the time it requires to do these things. This will be fun!

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  18. Hi Marek, i had an idea for a really cool weapon in this game that would take advantage of the destruction system. I thought of using a mass driver type weapon, like a magnetic accelerator cannon, that would shoot solid slugs that would smash holes in ships and perhaps even go all the way through.

    I was thinking that using different sized ones could be used such as smaller ones that shoot a much smaller caliber and larger ones that might even span a large amount of the ship, like a 8 meter long barrel that can be built around, that would fire a much larger caliber and punch holes in ships. This could be useful as it would break connections between vital objects, destroy things such as reactors and it would look really cool with your destruction engine. :D

    It is also in line with reality as they are being made currently using electromagnets and fire depleted uranium slugs.

    If you want to see a really good example look here:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6BfU-wMwL2U

    Thanks for the consideration, i just thought it would be a really awesome weapon to have in this game.
    Sorry for the long post :)

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    1. that is a fantastic idea, and should work really well with the destruction physics, although it sounds fairley OP, make it use gargantuan amounts of power and have a really slow reload so its not simply a rape machine

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    2. I utterly love the idea of mass drivers or mass accelerator cannons or whatever you prefer to call them and I apologise ahead of time for the length of this post…

      You could make 2 different types of mass drivers; a stationary (a version that only points in the direction it was assembled on the ship) and a smaller turret version

      For the larger stationary one I have a few different ideas:

      I think it would be Awesome if you could assemble it on your ship yourself. You could make their 3 parts necessary to construct it
      1: the base of it or where it reloads rounds you could make multiple different sizes and make it so the “barrel” cannot be any wider or taller than its base
      2: the battery a storage device made to release all the energy within the short 1 second long fireing time the bigger you make this battery the more juice you have for firing the gun multiple times (make it require a ridiculous amount of these so if someone. wants to fire rounds consecutively their ship has to be able to store enough power). And lastly you should make it soo that the generators take a certain amount of time to recharge the batteries or just make the batteries require a ridiculous amount of power to fire the gun now idk the numbers you should use but say for a small mass driver (for a ship that’s about say 50 blocks long) it should require 5 large generators to recharge it in 2 min 10 for 1 min and 20 for 30 seconds and just always double the number for every half it takes off or something like that (thanks for baring with me for this long)
      3: last but not least the barrel. you should make it so the barrel can be designed to be as long as the designer made his ship or made the space to hold the weapon and also have a large effect as to how much faster this makes the rounds and damage say for every barrel piece added to it the round goes 10 - 25 m/s faster? (idk if you can do this it would probably be pretty hard to implement but if you can make it the longer the barrel the more special batteries it needs) or just make it do more penetrating damage with the longer the barrel is


      For the small mass drivers you could make them say 5 x 5 x 4 and require say 2 large reactors to operate? Cause mass drivers can cause a huge amount of damage even if their only say 7 meters long probably punch threw both sides of an Abrahams tanks thickest armor parts if the round has enough mass also you could make the small one do more penetrating damage then explosive so it is more made for penetrating and disabling generators per say or to just kill the driver of a fighter rather then destroying the whole ship (which it probably would) (they should be half decently accurate at long ranges) and to balance it out you should make it also need to charge up before firing and just a require a much less amount of power but still allot and give it a 30 second reload time or something now i must admit for the small one this would be kind of over powered so id understand if it wasn’t implemented(or seriously nerfed). And if you read threw that much you are a champ and again I’d like to apologise for the length
      (btw i have to alpha and i uselly use phoenix for my in game names)

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  19. I saw the new screenshots, looks great. I shall stream this game while wearing a space helmet.

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  20. How is falling off cliffs in space more natural than magnetic boots? I'm really disapointed with the current implementation. I think magnetic boots would have been better.

    Look at the game shattered horizon to see how a zero-g FPS can be done well.

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  21. I think small ships should be affected by gravity when powered off

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    Replies
    1. I prefer the idea of an anti-gravity block that can be put on small ships, but both seem tricky to implement, and I'd like to see some more important features first. Still I agree that eventually they should be affected by gravity in some (toggleable) manner.

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  22. Hi! I have few ideas about gravity and terminals. I'm from Russia so if something sound like gibberish, maybe it's because of it, but i will try my best ;)
    So, the main thing that when I walk to the edge of a platform that have gravity, I just fall down... That's annoying, I got used to a "Homeworld" version of a gravity field generators(lets call them GFG), when nothing falls down. Therefor I understand, that making a GFG a center of a gravity field is rediculous idea, in this model you will need to install GFG below a player, so they don't "suck" players to their sides. What I thinking about is a GFG that will affect an closed "room" e.g.: a room that have a corridor with closed door to the space or a hangar of capital ship with force fields/hangar doors shut. This method is a bit tricky, but can be more fun. To neutralize GFG's effects on other ships and objects, their need to shut down if integrity of "room" is compromised e.g.: hangar force fields shut down, door to open space opened or hull breach by another ship/asteroid/object/etc. Thanks to all you guys who still reading, that was a first part ;)
    About terminals, what if not all terminals will be equal? What if ther will be a hacking tool? What if you can set password for a terminal? I think it will be greate! So what I have in mind: 1. You can't access a reactor from a door terminal, because... maybe because it's door :) but you can do this by hacking door terminal with your hacking tool, except you will see just list of unnamed hubs that you can turn off with a random chance(maybe it's too complicated). 2. Maybe it will be fun to implement a "control panel", so when one man is busy piloting big ship, another engineer can take control of ship's systems, like making intruders feel uncomfortable without gravity, manualy controlling turrets or opening landing bay for friends. Also it will be greate if objects on ship can be assigned to groups, so they can be turned on and off simultaneously. Thank you guys for you patience. See you in space!

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  23. First, I have to say that the solution that you guys have come up with for gravity in a practical sense is great and will be very convenient! However, I know that there will be many people out there who will be turned off by not staying true to reality. It would probably be profitable and more fun if you made it so that the player has a choice in the physics settings. So that they have can choose to play conveniently or realistically. Also, a solution to the magnet boots you may want to consider would be giving the boots a little thruster to get out of those floating surface-less situations. Or implementing ropes/tethers that could be constructed in corridors or rooms to latch onto. Also, keep in mind that some situations that players find themselves stuck in are their own construction failures that they ought to learn from, just like true engineers. Remember, we want to be creative, but we don't want to bowl with the bumpers up all the time, where is the skill in that? One more thing. The centrifuge must be added! It is the only known, currently viable way to avoid space adaptation syndrome. and make them in adjustable in size and shape. ie. cylinder or doughnut with adjustable radius and diameter. Sorry I typed so much, but this is for your and the players benefit! Have fun.

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  24. What if one were to make small suicide/missile ships with a gravity generator attached to launch at enemy stations and capital ships? Imagine how much chaos could be achieved.

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  25. GRAVITY BLOCK

    Based on what I've been reading above, gravity blocks would be ideal for large ships, and even for stations. It would really add to the design possibilities: hallways, staircases, rooms with different gravities... design-wise it provides a LOT of potential.

    More specifically, I imagine it like a building block with a transparent force-field texture. This texture should only be visible on the exterior surface of the final volume, except when touching another surface, like the interior walls of a ship, or when surrounding an irregular block, like a generator. It should only be visible on the openings to space, through the shutters of windows, or any other boundaries of the volume.

    The thing gets tougher to solve on angled blocks. The best wat to go about this I think would be to allow gravity blocks to occupy the same space as a building block. This data could be stored as an independent voxel entity for each group of connected gravity blocks, parented to the coordinate system of a ship or station. The direction and magnitude of the gravity in the volume should be computed by how many gravity generators are in it and how they are oriented.

    If a gravity volume has no powered gravity generator within it, it's texture will grayed out or even invisible. The color of the field could be a user selectable feature in the terminal. They could also have the option to be invisible (to allow gravity fields on exterior catwalks without a glowing bounding box around them)

    EDITING GRAVITY

    Something has to be established to distinguish editing gravity blocks from building blocks. This can be acheived by having a specific tool on survival mode (eg: gravity projector/filler, atmosphere generator, whatever), and by only permitting right-click delete of gravity blocks when a gravity block is selected on creative mode. This way, gravity and solid block editing are independent from each other.

    When working on gravity blocks (by having the tool, or a creative gravity block selected), we could see more information related to it, for example wireframe view of gravity voxels (even if they are invisible or not powered on), or a "rain" of arrows to represent the direction of pull no the focused gravity block.

    In this view we could even assign gravity blocks to gravity groups, which would allow havint different gravity volumes touching each other, which could would produce some interesting portal-esque situations where gravity changes on each side of a plane. Gravity groups and most options should also be managed in the terminals.

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  26. GRAVITY ON SHIPS & MULTIPLE GRAVITIES

    The moment a player enters the gravity volume of a ship, its position and movement (whole reference system) should start to be computed relative to the ship, not absolute to the world (to avoid jittering of walls). Realistically, people inside a ship are affected by acceleration, impacts, etc, but this is not desirable for smooth gameplay.

    Inside an accelerating ship, players should only feel a dampened vector of the ship's acceleration, or even none at all. This is unrealistic, I know, it means that the player will not be displaced by the force of an impact if the ship crashes, but we can consider this an expected behaviour of artificially generated sci-fi gravity.

    If we crash and the gravity generator gets damaged, we will immediatelly exit the relative position in the ship and be propelled into absolute space :P

    If a player enters the gravity field of more than one ship or station at the same time, only the gravity of the initial volume he/she is will be used. This is to avoid mysterious pulls when flying next to other ships or stationary gravity generators. Only when a player exits all gravity volumes, or when he completely enters a new one and exits all others, he is released from the previous gravity and position reference.

    Btw, magnetic boots sound like a good idea that could mix in well with all this.

    GRAVITY FALLOFF

    I also think it would be interesting to extend the functionality of the existing gravity generators, and add an option for an incremental effect of gravity, or gravity falloff. By this I mean that a player running away from a gravity generator would be able to jump progressively higher, and a player falling from a ledge, would feel less acceleration as he/she falls, smoothly reaching a constant speed. The jetpack should turn on normally when the effect distance is overpassed.

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  27. "Yes, this is exactly what we tried with magnetic boots. It worked, but when you stepped out of a platform (there was nothing near under your feet) you didn't fall.

    It felt very strange.

    It was like if you run out of a cliff and don't fall because everything under you is so distance that it can't pull you :-)"

    Could you offer this as an option so we can test and decide? I think it feels strange now walking off a platform and falling to nothing.

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  28. I just had an idea for the magnetic boots. I imagine it would be hard to code it so your avatar could realistically push off blocks to drift to other blocks like would be realistic, and it may even be hard to make the character realistically walk off cliffs and start waling down the side realistically (with magnetic boots that is), but what if there was a grab button that worked in a small radius around the player so when their magnetic boots are on they can move across gaps by "grabbing" the block on the other side; causing their boots to connect to the block they "grabbed."

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  29. Im sorry but I absolutly hate this gravity system, it feels like a game killer to me. I would also like to say that the way you can flip an entire ship by having more gravity generators is absolutely ridiculous.

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  30. Awesome, just need it to affect objects now

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  31. Just an idea.. what would happen if the Gravity Generator transforms the Construction itself into a Object like Earth?

    By the way it makes sense to place a Generator close to the Center of any Ship or Station... but i think adding other G-Generator should rather expand the maximum Range of the initial Generator instead of projecting its own, additional, Field.

    Cheers and best wishes with your efforts.

    You already created an excelent Game.

    eMYNOCK - MynoCorp Technologies

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  32. This is very interesting. I'm now pondering the possible end results of, say, a core station block surrounded by opposing gravity generators on all six sides. Or building a cuboid station where the center of each side was a set of gravity generators, spaced to try and get the aggregate gravity set up so that as you reach an edge, you fall forward and then drop towards the new down after a block or three. It might require a very large cube, or rounded cube. And I suspect it might also require a good bit of math or trial and error to get it right.

    Alternatively I wonder at the (admittedly questionable) practicality and viability of a series of transport 'pipes,' where you enter a section, turn on the generator, 'fall' until you exit the field and enter a new section, activate that generator, and proceed, rapidly moving along the pipe network until you reach your destination, wherein you could use a jet pack to move into another, normalized area.

    Of course, that would probably require some sort of timer system on each section, or a sensor array that turns systems on and off based upon the presence of objects/individuals in a specified area.

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  33. THE GREAT science feat in 2013 על מהות ומקור היקום

    The 2013 gravity comprehension/definition is the greatest science feat since the early 1920s.

    Learn what natural gravity is scientifically:
    Think of the consequences re classical science of this comprehension of gravity…

    איך נברא היקום יש מאין
    Origin And Nature of the Universe, the greatest science feat since the early 1920s.

    New Science 2013 versus classical science
    Classical Science Is Anticipated/Replaced By The 2013 Gravity Comprehension !!!

    http://universe-life.com/2014/02/24/gravity/

    Attn classical science hierarchy, including Darwin and Einstein…
    “I hope that now you understand what gravity is and why it is the monotheism of the universe…DH”
    =================================
    Gravity is the natural selection of self-attraction by the elementary particles of an evolving system on their cyclic course towards the self-replication of the system. Period
    ( Gravitons are the elementary particles of the universe. RNA nucleotides genes and serotonin are the elementary particles of Earth life)

    כח המשיכה
    כח המשיכה הוא הבחירה הטבעית להיצמדות הדדית של חלקיקי היסוד של מערכת מתפתחת במהלך התפתחותה המחזורית לעבר שיכפולה. נקודה
    ( הגרוויטון הוא חלקיק היסוד של היקום. הגנים, הנוקלאוטידים של חומצה ריבונוקלאית והסרוטונין הם החלקיקים היסודיים של חיי כדור הארץ)

    Dov Henis(comments from 22nd century)

    http://universe-life.com/2013/11/14/subverting-organized-religious-science/
    http://universe-life.com/2013/09/03/the-shortest-grand-unified-theory/
    http://universe-life.com/2013/09/30/science-adjust-vision-concepts-beyond-aaas-trade-union-religion/

    PS: Note, again:

    - Classical Science Is Anticipated/Replaced By The 2013 Gravity Comprehension !!!

    - Think of the consequences re classical science of this comprehension of gravity…
    DH
    נ.ב. הבנת מהות כח המשיכה מספקת בסיס הגיוני מפשט/צפוי/מתקן לכל מגזרי ורכיבי המדע הקלסי
    יש פה אי- ניצול של הזדמנות/אפשרות של ישראל להדיח באלגנטיות מתורבתת את ארה"ב מעמדתה בעולם כמוליכה/המקבעת של עדר ה"מדענים/מדע" באמצעות האיגוד המקצועי האמריקאי הדתי, ולתפוס את עמדת ההולכה/פיתוח/הובלה של המדע 2013 החדש המשתדרג, ולהפוך את המדע האמריקאי לגרורה של המדע הישראלי. אי-ניצול זה הוא מחדל מטומטם /עלוב/מביש של ישראל....

    דה

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  34. What about the small rocks that are generated by mining the asteroid? In a gravitational field, once they roll off the side, they fall indefinitely. Shouldn't they just slow down and fall back towards the generator?

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  35. Does the power of Gravity changes their?

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  36. The idea of the gravity generators doesn't have to be considered implausible or fictional. If you use the theory of the Higgs Field (invisible and massless field that interacts and attracts all points of matter to give the mass), then you could instead delve into the scientifically 'plausible'. You could use these gravity generators as Higgs Boson generators, simply put, machines that can manipulate the Higgs Field, thus affecting gravity. Now, there are no scientific formulas or actual concrete facts you can use for this, due mostly to the small fact that the Higgs Field has not yet been discovered, and is still only a theory (albeit a rather plausible one). Thus, you could say that the gravity generators are not simply acting as a mass that creates gravity, but emitting Higgs Boson particles that quite literally shape gravity.

    Also, I'd love to see everything be affected by gravity. Everything. The first thing that jumped out to me when I started playing (on the premade "Easy Start 1" world) was the small ships just floating there. Just chillen'. Now, I have seen that gravity affecting small ships will be implemented (to my great delight.), I've still noticed much that hasn't been affected by gravity, and that is namely, the asteroids. Now, I can see each asteroid having its own (even if negligible) would eventually just create a giant cluster of asteroids when they all eventually and inevitably attract one another to each other, but that would happen very slowly due to the asteroids low mass and the fact that the gravitational constant is a very, very small force. I would love to have to keep track of my station or ships just floating about, making sure they have proper thrust in x, y, or z direction to keep them from drifting into an asteroid. It would also prevent people's popular floating ship parking garages, and would promote actually docking a ship.

    I suppose I might be looking for a bit too much, but as an aspiring physicist, this game has captivated my attention, and the goal of retaining realism is highly commendable.

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  37. The idea of the gravity generators doesn't have to be considered implausible or fictional. If you use the theory of the Higgs Field (invisible and massless field that interacts and attracts all points of matter to give the mass), then you could instead delve into the scientifically 'plausible'. You could use these gravity generators as Higgs Boson generators, simply put, machines that can manipulate the Higgs Field, thus affecting gravity. Now, there are no scientific formulas or actual concrete facts you can use for this, due mostly to the small fact that the Higgs Field has not yet been discovered, and is still only a theory (albeit a rather plausible one). Thus, you could say that the gravity generators are not simply acting as a mass that creates gravity, but emitting Higgs Boson particles that quite literally shape gravity.

    Also, I'd love to see everything be affected by gravity. Everything. The first thing that jumped out to me when I started playing (on the premade "Easy Start 1" world) was the small ships just floating there. Just chillen'. Now, I have seen that gravity affecting small ships will be implemented (to my great delight.), I've still noticed much that hasn't been affected by gravity, and that is namely, the asteroids. Now, I can see each asteroid having its own (even if negligible) would eventually just create a giant cluster of asteroids when they all eventually and inevitably attract one another to each other, but that would happen very slowly due to the asteroids low mass and the fact that the gravitational constant is a very, very small force. I would love to have to keep track of my station or ships just floating about, making sure they have proper thrust in x, y, or z direction to keep them from drifting into an asteroid. It would also prevent people's popular floating ship parking garages, and would promote actually docking a ship.

    I suppose I might be looking for a bit too much, but as an aspiring physicist, this game has captivated my attention, and the goal of retaining realism is highly commendable.

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  38. I hope I understood most of the conversations. In my opinion, gravity is one of the most interesting issues of Space Engineers, and it is very interesting to test it as it already exists.

    One recent discover of my son opened a new field of research that we are about to test in depth. Artificial mass on a large ship can be placed below a gravity generator and, if they are both attached to the same structure, create a movement which accerates the whole structure to its maximal speed of 105 m/s. We are talking there about a "gravitational engine", able to accelerate ANY large ship to its maximal speed within a few seconds !

    As my son is mostly a Creative player, he mainly experimented the "destructive" part of its discover. The fact is that a "small and simple" large ship could be in itself a kind of unstoppable projectile, with a TREMENDOOOOOUS destructive power, considering its very high velocity. Maybe it is a quite similar idea than the gravity gun envisaged somewhere in the conversation above, apart that this "rocket ship" wouldn't need any heavy external structure to accelerate. The cost of such a ship can be dissuasive in Survival mode, but maybe you could think of ruling it a little in Creative mode.

    I'm mostly a Survival player and the idea of losing a gravity generator and a reactor doesn't sound good. But I imagined some ways of using such a discover to more civilian applications. As it is capable to pull a large ship, it could accelerate it without large thrusters. The speed and direction is just a matter of settings and timing, but it could really work as an ENERGYLESS ENGINE (apart from the ridiculously small amount of energy necessary in the reactor electrifying the gravity generator). Thrusters would then just be used as for inertial braking ... or when the grav engine goes crazy, for instance. Many tests have to be implemented in this field.

    By the way, I'm not the one breaking physics rules ! Gravity generators started first !!!
    (Thanks for the alibi, Keen ...)

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  39. I have also experimented on other gravity applications, and in particular collecting ores with various gravity systems. I tried a "wafer" of 42 collectors with spherical gravity pulling ores being collected with a simple drilling machine and it works perfectly, allowing a very fast and profitable harvest (about 80k to 100k for less than 10 mn). But it is a very large ship and its cost make it possible to build only when you don't need resources anymore. :o(

    I then tried and smaller large ship being able to catch the ores on a spherical gravity generator, knowing that when the gravity is OFF, the whole harvest could fall in a smaller collecting system, at the base. I do not recommend to try again this option, my smaller ship was taken by the weight of the ores and became uncontrollable (and my game crashed, so that I won't try this one anymore).

    I then came back to a more classical option, with a large ship with large drills, the spherical gravity generator collecting the leftovers. Cool and efficient, but I broke some blocks of my ship with ores raining on it, and the cleaning of the ship afterwards is quite boring.

    Our most recent option is a very large ship with a very large "funnel" covering its whole roof, with collectors at its base. I am considering to try a mixed gravity solution, with "normal" directional gravity at its base, but also a thinner spherical gravity at its top to force the ores to come above the funnel, without sticking to the spherical gravity generator.

    Who said gravity in Space Engineers had to be improved ?
    There is still A LOT to experiment !

    However, I like the idea of gravboots, in particular to avoid being projected backward when standing in a moving vessel. But wouldn't it help a bit too much in cargo attacks, considering that touching the ground would allow you in any circumstances (and even in ships with no gravity as Private Sails and Business Shipments) to stick to the ship ? If so, these boots MUST be very expensive to craft, as losing them in such an attack would be a real loss. Having them at the beginning of the game, why not. But players should not respawn with them, then. I attacked these two ships with only my character and his initial tools and succeeded 4 times in one week. Nothing to lose if failed and a lot to win if succeeded, it is worth trying such attacks. Gravboots by default would however make them much simpler. I'm talking about morality, there.

    Let's finish by saying I just LOVE this game. I'm looking forward to seeing it evolve and I'm also waiting for the Medieval version, which could also prove to be amazing.

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