Welcome to Flight School. In combat there are two kinds of pilots: good pilots, and dead pilots. So before you go off to fight, you must learn to fly. This course will teach you the essentials of piloting your ship.
Talon fighter craft are six axis antigravity aerospace ships. They are capable of maneuvering in any direction, free of the constraints of gravity. This makes Talon fighters seem remarkably easy to fly, and they are, if one defines flying as simply not hitting the ground. However, a good pilot knows that being proficient in combat requires a lot more than that.
The six axis flight model is so named because it gives the pilot independent linear and rotational control over all three axes. You can, and should, learn to apply any combination of longitudinal, lateral, and vertical thrust with any combination of roll, pitch, and yaw control. This will give you the ability to move, and turn, in any direction, at any time. This freedom becomes profoundly important in combat situations, where the ability to control your trajectory independent of your orientation allows you to avoid incoming fire without taking your eyes, or your weapons, off of your target. If that seems a bit overwhelming to you right now, fear not. With time and practice it will eventually become second nature.
Handling six independent control axes may seem complicated, but your ship's flight controls are designed to make it very manageable. Default controls are set up for a standard shooter WASD keyboard and mouse arrangement, with movement handled by the left hand on the keyboard, and aiming done with the mouse.
One or more joysticks can be substituted at your discretion, and all controls are re-bindable. It is recommended, however, to use a mouse for pitch and yaw controls, as mice afford greater aiming accuracy than joysticks do.
Additionally, all ships are equipped with an adjustable auto-leveling balance system designed to help keep novice pilots from becoming disoriented, while still allowing veteran pilots to preform advanced maneuvers. This balance can be adjusted to increase or decrease the strength of the auto-leveling effect.
Your ship's HUD is flanked by two flight data gauges, a G meter on the left, and a speedometer, pictured here on the left and right, respectively. These displays not only give you absolute readouts in numerical format, but also bar meters which give a visual representation of where the current values fall within the ships flight envelope.
These displays are useful, because they provide a quick visual indicator of how hard you are pushing your ship, or how much harder you could push it. If you're not pushing to max at least one of these bars at all times in a dogfight, you're not pushing yourself or your ship hard enough, and you're making yourself an easier target because of it.
The remainder of the HUD is dedicated to combat systems: ship status, targeting, and weapons; and that will be covered in the next course.
While your ship can move in any direction, not all directions are equal. Jets boost thrust along the forward vector, so you will always be fastest traveling straight ahead. The diagram on the right gives a visual representation of the effects of combined engine thrust in various directions.
Now a note about rotation. When turning your ship, that is to say, adjusting pitch or yaw, know that your ship turns slightly faster while moving than it does when it is stationary. Remember this when you need to make a quick turn to address a threat or acquire a target.
And finally, a word about momentum. It is important to understand that anti-gravity is not anti-mass. Just because your ship does not fall from the sky, does not mean that it is immune to other forces inherent to any object with mass. Your ship has inertia, it requires energy, and time, to accelerate; and perhaps more importantly, it requires time to stop. If you treat your ship as you would a character in an FPS game, and wait until you are on top of your target or at your destination before you let off the throttle, you will not be able to stop, and you will either overshoot your target, or smash into a wall, or both. Talon fighters are built to be light and agile, but they must still respect physics. This is especially important to remember when attempting to maneuver your fighter in confined spaces.
You have completed basic flight training. If you start a game with a player limit of 1, you will be able to practice what you have learned without the distraction or danger posed by entering an active battle. It is recommended that you take some time to practice flying at this time. When you are ready, you may proceed to Combat Training.
© 2013 Scott Richards