Hardflight - Crash'A'Lot

vahadar

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Hey all,

This thread is made to support our regular hardflying weekly event "Hardflight - Crash'A'Lot" in Star Citizen.

NEXT EVENT :

Check TEST Discord #star-citizen-events and Guilded calendar.

What is hardflight?

Everyone has its own definition of hardflying, but what I try to achieve here with Crash'A'Lot is training flying decoupled very close to the ground (under 20m), at medium/high speed depending on atmosphere (200-700 m/s or more), and keep that distance to the ground while doing aerobatic maneuvers, according to the landscape (plains, canyons, mountains, forests...) and the environment (day/night/fog/storm...), and in formations around 50 meters from each others ;)

Better illustrated like seen here :
View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m2eLLvHDVq8


Previously we had within TEST groups of pilots running hardflight events, like Skyborn (Boba) and others. Unfortunately those events stopped, and there was a void left after that for quite some months. I used to fly with Skyborn a lot, and I want to revive hardflight in TEST.
At the beginning of this year, Skyborn and I went hardflying almost every day with the oldest and most popular SC hardflight community gathered around Terada and his french daredevils. They are real masters of this art, and were mentionned many times by CIG and Chris Roberts himself along the years. I am still flying with them every week when possible, and I'd like to share their art and knowledge within TEST.

So check up on Discord #star-citizen-events and Guilded calendar for the next Hardflight - Crash'A'Lot session !

One session will be scheduled when possible 1 hour before each of the weekly running CFT/TSMC/Dogfighting events (on weekends).

👉 Getting prepared
👉 Training programs
👉 Media and hardflight ressources & videos

Not only related to Hardflight, but some fun hardflight stuff. Skyborn if you are around, I bet you remember some of thoses shots with the frenchies^^
View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_QMcpdcV6Gs
 
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vahadar

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Getting prepared

Here you will find some basic informations to get prepared for each hardflying training session. Then you can read a short explanation of coupled/decoupled also illustrated with a video tutorial.

As for configuration, there is no "better" config. HOSAS (dual sticks), HOTAS (stick and throttle), controller, mouse&kb, everything is working for hardflight. I've seen some pilot with mouse and keyboard or controller doing stuff as impressive if not better than others with hosas. Hardflying is a good way to practice and train with your actual setup.

Things to do before a Crash'A'Lot hardflying session.

Not much things to do as you will see ;)

Proximity Assist

The first thing to do for everyone doing hardflight is to turn off "Flight - Proximity Assist Defaults On", under game menu > Options > Game Settings (in 3.13), and set it to NO.
Proximity Assist when turned on automatically uses your thrusters to push you up when you are close to the ground. If you leave it on even when decoupled, your vector pip will be constantly bouncing when flying close to the ground. Keep that in mind when landing also, when Proximity Assist is turned off landing is slightly less smoothed if you do it too fast :)
Sometime Proximity Assist setting will reset on its own after game launch. You'll need to check that.

Hardflight01.jpg

G-Safe

Then you can also disable G-Safe, in same option screen as above for Proximity Assist, and set the option "Flight - GSafe - Defaults ON" to NO. We do not need the ship to be limited here, but your body might be at test because of that. If you experience G-LOC or Redout, just do a roll to stabilize your body blood flow.

Still same option screen, you can also set "Flight - GSafe - Disable When Boosting" to YES.

Field of View

Then if you want to have a wider view of your cockpit and surroundings you can set the Field of View to 100, under game menu > Options > GRAPHICS (in 3.13).

Hardflight02.jpg

Look Ahead

If you have head tracking (TrackIR or similar like Tobii eye tracker), you will enjoy hardflying the most like that. You will easily be able to look at where your vector pip is.

If you do not have head tracking, you can simulate it using the ingame Look Ahead, your field of vision will try to follow where your vector pip is. Pretty usefull for exemple when drifting.
You will find Pilot - Look Ahead under game menu > Options > Game Settings (in 3.13), enable it and modify all the Pilot - Look Ahead values according to what you see in the screenshot under.
Look Ahead is a feature that was added by CIG, and announced by Chris Roberts himself as being inspired in particular by Teradas' videos before 3.8 showcasing the intensive use of head tracking.
You can see Look Ahead in action in the videos from Furaxe posted here and there in this thread, he is not using TrackIR unlike Terada and Skyborn, but he is using Look Ahead, with those settings :

Hardflight03.jpg

Hardflight - flight model

First thing to make clear, StarCitizen flight model is not real life flight model. Nothing to do, and no need to compare, period :)

In SC, if you have no thrust (eg when no fuel) and are in free fall with your ship, you simply can't glide and controll it anymore unlike using the features of a real life plane (ailerons, tail, spoilers, flaps...). The ship will fall like a brick.
StarCitizen ships are not subject to the same aerodynamic forces as a real plane with its wing. they are instead relying only on their thrusters (main propulsion, maneuvering and retro thrusters). Basically a ship in SC is a rocket with directionnal thrusters.

This said, when a plane is using 3 axis to fly (pitch, yaw, roll) in addition to propulsion, a spaceship in SC is using 6 axes (pitch, yaw, roll, forward/backward thrust, left/right thrust, up/down thrust).

Now, how to hardflight? In SC pilots doing hardflight are flying decoupled only.

By default (and most of the time), people fly using coupled mode. This mode tries to simulate a real flight model. This means they are flying their ship, using pitch/yaw/roll and pointing the nose of the ship to set the direction they want to go. They can in addition controll their speed, which is basically strafing (forward/backward, left/right, up/down).
In coupled mode, the ship computer will automaticly use thrusters when needed to maintain your orientation and vector, versus gravity/inertia/air friction and so on. You just need here to manage the direction of the ship in addition to its propulsion (main and/or the maneuvering/retro thrusters).

Some exemples :
- stop thrusting and stay in coupled mode, you ship will maintain vector and will slow down until it halts. No free fall to the ground, everything is controlled by the ship computers to maintain its position.
- go into cruise mode, aim for the horizon, your ship will maintain altitude, vector and so on in addition to speed.

As soon as you use decoupled mode, you are in controll of everything, absolutly everything. This means you will need to manage everything.

You will need to adjust yourself all your thrusters (forward/backward, left/right, up/down) to controll your vector and maintain your direction in addition to pitch/yaw/roll for your orientation. Thrusting to any direction will maintain that inertia momentum, forever in space, and also in atmosphere but it will gradually slow down in atmo because of gravity and air resistance. In atmosphere, your vector will not be maintained thanks to automatic thruster management, but only thanks to manual thrusting and inertia management, and you will need to compensate for gravity, inertia, air friction and so on, or you will free fall like a brick.

Decoupled mode has a huge advantage over coupled in that the orientation of the nose of your ship does not necessarily reflects the direction you are going. Best exemple is in space, you can drift forever, not touching your controls after setting an orientation and a thrusting vector, basically not aiming at the direction you are going. You can not do that with coupled mode, you would need to maintain thrust and orientation in order to be drifting forever. In short, with decoupled your vector pip is not necessarily pointing the same direction as your ship's orientation and inertia is maintained.
In atmosphere this will allow you to do daredevil maneuvers, with total controll of your vector and orientation and play with your own ship inertia a lot.

I'm not going to describe typing how to hardflight in detail, over than this explanation of decoupled vs coupled, you will find a lot of video ressources on the web for hardflying.
I will just link one video tutorial I like a lot, made by Terada, one of the earliest pilot to have popularized hardflight. The video is in french but subtitled in english, and well detailed (even if done some time ago, it is still valid).
Make sure you switch subtitles on (you can kill the sound if needed^^).

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CSTtKqq-4UE
 
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vahadar

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Training programs

Here you will find a video showing the flight move that we will try to reproduce in the next training session.
You will also find the archives of previous hardflying exercices done so you can try and learn by yourself.

*reserved*
 
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vahadar

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Media and hardflight ressources & videos

Here you will find cool videos showcasing hardflight and nice moves, from which you can learn watching how pilots fly.
Most interesting parts are when you see from inside the cockpit how is the vector pip set and the ship orientation in comparison, useful to understand what they do and try to reproduce it.
Those hardflying videos are not shown in any particular order, so they are all interesting to watch.
If you know of or make nice hardflight videos, feel free to PM me the links and I will add them here !

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mqP_YsBj-Qk

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pPkEtpa4I7A

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HIsCG8UyF-Y

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YgTBbEYIpFg

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fg35unhyXws
 
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