Black Prophecy Cockpit Detail

By Jim Rossignol on May 12th, 2009 at 2:34 pm.


This is a fairly specific aspect of the forthcoming space-combat MMO, but I think it’s a fun one. Plenty of people have said something like “I wish there was a space MMO with real-time, Elite-style ship controls”, and now we have two coming in at once. Black Prophecy, from Reakktor, and Jumpgate: Evolution, from Net Devil. Both companies have had dodgy MMOs in their past, so we’re hoping they can pull out the stops this time around. Black Prophecy is certainly looking like the more visually accomplished, high-spec game, at least from the images we’ve seen and this game footage trailer. Anyway, two new images from the game below, and you can click up on that header image to get the full shot, too.

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33 Comments »

  1. Azazel says:

    Now this looks more like my vase of coffee.

    Um, than EVE.

  2. duel90 says:

    whats the point of having a 3rd and 1st person camera? surely they shoud just restrict it to one…

  3. Torgen says:

    Hmm, I lost track of my buddies from Jumpgate beta, including one that ended up working at NetDevil. Also, (though I didn’t get to much of a high level at all) I liked Neocron more than Anarchy Online. Hoping to get into the beta of one or the other (both is like wishing on the lottery.) Would dearly love some space ship action, though.

  4. Schmung says:

    Looks jolly exciting. I’m hoping that they’ll both be offering free trials so that I can see which one suits me.

  5. Torgen says:

    @duel90 For the same reason so many flight sims have an external view- so you can see the badass plane you’re in, in flight. Third person flight games (there’s never been a real “sim” that was 3rd person only) are a creation what slithered from the cesspit of Console Land.

  6. The Hammer says:

    Those are some niiiiiice attractive graphics, there.

  7. Dave says:

    I really wanted to like Neocron. But it was either the time I realized that I could not hit a very large carnivorous plant from 2 yards away with my very expensive shoulder-fired laser cannon, or the twelfth time my droner was killed in one shot by some bastard who got to remain anonymous because I was out-of-body at the time, that made me give up.

  8. duel90 says:

    @Torgen ahh, fair point. consoles have messed everything up something good for sim loving pc gamers :(

    im all for viewing your spaceship in all its glory 3rd person. I just dont think it should be in any way usable in gameplay (like an orbit cam or something)

  9. jackflash says:

    Wonder if this game will have TrackIR support?

  10. StormTec says:

    @duel90: Options are nice to have. That way, if you don’t like one view then you simply don’t use it? =P

  11. Larington says:

    hey, wait a second, couldn’t you switch to third person view in Privateer?

  12. David says:

    Mmm, purdy. The more I see about BP, the more I like it. Can’t wait for the release (or beta? Maybe?).

  13. DMJ says:

    Must say, although I like the look, I don’t know if having so much of the “world” obscured by a cockpit is such a good idea… I liked the Tie Fighter (game) cockpits – tiny, thin, with superb visibility all around. This looks more like an X-Wing (game) cockpit, where half the screen was taken up, with corresponding decrease in visibility.

  14. weegosan says:

    I never even get the logic of the futuristic industrial design like that. Why would you have someone sat out in a thinner part of the ship like that when clearly if you can build spaceships concerns to do with structural and material properties and aerodynamics are obviously moot.

    Would you not have someone plugged into (via some kind of visual connection or just a visor) a video array remote viewing the outside of the ship? I mean that doesn’t really seem far fetched for say tank piloting nowadays. That way you can have a virtual overlay of the front of the ship and instruments if you want, or your game can have whatever UI you or the players want and there’s a solid “lore” reason why all this can happen.

    But instead we get to look at space through something that looks like a prop from Das Boot (last pic).

  15. Bananaphone says:

    “I never even get the logic of the futuristic industrial design like that. Why would you have someone sat out in a thinner part of the ship”

    So it’s not just me that’s bugged by stuff like this.

    I had exactly the same thought as you, why is the pilot not hidden inside the ship where it’s safer, flying the ship using sensors and cameras.

    It’s annoyed me since I first watched Star Trek as a kid. Why did the Enterprise have an exposed bridge right at the top of the ship when they had sensors and viewscreens?

  16. Sunjammer says:

    The title makes me giggle. It’s like.. Metal steel! Burning flame! Let’s put two evocative words together and see what happens!

    I’m kind of hoping for a resurgence in this genre. MMO is the natural progression for it. Someone should honestly just make Elite Online.

  17. Noc says:

    With little space ships that follow the “fighter plane” model, it arguably makes more sense to have physical cockpits and windows because relying on electronic input would leave you open to countermeasures. There’s something to be said for actually being able to look outside if something goes wrong.

    Also since you are essentially riding a big engine with some guns taped on; there’s not a whole lot of hull to chew through before you get to the squishy bits anyways.

    Not that the aircraft carrier/fighter plane model of space combat is “realistic” anyways. But you know. WWII Pacific IN SPACE is arguably rather more interesting than what space combat would actually end up looking like.

  18. Skurmedel says:

    Judging by the Black Prophecy debut trailer it’s going to have sweet music.

  19. DrazharLn says:

    *Ahem* Not forgetting Infinity the Quest for Earth Which is set for release sometime in the next 2 years.

  20. Marcin says:

    Hasn’t Infinity been set to “release in the next 2 years” for 5 years now? :)

    Okay, maybe not that long but I don’t see any signs that he’s ready to stop perfecting his random-world-generation and work on actual gameplay.

  21. TC says:

    Not that the aircraft carrier/fighter plane model of space combat is “realistic” anyways. But you know. WWII Pacific IN SPACE is arguably rather more interesting than what space combat would actually end up looking like.

    Thousands of un-manned drones battling it out probaly, might be fun as an RTS/management game though.

  22. DrazharLn says:

    Yeah, there is that. I think it would be great when it does come out though.

    And things do seem to be shaping together in the forums, a lot of the art is done and I suspect they’re further on with gameplay than they let people know. Otherwise they would get the horror that is the Gameplay part of the forum advising them.

  23. Biggles says:

    Gah, all that effort put in to the cockpits and they fall back to hud overlays for relaying gameplay information. What a waste…

    Still, good that at least one company is making 3d cockpits, everyone else seems to have given up : (

  24. tugboat interlude says:

    I also express sadness at non-functional cockpits. Although perhaps that little orange screen on the second one actually, y’know, displays something. Here’s hoping.

    @Fighter-planes-in-space: it’s admittedly silly but it makes for cool space fights and allows for fighter pilot heroes.

    :( I’ve given up hoping for a ‘realistic’ spaceflight game, These days I just hope for some shiny lasers and maybe if I’m good my ship won’t slow down when I stop thrusting.

  25. Axiin says:

    Independence war had the most realistic space combat for a Video game that I saw, you could shut down your “Thrusters” that made you fly like a normal space sim and actually turn around while maintaining a velocity and blast the crap out of something.

    Man I loved that game.

  26. Wisq says:

    Vega Strike might be taking their time with releases, but last I played it, they had the best “space fighter plane” compromise I’d ever seen in a game.

    Essentially, your ship tried to fly like a fighter plane, but did so automatically using whatever thrusters it had available. Hence, turning ninety degrees to the right is not about turning the ship and letting magical “space air” redirect your inertia, Wing Commander style — it’s about turning the ship, then applying lateral thrust to stop your existing movement (originally forward, now leftward) and applying main thrust to get you moving in the new direction (originally rightward, now forward). And obviously, if your speed-to-lateral-thrust ratio is too low, you might be “falling” leftwards for quite a while.

    Your “throttle” was simply your intended speed, up to an arbitrary limit (applied only by your flight computer). Throttling up applies main thrust, throttling down applies reverse thrust — and in some cases, the latter might be slow enough that it really is worth flipping around and applying a reverse burn.

    You could also disable all that and just apply thrust manually, or increase the speed limiter by a few orders of magnitude if you really wanted to get somewhere on conventional thrust. Of course, good luck turning or slowing down again …

    It also finally recognised that there’s no such thing as true speed in space — your “speed” is your relative speed compared to a reference object, defaulting to the local star. You can set your reference to anything, though, including other ships. Nothing makes docking with a high-speed moving ship easier than setting them as your speed reference point and treating it like you were docking with a stationary platform, even while planets float on past.

    And, yes, it also had a 3D cockpit — but it was also lacking in any information whatsoever, such that I did indeed spend most of my time in no-cockpit first person.

  27. Binho says:

    Did I miss some major scientific breakthrough which said that Space was actually a colorful murky miasma, and not a big black emptiness?

    I honestly can’t get into most new space games because of that. What ever happened to the inky blackness of space? It was quite stylish, i thought. It was more atmospheric than the colorful circus of space we have today.

    What I’m waiting for is a worthy sequel to X-Wing and TIE Fighter series.

  28. Nick says:

    Binho – try google image searching ‘Nebula’.

    But yeah, I’d love a new (and good) X-wing or TIE Fighter game. Will never, ever happen though. Ever. Lucasarts are shit.

  29. D says:

    I think the problem with spacy blackness is that it removes the primarily visual identification of your enemy in dogfights, which game developers want cause it adds to the action experience. I’m also pretty sure (afair) that this is a point that non-AAA space shooters miss, like Evochron. I’m not sure on that.

    Personally I’m in the other end of the court, silently waiting the space game that is primarily played with a radar screen, ECM, ECCM and a big “FIRE MISSILES” button. I’ve said it before: realistically, weapons will evolve to kill from further and further away, and true space combat will not be played with your maneuvering ability, only your skill in finding the enemy before he finds you. This is true for combat jets too :)

  30. FhnuZoag says:

    Nick:

    Actually, nebulae are quite black if you are sitting in them, instead of looking at them through telescopes thousands of light years away.

    Black space I guess gets boring eventually, and is a bit disorientating. I for one enjoy the new colourful space.

  31. Binho says:

    Nick – The images of Nebulae you see on the internet are significantly color enhanced, and brightened. Take are taken with exposures of various minutes. They are also taken from thousands, perhaps millions of light year away.

    Inside, a Nebula is only slightly denser than interstellar vacuum. You wouldn’t actually be able to tell the difference between interstellar space or a nebula, in most cases. (check out this thread on the Infinity Universe forum about the same topic: http://www.infinity-universe.com/Infinity/index.php?option=com_smf&Itemid=75&topic=10771.0 )

    But yeah, glad someone else misses those amazing old games! Lucasarts really are shit :(

    D, i’m not sure about that. Even in games like Freelance you usually use your targetting computer to identify the enemies, and rarely visual identification. I think they added in Nebulae to make things “prettier”

    It’s true though, that in space especially wars would be fought at astronomical distances (sic). Although finding the enemy in space isn’t hard. A spaceship’s drives give off so much heat and radiation they’d stand out like a sore thumb anywhere in space. There is No Stealth in Space. You’d be able to see the enemy coming from light years away, long before they are close enough to be hurt by your weapons.

    You should check out Atomic Rockets (http://www.projectrho.com/rocket/) It’s all about building realistic spacecraft, and how War in space would probably be fought. It’s a good read, I recommend it to anyone who likes outer space, and is looking for something good to read.

  32. D says:

    Binho: I agree with your counterpoint about visual identifying enemy shapes, I wasen’t really clear about what I was trying to word-think. I’m reminded of an old movie about planes and dogfights where the filming was put off for weeks because the weather needed to be cloudy, or the planes would look boringly stuck in the sky rather than zipping around eachother, as they were. Anyway I also loved Privateer 2 which had only black space, so enough about this from me :) But I symphatise with the developers having to make the choice.

    I’ll surely read that link, it sounds great. What I find extraordinarily interesting is all the various sci-fi things you can make up, to enable radar-screen-based (BVR) space gameplay. You say, surely quite correct, that heat cannot be masked effectively and that weapons won’t have engagement envelopes of lightyear distances, but fictionally it just has so many possibilities.

    Think of the radar jamming of today, which is just spamming the air with false radar returns to delay the enemy lock-on even though you are broadcasting your presense to everyone. And the counter to that: “Home on jamming” missiles. Let some developer genius like the Infinity guy think about the future possibilities of space-stealthing for a year, and it could end up in a very intricate game of cat and mouse. That would be just up my alley of all time favorite games.

  33. Risingson says:

    These coments are interesting, but what about the gameplay? I think this could be the most important part of any space game… and what makes Tachyon still better than Darkstar One, and not the blackness of space, the cockpit or …