We tested the usage of atmospheric engines for this purpose, but found them lacking both in fuel consumption (too high for long durations) and power (too low for larger atmospheric ships constantly fighting gravity). In the end, we decided something fresh was in order and developed Anti-Gravities. Anti-Gravities are a brand new engine type split into two distinct parts and they will be available in the r0.13 version.
The first part is the generator. The generator is the core of the device. It is a massive and distinct looking element that can be the centerpiece of a ship. For now, the generator comes in two sizes. The small and medium sizes are appropriate for the 64 and the 128 Dynamic Core Unit respectively. We deemed that smaller constructs shouldn’t use anti-gravity devices, as we wanted this to be an expensive and powerful item for larger ships. Generators can be put anywhere on your construct, and for now, require no fuel source.
The second part of the anti-gravity device are the Pulsors. Pulsors harness the power of the generator and allow the device to function. Pulsors need to be placed on the underside of your ship and each generator size has a required number for optimal usage. While the generator can still work with a lesser number of pulsors, functionality of the device may be severely hindered. The optimal number of pulsors for the small generator is six, while the medium size will require twelve. Pulsors are required to be linked to the generator in order to function, so if you’re having issues with your anti-gravity, check this first.
The functionality of the anti-gravity device is fairly simple. Once activated, it will attempt to lock your altitude at 1000 meters in atmosphere and maintain it. Be careful, however, as the device is not powerful enough to hold or stop you there regardless of the circumstances. In order to successfully anchor yourself at that altitude, you will need precise piloting and a smooth ride. Coming in with too much speed or at too steep an angle will rapidly break the effect as you leave its area of effectiveness. You should begin the manual stabilization of your ship at around 1000 meters using alternative engines and only then activate the generator. The generator will then take over and gently oscillate your vessel up and down until it stabilizes you entirely.
There are a couple of ways to boot up the generator once your Pulsors are linked. If you are in the controller seat, you can hit “Ctrl-G” which will automatically attempt to activate your generator. Otherwise, you can always link your generator to a switch and activate it remotely from anywhere on the ship. Lastly, you can simply walk up and interact with the generator element itself to activate it.
Alongside the implementation of the generator is the addition of a new UI widget! When a generator is detected on your construct, the widget will appear allowing you to glean all sorts of information such as the power of the anti-gravity pull and whether the generator is active.
Once stabilized at 1000 meters you are still capable of moving around with other engines you have available. Keep in mind that any upward or downward thrust may destabilize your generator, but forward and rear thrust will allow you to move around while in anti-gravity mode. While gravity will no longer be a factor, air resistance will still be present.
Lastly, while the default value is 1000 meters, this value is accessible and modifiable in Lua should you wish to anchor your ship at other altitudes. However, no matter what, 1000 meters is the minimum value at which the generator will function and it will not activate below that threshold.
We foresee this element becoming key for many varying purposes, and look forward to seeing the amazing and creative things you guys do with them! If you already have access to the game, you can comment right here!