Star Citizen Flight Model – IFCS Explained

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Page last updated July 21st 2019

This article takes a look a the flight model in Star Citizen and provides detailed information about how it works as well as what is planned.

Official Sources for the Flight Model

Official sources about the flight model are listed first for players to jump right to those documents. Here at SCFocus the aim is to provide Star Citizen fans with easy access to the "good stuff".

The Principles of Flight - From CitizenCon 2948 (2018) - New!

Flight Model & Input Controls - From the official RSI website June 16th 2014

IFCS & Flight Physics Star Citizen Alpha 3.2 (PDF) - Google Docs June 26th 2018

Spectrum post IFCS Q&A - June 26th 2018

Important Caveats -> This information is subject to change as the flight model continues to evolve with the game.

Key Takeaways

Star Citizen's flight model aims to simulate the physics of spaceflight and space ships.

  • Correct application of thrust at the places where thrusters are attached to the ship
  • Inertia, mass changes and counter thrust are very necessary
  • Ship & component damage affects flight
  • Designed to offer a great PVP experience
  • Simulates the physics that would involve controlling and moving a ship in space with no short cuts
  • Star Citizen will be controller agnostic
  • Intelligent Flight Control Systems (IFCS)

Current Status Of The Flight Model

As of Alpha 3.5 the Flight New Model is testable. Ships now handle differently and there have even been changes to grav lev vehicles like the Drake Dragonfly.

Status: The New Flight Model was released for testing in Alpha 3.5 in April 2019. As the game (especially Squadron 42) comes closer to release, the flight model must be refined and heavily tested. This could be the start of the final refinement process in flight combat and handling.

 

Hover Mode & Alpha 3.6

Alpha 3.6 has introduced a new hover mode for ships. This has made landings more cinematic albeit a lot more difficult. Players are highly recommended to spend the time practicing and learning takeoffs and landings.

 

Summary

"This level of realism was necessary in order to deliver a flight control system that could be fully integrated with and influenced by the environment, damage states, changing mass distribution, power allocation, thruster placement, etc. IFCS is an emergent system, and therefore may be imperfect at times. But this mimics reality.

And finally, great effort has been made to limit spacecraft control to only the command pathways provided by IFCS. No player, AI or even IFCS itself will ever modify the position, velocity, rotation or rotational velocity of a ship directly, with the exception of initialization and network correction. This guarantees that all spacecraft control is consistent and the game will never have an unfair advantage over a player."

Source -> Flight Model & Input Controls