Thinking Hoverbug Alternatives Thread

Rafs

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#1
Hello :)


We all love our hoverbug builds, don't we?
And nobody wants to lose their builds using them.
Neither the devs wan to cut it off without leaving better alternatives for the player.
But the existence of such a buggy gimmick is still strange, so, what if try finding these good, legit alternatives the devs could be looking for?


So, I decided to come up with a thread for discussing alternatives in the various departments the Hoverbug is the best at. These alternatives will be new blocks and mechanics associated.
The implementation of these blocks won't imply the removal of the HB immediately, but players will naturally start to use these new blocks instead of the HB, making the HB less and less popular over the course of months. And only then, after discussing with the community, the devs can take it out, or leave it there for older techs and to honor its legacy.


Before we start, let's see what the hoverbug is commonly better than other blocks at:

  1. Thrust: the HB is a powerful "propeller" like no other.

  2. Steering: given it works in many directions like an Adjustment Thurster, with all the power mentioned above, no other blocks are better at providing such good and fast response when maneuvering. The HB also offers fast and powerful braking if paired with the Stabilization Computer.

  3. Stability: the HB applies constant thrust in the opposite direction of the wheels it is facing (as the HB repells wheels like if it was ground). Using two HBs facing opposide sides can apply this thrust in opposite directions, giving the Tech a lot of stability. Wheels position and rotation can change this constant thrust power easily, giving builds even more stability if tuned correctly. They can also be used as ballast, and can render gyros obsolete.

  4. Anti-Gravity: With the features listed above in Stability, one can use the constant thrust to fight gravity, nullifying it with enough fine tuning. Enough HBs can make anything fly (and that quantity is usually low), and even when falling, it will fall slowly like a feather.

With the HB having so many good features, it's no surprise it's so popular among those who learned how to use it (which is not complex either).

While we can't come up with something that will be better than the HB in all departments, we can tackle each feature separately.
Let's get to it:

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Better Future Large Ion Drive


A popular request, mostly from people who doesn't understand why BF Ion Drives stop at "medium".
Was the original idea scrapped at some point? We'll never know. But I know one thing: we need it.

This block would be large, like 3x2x2. A long rectangle giving a powerful thrust from one of the tips, like a large turbine.
Devs would come up with its stats by testing it in comparison to the hoverbug to achieve a much higher thrust in one direction. It would also be much more powerful than three Medium Ion Drives (thus reducing the spamming of this smaller block). And strong acceleration.

With such a powerful propeller, we can tackle the thurst superiority of the HB, with a block that has its approximate size (the basic HB unit is usually made of 2 hovers and wheels in the middle, 3x2x2). It would be pricey, as all endgame stuff are, but even then, probably a better choice than the HB for thrusting.

This propeller idea also fits nicely with Hawkeye, since they lack a decent propeller while they have the most powerful hovers and adjustment thrusters, thus adding to their set of powerhouse flight blocks, and making pure Hawkeye planes more viable.
 

Rafs

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#2
Geocorp Mammoth Adjustment Thruster


This one comes from one of my sets of ideas, but now with an even stronger purpose: be the definitive Adj. Thruster capable of surpassing HB in steering power.

=> Geocorp Mammoth Adjustment Thruster
The largest thruster available, very useful for huge techs, a 2x2x2 robust cube with 5-way thrusters and attach points above and upper-sides. I thought of it when I found myself filling my large tech with rows after rows of jetson thrusters, there should be something bigger and stronger for GC.
This was a while ago when I thought Jetson Thrusters were the best at making my tech easier to maneuver (way before HE Exfil one came in, killing Jetson's completely in every aspect, but that's another discussion). Then I found out how to use the HB on the edges of my tech to help it steering, applying an amazing torque and making my largest techs much easier to drive.

With such a big and powerful Adj. Thruster, this will be the favorite for large techs; it will also reduce block spam given it's size (no tedious repetitive clicking). And it should be enough to surpass the HB in maneuverability improvement (the propeller above should help with that too if properly placed on the edges).

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Hawkeye Thruster Stabilization Computer


This is a new computer block I thought of, which uses thrusters to stabilize a tech in place (all dimensions), like an anti-gravity engine of sorts.

It uses all thrusters available, in all directions, to keep the tech in place, anywhere in the air, all the way to the limits of their powers (motion engine thruster augmentation limits).

If a tech has enough down thrusters to negate gravity, the computer will keep the thrusters working to achieve that. It pressing "up", the computer will try to increase the thrusters power to move the tech up, and when releasing the button, thruster will go back to their previous power levels of gravity supressing. The same applies for other directions, acting similarly to the Hover Computer which uses thrusters for braking.

This way, one can use thrusters in place of the hoverbug for stabilization, with their self regulation of power making them act as gyros and ballasts too. Pitch controls could be added too, enabling the use of thrusters instead of pitch gyros to adjust pitch.

Why this was thought for Hawkeye? I thought that would help their heavy and powerful techs rely on equally powerful thrusters to get their stability from, instead of hoverbugs. and a cheap alternative (maybe a little more complex with thruster placement) to Antigravity Engines.

But what about Antigrav engines? Well, HBs already surpass it in usability (unless it is a really small tech I guess). I'd ask for a buff to Antigravs too, making them drain less energy, and increasing their range.
Antigravity Effect percentages can be kept, although 75% is a really odd number even though anything higher than 100% is not applied, neither drains energy. I'd say increase the medium engine effect to 100%, keeping its medium range, and have the larger engine be a little more efficient while keeping the much larger range as another advantage.
These changes should also help tackling the HB antigravity superiority.

---

These were my three ideas to provide good alternatives to the hoverbug. There might be more aspects to it I haven't perceived, and many other good alternatives (I haven't tackled HB usage in small techs such as bikes, any ideas are welcome).

What are your ideas?

Thanks for reading!
 

eddie

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#3
Hover bug is arguably the best method to build anti-gravity tech, I Don't think Hover Bug can be replaced easily in my opinion, because you got trust, stearing, stability and anti-gravity all in one compact package, unless there's a more compact way that can achieve the same purpose as the Hover Bug, but I think if such thing exist, then it will be a bit overpowered.
However, if we're not talking about trying to replace the Hover Bug, I do like your idea.
by the way, I would love to have stabilization computer able to control vertical thrust, thus trying to keep your tech at the same altitude when no movement input.
 

Saelem Black

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#4
So, you didn't address the elephant in the room, which is the Linear Motion Engine. The entire purpose of the LME was as a replacement for the hoverbug. In fact, the original block description of the LME claimed it was the new hoverbug (player "feedback" quickly changed that).

I think the real way to replace hoverbug is to continue to mature vectored lift. Vectored lift represents a huge step forward for the game, but it is still rather primitive. (Btw, if you aren't familiar with vectored lift, it is that 3-axis thing that appears when you attach a hawkeye or BF rotor to your tech, or a BF linear motion engine). Vectored lift can, by itself right now, replace the hoverbug. It demands a great deal of skill out of the builder, but it's possible. I wrote an entire community guide on building airships without the hoverbug (here).

IMO, for us to move permanently away from the hoverbug, a couple things need to happen. First, we have to have some way to properly hover without it. At present, there is no way to truly hover with vectored lift. Your lift is either above your "hoverpoint" or below it. The accuracy of the game's controls are less than the accuracy of the physics, so it is impossible to be exactly at the hoverpoint. So how do we fix this? At present, if you have any vectored lift block on a tech, it overrides ALL thrust blocks in that direction and makes them vectored. This includes adjustment thrusters, propellers, everything. However, stabilization computers do not control vectored blocks, and I believe this includes overridden blocks, too (I need to experiment to test for sure). What needs to happen is that stab computers need to be able to control overridden blocks.

The result is that if your lift setting is below hoverpoint, your stab computer will resist your fall (forcing you to fall slower). If you're well above it, your stab computer will resist your rise (forcing you to lift slower). However, if your lift setting is very close to your hoverpoint, the power of your adjustment thrusters will make up for the tiny difference between your weight and your lift, and allow you to stay still, in other words, allow you to hover.

So the first fix is to allow stab computers to control overridden blocks. The second fix is to nerf the power of the hoverbug. The devs can remove the hoverbug, but they won't because it breaks so many legacy techs. However, in order for us to move off of it, people are going to have to be incentivized to build via conventional means. Frankly, the hoverbug is OP right now. Thrust-per-volume is waaay too powerful. If it was nerfed (instead of just wholesale removed), it would provide a stepping stone to allow people to get used to building without it, and instead using the vectored blocks.

Anyway, my two cents. I might make a thread dedicated to exploring Vectored Lift/Stab Computer interaction, but I need to do some experimentation first to make sure I'm speaking correctly.

TL;DR - LMEs can take the place of the hoverbug if you're clever. Could be better by improving the stabilization computer, though.
 
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Saelem Black

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#5
Alternatively to changing the stab computer as I described in my previous post. This may be an alternative. Actually it's a better alternative. Hey, @Matt and @ZeroGravitas , I'd love your guys thoughts.

Objective: be able to hover with vectored lift.
Solution: Works in place of vectored lift when placed on the up/down axis; rather than having a lift vector, you use a bound key to turn on/off your lift blocks. Rotors and LMEs (while on) always attempt to exactly cancel out your tech's weight. No more, no less, and they're intelligent enough try to account for your tech's pitch/roll.

In other words, without input, they will make your tech hover if they can. Then the pilot can use the lift axis to accelerate up or down based of your tech's unused thrust. In other words, if the tech hovers at 70%, then when you press PgUp, your thrust blocks will go to 100% until you stop pressing the key, at which point it will return to 70%. (Possibly use +/- a fixed percentage to prevent dropping like a rock when you press PgDwn)

Thoughts?
 
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Rafs

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#6
Hover bug is arguably the best method to build anti-gravity tech, I Don't think Hover Bug can be replaced easily in my opinion, because you got trust, stearing, stability and anti-gravity all in one compact package, unless there's a more compact way that can achieve the same purpose as the Hover Bug, but I think if such thing exist, then it will be a bit overpowered.
So, you didn't address the elephant in the room, which is the Linear Motion Engine. The entire purpose of the LME was as a replacement for the hoverbug. In fact, the original block description of the LME claimed it was the new hoverbug (player "feedback" quickly changed that).
Well, while Eddie got the idea of the Hoverbug being good at many aspects (and being difficult to replace it entirely as such thing would be equally OP), Saelem insisted that a well done LME would solve these problems. It wouldn't, it would at most solve one or two of them, but not all of them (thrust and steering).
You shouldn't use vectors to gain thrust forward or steer, these are basic movements and even the most powerful LME would annoy more than help. Almost nobody uses it in the x or y axis, these aplications exist but are rather niche. The HB would keep its reign in these departments.

Giving the ability for the Stabilization Computer to control height using wisely all resources at hand such as thrusters is a good option. But my idea with the HE Thruster Stabilization Computer was adding a computer that acted like that, while keeping the BF Computer as it is, so the player would be able to choose which computer to use. Changing the BF Computer to do that could be a nice thing too, let's see what the devs think about it. But then again, it wouldn't solve all problems.

In other words, without input, they will make your tech hover if they can. Then the pilot can use the lift axis to accelerate up or down based of your tech's unused thrust. In other words, if the tech hovers at 70%, then when you press PgUp, your thrust blocks will go to 100% until you stop pressing the key, at which point it will return to 70%. (Possibly use +/- a fixed percentage to prevent dropping like a rock when you press PgDwn)
That's what I mean here:

If a tech has enough down thrusters to negate gravity, the computer will keep the thrusters working to achieve that. It pressing "up", the computer will try to increase the thrusters power to move the tech up, and when releasing the button, thruster will go back to their previous power levels of gravity supressing. The same applies for other directions, acting similarly to the Hover Computer which uses thrusters for braking.
So even though the means of implementing the idea may vary, that seems more and more to be the way to go. Nice.

As for nerfing the HB, well that's not a good incentive, I wouldn't do that if I was a dev, and they wouldn't either, as explained here: https://forum.terratechgame.com/ind...bug-wheel-list-info-please.15464/#post-105219

Our official stance on the Hover Bug by the way -- is that we want to support the use of it as best we can (so long as it doesn't break other parts of the game) until we are able to introduce a block that functions in the same way. Once we've done that - we'll start doing things like removing certain block rotations...changing how hovers work...stuff like that - and essentially break fix the Hover Bug.
That's their vision and that's also my vision, that's why I made that thread in the first place. Anyone can be free to advocate against the HB and ask for nerfs, but that simply won't happen, they'll first find an alternative.
One thing to point out, the quote says "a block that functions in the same way", and if that's what they were aiming at (one single block), that's where I disagree and that's what I think it was their biggest mistake (maybe that's the history behind the LME). Or maybe that was just a way of phrasing the group of solutions, then it's okay.

There wasn't, there is not, and there will never be a single block solution. Anyone who looks for it, will either find something too OP, or nothing.
 
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Wassaup

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#7
One big appeal of the HB, is that techs utilizing it move seemingly without momentum and handle like turbo boosted magic carpets. To replicate this, we could have inertia dampeners (by Reticule Research, of course). Now, these should also drain batteries, but the anti-grav engines need to be a bit more energy-efficient for these to be viable, and even then, you'd need a craft with a massive power capacity. Something I could actually deal with, now that the BF solar panels have been boosted.
(I have a feeling, something like this has already been suggested somewhere on this forum, but I cannot find it.)
 

Rafs

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#10
Here: https://forum.terratechgame.com/ind...search-brainstorming-thread.19032/post-134013

Yes, inertial dampeners go beyond any other block in the game in terms of "miraculous properties". But they do backfire in a funny way: if you have almost 0 mass, any recoil will get you flying away haha that would be fun to watch!
I also suggested 0 or negative mass Antimatter blocks in this thread, this should also help with momentum reduction.

And I forgot I suggested "buyoancy tanks" in other threads, which gives constant vectored lift (upwards push), like a balloon. This is not a direct solution but could help a little with cheap antigravity and feather falling.

Another interesting block is a "pulse brake", a pulse thruster that works for the sole purpose of braking with the amount of thrust or impulse to cancel the movement, can be found here. Like activating a sonic lance with just enough power to brake a tech, under a certain limit of power for each block. This is a good braking solution to the hoverbug.

I think this all reinforces my belief that the "hoverbug solution" is plural, and being plural induces creative design and solution thinking beyond what the hoverbug itself could.
 
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Wassaup

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#11
Here: https://forum.terratechgame.com/ind...search-brainstorming-thread.19032/post-134013

Yes, inertial dampeners go beyond any other block in the game in terms of "miraculous properties". But they do backfire in a funny way: if you have almost 0 mass, any recoil will get you flying away haha that would be fun to watch!
An excellent point! So I'll go one step beyond and propose something even wilder and (hopefully) closer in function to what the HB does:
The Reticule Research Quantum-drive blocks (small, medium and large).

If you're familiar with Bioshock Infinite, you'll remember the explanation for the flying city: a phenomenon called quantum locking. They describe this as particles that "do not levitate", but rather "simply not fall down". These drive-blocks would function like the anti-grav engines, in the sense that they would drain power for every block in their sphere of influence (more power, than an anti-grav would), but instead of just reducing weight, they would turn the physics engine off all together. So the tech could move without weight and momentum, while also being immune to knock-back, gravity or anything else, that would spoil the fun. Of course, once the battery runs out, Newton will be back, with a vengeance!
 

zanzistar

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#12
Hey, good thread. You lot hit the nail on the head. We do want to legitimise the HB and we'll need to do that with a variety of new Blocks to serve each of the many functions the HB has. This isn't happening any time soon though.

One thing I've not seen mentioned here is the way the HB is used for intermittent rotational torque to power walker legs or rowing oars on multi-Techs. this is usually done by making an 'engine' where the Hover Bug is triggered by Chunks that move around Conveyors, when the Chunks get under the Hover Pad it switches on and when they rotate away from it, the Hover Pad switches off. This is something that will need to be catered for too.

This is my current list of Blocks that might cover the lot:
  • Thrust Motion engine - A Block that generates powerful infinite thrust along a linear axis.

  • Rotation Motion Engine - A Block that generates powerful infinite torque around a rotational axis.

  • Motion Engine Controller - A Block that can tell specific Motion Engines to turn on, off or pulse under certain conditions and with different timings.

  • Improved Stabilising Computer - A Block that controls and stabilises Blocks that use Throttled Lift (Rotors) and does not work against the artificial input from Motion Engines. With greater inertia dampening, slowing and stopping a Tech quicker when no input is given and pulse braking which actively works against sudden impulses that are applied to the Tech (hard kickback from guns and sudden collisions from other Techs).

  • More Powerful Adjustment Thrusters - Players rely upon the Hover Bug instead of the range of Adjustment Thrusters we have because it is more powerful (and free).
What am I missing?
 

burger1113

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#13
*]Improved Stabilising Computer - A Block that controls and stabilises Blocks that use Throttled Lift (Rotors) and does not work against the artificial input from Motion Engines. With greater inertia dampening, slowing and stopping a Tech quicker when no input is given and pulse braking which actively works against sudden impulses that are applied to the Tech (hard kickback from guns and sudden collisions from other Techs).
[*]More Powerful Adjustment Thrusters - Players rely upon the Hover Bug instead of the range of Adjustment Thrusters we have because it is more powerful (and free).
[/LIST]
What am I missing?
I think if we get a proper stabilizing computer and powerful adjusters as you said, things should be okay. It shouldn't be TOO easy to get free from the laws of physics altogether, no? That would just turn all other modes of transportation into something we all try to skip by ASAP when we start a new game.
 
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#16
Motion Engine Controller - A Block that can tell specific Motion Engines to turn on, off or pulse under certain conditions and with different timings.
I just thought of something. Maybe we can have an option for the controller to turn on some motions engines at a specific altitude above the ground, like how flying AI craft are controlled by landing gear activated hoverbug. This way, we can maintain altitude automatically for player techs and AI techs.
 

MrTwister

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#17
I just thought of something. Maybe we can have an option for the controller to turn on some motions engines at a specific altitude above the ground, like how flying AI craft are controlled by landing gear activated hoverbug. This way, we can maintain altitude automatically for player techs and AI techs.
I'd like to add my few cents here, already proppsed this before.

In order to be TRULY equivalent to the hoverbug, LMEs have to be fully excluded from the control schemes by their controlling block and be only controllable through the control block itself.

This is because the main utility of the hoverbug comes from the fact that it provides a controls-independent source of thrust, which is normally always on.

Also, it wouldnt be a bad idea to ramp up their power by 50% or so.

Alternatively, an additional axis/button combination could be added specifically for the control block itself.
 

Seth_Seth

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#19
This is a great thread.

While the HoverBug is very much OP (and is basically the default for making Airships), at the end of the day, it's still a bug, and bugs need to be fixed at some point, And well, the sooner we could get a legitimate hoverbug alternative, the better (though i would understand that wouldn't really be high on the priority list too since most players probably don't even know the Hoverbug exists).

At some point we do need to move on from the bug for our Airship's engines.
 
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