When the Tactical Overlay is on and our ship is orbiting an asteroid, another ship or anything else, we can see a blue circle surrounding the object we’re orbiting and a straight line joining our ship to that circle. I think the behaviour of the EVE orbital mechanism needs to be improved. Perhaps not the mechanism itself but the screen displaying of it.
Let me explain it:
• The straight line and the circle never converge to the same plane. I do not need this objects to be in the same plane at first but it’s better they converge as the movement evolves. That straight line marks the difference, I know, between real and expected trajectories and I understand that are several reasons for this difference. But being in different planes these lines do not provide reality (as my graduate heart in Physics would like). Think of our ship as a stone tied with a string (the straight line) to the object it is orbiting.
• Ok, circle and straight line cannot be both in the same plane. But why are they always in the same relative positions? It results in a curious way for my ship to move: the object orbited is not in the real centre of my trajectory. It is very evident when I’m orbiting a stationary object like an asteroid or a station.
• Another problem is the impossibility of changing the orientation of the orbit itself, it is only possible to manage its radius. Being in an asteroid belt in an orbit colliding with other space rocks, the algorithm always offers the same orbital orientation no matter how you try to change it. The algorithm doesn’t search for orbits that avoid nearby asteroids. If the ship is moving and not stuck on rocks, we can speed up the scape sequence (…or so). In an asteroid belt, a balance is needed between movement and closeness to the target asteroid due to the travel time of mining drones. If you need to scoop them to the drone bay quickly, you need to be close to them without colliding with other asteroids.
May I make a suggestion about the algorithm to determine the orbit that would solve these “issues”?
1. When the pilot selects the orbit movement, the computer chooses, but does not display, a circle with contains the ship and the object to be orbited as the centre of the orbit (code libraries similar to what the current algorithm uses, I guess ).
2. Then the computer chooses, and displays on the screen, another circle with the same basic elements as the previous circle but with the radius selected by the pilot.
3. Display the straight line.
4. Try to minimize the straight line (as the current code does).