So there has been a lot of discussion about orbital units lately. The main difference between the approaches that have been considered are "fake orbital" that lives on a geosync shell or "real orbital" that actually follows orbital mechanics. Fake Orbital means units are launched onto the shell and do not move unless you tell them to, they simply "hover" but aren't forced to move to stay in orbit. These kinds of orbits are unrealistic (technically they aren't orbiting). Some up sides of fake: - you can control areas of the shell by deploying on-orbit defenses like missile launchers. This way you can have time to build things on orbit using orbital construction units and keep sats away from your base. - you can tell orbital units to patrol, move etc. just like regular units. So if you want a satellite to move around simply put it on patrol. No custom interface needed that different that all of the other units. The current idea is that all orbital units can move although some may be very very slow. - the control scheme is completely the same as all other units in the game with the exception of being able to select a movement point on the orbital shell (not implemented yet btw which is why you are stuck clicking on the ground) - it's easy to congregate units. For example if you wanted 10 orbital fabs to help build the giant orbital laser weapon you can simply order them to do so and they will clearly move to that location in an understandable way. Doing things like landing a bunch of landers in the same place is easy and directly understandable as well. some down sides: - it's not "real" orbital mechanics (which we support for the planets themselves btw) - ???? give me more Real Orbital means units use actual orbital mechanics which means they constantly move and their height is based on their speed. some up sides: - it's more realistic some down sides: - completely new control scheme as they never stop moving which implies high implementation cost - how do we chain orders together for this? - Getting units close to each other could requires multiple orbits of maneuvering and could potentially take a long time - what does the interface look like to do this? Some have suggested direct control of orbital tracks but that won't give you two units close to each other. - difficult to maneuver the units over the place on the planet you want for attacking in a timely manner and you may also need to cross a lot of the territory on the planet to do it. - ground interaction would have to be severely hampered otherwise your satellites would constantly get shot down as they went over the enemy base. I wanted to move this discussion to a new clear thread that was simply about the two approaches. As we discuss it I'll try to flesh out more detail on what we're doing and hopefully some of you can counter point with ideas on the "real" orbital side. When discussing it with Scathis and talking about the pros and cons it was really a no brainer decision to go more the fake orbital route. Especially when we are doing more interesting orbital stuff with the planets themselves. The amount of game design risk going with real orbital seems quite frankly to be very large. Most of the issues with fake orbital are easy to overcome and work within current game system design. I also feel like a lot of people think orbital won't be differentiated from air enough. Personally I think there are a lot of things we can do to make them different. Things like movement rates, acceleration, how they interact with ground weapons, cost etc. Thoughts? Let's open this can of worms.