How to aim in Moon Breakers

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How to aim in Moon Breakers

Post by the-anger on Fri Jan 17, 2014 1:28 am

watch this space - i will be putting up videos on how to aim with every weapon in this game, as well as tactics applicable only to drifting and how to make use of drifting properly.

i have been putting into practice over the last couple of months what i intend to detail here, and results have been impressive.

Part 1 - Basic Rush -
short clip showing it is possible to charge through that tiny area on broken moon, with a mamba, and survive. note the boost feathering (that you should already know how to do) as well as smooth, fine adjustments to aiming direction throughout. getting this right every time is not important, but do give this a go to understand the feel for this style of motion - alternating between drift and thrust seamlessly.

Part 2 - Sweep Shots -
because of how the camera works in this game, if you have the mouse stationary the reticule will trace out a line. this line is actually on a sphere, but from your perspective it is easier to think of it and treat it as a line. taking advantage of this allows you to line up shots (having the camera pan the target over your reticule), whereas twitch-aiming results in unwanted rotational acceleration (moving the reticule will affect rotation rate).

Part 3 - Drifting into Position -
Because drifting is not a linear motion, typically most players won't easily be able to hit you at a distance so long as you're drifting about. However up close and personal things take a classical approach, and you need to get on the tail of your attackers... Drifting around and behind your opponent is the best strategy, or if they fly off too far, you're in excellent position to fire, or run off, you get the idea.

Part 4 - Drifting & Streaming -
Combining the principles used in parts 2 & 3 to demonstrate them in a more practical setting. Things to note:
* you can't aim and fly at the same time effectively, but you can aim while drifting easily enough.
* you can adjust the stream of bullets with minimal effort to stay on target while in a drift, even if for a short moment.
* as a rule of thumb when adjusting a stream of bullets, you should move the mouse towards the center of screen for targets that are moving away from you, and away from center when your target is approaching you.
* it really doesn't take as many bullets as you might think to take out another player (or turrets for that matter), and every attack run without pause makes you an easier target.
* drifting not only gives you the best opportunity to maximize the number of hits you can attain per burst, but lets you evade in the process since your motion is difficult to anticipate.

next vid is on request - anything you've heard of or seen and want to know how it's done, so long as it is legitimately (if remotely) possible to do, happy to enlighten...

Theory and Stuff
(yes you should read this at some point or the videos aren't much help)

Flight - Basics

in a straight line, ships will fly at a constant speed. ignoring boost for the time being, changing throttle will cause the ship to adjust its speed accordingly, as quickly as its brake/accel stats will allow.

moving the mouse to a position above or below the center will cause the ship to pitch accordingly at a rate proportional to the distance from the center-horizon of the screen. the rotation rate hits an artificial limit when the mouse moves past the pre-configured rectangular area, which scales in size to fit into the screen, but its proportions remain intact (after this point the ship will still angle up/down, but the pitch rate doesn't change; most noticeable on 'square' resized windows).

A/D keys cause the ship to roll at a constant speed. mouse left/right can also roll the ship, but in addition to the roll it induces a yaw (left-right turn). the A/D keys can offset the roll of the mouse at roughly 2/3 the distance from center to one side of the screen - further will cause the ship to roll anyway, and less will cause the ship to roll in the direction of the A/D key held (if trying to counter the mouse's roll rotation).

another way to think of the mouse left/right motion, is a turn about the bottom of the screen / your field of vision, rather than a turn about the point directly below you in space. in more technical terms, if you're ignoring the magnitude of the rotation, the mouse position on screen maps to the rotational axis itself in a slant towards the upper rear - when flying in spirals this becomes especially apparent, as the stationary point (= intersection of your rotational axis and the background) can be clearly seen and manipulated with the mouse position.

Flight - Drifting

any 'drift' can be defined as the period and associated motion during which the ship adjusts to a change in direction and rate of travel, when it cannot do so instantly. (before going further, i have to point out that the thrust direction of the ship is also exactly where you are aiming - because of how the camera works with respect to turning rate this can be misleading, but is vital to maneuvering in tight spaces).

in short you drift when the ship, due to physics, can't keep up with your intended direction of travel - as it adjusts this causes non-linear trajectories / flight paths and 'drifting' in the old direction of travel, which tends to the new direction of travel over time.

drifting cannot be done indefinitely unless you keep feeding in more speed (drifting bleeds speed to 50%-80% of your throttle / boosted throttle), and without even changing direction! the G5 & F3 (and bombers) for instance maintain their boosted speed so well because of their linear drift - they are slower to reach their max speed by boosting but on the other hand they lose that speed slower as well, if that makes sense.

Drifting - Uses
drifting gives the same advantage in space maneuvering as powerslides / handbrake turns in racing games, as a starting point - idea being that you don't fight your inertia by dropping speed on a turn, instead you coerce your inertia into the direction you need by adjusting with perpendicular accelerations (or flying/drifting sideways/orbiting as would be the case here).

basically drifting buys you time to react with a necessary change in flight earlier than if you started the turn when it is needed. eg, flying around an asteroid - if you start turning as it passes you on the side, you will overshoot, but drifting around it wastes the least amount of time / is the most efficient path.

in the same reasoning, it allows you to get into a tactical position faster and smoother; if you can anticipate your opponent's movements even slightly, you can start drifting into a favorable attack position earlier or escape out of their line of sight faster.

when drifting around corners or in a tight turn, remember that where you aim determines the acceleration - to drift around something, the best technique is to gather speed and aim at the center of the turn, and if you're turning too sharp, move your aim direction closer to the path you wish to fly in.

Aiming - Basics

you will fire from the designated spots on the ship, tracing out a path to the crosshair / reticule. this reticule is misleadingly slapped on the screen - it is best to think of it being 400-500m directly in front of where the ship is looking. closer than this distance, and you need to aim with this imaginary 'front of the ship' line (causing your view to seem like you're aiming above your mark), further and you can use the reticule quite reliably (at long beam distances, the reverse happens - you need to aim slightly below your target because the reticule is closer than your target).

this is sufficient for stationary targets as a starting point.

Aiming - On the Move

while moving, your aim is unaffected - in the sense that if you fire one shot at the same spot, once while moving past that spot and another while standing still, you will hit the same spot anyway. another thing to remember - what you shoot at is exactly what you need to hit (with bullets, beams, etc), and this will appear out-of-order / delayed for other people (bullets hitting you even they landed where you were, for example).

zoom should be used sparingly but when charging at someone, you can focus a lot of firepower into one spot. i won't mention zoom again, you should know when and how to use it, just this one point is relevant since people sometimes complain about unusual firepower on ships. in general though you shouldn't use zoom while moving, with only one exception being snipe-distance head to head runs.

otherwise if you must shoot while on the move, don't. the only valid time to shoot is while drifting. this isn't to say you are incapable of multitasking flying and aiming - you probably can. however the game makes it impossible (barring missile lock) to hit a moving target while on the move yourself and staying in control of your motion, something will be sacrificed and if it isn't your control over your own motion (can be exploited by aware opponents for easy shots) it will be your aim itself.

this limitation arises from the fact "you accelerate in the same direction you aim". if left unchecked, all duels will enter a circle of death or an orbit of some description with passes of mutual potshots. the first person to enter this circle often loses the duel; the only salvation is to hope your opponent does the same and that by that time you have moved into an interception position, outside of the circle. i'm not trying to say this situation is bad inherently, there are some good players who can aim in the circle quite well - my point is simply that it is the default outcome hence very predictable and easy to anticipate.

Aiming - Drifting Target

hitting someone standing still is easy. hitting someone flying in a straight line is also quite easy (watch where your bullets go, adjust and repeat). hitting something that is undergoing non-linear motion is the ability that makes you better than a turret, often confused to mean 'ace'.

to master this aspect, beam weapons are preferred - you have little room for error, so your attention is looking for times when your target is flying linearly or in a very predictable manner. as you know, the scariest beam pilots are the patient ones for this very reason.

but aside from looking for gaps there is one aspect with the machine gun that isn't touched on enough (and can be extended to other weapons) - sprays.

Aiming - Drifting Spray

the best practice i have found (which inspired me to make vids about this) is drifting around rocks, and spraying MG onto a single spot OR spraying the MG into patterns (mostly straight lines, ovals etc). what you will find after some time of trying this out is that if you hold the mouse in one location on the screen during a drift, it traces out what looks like a line. rolling with A/W keys will curve the line, but in general the shape of the spray is a curve with very low curvature.

you can use this to line up shots with the camera panning on its own rather than trying to keep the reticule on-path in exact straight lines or aiming at the exact same spot. my favorite approach with this technique is to drift laterally and spray vertically - it lets me strafe a target flying towards my contrail and spray bullets along their direction of travel regardless of what it is (potentially allowing a 100% hit rate in good situations).

once you are familiar with the 'feel' of spraying lines of bullets mid-drift, it becomes surprisingly easy to change the shape of the spray to just about anything you want. personally i like drawing infinity patterns. but importantly it becomes trivial to adapt the spray shape to any curve formed by drifting... this lets you hit a drifting target regardless of what they're doing, and though your target should be able to hit you as well if they are not aware of the aiming 'motion' (vid illustrates it best) during a drift they have no chance bar luck.

Aiming - Making use of Sprays

it is one thing to sweep the reticule via the camera over a target and fire at the right time. the next step is hitting not once, but with every, single, bullet.

this can only be done by understanding how sprays work. in fact this idea is consistent enough that one could, if they wanted to, come up with exact positions and speeds the mouse needs to move through to hit a target. it is not a magic bullet method, you do need a keen eye to adjust the spray as you're firing it, what i can give is a method to understand how to adjust it. the act itself is easy enough - arrange the camera to pan the reticule over your target, in the direction the target is moving as you see them on your screen.

just doing this will almost guarantee a hit or few, but not how many times you hit. this should be apparent if you've been following the above. for simplicity i will refer to this situation as an 'aligned spray' - the 'line' formed by the spray (edge of a circle or section of a flat unraveling spiral to be precise) is aligned to the path your target took, and in an ideal situation this creates a perfect overlap of where you're aiming, with where to aim at the target..

so the trick now is how to maximize the number of hits.

Aiming - Adjusting the Aligned Spray

to recap, you're firing along a path that overlaps the path your target is taking. if it helps, just imagine firing up the contrail of your target, roughly speaking that's all you're doing but without moving the mouse. the rate at which you're traversing this aiming path is proportional to how far from center the mouse is. this lets us define a simple rule of thumb:

approaching target = start firing close to center, finish firing further from center.
receding target = start firing away from center, finish firing closer to center.

this makes sense when you think of your target as standing still - when they're 'approaching' they will fly past and off the edge of your screen, to hit them in such a pass, you need to start aiming towards the center of screen and end up further from center than where you started. visually this may seem like whiplash.

for a receding target, think of yourself as stationary and your target doing all the moving - as they get further, the variation in their on-screen distance (from your POV) decreases, so you need to sweep slower, ie, move the mouse towards center. visually this is seen as 'alignment' - your view will tend to center on your target and eventually dead center as you're chasing them.

there is nothing more i can explain further... once you get this concept down all it takes is getting a feel for how to adjust aim when your target is dancing towards and away from you (eg, highly eccentric death orbits) and you will wonder how you ever missed before.

all i can add is entirely psychological in nature (in fact it is studying the psychological aspects that led me to this method). however one small point i must stress to breaking point - don't pilot and shoot at the same time, these are two incompatible processes that interfere with one another in this game unless you're firing at where you're flying towards (an approach that is too easily countered).

Last edited by the-anger on Tue Jan 28, 2014 6:36 am; edited 7 times in total (Reason for editing : videos :D)

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Re: How to aim in Moon Breakers

Post by Pejota on Fri Jan 17, 2014 11:56 am


Will stay tuned for more information...

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Re: How to aim in Moon Breakers

Post by the-anger on Thu Jan 23, 2014 5:53 am

cleaned things up a bit, was getting messy.

part 3 up to show drifting against another player but really it's just a teaser for part 4.

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Re: How to aim in Moon Breakers

Post by the-anger on Tue Jan 28, 2014 6:37 am

part 4 up.

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Re: How to aim in Moon Breakers

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