Space Thunder was an April Fool's Day event taking place 1st - 6th April 2020, and then returning for the Cosmonautic Day, being available on 12th and 13th April 2020. The event featured Space Combat Units fighting in a realistic zero-g environment.
The Event Introduction
Space mining has always been far from peaceful, but corporations managed to rub along together. Until now, when they found on the Moon the mysterious Object 279, a powerful weapon of the first space race. There can’t be alliances and codexes when you strive to possess such an artifact, so professionals step forward.
Your employers want to control resource platforms in open space, these are perfect transfer sites. You are weapons free with the whole arsenal of combat space suits available in several variants.
Space Combat Units
Space Thunder Controls
Controls in Space Thunder were unique, as the Space Combat Units followed (somewhat simplified) Newtonian Physics. There was no "up" or "down" and unless acted with a force Unit would continue on its path at the constant speed and direction. Simplifications to the physics revolved around collisions. Impact from weapons added no acceleration to the pods, and colliding with other objects would dampen the motion, allowing players to quickly negate their motion. All of this aimed for much more accessible gameplay than with fully realistic physics, where basically the first hit off-center would add significant angular rotation to the pod, making it impossible to return fire.
Space Thunder came with an unique set of awards during the matches. Those were the only awards within the battles:
Space Thunder took place on a dedicated map, centred around an extremely large space station, with added three asteroids on the outskirts. The map contained a number of tributes to the ISS:
- Truss-like structures with Solar Array Wings (gold-brown) and Heat Rejection System Radiators (solid white) attached.
- Canadarm2-like robotic arms
- A number of Cupolas attached to Tranquility-like modules, and external payloads in a Columbus-like configuration. In fact, the majority of the modules on the station have a typical design to the ISS modules built by the European Space Agency.
Gameplay was based on two teams of seven players fighting team deathmatch till the first team got 50 kills. Damaging enemy Units, scoring critical kills, and finally: killing them gave SP, which could then be used to spawn more advanced units. Initially, players had 60 SP and throughout the game, there was no limit in a number of spawned Units nor in a collected amount of SP. As damaging opponents over time rewarded additional points, it was preferable to killing them in a single shot (it was possible with the Support CSS, not so much with other units).
Post-match rewards included fuel, oxidizer and shipping containers for the Space Race event. Also, during the first period the event was active, 1st - 6th April 2020, players would earn Unique Paint that would be used to create special black camouflage for the event vehicles.
View the video below for the full match run-down.
Event brought several surprisingly realistic details into the game. Notably:
- There is no sound in space. The player can hear only his own guns, thrusters, when he gets hit, collisions, leaks and internal system warnings.
- Vacuum is obeyed. Muzzle flashes are spherical, instead of having shape perturbed, as it is typical when fired in the atmosphere. Similarly ejecta from the Reaction Control systems expands in a perfect cone, instead of more bell-like shape, as it would in the atmosphere. And finally: Pierced propellant tanks accelerate spacecraft, as matter escapes into vacuum.
- Simplified Newtonian physics. Rotation and speed don't matter, everything is relative. Once accelerated, every pod, piece of debris or bullet will continue flying, there is no need to maintain thrust, Star Wars-style, nor gravity will pull them away.
- There is no atmosphere, therefore there is no haze that typically helps judging distance and scale, and shadowed areas are pitch-black, unless otherwise illuminated. Objects that are on the other edge of the map appear as crisp and evenly colored as those right next to you.
- Planetshine is accurately represented