Flying vehicles are a small but important, nise in Robocraft. Unhindered by physical obstacles, they can scout large portions of the battle quickly, spotting hidden threats and in some cases, eliminating them. They also provide support for ground forces through ambush-like attacks, and some can loiter over the battlefield for long periods of time, detecting and destroying opponents at long range. While never a replacement for ground vehicles, they can provide useful, if not vital, support assets.
Flying vehicles can be broken down into three different classes: airplanes, blimps, and hovercraft. Hybrids of these three classes exist and are not uncommon. Regardless of vehicle type, intensive testing is required to produce suitable aircraft. This is best done through trial and error, although the use of guides here and experience will shorten the process greatly
Planes, or 'flyers', primarily use aerofoils to achieve high altitudes, high speeds and high maneuverability. These are typically low armored to reduce weight and rely on agility to stay safe. Knocking out a wing or a thruster can ground them easily. The typical strategy with flyers is to load up on a burst of damage and either fly low to take out a target in one hit or shotgun down and hope for the best. They typically are regarded as very fragile, and can be rendered inoperable by a single SMG hit.
Another variation is the Jet plane. Thrusters combined with helium allow for a faster plane and no aerofoils.
Blimps, sometimes called satellites, use helium and thrusters to quickly reach high altitudes. Blimps are characterized by their low maneuverability and heavier armor than traditional aircraft. The stable platform is ideal for sniping with railguns or artillery. Many old satellites used only a few helium blocks and a weapon, in order to drop tiers and to reduce profile. But, in the new update when Aero Rods were added, they changed the game, effectively destroying overtiering.
Hovercraft use hover blades, which allow hovering over the landscape, but do not allow flying above a certain height. Hover blades behave oddly when suspended above their vertical limit. When driving near steep hills, there is a serious risk of flipping over. Hovercraft will still operate when flipped; however, steering controls will be inverted. They operate much like the ground vehicle they support, and are the most durable of the three.
There are also hybrid hovercraft/tank vehicles, which utilize both wheels and hover blades for a tactical advantage. Wheels have better maneuverability, but hover blades (in conjunction with a thruster or two) are faster. Having both allows the user to get the best of both worlds. The hover blades can be used to obtain a height advantage, with the wheels being the primary method of movement. An additional benefit is, if the wheels or the hover blades happen to be damaged, you can simply switch to the other mode of transportation. The only downside is the sheer amount of CPU needed for both forms of movement; a hybrid craft is unlikely to achieve the same amount of sophistication as a non-hybrid without the necessary CPU.
There is also, The Escape Pod, a ground vehicle that when a point gets hit (usually near the pilot) the seat will eject with helium and thrusters.
Weapons are essential too. You should never have no weapons.
Subatomic Machine Gun (SMG) Edit
This weapon is ideal for hovercrafts and airplanes, due to their lower operating altitudes. Hovercraft are often more durable than other aircraft, and can use these more effectively than other aircraft. When mounted on airplanes, it allows them to reliably target aerial targets at a reduced ability to destroy ground targets. Avoid mounting them on blimps: they are relatively ineffective at the ranges blimps will fight at. Its low recoil means it can be installed on all but the very lightest aircraft.
This is the ideal air-ground weapon for all aircraft types. Although less accurate than SMGs, they deal splash damage and rely on hit-and-run tactics suitable for airplanes. Hovercraft can operate with them much like their ground-based counterparts, and are superior to them in the respect that a direct hit is required to damage them. Airplanes can employ hit-and-run attacks or simply raining shells from above. They are particularly powerful on low-tier blimps for their sheer power. However, they make very poor anti-aircraft weapons, and are fairly vulnerable when confronted with opposing aircraft.
While suited to hovercraft, avoid this weapon on airplanes. Use on blimps can result in flipping over due to great recoil. Because Rail Cannons require absolute stillness for accuracy and require great surface area to operate effectively, they are ineffective as aircraft weapons. Hovercraft may be able to use this weapon with greater ease than others, since airplanes cannot stay still by nature of design and blimps may suffer from the severe recoil after firing a few shots. However, extremely close hit-and-run attacks by airplanes can cause severe damage.
Use only on hovercraft or heli. They are powerful tools on hovercraft, able to move rapidly to other allies. While possible to mount successfully on airplanes and blimps, they are unsuited to their use on airplanes due to the nature of their operations since airplanes cannot stay in an area long enough to effectively heal allies and blimps operate at altitudes where the weapons will be of no value.
Use only on hovercraft and airplanes. While possible to mount on blimps, the poor or nonexistent mobility, prevalence of other weapons, typically small size and extremely low chance of midair collision makes this useless on blimps. When mounted on hovercraft, it is usually as a close-in defensive tool to dissuade opponents from closing in, and if fast enough, a ram. When combined with SMGs, the damage can be overwhelming. When used on airplanes, it turns the aircraft into a flying torpedo. However, given the kamikaze-style attacks used by aircraft equipped with Tesla Blades, survival is marginal at best and should only be used on isolated or heavily wounded targets. The Tesla Blade can be hard to use because it is small and can be hard for the user to inject it into the enemy.
Both versions of lock-on missile launchers are good weapons for aicraft and especially helicopters. It is a little bit harder to use when operating an airplane because locking a target while moving is harder than when hovering with a helicopter. The missile launcher is a good weapon for aicraft because their high altitude allows them to see most of the map and to lock enemies more easily, as walls are less of a problem when at high altitude. The two versions are good for helicopters and airplanes, but the LOML Stinger is usually easier to use because of its inferior weight and size compared to its legendary counterpart, which is also harder to obtain.
Building a HovercraftEdit
These are generally easy to build, and can be readily produced through the adaption of an existing ground vehicle. There are two distinct sub-classes: hover tanks and gunships. Hover tanks are more akin to ground vehicles, and are often adapted from them. Gunships are more like flying vehicles, and are often newly-built vehicles. Either sub-class require an even distribution of hover blades and a body light enough to get off the ground.
Depending on the shape of the chassis, hover blade placement will be different for different vehicles.
By mirroring hover blades on each side of the craft, it will remain balanced. If employing hover blades it should be noted that the blades should be placed above the craft's center of mass; if they are not, the craft will most likely flip over at the start of the match or when going over small terrain obstacles, leaving the vehicle upside down and often defenseless. If one creates an oddly-shaped hovering vehicle, balancing the craft becomes critical; hover blades behave very oddly if they are placed asymmetrically and can often lead to hilariously awful, spiraling, tumbling metal objects.
Building a Blimp/Satellite Edit
An airship or satellite is the most flexible of the flying vehicles in Construction. The key is to have a significant amount of Thrust blocks helium to keep the spacecraft in a stable position. To maintain a particular orientation, weighted blocks are usually added to the bottom of the ship. Unlike an aircraft or hovercraft , a satellite has no need of symmetry, provided there is enough weight to keep it properly oriented. Thrusters must be used to move satellites, as no other method of movement will work at the higher altitudes and low operational speed.
One of the most common versions has a single weapon typically a Plasma Launcher or Rail Cannon. However, you can also find SMGs. Some may be equipped with electroplates and armor for protection. Beware that electroplates will give you some resistance but it will not make you invulnerable. It can work well against SMGs of equal or lesser tier. However, due to their slow or nonexistent speed, Rail Cannon will make short work of satellites.
Alternatively you can construct a 2 block satellite with moderate mobility and stability by placing a helium block under the pilot's chair, a regular block under the helium block and a gun of your choice beneath the regular block. Add one Tier 2 thruster facing downwards to the back of the regular block and another Tier 2 thruster facing either left or right in the front of the regular block. (Back and front is relative to the orientation of the pilot seat) Pay attention to the amount of lift provided by the helium block and the weight of the satellite. Generally one Tier 4 helium block can lift an Armored Tier 1 block, 2 Tier 2 thrusters and a Tier 3 gun close to maximum altitude. During flight, use left/right to face the satellite in the direction of desired travel, tap space to tilt, then hold left/right while holding space to take advantage of centripetal force of spinning to maintain trajectory. Exactly as described, this satellite would be in T1.
NOTE: When checking your Hardware Cubes such as electroplates and weapons, the weight is not shown but they do have mass. So, always consider this when building your robot. It is highly recommended that you test practice it before a battle.
Building an AirplaneEdit
One of the most difficult types of robots to build and use are airplanes. Airplanes are dependent on the lift provided by aerofoils. This means that they must always be moving in order to remain in the air. All aircraft have three key attributes that must be properly balanced; the center of thrust, the center of mass, and the center of lift. For a quick start, a simple aeroplane would have all of these centers on the same point. This would mean a robot with two aerofoils in front, two in back, and the other materials distributed evenly across the robot. Almost all airplanes have thrusters for propulsion.
To create a more traditional airplane, the vehicle should be symmetrical, the center of lift should be slightly in front of the center of mass (so the plane tends to lift its nose), and the center of thrust should be in line with the center of mass (so the thrust is pushing the plane in a straight line). The center of mass, thrust, and lift are not shown, so some experimentation will likely be required, but if the plane is symmetrical, the center of lift will be centered between the aerofoils and the center of thrust will be centered between the thrusters.
Unlike other robots, left and right controls (default: A & D) cause an aeroplane to roll in that direction. Actual turning must be done by rolling and then using pitch (default: space & left shift) to change movement direction. As of 7/19/2014, dorsal wings do not exist, and normal aerofoils placed vertically create unusual flight characteristics. All aerofoils provide lift even when upside down, provided they are moving in the correct direction
Airplanes universally have less health and usually fewer armaments than ground based counterparts. However you can put a layer of armor or electroplates under your aerofoils. Protection should be centered on the nose, tail, belly and mounting points for wings, rudders and weapons. When properly done, they can absorb incredible amounts of damage and remain flyable after sustaining modest damage.Their constant movement tends to interfere with accuracy, though this is less of an issue with Plasma Launchers.
It is possible to combine aerofoils with other movement forms, such as rudders, jet engines, hoverblades, skis, and even wheels. Wheels are heavy but can serve as secondary movement if the aerofoils are destroyed. They also may reduce aircraft takeoff distance. Skis serve better as aircraft landing gear, and are viable sources of movement due to the existence of thrusters.
Thrusters are used mainly for forward propulsion, though in some smaller aircraft, they provide pitch control. While seeming oxymoronic, smaller, lower-tier thrusters may be mounted backwards to provide some ability to move backwards. This thruster is used mostly for dragging an otherwise crippled airplane into cover and to shorten landing distances dramatically.
An important thing to remember is that, to create an airplane, you will need wings. There are two types: aerofoils and rudders. The former are used as source of lift; this is a mandatory part in making your plane airborne. The higher the tier, the higher the weight lift and armor. The latter are used to stabilize your aircraft, and as such, have a less extreme lift than their counterpart. Compared to aerofoils, rudders have identical statistics, but have less lift and a slightly lower price.
Although rudders are meant to be used as stabilizers, it is possible to build an aircraft with only rudders. There are two major differences between aerofoil-based aircraft and rudder-based aircraft:
1: As rudders have less lift than aerofoils, more rudders will be required to reach the same amount of lift. This may reduce the horizontal profile of an aircraft, but will inflate the robo-ranking.
2: Rudders have less air resistance than aerofoils, making them more suitable for high-maneuverability aircraft. This is often used to make jet fighters.
- Why does my flyer not leave the ground?
You need more thrusters, or you need more aerofoils. Ensure that you are moving quickly so that you can get the most lift out of your aerofoil; a slow moving flier with two Tier 5 aerofoils doesn't generate as much lift as a fast moving flier with two Tier 5 aerofoils! Reduce weight, add more aerofoils, move faster, or use higher tier aerofoils!
- My flyer rolls/pitches/yaws in one direction!
Can have multiple causes; most likely the thrust is not properly balanced.
- My flyer points straight up/down!
This is the result of the center of mass being too far forward or backward. Try moving weapons and components away from the falling end or adding higher lift to that end by moving or adding wings to the falling end. In the case that you have a small plane and have decided to use Plasmas, you need to remember that they have a great quantity of mass (although it is not shown on the item´s descriptions). This will force you plane to pitch down. There are three possible solutions for this:
First try to replace your weapon(s) and/or thruster(s) to find a good balance.
Secondly try to place more wings. Maybe the ones you currently have are at their limit.
When the second options are not possible or available, you could add some thrusters (usually two, could be one if it is a small plane) pointing down towards the front of you plane. That will make the nose pitch up every time you press "Space Bar". N.B. you may pitch up fast so you shall consider this when targeting and shooting.
- My flyers attempt to roll while in level flight!
Weight is unbalanced to the left/right. Adjust mass accordingly.
- My flyer inverts itself or continues to roll after beginning a turn!
Lower the center of mass or place the aerofoils higher.
- My flyer rolls/pitches too quickly!
Making the wingspan wider and/or placing more weight on the outer edges of the robot will reduce roll speed. Making the aircraft longer and concentrating the weight at the front and back will reduce pitch speed.
- My flyer rolls/pitches/yaws in one direction!/My flyers attempts to roll while in level flight!/My flyer inverts itself or continues to roll after beginning a turn!'
If you experience several of these at once you could also be at your wing's weight limit.
Building a HelicopterEdit
Helicopters are good flying units and can equip all weapons in the game, really good with Nano Disruptors, Rail Cannons, Plasma Launchers. They can fly really high but not like airplanes.
They just need rotors placed symmetrically on the bot. More rotors = more big vehicles.
One rotor is for very small helicopters. Some of them have three or four rotors.
It is recommended when building helicopters that you keep your weight in mind as if your helicpter is front-heavy it will lean forwards making the copter harder to control, but if you use this to your advantage it can be quite helpful.