Tribes Ascend Jetpack Guide

Tribes Ascend Jetpack Guide by radiodef

First, I don’t know that this is how movement is actually implemented in code, though I have a good hunch that it is. But after a lot of testing, this is certainly how the jet pack behaves in the game.

Applying any movement controls in the air (jets, direction keys) only ever seems to really do two things:

    * Increments or decrements the player’s speed at a certain rate * Alters the player’s direction at a certain rate

First you have to understand how basic air control works:


This is how air control works when you apply a movement key while airborne (but without applying jets, as that changes things). Air control’s acceleration also caps out once you reach a horizontal speed equal to the run speed for your class. (I did most of my testing with a pathfinder with 10% movement speed increase, which nets a run speed of 39 or 40, but it works the same for all other classes.)

So air control does three things depending on which direction you are applying relative to the direction of travel:

    * If applying towards the direction of travel (or from a standstill), it speeds the player up to the run speed of your class * If applying “away” from the direction of travel, it slows the player down * If applying in a direction to either side of the line of travel, it alters the player’s direction

If air control is applied in a direction that falls under two of these properties, the amount that it does each one is proportional to the angle between them.

For instance, applying air control 45 degrees to either side of the direction opposite of travel nets a slow directional change, and also slowly reduces your speed by half. Continuing to apply air control in the new direction accelerates up to your run speed.

If you want to better understand what the diagram means, you can go to a very flat spot (like the flag platform on Drydock) and experiment by getting a running start in to a ski, jetting a bit in the air, and then applying air control in various directions. Note again that this is only how air control works while not also jetting. If you apply a directional movement and jet, something different happens.

“Combat Jetting”


This is how the jet pack behaves while under speeds of 72km/hr. As many people have noticed, many things change after 72km/hr, but I will get to that later.

These different maneuvers seem to be separate functions of the jet pack, and are dependent on what movement key is being pressed while jetting. Basically we don’t really have air control or thrust vectoring. It is somewhere in between: what appears to be preprogrammed functions of how the jet pack is supposed to behave during slow combat.

The “extra height while holding forward and facing an obstacle” thing seems to be a bug in the function for the lunge jet. The lunge jet accelerates the player’s speed faster than any other jet function, so when faced with an immovable object that inhibits its directional change, the jet pack has nowhere to go but up.


The forward/backward zig-zag is a variant on this bug, and also appears to be due to the lunge jet speeding the player up while an outside function counteracts its own directional change. (Remember, air movement seems to do two things: change your speed and change your direction, but they are not always related.)

The strafe jet works correctly, and that is why zig-zagging with strafe jetting nets you less height.

Applying a diagonal movement while jetting appears to just be a variant on the strafe jet, although I do not recommend using strafe jetting if you want to maintain forward momentum:


Also, facing up or down has no effect on movement. This has been thought to be true in the past, but it’s not.

That is basically how the jet pack works below speeds of 72km/hr. After that things get a little more wacky, as many have noticed. The most obvious thing is that the jet pack’s acceleration (the rate at which it increments your speed) caps out. At 72km/hr, holding down to jet only ever just increments your speed by 1km/hr every second:


If you can’t see the speedometer in the video very well, just bear with it, and you can also go test this in roam easily if you don’t already know about the cap. Just jet up the conduit and hold ski to watch your speedometer. Then fall back down, hold ski, and begin jetting as soon as you pass 72km/hr.

Another interesting dynamic of the acceleration cap and the directional change being determined separately is that you can actually build horizontal speed very slowly by only applying “upwards” jets:


So that’s all mostly about just the jet pack above 72km/hr. iHaTehNameGame’s videos already have explained the two ways to use air control above 72km/hr, but here they are again:


(edit: Worth pointing out here that with these maneuvers, it doesn’t matter what movement key you are pushing. Only the direction you are applying in. For example, facing backwards and pushing move forward + jet does the same thing as facing forwards and pushing move backwards + jet.)

Also a note: applying air control without jetting still behaves the same as the diagram at the top, but if the horizontal acceleration cap (your run speed) has already been met, air control will not speed you up.

The reason that the last video works the way it does is that after speeds of 72km/hr have been reached, applying a directional key while jetting ceases to change your speed (beyond the flat 1km/hr rate from your jets) and only changes your direction. So applying lateral air control rotates your direction of movement, and applying “backwards” air control simply shifts your direction towards the vertical plane much faster. I do not think this is a bug: this is just how the jet pack works when moving over 72km/hr.

There is another special speed, which I think is 180km/hr. Past 180, applying lateral air control ceases to do much of anything, which is why you will sometimes just fling off in to the middle of nowhere and there’s nothing you can do about it.

Now you know what your jet pack does.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.