If you are a kind of user who hates long and detailed articles, here you go:
The hit box is the name for the invisible square that is part of every ship. It is what interacts with weapon projectiles and allows them to deal damage, and also determines whether or not a Terminus mine will start damaging you or not if you get close enough. In VEGA Conflict, as of right now at least, the hit boxes and the ships they are a part of do not align correctly in most cases.
Below is a detailed description of how you can see this sort of "misalignment" manifest in combat (if a projectile that looks like it would have passed right by you hits you anyway or the other way around, etc.). Also, there is a description below of how you can use this to your advantage, both in FvF and Base combat, and it will not fit in this section.
If you want to get a full explanation of what this is, then continue on.
If not, then you're missing out on a pretty important part of the game that could help you later on.
Sorry if the description is a bit hard to read, I will be editing it overtime to make it simpler and easier to read.
There are two aspects of any ship in VEGA Conflict when talking about being able to land hits.
- Actual model size( i.e. what you actually see in combat or where a ship appears to be)
- Hit box size
The hit box is the actual geometric area that the game logic uses to calculate whether a shot has hit its target or not. It is not directly visible, but is evident to exist based on in-game behaviors that can be observed relatively easily. It plays the most important part in combat scenarios, especially scenarios that require very precise maneuvering to avoid projectile impacts.
As a side note: energy weapons use the same "projectile" mechanic as the explosive and the actual Projectile Weapons do, but (at least in ship combat) they have been allowed by the developers to track their target with a 0% chance of missing.
It is Critical to know the hit box of your ships because it can allow you to make important course corrections that may well give you victory by narrowly avoiding a projectile that you'd have thought would hit because it touched the visible ship model, but passed right through because the hit box and models are not the same shape. This "misalignment" of the two areas is most commonly noticed by players in base combat, specifically with destroyers.
Destroyers have very, very narrow hit boxes compared to other ships, which makes them unequaled in their ability to successfully and consistently strafe to avoid being hit. Their hit box is so small, in fact, that the pylon art of some of the destroyers actually goes past the hit box, which is why correctly piloted destroyers against predominantly projectile-weapon bases can be so effective: they never get hit even though it looks like all of the shots should have found their mark.
Rancor battleships experience this misalignment as well. Their engine section extrudes, albeit very slightly, past the rear end of the hit box, which is why circling targets is easier on this ship than, say, a Revelation Cruiser or even a frigate. Some ships' hit boxes are aligned much more accurately than others. Why this is so has yet to be discovered.
Learning various ships' hit boxes is only possible through testing and actual combat. There is no official documentation on the subject, either by the player community or by Kixeye themselves, and finding the exact errors in hit box alignment for every single ship would be very tedious and probably not worthwhile. Another issue is that hit detection can depend entirely on the connection status of both opponents. If both players have slow or high-latency internet connections, then the ability to make those split-second maneuvers is effectively removed from the playing field on both sides.
All weapon projectiles (this includes energy shots) have hit boxes that interact with ship hit boxes to deal damage. The exception being for all ship Energy weapons and beam weapons like the arrestor or thermal/tachyon beam, both of which use hitscanning and cannot miss. Here's a list of a few weapons that have unique hit box features:
Probably one of the most popular weapons in the game, a common belief is that the gladius projectile actually detonates when it gets close enough to a target as an explosive weapon would. This is false. The gladius driver simply has a much larger hit box than other projectile weapons. The "explosion" witnessed in-game does not extend past this hit box like explosive projectiles do if it hits something before it detonates. However, it does actually explode if the projectile goes too long without hitting anything, and this is observable in combat as well.
Also probably one of the most popular Sniping weapons in the game, the siege driver behaves more like an explosive weapon than a projectile weapon. The hit box of the projectile is actually the same size as the projectile itself (not including its trail), but its explosive radius does extend, very very slightly, beyond its hitbox. It is a property shared by all explosive weapons, but the siege driver just uses it on a smaller scale.
It is important to remember that the explosion graphic effects you see in game for all projectile and explosive weapons does not represent the actual explosive radius, it is just there to look pretty. Usually the explosive radius is a bit larger than what the graphic shows.
Why does there appear to be misalignment?
The answer to this probably lies in the fact that, in all combat, your viewpoint, or camera, is not fixed directly above the field, but at a slight angle. This visual misalignment effect can sometimes be confused with actual hit box misalignment.
This mistake always occurs in combat where the attacking fleet is attacking directly or almost directly from the side. Because the game uses a 3-dimensional rendering technique, ship models extrude from their plane of movement (you can't go up or down, and even if you could, the game mechanics wouldn't be able to tell the difference unless the entire game was recoded. I.E. you would still be shot at if you were in the 2-dimensional firing arc of a weapon).
If you have a broadsword destroyer, for example, that is attacking a base directly from the side, the visual misalignment will be maximal. Let's also say that a Kinetic Driver turret shoots at you (and for the sake of a simple explanation we will assume it fires just one projectile then stops). The projectile is just about to hit you, but you move the destroyer down exactly far enough to avoid an impact. No damage is dealt, but it still looks as if the projectile hit you because it overlapped part of the 3D model of the broadsword.
The ship model may be 3D, but the hit box it uses is still only 2D. It would be pointless to have a 3D hitbox unless there was vertical movement, which there isn't in VEGA Conflict. The projectile did not interact with the ship's hit box even though it looked like it should have.
This is most commonly due to an error with human perception, and is not helped by the fact that most players have their cameras all the way zoomed out to allow for a wide field-of-view. People think that the ship model is the hit box, but are not exactly aware that they are looking at the battle from an angle. Thus, players tend to think that if a projectile overlaps a ship like it did in the example above, that it's either lag or a bug.
You might think "Hey, if the problem is caused by a 2D hit box, why not make it 3D?" Simple. The game's mechanics like firing arcs and ranges and maneuvering, basically everything except the ship and base models, were designed with only 2 dimensions in mind. Even the 3D weapon graphics have 2D hit boxes (which they need in order to interact with the ship hit boxes).
The game works best this way, and will probably never change in that regard. Everything would have to be changed in order to add a third dimension of movement, and it would introduce a lot more problems than it would solve.
So how do we fix the problem?
Well, the simple solution would for the developers to fine-tune the hit boxes to resemble the dimensions of the ships. In theory ( I personally do not know for sure since I do not develop this game ), it would be a quick fix and would solve many of the issues of misalignment that exist now.
A better, albeit much, much more complex solution, would be to integrate a mechanic that sort of "wrapped" the hit box around the ship. This would go even further to fix hit-detection issues and would need no further development.
Of course, these are just suggestions. The issue of hit box misalignment is not a game-changing error and is rarely noticeable or even useful to take advantage of in combat because, like I said a bit earlier, some ships' hit boxes have much better alignment with their associated ships than others do.
If this problem is fixed, it will make some ships easier to hit, while others will become harder to hit. In general, it's not really a major issue, and can actually be used to your advantage if you're experienced with your ships.
Also, if you've gotten this far, thanks for sticking with me.