I'm working on a simple 3D space combat game, and I've decided to go with simplified physics over proper newtonian motion, similar to the space sim Oolite, and more 'arcade' style games. I basically want my ships to move how spacecraft do in Star Wars.
This is what I'm trying to achieve specifically; ability to rotate along each axis, and with solely forward motion relative to the spacecraft. In the case of impacts and collisions I want to spacecraft to move under normal physics, but for any rotation/velocity incurred by the collision to quickly bleed off.
I can find a lot of tutorials that show how to achieve this kind of flight by setting angular drag and such in a standard aircraft controller. This seems like it is a waste of resources however, since you are using the drag equations to cancel out the newtonian thrust equations. Since I'm aiming for hundreds of ships in a single battle I need to keep things as efficient as possible.
So is there a simpler, more efficient way to have this kind of controller?