Sensor system proposal

Discussion in 'Suggestions' started by geostar1024, Feb 9, 2018.

  1. Brimstone

    Brimstone Rear Admiral

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    Valid point, but I didn't get that level of detail out of the proposal... I think the essential system breaks down like this- examples not all-inclusive:

    • What can be detected? (resources, power signature, drive signature)
    • How far away can it be detected?
    • Is the detection mechanism passive or active?
    • What data can be shown? (range/bearing/vector/composition/IFF)
    • How can those ranges be expanded (tech level, resources available, modifying CU allocation, system boost units)
    • How can sensors be countered (for AI and players)? (stealth tech, external conditions, system damage)
     
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  2. Arrclyde

    Arrclyde Rear Admiral

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    So it all boils down to:
    - having different tiers of sensors
    - having actions like a scan button to see a new planets category (in cluding atmosphere, possible threats and most common resources)
    - scanning for vessels (probably automatic with right tech/techlevel)

    When it comes to stealth i think it is problematic. Simply because you use a tech to detect some using a tech and has a tech to neutralize your tech whixh you need a techbto avoid... and so forth.
    Stealth would be need to have a good use, like hiding a small vessel to avoid capital vessels for a brief period time to either fly an attack on their weakspot or to sneak pass them.

    But giving antennas and dishes a use that is implemented in a easy to use way i am all for it.
     
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  3. Hicks42

    Hicks42 Rear Admiral

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    Thank goodness those are smaller than neutrino detectors.

    [​IMG]

    They give you access to the Most important thing there is: Information. Specifically information about the universe around you that you can't, at that moment, detect with your MK one sensors. MK One Eyeball, MK Sniffer (nose) etc etc. If you have information, you likely have an advantage.

    In the visible light spectrum, sure. Infa-red, Ultraviolet, and Radio Waves are all part of the Electromagnetic spectrum and most Wave-forms could be used to detect things. With proper transceivers or receivers.

    Mmmfff! So exciting!
     
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  4. Tyrax Lightning

    Tyrax Lightning Rear Admiral

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    I have to admit it WOULD rock to be able to find Resource Asteroids in Space Playfields easier... I bet @LiftPizzas would surely agree. :D

    Hmm... a fair point indeed... maybe Radar Dish like dudes can do the "build a radar block, have a radius that detects other ships/bases on the map/ on hud." Jack-Of-All-Trades style to provide a simplified way of doing it for those who can't get the hang of it, & New Players in general, then the fancier schmancier ways of setting this up that can do fancier schmancier stuff can be stuck in the Antennas so that both 'good at building' & 'can't figure out how to build worth beans' sides can have this functional for them. :) (Can also use the Jack-Of-All-Trades style Radar Dish on Vanilla Pre-Fabs.)

    Agreed. This ain't Space Engineers & we don't wanna turn it into it.

    Let alone if that 'something' happens to be a Stealth Ship intentionally colored 'Stealth Black'. :p
     
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  5. Spirit_OK

    Spirit_OK Captain

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    Well, it is not so dark in space as it seems if you have a decent telescope. Hubble showed us that in what seems to be empty space there are galaxies after galaxies after galaxies till the end:
    [​IMG]

    And if something dark moves across, it obstructs the light, so with a series of photos and an image comparation algorithm you would find the thing, at least its angular speed and direction. Indeed, you won't see lost keys from 10 kilometers, but a huge CV or an asteroid - why not? Aim a camera, lay in wait and look for the blinking stars.
    It is was even in a tip for the drivers - if you drive on a unlighted highway (assuming right-side) at night and incoming car's left light blinks, then right light blinks, there is a pedestrian in black clothes crossing the highway, and HE IS ON YOUR LANE RIGHT NOW! A valid method, I told you :)
     
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  6. Brimstone

    Brimstone Rear Admiral

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    To Hick's point- the "visible" wavelengths are only a tiny fraction of the EM spectrum, and EM a fraction of things we can detect even only with today's tech- much less what might be possible in RL 400 years from now, much less a game. When the Pilgrims were landing the Mayflower, none of them were wondering about radar, lidar, spectroscopy, mass detection, gravity wave detection, or wide band interferometry- and half of even that list was science fiction as little as 60 years ago. Having scientific underpinnings is a good start, but if along the way we have to toss in a Heisenberg Compensator or Flux Capacitor, that's OK too. Most focus needs to be on gameplay aspects and impacts of the systems- cost and benefit, risk and reward, and balance between all.
     
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  7. Tyrax Lightning

    Tyrax Lightning Rear Admiral

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    Plus it'd be just plain silly to not have the Basics... Infrared, X-Ray, Gamma Rays, & such. :p
     
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  8. MidasGunhazard

    MidasGunhazard Captain

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    Yeah, but you're not looking at space through a telescope when you're there. A telescope is going to catch more in any particular direction then your eyes ever would, and you're seeing way more density of stars from way further away than your naked eyes would pick up. Space is pretty dark as far as astronauts have told us. The sky isn't bright and stary and filled with nebulae when you're up there. Actually, if I recall, it's described as being pretty much black.

    Also this is a thing, and it specifically uses hubble as an example.


    edit: Though, in fairness, it's going to look different close to a strong light source (like a planet that has the sun shining on it), versus in deep space with no significant light sources nearby. Of course, then again, Empyrion space is always in local planetary space anyways.

    edit2: Go park your CV somewhere, land on a planet, let it rotate for a while so you don't know which side you'll leave from, take off with your HUD turned off, and try to find your CV. Even knowing where you approximately parked it, it can be very hard to spot. You're more likely to spot it because a moving pixel against a static background stands out.
     
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    Last edited: Feb 11, 2018
  9. Crewsk8200

    Crewsk8200 Lieutenant

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    Maybe it would be better to not detect on foot targets unless really close. Gives the option for recon on the opposing side
     
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  10. Jᴧgᴧ

    Jᴧgᴧ Rear Admiral

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    Turrets do it already though. I'd agree that anti-personnel turrets should be short range, due to the size of the target when further away.
     
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  11. Hicks42

    Hicks42 Rear Admiral

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    And Deploy-able :p
     
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  12. geostar1024

    geostar1024 Rear Admiral

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    Speed boosts would probably be properly handled by the thruster system, as there's unlikely ever to be a density of debris in space that would necessitate slowing down.

    Both internal and external sensors would always work passively so long as they had a minimum amount of power and CUs. Below that, their detection threshold would increase, effectively decreasing their sensitivity. There might not be any consequences to not powering internal sensors at present, given that boarding action essentially not possible right now.

    Aww, it's just a couple of formulas :p. I envisioned that the player's survival suit contains a built-in sensor system that could be upgraded with suit booster. A player would have an effective area (which the suit booster could decrease, potentially) as well, though much smaller than any ship (possibly the smallest HV could have a comparable effective area). Naturally Zirax and other NPCs would have a similar system. One question would be how to handle active scanning, given that suit modules don't consume energy right now; probably this would have to wait until the booster system received an overhaul.

    Another possibility would be to link the player's suit system to the sensor systems of nearby friendly structures to expand its capabilities while in range of those structures.

    Yep, a sensor system would automatically gather what data it could passively (like IFF transmissions or ship power emissions); players would have to intentionally put the system into an active scanning mode (since it would tend to give away their position).

    Precisely. And combat becomes a lot more interesting when it's not possible to have perfect information. Scanning to obtain scientific data is one of the core uses I'd envisioned for sensors (in addition to their combat functions), which would tie very nicely into the research system.

    I quite like the stealth block idea; it'd be a low mass block (maybe derived from truss blocks) that would absorb common sensor frequencies to reduce the effective area of the structure. A straightforward way to calculate the effect would be to count the number of blocks with a face exposed to the bounding box of the structure (in a similar way to how enclosed thrusters would be detected), and the effective area of the structure would be reduced by the fraction of stealth block area compared to the overall bounding box area.

    All of this :).

    Sensor systems could definitely function as jammers. I'm not sure about how much detail there should be in the exact scanning mechanism; it might make the system too complicated for many players (though I'd definitely like the ability to trade scanning area for range).

    Right, and it's a valid concern. I see two main roles for a sensor system: to detect and lock onto enemy structures during combat, and to conduct scans of areas or objects for scientific or intelligence-gathering purposes. So far, I've mostly dealt with the former case, as it's more technically complex in many ways.

    Precisely. Right now we have perfect knowledge of everything happening inside an arbitrarily set sensor range, and it really limits the kind of engagements one can have as a result.

    Right, so the emissions that ships radiate (whether from their thrusters, generators, or sensor systems) would be picked up by the passive portion of the sensor system. I've deliberately abstracted the details of the physical basis for the sensor system because it would add a lot of complication for very little gain; plus, this far in the future, I'd assume that any sensor system is going to be hyperspectral in nature (in both the EM and gravitational spectra). So, all of those details are bound up in one number, the sensitivity threshold (which could vary depending on the tier of the sensor, but that would be it).

    Range enhancements could be effected by NPC sensor specialists that reduce the sensitivity threshold or signal processing boosters (consuming extra CUs) that raise the signal-to-noise ratio in the sensor data.

    Yep, that's the basic idea.

    The way stealth works is that it decreases the effective range at which an enemy can detect you by minimizing your signal (whether by reducing your ship's emissions, or by reducing the effective area of your ship when actively scanned by the enemy, or by moving into a noisy environment, or by actively jamming your enemy's sensors). A stealth block-covered small ship in low-power mode on an inertial trajectory through a nebula will be quite hard to detect unless the searching ship happens to get quite close to it. Anyway, the point is that you don't need to be actively jamming an enemy to hide from them; there are quite a few stealth strategies that can be mixed and matched as the situation calls for it.

    All we need to do is set an appropriate sensitivity threshold for the sensors built into anti-personnel turrets.

    Assuming the player has an effective area of 1 m^2 (A=1), and the turret has a processing multiplier of 1000 (S=1000) and threshold of 0.001 (T=0.001), and the local environment has a noise level of 0.001 (N=0.001), then the turret will first detect a player at 26 m. If a sensor booster module reduced the player's effective area to 0.25 m^2 and applied jamming of 0.001 (J=0.001), then the turret would only see the player at a range of 16 m. Two of these boosters would reduce the detection distance to 10 m. Something like this could allow for effective infiltration of POIs, for example.
     
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  13. Jᴧgᴧ

    Jᴧgᴧ Rear Admiral

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    Like. Like. Like.
     
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  14. Hicks42

    Hicks42 Rear Admiral

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    Decreased damage control response by NPC Crew.

    *Frowns at that and deadpans* A. Couple. =-.-=

    *SIGH* Love you, great Ideas. I now have a roll of newspaper with you name on it and am thinking of investing in a squirt-bottle.

    Maybe a couple peer-review journals tacked on there.
     
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  15. Arrclyde

    Arrclyde Rear Admiral

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    Or it could be a stealth devise block that you push a button and the other (player or NPC) one can't see you on a rardar or by looking out the window. ;-)
    This actually reminds me of the good old days this forum started, and the interesting discusions with Brokenshakles. Back in the days i said something which i would still say today holds its truth: fiction beats science in a game, always.
    I have been told that everything is based on physical law and you can't ignore those. But for a game it is simply not true. In a game you can program all kind of things that are not possible in reality, from a tiny nuclear plasma cheese batterie that provides enegery to a whole city up to simply breaking physics law where a gravity of 1 lets you float and a negative (-1G) holds you down to the ground. So it doesn't matter if a mechanic is based on science or the simple matter if it is possible, it just needs to make sense in a gamy way: what gameplay purpose does it serve and is it fun. Gameplay beats realism, every time.

    So getting back to the basic idea. What else do we need? You have your suit, ships and turrets. The turrets already log on to targets and while in on food and in a ship you can already spot your enemies or interesting targets. I still try to see how this can be improved in a gameplay way. Lets say ore detection. You are getting close in range (like 300 meters) and you detect it. Thats cool the way it is. But if you tie this mechanic to a later game tech, the starting planet becomes a real PITA. Especially if those planets getting bigger. Than we don't need better scientific formulars behind scanning, we just need a bigger detection radius and a better gameply mechanic.
    Or the log on example: it adds to many varibles to the game. Right now everybody has the exact same chance and possibilities, can use exact the same mechanics and blocks and already some builds are more effective than others. If you put more science into the game instead of better simple gamemechanic, and make those scanners a minigame based on frequencies, wave length and emittied signatures it will shift the balance in favor of the once fiddling around with those. That is something i don't like, because life already isn't fair but in contrast to reality a game has the chance to be fair.
    Besides that i still try to see how this makes gameplay more fun. You have written so much about the technical side of it. I would like to know where the plus in gameplay and fun is in your eyes. What does it add in terms of Empyrion being a game, not what science it will add to the game. That is something that i would be interested in.
     
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  16. Crewsk8200

    Crewsk8200 Lieutenant

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    These things that @geostar1024 is suggesting are the formula and equations that are running in the background of a simple game mechanic . He is just explaining how it would work. Lol he might seem to get carried away to us regular people but he makes alot of sense and to the devs I'm sure it helps more then just saying "I think we should do this" and instead "this is how it would work". Now sure some of these would come to the front but it's no different then electricity, just with a different feature

    Rardar...that's what I'm calling it from now on....lol. pushing a button and going invis isnt a bad idea, but for balancing purpose if everybody had this it would be like playing wack a mole. Should be something reserved for only a role where you want to tail a target and maybe not be able to run alot of guns due to power/cu reqs. Radars can add strategy to the game on a much larger, planet or system scale between whole factions whereas invis is more on a 1-1 basis.

    imagine, your flying through space and pick up a freighter on your radar, you have it set to long waves and low energy so you have a wide range. He doesn't see you so you tail him to see where he is going. Mean while the wingman he has picked you up but he went stealth by absorbing your radar waves instead of sending them back(creates a high heat sig in the device that absorbs it) and hides in a astroid field yall are passing only to flank you when your not expecting it.

    That sounds like fun gameplay
     
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  17. Crewsk8200

    Crewsk8200 Lieutenant

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    This, this right here is a perfect statement. That's the whole reason games like pubg are so popular rn, and the biggest reason the map shouldn't show our location in mp
     
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  18. geostar1024

    geostar1024 Rear Admiral

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    Sure, one can make the decision to have game mechanics ignore/break physics. The trouble is doing it in a consistent manner, because otherwise you end up having to spend a lot of time later fixing game-breaking edge cases if you haven't thought through all the consequences. Case in point is what happened near the end of Star Wars VIII (spoilers, obviously):

    Admiral Holdo executes a jump to hyperspace directly through Snoke's massive command ship, shattering it (as well as a few other normal-sized Star Destroyers). While a cool trick, it has substantial implications for the way battles would actually play out in the Star Wars universe. Essentially, taking down a capital ship becomes a matter of grabbing a sufficiently massive chunk of rock, attaching some thrusters and a hyperdrive to it, and then jumping it through the target (regardless of the target's shields or armor). Destroying Death Stars suddenly becomes a lot easier; just find a bigger rock.

    Now, I realize that the mechanics of hyperspace travel are never precisely codified in Star Wars, but they still had some degree of consistency that tended to disallow using hyperspace-capable ships as kinetic kill vehicles.

    Anyway, my point is that consistency is the key to a system that doesn't contain unexpected exploits or regions of imbalance, and the easiest way to achieve that is by basing the system on physics (because physics is consistent with itself, disagreements between quantum mechanics and general relativity notwithstanding). That's why I always reach for physics in cases like this.

    First, let me note that the player would always have access to some kind of sensor equipment (whether the one built into every core, or the one built into their suit). Placing sensor device blocks on a ship would serve to enhance the core's capabilities rather than grant the capability to sense at all, effectively increasing the range of the sensor system. So, except in the noisiest of environments, you'd never not be able to detect anything at all.

    But also note that I never included anything about sensor frequencies or sensor arcs in my proposed model. This abstraction of the underlying physics was intentional, to prevent the need for exactly the kind of fiddling you've indicated you're against. And I tend to agree; the performance of the sensor system should be largely determined by how the player builds the system (the same as any other ship system), modified by future boosters (in the form of NPCs or CU-consuming devices). Some builds are going to be better than others, but that's one of the core principles of the game; otherwise, what's the point of being able to build your own ship? One has to make sure that there isn't one configuration that dominates all others in every situation, but, other than that, the sky is the limit.

    The "better gameplay mechanic" you speak of is exactly the goal of the model I've proposed: it specifies how one ship can detect another, and the ways in which the first ship can boost its detection ability, and the ways in which the second ship can boost its evasion ability.

    As far as what this adds to gameplay, I would argue that:
    • it is a detection system whose performance depends both on how well the system is configured and what the local environment is like
    • it provides a form of stealth/concealment for both ships and the on-foot player that is not overpowered (including the chance to evade homing shots under the right circumstances)
    • it provides a way to survey large areas without having to physically fly through them (particularly important now that planets are getting larger)
    • it provides a way to obtain scientific data of varying quality, to be used as an input to a future research system
    A consequence of the first and second bullet points is that combat acquires additional strategic and tactical dimensions. Roughly, it's the difference between battling someone in broad daylight, versus in pitch-darkness carrying a lantern.
     
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  19. Arrclyde

    Arrclyde Rear Admiral

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    @Crewsk8200
    I hoghly doubt that those complex mechanics are needed in the background either. Simply because games don't work like real life. In order to calculate frequencies and all that you have to program those basics of frequencies, wave lengths into the game first. But game mechanics mostly don't use all the parts of reallife physics, they mostly mimic the function without actually using all that.

    @geostar1024
    I am not against it perse. I am not sure what you want after all this clearing up missunderstandings. What do you actually suggest? Cause as i said complex calculations are not needed to mimic a function. The drill for example is not calculating the mass of ore and the energy needed to turn the ores mass into energy the rematerialize it in your inventory which isn't a real physical room either. So what kind of sensors do you suggest and what is the way it works in the game? If you can write you suggestion in simple terms it might be clearer and doesn't lead to a discussion that goes of in a direction that you didn't mean it to go. Obviously i didn't really understand your suggestion right, so i kindly ask you to help me out on this one. ;-)
     
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  20. geostar1024

    geostar1024 Rear Admiral

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    Right, let me see what I can do. . . .

    Fundamentally, a sensor system's purpose is to reveal that which is hidden. It can also be used, in a limited fashion, to further hide that which is hidden to prevent its discovery. This is the essence of the mechanic I'm proposing.

    The goal of this mechanic is to have a dynamically-varying sensor range, that is dependent on the following: the number/type/tier of blocks in the detecting ship's system, the signal level of the ship to be detected (which depends on its own sensor system, the composition of its outer hull, its power output, and whether its thrusters are firing), and the noise in the local environment around the ships. Further, the time needed to detect an object within sensor range depends on the distance to the object. This is in contrast to the current system, which has a fixed range and discovers everything in that range instantly. More concretely:

    In order to increase the range of your ship's sensor system, you can do the following:
    • Add more emitter and processor blocks
      • extra emitter blocks let you spend extra power to increase raw signal level
      • extra processor blocks let you spend extra CUs to raise the final signal level further in less time
    • Add sensor-specialist NPCs or booster devices
      • NPCs increase the raw signal level
      • booster devices increase the effect of processor blocks
    In order to reduce your ship's sensor signature (i.e. reduce the range at which other ships can sense you), you can do the following:
    • Increase the noise level around you
      • fly into an area with lots of noise (i.e. into a nebula or asteroid belt, or close to a star)
      • set your sensor system to jamming mode
    • Emit less signal
      • cover your hull with stealth blocks that partially absorb incoming scan radiation
      • reduce the power output of your ship
        • turn off unnecessary devices
        • don't fire your thrusters
    Without getting into equations, this is about as far as I can go; the equations precisely tie all of the aforementioned concepts together in a self-consistent way.

    Finally, the object you're trying to detect doesn't need to be an enemy ship. It could be an astronomical anomaly that would yield scientific data that could be further processed in the context of a research system in order to unlock new technologies, or sold to traders for credits. Or, it could be the location of a concentration of ore.

    Does this make any more sense than my previous attempts at explanation?
     
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