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Sensors / Stealth / Recon


Arparso
(@arparso)
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Any plans yet how to tackle the subject of reconnaisance? Will we be able to hide our ships in asteroid fields or space nebulae? Will there be dedicated recon ships with enhanced sensors (e.g. much larger range, detail information revelead much earlier, etc.) or maybe sensor jammers and the likes?

 

I've been playing quite a lot of the games in the Wargame series in the last few months and recon is absolutely crucial there. You can hide whole armies behind your enemies' backs if they neglect proper scouting and a lot of battles are being decided by how much information you've got about the enemies' unit composition and location. Nexus attempts at a sensor/stealth system weren't quite as well developed / easily utilized while Homeworld used a pretty straightforward fog-of-war system the likes of which we'd know from a C&C title - so what's Shallow Space aiming for in that regard?


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MawhrinSkel
(@mawhrinskel)
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Joined: 8 years ago
Posts: 155
 

Any plans yet how to tackle the subject of reconnaisance? Will we be able to hide our ships in asteroid fields or space nebulae? Will there be dedicated recon ships with enhanced sensors (e.g. much larger range, detail information revelead much earlier, etc.) or maybe sensor jammers and the likes?

 

I've been playing quite a lot of the games in the Wargame series in the last few months and recon is absolutely crucial there. You can hide whole armies behind your enemies' backs if they neglect proper scouting and a lot of battles are being decided by how much information you've got about the enemies' unit composition and location. Nexus attempts at a sensor/stealth system weren't quite as well developed / easily utilized while Homeworld used a pretty straightforward fog-of-war system the likes of which we'd know from a C&C title - so what's Shallow Space aiming for in that regard?

 

These are very good points and it is a mechanic we would like to fold in, there really isn't any question of it actually.

 

At the moment we are still very much brainstorming this area, but we think that certain types of asteroid will have a radius limiting sensor detection, solar flare activity and local spacial anomalies will also reduce sensor ranges or worse disrupt sensors entirely. Each ship will have short and long range sensors, objects within short range sensors will be completely detectable (barring omissive capabilities in the form of disruption modules) objects within long range sensors will be loosely detectable (ship class detected for example) with weapons fire having a effect on that. I quite like the idea of having things like sensor echos but we'll see where the mechanic takes us as the game evolves.

 


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Arparso
(@arparso)
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Another neat feature loosely related to sensors and stealth might be indirect fire abilities for things like long-range missiles. I'm thinking of a stealthed recon ship scouting the enemy fleet behind the asteroid field enabling your missile cruisers to fire some guided long-range missiles around the asteroids and into the enemy's warships. In most RTS a unit will need to have a direct line of sight to attack another unit, but in this setup your ships would be sharing sensor information to guide your missiles into the target... or you'd laser-paint the target from your stealth ship to guide the missiles.


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MawhrinSkel
(@mawhrinskel)
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Joined: 8 years ago
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Another neat feature loosely related to sensors and stealth might be indirect fire abilities for things like long-range missiles. I'm thinking of a stealthed recon ship scouting the enemy fleet behind the asteroid field enabling your missile cruisers to fire some guided long-range missiles around the asteroids and into the enemy's warships. In most RTS a unit will need to have a direct line of sight to attack another unit, but in this setup your ships would be sharing sensor information to guide your missiles into the target... or you'd laser-paint the target from your stealth ship to guide the missiles.

 

All the player ships will share sensor information, in fact that is already working to some extent as your ship can attack targets that come into the range of other player ships sensors - but the indirect fire is an idea i've had myself and will be implementing, I have big plans for missiles and mines in general actually.


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Gazz
 Gazz
(@gazz)
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we think that certain types of asteroid will have a radius limiting sensor detection, solar flare activity and local spacial anomalies will also reduce sensor ranges or worse disrupt sensors entirely. Each ship will have short and long range sensors, objects within short range sensors will be completely detectable (barring omissive capabilities in the form of disruption modules) objects within long range sensors will be loosely detectable (ship class detected for example) with weapons fire having a effect on that. I quite like the idea of having things like sensor echos but we'll see where the mechanic takes us as the game evolves.

 

I'd like to see one unified mechanic that - while fantasy tech - is consistent with itself.

Every object can mask smaller objects.

 

You see that battleship on your long range sensors but even if you are close enough to detect a fighter wing,

you cannot detect the fighter wings that are hiding "inside the sensor echo" of the battleship.

 

Effectively, vicinity to a "relatively much larger object" confers a stealth bonus.

That means that space gains structure, is no longer flat and boring.

Recon has a purpose. Ruses and bluffs are a possibility.

This mechanic can be applied to objects at any scale so it's not some tacked-on gimmick. A planetoid can "hide" some pretty large ships.

 

This stealth bonus would have to be capped, of course, so maybe you get to defeat a max of 50% of the enemy's sensor range before your "hidden" ships become visible again.

I won't bore you with math because the design and balancing comes first. What sizes of ships make sense to be interacting in that way and to what extent...

 

This would make long range sensors not es exact but the data much clearer and easier to display since you only see the biggest ships in a formation.

Something like what I did here. (unknown sensor contacts in a game that supports no such thing =)
2BWnqg3t.jpg

You can tell that there is something out there and roughly the size of it but you don't know what it is and how many.

 

If you assign an arbitrary "sensor echo size" property to a ship class you can make ships stealthy... or have something like the Starcraft Protoss Arbiter that is visible itself but "cloaks" other vessels. On long range sensors anyway.


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