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Author Topic: Sensor Mechanics  (Read 2411 times)

intrinsic_parity

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Sensor Mechanics
« on: February 18, 2020, 04:44:49 PM »

I feel like the current sensor mechanics overly emphasize a few ships and a few hullmods and could be changed to make more interesting decisions.

Right now, my sensor strategy is pretty much put militarized subsystems on every civilian ship, don't take ships with sensor d-mods, take every omen I see early on and then every apogee I see. There's really no variety or decisions to be made there, it's just avoiding the ships that will ruin your sensor profile and taking the some with built in high res sensors. By end-game, there's really not much to do as even ships with high res sensor will not have any effect on your sensor stats because capitals dominate (I guess you could stack odysseys if you find the blueprint).

I think one part of that is that there is no variation in sensor profiles outside of whether or not they have high res sensors. It would be cool if different ships had different sensor profiles/sensor ranges so that would become a relevant stat on ships. It could also be a way to tweak balance without changing combat stats too much. Right now it seems like every ship for a certain class just has the same profile/range. It would maybe allow for players to build more smuggling oriented fleets as well.

I also don't like the mechanic where only the top 5 sensor profiles matter. I think it would be better if the stats were either the average across your fleet or the sum over your fleet. The top 5 ship mechanic means smaller ships with good sensors don't matter at all, and phase ships having 0 profile also doesn't matter unless you build a (nearly) phase only fleet. Changing this could be a somewhat subtle buff to destroyers/frigates who see little use in the end game right now. It would also make it much easier to compensate for sensor d-mods and civilian hull making it more optional to use hull mods on those ships (or just avoid them). I think it would generally increase the variety of decisions that can be made and allow the player to interact with smuggling/stealth/transponder mechanics a lot more.
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Megas

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Re: Sensor Mechanics
« Reply #1 on: February 18, 2020, 05:18:57 PM »

I guess I am okay with the way things are for ships.  I do not want enemy fleets too hard to see before it is too late to react.

My biggest complaint with sensors is locating pirate bases too hard to find.  Remember one time I scoured Penelope's Star for thirty minutes but to no avail, and the usual tricks of finding bases did not work.  In the end, I had to resort to getting Sensors 1 for Neutrino Detector (which I did not want to do because I wanted that skill point for more fun combat skills).  It was the only way to find that pirate base fiendishly hidden in the outermost non-descript asteroid belt!
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intrinsic_parity

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Re: Sensor Mechanics
« Reply #2 on: February 18, 2020, 05:31:24 PM »

The idea would be that the player would be able to optimize their sensor profile more than they can now, so hopefully this would mean the player would have more time to react (or more advantage over the AI), not less. Maybe the AI could randomly roll into some small profile fleet I guess, but hopefully on average, not too much would change. If averaging the sensor values made them too low, you could just increase them across the board to compensate.
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Morbo513

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Re: Sensor Mechanics
« Reply #3 on: February 18, 2020, 06:07:52 PM »

I've found it kinda pointless putting HRS on anything that doesn't have it built-in. Unless you sacrifice a great deal of your combat capability for an exploration-oriented fleet, the additional range feels too negligible to matter. There are better logistics hullmods to spend that OP on.
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TaLaR

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Re: Sensor Mechanics
« Reply #4 on: February 18, 2020, 08:25:13 PM »

I think averaging is definitely not the way. It would make a single capital exactly as easy to detect as 30 capital armada.
Or a capital + 29 frigates ~= 30 frigates = 1 frigate in stealthiness.
« Last Edit: February 18, 2020, 08:27:39 PM by TaLaR »
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intrinsic_parity

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Re: Sensor Mechanics
« Reply #5 on: February 18, 2020, 10:27:42 PM »

I think averaging is definitely not the way. It would make a single capital exactly as easy to detect as 30 capital armada.
Or a capital + 29 frigates ~= 30 frigates = 1 frigate in stealthiness.

I agree this is a problem, but in the existing system 5 capitals = 30 capitals and 5 frigates = 30 frigates, so the current system doesn't do all that much better here for a somewhat realistic fleet. I guess a sum over all the ships would solve this problem but then the small ships would be a bit meaningless again, although at least they would have some effect.
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TaLaR

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Re: Sensor Mechanics
« Reply #6 on: February 18, 2020, 11:23:02 PM »

That's exactly why current system does much better - it gets correct order of magnitude, unlike averaging.

I don't remember what the arguments against simple sum were, at first look it does seem acceptable too. Well, it would be about impossible to detect smallest fleets and equally impossible to hide any large fleet.

« Last Edit: February 19, 2020, 12:03:22 AM by TaLaR »
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Megas

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Re: Sensor Mechanics
« Reply #7 on: February 19, 2020, 05:56:30 AM »

I do not bother with High Resolution Sensors.  It would be better to make ships strong enough that the fleet does not need stealth.

Stealth mostly matters for some playstyles.  Playstyles I rarely use, and when I do stealth, it is usually to raid and steal blueprints without a fight.  When not raiding for blueprints, I do not bother with stealth.  Either crush whatever is in the way, or avoid killer threats.
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intrinsic_parity

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Re: Sensor Mechanics
« Reply #8 on: February 19, 2020, 08:42:04 AM »

That's exactly why current system does much better - it gets correct order of magnitude, unlike averaging.

I don't remember what the arguments against simple sum were, at first look it does seem acceptable too. Well, it would be about impossible to detect smallest fleets and equally impossible to hide any large fleet.
5 and 30 are still different orders of magnitude, so I don't agree that it does much better, but those are all edge cases that never happen in game so it doesn't matter all that much. I think a sum would be an improvement. The smallest fleets would be difficult to detect, but also wouldn't be able to see anything. The largest fleets would be seen by everyone, but they would also see everyone. The change would be much more significant for large fleets that have 20+ ships which currently have no affect. Small fleets would look very similar to how they do right now I think.

I just want the player to be able to make some interesting decisions and interact with the transponder and sensor mechanics and that doesn't happen much right now for me.

Also does the current system add or average the top 5 ships?

As to HRS, there's literally no point to putting it on any ship that wouldn't be in the top 5, and if you've already got ships with it built in, or a couple capitals, then there's really no point in ever using it.
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Alex

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Re: Sensor Mechanics
« Reply #9 on: February 19, 2020, 09:38:45 AM »

A sum doesn't really work, yeah. You need to have a reasonably high number on the low end so that small fleets - which critically includes the player's starting fleet - aren't running blind. You also need a reasonably low number on the high end, so that stealth is possible. E.G. if you had a sum, then even the multiplier from "Go Dark" wouldn't be enough when there's a large fleet present. Also, it'd be kind of weird if the best thing for exploration was lugging 30 capitals.

The alternative way of doing a sum is to have a higher flat value and smaller contributions from individual ships. This works a bit better as far as producing the right range of values, but makes individual ships not matter very much, i.e. the difference between having a capital ship and a frigate would not be pronounced at all.

Counting the top 5 is an in-between solution - only the "best"/"worst" ships in your fleet matter, but they do actually matter. And the range of values produced works.

That said, though - I wonder if HRS could maybe provide a bonus to sensor range regardless of whether it's in the top 5 or not, similarly to how the Salvage Gantry works, with diminishing returns. And then phase ships might do the opposite to sensor profile. That way some ships could still be special enough to matter outside the top 5, but in a constrained enough way. Hmm. Might be worth thinking about.
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BringerofBabies

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Re: Sensor Mechanics
« Reply #10 on: February 19, 2020, 10:37:54 AM »

And then phase ships might do the opposite to sensor profile.

That sounds like a good tie in to the requested phase logistics ship(s)!
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Terethall

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Re: Sensor Mechanics
« Reply #11 on: March 24, 2020, 11:39:55 PM »

I wonder if HRS could maybe provide a bonus to sensor range regardless of whether it's in the top 5 or not, similarly to how the Salvage Gantry works, with diminishing returns. And then phase ships might do the opposite to sensor profile. That way some ships could still be special enough to matter outside the top 5, but in a constrained enough way. Hmm. Might be worth thinking about.

I always thought it was weird/pointless that phase ships can hardly operate without logistics support ships, which tend to have high sensor profiles...
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FooF

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Re: Sensor Mechanics
« Reply #12 on: March 25, 2020, 06:10:52 AM »

I hasn't been until I decided to max out Sensor stuff in this last playthrough that I even paid a lick of attention to my sensor stats. I'm not one for sneaking around, typically. However, even with a fleet of 5 capitals, Going Dark reduced my profile to something like 300 and, I think, like 87 when in a Nebula. No one could see me until they were on top of me!

I still don't think I'll give my sensor profile a great deal of thought in the future but I like the idea of HRS still adding something regardless if they're in the Top 5 or not. I usually put HRS on my Fuel Tankers or Cargo Transports (that or Surveying Equipment when I'm off yonder) but even with them, they get edged out of the Top 5.
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bobucles

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Re: Sensor Mechanics
« Reply #13 on: March 25, 2020, 03:17:17 PM »

I'm dabbling a bit in babby's first radar. A linear increase in the "visibility" of an object doesn't translate into a linear increase in "range" for seeing it. The radar equation causes signal strength to drop off at an exponent of ^4 versus distance; a loss of ^2 from the radar going out and an additional loss of ^2 from the signal bouncing back. An object that was 100 times larger would only be visible from about 3 times the distance of a small object. A pile of those large objects wouldn't add up to much more visible range than that.  Similarly there would be a minimum range where targets end up very easy to see; a target at 1/10th the distance would bounce back 10000 times more energy from a scan. Or something like that.

The end result is kind of true to the system that already exists in game. Only a handful of the biggest radar targets matter, and there exists a minimum range where it becomes trivial to see just about any space viable ship.