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Acharis

Spaceship scanners (strategy game)

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Acharis    5979
For some sort of space strategy. I wonder how to make scanners/radars mechanic. I would like it [b]simple[/b] and [b]fun[/b].


Basic mechanic:
There are two fleets. Each has some scanners and tonnage (number of ships). The fleet that has better ratio of scanners to tonnage (smaller fleets are easier to conceal) gets an ambush bonus (the enemy fleet was detected first, they was better scanned for enemy formation, etc).

Assumptions:
- I think it would be fun if player were to specialize some ships, like not scanners on all ships but a special class of recon ships
- all ships (non reconnaissance) should add to the scanning score, even if not specialized


My idea:
- Each ship can have a scanner.
- Top 10% best scanner ships add 100% of their scanning score to the fleet scanning ratio, next top 20% add 50% of their scanners, the rest of the ships add 20% of their scanners (so it's critical to have 10% of your ships equipped with scanners, it would be nice to have next 20% equipped with some cheap scanners as well and the rest of the fleet don't really need scanners but if these hapen to have it it's not a total waste).
- How much "size" a fleet has depends on the ship's size (small ship +1, big ships +5), cloaking module halves the "scanning signature" of a ship (it's a bit different than scanners, since scanners work best with a few ships (top 10%), the cloaking reduces the size of the fleet so it works perfect on all ships)
- The total fleet's scanning score is "all scanners / fleet mass (decreased by cloaking)", then such number is compared with enemy's and the better fleet gets an ambush bonus


[u]Questions:[/u]
* how you feel about this as a player?
* other ways of making this (preferably better than the one posted [img]http://public.gamedev.net//public/style_emoticons/default/biggrin.png[/img])?
* anything else related to space scanners (gameplay related only please, [b]no realism feast[/b]!) Edited by Acharis

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jefferytitan    2523
Can I assume from the way you designed it that you want it to work in a deterministic way, e.g. all strategy, no randomness? Does the player have control over the formation of the ships, and does this affect the scanner signature? Can cover be used to reduce the signature, e.g. hiding behind a planet or having the sun at your back?

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Tiblanc    560
I would compare scanners to opposing fleet tonnage rather than scanner to own fleet tonnage. Easier for players to understand because your scanners are randomly scanning space, so the more ships your enemy has, the better your chances of figuring out where they are.

Scanners * Enemy Tonnage = Detection Level

I would get rid of fixed rules like taking best 10%. Use non-linear formulas for that.

Ex : EffectiveScanLevel = ScanLevel^0.7

The logic is if every ship scans a sphere randomly in a given volume, there will be overlap so you get diminishing returns. This is what the 0.7 does. You can tweak it to get the desired curve. This will give players more freedom in their builds. If you want scanner ships to be used, you could use an exponential value(x^2) when determining the ScanLevel of the ship. The logic is with more scanners, you cover a bigger radius which translates to a bigger sphere. A ship with ScanLevel 5 would become 25 and one with ScanLevel 10 would become 100. For twice the scanners, you get 4 times the ScanLevel.

So if you have 4 ships with 5 scanners each, you get ScanLevel 100. If you have 1 ship with 10 scanners and 3 without any, you still get ScanLevel 100. You can make scanners interesting to build on other ships by giving an accuracy bonus that scales linearly.

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giang271291    286
[list=1]
[*]?[b]As a player:[/b] I would look forward to a space strategy with an ambush-specialized play-style after reading your initial idea (which I think is interesting since there is no, maybe a few, space strategy games truly did this), since there are scan-specialized ships, anti-scan module and different scan/stealth bonus. But then it'd probably no longer [b]simple[/b].
[*][b]Other ways to make this:[/b]
[list]
[*][b]?[/b]To be [b]simple[/b], I think having a special type of ship that responsible for scanning is enough (and a special cloaking ship).
[*]To be [b]fun[/b], I think having special (and [b]strategic, surprising[/b]) abilities for your scanning & cloaking ships. For example, the scanning ship can boost scanner and pinpoint the largest magnetic force nearby (which can be enemy fleet or just a magnetic storm), and the cloaking ships can make your entire fleet invisible to go inside enemy base unnoticed. Ambush bonus is fine, but fun usually comes from surprises, and passive bonus is not much of a surprise element, I think [img]http://public.gamedev.net//public/style_emoticons/default/smile.png[/img].
[/list] [*][b]In reality[/b], each ship should have its own scanner, but let's say this special scanning ship is equip with a ground-breaking scan technology that can only be countered by a special cloaking ship [img]http://public.gamedev.net//public/style_emoticons/default/biggrin.png[/img]. You don't want a [b]too realistic[/b] game, do you? [img]http://public.gamedev.net//public/style_emoticons/default/smile.png[/img].
[/list] Edited by giang271291

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LorenzoGatti    4443
A formula including scanning ability and tonnage, either own or enemy, is quite a hack. With a computer "rolling dice" and performing calculations, more detailed and principled approaches become possible.
In particular, I suggest checking whether each ship in a fleet can be detected by any ship in the other fleet. If ship A could possibly see enemy ship B, roll a "skill check" for A, modified by A's SIGINT personnel skill, sensor type and quality, B's stealthiness and size, disatance and obstacles. The results, assuming very quick communication between starships, split each fleet into two sets of detected and undetected ships.

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Acharis    5979
[quote name='jefferytitan' timestamp='1339982236' post='4950116']
Can I assume from the way you designed it that you want it to work in a deterministic way, e.g. all strategy, no randomness?[/quote]I have no preference here. On principle, I am against deterministic games where everything can be calculated (I loathe chess), but for this particular feature I don't think randomness is needed. I could go both ways on this, I guess.

[quote name='jefferytitan' timestamp='1339982236' post='4950116']
Does the player have control over the formation of the ships, and does this affect the scanner signature? Can cover be used to reduce the signature, e.g. hiding behind a planet or having the sun at your back?
[/quote]No. It's simply a screen before a battle "congratulations, you were able to detect enemy fleet first and you get +20% to hit for the first 3 turns of the combat". Or something along these lines. Definitely not tactical gameplay where you maneuver behind asteroids to avoid detection.

Althrough, some strategy level obstacles (like nebulas shown on the map, not the combat map, the strategic map with fleets as small dots) could affect scanning capabilities I guess...

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