Enhanced radar to account for sensor delays and stealth.

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Enhanced radar to account for sensor delays and stealth.

Postby IansterGuy » Fri Aug 16, 2013 9:04 pm

This post is a springboard off the posts here under the topic Models - Chris Kuhn

Deus Siddis wrote:
klauss wrote:The only thing I see could become rather complicated, is speed of light delays. I don't think we ought to venture into that area. I foresee lots of complications that would arise, in gameplay mechanics, that would be hard to overcome.


Then we should enforce a maximum radar and communication range somewhere under a light minute.

Tangentially, that will solve our major issue of every ship of a hostile faction in the system attacking you at once. And the issue of the radar and target selection interfaces being overloaded with radar contacts. And the issue of knowing everything that is in the solar system without having to explore it.
Actually I think speed of light delays could be fascinating but it would require complex sensor indicators and additional sensor filters when the player wants more precise information.

The radar to be inclusive of information would have to be sophisticated with distinguishable variations in patterns to create a sometimes blurry image that the player can reliably differentiate between hard to detect ships and far away ships.

To do this, I propose a plan that takes all the distinct methods possible to differentiate at a glance and puts them to use. In some non essential to differentiate places, it would take advantage of difference between additive color and subtractive colors and possibly phase between color primary color models sometimes the get the best effect. To a degree color blind people would be able to make use of the most important features since the more important information is the more clearly it would be seen. Here is my suggestion:

Color Hue=Relation | Colored dots Using some version of the most elemental colors possible would be for example: Blue Friendly, Red Hostile, Yellow Neutral, and a combination of the primary colors to make custom subtractive colors for inbetween indications: Greens partially friendly; oranges partially hostile; and purple disloyal turncoats in progress. Or for alternative use of colors to avoid the yellow green discrepancy: Red hostile; blue neutral; Green friendly; Teal partially friendly; Purple partially hostile; Yellow turncoat.

Opaque= Detection strength | Subspace signatures may be stronger on huge distant ships than the visible light from a nearby broken down ships. So non transparent dots would be either nearby ships or well detected ships.

Brightness=Importance | Targeted indicators turn white and ships in your squadron are brightened to a higher shade using additive color mixing. Other known ships get progressively less bright till they are neutral. It indicates how well known the ship are: So light reds are nemesis; light green are friends; light yellows are acquaintances. Then light subtractive color browns are known mysterious.

Color Shading=Time delay by time spent | The farthest objects within the selected range show up as black and are hardly distinguishable from the background. Except when they have been stationary for a long time their signal is considered reliable and will show up as normal dots. Known ships in the distance ships would show up as a combination of white and black by decreasing their original color saturation to a maximum of grey.

Puffing=Ambiguousness | Hard to locate due to interference like stealth, the puff would be as big to indicate the area the source may be located in.

Shape=Ship shape | Nearby ships would have markers just big enough to distinguish a shape of the ship. Puffing would distort the shape to be unrecognizable and morph into the shape as discovered.

Cell shading contrast=Proximity | The closer the ship the more noticeable the cell shading is so that small ships can be instantly identified as just as close as larger more detectable ships. The cell shading of closer objects would always block the cell shading of objects behind it while the inner markers always shine through due to a no obstruction rule.

Size= Size and distance of ship. | This would be a good indicator for when about to crash into an object. The size would shrink from maximum marker size logarithmically to a the minimum. This way if perfectly in the centre of an object like a station, the marker would fill the entire scanner with either a 2d flattened or 3d, silhouette of the object from the ships perspective, but other markers would be visible through it due to a no obstruction rule.

Smearing=Movement | Objects moving position in space may have enabled a progressively shaded streaky smear left on the background of the display to record a recent record of movement when not looking. If there is also a real time subspace position for the object it may also have a streaky smear and if known to be the same object would link a thin line between any missing history.

Scanner filters

-Time delay range- The player may choose a range to view and the limits will adjust to ignore everything else and make remaining more distinguishable.

-Movement history- Streaks would indicate time delayed paths. When not filtered they would travel from the real time subspace signature if available, along the delayed location history if available. It would appear more smeared or darker shaded toward the oldest data due to the rules of shade, buffing and cell shading. If there is a significant discontinuity between subspace location and apparent time delayed location, the two are linked with a thin unremarkable line to fill the gap and show they are connected.


A lot of this information could be on the HUD as mentioned, but I believe only combat and relative movement related information should be on the HUD since it can be drawn on visible objects as an enhancement of high priority information. Distant objects would stay in the radar unless perhaps they are incoming
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Re: Enhanced radar to account for sensor delays and stealth.

Postby pheonixstorm » Tue Aug 20, 2013 5:47 am

The first needed fix for radar/sensors is to fix the ridiculous ranges they have
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Re: Enhanced radar to account for sensor delays and stealth.

Postby IansterGuy » Tue Aug 20, 2013 8:59 pm

pheonixstorm wrote:The first needed fix for radar/sensors is to fix the ridiculous ranges they have

There is a fix that klauss proposed, and it is remarkably similar to what I was going to propose. Instead of X and Y, it would rely on fictional FTL Subspace Signatures, and real light speed electromagnetic signatures (Light/Photons). Subspace signatures would be long distance detections with no delay but would be easy to cloak and not even visible unless fictional subspace based technologies like SPEC and communications and shield stabilizers are active. Electromagnetic signatures would be detectable long distances but be delayed by travel at the speed of light, and aside from the delays, would be hard to cloak because being invisible can't just absorb light but would require bending background light around the ship for much of the electromagnetic spectrum. So here is the quote mentioned
klauss wrote:Instead of merely a "stealth" parameter, I was thinking of having sensor packs have different detection bands [...] You'd have some radars working on the X band, and some on the Y band, and they'd be different. Some ships would be stealth against X but not Y. Etc. [...] The apparent magnitude thing is really cool, it completely eliminates the "max distance" argument, because it depends on what you're detecting. Big ships are detectable farther away, while small ships have to be on your face.
The part about some ships not being detectable because the sensors are on the wrong band, sounds a bit too random but if all ships can rather detect both but at different capabilities between the fictional subspace and the real electromagnetic waves then, it would make plenty sense to me.
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Re: Enhanced radar to account for sensor delays and stealth.

Postby pheonixstorm » Tue Aug 20, 2013 10:06 pm

Sounds like more trouble than its worth for the different band detection values. By this time in the future you would think radar/sensors would work on a much different principle anyway. But I was thinking of a quick fix for radar values for now, change from oh 100 million km down to a few hundred thousand for most units. I think that alone would clear up a lot of clutter as right now a ships radar picks up EVERYTHING in system. Only planets or large space stations should really have ranges as large as they are now.
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Re: Enhanced radar to account for sensor delays and stealth.

Postby loki1950 » Tue Aug 20, 2013 11:43 pm

And all those bases should have ID beacons as well so radar/sensor range should not affect there visibility.


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Re: Enhanced radar to account for sensor delays and stealth.

Postby IansterGuy » Wed Aug 21, 2013 1:09 am

pheonixstorm wrote:Sounds like more trouble than its worth for the different band detection values.
To me one FTL detection band like now is fine and much simpler. Though I think it would be worth implementing detection thresholds as Klauss mentioned.

pheonixstorm wrote:By this time in the future you would think radar/sensors would work on a much different principle anyway.
To me that would be FTL scanners detecting what I call subspace signatures.

pheonixstorm wrote:But I was thinking of a quick fix for radar values for now, change from oh 100 million km down to a few hundred thousand for most units. I think that alone would clear up a lot of clutter as right now a ships radar picks up EVERYTHING in system. Only planets or large space stations should really have ranges as large as they are now.
There should always be an average detection radius like you suggest, and I think it should be shrunk to make the system more mysterious and feel like exploration; Especially with cheap sensors.

As for the clutter I think adding encoded information into the radar would help this regardless of how many item are in the radar.

For example, these could be used with smaller additions to the existing system:
  • Opaqueness=Detection_Weakness(Distance);
  • Hue=Relation(Red-Enemy\Green-Friend\Blue-Neutral);
  • Brightness=Importance(Mission_targets, Wingmen, transmissions, navigation markers, threats, etcetera).

This would make more individual objects distinguishable by their factors.


loki1950 wrote:And all those bases should have ID beacons as well so radar/sensor range should not affect there visibility.
Yea, friendly and neutral stations internal ID beacons, would transmit solicitations and other important navigation information. Same with navigational buoys or sentries marking navigation points. Else it would be in the map after visiting or getting the information somehow.
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Re: Enhanced radar to account for sensor delays and stealth.

Postby klauss » Mon Sep 02, 2013 8:57 pm

pheonixstorm wrote:Sounds like more trouble than its worth for the different band detection values. By this time in the future you would think radar/sensors would work on a much different principle anyway.


Well, it doesn't matter. For one, I don't see how it could work differently, but that could be lack of imagination on my part. But the real argument here is that the "detection band" system is flexible enough that it won't matter how you justify detection.

All the detection bands do, is create a highly parameterized detection function. While inspired in current-day tech, it can still model lots of fictional ones.

And why multiple bands? Because that's the whole basis of stealth. Conservation of energy principles mandate that your ship must radiate energy away, but you can choose how to do so. Some ways will be more detectable than others, and you can model this as simply as two detection bands (one cheap to implement, one very expensive and exclusive).

So you have stealth right there with a very simple yet flexible implementation.

Is that worth so little to you that it wouldn't be worth the trouble? Which trouble? The only trouble I see, is fleshing out (and balancing) the dataset. Because engine-level implementation isn't such a big deal.


pheonixstorm wrote:But I was thinking of a quick fix for radar values for now, change from oh 100 million km down to a few hundred thousand for most units. I think that alone would clear up a lot of clutter as right now a ships radar picks up EVERYTHING in system. Only planets or large space stations should really have ranges as large as they are now.


Well, that's what you get with detection thresholds as opposed to detection ranges. So that's a problem you solve this way.
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