User:Geoff the Medio/Musings

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Revision as of 11:48, 6 February 2005 by Geoff the Medio (Talk | contribs) (Starlane Visbility)

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Sensors / Fog of War

  • All stars visible on the galaxy map, but additional information is hidden from players unless they are actively scanning to reveal it
    • Where the player is scanning in a given turn indicated on galaxy map with Fog of War
      • Greyed out / darkened regions indicate a player cannot see in a region
      • Coloured / light regions indicate a player can see in a region
    • Area where a player is scanning determined mainly by location and scanning radius of objects owned by player
      • Scanning objects ("Scanners") such as Ships, Planets, Bases, Specialized Sensor Buildings all have a scanning radius
      • The galaxy map within the radius of a scanner is revealed / scanned for a player who owns the scanner
        • Scanners generally just work / are always on
        • Specialized scanners could be turned on / off and have significant costs while on
      • The contents of systems at which a player does not have a scanner are not revealed to the player, even if they are within the radius of the player's scanners
        • Fluff: Interference from star prevents scanning into a system from afar
        • Things can be hidden in systems, and are only exposed if moved between systems...
    • Within scanned regions, a player can see ships moving on starlanes, but contents of systems are hidden unless a player has a presence in the system
      • Option: Ships are detected / scanned either:
        • At any time during a turn
          • Ships passing through a scanner's radius any time during a turn are detected
        • Only at the end of a turn
          • Ships that are fast enough to jump between systems in a scanner's radius, or don't actually end the turn in the scanner's radius cannot be detected
    • Starlanes hidden until a player detects them.
      • A player must have a ship in a system on a given turn to detect starlanes connecting to the system
        • Cannot remotely detect starlanes with scanners
        • Detecting a ship moving on an unknown starlane does not reveal the starlane, only that the ship is at a given location / moving / moved past a given location

Starlane Visbility

  • Starlanes not always visible to player
    • Even if a player has a ship in a system, not all starlanes are necessarily visible to the player
    • Starlanes must be detected and known to a player to be used for travel
    • If one player knows about a starlane, and another does not, this provides a tactical advantage
      • One player can escape via the starlane uknown to the other
      • One player can arrive in an unexpected location via a starlane unknown to another
      • In both the above cases, ship detection can still work for ships travelling on unknown starlanes, so ship cloaks become important
      • Without a cloak, a starlane uknown to another player still provides a useful escape route that cannot be followed, or a path to attack that might be much quicker than the other route, allowing an enemy fleet to be bypassed temporarily
    • Starlanes have a visibility rating that determines whether they can be seen
      • Maybe a levels system:
        1. Obvious - Easily detected just by having a ship at an endpoint. About half of starlanes are of this visibility naturally.
        2. Obscured - Requires a first level of enhanced detection equipment on ship / building in system. About one quarter of starlanes are of this visibility naturally.
        3. Hidden - Requires a second level of enhanced detection equipment. About one eight of starlanes are of this visibility naturally.
        4. Secret - Requires a third level of enhanced detection equipment. Just under one eighth of starlanes are of this visibility naturally.
        5. Undetectable - Cannot be detected normally (may be revealed by events). A small number of starlanes are of this visibility naturally, usually connected to very important systems.
    • Starlane natural visibility is probably strongly tied to lane length
      • Longer lanes are much less visible than short lanes
        • This means that at the start of the game, with weak detection abilities, long lanes that cross between sections of the galaxy are not visible, so exploration and motion are constrained to the shape of the galaxy
          • Exception might be for homeworlds near large sections of open space. The increased visiblity of lanes near homeworlds provides access for empires to regions of the galaxy on the other side of the open space, possibly counterbalancing the reduced number of nearby systems for systems on the edge of open space (at least galactic internal open space)
    • Over the course of the game, players get improved detection equipment, and more starlanes are revealed
      • Exploration remains important, as the terrain of the galaxy map (starlanes) can effectively change
        • The major galaxy-wide changes are limited in number however, and only occur when you research the next level of starlane detection, so continuous reexploration of everything you've already discovered with slews of survey ships for the whole game is not necessary.
    • Starlanes near a player's homeworld are easier for that player to see, and lanes near other players' homeworlds are harder to see.
      • Lanes immediately adjacent to a player's homeworld are treated as Obvious for that player
      • Lanes one jump away from a player's homeworld are treated as one level of visibility better for that player (Hidden if normally secret, Obscured if normally Hidden, Obvious if normally Obscured, Undetectable stay Undetectable)
        • Should avoid having Undetectable lanes near homeworlds
      • Lanes immediately adjacent to other players' homeworlds are treated as two levels of visiblity harder to see for a player
      • Lanes one jump removed from a homeworld are treated as one level of visibility harder to see for other players
    • Starlanes may change in visibility over the course of the game (independently of players' ability to detect them)
      • Changes may be due to random events or player action
      • After a player discovers a starlane, if the starlane's visibility changes to a to a less visible level, the player must rediscover the starlane, even if the lane was discovered with a degree of detection good enough to detect the lane's new harder to see visibility
      • After a player fails to detect a starlane, if the starlane's visibility changes to a more visible level, the player must still rescan the system to detect the lane (this will happen automatically if the player happens to have ships in the system at the time)
      • If a player has a presence in a system and has detected a lane, and the lane becomes less visible such that the player can no longer detect the lane, the player is informed that the lane disappeared. There is no indication why the lane became less visible or disappeared. Random changes in lane visibility should be sufficiently common that players can change lane visibility without it obviously being due to player action.
      • If a player has previously detected a lane in a system, but does not have a presence in a system when lane becomes less visible such that the player could no longer detect the lane, the player is not aware of this change until the player next has a presence in the system.
      • If a player knows of a lane, and does not have a presence in a system when the lane becomes less visible, and the lane is returned back to its previous visibility by the time the player establishes presence in the system, the player is not made aware of the occurance
    • Players may trade maps which contain knowledge of starlanes
      • Player may specifically trade only lanes of certain visibilities or in certain regions of the map
    • Players can hide lanes to provide a unique strategy: The Lane Isolationist
      • By making all lanes surrounding your systems difficult for others to detect, you can prevent players who have not researched lane detection technology from gaining access to your systems
      • You can also make lanes leading into another player's systems less visible, thus making it possible for you to have an escape route from their systems that they would not be able to use to follow you, allowing you to raid their systems behind their front lines
      • Could also trap players into regions of the galaxy by making all lanes out of the region too difficult for them to detect

Ship Cloaking

  • Could make cloaking require ships to travel more slowly than they otherwise would / could in order to stay cloaked
    • Provides a nice tradeoff to using a cloak, in addition to cost and fuel (if applicable)
  • Should probably have an on/off cloak setting, rather than a more complicated reduction in sensor effectiveness or somesuch...
  • Could have classes or degrees of cloak, and classes of specialized sensors which can detect cloaked ships on the galaxy map
    • Need a higher level cloak detector to detect a cloak of a given level
  • Alternatively, could have standard sensors detect cloaked ships if good enough
    • Maybe using a rule like sensors level N can see through cloaks of less than N/2