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Re: Friday, May 5, 2017

#106
Graf wrote:This might be a bit overkill, but it would be cool to be able to broadcast multiple IFF signals in different directions. This would enable you to send your faction's signal behind you to your fleet to prevent them from firing upon you, but the enemy's signal in front enabling all sorts of nifty tactics. You could order your ship to look like a different thing to different people allowing you to be extra duplicitous.
I see where you're going with this. Interesting idea.

One picky note is that "broadcasting" means you're sending out a signal in all directions. Typically that's how an IFF transponder ought to work, because the alternative is to send a signal along a narrow beam to a specific receiver. But if you do that, you need to have line of sight to the receiver, and it's tricky to hit a target if both the sender and the receiver are moving (as, I presume, would normally be the case for two spaceships).

You could get away with that in a game, though, with a "your computer is really good at this kind of position prediction" handwave. Even so, it would be sort of funky to be able to send to multiple friendlies.

In between these two are directional antennas that send a signal in a widening cone. (Even narrow-beam emitters actually become conical eventually.) This might be the kind of signals technology you have in mind.

Also, this is just a layman's understanding. If there's someone here who's done SIGINT, they could probably give you a better response.

Re: Friday, May 5, 2017

#107
Flatfingers wrote:
Graf wrote:This might be a bit overkill, but it would be cool to be able to broadcast multiple IFF signals in different directions. This would enable you to send your faction's signal behind you to your fleet to prevent them from firing upon you, but the enemy's signal in front enabling all sorts of nifty tactics. You could order your ship to look like a different thing to different people allowing you to be extra duplicitous.
I see where you're going with this. Interesting idea.

One picky note is that "broadcasting" means you're sending out a signal in all directions. Typically that's how an IFF transponder ought to work, because the alternative is to send a signal along a narrow beam to a specific receiver. But if you do that, you need to have line of sight to the receiver, and it's tricky to hit a target if both the sender and the receiver are moving (as, I presume, would normally be the case for two spaceships).

You could get away with that in a game, though, with a "your computer is really good at this kind of position prediction" handwave. Even so, it would be sort of funky to be able to send to multiple friendlies.

In between these two are directional antennas that send a signal in a widening cone. (Even narrow-beam emitters actually become conical eventually.) This might be the kind of signals technology you have in mind.

Also, this is just a layman's understanding. If there's someone here who's done SIGINT, they could probably give you a better response.
Nah, you pretty much nailed it there IMO. You could, of course, work with digital signals, which are encoded. And only people who can encode it will know which faction you are part of. And could send a "plain" signal to everyone else. The ships of your faction would know the proper decoding procedure and could prioritise the decoded signals information over the information sent by the "plain" signal.
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Flatfingers wrote: 23.01.2017: "Show me the smoldering corpse of Perfectionist Josh"

Re: Friday, May 5, 2017

#109
Cornflakes_91 wrote:
Flatfingers wrote: The notion of an IFF signal is that it's always broadcasting an identity claim.
wikipedia disagrees :V

on every related article i can find.

including the point on cilvilian Secondary Surveillance Radar (aka ask the blips for identification)

would be stupid from a military PoV to broadcast your position all the time :P
You're right that transponders in our real-world navies and air forces aren't always on -- IFF systems today currently use a challenge-and-response pattern, where the transponder replies only when it receives a recognized signal from an interrogator. Thanks for the correction.

However, it does appear that response signals from a receiving IFF transponder are omni-directional. (See here: https://maritime.org/doc/radar/part2.htm)

So that's something Graf might find useful as a first pass at this idea based on how real-world IFF systems work.

How they might work in a game doesn't have to be the same, however.

One important difference might be that, while in our real world there are only a few "factions," in Limit Theory there may be hundreds or even thousands of factions... and they might not all want to share IFF interrogation privileges.

This is why I was thinking of IFF transponders as always broadcasting. It's a space game thing: any ship detected through sensors that isn't broadcasting an IFF signal is a probable hostile; anyone who is broadcasting is probably non-hostile but there's a small chance they might be spoofing.

I'm open to constructive suggestions for better ways to implement IFF in LT, whether they mimic current real-world IFF patterns or not.

Re: Friday, May 5, 2017

#110
I think IFF should be a simple mechanic, at least initially.

It's either on or off, and is transmitting all the time. (assume the locals are always pinging out challenges if you must)

This then immediately gives you three levels of detection quality.

Unseen.
On IFF.
On Radar. (LIDAR, or spacemagic)

Which can in itself provide interesting mechanics, that are simple to understand. (the best kind)
Adding a small difference in, with a stealth system, that impacts how close you can get to a target before they detect you on Radar. And you now have an interesting mechanic for stealth, that is simple enough to understand, AND allows players to do "social stealth".
Social Stealth in this situation is being in an area with IFF on, but your stealth systems preventing Radar acquisition. They see you, but don't know what you are flying, and cant fire missiles at you.

An interesting, simple to explain mechanic, that has nuance in how the ranges work, that relies on some player skill to stay out of Radar range.
The targets estimated Radar detection of you, would of course require you to actually target and scan the target. :V


To make it even more interesting.
Scanning systems take time to acquire info.
You target them once they are in Radar range. Then you start getting information bleeding in until either all information is in, or you lose target lock.
Once scanned any data stays on your ship, but gets marked as stale. (shows up grey rather than in color perhaps)

There could be multiple levels really easily.

Ship Name, System Bounties
Ship Class, Region Bounties
Ship Loadout, Constellation Bounties
Ship Internal Components, Global Bounties
Ship Cargo
Ship Shielded Cargo

Better stealth systems would decrease their radar range,and increase the length of time it took to scan the next system.
(shielded cargo could also do this as an "as-well-as" other stealth systems!)

(Note, that bounties here are put in as an idea, this talk isn't about them, but catching criminals could take a few seconds of scanning if they aren't a criminal anywhere near here. This should make criminals more likely to move around a lot. Making for interesting pirate activity.)

This staggered information makes it even more interesting, as the police would have to keep a smuggler in range, and targeted for awhile to actually scan.
This lets the smuggler run, when they get targeted. (as being targeted should show that to the player.
This also means that systems that can target MULTIPLE ships at once would be really useful for hunting down bounties.

Bounty Hunters under this system would be forced to invest in good scanning systems, good radar detection, and good combat equipment.
While Pirates would need good stealth systems, and either good engines, or good combat systems.

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Re: Friday, May 5, 2017

#112
Silverware wrote: They see you, but don't know what you are flying, and cant fire missiles at you.
you are carrying a big beacon around yelling "here i am" but somehow cant be targeted by missiles? :P

Besides the "transmitting all the time" thing i agree on your points :P

My main ojection on the locator beacons is that (even civilian) space surveillance couldnt come for basically free.
Locator beacons basically remove the need to install any surveillance equipment in a system for all civilian and a fair chunk of military surveillance as well (why bother hiding when theres nothing significant to hide from anyway?) When everyone just squawks his presence through the system at arrival you dont need much equipment.

With at least some "somewhat" detectable radar return being required for an IFF return it adds some gameplay again. Placing patrols and surveillance stations (keeping you from being more or less invisible per default when turning off iff in such a region)

Broadcasting your position and allegiance could still be something active, though.
For navigation beacons, trade stations, etc.

Re: Friday, May 5, 2017

#113
Cornflakes_91 wrote:
Silverware wrote: They see you, but don't know what you are flying, and cant fire missiles at you.
you are carrying a big beacon around yelling "here i am" but somehow cant be targeted by missiles? :P

Besides the "transmitting all the time" thing i agree on your points :P

My main ojection on the locator beacons is that (even civilian) space surveillance couldnt come for basically free.
Locator beacons basically remove the need to install any surveillance equipment in a system for all civilian and a fair chunk of military surveillance as well (why bother hiding when theres nothing significant to hide from anyway?) When everyone just squawks his presence through the system at arrival you dont need much equipment.

With at least some "somewhat" detectable radar return being required for an IFF return it adds some gameplay again. Placing patrols and surveillance stations (keeping you from being more or less invisible per default when turning off iff in such a region)

Broadcasting your position and allegiance could still be something active, though.
For navigation beacons, trade stations, etc.
Oh, so you suggest broadcasting once when you enter the system to identify yourself and anyone who is entering gets an update on each ship based on the information passed onto the locator beacons? That's a really smart way of doing it in developed space. But what about on the outskirts where such locator beacons don't exist? Say you have a band of pirates which are working together to hit miners several systems away. How do the pirates know what ships are their own when they are in their own system and how another ship isn't a bounty hunter or the likes? Or maybe an explorer is in some system and happens to come across a pirate, how does the explorer know that the other ship is a pirate and not a friendly if the system doesn't have a locator beacon?
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Re: Friday, May 5, 2017

#114
BFett wrote:
Cornflakes_91 wrote:
Silverware wrote: They see you, but don't know what you are flying, and cant fire missiles at you.
you are carrying a big beacon around yelling "here i am" but somehow cant be targeted by missiles? :P

Besides the "transmitting all the time" thing i agree on your points :P

My main ojection on the locator beacons is that (even civilian) space surveillance couldnt come for basically free.
Locator beacons basically remove the need to install any surveillance equipment in a system for all civilian and a fair chunk of military surveillance as well (why bother hiding when theres nothing significant to hide from anyway?) When everyone just squawks his presence through the system at arrival you dont need much equipment.

With at least some "somewhat" detectable radar return being required for an IFF return it adds some gameplay again. Placing patrols and surveillance stations (keeping you from being more or less invisible per default when turning off iff in such a region)

Broadcasting your position and allegiance could still be something active, though.
For navigation beacons, trade stations, etc.
Oh, so you suggest broadcasting once when you enter the system to identify yourself and anyone who is entering gets an update on each ship based on the information passed onto the locator beacons? That's a really smart way of doing it in developed space. But what about on the outskirts where such locator beacons don't exist? Say you have a band of pirates which are working together to hit miners several systems away. How do the pirates know what ships are their own when they are in their own system and how another ship isn't a bounty hunter or the likes? Or maybe an explorer is in some system and happens to come across a pirate, how does the explorer know that the other ship is a pirate and not a friendly if the system doesn't have a locator beacon?
When the pirate looses a volley of missiles at the explorer.
When you travel into Africa to see the lions, do you shout "mobile meat bag over here", "try and catch me!"??
:lol:

Each faction has their own way of comminucating, by way of a chip in your cargo hold, or some-such.. so if you lose your ship, you're really up the creek.
So one could choose which faction-chip to enable when flying in whichever space you find yourself in, and your actions then deem to align yourself with which-ever faction-chip you have active at the time.

Simples. :D
YAY PYTHON \o/

In Josh We Trust
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Re: Friday, May 5, 2017

#115
The idea behind these systems is NOT realism (which you guys seem to be arguing)
But Gameplay.

It gives you three levels of stealth and detection. (Unnoticed, noticed, targetable)

It allows smuggling, banditry, and easy scouting.
It gives the local "police" a reason to hunt you. (not having IFF on)
It gives the player a sense of being able to hide. (some terrain could reduce sensors ranges)
It allows you to lose a bounty you are hunting if you are not careful to keep them in range.
It keeps Fleet combat, as two opposing major factions will be able to beeline to each other.
It lets players get a sense of whats around them, without overloading the targeting list.
It prevents a single AI with your IFF being spoofed from torpedoing you in the butt. (eg It keeps the playing field fair)

Not only would this method be simple to implement, it would be simple to learn, and encourage specialization of technologies for stealth and sensors. Something that seems to be missed from most content discussions. (how it would impact the manufacturing/research)


Sticking to gameplay systems, name the benefits that would arise from challenge response, or spoofing, or directionality?
Remembering that both Challenge Response and Directionality will require more CPU. (Spoofing wouldn't it'd just require more complex scanning systems to provide a counter-measure)

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<+BMRX> Silver Invokes Lewdly Verbose Experiences Readily With Absurd Rectal Expeditions
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Re: Friday, May 5, 2017

#116
Silverware wrote: It allows smuggling, banditry, and easy scouting.
It gives the local "police" a reason to hunt you. (not having IFF on)
It gives the player a sense of being able to hide. (some terrain could reduce sensors ranges)
It allows you to lose a bounty you are hunting if you are not careful to keep them in range.
Okay, how would challenge-response not allow that? :P

Silverware wrote: It keeps Fleet combat, as two opposing major factions will be able to beeline to each other.
And removing scouting gameplay is good... why?
Also how would no locator beacon but challenge-response remove fleet battles?
Silverware wrote: It lets players get a sense of whats around them, without overloading the targeting list.
By filling it with every ship and station in the system by default instead of just the things that are somewhat in sensor range?
I'd like to have an explanation on how that would work :P
Silverware wrote: It prevents a single AI with your IFF being spoofed from torpedoing you in the butt. (eg It keeps the playing field fair)
Thats not a feature of the locator beacon system, though :P
that just comes from the lack of spoofing :P
Silverware wrote: Not only would this method simple to implement, it would be simple to learn, and encourage specialization of technologies for stealth and sensors. Something that seems to be missed from most content discussions. (how it would impact the manufacturing/research)
Yeah, no.
Pirates have no reason to use any sensors at all for the most time because their targets and the security forces are all broadcasting their locations all the time.
They beeline to the freighters they want to attack and just fly around any patrol because they see the patrol paths anyway.
Unless the freighters/miners or patrols do something punishable themself and turn off their beacons.

And we are at basically the same point as if there was no IFF system at all.
Then specialisations and technology levels matter again.
Silverware wrote: Sticking to gameplay systems, name the benefits that would arise from challenge response?
It doesnt either remove sensor gameplay or itself from the game :P
It adds a layer to sensor gameplay instead of just flat out turning it off
Silverware wrote: Remembering that both Challenge Response and Directionality will require more CPU.
Yes, something requires more than nothing
Challenge-response needs a single level check in addition to the normal sensor mechanic level check.
Namely one with a lower detection threshhold than the higher "detect target anyway" treshhold.

BFett wrote: Oh, so you suggest broadcasting once when you enter the system to identify yourself and anyone who is entering gets an update on each ship based on the information passed onto the locator beacons?
A: no, i have no idea how you read that out of my post.
B: "locator beacons" are flat and silver's unconditional broadcast type IFF systems. Not some infrastructure.
BFett wrote: how does the explorer know that the other ship is a pirate and not a friendly if the system doesn't have a locator beacon?
By using the IFF system i suggested a thousand times now :P

Re: Friday, May 5, 2017

#117
Then it's a transmitter and not a beacon.

Anyways, there are still some interesting ideas being shared back and forth and I'm just trying to understand the systems. It sounds like we are keeping IFF ship based which is good.

I don't think that Silver's or Flat's IFF ideas harm scouting. You just send scouts with IFF that's either off or spoofed to gather intelligence on the hostile fleet. Then during actual combat you will want IFF on for all fighting ships so that Friendly Fire is avoided.
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Re: Friday, May 5, 2017

#118
BFett wrote:Then it's a transmitter and not a beacon.
"a lighthouse or other signal for guidance"
"a radio transmitter emitting signals to guide aircraft"
https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/beacon

nothing about that being fixed :P
BFett wrote: I don't think that Silver's or Flat's IFF ideas harm scouting.
then knowing basically all ship and station locations just from entering a system doesnt remove most scouting gameplay? :P

Re: Friday, May 5, 2017

#119
Cornflakes_91 wrote:
BFett wrote:Then it's a transmitter and not a beacon.
"a lighthouse or other signal for guidance"
https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/beacon

BFett wrote: I don't think that Silver's or Flat's IFF ideas harm scouting.
then knowing basically all ship and station locations just from entering a system doesnt remove most scouting gameplay? :P
Beacons are stationary, transmitters are not.

The bigger the ship the easier it is to see and detect. You don't have perfect information because of IFF. Perfect information only works if ships are networked together (sharing radar information) and have unlimited radar range.

A scout enters a system with IFF off. The scout detects a large bunch of ships which all share the same IFF information. The scout can assume that this area of space is owned by a particular faction. The role of the ships and their defensive capabilities are not disclosed to the scout because the scout is not close enough to gather this information.

(Note that this is not Star Trek where we can detect ships 5 light-years away and have a visual on them.)
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Re: Friday, May 5, 2017

#120
BFett wrote: Beacons are stationary, transmitters are not.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emergency ... on_station
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BFett wrote: The bigger the ship the easier it is to see and detect.
what? really? didnt know that!
BFett wrote: You don't have perfect information because of IFF.
when theres a big blob of ships with "Zorblaxian Navy" IFF beacons i already have a lot of data on them :P
i know how many they are, from their amount i can also guess what kind of force it is (scout group - carrier group - "mess up everyones day" fleet) and from that their approximate composition.
BFett wrote: Perfect information only works if ships are networked together (sharing radar information) and have unlimited radar range.
i'd be very confused if i didnt have the data my scout is gathering the second it has it :P
guessing from everyones "NO WE DONT NEED ANY COMMUNICATIONS MECHANICS" :P

and a mechanic that tells me the location and affiliation of every ship in a gigantic radius around any random disposable asset of mine is already a big chunk of intel.

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