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Re: Cloaking

#3
Cloaking needs limitations, else it's just another unfun IWIN button for whoever is cloaked. Here's a few random ideas thrown around. Keep in mind that this is a list of common cloak tropes, not a balancing attempt.

- Cloaking drains energy from shields and weapon capacitors, leaving you a sitting duck once the cloak runs out.
- Cloaks can be countered by higher level sensors, leading to a one-upmanship between cloak and sensor system manufacturers.
- You need to uncloak to fire, and can't recloak for a certain amount of time after that.
- The cloak generator replaces your shields. It's either one thing or the other.
- Cloaking prevents you from using thrusters and maneuver jets, only allowing "silent running".
- The difficulty of generating a sensor cloak rises exponentially with mass/hull size, making on small stealth craft feasible.
- "Cloaks" don't exist - the best you get are sensor jammers that prevent you from showing up on the sensors, but the Mk1 Eyeball will detect you just fine.
- Sensors are overwhelmingly powerful. Cloaking will prevent visual detection, but you still show up on sensors.
- Cloaks are consumable items, like missiles, and once you run out, that's it.
- Cloaks work fine, but the same ECM pulses that are used for spoofing missiles will also short-out your cloak for a while.
- Cloaks are notoriously unreliable, and tend to flicker at the worst possible moment.
- Cloaks protect against both sensors and visual detection, but only if stationary. Once you're moving, you'll be visible as a distortion wave to the trained eye.
- Affordable, powerful, realiable. Pick any two.
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Re: Cloaking

#6
best thing to do would be to have a 'specials' component slot something on your ship you could install (miners would install a mining lazer freighters would install a tow tractor beam ect) instead of it replacing something like your shelds...

as far as limitations go i agree that a sensor would be able to tell a ships in the area but might not be able to pin point it right away mby settle fro waring you of the ship and them a min or so later refines the scan to show where they would be.

i also like the not moving while cloaked and the cant fire rules puts limits on the cloak but dosent make it useless just specialized. though with inertia in the game you could build up speed cut power and turn on the cloak and coast to where you want to be.
If I've rambled and gone off topic im sorry but i tend to be long winded as you might notice if you stumble across my other post XD. thanks for reading.
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Re: Cloaking

#7
If you use a magic cloaking field like for a klingon Bird of Prey, then it doesn't need to have many downsides.
There you only know where something is as soon as empty space starts firing at you.

Games features live from limitations, though. I'm not sure how believable the feature in F-177A was because naturally it's top secret but they had an IR "cloaking" system where the engine exhaust was rerouted to heat up internal mass and then dispersed over a wider area to hide from heatseeker missiles. This was limited by the need to eventually cool off said mass.
ECM worked similarly.
An aircraft can't carry the mass to do brute force ECM so they try to alter the pattern of the RADAR return / emissions to confuse whoever and whatever is looking for the aircraft.
If some seeker figures out the pattern, your ECM just got a lot less effective.

Space ships will always have a heat signature. Space may be "cold" but it sucks at cooling anything. The only way to get rid of excess heat is through radiation and that only gets effective at high temperatures so the heat sinks on a very active ship would literally glow and have a monstrous IR signature - or even enter the visible spectrum.
IIRC, Star Citizen or the new ELITE use that bit of hard SF as a feature.
A ship could approach something while only using it's heat sinks on the other side and so be invisible - but that's directional invisibility and useless for disappearing in the middle of some ships.

RADAR absorbing layers aren't armour, either. Getting hit would quickly ruin your stealth paint job. It's also mass that you carry and would come at the cost of something else, like actual armour.

Much like the F-117A, it could be possible to build a stealth fighter. That should seriously degrade it's combat capabilities, though.
Just like stealth aircraft nowadays, it would be limited to internal missile launchers because external mounts generate way too much RADAR return.

There also is no (passive) GPS in space. If your target emits a strong signature you're in luck but navigating a black asteroid field in black space could be quite nerve wracking.
X3 has that in one or two super-dark sectors where you have to be reeeeeally careful in asteroid fields.
If your sensors "bracket" the rocks that's no problem but that would require to "go active" so no more stealth.
There is no "I" in Tea. That would be gross.
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Re: Cloaking

#8
Gazz wrote:Space ships will always have a heat signature. Space may be "cold" but it sucks at cooling anything. The only way to get rid of excess heat is through radiation and that only gets effective at high temperatures so the heat sinks on a very active ship would literally glow and have a monstrous IR signature - or even enter the visible spectrum.
This sounds pretty cool.

Maybe something along the lines of a cloak that completely masks your ship, but depending on how much heat output it has, the cloak starts to glow and you see an outline of the ship. The more heat produced (weapon fire, engine use, internal reactors running) the brighter it'll glow. This would allow for ships that go into 'silent' mode to drift through enemy territory without being seen, but would prevent an assault from a capital ship because the engines would be putting enough heat out to stress the cloak.

Of course, this also adds a bit of strategy too. If you really want to take the time to try and drift a huge carrier into the middle of an enemy faction in order to do a surprise attack, and you're willing to spend a week to do it, I see no problems that way.
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Re: Cloaking

#9
DWMagus wrote:Of course, this also adds a bit of strategy too. If you really want to take the time to try and drift a huge carrier into the middle of an enemy faction in order to do a surprise attack, and you're willing to spend a week to do it, I see no problems that way.
As long as there is interesting gameplay attached to it I don't care which way it's done. =)
I'm merely asking for something more involved than "I pressed invisubul button so you can't see me! Hurr durr!"

F-117A had me dodging different kinds of RADAR coming at their own specific intervals from specific directions. Impulse couldn't see me if I was flying to/from it while Doppler RADAR uses the Doppler effect to measure the closing speed - so ideally I'd fly a circle around it. Angling the plane was also bad because it obviously presented a larger visible surface... and then there were planes with pilots who had a Mk1 Eyeball Scanner and the annoying habit of checking on unusual RADAR blips in odd places. It was hard work and required some pre-mission planning. That was an awesome stealth game. With a plane. =)
There is no "I" in Tea. That would be gross.
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Re: Cloaking

#10
Just want to throw this out there. Cloaking could be like in halo where if your invisible and you move then a visible waves show up, but on the radar your stealth would mess up their radars and say that there a lots of enemies around you when there would only be 1. Also, when you attacked it you would lose invisibility, and could only use if for a period of time.
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Re: Cloaking

#11
This is the way I see it. To me cloaking ‘bends light around the ship, because the enemy can see behind the ship, and because the light does not directly hit on the ship, it creates an optical illusion. Cloaking also silences your ship’s device so I can not show up on most (notice: most) sensors. The downside to this would be:

1. Power- Like your shields it requires you redirect you power to them, meaning you can choose i you want to lower the power on your weapons, shields, etc.

2. Scale- Cloaking is harder to do on larger ships, you either need more powerful cloaking devices (more expensive) or you need to redirect more power to the drives (less power allocation and greater chance of cloaking faults i.e. it might randomly stop working)

3. Moving- Because the cloak needs to bend light around the ship, moving interrupts it and forces it to re-angle the light. When you move at a certain speed the cloak fails for a split-second or so. Longer depending on how fast the ship is moving (the cloaking device has to work harder if it is having to quickly re-adjust,) eventually at a certain speed it stops working.

4. Advanced sensors- No matter how good your cloaking device it still gives off a little heat and electricity, really advanced sensors can detect this and it’s location. All ships have a small infa-red pulser built-in. Now of course you wouldn’t go around space shooting infa-red beams and hoping to get something, but if you think you see a ship and it disappears, infa-red doesn’t get bent by cloaks.

5. It only works on one ship- Pretty self-explanatory. Because of the size and complexity required to cloak multiple ships, it simply can be affordably done (notice affordably.)
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Re: Cloaking

#12
how about a radical new aproach to cloaking? make it like present day stelth, it requilres a special hull material that is suboptimal in combat while almost invisible on radar. no shields and such but generates a plasmafield ( technobabble) on the hull itself making the ship invisible to sensors, while still visible to the naked eye, this way you could sneak thrugh a system easally but not into an enemy hangar.
a cloaked ship shouldent be invisible, only hard to track and doesent show up on radar, this way you could still fight a cloaked cap ship with fighters since it is easy to see at close quarters. also no bullshit escapes from a battle.
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Re: Cloaking

#13
Cloaking would cool but I agree that it must not be a "press to win" button. When I think about it, I can't help but think about the mechanic used in Star Ruler(indie RTS). The stealth in this game is rather a chance that attacking ship miss the target. The higher the stealth rating, the higher chance the attack is "dodged". But the bigger the ship, the harder it is to have a good stealth rating. There are 2 ways to add cloaking to a ship in SR:

1. Stealth Hull: The usual technobabble. The the hull absorb stuff to make it harder to hit. This hull type is the weakest hull available by far and it cost more than the usual ones.

2. Stealth generator: Some kind of jamming device that does about the same thing as above. It requires A LOT of energy to work.

Of course you can mix both but you will end up with a weak ship with weak weapons.


The way I would put cloaking in LT would be inspired by this mechanic (replace dodge with detection of course). A stealth ship could have:

A special hull made of exotic (and weaker) materials. With that you gain a passive bonus on your radar signature BUT you are still visible physically(and you fly a fancy exotic paper bag).

You would also have access to a Stealth generator. That thing is slow to activate and require most of your power generator attention but once activated, this baby makes you invisible to both radar AND naked eye for a fixed amount of time(but your weapons and your shield are disactivated).

You could mix both! But you would en up with a weak invisible spacecraft that is not very good in many situations(but it would be excellent as scout ship for example).

But everything gets less effective as the ship size gets bigger(obviously).

I don't think we will see Stealth and fancy cloaking systems in the game but thats how I would put it in.
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Re: Cloaking

#14
I would love cloaking too and there is no reason why you can't have different different kinds of cloaking depending on what kind of detection you are using - each with their own upsides and down sides. For example:
  • * Thermal cloaking: requires special material coating the outside of your ship which masks you heat signature but you must also have your engines completely powered down. Would also be incompatible with visual cloaking devices.
    * Visual cloaking: uses mirrors (my personal favorite idea!) and/or some other visual way (possibly cameras) to try and cloak the ship visually. In the case of mirrors the downside is that when you get close to the ship you will be able to see your reflection and target the ship. If there are different types of visual cloaks they would be incompatible with each other.
    * Relativistic cloaking: warps the space around the ship so that electromagnetic radiation no longer appears to bend around the ship. This is bulky and expensive machinery that will only fit in the largest of ships.
    * X-ray cloaking: cloaks the X-rays given off by ship drives. Unfortunately this converts the X-rays into thermal energy which requires the use of radiator fins which glow red. This cloaking would be incompatible with thermal cloaking. Radiator fins would be external and would not be able to be cloaked visually

    * Possible options if you want more variety: Radio wave cloaking (cloaks your communication between ships, most likely by using highly focused directional lasers. Not sure what the trade-off would be yet)
I think that shields should not be affected by cloaks and therefore all effects related to shields should not be affected. This would ensure that there is always a way to detect a cloaked ship.

Available ship sensors would include: thermal, relativistic, X-ray, and possibly radio waves. Sensors are used for detecting ships throughout the whole system (think long distance). Visual cloaks are useful for cloaking ships in the player's line-of-sight (think short distances). You would be able to equip more than one sensor on a ship but use a hard point for each sensor. This would keep your ship from being able to detect everything.
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Re: Cloaking

#15
DWMagus wrote:Maybe something along the lines of a cloak that completely masks your ship, but depending on how much heat output it has, the cloak starts to glow and you see an outline of the ship. The more heat produced (weapon fire, engine use, internal reactors running) the brighter it'll glow. This would allow for ships that go into 'silent' mode to drift through enemy territory without being seen, but would prevent an assault from a capital ship because the engines would be putting enough heat out to stress the cloak.

Of course, this also adds a bit of strategy too. If you really want to take the time to try and drift a huge carrier into the middle of an enemy faction in order to do a surprise attack, and you're willing to spend a week to do it, I see no problems that way.
+1

This is a wonderful idea. I would now like to have the "Silent Hand of Exploration Guild", please. Our cloaked armada drifts through space, gathering info on your star system, selling the info to your neighbors, and then disappearing into the dusty sky.

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