another thing that i missed including in this thread:
missle sensors, chaffs, flares and ECM
that stuff was discussed in fragmented pieces in this
and i'll just place my viewpoints here now.
sensors aboard missles work the same way ship bound sensors work
with angular resolution, frequency resolution, sensitivity and bandwith
but with worse stats.
missles may have very narrow bandwith and can only see a very limited spectrum and thus must be taylored to the targets they are designed to attack.
an universal missle that can engage a wide range of targets would have low sensitivity and angular resolution, it would be a short range missle
(trading bandwith vs sensitivity and algular resolution)
or low angular resolution, may your ship can differentiate between the targets at long range, but your missle cant, and as such attacks the wrong target when it gets close enough to differentiate between them
etc. (trading sensitivity for long range vs angular resolution)
an addition to missle sensor mechanics could be a "view cone".
a cone in front of the missle in which it can use its sensors.
countermeasures would be much more effective when such a mechanic gets implemented, as you can move out of the missles field of view after dropping your flare.
that when the missle sees through the countermeasure before it explodes on it, it doesnt return back on target.
missles should in general be "dumb" and as such follow the strongest signal that has roughly the correct position and signature to be their target.
because if we start to introduce realistic smart missles, no countermeasures would be of use
target painting comes basically for free, illuminate a target with your sensors (keep it locked with your sensors on active) and it gets more visible for all missles which use the same bands.
Chaffs and Flares.
chaffs and flares are active countermeasures that create a fake signature for missles (and sensors in general) to think your ship is somewhere else.
they are consumable objects (like missles) and have to be used to have their effect.
flares create an emissive signature, they send out radiation to confuse passive sensors.
they come in all sizes, frequency bands and strenghts
they also must be taylored to the sensors you want to spoof
if you know the enemy missles lock on your engine signature you have to create flares which match that signature
chaffs create a reflective signature to confuse active sensors.
again in many sizes, frequency bands and reflective strenghts.
they create a material signature that should match your ship as close as possible
and are made out of the materials that your ship is built of (or maybe not and include some "metamaterial" technobabble)
they have no effect on passive sensors, as they only create a reflective signature.
ecm is a ship mounted system which uses powerful emitters and high computing power to create flare and chaff effects without having to expend consumables.
a basic ECM creates emissive sensor signals (flares) with a selectable spectrum, it is not limited to a single signature like material flares.
but they are limited in their specrum too, like normal sensors, and cannot create fake signatures outside of their bands.
advanced ECM can create reflective signatures in addition to emissive ones (technobabble: they measure the incident fields and emit signals according to their settings, thus appearing like reflective sensor returns)
they have an additional limitation on them, their sensor stats (according to the technobabble) but that should in general match their emissive spectra.
(no sense in having more sensor capability than you can fake)
any sensor spoof that is near to fool your ships sensors creates a "ghost ship" that the player can see
but this ghost has flaws in it to make it visible that its not a perfect signature.
flaws could include flickering (not sure about this)
missing parts (no turrets on the ghost ship)
no engine flares
and lower LOD
on bigger distance it looks like the other ships next to it, but on closer inspection it doesnt get into full detail, thus it becoming obvious to the player (and hopefully to the NPC's flying ships nearby)
that this is not a full blown ship but only sensor spoofing.
very high quality spoofing should not be visible as such, as your sensors cant differentiate it from the real thing.
the only possibility to see through the spoofing then would be
shooting it (its not there, thus you cannot hit it)
it does not shoot at you (it has no turrets, duh)
you can fly through it
decoys are advanced ECM devices you have to drop and which combine the effects of chaffs and flares in them.
they are much bigger and heavier than flares or chaff, but they are much more effective.
basically droppable ECM generators with limited lifetime.
they would tend to create the "ghost ship" effect frequently, due to their powerful ECM nature.
but due to their size and weight they'd be in the realm of countermeasures for capital ships.
phew, so many new things at once