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concealed weapons

#1
concealed weapons are normal weapons but on a Hard point that lowers and closes a cover to conceal the weapon. the weapon could have a increased start up time because it would need to be powered down and set in hull and would take time to be moved up and unconcealed for use.

these hard points would be set in to the hull and covered during times of peace and the downside is that you would need some time to uncover and raise the turrets and power them up (energy weapons, if not then you save time with unpowered weapons) so they can actually be fired if you're attacked by pirates, unless you know that you would need them uncovered and powered up (energy weapons) in advance for a coming battle or if you accepted a mission to escort some freighter then you would have them unconcealed for the duration of the escort.

considering how pirates have ships that aren't necessarily up to par they would assume that you have no weapons because you need the extra storage space, this would result in them attacking you but in reality all you need to do is power up your (energy) weapons and uncover them.

of course you would need to outfit your ship in the ship editor or buy a ship with concealable hard points. but of course to have concealed weapons you would need to do research a blueprint for a weapon that can lower itself into the hull the power down and cover itself.

assuming sensors are a technology that can researched I would assume you can get advanced enough sensors to be able to see concealed and powered down turrets but there's always a counter to sensor technology which would be increasing amounts of research on the hull to increase the ability for you to keep your weapons undetected longer and researching weapons to make it to detect them.

concealment of weapons could be a separate technology that could be applied to the weapons eliminating the need to continue researching weapons for concealment and thus decreasing clutter. the things that could be in concealment technology is decreasing the time needed to uncover and raise turrets, and how well concealed the weapons are (risk of detection)
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Re: concealed weapons

#2
There are a few really good ideas here. I'd certainly love to see sensor spoofing on LT where fake cargo manifests and crew complements could become a reality along with concealed weapons. I agree that if a hatch is used to hide the weapon mount it should take some time to open and close. I also love the idea of technology playing a role in detection systems for these concealed weapons. I think hull armor and even certain types of energy shields and cloaks could be very useful in adding depth to the concealment system and the various branches of sensor tech needed to reveal these weapons.

I would note however that I imagine the LT universe much like the Star Wars one where nearly every ship is equipped with weapons to defend themselves. I guess there are always exceptions to this rule, and for this idea to function I suppose there have to be ships which just don't mount weapons for one reason or another. I guess that's a topic for another thread.

Another benefit of retractable weapons is that it preserves the weapons which may run out of ammunition, and allows the armor to soak up the damage instead.
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Re: concealed weapons

#3
Perhaps all ships will have weapons, but you'd expect miners to have only a little deterrent weapon or something. You, in your big pirate cruiser, know that those peashooters won't do squat to your shields, and are not deterred. Off you go, shooting down miners willy-nilly.
Until, that is, that ship with the weak mining lasers turns around, unveils a battleship-size gun, and with the one shot it can muster with its underclassed reactor, breaks your tank enough to allow the peashooters access to your ship's squishy bits.

If only you'd bought that high-tech, fresh-out-of-prototyping scanner that can see through everything. But you didn't need that; all you were fighting was little miners. Not like they fit enough ECM to matter, you thought.

Never underestimate the power of misdirection.
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Re: concealed weapons

#4
I know it's been quite awhile since I've contributed any input on the suggestions that come through here, but this one ended up triggering a bit more thought than I originally anticipated.

When I think of concealed weapons, to me it boils down to information hiding. You play the game and the challenge comes from guessing what your opponent might have. You may know that the ship has possible hidden hardpoints, or perhaps you build your own ship to have hidden hardpoints.

It's easy to hide information from the player, but when you have information hidden from the AI, it becomes more of a goal of defining what and how to act on that hidden information. Do we define what an AI 'sees'? Do we define how long an AI 'remembers'? Afterall, the whole game is an AI and technically already knows what's there. It is instead information that the AI needs to be specifically told about how to handle.

Take this scenario;

The player runs into an enemy ship that has concealed weapon. Player A (who is meticulous or has mods, or whatever) writes down the ship classification, and knows that the ship has hidden weapons after the first encounter. Player B doesn't really care, and may end up forgetting that the ship had hidden hardpoints after a few days (afterall, they do see tons of ships, so how can they remember just one?). And then after a week, the player runs into the ship again. Player A who remembers (via any method you choose) stays away while Player B may end up suffering losses yet again (possibly even ship destruction).

Now, if we turn it around; Which player does the AI closer emulate? If the AI emulates player A, then it feels as though the AI is 'cheating' because it never forgets. Yet, if the AI emulates player B, it could also be seen as gaming the system "Just wait until xxxxx timestamp and then I can attack again without impunity".


I'm not saying I have a solution because I don't. It's just that when it comes to any sort of information hiding comes into gameplay, care must be taken so that it doesn't feel biased against the player. This also extends beyond hidden hardpoints to anything else that relies on the player's brain to remember vs. something that could potentially never forget.
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Early Spring - 1055: Well, I made it to Boatmurdered, and my initial impressions can be set forth in three words: What. The. F*ck.
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Re: concealed weapons

#5
It's like metagaming in an RPG. Metagaming is an evil blight upon the face of any RPG, and is difficult to avoid for newer players. And what is metagaming? ...I suppose I'll have to give an example.

Let's say I'm GM'ing and I have a group of players head into a ship to secure the objective while another group of players stays outside to keep anyone else from landing/blowing up their fighters while they're inside. For one reason or another, both groups lose radio contact while doing this - perhaps because the hull is too thick for radio signals to make it through, or something like that - the exact reason doesn't matter. All that matters is that they cannot talk to each other, and they know beforehand that they won't be able to. I'll call these characters "Alice" and "Bob" - Bob stayed outside, and Alice went inside. Bob's player, we'll call "John", and we'll call the player playing Alice "Jane".

While Alice is inside, she comes across a terrible enemy that she's going to have great difficulty defeating on her own. Bob's player, John, hears the GM telling Jane all about this new enemy that Alice is facing now, and goes, "I make Bob land in the ship's hangar, run to Alice, sneak up on the enemy from behind and chop off his head before he has a chance to hurt Alice!" ...No. No, no. You can't do that. John, the player knows about the creature, but his character Bob does not. This actually comes up quite a bit in REKT. Some of my players are notoriously bad about it and will even complain about not being allowed to at times.

And the reason it's so terrible? The reason it's a "blight upon the face of any RPG"? It destroys the story. Suddenly it's not a story anymore. It's just a regular game. It eliminates any element of story and reduces the entire RPG to mechanics - and, this is bad because at its heart, an RPG is the story, especially with a larger group of players (because a larger group permits less focus on individuals).

Naturally this is somewhat less troubling if you're dealing with an actual game, but anyone reading this has no doubt come across or heard of a video game where the AI "cheated" by doing things the player was not allowed to do. RTS games are notorious for allowing AI full view of the map at times - this is to help keep from drawing out games any longer than they need to be in most instances, but it can prove frustrating for the player if they expect the enemy to play by the same rules laid out for the player themselves. In LT's instance, the enemy might know exactly what armaments you have... or not, depending on whether you're willing to add the extra mechanics for stealth and weapon concealment.

It's my opinion, though, that at its core, LT is not about the simulation, and more about the story that the simulation produces. I mean, we're not excited about LT because we're going, "Oh boy, oh, boy! I can't wait to start trading things at the market!" or "Gee whiz, I can't wait to grind pirates until I can afford to build a starbase!" No, most of us are excited about the "living world" aspect of LT - just check out my old threads in the poll sections where I ask, "What has you most excited about LT?" The open world, living universe, and the AI typically had everyone most excited as a rule. People are mostly here because they want an immersive world.

This seems to argue in favor of concealed hardpoints.

On the other hand, from a gameplay perspective, concealed hardpoints are a terrible gameplay mechanic because typically, all you need to do is see the size of the ship to tell how many hardpoints it has. Obviously you're going to cram as many weapons onto a ship as you can. I mean, why wouldn't you? Who in their right mind would say, "Well, I like the number three, and even though I have eight weapon hardpoints, I'm going to roleplay only having three on my ship because my character likes the number three." If this is you, your character is (to put it bluntly) quite stupid. If you want to survive, you take any edge you can. You'll put as many weapons on your ship as you can manage to cram on, and of course the strongest shields and armor you can afford. All you really need to see, to tell how strong a ship should be, is its size. The size is what determines how many hardpoints you can have in the first place - and of course the classification. Naturally a cruiser will have more weapons than an equally-sized freighter, but you get my meaning. The only people that would really fall for concealed hardpoints would be "new players" in terms of AI. The player wouldn't fall for it at all, because at a distance, you can't really see the enemy ship's weapons anyway. You'll be judging by ship size... just like the AI should be.

For this reason, I would argue that concealed hardpoints aren't a necessity - and would, in fact, have little effect on gameplay to begin with. Not only that, but the extra expenditure doubtlessly required to conceal weapon hardpoints also damages immersion in the story - if nobody's really going to care about anything except how big your ship is, why would they bother concealing weapons?


Rather, if there's anything you really want to conceal to give your enemies a surprise... it should be the fact that you're a carrier and not a freighter. Have fun with that one, pirates.


(Also, I'm going to move this to the suggestions board.)
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Re: concealed weapons

#10
IronDuke wrote:Tal, Rocinante would like a word with you concerning her PDCs. :evil:

--IronDuke
Which is exactly why I added my final line:
Talvieno wrote:Rather, if there's anything you really want to conceal to give your enemies a surprise... it should be the fact that you're a carrier and not a freighter.
Concealing weapons is silly. If people know you're a combat vessel, they'll expect you to be decked out like a combat vessel. If they don't, however...
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Re: concealed weapons

#11
Talvieno wrote: Concealing weapons is silly. If people know you're a combat vessel, they'll expect you to be decked out like a combat vessel. If they don't, however...
Yes, you would never want to prevent your enemy to get proper readings on your equipment. [/sarcasm]

Any denial of intel is good.
The question is not if you want to conceal your stuff but if the performance/cosz drawbacks outweigh the advantages of concealing.
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Re: concealed weapons

#12
DWMagus wrote:I know it's been quite awhile since I've contributed any input on the suggestions that come through here, but this one ended up triggering a bit more thought than I originally anticipated.

When I think of concealed weapons, to me it boils down to information hiding. You play the game and the challenge comes from guessing what your opponent might have. You may know that the ship has possible hidden hardpoints, or perhaps you build your own ship to have hidden hardpoints.

It's easy to hide information from the player, but when you have information hidden from the AI, it becomes more of a goal of defining what and how to act on that hidden information. Do we define what an AI 'sees'? Do we define how long an AI 'remembers'? Afterall, the whole game is an AI and technically already knows what's there. It is instead information that the AI needs to be specifically told about how to handle.

Take this scenario;

The player runs into an enemy ship that has concealed weapon. Player A (who is meticulous or has mods, or whatever) writes down the ship classification, and knows that the ship has hidden weapons after the first encounter. Player B doesn't really care, and may end up forgetting that the ship had hidden hardpoints after a few days (afterall, they do see tons of ships, so how can they remember just one?). And then after a week, the player runs into the ship again. Player A who remembers (via any method you choose) stays away while Player B may end up suffering losses yet again (possibly even ship destruction).

Now, if we turn it around; Which player does the AI closer emulate? If the AI emulates player A, then it feels as though the AI is 'cheating' because it never forgets. Yet, if the AI emulates player B, it could also be seen as gaming the system "Just wait until xxxxx timestamp and then I can attack again without impunity".


I'm not saying I have a solution because I don't. It's just that when it comes to any sort of information hiding comes into gameplay, care must be taken so that it doesn't feel biased against the player. This also extends beyond hidden hardpoints to anything else that relies on the player's brain to remember vs. something that could potentially never forget.
We could go the route of making player A's capabilities vanilla and handling the AI like it has proper databanks.

If a ship has confirmed concealed weapons and you get a good enough sensor reading to uniquely identify it at a later date (know its hull number) you'll always know that that ship has concealed equipment (likely, they could have swapped out their stuff). Assuming you get close enough to get a proper read on their "hull number" again.

linky
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Re: concealed weapons

#13
Cornflakes_91 wrote:
Talvieno wrote: Concealing weapons is silly. If people know you're a combat vessel, they'll expect you to be decked out like a combat vessel. If they don't, however...
Yes, you would never want to prevent your enemy to get proper readings on your equipment. [/sarcasm]
You're thinking too realistically. In practice, are you really going to pull up sensor data on every single ship you come across? No, of course not. Especially if you think you can take them without it. A computer could, of course - but the question here is - should it? Or should it just roughly gauge whether it thinks it can take you, and act on that? I'm leaning toward the latter - because this is, after all, basically what players would do to begin with.

In real life, sure, I imagine a warship would have dozens of people poring over sensor readings from ships at all time. In LT? The player? Really? Nope. It's just not going to happen without feeling boring, grindy and obtrusive. It doesn't make for fun gameplay.

Fun note: it gets even worse if you expect the player to pause the game every time they encounter a new ship. Why not call the game "Sensor Theory" at that point and be done with it?


On the other hand, if you come up with a simple way to disguise a ship (like a "Disguise" hardpoint) that makes it look like something it isn't (from a distance)... then you could get a destroyer looking like a good-sized freighter, all alone and lonely, ready for a raid... until the pirates are well within the range of its guns and realize it's not actually a freighter after all. In essence, I'm suggesting you "hide" all hardpoints at once. This is the only feasible/logical way to make any sort of stealth fun in LT, aside from (potentially) actual cloaking.
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Re: concealed weapons

#14
Talvieno wrote:Why not call the game "Sensor Theory" at that point and be done with it?
I would play that game.

But I'm odd like that.

I get what you're saying, though. I'd like to think there's a reasonable balance point -- some form of ECM/ECCM or spoofing/clarifying mini-game that's available but optional.

If the context doesn't warrant it, you're free to ignore your sensors and concentrate on other gameplay. But if you're a filthy pirate trying to lure unsuspecting cargo ships to their doom, or you're playing a police role trying to locate filthy pirates, then it could be fun to be able to disguise a ship's appearance or to interpret sensors to try to figure out if another ship is disguised.
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Re: concealed weapons

#15
Talvieno wrote: You're thinking too realistically. In practice, are you really going to pull up sensor data on every single ship you come across? No, of course not. Especially if you think you can take them without it. A computer could, of course - but the question here is - should it? Or should it just roughly gauge whether it thinks it can take you, and act on that? I'm leaning toward the latter - because this is, after all, basically what players would do to begin with.

In real life, sure, I imagine a warship would have dozens of people poring over sensor readings from ships at all time. In LT? The player? Really? Nope. It's just not going to happen without feeling boring, grindy and obtrusive. It doesn't make for fun gameplay.

Fun note: it gets even worse if you expect the player to pause the game every time they encounter a new ship. Why not call the game "Sensor Theory" at that point and be done with it?


On the other hand, if you come up with a simple way to disguise a ship (like a "Disguise" hardpoint) that makes it look like something it isn't (from a distance)... then you could get a destroyer looking like a good-sized freighter, all alone and lonely, ready for a raid... until the pirates are well within the range of its guns and realize it's not actually a freighter after all. In essence, I'm suggesting you "hide" all hardpoints at once. This is the only feasible/logical way to make any sort of stealth fun in LT, aside from (potentially) actual cloaking.
Okay. And what exactly does that have to do with a warship making it just plainly harder to assess its capabilities?
You dont have to take sensor logs of every single "civilian" ship you come across to make a difference.
why wouldnt a warship try to keep knowledge about its exact equipment from potentially hostile ships?
Even if you are obviously a warship you still dont tell everyone what kind of equipment you carry.
You keep your cards as close to your chest as practical and keep your enemy guessing.

And i also very much assume my board computer to log everything the sensors note about everything around me, even if i dont manually pull up the data.
I may reduce resources allocated to the sensor array reducing my effective data influx or i pull up an additional active narrow or wide angle scanner to pull up extra data on selected/all ships around me.
Just because i didnt explicitly click on that ship 2 meters to the side of me doesnt mean that i dont want info about it.

If im flying through an enemy fleet in my cloaky scout ship i dont want to click a hundred times on every ship because the closer i am the better data i get but i could get detected at any point so i have to pull data on all of them as often as possible.
Or when flying through a roid field with an ore scanner.
why click on every single rock when the computer could do the job its already doing all the time, analysing sensor data?

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