Sign up Calendar Latest Topics
 
 
 


Reply
  Author   Comment  
ryleyra

Registered:
Posts: 3,007
Reply with quote  #1 
tl;dr version: Put a "sweep arm" cone on the Science console that shows all hidden ships and anomalies. Outside of the cone, Science and the Captain's Map only see what is on LRS. Engineering can put power into Sensors, which will double or triple the width of the cone. Enemy ships outside the cone don't display shield frequencies or taunt weaknesses either. Only Science can control the cone, although the Captain can use it if he tells Science where to direct it.

+++ 

I have put forth this idea before, but with all of the posts recently on the Science console and its many "problems" I thought I would revisit my sweep arm idea. I did some brainstorming on the concept, and came up with a couple of new ideas which I think improve on the original.

For those who don't know, Artemis 1.0 through 1.60 used a very different Science console. It looked similar to Helm and Weapons, and featured a "sweep arm", which was a 20 degree cone that could be pointed in any direction away from the ship. Any enemy ships that appeared inside that cone appeared in an analysis screen that showed all of the relative data, including shield frequencies for each ship. There was no need for "scanning" in the current sense, instead you had to swing the sweep arm around, looking for ships that were offscreen.

That gameplay was replaced with the current Science console in 1.60, but I have always had a fondness for the old design. And it makes technical sense as well; you have short range sensors, which cover an area of about 7000 units from the ship, and you have long range sensors, which are divided into two sub-categories. You have "passive" long range sensors, represented by the LRS screen, which detects terrain features, bases, friendly ships, and (unidentified) enemy ships which are in range of your long range sensors, or the sensors of a nearby base station. And you have "active" long range sensors, which are able to identify enemy ships, detect ships in nebulas, analyze sensor frequencies, and so on.

"Active" long range sensors are currently represented by the scanning ability, which are only able to concentrate on one ship at a time, but presumably are directional and require hitting the distant ship with a "scanning beam". "Passive" long range sensors don't send out any signals, they use the signals received from other objects to determine their location. This takes less energy, and has a 360 degree field of vision, taking in the whole sector at once.

My idea is to represent "active" sensors as a sensor cone, which will appear on the Science console originating from the ship. If the player selects a target for scanning, the cone will automatically center itself on that target. The player can scan a target and select another, even one outside of the cone, without losing the scan; the active sensors can apparently scan in two directions at once. But the cone normally has only a 20 degree field of vision.

All targets within the 20 degrees of the cone will appear on Science and the Captain's Map. However, outside of the cone, enemy ships in nebulas or using the "Stealth" elite ability (Invisible to Tactical) will NOT appear, on either the Captain's Map or Science. In addition, anomalies will not appear, unless they are in this cone. This will make it more difficult for the Science Officer to find hidden enemies and anomalies, but he should still be able to perform his primary role by "searching" a location with the sweep arm.

The Science Officer can double click on a location, or right click, in order to search a location for suspected enemies. He can also right click and drag to sweep the arm back and forth. (Left click and drag is used for scrolling the screen) If Science clicks on a target to select it, the sweep arm will track that target, but if Science clicks on a location, it will remain still.

The new idea I had for this version is that power level to the Sensors increases the size of the sensor arc. At 200% the cone will be 40 degrees, at 300% it will be 60 degrees. In addition, if sensor range is limited, the length of the cone will be limited too, and so the cone will get longer as well as wider. Engineering will want to transfer power to Sensors when not in combat, not only so scans do not take as long, but so Science can more rapidly spot hidden ships and anomalies. Even when sensor range is Unlimited, and Science officer isn't scanning, the increase power will allow the arc to cover more area.

As for the Captain's Map, it is unable to control this sweep arm, just as it cannot control the scan function. The Captain or anyone else using the map is limited to the area Science is currently viewing or searching with active sensors, and cannot see hidden enemies outside of that area. In addition, although Science automatically turns active sensors on his current target, revealing second scan information, the Captain cannot see that information unless the target he has selected is in the sensor cone. This information can be considered to be "dynamic information" which require active sensors to gather. Without active sensors, the data just isn't there. (Or is out of date)

The LRS screen should be upgraded to bring it in line graphically with the Science console. (With an option to revert back to the old dots instead of silhouettes) On console LRS tabs ONLY, the LRS can be zoomed in on the ship's position, in steps corresponding to the Science console. At lowest level, the LRS would basically be TAC on a tab. The LRS does not display the sweep arm and doesn't display any anomalies or hidden ships. It is passive sensors only.

This solves the issue of the Captain's Map being able to see the same information as Science. Science now has two controls unique to that console; the scan function and the sweep arm. Both keep the Captain's Map from seeing any information unless Science does its job. The scan function leaves enemies unidentified and doesn't show any information on them until Science performs a scan, while the sweep arm does the same thing unless Science keeps the sensor cone in the same area as the Captain's current selection. No information is removed or hidden from the Captain's Map that isn't hidden from Science as well, and the behavior of the two consoles don't have to be made different from each other, the Captain and the Science Officer just have to cooperate.

The idea that shield frequencies rotate and the Science officer has to refresh the scan to renew the shield frequencies can be included with this idea, or not. In fact, this idea implies that shield frequencies do rotate, and have to be scanned with active scanners to find out what the current frequency is. That mechanic is just "invisible" to the players. Having the shield frequencies change would just make that visible. Intel on taunts could be dynamic because it requires interpretation from the Science officer.

This is not the only idea I've had, and I don't want to imply that it's the only solution. The other suggestions I have made are limiting the range of the scan function and Intel information to a value closer to the ship, making scans lose their lock when an enemy ship moves into a nebula, or rotating frequencies across a spectrum, making ships randomly appear and disappear instead of showing the ones in a specific location. But the one common factor to all of these ideas is that I limit the visibility of enemy targets, and then give Science a unique function that allows those targets to become visible again. Since no one else has that functions, they rely on Science, not because Science "withholds" that information, but because Science has to keep working to keep that information visible.
Longbowman1346

Avatar / Picture

Registered:
Posts: 549
Reply with quote  #2 
I came in at 1.64 version.   That sweep arm version sounds awesome!


__________________
Captain -  TSN Belisarius BS-108
"Pax per consilia et maxime armis." -  "Rescindentes venator ad venationem." 

(Deane Geiken)
mwick

Registered:
Posts: 64
Reply with quote  #3 
That sounds fantastic! I'd love to see the sweep arm in action. I think it would add a lot of depth and complexity to gameplay and help to give science a more clearly-defined role.
__________________

Lt. JG Wick

Artemis:Eastern Front
https://artemis.forumchitchat.com/post/artemis-eastern-front-8008146

ryleyra

Registered:
Posts: 3,007
Reply with quote  #4 
Thanks for the positive replies! [biggrin] I always thought the sweep arm was a good idea, it was apparently just not intuitive enough for beginning players to master it easily. But I always thought I'd like to see it brought back. (Along with Comms having mainscreen controls)
notsabbat

Avatar / Picture

Registered:
Posts: 1,297
Reply with quote  #5 

I really dont like the idea of a sensor arm. It seems too much like something a sub does while scifi tends to be more "scan this thing over there". That being said I dont hate the idea of looking at the science console. While I dont share many people's view that its a boring position (my science officer seems to be pretty busy when we play), it could probably be more dynamic.

I do like the idea of scans degrading over time, or at least deep scans degrading, and occasionally shield frequencies changing. I think that how science scans stuff will have to be re-imagined if shield frequencies degrade because then I feel like scanning would take too long to get good information.

I do like the point and click aspect of scanning, but the act of scanning everything individually can be tedious. An idea I had would be for the sensors to scan in an area, say roughly the size of a grid square. point to an area, wait 10-20 (or whatever) seconds and you get initial scans in a 10,000 radias. maybe then you could keep the sensor focused on that area and get a deep scan on everything there or click on a single target for a quicker scan. Scans degrade after 30 seconds or so starting with the deep scan. 


__________________
-Captain of the TSN Gungnir JN-001
-Eastern Front online group member
-My continuing bridge build:
http://artemis.forumchitchat.com/post/immersion-bridge-build-in-progress-7335195?pid=1290158413
Tolotos

Registered:
Posts: 27
Reply with quote  #6 
I'd like to put my two cents into this disscussion.

I would stretch the scan time a little more. But to make it a little more trekier: While scanning, show a Graph. First 2-10seconds (depending on energy lvl) the graph builds up 3 curves/lines. Like for Shield strength, Mass and Energie Consumption.
Three otions:After that time it takes 5 - 10 more seconds to display the names of the curves/lines so Science need to think would could be what (maybe one line already has its name and science need to quess think/what the other 2 could mean or maybe there is some other hint to what line means what...) or you could make the 3 lines scannable (click scan), last option you could show it from beginning.

Science would need to make some serious science that we get to know what kind of ship it is.

You could deepen this job by giving him a chart of Graphs where he need to pick to choose one that is similar to the scanned one(like picking a siluette of a ship at silent hunter 3/4 to know what kind of ship it is, just that we take science graphs).

Why shield/mass/energy
- skaaran use way more energy because of elite features.
- arvonien carriers have way more mass cause of the fighter
- torgoth has high mass, middle energy and very high shield...
- kraliens all low (mostly)


Just ideas I'm playing around but of course they could be improved by more thinking on it. To keep it in fight situations quick, like at 5500 or 6000 meters auto detection of deatailed info on the ships and at long range (still estimatet by energy givin to sensors) the more "fun" way by finding out what ship it is, like described above.
janx

Registered:
Posts: 460
Reply with quote  #7 
I kind of like the idea that Science chooses to aim the Scanner in a direction, relative to the ship, and whatever's in the 20 degree swath starts getting scanned (imagine the borg scanner thing when they scan the Enterprise).

by making it set relative to the ship, imagine this is a radar dish on the top of the ship.  If you aim it to the right side, you see what is on the right of the ship.

If the pilot is wiggling around, the science guy needs to keep aiming the radar dish at his target to complete the scan.

Now the science guy has a much video-game action going on as the pilot.

Rather than just calmly clicking on ship icons and waiting for a scan to complete, regardless of what the ship is doing.

Or consider that the radar dish (sensor array) is in a fixed position (forward), and so the Science office needs to order the helm to a heading so he can perform a scan.


To split that idea up some.  Imagine the ship has 2 kinds of scanners.  One whose purpose is largely combat.  It works in whatever ways make combat fun with moveable radar dish.

Then there's the SciFi Scanner for doing any other Trek like activities to analyze anomalies, search for ships/etc at the longest ranges.  Perhaps that one is locked into the forward hull.






ryleyra

Registered:
Posts: 3,007
Reply with quote  #8 
Quote:
Originally Posted by janx
I kind of like the idea that Science chooses to aim the Scanner in a direction, relative to the ship, and whatever's in the 20 degree swath starts getting scanned (imagine the borg scanner thing when they scan the Enterprise).

by making it set relative to the ship, imagine this is a radar dish on the top of the ship.  If you aim it to the right side, you see what is on the right of the ship.


That's really the idea. I don't know that the "radar dish" has to actually move, but there's some sort of device that emits sensor waves, which are used to detect things that can't be seen in any other way. There are passive sensors all the way around the ship, which detect nebulas and black holes, and the transceiver signals from bases and other ships, but those sensors just detect the energy coming FROM those things. In order to bounce a signal off of an enemy ship, you have to point a beam at it.

Even the scan function as currently implemented has a directional component. You can only scan one ship at a time, which implies the device or devices performing that scan has to stay "locked on" until the scan is done. If that device wasn't directional, you'd be able to scan two or more ships at the same time.

As for the main deflector dish on Star Trek, note that it is just that, a "deflector". It points towards the front of the ship because its primary purpose is to deflect objects in the ship's path and avoid a collision. The ship's sensors appear to be on the skin of the ship, or in the two domes on the top and bottom of the primary hull. The main deflector does seem to be capable of sensing, but the Enterprise doesn't seem to have a longer sensor range in the direction of its travel.

More importantly, I don't know if that's something that would benefit gameplay. Maybe if, as you said, the direction the ship faces could come into play in non-combat situations. I don't think it's necessary in combat, though, and could create disagreements between Weapons and Science over the facing of the ship.

Nice suggestions though.
ryleyra

Registered:
Posts: 3,007
Reply with quote  #9 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tolotos
I'd like to put my two cents into this disscussion. I would stretch the scan time a little more. But to make it a little more trekier: While scanning, show a Graph. First 2-10seconds (depending on energy lvl) the graph builds up 3 curves/lines. Like for Shield strength, Mass and Energie Consumption.


I kind of see Science as doing this, and what we see on the screen is actually the Science officer's INTERPRETATION of the data. Which actually is a good argument for hiding that information from the Captain's Map, because the Captain or the Helmsman or the Comms officer or whoever would not interpret that bar graph the same as Science -- if they could even interpret it at all.

But that's another topic. [biggrin] In this case, I would assume the computer processes the data, with the Science officer's help, and displays the result on the relevant consoles.

Tolotos

Registered:
Posts: 27
Reply with quote  #10 
I agree with you ryleyra. But that way, with the need to interpret it by himself, there is room for funny mistakes (like if you don't give the graphs any names and you only can look up how similar the "optional" graphs are you can choose from. E.g. "sry captain I miss interpreted the energy bar with the shield strength... its not a skaaran its a torgoth leviatan my bad...") and room for real science to do something reasonable instead of simply time ticking or as often proposed mini games. It would be combineable with the sweep arm also.
Previous Topic | Next Topic
Print
Reply

Quick Navigation:

Easily create a Forum Website with Website Toolbox.