I suppose this is probably more a suggestion for a hypothetical GSB 2…
Make detection (and stealth) an aspect of the battle. Unseen ships cannot be targeted… The hidden war of sensors and countermeasures was a great (but bugged…) part of the space combat of MOO3, and I remember how awesome it was seeing missiles coming out of the void, from unseen opponents. You’d weather the storm, and slowly the enemy fleet would come into view as you closed the distance, and you’d begin to return fire.
Since there’s no real time control, you’d simply make it so if you couldn’t see any enemy ships, you approached the center of the map - that way you don’t get fleets sitting there doing nothing…
There’s a lot of potential depth there, depending how well it’s implemented.
There is no stealth in space combat—certainly not for anyone who considers the max range to be 2000m.
Myself, I assume that the range numbers are in kilometers—that’s at least semi-plausible.
Even at 2000km, any GSB spacecraft is not going to hide short of the cloaking module. Every the energy produced by any spacecraft MUST get radiated into space. All of it. Heck, even with the powerplant off, the ship will be warm from the people inside. Cooling is a big issue for spacecraft since all heat leaves radiatively.
In traveller we really wanted space combat to be sort of like modern naval combat. Stealth, no active sensors when possible to give your position away, etc. Then we realized that the smallest ships were bright objects in IR even at really long (planetary) ranges.
The plus side of this is that the stealth comes in entirely due to cloaking devices in GSB then—saving a bunch of coding.
I’d be all for better cloaking, and better AI and orders to USE the cloaking (submarine-like ships, for example, and perhaps AOE weapons to attempt to deal with them).
Well yes, if battle is within 2000m, it’s a bit of a joke. I’ve got another suggestion thread posted about that
Regarding stealth at greater distances… Nevermind tech we don’t have yet, here’s a comparatively low tech solution. Cool the side of the ship facing the enemy, and make the surface absorb as much of the spectrum as possible. When you decide to vent heat (and that certainly doesn’t have to be 100% of the time) then vent directly away from the expected position of the enemy - using your primitive ‘cold and absorptive’ shield to minimise what your opponent might see.
Then there’s the old ‘hide behind the planet/star’ approach.
It’s plainly obvious that there’s a limit to how far you can detect something well enough to shoot at it. Is it really unreasonable to suppose that you can only begin to engage something at so much smaller a distance, that no measures you might take to reduce how visible you are, are worthwhile?
It’s good we at least agree it’s fun from a gameplay perspective
We did the math, including one working PhD IR Astronomer, and my own BS in astrophysics self. Even assuming insanely optimistic directional radiators (you have to know exactly where the enemy is to use them ) Ships making megawatts are easily visible to any sensor array (we were also incredibly optimistic in making the sensor LESS capable to try and make stealth possible—we literally called the sci-fi sensor a small, CURRENT telescope and detector (CCD)) within many light seconds. Millions of kilometers.
They are plainly visible with the same sensor arrays even from just the ~20°C hull holding humans at huge ranges.
The plus is that game designers really don’t need to concern themselves with stealth.
I think from a gameplay perspective, the way you can or cannot see the enemy in the setup of a battle is fine. If you can see them, then you can see them, and if you cannot, they have not “jumped in” (whatever the FTL is in game), or perhaps they are farther away and some how masked.
In order to hide behind planets or stars, the game scale would have to be VASTLY larger. If the game scale was actually meters, then the tribe weapons should engage at some multiple of current naval gun ranges (which are ~40km for a battleship gun). 40km in game scale is a range of 40,000. Lasers NOW can address orbital/suborbital targets—so game ranges of say 300,000, and missiles can go 1000s of km (a range of say 10,000,000+ in game terms).
Up the game scale to that sort of number and it’d be really cool, actually (it would be like early B5 where the Narn CA fires just to one side of a planet, then they cut scene to the centauri ships getting cut in half. I love that look.
You can’t perfectly insulate the hull. You cannot send waste heat to a radiator with 100% efficiency, either. 99% efficiency still means 0.01*mega-Joules per second being radiated isotropically. Also, space is not empty in solar systems (where combat occurs), there is a broader signature (reradiation by dust, etc). Directional radiators can help to within some range, we figured that out. It’s just that the range they work at is planetary—you can hide your fleet around Jupiter from a fleet in Earth orbit, but the same fleet even under optimistic conditions is bright as heck from a lunar distance.
Regardless, your technique requires that the radiator always points perfectly away from the enemy. If both sides are doing this, neither knows where the other is—so as often as not they are in fact pointing their radiators at the enemy, right? IN fact more often than not because the only case where the perfect radiators act perfectly is when they exactly point away. A very special (and unlikely) case.
Defender near some planet. Enemy ships come in from any possible direction in 3d. Which way are your radiators pointed? THEIR radiators will be pointed away from the planet. So the defender gets stealth in the special case where he happens to randomly radiate exactly away from the enemy (anything other than opposite a line between them doesn’t work 100%, and you end up with a bright ship). If the attackers need to point any other way to maneuver, same thing (they are FUBAR in a newtonian universe where they have to point engines at the target to brake or maneuver). Of course the defenders would have sensors floating around in the solar system, if not the odd picket ship. in this case the attacker is always going to get spotted at some large range.
Bottom line is that aside from inventing a technology like a cloaking device of some sort directional radiation only works in a special case scenario where everything lines up perfectly for the one being stealthy, and even then only works out to some range that is a multiple of current GSB ranges—even if instead of meters we assume the ranges are kilometers.
The current GSB paradigm of allowing fog of war on the scale of a map deployment is perfectly reasonable to deal with such special cases, IMHO. Cliffski has it just fine.
Or you’re not in a system.
Or you are the attacker, so know where your opponent will be (supposing they don’t have sensors everywhere.)
Or your ship isn’t averaging 20^C, because you’re not human, or only a tiny fraction of your ship supports life as you have a tiny (or no) crew.
Or your ship IS well insulated, barring the propulsion system, but you’ve shut that that off and are ‘coming in cold’.
Or (and here’s the clincher ) you’re in a game like GSB where there is already a cloaking device technology, so all you have to care about is ‘is it good for gamplay’
I love when people talk realism in games like this.
If the game ranges where in units of 1cm i wouldnt care. Its the same game.
As for stealth, i dont like it. Not a mechanic im interested in. And even with a timer, you could have a ship that was 11% of your fleet hiding, boringly draggin out the engaement. No longer will you have a race of your ships destroying theor cruisers vs their fighters destroying you. Its just a game of wait and die.
Non-human crew? How hot is your PC? Mine’s above 20°, so humans might be cooler
I use reality as a reference point in a game like this, I wasn’t being a total grognard (though I can do that, too). In this case, reality supports cliffski’s current system pretty well, and results in more gratuitous combat into the bargain.
You could store your heat and use it liek an occtopus and disapear in a realative ball of ink lol.
Cloaking and sensors should play a role i think…
But a more important suggestion is the ability controll your own ships with mouse clicks lol. watching my cruiser do a dance 300 units into my opponents range and get torn apart is making me lose my hair.