Stealth Fundamentals

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Space Krill
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Re: Stealth Fundamentals

#16 Post by Ironmaggot » Mon May 29, 2017 10:10 am

The way I see it, stealth would just be another layer of complexity to warfare and ship design and nothing else. I'd say that it is easy to add new features to warfare but rather hard to add new features to anything that is not-warfare.


Stealth has really never been a whole army encompassing thing. Sure, armies don't broadcast the coordinates of their central command, but the general location of army is rarely a secret. Afterall, the point of an army is to project influence over an area. And an army doesn't need to fight the enemy to project influence - suffices if the army is simply present and ready to fight. Sure, there are special stealth sections of the army, called reconnaissance. They infiltrate through the enemy front lines and try to see what goes on behind them. They usually work with in tandem with artillery. For example. the reconnaissance unit finds the enemy command center, relays the coordinates to artillery and artillery bombs those coordinates from a safe distance. Another important function of reconnaissance is to sit at important intersections and watch where and how the enemy moves. Does the enemy bring reinforcements which might indicate an impending attack or does the enemy move the reinforcements away towards another front, which means that its ripe for taking.

However, there are some political entities in our world which can be equated to "stealth empires". We know them as terrorists, drug syndicates or mafia. They usually operate on an existing sovereign territory, hence the need to be very secretive. Once they somehow attain sovereignty, they no longer need to be secretive - see the real life example ISIS.

Game-ifying Stealth:

If the steath was to be somehow implemented then it would create a new way to play the game, which means that AI must be taught how to play this game style and also how to play against it as a non-stealth empire and also how to play stealth vs stealth game. This would be a lot of work for a single gimmick.

According to what I wrote in how real life works, there would be two completely opposite ways to implement it.
  1. Everything is stealthed - In this implementation the fog of war would be everywhere. One would still be able to see monsters and their systems, but one would not be able to see enemy ships moving even in player own system. Fog of war would be revealed only on stars where the player has his ships present or there is a radar installation on one of the planets. Radar detection would be based on a total sum of ship hulls in a system. Idea being that the bigger the hull point sum in a system, the easier it is to detect. This would also be used to detect stuff at a distance. For example a radar can detect a minimum of 20 hull points in its own system, then the minimum detectable hull points by that radar in the star 50 parsecs away would be 100 hull points. That radar would be able to detect ship activity on the other side of the galaxy aswell, but then the minimum detectable hull point sum in a system would have to be like 30 000.

    Then the stealth technologies would unlock modules which would reduce the ship's hull point contributions to the sum of hull points in system. For example a cruiser with 50 hull points and with Emission Reduction module would only contribute 35 hull points to the system hull points sum. Fleets would reveal the exact composition of enemy army only when both are in the same system. There could also be modules called Onboard Scanner, which would take up weapon slots. This would enable to extend a little detection range around a fleet when it is deep inside the enemy territory so that they would not be totally blind.
  2. Stealth units are implied to work behind the curtain - This kind of implementation implies that the empire's army comes with stealth regiments by default and those stealth units are doing their best without needing to be commanded. In other words, there are no such things as stealth units or the possibility of going undercover. Stealth units exist merely as modifiers attached to ships through technologies or doctrines. Modifiers like "Scouting squads - Can see 2 jumps into Fog of War", "Hit&Run Skirmishers - All enemy fleets within 1 jump range suffer 5 damage every turn", "Infiltrators - -10% to enemy defenses" and so on.

Space Kraken
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Re: Stealth Fundamentals

#17 Post by ovarwa » Tue Jun 13, 2017 6:01 pm


I'm not a fan of the current all-or-nothing effect of stealth on the first turn of combat.

I would prefer offensive combat effectiveness to be modified by AttackerDetection/DefenderStealth: It's harder to hit something that's harder to see, and easier to hit something on which you have an easy lock. If desired, it is easy enough to cap the ratio on both sides, or use a more interesting mathematical function instead of a simple ratio (though FO doesn't do this elsewhere, so maybe not.) Even better, on each turn of combat, the ratio can be modified to get closer to 1, say, by taking the square root of the current result, representing the decreased surprise and increased tactical awareness as time goes on.

I'm also not a fan of the current all-or-nothing effect of stealth on the ability to see ships, invade planets, etc. I have a similar preference.

Here's the thing: Stealth is fun only if you have the advantage and you're mopping up. When the situation is reversed, you're getting mopped up and you can't even see it. The only thing you can do is tech quickly enough for enough detection to compensate, which makes stealth/detection the *only* strategy.



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Re: Stealth Fundamentals

#18 Post by alleryn » Thu Nov 30, 2017 7:38 am

In this category i would place objects that can be (but not always are) stealthed from the beginning of the game without any technological advance. In my vision that would include ships, but also individuals and in some cases entire populations.

Vezzra wrote:We need to decide if we just want to make detection harder, so the advance notice an enemy gets of your movements gets cut short (so they learn of our big invasion only when our forces arrive at their systems). Or if we want to actually make it possible for cloaked ships to slip past enemy lines and penetrate into enemy territory undetected.
I would like to see a system in which extremely high stealth differential (stealth-detection) allows penetration behind enemy lines, whereas moderate stealth differential reduces detection range.

This would allow for a typical case where ships with a stealth part cannot simply move into enemy territory entirely unannounced, but a ship with a devoted stealth part (e.g. "Low Emissions Engine": Advances in supercooled semiconductors have allowed for engines which produce almost no gravitational wake. However propulsion using these devices has a drawback. Transit though starlanes can progress at only 1/10 the usual speed) could be created, something like a probe to monitor enemy movements.

LGM-Doyle wrote: Consider a stealth penalty for number of allied ships in a fleet, (or in a single system). One stealthy ship is stealthy. One hundred stealthy ships are not. This also fixes the combat issues, because a big fleet no longer gets a first strike advantage.
I like this.

The idea of a stealthed armada to me is un-fun and conceptually dubious. I can see how one asteroid ship can be undetected in an asteroid field, but if that asteroid belt is registering double the mass recorded on the galactic charts, someone is going to get suspicisous.

On the other hand, stealthed lone raiders or small squadrons, appearing only at the last second to destroy scouts, cargo vessels, weakly defended troop carriers, or to cut supply lines, that i find compelling.

Micromanagement would be a concern here. ("Oh i've massed my ships on the enemy's border, now to send them in 3 at a time :/")

Oberlus wrote: Note: I don't see this as the last step if ordered by technological difficulty or monumental character, for me (c) is the last one in such cases.)
You don't need to hide whole planets in order to hide an entire empire:
- Supply lines: (idealised) freight and escort ships and orbital docks that implement the supply lines of empires could use the same technology applied to hiding assets and fleets.
I agree with this. Supply in my head is something composed of myriad little ships, which could conceivably be cloaked. I like the idea of being able to apply stealth to an empire's network of internal connections.

- Stealth and espionage seem to go hand in hand, whether it's delivering a spy behind enemy lines to sabotage or assassinate a crtical target, or that same spy attempting to evade capture. (Since this is a vision of the future i feel okay mentioning broad conceptual things that are not in the current realm of stuff).

In terms of whole populations, i see this as best suited to a species trait. I can envision a species that is able to mask their own life signatures, and/or whose subsistence isn't dependent on the types of infrastructure that are readily identified as artificial.

I'd imagine an attempt to outpost/colonize a planet inhabited by such a species would result in the demise of the infiltrators, and attempted invasion would prove difficult (both in discerning the number of troops available to the defenders and in overcoming a difficult-to-detect opponent who would likely engage in guerilla warfare) but not impossible.

In particular, one concept for the Laenfa could be as a "pod-people"-style race that waits for another species to try to colonize one of their worlds, ingesting the would-be inhabitants and learning to replicate their dna (maybe it would only work on organic species), regrowing them from seed to colonize new worlds the Laenfa found unappealing for themselves.

(b) I look at as things that could be concealed but only with significant technological advancement. This would include things like infrastructure, planetary defenses, etc. One idea i had was for a "stealth" focus. Turn off all the factories and research labs and the structure on the planet could become more difficult to detect. Perhaps you would lose any "flat" bonuses if you engaged this setting, unless you had some techs researched to offset that penalty.

(c) This realm is where i would reserve things that can only be stealthed in some near-end-game fantasy where our species has gained significant mastery over the universe. Perhaps even an entire planet which houses some incredibly rare galactic wonder (planetary special) or massive construction (megalith, et al), which would otherwise be a primary target for potential invaders, could be hidden from view or moved to a pocket dimension for a brief time at great expense.

(d) These are things which i think should never be allowed to be stealthed. Actual stars, for instance. I mean hey that's why we have black holes. Stars are way too pretty and fun to be around, who would want to stealth them?
Atarlost wrote:I'm worried that stealth empires won't be fun to play against. If stealth doesn't neutralize the threat of conventional empires they aren't working and if they are they'll be untouchable and horribly frustrating to play against.
I agree with this. While i find the idea of a stealthed empire interesting and i enjoy the fantasy of running one, i don't feel like it really fits right into this type of game or into this game.

For a stealthed empire to work the game has to really be all about them. Difference and variety are good, but when you have seven empires battling it out until "magically" (phew it's a good thing we researched that even though we had no idea it would be useful to see anything) eons into the struggle, an eighth empire appears, it feels a little messianic. Plus it's just not that fun to play that long with very little interaction, if you're the stealthed empire, imo.

Thank you for hearing my opinions and may we all sneak around without each other noticing,

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Re: Stealth Fundamentals

#19 Post by Oberlus » Mon Feb 05, 2018 11:48 pm

alleryn wrote:For a stealthed empire to work the game has to really be all about them. Difference and variety are good, but when you have seven empires battling it out until "magically" (phew it's a good thing we researched that even though we had no idea it would be useful to see anything) eons into the struggle, an eighth empire appears, it feels a little messianic.
I really like the idea. That's actually what I'm doing while testint Sly. All of a sudden, when the other 11-13 empires are fighting each other with plasma techs, hundreds of scattered hulls with maxed out weapons, shields and bombs pops out here and there to delete entire planets and disapear again, until whole universe is cold and quiet, and the Sly can get back to their paceful lives again.
alleryn wrote:Plus it's just not that fun to play that long with very little interaction, if you're the stealthed empire, imo.
Well... I like it. I guess some could use the stealth strategy until mid game from time to time to get some fun.

Related to this thread, I have this dislike for how planet stealth is represented now. Say there is this replicon colony ship traversing the galaxy towards unknow space. You are the pilot. Interesting enough, you get to this new solar system, with a nice blue star and one planet. You turn left and gets an stable orbit around this... radiated planet?. You keep looking at the planets surface, unaffected by the visceral hatred that the invisible Trith in the planet are telepathically projecting towards you: "Boooo, fuck off!". You check again the weird lectures you get from the sensors, and think to yourself 01100011101. Maybe the planet is not really radiated and good for you, maybe it is even some hostile terran world, ewww. But, what the heck, you already got xenological hybrids, you can colonise a damn flurry, flesh-made planet if you want to, so why not try to colonise this one too? However, you can even try to land in that planet, it seems you can't hit it with your ship! Damn it... You need to see it better. You send a message to the empires matrix: "Give me more detection!".

Could it be that a planet which has never been detected is not shown in the solar system?

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Re: Stealth Fundamentals

#20 Post by Dilvish » Tue Feb 06, 2018 5:01 am

Oberlus wrote:Could it be that a planet which has never been detected is not shown in the solar system?
That is already the case. If your scout was in a nearby system and had visibility into the system with the stealthed planet, but not enough detection strength to detect the stealthed planet, then it would not see that planet in the system at all. Visiting the system, though, gives at least Basic Visibility of all planets in the system (i.e., they are detected, just not well).
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