Why are supply lanes visible?

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unjashfan
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Why are supply lanes visible?

#1 Post by unjashfan »

In a nutshell, title says it all - I'd like to know why supply lanes are visible to every empire.

All supply lanes are visible to every empire and it has been like this for a while, though it hasn't always been this way. I've always wanted to know what the idea or concept behind this is. Ever since this was implemented, extending supply lanes (via orbital construction and the like) hasn't been an attractive option for me, since extending supply lanes means my empire becomes easier to detect. It looks especially weird when a scanlined Laenfa homeworld has all these supply lanes extending from it, and none of its colonies are visible, but yet you know they're there. I feel that this is a thorn for the Laenfa (and any empire trying to hide using stealth) because the supply lanes are giving them away, and depending on the length of nearby starlanes, stealth becomes near pointless because it's simply counterproductive - the best it can do is delay the inevitable.

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Dilvish
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Re: Why are supply lanes visible?

#2 Post by Dilvish »

IIRC Laenfa ships are also visible, they no longer get the species stealth bonus like they used to. It makes enough sense to me that the supply lines are given away by all the virtual unstealthed freighters coming and going (which are the essence of the supply line).
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Re: Why are supply lanes visible?

#3 Post by AndrewW »

Dilvish wrote:It makes enough sense to me that the supply lines are given away by all the virtual unstealthed freighters coming and going (which are the essence of the supply line).
Don't really need freighters going beyond your own colonies out where you don't have anything though.

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em3
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Re: Why are supply lanes visible?

#4 Post by em3 »

Maybe the supply lines of an empire should have stealth assigned... Some kind of empire meter that describes how stealthy the freighters (and other means of supply) are.
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Geoff the Medio
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Re: Why are supply lanes visible?

#5 Post by Geoff the Medio »

unjashfan wrote:In a nutshell, title says it all - I'd like to know why supply lanes are visible to every empire.
Because no code has been written to be more selective about what info about other empires is known. Previously, almost nothing about other empires was known. This lead to some weird situations, like the client not showing a capital on the map or pedia. So instead, a quick switch was made to send a lot more info about other empires to players, including their supply lines. Something more interesting can be done when there's a way (espionage?) implemented to selectively get some of this info about other empires.

That said, a species is not an empire. If planets with a species don't want to be detecable, perhaps they should have no supply propagating out from them, and not be able to participate in an empire pooled economy without another species / planet making the connection to them.
Dilvish wrote:IIRC Laenfa ships are also visible, they no longer get the species stealth bonus like they used to.
The [[GREAT_STEALTH]] macro is selective to planets. Not sure if that should be the case or not.
em3 wrote:Maybe the supply lines of an empire should have stealth assigned...
The thought of the complexity and confusion that would likely lead to makes me say "ugh...".

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Dilvish
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Re: Why are supply lanes visible?

#6 Post by Dilvish »

Geoff the Medio wrote:
Dilvish wrote:IIRC Laenfa ships are also visible, they no longer get the species stealth bonus like they used to.
The [[GREAT_STEALTH]] macro is selective to planets. Not sure if that should be the case or not.
My recollection is that that was done intentionally, so that their ships would not get the stealth invulnerability that was operative at the time. If that invulnerability has been changed to drop after the first combat round if the stealthed ships initiate combat, as I think I've read reference to, then perhaps it's time to try them again with stealth.
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Geoff the Medio
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Re: Why are supply lanes visible?

#7 Post by Geoff the Medio »

Dilvish wrote:If that invulnerability has been changed to drop after the first combat round if the stealthed ships initiate combat, as I think I've read reference to...
Not quite: Presently, ships of an empire can't target a stealthy enemy ship that the empire can't detect, until the stealthy ship attacks one of the empire's ships or planets. After that, the empire's ships can target the stealthy ship.

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Dilvish
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Re: Why are supply lanes visible?

#8 Post by Dilvish »

Geoff the Medio wrote:
Dilvish wrote:If that invulnerability has been changed to drop after the first combat round if the stealthed ships initiate combat, as I think I've read reference to...
Not quite: Presently, ships of an empire can't target a stealthy enemy ship that the empire can't detect, until the stealthy ship attacks one of the empire's ships or planets. After that, the empire's ships can target the stealthy ship.
Ok, let's clarify where my understanding/description was off, please. So, is it that it is a ship by ship 'de-cloaking' after that ship has fired, rather than an entire fleet losing stealth once one of its ships have fired, is that correct? Also, it sounds like perhaps, in a situation with multiple empires present, the de-cloaking is only with respect to an empire that was attacked by the respective stealthed ship? Is there anything else I had misunderstood?
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Geoff the Medio
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Re: Why are supply lanes visible?

#9 Post by Geoff the Medio »

Dilvish wrote:So, is it that it is a ship by ship 'de-cloaking' after that ship has fired, rather than an entire fleet losing stealth once one of its ships have fired, is that correct? Also, it sounds like perhaps, in a situation with multiple empires present, the de-cloaking is only with respect to an empire that was attacked by the respective stealthed ship?
If things are working as intended, yes.

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Re: Why are supply lanes visible?

#10 Post by Zireael »

A stealth setting for enemy supply lanes is a good idea.

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eleazar
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Re: Why are supply lanes visible?

#11 Post by eleazar »

Geoff the Medio wrote:That said, a species is not an empire. If planets with a species don't want to be detecable, perhaps they should have no supply propagating out from them, and not be able to participate in an empire pooled economy without another species / planet making the connection to them.
em3 wrote:Maybe the supply lines of an empire should have stealth assigned...
The thought of the complexity and confusion that would likely lead to makes me say "ugh...".
I'm thinking along those lines. Here's the first solution i've come up with without obvious (to me) problems:
  • A) Star lane segments should be supply lines for only one empire, there's no good way to show it otherwise. So supply lines will block other supply lines, making them implicitly visible, even if the color isn't displayed.

    B) Stealthed planets don't extend supply lines.

    C) Hiding a planet requires a building (which also sets supply range to zero). Stealthy natives would get it at the start. Stealthy species (not empires) could build it without needed to research the tech. This is not a "build-everywhere" building because it has the significant supply-cutting downside.
It would then be much harder to build entirely stealthed empires, but i think it would be more interesting to build and design (and invade) partially stealthed ones. Just because planet A is stealthed and doesn't create supply lines doesn't mean the visible, well-fortified, production-producing planet B can't supply A with it's supply lines.

Dilvish wrote:...then perhaps it's time to try them {stealthy species} again with stealth.
From a creature design standpoint it is easy to image how biologically or technologically a species might make their presence on a planet undetectable from space. The same traits don't extend to making any sense that their Mark V's are harder to find than anybody else's. Probably stealthy ships should be a distinct pic from stealthy planets.

Also from my last foray into stealth scripting (in which i didn't learn or accomplish as much as hoped) i'm not so sure that the ship stealth/detection stuff is well balanced. I would not want to see species ship stealth just added back, assuming the planet numbers work. The numbers should be considered for their impact on the whole.

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Dilvish
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Re: Why are supply lanes visible?

#12 Post by Dilvish »

eleazar wrote:
Maybe the supply lines of an empire should have stealth assigned...
The thought of the complexity and confusion that would likely lead to makes me say "ugh...".
I'm thinking along those lines. Here's the first solution i've come up with without obvious (to me) problems:

A) Star lane segments should be supply lines for only one empire, there's no good way to show it otherwise. So supply lines will block other supply lines, making them implicitly visible, even if the color isn't displayed.
It sounds like starlane stealth would easily fit into the information restriction we're talking about in relation to espionage. That system may be a big chunk of work, but I don't think we need to rule out starlane supply stealth yet. It might be easy to start the restriction system with something simple for starlane supply, not needing espionage but based on simple observation of originating systems.

A while back we had talked about some UI changes to clarify shared ownership of Systems, and I believe a similar mechanism for shared Supply Lines (basically, the length of a starlane segment would get divided among all the Empires with Supply there; we even have a TODO comment in the code for it.) It looks like the thinking is evolving towards this blocking idea, but to see better what the shared colors would be like I went ahead and took a first pass on implementing that. There's still an unintended difference from now, relating to where the distant system is not explored (currently the normal display shows it same as if destination were blocked), but this gives a decent feel for it. Some screenshots are attached.
multiColor_1.png
multiColor_1.png (273.2 KiB) Viewed 716 times
multiColor_2.png
multiColor_2.png (211.05 KiB) Viewed 716 times
multiColor_3.png
multiColor_3.png (225.42 KiB) Viewed 716 times
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eleazar
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Re: Why are supply lanes visible?

#13 Post by eleazar »

I'm afraid that has a rather eye-boggling, confusing effect.

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Re: Why are supply lanes visible?

#14 Post by Bigjoe5 »

That could be awkward in terms of diplomacy... If I'm not at war with an empire, I don't want to necessarily cut off their supply lines with my own, perhaps even inadvertently, but I also don't want them to be able to use my supply lines either.

I like some of the ideas about stealth though, or at least the rough direction they're going in.
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eleazar
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Re: Why are supply lanes visible?

#15 Post by eleazar »

Bigjoe5 wrote:That could be awkward in terms of diplomacy... If I'm not at war with an empire, I don't want to necessarily cut off their supply lines with my own, perhaps even inadvertently, but I also don't want them to be able to use my supply lines either.
I don't see how that's a significant issue. A bifurcated empire is vulnerable in either case. Either way there is a strong incentive to not be bifurcated, so that an unfriendly in the middle can't cut off supply from one half to the other.
Granted without overlapping supply lines it is more vulnerable, (when not allied with the empire in-between), but i don't see what's wrong with that.

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