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Old April 19th, 2004, 07:51 PM
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TheDS TheDS is offline
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I am trying to make up some useful, simplified sensor rules for space combat, and am in a quandry. Here are some of my ideas so far:

There are 3 basic kinds of detection levels: Bearing, Fix, and Lock.

Bearing: you know which direction a ship is in (roughly). The range is not known, though it could be inferred by signal strength or taking multiple bearings over time (as seen in WW2 submarine simulators). Bearing can be achieved only with passive sensors. Beam weapons cannot be fired on a bearing target, and missiles and craft probably should not be launched either, but they can be.

Fix: This means you have a bearing and a range, and probably a course and acceleration too, but it's not good enough to fire beams with. Firing missiles or sending craft out to it are possible. Guesses as to size of target can be inferred by signal strength and range. Generally, this can be gotten with an active sensor, or by triangulation with 2+ passive sensors. It can also be gotten with a single passive sensor if either target or sensor are moved at least 30 degrees relative to the other (synthetic aperture and inverse synthetic aperture, respectively).

Lock: This is a targeting solution that is good enough to fire a beam. In general, only a specialized high-resolution active sensor can acquire this, but if the target is not evading, it can probably be done passively given enough time.

I have decided that Bearings and Fixes will not require task rolls. Either you have them or you don't. There should be a Threshold value that must be achieved in order to make the detection. Ships will have a certain base signature that they start with, depending on their size. This signature will be modified by what the ship is doing (drifting, accelerating, running,...), if the ship uses active sensors or area jamming, and so on. The sensor ship will also have a couple mods to this, like if it's deployed its folding array or if it's got its maximum or minimum aspect facing the target (increase resolution).

Locks, however, must be rolled for. ECM, ECCM, and in the case of passive lock attempts, jamming will have modifiers to the die roll. Considering that Locks are usually generated by little Lidars and stuff like that, these don't really vary with the size of the sensor ship, and I don't think they will vary too much with the size of the target ship, but correct me if I'm wrong.

So I'm thinking that a ship has a Lock range for its sensors. This range is based on, typically, the TL of the sensor, though if you guys really think pumping a lot more power into it will do any good, then power level will have an effect too.

I am giving the Lock range an arbitrary value of 20 hexes at TL9, and it will probably go up 2 per TL, maybe 3 per TL.

I am thinking that with the signature rules, the passive sensor will get a threshold value. Then if the target's signature, + modifiers, equals or exceeds the threshold, the target is detected as a Bearing, and if it's detected by more than one ship or with active sensors, then it is a Fix. using Active sensors in the task will improve the threshold, as long as the target is within the active sensor's range, and out to double that, it will improve the target's chances of detecting. Likewise, having your passive folding array deployed will also give your target a better chance to see you.

Now please keep in mind while you are formulating your response that I am not using the exact BL rules here, I am trying to condense them into a much more manageable system, and am trying to at least keep the concepts the same, but such is not always directly translatable. I am fairly familiar with BL, and so you CAN express things in those terms if that helps you.

So anyway, what glaring holes do you see in this model so far? Anything critical seem to be missing or anything seem to be overcomplicated? What other thoughts do you have?

Thanks for your assistance!
Possessing a mind like a steel trap: very rusty and illegal in 37 states.
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