Thursday, July 1, 2004

SWG: Jump to Lightspeed: Advanced Sensor Ops

NattyDreadlock wrote:
... at some point smaller Imperial patrol/scout ships need to have similar, but lesser versions of these senors for player controlled vessels. Now these smaller player controlled Imp ships may have problems handling some of the larger, stronger or better upgraded freighters, but the Imp player's identification of the "illegal" ship could possibly create a TEF, plus he can send message to friends to look out for the ship if he can't engage or if the ship escapes.
This is exactly the kind of great gameplay my sensors suggestion is designed to promote.

A little background might be useful here. I have several reasons for being interested in getting broad-spectrum sensing features into the space part of SWG, but three reasons stand out.

Advanced Tactical Gameplay: Advanced sensors would never be necessary for players who just want to duke it out, but players who enjoy exploring tactical options in combat need a detailed sensor system. Ships must have enough properties (size, mass, heat/power signature, ID, etc.), and space must have effects on those properties (nebulae can hide your ship or light it up, stars can mask your radiation, etc.) to give players a satisfying space combat experience beyond "fly, shoot, fly, shoot."

Enhanced Roleplaying: As suggested in the story of the Imperial frigate, having lots of sensor options allows players to roleplay characters who employ tactics of deception, and allows other players to roleplay characters who seek to expose what is hidden. A rich sensing system makes these roleplaying styles possible.

Strong Star Wars Resonance: With a Galactic Civil War playing havoc with law and order, the seamier parts of the galaxy are able to operate more openly... but some amount of hiding is still necessary. A richly detailed sensor system offers a greater number of more interesting gameplay options to SWG players who want to explore the world of Boba Fett, Calo Nord, Prince Xizor, and others. In particular, scanning technology as one form of sensor operations has been a part of Star Wars products from the original movie (remember the Imperial scanning team that goes -- briefly -- into the Millenium Falcon on the Death Star?) to the TIE Fighter space combat game (the cargo container scanning challenge) that Jump to Lightspeed is to some degree supposed to resemble.

I think there's enough gaming goodness inherent in a strong/deep sensor system to make it worth having in SWG's space game. It's probably not something that can implemented in the initial release, but I hope we'll see something like it some day.