A quick mockup:
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impaktor: Hmm, and of course there would be the constant wave length of cosmic background radiation. (9:15:35 PM) impaktor: Well, 2.7 K, right? (9:15:59 PM) impaktor: Anyway, question is then how to use the freq-scanner. (9:16:18 PM) impaktor: Like have a "match" button and "save" button. (9:16:24 PM) impaktor: for freq profile (9:16:33 PM) nozmajner: match? like you could snapshot stuff and superimpose? (9:17:27 PM) nozmajner: I'd also put in a shortcut for marking directions, if you are scanning the sky, and see some interesting readings, you could mark it, there would be an indicator icon for that direction, and you could come back later to double check (9:17:41 PM) nozmajner: or to triangulate, if it's close enough (9:18:03 PM) impaktor: nozmajner: yeah, you could see how much the profile matches a ship, or pulsar, or whatever. (9:18:12 PM) impaktor: ...that you've saved before. (9:20:33 PM) nozmajner: you could even buy data maybe? (9:20:49 PM) nozmajner: pattern for a derelict ship worth salvaging for example (9:22:33 PM) nozmajner: also, that large dotted circle is the scanner cone. My thinking is that you could first do a wider search, avaraging what's in that cone, and you could "zoom in" if there's something interesting (9:22:54 PM) nozmajner: and scanner types could have different cone limits for example (9:24:22 PM) impaktor: oo, derelict ship. Me like. (9:24:51 PM) nozmajner: also could be useful for finding SAR targets (9:25:25 PM) nozmajner: like "it's las't known position was here, and it's transponder is off. Likely scanner pattern: xxx" (9:27:31 PM) ecraven: impaktor: well, all the more reason to have that scanner (*with* the background radiation of course! (9:28:06 PM) ecraven: well, is it an active or a passive scanner? (9:28:17 PM) ecraven: a derelict ship probably wouldn't show up on passive (9:28:32 PM) nozmajner: ecraven: I'd say passive (9:28:45 PM) ecraven: could be both, and you can switch (9:28:58 PM) nozmajner: but you could have an active one that would do a ping that would visible on this passive one once the ping reached the thing (9:29:30 PM) ecraven: good point, so you can send out a certain range and get back an echo (over that range) (9:29:31 PM) nozmajner: I'd imagine active sensors would do their signal processing too, not just putting out the raw readout (9:30:17 PM) ecraven: well, maybe people shouldn't be forced to use the scanner all the time, it might just be "better" than the automatic scanner (9:30:37 PM) ecraven: so you only see major planets, but if you scan for something, it gets added to the list of "known" things (9:30:48 PM) ecraven: we'll probably need an actual conceptual document for this :D (9:34:27 PM) impaktor: Or SOS is sent on a specific channel. (9:34:44 PM) impaktor: frequency profile: - - - . . . - - -
A scanner equipment and it's UI for discovering stuff.
How it could work:
- It would show the electromagnetic spectrum, with a histogram display, showing the received energy on each range of hz.
- Each object would have a distinct radiation output pattern. A star would wash out most of the scanner for example, but a spaceship would most likely radiate mostly on infrared, especially while burning the engines. Radio broadcasts and active scanner pings could also show up.
- The strength of the signal could depend on the energy output and distance. (inverse square law)
- The player could use specific "pings" then capture the reflections. But that could also give away his location.
- The scanner could have minimum and maximum viewcone, and would show the average data from that cone. Some models could provide zoom capabilities, and even turreted/omni-directional FOV, so the ship would not necessarily need to point in the direction it's scanning(headlook).
- Could also provide audio feedback, transforming the full range to and audible range of sounds.
- Finding hidden stuff: derelict ships, dropped cargo, hidden bases, undiscovered planetary bodies (exploration).
- Finding hiding ships. Assassination, bounty hunting or piracy targets for example.
- Finding ships in trouble (SAR). "Our Venturestar haven't reported in. Here's the last known location, and the scanner pattern for it. Go find!"
- Picking up ongoing battles.
- Stealth gameplay later down the road if we decide we want to. (Yes, there's no stealth in space, but that's assuming good equipment and lots of time. Short term stealth could happen I think, like running cold to hide from Don Carnage and his ragtag band of pirates sporting 200 years old equipment, until you can go for a burn that they can't intercept.)
- Light lag might be useful to be handled. At least for active sensor pings and such.
- Would need to store/generate data for things. Like an array of frequencies and their strength in ship.lua files. It would be useful to have separate data for engines too at least. Same could go for reflection patterns (for active scanner pings for example)