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Unread 18 Mar 2009, 18:39   #1
Devlin
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Post New scanning system

The Problem

As it stands now, alliances need dedicated scanners to be competitive. This requires (or all but requires) a person to buy an account, sit around on IRC many hours a day, and build strictly amps and scan for other people. In summary, this requires a person to pay money to NOT play, so they can help other people play.

I've heard the argument that this is just another way that one alliance can be better than another, which may be true. Sure, this can mean the difference between a win for CT or Asc if one of them can get more people to scan and do it actively, however, how difficult do you think it would be for an alliance like Hells Fury or OPA to convince someone to stay active on IRC and be a dedicated scanner? And how fun do you think it would be to be a new player trying the game without an alliance to be unable to attack most planets or figure out what to leave home against an inc?

Without dedicated scanners an ally is forced to leave some planets uncovered in galraids, and renders them unable to defend against distwhores properly. It also requires players to recall attacks or roll the dice if they are unable to find a scanner to do a jgp. This is supposed to be a war game so I don't see the point in a game mechanic that allows you to avoid combat in such a manor and requires people to play the game not as a war, but as a service industry.


The Solution

Return to a scan system similar to the one we had pre-PaX. Leave amps and dists as constructions like they are now, but allow someone with 10 amps scan someone with 20 dists. It should just take them many attempts and multiple chunks of resources to accomplish it. For example it should take roughly 15 attempts to scan someone with 2x more dists than your amps, 30 tries to scan someone with 4x etc.

Also, notify the person being scanned to a failed scan attempt. This way, it is still beneficial for an alliance to have scanners so as to avoid wasting tons of res or notifying a galaxy of impending incs, but not a requirement. This makes it possible for smaller alliances to organize proper raids and makes it possible for DCs to at least attempt to cover every call.


Concerns

I'm sure some people will be worried that this will render faking useless, which is a viable strategy in the game. I've considered this too, and my potential solution is to simply allow dists to function as they currently do for inc scans


The Result
  • Players would no longer have to sacrifice their round to help out people who are actually playing the game properly
  • Smaller start-up alliances would be more feasible
  • Dist whores would no longer be able to potentially land without resistance because DCs can't get an AU
  • Players would no longer have to recall from dist whores because they can't find a dedicated scanner to do a jgp

Last edited by Devlin; 18 Mar 2009 at 18:56.
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Unread 18 Mar 2009, 18:43   #2
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Re: New scanning system

I like these ideas - I would play in a smaller alliance and mind my own business if I were able to get scans when I am at work.
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Unread 18 Mar 2009, 18:48   #3
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Re: New scanning system

Quote:
Originally Posted by Devlin View Post
  • Allow dists to function as they do currently for inc scans
  • Allow dists to function as they do currently for inc scans until ETA4. This would allow fakes to land without proper defence as they currently do, but wouldn't result in players losing a large chunk of their fleet because they left their anti-BS home to be massacred by faked FR. I don't see how dists on an attacker's home planet can affect inc scans when the attacking fleet is half way between his planet and mine anyways
It's come to my attention that the inc scan working at eta4 with insufficient amps would render xan much less useful. It would also render faking in general all but useless in most cases, such as terrans sending harpy/lynx or harpy/minotaur/1lynx. This would only have a chance at working out decently in the attacker's favor if they sent a real attack fleet faked as something else such as ter fr faked as cr.

Apparently I hadn't thought that bit through entirely.

[edit]I'm removing that bit from my original post since it isn't very logical, since most people will read the original post but not this reply, but I'll leave it quoted here.[/edit]

Last edited by Devlin; 18 Mar 2009 at 18:54.
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Unread 18 Mar 2009, 19:03   #4
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Re: New scanning system

I agree that this system makes faking and disting much harder than it is now. However, I intensely dislike your solution, because it adds exceptions to the system: "It works like this, except for x, there it works like that".

A large part of the scanning issue can be solved by implementing the KISS suggestion in this post, while preventing the removal of faking and disting.
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Unread 18 Mar 2009, 19:10   #5
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Re: New scanning system

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mzyxptlk View Post
Amps/Dists
I'm not sure about seperating dists and amps from the normal constructions. For amps, the same arguments apply that do for the scanning tree. On the other hand, distwhoring could be significantly more useful, especially if amps and dists aren't limited to 150, and become a little cheaper. It might be inconsistent, but I think I kind of like it.
To quote you:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mzyxptlk
It might be inconsistent, but I think I kind of like it
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Unread 18 Mar 2009, 19:20   #6
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Re: New scanning system

You're right, at the time I wasn't sure about it, and since I've become convinced that separating amps/dists from the rest of the constructions is not a good idea. The tech tree change is what I was referring to anyway.
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Unread 18 Mar 2009, 19:25   #7
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Re: New scanning system

Your tech solution still leaves smaller alliances and solo players unable to defend against distwhores. It seems we're both addressing different problems tbh. You hold the opinion that scans should be more accessible research-wise, while I hold the opinion that dists need nerfed.
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Unread 18 Mar 2009, 19:58   #8
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Re: New scanning system

It's the same problem. Faking can only be done if incoming scans don't work on most planets. You want to allow scans. I've started to reduce this issue for planets with the landing scan. What you want is a similar unit scan, i guess. On the train so will read mz's link later
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Unread 18 Mar 2009, 20:05   #9
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Re: New scanning system

Quote:
Originally Posted by Appocomaster View Post
It's the same problem. Faking can only be done if incoming scans don't work on most planets. You want to allow scans. I've started to reduce this issue for planets with the landing scan. What you want is a similar unit scan, i guess. On the train so will read mz's link later
Nonono, I want all scans to penetrate dists except for inc scans. However, there will be a failure rate. For example someone with 10 amps scanning a guy with 20 dists could experience a 90% failure rate, thus wasting an assload of resources in the process of doing one scan. Also, the person being scanned will be alerted to the blocked scans.

Basically, I want the pre-PaX scan system back. You remember it, eh?
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Unread 18 Mar 2009, 20:36   #10
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Re: New scanning system

Quote:
Originally Posted by Devlin View Post
Your tech solution still leaves smaller alliances and solo players unable to defend against distwhores. It seems we're both addressing different problems tbh. You hold the opinion that scans should be more accessible research-wise, while I hold the opinion that dists need nerfed.
No, we're addressing the same problem, you're just approaching it from the wrong way and therefore fail to solve it. You state in your opening post that you feel alliances (and indeed, planets) shouldn't need dedicated scanners. So far so good, we're in agreement.

However, to achieve this, you're looking to nerf disting. But this doesn't solve the problem. Alliances will still need dedicated scanners, because jumpgate probes and advanced unit scans require a big investment, research-wise.

On the other hand, changing the techtree does solve the problem. When people only need to do 2 researches (Cloak Scan and Enhanced Landing Scan) and only need a few amps to be able to scan the vast majority of the universe, dedicated alliance scanners become a luxury rather than a necessity.

While this does leave people vulnerable to disting, disting is not nearly as effective as building FCs. As a major strategy, it's pretty much dead. I have no issue with that one dister in a hundred getting this small advantage.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Devlin View Post
Basically, I want the pre-PaX scan system back. You remember it, eh?
In light of the above, the pre-PaX system was cumbersome, overly complicated and added absolutely nothing to the game that dists/amps do not already do.
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Unread 18 Mar 2009, 21:24   #11
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Re: New scanning system

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mzyxptlk View Post
While this does leave people vulnerable to disting, disting is not nearly as effective as building FCs. As a major strategy, it's pretty much dead. I have no issue with that one dister in a hundred getting this small advantage.
Though slightly less so now the cap has been reintroduced? (as a whole separate issue, it'd be nice to have more variety in what you can build as constructions)
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Unread 18 Mar 2009, 21:39   #12
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Re: New scanning system

In your suggestion Mz, you said

"Cloak Scan: a unit scan which shows cloaked ships. It retains the uncertainty the current unit scan has."

By uncertainty you mean a 10% (or whatever the value is) deviance on values?

I believe that with only 2 scans you can get the exact qty of units, it was done before (however I am unsure how this was done, or if this is still do able).

I'm in favour of using randomness to get through, like it was in the "good" old days. But if you have it so the higher the scan type the bigger the gap. Some how utilising the Scan ID that is used in XP formula.

e.g.
10 amps v 20 amps

Dev scan = 80% chance of scanning
Unit scan = 50% chance of scanning
Adv Unit = 10% chance of scanning

15 amps v 20 amps

Dev scan = 95% chance of scanning
Unit scan = 70% chance of scanning
Adv Unit = 50% chance of scanning

20 amps v 20 amps

Dev scan = 100% chance of scanning
Unit scan = 100% chance of scanning
Adv Unit = 100% chance of scanning

Not sure how the formula would work, but I feel that not everything in PA has to be KISS, you have to have some depth to the game.
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Unread 18 Mar 2009, 22:46   #13
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Re: New scanning system

Ok first try on a formula (yes its not KISS so dont bother telling me).

Percentage = Amps / Dists

ScanOffset = (ScanID - (ScanID * Percentage)) + 0.5

ScanChance = ( 0.5 / ScanOffSet ) * 100

ScanID:
1 = Planet Scan
2 = Development Scan
3 = Unit Scan
4 = News Scan
5 = Incoming Scan
6 = Jumpgate Probe
7 = Advanced Unit Scan

So on to some examples:


Amps = 10, Dists = 20

Percentage = 10 / 20 = 0.5

Planet Scan
-----------
ScanOffset = (1 - ( 1 * 0.5)) + 0.5 = 1
ScanChance = 0.5 / 1 = 0.5 * 100 = 50%

Unit Scan
---------
ScanOffset = (3 - ( 3 * 0.5)) + 0.5 = 2
ScanChance = 0.5 / 2 = 0.25 * 100 = 25%

Adv Unit Scan
-------------
ScanOffset = (7 - ( 7 * 0.5)) + 0.5 = 4.0
ScanChance = 0.5 / 4.0 = 0.12 * 100 = 12%


Amps = 15, Dists = 20

Percentage = 15 / 20 = 0.75

Planet Scan
-----------
ScanOffset = (1 - ( 1 * 0.75)) + 0.5 = 0.75
ScanChance = 0.5 / 0.75 = 0.66 * 100 = 66%

Unit Scan
---------
ScanOffset = (3 - ( 3 * 0.75)) + 0.5 = 1.25
ScanChance = 0.5 / 1.25 = 0.40 * 100 = 40%

Adv Unit Scan
-------------
ScanOffset = (7 - ( 7 * 0.75)) + 0.5 = 2.25
ScanChance = 0.5 / 2.25 = 0.22 * 100 = 22%


Amps = 20, Dists = 20

Percentage = 20 / 20 = 1

Planet Scan
-----------
ScanOffset = (1 - ( 1 * 1)) + 0.5 = 0.5
ScanChance = 0.5 / 0.5 = 1 * 100 = 100%

Unit Scan
---------
ScanOffset = (3 - ( 3 * 1)) + 0.5 = 0.5
ScanChance = 0.5 / 0.5 = 1 * 100 = 100%

Adv Unit Scan
-------------
ScanOffset = (7 - ( 7 * 1)) + 0.5 = 0.5
ScanChance = 0.5 / 0.5 = 1 * 100 = 100%
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Last edited by MrLobster; 18 Mar 2009 at 23:43.
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Unread 18 Mar 2009, 23:50   #14
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Re: New scanning system

Quote:
Originally Posted by Appocomaster View Post
Though slightly less so now the cap has been reintroduced? (as a whole separate issue, it'd be nice to have more variety in what you can build as constructions)
It would have, yes, if the metagame hadn't shifted. The increase in salvage for small planets that was implemented a few rounds ago has made its way into strategies. As a result, going Feud/FC pays off twofold. On the one hand the increase in income from FCs works multiplicative with Feud, and on the other, Feud benefits more from salvage than other governments. The salvage aspect might not seem significant, but in an action-packed round such as this one, it really is.

To be quite honest, I don't think there's anything you can do to improve disting, it will always be a fringe strategy, because the increase in value you get from Feud/FCs is so big that the lack of incoming of disting doesn't really compensate any more.


Quote:
Originally Posted by MrLobster View Post
In your suggestion Mz, you said

"Cloak Scan: a unit scan which shows cloaked ships. It retains the uncertainty the current unit scan has."

By uncertainty you mean a 10% (or whatever the value is) deviance on values?
Yes. I figured one of the advantages of having a real scanner in your alliance should be accuracy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MrLobster View Post
I'm in favour of using randomness to get through, like it was in the "good" old days. But if you have it so the higher the scan type the bigger the gap. Some how utilising the Scan ID that is used in XP formula.
Well, you know my opinion on breaking KISS generally as well as in this case specifically.
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Unread 19 Mar 2009, 00:46   #15
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Re: New scanning system

Just one more example, but this time with the costs involved in successful scan.

Percentage = 10 / 150 = 0.07

Planet Scan
-----------
ScanOffset = (1 - ( 1 * 0.07)) + 0.5 = 1.43
ScanChance = 0.5 / 1.43 = 0.35 * 100 = 35%

So on average the player has to scan the target 3 times to get a hit, which totals 9,000 res.


Unit Scan
---------
ScanOffset = (3 - ( 3 * 0.07)) + 0.5 = 3.29
ScanChance = 0.5 / 3.29 = 0.77 * 100 = 15%

So on average the player has to scan the target 7 times to get a hit, which totals 84,000 res.


Adv Unit Scan
-------------
ScanOffset = (7 - ( 7 * 0.07)) + 0.5 = 7.99
ScanChance = 0.5 / 7.99 = 0.06 * 100 = 6%

So on average the player has to scan the target 17 times to get a hit, which totals 408,000 res.

Summary
This may seem high for a new player to cope with, but I doubt they will be attacking someone with 150 dists in the first place, it will be newb v newb (someone of equal rank).

This also means that Alliance scanners are useful, but not a requirement.
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Unread 19 Mar 2009, 02:25   #16
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Re: New scanning system

you do realize that some people sign up with the intention of scanning, because it is what they enjoy doing? so therefore, they are playing the game, just in their own way.
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Unread 19 Mar 2009, 02:54   #17
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Re: New scanning system

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zaejii View Post
you do realize that some people sign up with the intention of scanning, because it is what they enjoy doing? so therefore, they are playing the game, just in their own way.
I fail to understand how anyone enjoys punching in 3 coords and hitting scan. Or rather, clicking links for hours since most allies give the pa game link that you just open to perform the scan. To each their own I guess.

Anyways, wtfi s KISS? :/ Other than the band ofc
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Unread 19 Mar 2009, 03:45   #18
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Re: New scanning system

Keep It Simple Stupid...

or

Keep it Short and Simple...

I prefer the first one.
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Unread 19 Mar 2009, 04:08   #19
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Re: New scanning system

What does turning the scanning into a probability actually achieve? Does it suddenly make the game more fun if you have to click 10 times and pray that the random number generator is on your side?

I'd personally like to see the majority of the scanning abilities be accessible to all. Is having to rely on a scanner as a new player really the sort of environment the game should enforce? Is it really that fun having to wait for one specific person in an alliance to give you all the information? It's not like it's impossible to scan them, it just delays the inevitable and makes the game more awkward because of it. Scans as they're currently implemented just forces alliances to design their own systems to deal with scan requests to serve their own members.

You could always implement uncertainty in different ways. Unit scans could be done by anyone, but only reporting ships at the home planet (excluding those launched on a mission, with prelaunched ships considered at home).

Implement the stealth mechanic (dist whoring) in some other way instead of clinging on to scans and amps vs distorters.
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Unread 19 Mar 2009, 07:00   #20
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Re: New scanning system

I know everyone's just sort of throwing ideas onto the table so heres a few, feel free to expand upon them:

-Use population in line with amps or dists?
-What about the actual population number which currently servers no purpose, could that be used in some way?
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Unread 19 Mar 2009, 09:06   #21
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Re: New scanning system

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Originally Posted by GReaper View Post
Implement the stealth mechanic (dist whoring) in some other way instead of clinging on to scans and amps vs distorters.
Got any ideas?
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Unread 19 Mar 2009, 11:59   #22
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Re: New scanning system

My initial thought was to have it in covert operations in some way. I think we've got an entire side of the game which is begging for more practical usage instead of being used as a tool to piss people off.

Force players to use a slightly expensive covert operation against the planet being attacked for the duration of the attack which blinds a target from their attacker. Maybe you could get players using it before attacking, leaving an announcement to their target if they're around to see it. Alternatively you could force players to use it during the attack, if they want their fleet to be useless against incoming scans then they'd have to be around from launch until landing - unless they're happy with leaving their fleet open to scans after a certain point.

If you aren't keen on covert ops being used then maybe distorter ships could be added. Ships which can help prevent fleets being scanned, a certain number of ships could be required in a fleet to prevent scans being used on it - although less than the required amount could fiddle with the numbers in the scan. They could be expensive ships which are vulnerable and die easily, so if you land you could lose a few. It wouldn't prevent news scans, so you'd have one of the best aspects of Planetarion - instead of outright blocking you'd force people to calculate and guess what they've got incoming.

I know they're not exactly the best ideas.

I'd just like to see stealthy game playing which encourages people to guess a best estimate instead of the existing scan system being allow/deny if you've got enough amps. Allow anyone to scan, with the skilled players being the ones who can analyse them the best.
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Unread 19 Mar 2009, 12:07   #23
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Re: New scanning system

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Originally Posted by GReaper View Post
I'd just like to see stealthy game playing which encourages people to guess a best estimate instead of the existing scan system being allow/deny if you've got enough amps. Allow anyone to scan, with the skilled players being the ones who can analyse them the best.
I agree that stealthy gameplay could be a very interesting touch to the game, though I think it'd pretty hard to balance with 'normal' gameplay.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GReaper View Post
Force players to use a slightly expensive covert operation against the planet being attacked for the duration of the attack which blinds a target from their attacker. Maybe you could get players using it before attacking, leaving an announcement to their target if they're around to see it. Alternatively you could force players to use it during the attack, if they want their fleet to be useless against incoming scans then they'd have to be around from launch until landing - unless they're happy with leaving their fleet open to scans after a certain point.
There's a seed of a good idea here.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GReaper View Post
If you aren't keen on covert ops being used then maybe distorter ships could be added. Ships which can help prevent fleets being scanned, a certain number of ships could be required in a fleet to prevent scans being used on it - although less than the required amount could fiddle with the numbers in the scan. They could be expensive ships which are vulnerable and die easily, so if you land you could lose a few. It wouldn't prevent news scans, so you'd have one of the best aspects of Planetarion - instead of outright blocking you'd force people to calculate and guess what they've got incoming.
I dislike using ships for anything but combat.
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Unread 19 Mar 2009, 13:31   #24
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Re: New scanning system

Quote:
Originally Posted by GReaper View Post

Force players to use a slightly expensive covert operation against the planet being attacked for the duration of the attack which blinds a target from their attacker. Maybe you could get players using it before attacking, leaving an announcement to their target if they're around to see it. Alternatively you could force players to use it during the attack, if they want their fleet to be useless against incoming scans then they'd have to be around from launch until landing - unless they're happy with leaving their fleet open to scans after a certain point.t.
and call is disinformation/diversion.

It think it was appoc's intention to finally places waves in the cov-op area, however as it is now, its very easy to stop cov-ops. You'll find 90% of the player base with over 80% blockage.
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Unread 19 Mar 2009, 13:37   #25
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Re: New scanning system

It's one of the reasons why agents and guards were never a good idea.
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Unread 19 Mar 2009, 16:39   #26
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Re: New scanning system

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you do realize that some people sign up with the intention of scanning, because it is what they enjoy doing? so therefore, they are playing the game, just in their own way.
I fail to understand how anyone enjoys punching in 3 coords and hitting scan. Or rather, clicking links for hours since most allies give the pa game link that you just open to perform the scan. To each their own I guess.

Anyways, wtfi s KISS? :/ Other than the band ofc

I was, and would be if I still played, a dedicated scanner.

Never really got into the whole attack and defend thing, possibly my lack of skill, but meh. Instead, I scanned.
I've scanned in my time for a few alliances, including a couple of winning alliances, I like to think I played my bit in helping the alliances to win, and in other alliances helping newer players to land their attacks. Even if that did involve 4am phone calls from another country waking me up to scan for inc.
I've also just scanned for fun, helping out clusters, random people and sometimes even fielding pm's from 1:1 asking for scans of their inc.


However, I no longer play / have time to play, so can't really contribute to this discussion, just wanted to let you know that there are scanners out there that do enjoy scanning.
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Unread 19 Mar 2009, 16:56   #27
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Re: New scanning system

The problem isn't the existance of scanners, they have their place. The problem is that there is a requirement for scanners, if you are to play the game at all.
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Unread 19 Mar 2009, 21:54   #28
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Re: New scanning system

I suppose the simplist method here is to remove amps/dists, cant get any simpler.
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Unread 19 Mar 2009, 22:07   #29
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Re: New scanning system

Just make sure scans are getting cheaper!
It costs me a hell of resources every night to find nice targets!
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Unread 19 Mar 2009, 23:12   #30
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Re: New scanning system

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Just make sure scans are getting cheaper!
It costs me a hell of resources every night to find nice targets!
I always assumed your ally had dedicated scanners also
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