Author Topic: Scouting  (Read 604 times)

Offline Chthon

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Scouting
« on: December 16, 2016, 11:28:37 PM »
Scouting has always been weird in AI War. A scout enters the system, and unless it's "plot" related, everything is known about the system.

Personally I think wormholes would be hard to spot in many cases, as well as other anomalies and stations being hard to find.

I think scouting a system should be a longer term project. There are a variety of disturbances and anomalies detected, some of them quite vague, and a scout has to spend time scanning each one, possibly getting within a certain range to scan it more quickly. Over the course of a certain time, depending on how brave you've told the scout to be, it will map the system and what is in it for you, but for some time you may be operating without knowing that there is a raid engine in this system, or knowing about a certain wormhole link that turns out to be problematic. The braver you set the scout, the faster it goes, but the more likely it will be caught by tachyons. The more scouts the better in that case as well.

After scanning a system, you can have the scouts set up a listening post. The success on hiding it depends on how thoroughly you have mapped the system and know where the AI will look. In any case, a listening post will only last a certain length of time before being found, but for a fully mapped system, this might be hours. This way you don't have to permanently station scouts in every system to keep tabs on what the AI is doing.

Then again, the AI might have set up the same thing in your own systems.

As for what you are told about the anomalies in a system, some might not be mentioned until you have been scanning for a while. The list you are initially presented with is only a partial list of the most obvious ones. Spending time in a system lets you start detecting more and more undetectable anomalies. Not all of these are noteworthy, but you never know what threats lurk out there unless you go over the system with a fine toothed comb. There might just be a well hidden wormhole to a Mk IV world in that new planet you thought was safe.

As far as the AI is concerned, it's always passively scouting systems slowly. It believes it already has found all the important features, and it's only trying to catch unwanted additions to its systems. As such it can use almost any feature that truly exists in it's systems, unless something is introduced that even the AI doesn't fully understand.

As far as micro is concerned, I feel that telling your scouts to "auto scout" would be good for those not wanting to micro. They would go to any friendly or moderately safe system, and look for things to explore. They would also go to systems you have marked for listening posts to build them for you. If there are no systems with a mediocre threshold for safety, they would go back to your own systems and just idly scan them in case they missed something, or go to a system that you feel holds further secrets and have marked to be scanned more.

So basically for the non-micro oriented, now you build scouts and you then designate sectors to be scanned, or to have listening posts build into them (with scanning included if necessary). You set a threshold of bravery for the scouts. Otherwise you just build the scouts and let them do their thing until you need them. Tell me what you think.