Author Topic: Replacing Teams?  (Read 4552 times)

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Offline ardem

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Re: Replacing Teams?
« Reply #15 on: February 11, 2018, 08:00:37 PM »
I agree one special force should not fit all. I think there a couple of options like we currently see in our armed forces.

A number of 4-6 man teams doing recon. This is like SEAL, SAS, LRRP. This brings back ground and facility force information. These are for long stays, 1-2 years before they need to be pulled out or identified.

A Battalion group for a Raid, such as Rangers, Commandos. These destroy facilities, theft at a research plant, and normally used before an initial assault, or just add some spice raid a listening post and gather Ship Intel. Short Stays.

Another thing I like to see with smaller ships talking about recon, is a stealth ship that can attach itself to an asteroid, but continue with passive sensors and become virtual undetectable except for say an orbit of that asteroid. It would mean the introduction of in system patrol craft if you like that make it way around the system.

 

Offline Person012345

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Re: Replacing Teams?
« Reply #16 on: February 11, 2018, 08:04:54 PM »
From a realistic point of view, it makes no sense because unless you send a warship you have no way to send people there. It's not like human or whatever can just pretend to be tentalce heads.
Lucky for the tentacle heads that  there has never been an example of collaboration I guess?

There are many options for disguising, in a sci fi universe, and this wouldn't even be necessary because on a world with millions or billions of intelligent life forms, chances are at least a few will sympathize with outside causes.

It certainly fits less with a military unit than a infiltration "team", but realism isn't necessarily the #1 concern (and they'd be hiding anyway).
« Last Edit: February 11, 2018, 08:31:40 PM by Person012345 »
 

Offline Zincat

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Re: Replacing Teams?
« Reply #17 on: February 12, 2018, 01:32:53 AM »
Lucky for the tentacle heads that  there has never been an example of collaboration I guess?

There are many options for disguising, in a sci fi universe, and this wouldn't even be necessary because on a world with millions or billions of intelligent life forms, chances are at least a few will sympathize with outside causes.

It certainly fits less with a military unit than a infiltration "team", but realism isn't necessarily the #1 concern (and they'd be hiding anyway).

I feel that we're going off a tangent here, comparing to the basics premises of the thread  ;D

Anyway, I disagree. The more high tech the setting, the less realistic a "team of strange aliens spies on a foreign planet" works. It's not easy at all staying hidden! And how are they going to find food or other supplies?

And most importantly, just HOW are they going to communicate back to base? Extraction is not realistic, there's no trade, radio transmissions would get intercepted which would lead to the team being captured. There is no realistic way I can think of that a team on an alien world could use to communicate back to the home planet without getting caught. We're talking on extra-system communications here, from a ground-based team with no access to space means. Short of psionics or other paranormal things, there is just NO possible way.
« Last Edit: February 12, 2018, 01:36:00 AM by Zincat »
 

Offline alex_brunius

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Re: Replacing Teams?
« Reply #18 on: February 12, 2018, 03:09:53 AM »
This is a repost from the main VB6 suggestions thread, which triggered an idea.

I could remove the concept of teams entirely and replace them with new ground force capabilities. Thinking out loud....

1) Espionage team replaced by a scout function for ground forces. Scout formations can land on alien worlds to learn about the alien population (size, industry, tech, ground forces). They are have (expensive) stealth capabilities boosted by the formation commander (stealth bonus replaces espionage). They can be hunted by hostile ground forces or have a chance of detection by any civilian population (much higher if not same species). Might even have sabotage capabilities. In fact, this could be the Aurora equivalent of Special Forces.

2) Geology team replaced by geological survey capability for ground forces and ground survey becomes a significantly larger task requiring more personnel - to prevent simply creating vast number of geo-survey formations. Geology bonus based on the formation commander

3) Xenology team replaced by Xenoarchaeology capability for ground forces. Surveying and deciphering alien ruins becomes a significantly larger task requiring more personnel. Xenology bonus based on the formation commander.

4) Diplomacy team replaced by small but expensive ship module that can only function when in the same system as an alien population. I also change NPR responses so that their reaction to alien ships in the system is based on ship size and reduced if the ship has a diplomatic function. Diplomacy skill is based on the ship commander.

Spontaneously the only reason against doing it I can think of is that it was a pretty neat story tool to group together teams of your key characters and have things happen to them as they brave alien or hostile worlds.


For Geology and Xenology it makes alot of sense to expand it to bigger efforts, and this can be really cool as well as they get better integrated with built in defense attachments ( ground forces rework ).


For Diplomacy and Espionage I agree that it doesn't make sense to have a big effort, a small team of individuals or led by a single commander could work equally well.

Does Espionage even need to land on the ground though? Wouldn't most intelligence/espionage be done through signal intelligence realistically, and isn't this something your survey ships (equipped with powerful sensors and scanners) should be pretty well geared to do already? Sticking with a ground team we run into a boatload of issues how to sneak in a ground unit transport past size 1 senors (basically impossible), and what good is spending time developing a feature that never will be possible to put to use?

I also love the Sci-Fi Startrek vision of having diplomatic envoys / meetings onboard large warships.


Maybe both Diplomacy and Espionage could be ship modules used in-system instead? And depending on the size of sensors Espionage ships would need to sneak close enough to the enemy world to start gathering information. I think this role of focusing Espionage on signal intelligence gathering ( both from enemy populations and their warships/stations ) would be much better suited for Aurora 4X gameplay then teams of James Bond style alien agents operating on the ground with no way of getting there in the first place, no way of communicating and no way of getting out.

Maybe there is some way to make this work neatly with the new command and control modules? ( Add a SIGINT/Espionage module and one for Diplomacy which enables the ship to conduct respective missions at the efficiency of assigned commanders ).
« Last Edit: February 12, 2018, 03:23:15 AM by alex_brunius »
 

Offline Steve Walmsley

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Re: Replacing Teams?
« Reply #19 on: February 12, 2018, 03:20:57 AM »
Maybe both Diplomacy and Espionage could be ship modules used in-system instead? And depending on the size of sensors Espionage ships would need to sneak close enough to the enemy world to start gathering information. I think this role of focusing Espionage on signal intelligence gathering ( both from enemy populations and their warships/stations ) would be much better suited for Aurora 4X gameplay then teams of James Bond style alien agents operating on the ground with no way of getting there in the first place, no way of communicating and no way of getting out.

Maybe there is some way to make this work neatly with the new command and control modules? ( Add a SIGINT/Espionage module and one for Diplomacy which enables the ship to conduct respective missions at the efficiency of assigned commanders ).

Yes, that is a good idea. I was also wondering how to get the proposed scout team to the surface undetected :)

Making espionage a ship-based system (Russian Trawler) solves that problem. In early versions of Aurora you could learn tech from scanning alien ships with active sensors and that was removed as being too powerful (and because it made active sensors extremely provocative). A more focused, expensive module intended for signals intelligence would be a better option, especially as potential tech gains would be a minor and rare part of that. It would mainly be about establishing knowledge about population, ground force and ship capabilities (without necessarily being able to duplicate those capabilities).

The new sensor array could be a designed system, allowing a separate tech line plus variable size and effective range.

Perhaps Diplomacy could be handled both via ship and some form of ground installation (Embassy).
 
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Offline Iranon

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Re: Replacing Teams?
« Reply #20 on: February 12, 2018, 03:55:27 AM »
For tech acquisition, one problem with something ship- and sensor-based is balancing it with the salvage system...
no amount of scans should be as useful as having a functioning sample that you can test to your heart's content.
"Human" intelligence being more useful than a functioning sample is plausible - blueprints, insight into underlying principles or manufacturing process that aren't obvious in the final product etc.

I think it would also be interesting if it was possible to reverse engineer alien equipment without gaining all the underlying techs, maybe with the chance of the clone being something slightly different. That'd make spoils/relics of a more advanced faction very useful without allowing the beneficiary to equalise effortlessly.
 

Offline Hazard

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Re: Replacing Teams?
« Reply #21 on: February 12, 2018, 04:50:22 AM »
The new sensor array could be a designed system, allowing a separate tech line plus variable size and effective range.

Tie it to the passive sensors mechanics instead; you need to close a certain amount of distance relative to the max range of the passive sensor for a (to be determined) amount of signal strength to meet thresholds for how good your data is and how fast you get it (very long range scanning gets you very rough estimates very slowly, while close in scanning gets you very good information very quickly).

Use thermal passive sensors for information on industrial outputs like mining and construction and maybe some estimate of population size, and electronic passive sensors for everything else.
 

Offline alex_brunius

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Re: Replacing Teams?
« Reply #22 on: February 12, 2018, 06:15:35 AM »
Tie it to the passive sensors mechanics instead; you need to close a certain amount of distance relative to the max range of the passive sensor for a (to be determined) amount of signal strength to meet thresholds for how good your data is and how fast you get it (very long range scanning gets you very rough estimates very slowly, while close in scanning gets you very good information very quickly).

Use thermal passive sensors for information on industrial outputs like mining and construction and maybe some estimate of population size, and electronic passive sensors for everything else.

Well SIGINT (Signal Intelligence) we need to separate between communications and non communications. COMINT entails listening in on the enemy communications to learn their secrets rather then simply scanning their ships or the analyzing emissions from ship systems (ELINT). This means you also need to have translated their language and (if sensitive information) also cracked their encryption/codes.


For the other sensors currently we got for example the following Intelligence already in VB6:

Active GRAV: Target Size, Target Speed, Target Direction
Passive GRAV: Emissions from shields or Active GRAV. Emissions from population.
Passive TH: Emissions from engines. Emissions from population.


Perhaps this could be expanded by saying that if you get good enough sensors to be X times better then what you need for them to show up on sensors you learn more ( potentially in multiple tiers ), and this would naturally also require much longer observation times then 5 seconds.

For example something like this:

Active GRAV > 10 times: Target Type (Military/Civilian), Target mission ( main tonnage is Carrier/Sensor/Missile Warship/Beam Warship/Logistics/Colony/Terraform/Salvage )
Passive GRAV > 10 times: Shield Strength or Active GRAV sensor strength & resolution. More details from population.
Passive TH  > 10 times: Match signature from engines (can determine based on previous salvaged/detail scanned). More details from population.

Active GRAV > 100 times: External systems count & type ( X launchers, Y turrets, Z engines ... )
Passive GRAV > 100 times: Full shield design details or Full Active GRAV sensor design details. Most details from population.
Passive TH  > 100 times: Full Engine design details. Most details from population.

Active GRAV > 1000 times: Full Weapons design details

*With "Full design details" I mean the knowledge of the design, not the tech to produce it yourself.


This information would automatically be added to appropriate intelligence tabs.
« Last Edit: February 12, 2018, 06:22:19 AM by alex_brunius »
 

Offline FrederickAlexander

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Re: Replacing Teams?
« Reply #23 on: February 12, 2018, 08:08:01 AM »
The Idea of having special forces other then environment based excites me greatly, perhaps as an active espionage team where they do missions that increase attackers attack/hitchance. I do also like the idea of sabotage as well, however if you do feel the need to keep it out I can make do.
 

Offline QuakeIV

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Re: Replacing Teams?
« Reply #24 on: February 12, 2018, 10:29:25 AM »
I really like the idea of garnering more info from sensor data.  Also it would be really neat if spy teams could confirm the technical details of the hulls of various ships.  In general, information gathering and fighting the enemies ability to gather information on you is really critical to having a fun experience and is in general really cool.
 

Offline King-Salomon

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Re: Replacing Teams?
« Reply #25 on: February 12, 2018, 10:39:26 AM »
Yes, that is a good idea. I was also wondering how to get the proposed scout team to the surface undetected :)

Making espionage a ship-based system (Russian Trawler) solves that problem. In early versions of Aurora you could learn tech from scanning alien ships with active sensors and that was removed as being too powerful (and because it made active sensors extremely provocative). A more focused, expensive module intended for signals intelligence would be a better option, especially as potential tech gains would be a minor and rare part of that. It would mainly be about establishing knowledge about population, ground force and ship capabilities (without necessarily being able to duplicate those capabilities).

The new sensor array could be a designed system, allowing a separate tech line plus variable size and effective range.

Perhaps Diplomacy could be handled both via ship and some form of ground installation (Embassy).

As I wrote in the original suggestion: I am a fan of the new ship modules which allow multiple officers on a ship - so I really like the ship-based system for espionage & Diplomatie :)

What I am thinking is: in C# we will have the new ship modules to get away from the "ship commander gives all the bonus - so I would suggest that the espionage-modul + diplo-modul would create a new officer-slot to whom the bonus is based on instead of the bonus being based on the ship commander (only)... especially IF it would be possible to let the diplo-modul create an ADMIN-slot instead of a naval slot so that the Ambassador could be a civilian instead of a military officer  (The ship captain is in charge of the ship, the Ambassador in charge of the diplomatic corps on board)

Espionage: with ship-based espionage there would be a new and plausible reason to invest in stealth tech for ships (and build them) to reduce the possibility to get caught.


I can see that a ground unit instead of the geological/xeno teams is the better solution.. so I am very much for it :) - only problem I see maybe with the geo-units is the point of micromanaging (Load Groundunit, fly to body XY, unload groundunit, wait till scan complete, load GU... etc pp)... an order which can help here to reduce micromanagement would be great :)

REALLY looking forward for C# :)

PS: about prisoner camps, maybe there is a point in getting some espionage ground unit also - as prisoner camp (guards) were the unit commander gives the bonus...  a ship-modul for espionage and a small ground unit for interrogation
« Last Edit: February 12, 2018, 10:40:59 AM by King-Salomon »
 

Offline the obelisk

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Re: Replacing Teams?
« Reply #26 on: February 12, 2018, 03:06:16 PM »
As with diplomacy, I'm not a fan of simply replacing having something on the surface with a shipboard component (supplementing it is another matter).   If the main issue is how to get spies onto a planet, that could be solved by giving some sort of reason to have ships occasionally visit an embassy (however embassies are done) and making it possible to drop off/pick up spies while that's occurring.   Maybe embassies require maintenance our something.

This wouldn't be something you could do for races you're at war with, but if ships do get specialized spy components then you won't be without options(and if spy sensors are active and can be detected, I imagine races you aren't at war with wouldn't be too happy with detecting spy sensor emissions in their systems).   If there's some kind of way to stealthily drop social forces/saboteur ground units, that could also be used to infiltrate spies.   If you're at war with the other race, you probably wouldn't be able to recover them until you have a normal ground force presence on the planet (or until relationships normalize and you set up an embassy), but if you're fighting a race with several decently sized colonies they could still prove useful (and this all assumes you don't share a planet with the race, which is sometimes the case).
 

Offline MarcAFK

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Re: Replacing Teams?
« Reply #27 on: February 12, 2018, 03:28:09 PM »
In real life your diplomats can generally be spies anyway for your side or for theirs, if you really want to spy on somebody it helps immensely to have good enough relations with them that they don't mind having an embassy right inside their capital. Of course they assign espionage assets watching or infiltrating that embassy, and you do the same to their embassy on your world.
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Offline TheDeadlyShoe

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Re: Replacing Teams?
« Reply #28 on: February 12, 2018, 04:04:32 PM »
hmmmm...  There's value in removing possibly duplicated mechanics, but i am not sure about ground units filling all these functions...

There's not a lot particularly interesting about the ground units involved.  In practice, you'll churn out a few geo-units at the start of the game and then shuttle them around as necessary; same thing for xeno, except with a caveat of not doing it till you find some ruins.  It doesn't change anything on the ship design level; strategically you might start building troop transports earlier, but thats it.  It's unlikely your geo or xeno teams will ever get into any kind of fight or challenge. There are <spoilers>, but that isn't even a Team mechanic, but rather a recovery roll mechanic.

Conceptually there is also the difficulty that your geo teams are going to be examining places like tiny asteroids and comets, which is abstractable for a 'team' but a headscratcher for 'Science Truck Battalion 17'.

Scout units sound fine, though much like espionage teams, good luck ever using them outside a multi-earth start.

For my own games i usually RP using a science ship that remains in orbit when a geo or xeno team is conducting its work.  That would be extendable by having a 'Geology Lab' or 'Xenology Lab' which creates staff spots on a ship; then the lab-ship conducts the extended geo/xeno survey, rather than a team per se.

 

Offline Garfunkel

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Re: Replacing Teams?
« Reply #29 on: February 12, 2018, 04:07:08 PM »
SIGINT module for ships would be great. It can be little frustrating how little player can find out about enemy ships even in combat.

I can see a use for espionage teams still - if you do decide to create an embassy facility that can be sent to alien planets, then require that in place before an espionage team can be created. Their transport is handwaved as part of regular supply runs for the embassy and their hiding among aliens is easier to explain as cultural / trade envoys operating from the embassy. Make it available only during peace is a sensible limitation.

This facilitates both gameplay and storytelling: we'll have additional space options while keeping the option for James Bond style espionage as well. SIGINT can tell us that there are X facilities on a planet, HUMINT from the espionage team tells us that the facilities are building Y.
 
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