Brace For Impact!

If someone was to ask me today what I thought they should study to get a job working on video games, I would tell them MATH. Everything in video games comes down to Math in one way or another – building a model is 3D points in space (Geometry!), scoring points is of course regular addition and subtraction. And collision detection in a video game is all about Trigonometry.

Today we’ve been working on the radar functions for the batteries. It’s important that the radar system functions properly first, primarily because of the lock system. You may remember the lock system – the lock system is responsible for determining how likely a hit is to be scored against a target. This is critical for determining certain turret AI functions (as well as enemy AI systems in general).

The lock system is complicated. Complicated enough that we don’t want to explain it here. We are big believers that when you play games like this, you should rely more on skill then on calculating out the results of the battle before you have it. For this reason, you will never find us writing out some crazy formula like Lock% = Range * Gunners Consumption of {Inserted Caffeinated Beverage Here} / {Random Value derived from Programmers hours of sleep for last week – likely a single digit number}. Will you be able to guess at them? Of course, but we aren’t going to tell you what they are.

The long and the short of it (that’s funny, and you’ll see why in a moment) is that it mostly comes down to range. (See? See how it’s funny now? Okay, maybe not.) But it also comes down to the settings on your radar. The radar has three different modes it can operate in: Track, Scan, and Disabled.

Disabled radar mode is painfully obvious – the Radar is off. This will reduce your radar signature to the enemy, important if you’re trying to sneak through a system. Track allows you to lock up and see only a single target – this mode will blast radar waves at the target and increase your lock percentage, but at the expense of not detecting new targets…or alerting you to them. If you are operating in a fleet, as you should be when playing Crawlspace, you may have another ally nearby with the ability to detect enemies for you in which case this is not an issue. But you’d better not try this alone.Scan mode is a bit more useful – it will allow you to lock up to eight targets (four for each battery, and four for each squadron of fighter/bomber craft. (We’ll cover Squadrons in a later post, as they have not yet been implemented.) Your lock will be of a lower quality, but you will be able to pick up new targets.

In addition to range, the power of the radar itself will also come into play when dealing with locks. The more power you have blasting them, the better the lock will be. These are controlled through two settings – Sweep and Range. Sweep addresses how much area left and right the radar will look for. This can be anything from a 45 degree cone in front of your ship to a 360 circle all the way around it. The lower the setting, the higher the power of the radar.

The opposite is true of the range. The higher the range – the higher the power of the radar. But the range to the target comes into play here as well, balancing it out. However, if you’re sending radar signals out 12 AU’s in a 45 degree sweep and the target is right on top of you, well…locks don’t get much sweeter then that.

Until Next Time, Sink Enemy Shipping!

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