Simple sonar/ore detector like mechanic to improve MP interactions

Asa Losurdo shared this feedback 5 months ago

In vanilla (anarchy) multiplayer everyone is constantly trying to hide from other players because most stations can be destroyed by one determined raider.

This causes online player interactions to be rare. I know this from experience, I’ve played a good bit on the official servers. This game play experience highly resembles submarine combat minus all the fun parts of possibly hostile encounters.

With the post on the KeenSWH discord eluding to a combat update I suggest leaning into the gameplay elements of submarine combat to increase player interactions. Although this must be done in a way that will not buff offline raiding as this is a net negative on the gameplay experience, and can lead to players giving up.

Another issue is the extremely short time between player detection and player contact, which can be as short as 5 seconds. This short time promotes a kill on site mentality since with no time to communicate shooting first is the only sane action. This can be tweaked by increasing the time it takes to reach/jump to engagement ranges.

To improve player interactions in the ways stated above I suggest these changes (all numbers are suggestions):

  • Give antennas passive sensors toggle.
  1. Antenna doesn’t need to be broadcasting -- does not give away your position
  2. Does not return any range information -- increases time between detection and contact
  3. Detections only update once a second and when a player can see them – reduces performance cost.
  4. Detections are transmitted across antennas – allows sensor networks to be established
  5. Only spots grids 2km or more above a planet, stations with antenna ignore this -- Protects planet bases from being exposed by other detections and gives them an advantage.
  6. Only Spots characters under 2km – allows grids to thwart sneaky players
  7. Only spots small grids under 10km – small grinds will always see large grids first, allows them to dictate the encounter
  8. Only spots large grids under 30km – gives antenna/beacon broad casting purpose since they can make you presence known from further away.
  9. Only Spots grids with reactors and velocity > 20m/s – prevents stationary / mining grids from being spotted. – allows them to dictate the engagement, can escape if nescicary
  10. Only Spots grids with hydrogen engines/batteries and velocity > 40m/s -- allows for stealth ships and adds more depth to ship design
  11. Increases power use of the antenna slightly
  12. Spotted grids are described by their grid type and mass – allows players to size up spotted grids
  • Remove the accurate distance information from antennas further than 2km (averaged out to 5km increments when d > 2km)
  1. Prevent players from blind jumping directly to you
  2. Gives extra purpose to beacon as they will still give accurate range
  3. Allows voip over antennas to be used to hail spotted vessels safely.


This is also low effort but I believe it would break the intended result of the above changes. It may allow raiders to detect you with passive, toggle on active then jump immediately too you.

  • Give antennas Active Sensors toggle. – identical or slightly worse detection behavior to passive sensors but:
  • Uses more power
  • Gives exact ranging information – allows large grids to blind jump accurately to spotted targets
  • moving faster than 5m/s will cause a detection -- stations still can't be spotted
  • Broadcasts your exact location in a 50km range – must be displayed with a different icon since using active sensors likely entails less than friendly intentions.
  • Updates detections in real time.


The following are NOT low effort and are just possible extensions of the above systems.

  • Give active sensors their own blocks
  • Give active sensors a power and range slider
  1. Range Reduces the range of detections and detectability
  2. Power determines how frequently the detections update
  3. Power of multiple antennas add within their respective ranges
  • Expose detections of active sensors to scripts
  • A jammer block could be added
  1. Has a power / range slider
  2. Reduces the frequency at which active sensors update their spots of the jamming grid dependent on how much jamming power < active sensor power with in the selected range. If jamming > sensor then no detections are made.
  3. Power of multiple jammers add within their respective ranges
  4. Exposes your location identically to active sensors except no range information is leaked. is affected by the jammers range setting
  • Add a new vanilla turret to capitalize on this system, I suggest a reoil-less cannon on the default pedestal
  1. Slower turn rate
  2. Cheap ammo
  3. Fire rate ~70 rounds per min.
  4. Can auto target within 800m
  5. Fires at targets spotted by active sensors out to 3km, specifically at the current spotted location + velocity * flight time
  6. Accuracy at range is thus dependent on power of sensors/ jammers
  • Give remote controls ability to seek spots/ add a seeker block
  • Guided Missiles and countermeasures are cool!

Right that took too long

Thank you for reading this far,

It means a lot to me.

-Asa L.