The Future of Electronic Warfare
After playing SE for years now and I see that the game is becoming more and more of what I hoped to see, we've reached the point where now large grid ships are simply not the powerful ships they use to be. Between MARTs, guided missiles, gravity cannons, and advancements made with small grid ships, large ships have, in my eyes at least, lost their appeal. A large ship means more area to defend, more likely-hood of being hit by PMWs(player made weapons), and the overall efficiency being determined not by the raw stats of each given ship, but rather the complexity of its defensive grid.
What I've seen through these last 5 years is that, when a new design or a new feature is revealed and implemented, combat becomes smaller. More efficient. More lethal. What we need is a way around these threats. The decoy block saved us from excessive firepower from automated turrets. What will be our shield from guided rockets? They ignore decoys and target instead with cameras or follow a beam from a local or remote location. Advanced weapons systems like missiles and MARTs are hard to work around, and presently rely on the ability to identify the threat and barrage it swiftly with turrets or other PMWs.
My idea is simple to say, however I do not know how hard to produce. To advance EWAR beyond decoy blocks and boarding parties 'hacking' components.
For combat against camera/turret guided missiles. A block that produces a field that causes a 'static' effect to cameras, preventing them from seeing an area. Increasing the size of the field reduces effectiveness or increases the 'transparency' and vice versa. This might also work against turrets left to the AI.
For fighting other PMWs or even to jam the enemy vessels. A new weapon turret that can slow down blocks and their relative functionality. Acting like a 'laser' with no visual beam(indicators could be while firing it lights up) and places a localized field on target blocks and induces lag or packet loss between components and the rest of the ship. This is a bit much to create and be stable, even I can see that.
As for other implements that could change EWAR, but not related to ideas presented, is to add heat generation to objects(thermal tracking(if cloaking or distortion fields ever becomes a thing)), electromagnetic signals to objects(highly complex ships would have more, and improve tracking this way(again, if cloaking or distortion fields become a thing.)
In complete honesty, I can't see EWAR becoming more of a reality without major overhauls like heat generation, electronic signals, and ways to mitigate them. It doesn't have to be a block that just says 'No' to advanced weapons. Rather, it can be a a weapon or effect that simply blocks it. Like the 'Jammer' idea, simply creating a field that makes it hard for LiDAR and camera tracking to see. Or the 'Effector', slowing down the speed at which information can be processed by blocks(and then reflector plating to counteract certain amounts of this).
With the way of Space Engineers becoming smaller ships with more complicated functions and weapons, there needs to be a way to mitigate, not eliminate, the threats of the new world we are entering. Maybe this can be the spur that kicks the horse of more advanced and interesting combat into action.
Or maybe it's the rope that drops the guillotine on casual player's necks. Who knows? I'm not a programmer or user friendliness tester. I'm a guy who plays all games on maximum difficulty for the challenge.
So. Space Engineers community, what do YOU think? Is this a good idea? Would you like to see war and conflict evolve in Space Engineers? Do you want a weapon or shield against highly sophisticated devices? Cast your vote and let Keen know what you think. Maybe this'll go somewhere. Maybe it dies days after I submit this post. Let's find out.