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BB44 Transponders – More than meets the eye

January 18, 2013

“The local chat channel provides EVE players with an instant source of intel of who is in the system. With a quick glance you can tell who is in system and what your standings are to them. War targets, hated enemies, friends and corp mates all stand out clearly. Is this right? Should we have access to this intel for free with no work or effort? Should the Local chat channel even exist? Should normal space be more like wormhole space where the Local channel appears empty until someone speaks?”

I’m guessing not a few of you out there have watched Serenity and Firefly. And you’ll no doubt be aware that Malcolm Reynolds has more than a few tricks up his sleeve as far as his ship transponder (beacon) and various ways of spoofing things goes.

The two that I really remember are after being threatened with a missile being sent to the precise point of the beacon, he pulled it out of his sleeve and threw it to the government assassin (…make peace with your dear and fluffy lord…), or when Wash drops seven or so decoys to ensure they got away OK.

And that got me thinking. Transponders. And how they might be able to be worked into EvE online as the basis to local and what happens if you can turn them off. You would need to treat local in high, low and null security as well as wormholes all differently AND have mechanics to for both spoofing as well as a ship running silent.

  • High Sec – Local

Your transponder must always be on. Switching it off is possible, but is considered a traffic hazard of the highest order, and is a criminal action in the eyes of concord. Data received includes everything we currently see, pilot, sec status, ship name and type etc etc.

If you choose to switch off your transponder, concord is delayed by a factor relevant to distance and signature. There is a heavy security status hit in doing it however (kind of akin to trying to get out of a country on a passport different to the one you went in on….).

Yes. Before you ask, this could potentially cause more ganking, not less.

  • Low Sec – Delayed Local (transponder off)

We already have a mechanic in EvE that is a function of two separate things, and that is targeting. It’s reliant on scan resolution as well as the signature radius of a ship.

I’d like to see a similar mechanic dependent on the class of ship (and the smaller or larger the signature) and the security classification of the system. The lower the classification down to 0.1, the longer the until you appear in local (i.e less infrastructure).

Added to that, I believe that d-scan provides too much information in it’s current format. I’d like to see it dropped back a little bit. You can see that there is a cruiser sized ship in system, but can’t tell if it is T1, T2 or T3 for example. Fall off for d-scan is also a good idea with increasing inaccuracy the further out, but I suspect it might be something requiring a lot of coding.

Using D scan is an active rather than a passive thing, it will immediately show you up in local on use. PING!

Scan probes, being a specialist and skill based item will continue to provide all their current data. Wavering between yes and no on on immediate appearance in local on use.

Now this is something I’m also still considering because it might have a fairly substantial impact on faction warfare, if you have a negative status with that faction, you again appear immediately in local. They don’t like you, don’t trust you, and most certainly will be keeping tabs where they can.

  • NPC Null Sec – Local/Delayed local (Transponder Off)

I’d like this to be similar to the above, with wee bit of a twist. If you’re a positive sec status with that pirate faction they will actively assist you by stopping traffic data on you from reaching local for a time. The higher the sec status the better and the longer the delay.

If you’ve a negative sec status, lets just say that they’d be quite happy for others to find you and blow you out of the sky as soon as is possible. You’ll appear in local as soon as you hit system.

I like this because it adds a home ground advantage to those living in the area, and more of a reason to run missions (over and above the various LP rewards). A kind of influence if you will, even if it is on a very small scale by comparison to holding Sov.

  • True Null – No Local/Delayed Local (Transponder Off)

I don’t believe true null should automatically have local. Instead, I’d rather see it as tied to Sovereignty, either by specific anchorable and destructible structures, and/or by the level of Sov (the higher the level, the greater amount of infrastructure and the quicker ships appear).

Once it has been established, instant local information on alliance members is only provided to alliance members. There is still the delay dependent on ship size for a neutral or enemy fleet rolling though (for both) however, and alliance data is obviously never shared outside the alliance.

You can always choose to have your transponder on and appear in local immediately of course.

With this change scouting and eyes in system become much MUCH more important, as a quickly moving fleet could potentially move system to system to system without appearing in local at all….

  • Wormhole – No local. Transponder off

There is essentially no local infrastructure (jump gates), so there is nothing automated to track traffic movements. You can turn it on your transponder and be seen by everyone, but why would you…?

A couple of other things…

Cloaks – you will still appear in local, but after the appropriate delay (this may require a rethink tbh).

Cyno – Immediately appear in local if lit

Deployables – This could go one of two ways, either a via a probe launcher with a limited range of sig sizes you can deploy, or by jettisoning (anchoring?) an item. Coupled with the D Scan changes, the enemy will not be able to tell if a legitimate ship or a decoy without scanning it down and eyeballing.

Grid – local is immediate for any ship you are on grid with.

Running silent – You can elect to switch off all active modules and go silent. Your capacitor will not recharge as the ship power core is reduced to the barest minimum and will drain slowly over time. Movement is reduced to 0 as you slow to a full stop. Your ship signature is decreased by a factor of 10 making smaller ships (below battleship class) nearly unscannable. .

If however, your capacitor is completely drained (i.e afk for too long), then an emergency restart of the power core will be required and modules will be required to be onlined as per normal (i.e 90% capacitor).

A balancing act if you will, between being able to set an ambush to being chanced upon and in a vulnerable state. Capitals and super capitals are too reliant on constant power to all systems and as such cannot reduce their power core usage.

I really only started considering this today, and it’s a wee bit rough and ready round the edges. Freely admit too, these ideas will probably raise more questions than they answer, and I have this funny feeling I’ve forgotten something.

I’m sure you’ll let me know if I have 😛

Anyway, here tis. Enjoy.



Voices in the Darkness

Points of Origin
Unbreaking Local – An EVE Intel System Proposal by Rhavas @ Interstellar Privateer
Getting Rid of Local & More Local by Poetic Stanziel @ Poetic Discourse

Found on D-Scan

Local Banter

From → Eve Online

  1. Decided to put an addendum in here – because of well, banter. Definition: to speak or act playfully or wittily.

    There seem to be some out there who are mightily miffed that the subject is even being discussed. Such that it appears a sense of humor bypass has suddenly kicked in on some fronts.

    For the record of imho, is local working OK. Yes. To a point. Could it be better? I think so. Is it simple and equal for all in its present state, providing a level playing field for all in system? Yuh huh. Will CCP do anything about it before Ragnarok and the next ice age? Unlikely.

    Stan’s posed question is a BANTER. Not a forum post or reply.And it’s certainly not an ultra serious FEEX EET NAO CEE CEE PEE!!!!!

  2. Damn, I should have read your contribution before writing my own. I think we basically wrote more or less the same. Well at leeast now you know that at least one blog banterer agrees with you 😀

    • Well, your should read Penny’s (Tiger Ears) submission. She was the first poster as far as the banter goes, and made a lot of the same points. Looks like you’re the third person to invent the wheel 🙂

      Interesting that we are all quite similar in thought on this though….

  3. I like these ideas. I’ll just add something about cloaks, which I’m not sure I touched on in my own post.

    Cloaking hides your transponder. But this doesn’t change how local works in most places. You have to decloak to jump, and decloak to dock, so your transponder will always be active when interacting with space hardware and your position in space gets updated normally. All that cloaking means is that your transponder gets deactivated so that you are not spotted with d-scan, or when dropping on-grid with other ships.

    As such, I don’t see any change to local having an affect on cloaking.

    • I considered that tbh… but what about high sec? Suggest that you’d have to make cloaking illegal there… or perhaps not. Concord can already see straight through them iirc. 6am here, no coffee yet. speaking of which…

      • Rixx Javix’s ideas for an encounter-based local, although quite flawed from being incomplete, contain a little gem that can help with this. Cloaking in high-sec shouldn’t pose a problem, as Concord must already know you are there, and so you appear in local. Unless, of course, you appear from through a wormhole. But there still is nothing wrong with staying cloaked and hidden from Concord.

        Why not? Because you must decloak to perform any criminal act, and any criminal act results in a flag, which is as mandatory, if not more, if that’s possible, than the transponder. If your ship performs a criminal act, most of which involve another ship carrying its own transponder anyway, and you pop up in local immediately. And, of course, once in local you don’t leave until you jump through a stargate (or dock elsewhere after using more wormholes).

      • I suspect the disparity was probably because I’m coming at it from a real world transponder off = more crashes = bad idea generally, as opposed to a purely EvE mechanic based perspective. I think Rixx and Mike Azaria are right though about alienating any one section of the player base though I must admit I had a wee smile about the HTFU null sec comment from Mike. Remember the squee over high end ores in WH space…? 😛

    • On my post someone asked what I would think should happen with ships that cyno-jump into a system. Personally I am not sure, of course the cyno-field has it’s own signature, maybe one could argue that the field would reflect and transmit the transponder signature of ships?

      One thing that I am pretty much in support of, though, is that Black Ops ships and others using a cover cynosural field should not appear in local. After all, this is _covert_ infiltration. It would be really stupid to include a signal transponder that announces you presence if that is what you are doing.

      • I’m pro having anyone jumping in via the cyno appear in local immediately. It’s a massive beacon visible from anywhere in system. People arriving by cyno would be illuminated by it to the nth degree. No hiding while you’re sitting next to it I’d say 🙂

        As far as a covert cyno goes, I’d have to agree. Though without some sort of counter cloaking would be significantly overpowered…

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  1. BB44 Local at a distance | A Missioneer in Eve

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