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Old 07-26-2014, 12:33 AM   #1
MatthewVilter
 
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Default [High-Tech, Ultra-Tech] Targeting systems questions

So, this thread got me thinking about targeting systems and how little I know about them. I did some reading and now I have a lot of questions. I hope this is not too much to ask people to parse.

In the Basic Set:

Scanning Sense (Targeting; p. 81-82) lets you take an Aim maneuver to “lock onto” something “just as if you had a high-tech rangefinder.” which gives “+3 to hit” with aimed attacks. I am guessing this is where the rules in Ultra-Tech (and later High-Tech) came from in the first place.

There is a note (p. 364, also HT p. 155) that the combined bonus from targeting systems can’t exceed the base Acc of the weapon. This seems like it will be very important when we start stacking the bonuses in High-Tech or Ultra-Tech.

Page 469 talks about vehicles’ targeting systems. It says that they “add a bonus to the gunner’s effective skill, just like a telescopic sight.” and that they mostly require an Aim maneuver to work. But do they require multiple seconds to work like telescopic sights? It notes “radar-directed fire control” as something that would give +3 which seems right so far but weak when compared to slaving a weapon in Ultra-Tech.


In High-Tech:

Collimating and Reflex Sights (HT p. 156) give “+1 skill” and Targeting Lasers (HT p. 156) give “+1 to hit”. They don’t stack with each other and you can’t use a Reflex Sight with a telescopic sight. This makes sense to me; being able to see where your weapon is pointed should help if you are Aiming or not.

Computer Sights (HT p. 157) have "a targeting program that gives +1 to [skill]" and a laser rangefinder (which gives "+3 Acc out to x yards" in the stat block) and it talks about the shooter lasing the target to get an aiming point and getting "+3 to hit" with an aimed attack. How long this supposed to take? Is it just a part of normal Aiming? I guess the targeting program helps regardless but the rangefinder needs you to aim (and lase before that?)?

Various guns come with or have available Computer Sights with laser rangefinders that give "+3 Acc". Some mention that they take one second to use, some do not. I can’t find where to buy a laser rangefinder separately from a Computer Sight or what its effect would be.

The Targeting Mode on an Active Sensor (HT p. 45) needs to locked on with an Aim maneuver. It then acts "as a rangefinder, determining the target’s precise range and speed." which gives "+3 to hit" with an aimed attack which is cumulative with targeting software. Do rangefinders really give precise speed? Sounds more like lidar to me... We are actually talking about getting a vector and not really just speed, right? If you added a Computer Sight you would get the +1 to skill from the targeting program but would you also stack the +3 Acc from the rangefinder? It seems to me that that would be double dipping...

Some vehicles have a “targeting computer” that gives +1 Gunner. I guess this is more or less the same as the one in the Computer Sights and, like those, just works all the time.

Bow rangefinders (and/or some other things; HT p. 201) give "+1 Acc". I would think that if anything would get strong dividends on a rangefinder it would be a bow...


In Ultra-Tech:

Binoculars (UT p. 60) include a laser rangefinder. Could this be used in conjunction with a gun to to claim some bonus to hit, skill, or Acc? Again, I can’t find where to buy a laser rangefinder as an accessory.

The “rangefinder mode” on a tactical Active Sensor (UT p. 63) needs to locked on with an Aim maneuver. Again this gives “precise range and speed” and gives “+3 to Hit” with an aimed attack but this time only “in conjunction with targeting software”.

A HUD Link (UT p. 149) tells you exactly where your gun is pointing. This sounds a lot like a Targeting Laser/Laser Sight (HT p. 156, UT p. 149) or a Reflex Sight (HT p. 156) to me but instead of giving “+1 to hit” or “+1 to skill” like those and not stacking with them it gives “+1 Acc” and is “not cumulative with the Acc bonus for other targeting systems“. Does that mean that it does not help with unaimed shots at all and is cumulative with a Targeting Laser? This seems like it would come up a lot because Smartgun Electronics (also UT p. 149) include both.

Compact and Enhanced Targeting Scopes (UT p. 149) interface with the weapon’s “HUD sight” (HUD Link?) giving a bonus of between +2 and +5 “to aimed shots” which I guess is in addition to the “+1 Acc” from the HUD Link. Or is “bonus to aimed shots” synonymous with Acc? Also; these bonuses match the bonuses that one could get from the scopes’ magnification, are they in addition? If not do they take n seconds to use the way High-Tech scopes do?

A Targeting program (UT p. 149) gives either +1 or +2 to skill if used with a HUD Link. Again, I guess, in addition to the +1 Acc from the HUD Link? If you are using a tactical sensor and a mounted weapon with the Targeting program you can “slave” the weapon to the program which gives you doubled Acc instead of “all the bonuses for scopes, computers, sensors, etc.” So I guess this includes non-Acc bonuses like from Targeting Lasers and Reflex Sights?


So:

Do bonuses to skill and to hit (like from Targeting Lasers, vehicles’ targeting systems, Reflex Sights, and Targeting programs) count against the base weapon Acc limit on targeting bonuses? Looking at the rules for weapons slaved to sensors I would think yes.

Why do Computer Sights using laser rangefinders give the same bonus that a tactical radar or lidar would? Maybe I am not understanding what is meant by “laser rangefinder”?

Does locking onto a target with an Aim maneuver count as Aiming at it for your attacks next turn or do you need to lock on and then aim and then fire?

Is there or should there be a skill roll to lock on?

Ultra-Tech’s tactical Sensors only working “in conjunction with targeting software” doesn’t matter most of the time, right? It is more troublesome to get a tactical sensor on your gun then targeting software, I would think (and having both with a mounted weapon seems more likely than not).

Should there be Ultra-Tech laser rangefinders like the ones in High-Tech available to link with your Targeting program and/or Scope and/or HUD? I poked my head (-2 for a pop up attack) into Tactical Shooting (which explains rangefinding on p. 27) for this one and with that kind of bonus it seems like a laser rangefinder and auto-adjusting sights should be a part of every serious Ultra-Tech shooter’s kit if not simply added to all Smartgun Electronics.


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Old 07-26-2014, 03:19 AM   #2
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Default Re: [High-Tech, Ultra-Tech] Targeting systems questions

There is a highly related thread here.


Reading there I have learned:

I should probably pick up a certain issue of Pyramid.

I'm not the only one who is sceptical about using the bonuses from telescopic sights and rangefinders at close range.

I'm not the only one who thinks that the HUD Sight should give +1 to hit or skill instead of +1 Acc.

There is good reason to think that low magnification of (at least) TL 9-10 Enhanced Targeting Scopes is silly.

People seem to think that a rangefinder should work automatically and immediately. I think that makes sense (at least at TL 9+).

To always wear a Laser Detector!

That a modern assault rifle with a sight mounted 3" over the bore and zeroed at 50 yards has a bullet path that does not deviate more than 2" from the line of sight within 250 yards.


And now I am wondering what a passive rangefinding sensor would look like...
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Old 07-30-2014, 09:21 PM   #3
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Default Re: [High-Tech, Ultra-Tech] Targeting systems questions

ROUND TWO! (ding ding)

Homing weapons questions:

Reading comprehension check:

Basic p. 413 gives Homing Weapons a skill of 10 and they get +Acc if you made your Artillery (Guided Missile) roll. I take it that the Acc score of the 70mm SAM (the only homing weapon in Basic) represents it’s guidance system’s ability to home in on a target (as I don’t know what else would and I don’t think Acc 7 has anything to do with the precision of a SAM in a hypothetical iron sighted direct fire mode.

Ultra-Tech p. 146 gives each type of homing system a skill of 13 or 14 at TL 9 and lets you fire Homing Projectiles out of a variety of weapons with wildly different Acc scores (including weapons that fire basically the same type of shot where the Acc difference presumably comes from ergonomics and not firing characteristics eg Gyroc Carbine vs Holdout Gyroc) which is added to the homing system’s skill as normal if you make your Artillery (Guided Missile) roll.

Am I understanding this right?


Combat rules:

How should I handle lock ons? The RAW seem quite strange to me. Do you know if your Artillery (Guided Missile) roll was successful before you fire? Can you try again? Can you fire without Aiming? And if you fire without a lock (one way or another) you lose Acc? Why not a guaranteed miss?

Maybe direct fire without a lock should use (different then current) Acc (if you Aim) and would be a roll to see if you can nail the target with what is effectively a dumbfire rocket (and suffer range penalties)? And locked shots would ignore Acc and just use a skill based on their seeker head’s hardware (based on their current Acc and the stats given for Ultra-Tech seeker heads)?

Maybe some hardware would attempt to lock onto a (random/IFFed) target in flight or work as Guided Weapons if launched without a target lock.


The lock on roll:

What does this represent? Is it still needed if you already have a lock with another active sensor system? If range penalties apply to it what is the point of homing weapons? If range penalties don’t why not and why should anyone use active homing sensors when passive ones are just as good?

Discussion in this thread seems to indicate that range and other sense roll modifiers could be applied if one were to come up with proper rules for the sensors being used, when to apply +10 for the target being in the open, dark background silhouetting, etc.

Alternatively would it make sense to use modified range penalties (like how Forward Observer (Basic p. 196, High-Tech p. 139) does) for the lock on roll?


What can be Homing:

Ultra-Tech p. 146 says that “Guns may fire homing projectiles if the homing system can fit in the bullet or shell...” does this include grenade launchers, mortars, cannons, air guns, and electromagnetic guns?

Presumably micromissiles can be guided but not normal gyrocs. Why is it more expensive to make (already rocket propelled) gyrocs homing then to make bullets (which otherwise are just dumb metal) homing?


Homing bullets and grenades:

All of the Guided and Homing weapons in Basic and High-Tech are rocket propelled. Does it even make sense to use the same rules for Homing shots fired from guns and grenade launchers? Would it make sense to still fire these weapons with Guns skill but at a bonus if you (either as part of your normal Aim or as a separate one before that) locked onto the target before firing? Maybe a bonus to hit. Maybe reduced RCL too? Some limitation on hit location targeting to reflect that most of the time the bullet will be homing in on the target’s center of mass.


Anti-air missiles and speed:

Is the ability of, say, a stinger missile to (to a certain extent) come up behind an airplane and mitigate the difficulty of hitting a fast target by (sort of) rendezvousing with it covered by the weapon’s Acc or should fast missiles get some advantage to mitigate speed penalties in the same way that all Homing Weapons ignore range penalties?

Kromm says here that Homing Weapons ignore speed penalties but Basic p. 413 explicitly lists speed as one of the “other ranged combat modifiers” that do apply to a homing weapon’s Attack maneuver.
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Old 07-30-2014, 11:33 PM   #4
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Default Re: [High-Tech, Ultra-Tech] Targeting systems questions

Yea, you've found a lot of stuff that I've been struggling with.

I've got the aiming modifiers pretty much all figured out--that issue of Pyramid is super handy for that. Basically, HUDs + targeting software give bonuses to SKILL, not Acc. The rangefinding bonus is something that's up in the air for me. I am currently not enthralled with it, and just ignore it, but I think what I would eventually like to do is have it reduce range penalties beyond a certain point (like "if total range penalties are greater than or equal to -10, the rangefinding bonus applies and reduces this penalty by 3").

The low magnification of the ETS and CTS are dealt with in that Pyramid (basically, they can go anywhere from x2 to x32 or higher pretty trivially).

Laser detectors are good if for no other reason than giving you +1 to Dodge against all weapons that use laser sights. I would also note that you can't get the rangefinding bonus WITHOUT pinging the target with a laser or radar, so maybe that's a balancing mechanism.

I defer to UT for Homing weapon skills. Your understanding of how you fire them is the same as mine. Roll for lock-on, if you succeed, you get the Acc in addition to the skill, and they don't suffer range penalties, so they are very, very likely to hit.

There are currently no clear rules on dumbfiring those types of weapons--however, I'd just treat them as normal ranged attacks with the listed Acc (usually not high).

Homing and guided weapons don't come up enough in my games yet to justify worrying too much about them, but the rest of this HAS come up quite a bit, hence my more confident rulings for my games.

What kind of game are you running where this will come up? THS? Something Mass Effect-y?
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Old 07-31-2014, 12:58 AM   #5
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Default Re: [High-Tech, Ultra-Tech] Targeting systems questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by apoc527 View Post
I would also note that you can't get the rangefinding bonus WITHOUT pinging the target with a laser or radar, so maybe that's a balancing mechanism.
Quote:
Originally Posted by PU2:Perks, p.13
The only combat effect is that you don’t need a
rangefinder to benefit from rules that require one.
Combat benefits of a rangefinder for a perk? Yes please.
Also, if there's a way to enjoy this benefit with the eyes alone, surely there's some kind of program that can do rangefinding from a video feed from the gun, at least at TL9+.
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Old 07-31-2014, 08:18 AM   #6
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Default Re: [High-Tech, Ultra-Tech] Targeting systems questions

A device with two optical lenses set apart, with auto-focus, should be able to triangulate range the same as the human brain—maybe doable at TL8.
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Old 07-31-2014, 10:27 AM   #7
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Default Re: [High-Tech, Ultra-Tech] Targeting systems questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gigermann View Post
A device with two optical lenses set apart, with auto-focus, should be able to triangulate range the same as the human brain—maybe doable at TL8.
That doesn't say much, you couldn't realistically get the rangefinder bonus with human eyes beyond 20 yards or so, at which range rangefinders shouldn't do any good unless you're using thrown weapons.
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Old 07-31-2014, 11:21 AM   #8
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Default Re: [High-Tech, Ultra-Tech] Targeting systems questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anthony View Post
That doesn't say much, you couldn't realistically get the rangefinder bonus with human eyes beyond 20 yards or so, at which range rangefinders shouldn't do any good unless you're using thrown weapons.
I don't mean "with the same efficiency." I feel confident in believing that a computer could match the two images and calculate the distance accurately and near-instantaneously, dependent on the resolution of the camera.
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Old 07-31-2014, 12:03 PM   #9
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Default Re: [High-Tech, Ultra-Tech] Targeting systems questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gigermann View Post
I feel confident in believing that a computer could match the two images and calculate the distance accurately and near-instantaneously, dependent on the resolution of the camera.
'dependent on the resolution of the camera' is a big limitation. Essentially, the error of rangefinding by parallax scales with distance^2 * resolution / sensor separation. For human vision with a resolution of approximately 3e-4 radians and separation of maybe 6e-2m, that works out to D^2 / 200m, or a 2m error at 20m and a 200m error (aka totally useless) at 200m. By comparison, an active sensor will have an error of a meter or two regardless of range.
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Old 07-31-2014, 12:15 PM   #10
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Default Re: [High-Tech, Ultra-Tech] Targeting systems questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by vicky_molokh View Post
Combat benefits of a rangefinder for a perk? Yes please.
I'm fairly sure that means you can ignore any penalties for not having a rangefinder, allows Precision Aiming without equipment or spotter, and maybe halves the range penalty for Forward Observer. It isn't "+3 to hit with ranged weapons all the time" for 1 point. Wasn't there a ruling on this?
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