Intercept 3.2 update

Intercept 3.2 jay!

Oh, has it been this long since my last post? Why? Well, I switched from working at Starbreeze on Syndicate  and joined Machine Games to work on an as of yet undisclosed title.

Lately I have gone through the Interecpt rules, simplifying it and making it easier to play. The result is the all new Interecpt 3.2 available here and my ready-made ship designs based on Traveller available here. The most important changes have to do with the Sensor rules and how planet LOS is handled but there are small changes here and there throughout the rules. The aerobrake rules are also simplified and expanded to cover crashing into planets as well, however unlikely that may be.

Sensors in 3.2

Performing Scans work more or less the same as in 3.2; scans are normally done in boxes but the option to do really narrow scans on 1×1 and 3×3 squares remain. If your signal is 0-5 you have a Contact and if it goes to 6+ the Contact becomes Tracked. Contacts always tell you the position so narrowing down the Scan to get the much coveted 6+ Signal has become much easier. Consecutive Contact Scans have the Signal requirements for Tracked lowered as follows:

  • First Contact: Tracked on 6+
  • Second consecutive Contact: Tracked on 5+
  • Third consecutive Contact: Tracked on 4+
  • Fourth or more consecutive Contact: Tracked on 3+

Tracked Signal requirement goes back to 6+ as soon as the sensing ships fail to get a 0+ Signal out of it. This leads to interesting choices for the sensing ships: Should they reduce Scan area to increase Signal and risk missing the ship completely and thus nullifying the cumulative bonus?

Radar Scans treat Contact as Tracked so any Radar Signal of 0+ becomes a Tracked result. The flip side of Radar is of course that any ship getting a Tracked result of a target (0+ Signal) must tell everyone its position, ships therefore tend not to use their Radar until after they have already become Tracked.  Think of Radar as a flashlight searching for people at night and you’ll understand why you cannot find someone with your flaslight without them also finding you.

Planet Line Of Sight

One problem with the old planet LOS rules was that it was entirely up to the sensing player to make sure the Scan was correct, it was also quite hard to do Scans near the edge of the LOS blocked arc because Scans are always square while the edges of arcs are always jaggy. The new rules let the sensing player put his Scans wherever he wants them ignoring planet LOS, he can even put them on top of the planet itself. It is then up to the other player to check LOS using the following procedure: Target player checks what arcs are touched by the Scan. He then asks the sensing player what opposite arc, if any, his sensing ship is in. The sensing player must tell him whether he is inside one of those opposite arcs or not and the target player can simply ignore the Scan for targets inside the opposite Scan. If the sensing player did a Scan including the planet all arcs are touched so the sensing player then must tell the player in what arc his sensing ship is in that case.

Sunfactor

The Sunfactor represents the strong light, microwaves and neutrino emanating from the star. This factor is typically 6, +1 per orbit inside the hospitable zone, -1 per orbit outside the hospitable zone down to 0. Earth is 6, Mars is 5, Venus is 7 etc. The Sun factor is subtracted from Scans towards the sun as per the Sunblinding rules. Ships in the planetary shadow subtract the Sunfactor from their Visual(Hull). Optional: Streamlined and Airframe ships not in shadow and directly facing the sun subtract Sunfactor / 2, rounded up.

Sunblinding

Scans toward the sun are harder as he sensors are blinded by the sun. If your ship is below or south of your scan the Scan factor may be reduced by the Sunfactor. Mass scans ignore Sunblinding and any sensing ship in planetary shadow also avoid Sunblinding except Neutrino scans who suffer Sunblinding even when in shadow. Complicated?
Sunblinding subtract the Sunfactor from Scan.
Mass Scans ignore Sunblinding.
Neutrino Scans cannot use planetary shadow.

God must love vacuum, why else would he create so much of it?

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2 Responses to “Intercept 3.2 update”

  1. What if a planet is larger than 10 000 km? Will the planet shadow extend to those columns too? How do I handle landing and aero braking for such large planets?

    • Larger planets are best handled by changing the scale. Planets like Jupiter and Saturn can be reasonably simulated at the 100 000 km per square / 1 hour per turn scale. If you still want multiple square planets just make sure the have an odd numbered size; 1, 3, 5 squares etc and consider all of those squares as ON te planet and those adjacent as the atmosphere squares. Larger planets substantially increase the likelihood of crashes and make polar orbits harder to safely maintain.You have been warned :). The original, really old grandfather of Interecpt, had a scale of 1000 km per square / 5 minutes per turn with much larger planets and really complicated planet LOS rules.

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