Sensors

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Sensors are equipment that are available on the Naval Battlezone server that assist in the detection of other vehicles. There are four main types of sensors that fall into the World War 2 theme of the server, including a couple of modern day "super sensors" that are also available for a price. A sensor typically consists of just a single sign on the vehicle that represents the display screen.


Standard Sensor Display

All of the four primary sensors (detector, radar, hydrophone, sonar) use the same standard display on it's control sign. The sign essentially represents a "compass rose" where 0 degrees represents what is in front of your vehicle. 90 degrees is to the right of your vehicle, 180 degrees is behind your vehicle, and 270 is to the left.

A "contact" (another vehicle) is represented on the standard display with a symbol which also represents "contact strength". The symbols are...

  • "." represents a weak contact
  • "x" represents a medium strength contact
  • "X" represents a strong contact

Some sensors use a secondary set of symbols to represent a different type of contact...

  • "." represents a weak secondary contact
  • "o" represents a medium strength secondary contact
  • "O" represents a strong secondary contact

Roughly the strength of the signal can give you an idea as to how far away your target is...however keep in mind that other things besides distance can affect signal strength.

Radar display as target crosses in front of ship.

The directions of all the contacts you read off of the sign are "relative bearings"...or in other words, which direction the target is relative to the front of your vehicle. As the target vehicles move around, or as you drive and turn your own vehicle, you will see the bearings of your targets move appropriately.

Standard Sensors

Four primary sensors are modeled in NBZ. Although we try to put a lot of depth and detail into their workings and calculations, we also try to keep their interface simple, consistent and easy to use.


Radar

Radar is one of the most basic, more effective, and best understood sensors on the server. It is standard equipment on almost all vehicles and highly effective at detecting most targets on the server.


Background

Radar is a real life sensor/object detection system that was developed in the years leading up until World War 2 and was perfected and used extensively and very effectively throughout the war, and even today still remains an effective sensor. The term radar was coined in 1940 by the United States Navy as an acronym for RAdio Detection And Ranging.

It uses a radar dish or antenna that actively transmits out pulses of radio waves. When these waves contact a solid object, such as a target, they are reflected off of the target, and bounced back towards the radar system that originally transmitted the radio pulse. Based on the time it takes for the radio signal to be reflected back to the system, a range/distance to the target can be calculated. Using this method, radar can gather bearing and distance information about a target that is beyond your visual range.


Usage

On Naval Battlezone, we try to emulate the real life function of the radar as much as possible, while keeping it simple and easy to use. The radar uses the Standard Sensor Display described above. Radar waves are not suitable for detecting objects that are underwater...so they will not detect submerged submarines...however beyond that they are capable of detecting ships, aircraft, and tanks.

To build a Radar on your vehicle, you only need to place a sign, and the first line of the sign needs to say "Radar". It costs about $300 per sign. You can have more than one radar sign on a vehicle, however they will all show the same information (but still useful for giving you additional displays to read).

Radar emits an ACTIVE signal...in other words they actively transmit energy. This energy, the radar waves, can be detected by other vehicles that are equipped with a detector. In other words, whenever you are using your radar you might also be broadcasting your own position to other vehicles, helping them find you as well. If the radar is turned off, it will not transmit and therefore will not give away your own position.

You can turn ON/OFF the radar by RIGHT clicking on the Radar sign. When the radar is disabled it's display will be replaced to show the word "OFF".


Specs

  • Transmission Type: Active, radio waves
  • Detection Types: Ships, Aircraft, Tanks, Surfaced Submarines...cannot detect Submerged Submarines
  • Cost: $300
  • Controls: Right click to turn on/off
  • Range: Medium range
  • Signal strength factors: Distance to target
  • Limitations: Radar will not work underwater. If equipped on a submarine that dives, the radars will automatically be disabled, and will not turn back on until after the submarine surfaces.


Detector & Radar display Active showing Compass style directions.

Detector

The detector is the passive version of the radar. It doesn't quite have the reliability of the radar, however it is also a very effective sensor...especially for stalking targets without them knowing you are there.


Background

A detector is a sensor that incorporates both a radar and radio emission detector. In real life there was a wide variety of types of sensors and instruments that were used to fulfill this role...however on NBZ they have all been simplified and packaged into the single detector sensor.

Radar, as described above, essentially consists of two parts...a transmitter that sends out the radio wave energy...and a receiver that detects the "echo" (the reflected radio wave). Well what if the target ship that is getting hit with the radar wave is equipped with just the receiver-part of the radar system? That would allow it to detect the radar wave that it is getting hit with from the other ship...right? It can be useful information to know when someone out on the ocean is using a radar! That is essentially the idea behind the detector.

These detectors can provide a bearing...which way the emission is coming from. They can't directly tell you how far away a target is...however it can be roughly estimated based on the strength of the signal.


Usage

The detector uses the Standard Sensor Display described above. A detector will only produce a contact if it detects a radar or radio transmission from another vehicle. Any vehicle within range that has it's radar turned on will be detected, and any vehicle within range that transmits a "/radio" message can also be detected for up to 30 seconds.

To build a Detector on your vehicle, you only need to place a sign, and the first line of the sign needs to say "Detector". It costs about $150 per sign. You can have more than one detector sign on a vehicle, however they will all show the same information (but still useful for giving you additional displays to read).

Detectors emit a PASSIVE signal...which is to say that they don't emit anything at all...they only listen. Detectors are always turned ON as there is no reason to shut them off (unless you go underwater in a submarine...then they automatically disable themselves). Since they do not make any emissions, they will not give away your own position...this makes them ideal for stealth vehicles.

Detectors have a range advantage over radar (if you think about it...for a ship using a radar, it's signal has to travel twice the distance to get all the way back). This means that when a ship is using radar it is really giving itself away more than it is detecting. Signal strength depends on the distance to the vehicle that made the radar/radio emission.

Detectors use the primary symbols (".","x","X") to represent radar transmissions, and the secondary symbols (".","o","O") to represent radio transmissions.


Specs

  • Transmission Type: Passive, radar and radio wave detection
  • Detection Types: Ships, Aircraft, Tanks, Surfaced Submarines...cannot detect Submerged Submarines
  • Cost: $150
  • Controls: None...always on
  • Range: Long Range
  • Signal strength factors: Distance to target
  • Limitations: Detector will not work underwater. If equipped on a submarine that dives, the detectors will automatically be disabled, and will not turn back on until after the submarine surfaces. Vehicles that do not have radar, or has their radar turned off, and are not making radio transmissions, will be invisible to the detector.


Sonar

The sonar is an advanced sensor that is typically only equipped on ships and submarines that plan on hunting submarines. It is primarily a tool for detecting and tracking hidden submarines that are deep underwater.

Sonar Sign - Old Texture Pack appearance

Background

In real life, Sonar is actually a term that is used to represent both active sonar (which is what this sensor represents) and passive sonar (which is what the Hydrophone represents). Sonar is sometimes used specifically just to represent the active version, which is what we have chosen to do on the server.

A sonar system works by transmitting sound waves...and waiting for the wave to bounce/reflect off a target and produce an echo/contact. The system essentially works the same as a radar system...except instead of radio waves it uses sound waves. It is used to detect objects that are underwater or on the surface of the water. A sonar echo gives you both the bearing and range to the target.

The first prototype active sonar systems were produced by the French and British in 1918, just at the end of World War 1. It was designed to assist in detecting underwater German U-Boats, which we're becomming an ever increasing threat. The system would be known as ASDIC..and at the start of World War 2 ASDIC was transferred from the British to their American allies as well. It is well known for it's identifying "PING" sound that the system produces...a menacing sound to a submerged submarine that is attempting to hide from a pursuing surface vessel. Submarines would try to dive as deep as they can, seek out thermal layers (rapid changes in water temperature as you go deeper...it distorts the sound waves) and hide near the ocean bottom to try to avoid detection.

In truth, it would probably be more accurate on NBZ if we would call this sensor "ASDIC" instead of "Sonar".


Usage

On Naval Battlezone, we try to emulate the real life function of the sonar as much as possible, while keeping it simple and easy to use. The sonar uses the Standard Sensor Display described above. Sonar waves are only suitable for detecting objects that are on the surface of the water or underwater...which limits them to ships and submarines...aircraft and tanks will never be detected on sonar. In addition, sonar only works on vehicles that are in the water, so only ships and submarines should be equipped with sonar.

To build a Sonar on your vehicle, you only need to place a sign, and the first line of the sign needs to say "Sonar". It costs about $500 per sign. You can have more than one sonar sign on a vehicle, however they will all show the same information (but still useful for giving you additional displays to read).

Sonar emits an ACTIVE signal...in other words they actively transmit sound. This sound can be detected by other vehicles that are equipped with a hydrophone. In other words, whenever you are using your sonar you might also be broadcasting your own position to other vehicles, helping them find you as well. If the sonar is turned off, it will not transmit and therefore will not give away your own position. You can also hear a "PING" sound whenever the sonar sends out a pulse...and if a ship/sub receives your PING they will hear it as well.

You can turn ON/OFF the sonar by RIGHT clicking on the Sonar sign. When the sonar is disabled it's display will be replaced to show the word "OFF".

Because sonar depends on sound, the signal strength of a contact depends on a wide number of factors. As usual the distance to the target affects strength, but also the difference in depth between the vehicle with the sonar and the target can have an affect. A ship on the surface will have troubles detecting a deep submarine, and vice-verse. The noise of your own vehicle can also affect your ability to hear the results of your pings. Your vehicle noise depends on your engine speed...if you are traveling at flank speed you will be so noisy that you will not be able to hear anything, and will detect nothing on sonar. When your engines are stopped, you have the best chances of detecting contacts on sonar. The speed/noise level of the target has no effect on sonar.


Specs

  • Transmission Type: Active, sound waves
  • Detection Types: Ships and Submarines
  • Cost: $500
  • Controls: Right click to turn on/off
  • Range: Short range
  • Signal strength factors: Distance to target, difference in depth, own ship's engine speed/noise
  • Limitations: Sonar will only work when equipped on ships and submarines.

Hydrophone

The hydrophone is a sensor that is only equipped on ships and submarines and is used for detecting ships and submarines. It can be used for detecting submarines that are deep underwater, as well as for detecting ships/submarines at long distance.

Hydrophone Sign

Background

In real life, Sonar is actually a term that is used to represent both active sonar (which is what the NBZ Sonar represents) and passive sonar. On NBZ the Hydrophone is used to represent passive sonar.

A hydrophone is simply a directional underwater microphone. Sound waves travel very effectively underwater...you can gather a great deal of information about a target just by listening to it. A bearing to the target is easy enough to get...however range can only be roughly estimated based on how loud the target sounds. A well-trained hydrophone operator could also tell you if the target is a merchant, warship or submarine...if it is moving fast or slow, or if it is approaching or receding.

It was developed in the later years of World War 1, and remained the primary, and for many nations the only, method of detecting submerged targets even up until the early years of World War 2. Even today, passive sonar (the modern day term) combined with modern day technology and computers are used to gather incredible amounts of information about a target just by listening to it. By analying the sound, it can identify a target, determine it's speed, and over time even determine it's range and heading. Everything you need to accurately place a torpedo into your target!


Usage

You might be tempted to think that just as the detector is to the radar, the hydrophone is to the sonar. Although the hydrophone does fulfill the role of a "sonar detector", it actually does much more since it is able to listen for engine noise coming from distant targets. It uses the Standard Sensor Display described above. Hydrophones are able to detect ships and submarines that are making noise...aircraft and tanks will never be detected on sonar...neither will ships and submarines that are fully stopped. In addition, hydrophones only work on vehicles that are in the water, so only ships and submarines should be equipped with a hydrophone.

To build a Hydrophone on your vehicle, you only need to place a sign, and the first line of the sign needs to say "Hydrophone". It costs about $150 per sign. You can have more than one hydrophone sign on a vehicle, however they will all show the same information (but still useful for giving you additional displays to read).

Hydrophones emit an passive signal...which means that they don't emit anything at all, they only listen. This means that you will not be detected for using your hydrophone...the hydrophone is always on as there is no reason to turn it off.

Because hydrophones depend on sound, the signal strength of a contact depends on a wide number of factors. As usual the distance to the target affects strength, but also the difference in depth between the vehicle with the hydrophone and the target can have an affect. A ship on the surface will have troubles detecting a deep submarine, and vice-verse. The noise of your own vehicle can affect your ability to hear other targets. Your vehicle noise depends on your engine speed...if you are traveling at flank speed you will be so noisy that you will not be able to hear anything, and will detect nothing on hydrophone. When your engines are stopped, you have the best chances of detecting contacts on hydrophone. And finally, the speed/noise of the target is a major factor in signal strength...a target running at flank speed is easiest to detect. But a stopped target is invisible to hydrophones!

Hydrophones use the primary symbols (".","x","X") to represent sound contacts, and the secondary symbols (".","o","O") are used whenever a PING (sonar) is detected from another vessel. It is important to remember that signal strength does not necessarily mean range. A nearby ship that is moving slow and quiet, and a far away ship at flank speed, might both produce a "weak" contact. Unfortunately, unlike the real life hydrophone operators, NBZ hydrophones are a bit simpler since they only give you signal strength and bearing information.


Specs

  • Transmission Type: Passive, underwater microphone and sonar detector
  • Detection Types: Ships and Submarines
  • Cost: $150
  • Controls: None, always on
  • Range: Long range
  • Signal strength factors: Distance to target, difference in depth, own ship's engine speed/noise, target ship's engine speed/noise
  • Limitations: Hydrophones will only work when equipped on ships and submarines. Vehicles that are stopped will be invisible to hydrophone.

Tactics

  • Always keep an eye on your sensor displays so you can respond quickly to any contacts that show up. If you have crew members don't forget you can post one of them to watch the sensors!

Radar

Radar is an excellent beginner sensor. It's operation is simple and produces accurate and reliable results.

  • Can be equipped on any vehicle...aircraft, ships, tanks, and submarines. Only limitation is it will not work when a submarine is underwater.
  • It will reliably detect any and all vehicles within range as long as they are not underwater.
  • Remember to right click the Radar sign to turn it on.
  • When you have a contact, turn your vehicle so that you get the contact symbol as close to the "0" degrees at the top of the sign as possible. This will point you at the contact so that you can chase it down.
  • A far away target will appear as a "." symbol on the sign...medium distance is "x", and close is "X".
  • More experienced players will be more easily able to detect you and hunt you if you have your radar turned on. Turn off if stealth is desired.


Detector

Detectors also make good beginner sensors and are a good choice for any and all vehicles. But it is important to remember how this sensor works, and that it only detects vehicles that are using radar or radio.

  • Like the radar, can be equipped on any vehicle...although it will not work when underwater.
  • The fact that it is cheap and gives you the ability to detect ships at long distance with no risk to yourself makes this an efficient sensor and a good buy for any vehicle.
  • Remember you can detect a ship that is using radar at a much further range than they are able to detect you with the radar. Submarines can take advantage of this and dive early.
  • Auto-merchants do not typically use their radar or radio...so when you have a detector contact it is likely a human player vehicle.


Hydrophone

Hydrophones are a little bit more complex of a sensor and require some more understanding to effectively utilize it. However in terms of detection power it has the potential to be the longest ranged sensor and the best for passively detecting far away targets. Remember that hydrophones can only be used on ships and submarines, and are only good for detecting other ships and submarines.

  • Hydrophones are underwater microphones, and need to LISTEN...which means you need to make your ship/sub QUIET. You do this by slowing your engine speed down. At flank speed, you are completely deaf and will detect nothing...while at all stop you will have your best chances of detecting targets.
  • When searching with the hydrophone, have the helmsman slow down periodically so that you can take a hydrophone reading.
  • Remember that your own ship's noise, the noise of the target, the range to the target, and the difference in depth between you and the target all play a role in signal strength.
  • Weak signals cut in and out a lot...effective searching requires patience...slow down or stop completely and keep a sharp eye on the display.
  • If you get a faint contact for even a moment, turn towards it and speed up to pursue it...and slow down later to take more hydrophone readings to see where the target is now.
  • If you get pinged from the sonar of another ship/sub, remember that it will show up on the hydrophone display as a ".", "o", or "O" symbol.


Sonar

Sonars are also a bit more complex of a sensor to use and require some additional understanding to effectively utilize it. In terms of detection power though the sonar is fairly weak...it has a short range and it's primary use is for detecting submerged submarines. Remember that sonars can only be used on ships and submarines, and are only good for detecting other ships and submarines.

  • Due to it's higher expense and limited use, it should really only be installed on vehicles that wish to specifically be able to hunt submarines in hiding.
  • Remember that when you PING, all of the crew aboard any of the ships or subs that got hit by that ping will instantly know there is somebody in the area now. Sonar, like radar, gives away your position.
  • Submarines, particularly those that want to hide, should avoid using sonar.
  • Sonar is most effective for hunting underwater submarines. If you are on a surface ship, and lose visual sight of the sub, the sonar can help you relocate it...and also help you with guiding the ship over the submarine so that you can drop depth charges on top of it.
  • Ships and subs that are stopped are invisible to hydrophone...but still can be pinged by sonar! Target noise does not matter to sonar.
  • Although target noise doesn't matter, your own ship/sub's noise level does. Like with the hydrophone tactics, slow your ship down or stop when you wish to use your sonar to get better readings.


High-Tech Sensors

Passive/Active Sonar Suite

Passive/Active Suite as shown by DWINGMAN97

Active Sonar

This sonar sign works in the same way as a simple sonar sign, except for the addition of a marker showing your position.

Passive Sonar

This sonar sign works with two other signs, both of which show the positions of other vessels and obstructions.

The Passive Sonar Suite works similarly to the HF Sonar sign, which is explained in the next section.

HF Sonar

HF Sonar is basically a "window" with no glass. The center of the window is your vessel's current position.

To create an HF Sonar Suite, place one sign with the words "HF Sonar" on it. Next, place four other signs in a two-by-two format next to it, as shown in the picture.

These four signs make up the virtual "window".

When the sonar detects a contact, a series of numbers will show up on the signs, each number showing the relative distance of a certain block of the contact, from your position.

HF Sonar Suite as Shown by DWINGMAN97