Monday, November 9, 2009


Ever got a mail from a POS whining it's under attack ? IntelligenceServices is that, if the POS had a cell-phone instead, and knew to call someone who cares…

The assumption behind IntelligenceServices is that ships, stargates, stations, even POS control towers act as surveillance cameras (in space !), and the information resulting from their monitoring can be shared with whoever meets certain criteria.
Conversely, pilots can select with whom they share the tactical data available to them, within certain limits.

In highsec empire, NPC factions broadcast information about the local situation as a public service, freely available to all but wanted criminals and terrorists. Once you leave the well-controlled areas of Empire, however, you're dependent on of the local spacelords goodwill and less-than-perfect surveillance network for your situational awareness needs.
…or are you ?

It all depends on the resources available to you.

Worst case scenario, you're flying solo across hostile and highly-secured 0.0 sovereign space, and odds are the local patrols will see you coming from a constellation away if they bother polling the stargates stats, while you fly in a fog with zero clue about who's in local until they get into visual range, or unless you run some manual scans.

Best case scenario, you're a trusted member of a rather large and well-coordinated fleet, in your own high-sovereignty alliance space (or a very friendly ally's), and nearly every ship, stargate, outpost or POS is acting as a searchlight-mounted camera for your benefit, relaying to you intel about everything in range of their sensors, in real-time.

Most of the time, as you're prowling around the wild lands on the edge of sovereign space, hunting for juicy NPCs or rival faction pilots, you'll get only the occasional chirp from a lone TacticalRelay, and mostly rely on your fleet's advanced scouts to scry through the fog of war.

IntelligenceServices overview:
The general principle is simple: stuff with sensor senses, transmits TacticalDataStreams to its Controller/Pilot, and the Controller decides (within limits) who to share the intel with.
Whatever TacticalDataStreams reach you, they fill your TacMap, SitAW and Overview (or browser window) with the up-to-date, accurate intel you need to make the informed decisions that will help yourself or your underlings die in a blaze of glory.
Excited yet ?

TacticalDataStreams explained:
Any entity that acts as a TacticalDataSource (TacDS) can report on its own internal state (type, name, location, damages, engaged, etc) and, if it has the sensors for it, about what it can see in the grid it's in by sending out a TacticalDataStream.
  • Each TacticalDataStream is directed to a single, specific UserGroup, which can be preset or left up for the player to pick.

  • Recipients of TacticalDataStreams can use IntelNodes to filter and merge them, and redirect the resulting composite TacticalDataStream to a different UserGroup.

  • Factors such as sovereignty modifiers, the type of the TacDS, or presence of friendlies nearby can affect the ability and range a TacDS can send out its TacticalDataStreams.

  • Each TacticalDataStream is a one-way transmission, you need at least two to enable a full exchange of TacticalData between entities.

  • Ships can only 'listen' until they join a fleet, at which point they become TacticalVessels (TacVes) and can stream the tactical data they receive from their own sensors and other TacDS to any recipient of their choice.

  • Some space structures act as TacticalRelays, permanent TacDS for their Controller alliance/corp, to which they transmit the data they gather, after which it is up to the Controller entity to relay that intel to whoever they want.

  • Pods and POS-gunners are 'listen-only' regardless of whether the pilot is in a fleet.

So… what can I see ?
Beyond publicly available data (easily out-of-date in 0.0), and what your ship sensors and scanner probes gather, your TacMap (and Overview in some cases) will show you all the information that is shared with and relayed to you by a variety of sources.

If you're not in a fleet, you will see:
  • all the Tactical Data that your alliance and corporation IntelligenceServices have decided to share with all their respective members ;

  • all the data that is made available to select UserGroups you belong to by Outpost-bound IntelNodes ;

  • all the Tactical Data that is made available to you as member of a select PrivateUserGroup you have been invited to by his creator/manager, which can feed you up to as much data as is available to his TacticalVessel in first place (yes, that's where spies everywhere rejoice !).

If you are in a fleet, you will see (in addition to the above):
  • all the Tactical Data your peers (Squadmates if you're a Squad member, Squad Commanders in your Wing if you're a Squad Commander, Wing Commanders in your Fleet if you're one) choose to share horizontally ;

  • all the Tactical Data your Commander chooses to share with you (see below) ;

  • all the Tactical Data that is made available to you as member of a select FleetUserGroup you have been invited to by his creator/manager, which can feed you up to as much data as is available to him in first place.
A Fleet Commander typically forwards some/all of his available Tactical Data to each (or all) Wing Commander(s), who decide to relay all or part of what they receive to each (or all) of the Squad Commander(s) under them, etc.

You can selectively filter out some data inputs to 'listen' only to select sources for clarity's sake, although it is usually better to use the TacMap display options to fine-tune what you need to see.

Who can I share my TacticalDataStreams with ?
If you're not in a fleet:
Nobody, unless you're an IntelligenceOfficer with proper authorization sitting in an Outpost: your ship is not a functional TacticalVessel until you join a fleet.

If you're in a fleet:
As long as you're in a ship (and not POS gunning), you can transmit to at least one UserGroup of your choice using you onboard comms, and possibly more if you have been entrusted with extra IntelNodes as part of your fleet duties.
The default target for your TacticalDataStream transmission when in a fleet is your direct commanding officer, with a quick-select option to switch transmission to your peers (your direct CO still receives your stream when you share in peers mode).
Going for peers sharing is your best option in most cases to maintain some level of tactical awareness if your commander goes down, but you can perfectly direct your TacticalDatstream transmission to a different destination… if you don't stray away from the grid your teammates are in, odds are nobody will notice your ship is not reporting any intel to the fleet.


[Better massage your temples and get a cold drink, we're not done yet…]

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