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thumb_arrow_up.png Terminology

Sensors is the general term for systems allowing a vessel to detect other objects in space.

Usage in Vegastrike

Sensors are present as upgrades available for purchase on some bases; some ships and other units (such as bases or missiles) may also have built-in sensor systems.

What does it do

Sensors detect and recognize other objects as well as provide missile targetting. Military sensors also may have ITTS capability; in this case they only provide targetting data - to actually have a weapon aimed automatically, its hardpoint must have autotracking system installed.

Tracks of the objects harder to pinpoint than usual - such as ships with active ECM systems and nebulae - has noticeable jitter.

Available Sensor Types

button_ship_stats_small.png Sensor stats include range, visibility cone (usually, set to full sphere), missile locking cone, autotracking cone, presence of ITTS support and type (which determines the displayed projection and presence of advanced functionality).

Currently, possible (i.e. recognized for units and upgrades in unit.csv) sensor types are:

Type Projection Friend-or-Foe Object Recognition Threat Assessment comment
0 (FALSE) Spherical no no no All tracks look the same way, so it's somewhat useful only as long as there aren't too many identical dots.
1 (TRUE) Spherical yes no no
THREAT Spherical yes no yes
BUBBLE_THREAT Bubble yes yes yes Rlaan sensors are designed like that
PLANE Plane yes no no
PLANE_THREAT Plane yes yes yes Good for short-range fighting and gathering, though not so good for sorting out too many targets.

Basic Functionality

Range determines how far the sensor can detect and identify (currently it's the same) ships. Celestial bodies and other "significant objects" (such as bases and jump points), as well as capital ships (ships bigger than physics/capship_size), are exclusion and can be detected and identified beyond this limit, from any place in the same system.

Displayed Projections

Currently there are three different display modes, and they are fixed for given sensor hardware:

  • Spherical (Wing Commander style) - two circles, for fore and aft hemispheres. Allows easy orientation on a chosen track, but doesn't show distance at all.
  • Bubble - the same, but tracks are displayed as circles, blown more or less to represent objects' velocity. Terminology:Rlaan sensors are designed like this.
  • Plane (Elite style) - cylindrical projection, showing the place of a track in the unit's "horizontal" plane (thus making ranges obvious) and "height" from it.

Advanced Functionality

Color-coding of tracks by Threat Assessment has priority over Object Recognition, and that over Friend-or-Foe. I.e. if all 3 are present, all missiles are colored the same way, and all planets are colored the same way, no matter to whom they belong.


Friend-or-Foe is a basic target assessment capability which discerns (and color-codes):

Capital Ship
friend enemy neutral
or has lock this includes unarmed enemies if Threat Assessment is present
Cargo Container Cargo
anything else normal

Object Recognition

Object Recognition shows tracks color-coded by object type:

Dead Planet
Base base enemy
if it has lock
Jump Point jump
anything else normal

Threat Assessment

Threat Assessment shows tracks color-coded for missiles and blinking for objects that has lock on the player's ship - the greater its perceived threat, the faster is blinking:

Missile missile

Threat level:

Missile High
Capital Ship Medium
if hostile
Ship Medium
if has turrets
if unarmed
anything else Low
-Hey, cap'n, this cargo box locks on us!
-Well, it can't be worse than a heavy fighter.

See also