Warp Signature

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The light blue glow indicates detected warp signatures.

An empire that has developed warp drive technology will emit a warp signature that can be detected by other nearby empires that have also developed the technology.

Warp Signature Strength

A warp signature is a measure of accumulated warp drive emissions in a Solar system. The strength of the signature depends on the warp factor engaged plus the number of airports.

Colonized solar systems continuously emit an equivalent of engaging warp drives for every Airport terminal including Military each at the highest warp factor patent available to their empire.

This signature updates hourly.

For example, if a ship engages warp at factor 4 and another ship engages warp at factor 2, and the system contains two cities with airports owned by empires with warp 2 technology, the solar system will emit:

  Warp 4 + Warp 2 + ( 2 Airports × Warp 2 Patent ) = 4 + 2 + 4 = A Warp Signature value of 10.

Warp Signatures reach approx one sector in radius per accumulated warp factor. The example signal would reach up to 10 sectors away, but is not necessarily detectable.

Warp Signature Detection

Warp signatures are only detected by city radars of an empire with a warp patent or Spacecraft fitted with sensors and warp drives. The "Warp Signature Detection Range" is reported on building blueprint and spacecraft blueprint specifications.

Detection range is limited by the lesser of two values: the range of the signal and the range of the radar/sensors. Since warp signatures can only reach a strength of 10, it means that a warp signature detection range of much more than 100pc is likely a waste. That is to say:

  • A strong signal won't be detected by a weak radar.
  • A weak signal won't be detected by a strong radar.

Trivia

Previous detection mechanics were based on electricity consumption. An unexplored solar systems would give off an energy emission with strength depending on how much electricity they consumed in it.

It proved to be too detrimental to new players that they would be detectable right after inventing electricity. Hench why that mechanic was replaced in favor of making empires known to the galaxy based on their level of warp drive technology.

Quotes from patch notes

Related patch notes
2019-07-02 Signal Detection
Signal Detection
The emission of power consumed in solar systems is too revealing, especially for new players. As soon as they start generating power, they can be detected and stomped.
Instead of emitting total power consumed, solar systems now emit a warp signature. The warp signature is a measure of the accumulated warp factors engaged in the system.
Warp signature signals are emitted hourly by solar systems. This is a bit more responsive than the previous energy emissions, which were emitted every six hours.
Airport terminals and base air terminals account for one warp drive engage per hour, at the maximum warp factor available to the empire. Warp technology of an empire is based on the highest patent they know for making a warp drive.
For example, if a ship engages warp at factor 4 and another ship engages warp at factor 2, and the system contains two cities with spaceports owned by empires with warp 2 technology, the solar system will emit an accumulated warp signature of 10.
Warp signatures reach about one sector per accumulated warp factor. The example signal would reach about 10 sectors. Beyond that it is too weak to be detectable.
The signal can be detected by radar of an empire with warp technology and spacecraft with sensors and warp drives. Their warp signature detection range is reported on their analysis report, replacing deep space detection range.
Actual maximum detection range is the lesser of the two values: the range the signal can reach and the detection range of the radar or sensors.
Wording on the star map was updated in appropriate places.
Color and marking of detected systems was changed.
Star map filter settings now includes a check box to turn on/off the warp signature markers on unexplored systems. Previously, the yellow detected markers could not be turned off.