It has been requested before, but it didn't seem to have a thread of it's own.
Because of the wide and varied types of sensors and the implication that ingame detection relies mainly on heat signature, this thread/suggestion is only for thermal/infrared sensors. Other sensors should get their own threads.
Optics probably determine the balance between wide-angle but insensitive and narrow-angle but sensitive. Increasing focusing lens/mirror radius narrows the field of view, but increases sensitivity. Increasing the amount of IR sensitive chips probably increases sensitivity. If you know more about camera's, especially thermal camera's, feel free to correct me or suggest how it should be implemented instead.
I'd like for suggestions and comments on this to be specific and factual. Plenty of people have their opinions on detection and stealth, but try to keep on topic: IR sensors. The more concrete, clear and factual our suggestions, the better the odds of them getting implemented.
I would like giant foldable IR sensors (like james Webb telescope in real world) which are highly vulnerable, and small fixed heat cameras. Ideally, the quality of the sensors should influence your targeting accuray and the information available on distant enemies.
According to my knowledge, an IR sensor needs to have the following properties: - Mirror/lens existence, material, focal length and diameter - Sensor size and resolution - Optionally cryogenic cooling and radiators - Mount: fixed and rotating (with turning speed, pointing accuracy, etc...)
From these the following stats must be derived: - Resolution - Heat collecting power - Field of view - Required power - Resistance to various damages
The accuracy of laser, cannon and rail/coilgun weapons should depend on the resolution of the sensors actually seeing the enemy, and fall drastically if the enemy is not in the FoV of any sensors. If we not see the enemy, targeting of specific components is not available. Senors can be destroyed permanently or being blinded temoporally from their own heat.
It should be possible to mount sensors directly (fixed) on turreted weapons, and if these are laser turrets, they could use the laser optics in the 'opposite direction'
Later other features could be included, like the influence of the background (If you attack from the direction of the sun or from the direction of a hot gas giant (while on low orbit), the enemy sensors would become less accurate), or actual data delivered to the user from the sensors: like the size and temperature of the enemy radiators (in other worlds the aviability of data concerning the enemy in the campaign could be limited if your sensors are bad.)
... - Cryogenic cooling and radiators ... if these are laser turrets, they could use the laser optics in the 'opposite direction' ...
I agree with most of what you said, but there seem to exist both cryogenic and non-cryogenic thermal camera's/IR sensors. See wikipedia link in OP. Using the laser optics in the opposite direction could work, but not while firing. If you have spare turrets for redundancy however, this might work.