Explanation required about target painters, tracking computers and targeting systems


Especially, I want to know how do they work compared to a tracking computer.
For example, Tracking Computer I (without scripts) increases Tracking by 10%, Optimal Range by 5% and Falloff by 10%, while Target Painter I increases ship signature by 10%.
How efficient is it to increase an enemy ship’s signature ? How does that 10% compares to the Tracking Computer ?

Also, while I’m at it, what’s better to escape detection by probes, D-scan and else : increasing Sensor Strengthe by 100% or reducing ship signature by 1/3 ? (yes this is about Tactical Destroyers)

While you could use target painters anytime, they are more usually used when your primary weapon system is missiles as their damage application is highly dependent on the signature radius of the target, which the painter increases.

Question #2, changing sensor strength wont do anything, that only makes it harder for the enemy to jam you, shrinking sig radius makes it harder to probe you, but this will always just delay your enemy. The best solution is to d-scan and be wary of your surroundings.

Damage application ? you mean %age of damage dealt ?
Also, I want to know if increasing enemy signature radius by 10% also increases stuff like optimal range, falloff and tracking.

In fitting screen it says “assist in avoiding detection by probes” but I guess that’s bs then.

Perhaps it would help you if you knew the formulas for damage in EVE:

There are 3 components to the performance of weapons, and this “performance” is recalculated into damage. That means, for example, that if your gun would miss in a real life situation (with fully realistic physics) 50% of the time, the game recalculates that into a simpler physics simulation and just gives you 50% damage on that gun. So, the 3 components described below translate into reduced damage for your weapons, rather than notifications that you miss or that the target evaded, etc.

The 3 components:

  1. Range. Your guns will do 100% of their rating in damage from 0km to their listed Optimal range. Missiles will fly and hit targets from 0 km up to the maximum range dictated by their flight speed * fuel flight time. Drones will function within their control range, then if the target drags them outside, you’ll lose control. For guns, once the target gets past the Optimal range, damage is reduced linearly (half damage at Optimal + Falloff, zero damage at Optimal + 2Falloff).

  2. Tracking. Your gun turrets need to track the enemy ship, and if it orbits you very close and very fast, the angular orbit speed may be too high for the guns to track. For missiles and drones, if the target is faster than the missile speed, the missile won’t “catch up”. All 3 weapon systems do full damage as long as they can track, and, again, if they can’t track, reduced damage based on how poorly they’re doing at tracking.

  3. Size. All weapons have a signature resolution, and all ships have a signature size. This refers more to how big their dot appears on a “radar”, but because the game simulates things based on “signature”, in effect the signature radius of a ship IS its size. Big weapons cannot achieve direct hits on small ships, so the effect is that a big weapon will do very little damage to a “small” ship, even if it’s sitting still. A big weapon will do full damage to the big target it’s intended for, of course.

So, all three of these things result in 100% damage or reduced damage, and when you combine the graphs for all three, you get a bell-shaped curve of max damage at around the Optimal range for most guns.

But, these 3 different weapon calculations also answer your questions about the various electronic warfare devices you asked about:

Tracking Computers increase the tracking of guns, so that you can hit close, fast orbiting targets a bit better. Or they don’t increase tracking, but increase the range of your guns, for hitting further away.

Target Painters make the enemy ship BIGGER, so bigger guns and missiles will do more damage to it. A target painter won’t do anything if you’re shooting light missiles at a battleship; the target is already big enough for the missiles to hit. However, if you’re in a battlecruiser with heavy missiles and trying to shoot heavy missiles at a pesky small frigate, a target painter will make that frigate take almost full damage from your heavies, even though they’re intended for cruiser-sized targets.

EDIT: As far as “how does the 10% compare”, it compares based on the situation. Are you trying to track an enemy that’s orbiting you very close? Then a tracking script will be excellent. Are you trying to shoot big guns at a small target? Target Painter will be awesome. Are you trying to shoot a target that’s kiting you, hovering just outside the range of your guns? Then a long range script (and long range ammo) will be good.

Sensor Strength affects how easy it is to probe things down. Signature Radius affects how long it takes for big ships to target-lock you, and also damage resistance if you have big weapons shooting your small ship.

Keep in mind that destroyers are designed to kill frigates, and they are so “designed” in the following ways:

  1. Frigate-level armor and shields, frigate-level weapons. Destroyers will easily resist a frigate’s damage, while being able to overwhelm it with more guns.

  2. Big signature radius compared to frigates. A frigate will take about half damage from cruiser-sized weapons (esp. missiles), a destroyer will take full damage. Combined with “frigate-level armor and shields”, this makes the destroyer very vulnerable to cruisers. That signature radius reduction on the T3 cruiser is intended to help you survive enemy fire, rather than avoid detection, IMO.


Since you are a Gallente clone I will not bother with information on missiles since they will not do you much good for now. By time you get to where you can use them hopefully you will be able to find the links to the missile equivalents of these topics.

Yes these are all links to the EvE University site, it is an excellent source for basic information on virtually everything in EvE.

Gunnery 101
Fundamentals of gunnery
Turret tracking
Turret damage


OK thank you I thought I knew how guns’n’missiles worked, seems that I missed some info

Oh and I’m Amarr not Gallente (tho I do have a gallente account)

Great responses for the OP! However, I think the question in regards to sensor strength and signature radius was only partially answered. I’m old enough to remember the old “unprobable Tengu” and the signal strength/signal radius ratio needing to be over 1.08. Now I know that being unprobable is now impossible (except with cloak ofc), but you can get real close. For the sake of completely answering the OP’s original questions, could someone further explain this aspect of EVE and it’s practical aplication/effect for a player?

I’m going to oversimplify … and numbers quoted are not accurate but generalisations for information’s sake.

Weapons in eve have an area of effect, the size of that area depends on the size of the weapon.

All gunfire has the potential to hit somewhere in a radius of the target point (a.k.a. Signature Resolution) …
A Medium Gun will have it’s shot land within a sphere with a 50m radius
If a frigate has a 25m Signature Radius … think of it as a smaller sphere contained within the larger 50m one.
Obviously … the Medium Gun has a chance of missing the frigate as the shots may land within the 26-50m threshold.
Targeting & Tracking modules essentially make the area of effect smaller … eg 40m instead, this reduces the overlap zone increasing the chance of a hit.
A target painter affects the Signature Radius … a painted Frigate now has a SigRad of 30m, so with a 30m target sphere inside the standard 50m Resolution sphere, you again increase your chance to hit.

Missiles work slightly differently, but the core mechanic of spheres still applies.
A Medium (Heavy) Missile has an explosion radius of 50m, the damage the missile can do is spread equally within the sphere.
The explosion moves outwards from the target point (think shockwaves) and has a maximum speed it can travel at.
A Frigate with SigRad of 25m takes less damage because most of the explosion is affecting the empty space around it.
A Frigate that is fast enough can outpace somewhat the effects of the shockwave

Modules that affect Explosion Velocity, Signature Radius etc. change how much of the applicable damage can be applied to the target in a similar way to how the modifiers to guns work.

Sorry if it’s a bit rambly, but EveUni has some good & detailed guides on Gunnery, Target Tracking & Missiles … they are very definitely worth a read.

1 Like

Sensor or signal strength strength has no affect on the modules and actions in question here in this topic.
If you can see the ship on your overview or on your main screen then you have the possibility to lock that target. Target lock speed is calculated using the scan resolution of your ship and the signature radius of the target ship.

Signature radius of the target ship is a major factor in the to hit and damage calculations used in this game, here are links to help explain these.
Turret to hit / damage calculations
Missile damage calculations
Please note there is no to hit calculation for missiles. In EvE all missiles, rockets and torpedo always hit their target dead center, or they miss completely because they do not have enough range to reach the target.

Damage application always refers to the percentage of your maximum volley damage that was applied to the target. See the links above for more complete information on how damage is calculated.

Increasing the signature radius of your target (enemy) has no affect on optimal range or falloff.

Increasing the signature radius of your target does not help the tracking speed of your turrets. However in some rare cases increasing the signature radius of your target can increase the chances for your slow tracking turrets to hit. With turret based weapons the general consensus is to use slots to increase tracking speed since that has more affect on your ability to apply damage than boosting the signature radius would.

No it is not BS when the fitting screen says it assists in avoiding detection by probes.
The only ships that cannot be detected with combat probes are ships with a cloak active, all other ships in the game can be probed. What the game is referring to is essentially how long it will take to achieve a 100% signal lock on the ship being probed, 100% signal lock is required to be able to warp to that target ship. With a good scan character run by a player that knows what they are doing a poorly fit ship can be probed to 100% in roughly 20 to 30 seconds. A ship fit to minimize the chances of being probed can take triple that amount of time or even longer.

A note on this, some will tell you I am wrong and quote crazy numbers like 5 seconds or less and that is simply not possible. Even with the best equipment and the best implants the probe scan cycle alone is roughly 4 seconds, add in a few seconds to tell the game where you want your probes, a few more seconds for the probes to move to that location and run the scan cycle, a few more for the player to read the results and a few more past that to actually take action based on those results. I think you can see why I say 20 to 30 seconds is a quick combat scan.

Er, the OP’s original post the entire last sentence is about signature size and probing. While the first part of his post was answered very thoroughly, the last sentence was not; i.e., he had questions about several topics. Perhaps you have accidentally reversed the replies/quotes? :roll_eyes:

This topic was automatically closed 90 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.