Detect mode represents a creature actively trying to find something that is hidden, using the listen, search, and spot skills. (When not using this mode, a creature is considered to be passively noticing things that are hidden, represented by halving their detection skills.) It is not possible to run in this mode, and if combined with other situations that prohibit running, the creature's movement rate is reduced below a normal walk. It is toggled on and off with the "Detect" option (rightmost) from the "Special Abilities" submenu (leftmost) in the radial menu (speed dial: 046).
A creature that is standing still gains the benefits of detect mode, even if not actually in that mode.
Some players, particularly roleplayers, use this mode to force their characters to not run. There are other ways to prevent running (shift-click to move, for example), but detect mode may be the most convenient method for non-elven characters.
The workings of detect mode are hardcoded, but a couple of posts by the game's programmers in the official forums have revealed much of the hidden workings of detection. The details are as follows.
Passive (default) mode
- Trap detection radius: 3.33 meters
- Trap detection rate: 6 seconds (every round)
- Trap detection roll: d20 + full skill (since at least version 1.68; probably a bug)
- Spot/listen roll: d10 + half skill
Active (detect) mode
- Trap detection radius: 6.66 meters
- Trap detection rate: 3 seconds (twice per round)
- Trap detection roll: d20 + full skill
- Spot/listen roll: d20 + full skill
- Player detects stealth: 5 times per second
- NPC detects stealth: 4 seconds
- Creatures roll for hide/move silently/spot/listen: every 6 seconds
The detect rate is shorter than the rate of making rolls in part because there are situational modifiers that can change between rolls. When a roll is made, the unmodified result is recorded for use with all checks that are performed before the next roll is made.
- ↑ Some BioWarians discussed the normally hidden components of detect mode (There is more than one BioWare post.)