News Chapter Four - Exploration Reveal

The Discovery Scanner

Because explorers ply their trade far from civilized space, we’ve decided to not add new module requirements. Instead, we’re improving the discovery scanner and detailed surface scanner so Commanders can jump right in as soon as the update is released, without having to spend time traveling back to a port to purchase new gear.

When you activate the discovery scanner you will now be taken to an all-new scanning interface and view. In this augmented camera view you are able to interrogate the system using new functionality of the scanner.


The process still starts with the “honk” (system scan), though its usage is now the start of a more engaging process (if all you did before was scan for some credits, don't worry, the scan still awards credits.)

The system scan now returns an aggregated display of how energetic the electromagnetic emissions are in the system. Signals are sorted on a low to high scale by their apparent energy. For example, emissions from rocky clusters will appear at the lower end of the scale, hot gas giants at the upper range. This information requires some interpretation as signals can overlap.

You are able to tune the focus of your sensors to a particular point on the scale, making emissions from objects at this range much clearer, at the cost of filtering out signals returned from bodies not emitting at this range.

As you move the view around, you are aiming your discovery scanner sensors. To aid you, the discovery scanner view also features a repeating sweep of gravitational disturbance detected in the system. You can use this sweep to narrow your search for stellar bodies, as well as start your search around the star's orbital plane, which is revealed by the initial system scan.

Emissions that come close enough to your view’s focus are represented by signature patterns around a central reticule. If you are tuned to the correct point on the energy scale the signal will show as a symmetrical pattern clearly showing the direction towards the origin of the signal, allowing you to locate it. The further away your energy tuning, the more distorted and asymmetrical the pattern becomes, hiding the precise direction and location.

Once you have a candidate origin, you can use the scanner to reconstruct a massively zoomed in view. If you aimed precisely enough, you will discover the stellar body. If there are a number of stellar bodies in relative close proximity to your focus, you may need to repeat the process to isolate individual signals.


As you locate and identify stellar bodies their emissions are filtered out, instead becoming markers on the energy range, making it easier to find the remaining bodies. It's at this point in that you will gain the “first discovered” tag, rather than having to physically visit the planet (you still need to sell the data at a port to gain the tag). All current first discovered tags will remain.

Importantly, when you uncover a planet using the discovery scanner, as well as being informed of the resources available on it, the presence of unusual locations, such as Guardian sites, will also be revealed. However, their precise location won’t be shown until you have mapped the planet with the detailed surface scanner.
Okay you've actually made body discovery and exploration much worse - this is exactly what I tried to tell everyone in a few previous threads...

What you've done here looks great and probably is great.

Until you have to do this 10's, 100's, 1000's of times.

The good thing about the ADS honk is that it gives you a display of system bodies immediately. From that you could decide which bodies to go and do things with - surface scan them, fly down to their surface, etc.

Body discovery is currently quick. This new system is going to make it very slow.

This might make a few explorer-types happy. It does not make me happy, and for the reason I stated above - once the novelty value of that 'cool stuff' above has been done a few times, the time it takes to merely discover all bodies in a system is going to start grating. Again, please, picture doing this 10's, 100's 1000's of times - this is very quickly going to end up not being a fun activity.
 
Wow, looks mostly great (on paper at least)! :)

But will need testing to see how the changes affect system / body scanning times & feel.
 
This looks good.

First question:
Will this be displayed in one of the left hand tabs (like the contacts list), or in a separate window (like Galmap/sysmap)? I have visions of Cmdrs flying into a star whilst carrying out their system search.
 
Sounds good.

Just one thing. If you fly with your multi million credits space ship close above the planet surface your sensors should detect objects on the surface and not just display a huge circle around your ship. ;)
 
That is super-exciting! I'm really interested in seeing these changes in-game, as I think it will greatly improve the exploration gameplay.
 
Was not expecting these things at all, sounds very promising

Remove Random USS Spawning
Holistic System:The improvements to exploration mechanics tie together not just new discoveries, but mining, missions and signal source location in one package.
 
Will have to see it in action but so far this all sounds great news, cheers.

The only potential issue I see is with the synthesis of micro-probes for the detailed surface scanner, presumably this means that cargo space is now required if you go out exploring (?), or will this work like heatsinks, which don't require cargo space?
 
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Wow, this looks great! Even more ambitious than what we saw before, and what i saw before was already very interesting.

I do have a few questions that hopefully the team can answer or consider:

Will there be new contents of signal sources?
Considering the only existing ones in uncharted space are wrecks of survey data that take up cargo, i'd say adding a feature to find them without actually adding something new to discover would be quite pointless.

Next, will the logistics of conducting multicrew exploration be made simpler?
I believe that at the moment, to be eligible for exploration data in multicrew, you have to be aboard the ship when scanning an object, and also be aboard the ship when the data is sold. The last part of the process can be particularly annoying to conduct with people, having to be online and then invite to multicrew at the same time, so I hope this gets a look at.

Also, while not being something discussed in this post, and being a thing that's probably a bit difficult to create; i am very sorely missing SRV multicrew.
The ideal would be to both allow two people in one SRV (1 in turret, 1 driving) and being able to control multiple SRVs from one ship (one or more players in each SRV)

And last, as some others added to this thread; one worry i do have is that the process of scanning a system could be too long/frustrating, considering how already time consuming many people's exploration trips can be. I think there should definitely be care taken to this new system, to not go too far off the other end of the spectrum; exploration going from being mindless, to being a tiring grind as you make your way out.



Other than that, this looks excellent! As someone who plays Elite for the exploration this sounds wonderful and will definitely get me out going on new adventures!
If there's anything i am still questioning, it's that if there are new kinds of anomalies (life? general oddities to find? new types of wrecks? things like that) on planets and in space to find, but i can imagine this is something you might not want to show off :)
 
Okay you've actually made body discovery and exploration much worse - this is exactly what I tried to tell everyone in a few previous threads...

What you've done here looks great and probably is great.

Until you have to do this 10's, 100's, 1000's of times.

The good thing about the ADS honk is that it gives you a display of system bodies immediately. From that you could decide which bodies to go and do things with - surface scan them, fly down to their surface, etc.

Body discovery is currently quick. This new system is going to make it very slow.

This might make a few explorer-types happy. It does not make me happy, and for the reason I stated above - once the novelty value of that 'cool stuff' above has been done a few times, the time it takes to merely discover all bodies in a system is going to start grating. Again, please, picture doing this 10's, 100's 1000's of times - this is very quickly going to end up not being a fun activity.

You can't win'm all.
I, for one, love this.
 
I would say I'm happy, but then I have a doubt - how does this fit with existing non-exploration use of the discovery scanner?

Say, I jump into an unknown - to me - system within the bubble, say for a mission, and I have to go to a given planet. At that time I am not interested in looking around for things - I just want to find that planet and go there fast. Now, I just honk the scanner, detect the planet and set course. What happens with this new mechanism?
 
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