Deep Space Scanning - FSS Mode

I'm in the camp that likes the new FSS - it's more interactive, intelligent, and immersive for explorers. That said, I feel like exploring as a whole could use an additional aid in the form of generally locating unique phenomena (like LaGrange clouds or guardian structures) from outside of the system. Below is the base concept:


Deep Space Scanning Mode

While in FSS in a typical system, FSS has two modes: local scanning and deep-space scanning. Local scanning is what we see now and functions as normal.

In Deep-Space Scanning Mode, the FSS displays only star(s) in the local system (to serve as basic reference points - making a single star system not very helpful, which is intentional). Beyond this, it still uses the spectral range but instead of tracking frequencies in the system it tracks stellar frequencies within 100ly. These frequency bands correspond (like in normal FSS) to major signal groups:

-Thargoid Signatures (Barnacles, presence of NHSS, Other...)
-Guardian Signatures (Structures, Other...)
-Human Signatures (Megaships, Generation Ships, Stations, Structures, Other...)
-Stellar Phenomena (Lagrange Clouds, etc.)

Not surprisingly, there could be a LOT of noise with such a wide array of frequencies...that is intentional, after all we want some skill associated with using this mode. Remember, though, only 100ly range means much of our galaxy will only show stellar phenomena.


What it would look like
(I'm not an artist, so sorry, no actual pictures!)

Very similar to FSS now, with signal 'clouds' needing to be pinpointed and scanned. Once scanned, they will be identified as the type they scanned under (Stellar, Thargoid, etc.). They will also display a 20ly range 'band' they fall in: 0-20, 21-40, 41-60, 61-80, 81-100. Exact ranges would be too strong (and easy) but this allows some level of guessing, as explained below.

Then comes the actual work: scanned points will display in Analysis Mode of your cockpit when selected from navigation at the bottom of the list (because their distance is 'an indeterminate range', much like a commander selects a system to warp towards. The point in the HUD will actually display the 'range band' mentioned earlier. The commander now has a sense of direction towards that point and can begin navigating in its direction...but without a perfect sense of distance, we may still be searching across a number of systems.

Towards the galactic core, a range of 20ly covers hundreds of stars! Whereas in fringe areas, the range could very well identify a single candidate system.


Why?

At risk of sounding like a smart-alike...why not? I personally want to see more tools for explorers to 'find' phenomena and sites out in the black, but I also don't want it to be a gimme...otherwise we kill the very heart and soul of exploring: the hunt itself. As it is, though, much of elite: dangerous feels less like a hunt and more of a stumble around and hope. Or just use the codex and not really try at all! A deep-space scanning mode (or module...but reason dictates the FSS ought to be able to do this) would open up the galaxy a lot more, without tearing down the skill wall that separates explorers from codex followers.

I also think 'too much noise' (such as what we'd expect in the galactic core, or the center of the Pleiades) is not bad...this is a problem that 'makes sense'.

Thoughts?
 
I do get where the OP is coming from but the FSS is bad enough as it is, lets not encourage FD to push that lemon anymore than they have already.

IMO The FSS does require significant rework and perhaps something along the lines of what the OP is suggesting could be considered as part of that rework BUT I think there are probably better ways to achieve a similar ends.
 
I'm in the camp that likes the new FSS - it's more interactive, intelligent, and immersive for explorers. That said, I feel like exploring as a whole could use an additional aid in the form of generally locating unique phenomena (like LaGrange clouds or guardian structures) from outside of the system. Below is the base concept:


Deep Space Scanning Mode

While in FSS in a typical system, FSS has two modes: local scanning and deep-space scanning. Local scanning is what we see now and functions as normal.

In Deep-Space Scanning Mode, the FSS displays only star(s) in the local system (to serve as basic reference points - making a single star system not very helpful, which is intentional). Beyond this, it still uses the spectral range but instead of tracking frequencies in the system it tracks stellar frequencies within 100ly. These frequency bands correspond (like in normal FSS) to major signal groups:

-Thargoid Signatures (Barnacles, presence of NHSS, Other...)
-Guardian Signatures (Structures, Other...)
-Human Signatures (Megaships, Generation Ships, Stations, Structures, Other...)
-Stellar Phenomena (Lagrange Clouds, etc.)

Not surprisingly, there could be a LOT of noise with such a wide array of frequencies...that is intentional, after all we want some skill associated with using this mode. Remember, though, only 100ly range means much of our galaxy will only show stellar phenomena.


What it would look like
(I'm not an artist, so sorry, no actual pictures!)

Very similar to FSS now, with signal 'clouds' needing to be pinpointed and scanned. Once scanned, they will be identified as the type they scanned under (Stellar, Thargoid, etc.). They will also display a 20ly range 'band' they fall in: 0-20, 21-40, 41-60, 61-80, 81-100. Exact ranges would be too strong (and easy) but this allows some level of guessing, as explained below.

Then comes the actual work: scanned points will display in Analysis Mode of your cockpit when selected from navigation at the bottom of the list (because their distance is 'an indeterminate range', much like a commander selects a system to warp towards. The point in the HUD will actually display the 'range band' mentioned earlier. The commander now has a sense of direction towards that point and can begin navigating in its direction...but without a perfect sense of distance, we may still be searching across a number of systems.

Towards the galactic core, a range of 20ly covers hundreds of stars! Whereas in fringe areas, the range could very well identify a single candidate system.


Why?

At risk of sounding like a smart-alike...why not? I personally want to see more tools for explorers to 'find' phenomena and sites out in the black, but I also don't want it to be a gimme...otherwise we kill the very heart and soul of exploring: the hunt itself. As it is, though, much of elite: dangerous feels less like a hunt and more of a stumble around and hope. Or just use the codex and not really try at all! A deep-space scanning mode (or module...but reason dictates the FSS ought to be able to do this) would open up the galaxy a lot more, without tearing down the skill wall that separates explorers from codex followers.

I also think 'too much noise' (such as what we'd expect in the galactic core, or the center of the Pleiades) is not bad...this is a problem that 'makes sense'.

Thoughts?
Love every part of your suggestion. I'd only request that it be a module that expands the FSS.
 
From reading the OP, not change, but add functionality to.
Precisely - I only mention I like the FSS in that I like how it functions compared to the original 'honk system' and 'cruise forever to scan' system before.

Would I say the FSS is perfect? No, not at all. Are there better ways to implement scanning...probably. I'm not a game developer, just a seasoned gamer. I'm more akin to an art critic than an artist. I can tell you what works and doesn't, don't ask me to show you how! =D

Love every part of your suggestion. I'd only request that it be a module that expands the FSS.
I can get behind this idea, given we just got some new optional internal slots anyways. I remember looking at my DBX wishing it could take everything the Beluga could...now it fits everything! Even the Xeno Scanner that has ZERO utility for exploration (for a separate thread, I know). That said, if we were to make Deep-Space Scanning a separate module, it would need at minimum the functions I suggest...we require Surface Scanning to be separate, but it actually is a feature unto itself.

In a perfect world, I'd like a Deep-Space Scanner that could track my data over several systems so that triangulating could be done more intuitively (rather than the pen and paper my current suggestion would likely require). Get super fancy and add deployed probes that communicate with you after leaving the system...except the existing build of the game doesn't allow for multi-system interaction. I'm basically theorycrafting at this point, but you hopefully get the idea.

Back to my actual OP, I was aiming for a suggestion that lines up with the current trajectory of development and would 'hopefully' not be terribly intensive to implement, should the devs/community see value in it. From a player perspective, I just want more tools for exploration that allow me to manipulate or interact with data already in the game but not currently usable. Exploring, as a system of features, is 100% limited to just the system you are in. Outside of that system are only two (2!) data points to consider of any note: distance to a star and its type (for fuel scooping). Nothing else outside of your existing system has any bearing on exploration...which seems really unfortunate. People gravitate towards nebulae because there is literally no data to indicate you might consider flying in a direction that, on the surface, has no apparent destination. The suggestion isn't to help find 'the unfound story' stuff (like Raxxla or another Thargoid zone) - it could certainly lead to that by accident. The suggestion is to help the individual commander have some sense of direction in their own unique search as they explore the black.

You're in the middle of nowhere trying to decide if you want to head back to the bubble and do something else, or head to colonia or some such other destination...for the sake of a direction...and you remember the Deep-Space Scanner. "Meh, let's see what happens..." you fire it up and see varying stellar phenomena signals. Then it catches your attention:

"Human Signal Detected"

You're thousands of lightyears from any known station. It could just be wreckage on a planet, another unlucky explorer of the past or some failed colony not on the books.

Then again, what if a Generation Ship somehow traveled this far? What if it's a live colony? Or maybe a deep space pirate base? "Nah, that's a bit outlandish...space is interesting, but it isn't THAT interesting." You consider ignoring it and just heading home...

What if it's a secret INRA base? You're not that far off from a sector of permit locked space...then again, you're awfully far from the bubble for INRA to have come this far. That just wouldn't make any sense. You close the scanner and open the galaxy map to begin plotting a route home. You stare at the screen and don't move the cursor because you're still thinking. "It's probably nothing...but you know what? It's probably nothing nobody has discovered before, too."

What if it's the Dark Wheel? Raxxla?


This. This is why I made the suggestion.
 
I like the ideas suggested here, as an avid explorer myself I agree that more tools for exploration would be welcome!

Exploring, as a system of features, is 100% limited to just the system you are in. Outside of that system are only two (2!) data points to consider of any note: distance to a star and its type (for fuel scooping). Nothing else outside of your existing system has any bearing on exploration
Not sure if you have noticed, but on the first information tab in the galaxy map when you hover over a system it displays all stars in that system with their luminosity and spectral class. I use that quite often to decide if a system is interesting and worth travelling to.

If I have understood your suggestion correctly regarding the functionality of a Deep Space Scanning module, it could simply add information to this tab regarding the other main bodies in the system (planet types, concentrated signal sources etc.) so you can decide whether or not it is worth exploring to a higher degree. My thought on this module is that it could always be active and provide you with the extra information on all systems within a radius around your current location, lets just say a 50ly radius. Heck, you could even make the radius of the bubble equal to your jump range, just to make things a bit more interesting. Maybe it could be a utility mount? there are not enough utility items that are useful for exploration, pretty much only heat sinks. Having something like this would make manually plotting routes far more interesting but have no change to long range plotting. Just my 2 cents, hopefully it makes sense!
 
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Not sure if you have noticed, but on the first information tab in the galaxy map when you hover over a system it displays all stars in that system with their luminosity and spectral class. I use that quite often to decide if a system is interesting and worth travelling to.
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This is a very fair point - and at risk of sounding double-minded, I dunno if that information would be included or not because that may be redundant to the functionality of the galactic map. That said, I like where your head is at! Not disagreeing...more just unsure of utility.

It may be that the exploration information in the pilot's handbook ought to include some information regarding core concepts: like the goldilocks zone, or how spectral and luminosity affect systems, etc. In other words, don't just point blank say "This is what you're looking for..." - treat it as explorers would, "These are the effects...you decide if that meets your wandering eye's desire or not." Put another way, "here's the science - you figure out what to do with it".

I do think as a utility mount makes sense if a passive module, but I'm reluctant to endorse passive modules (by my nature, not their design) because I want actual gameplay, not just information. That said, the roar of complaints about the FSS (minority or not, that's another debate) shows you can have 'too much gameplay'. that is distracting or time-consuming, not fun and useful. Since what I've basically described is a 'treasure radar' (gross oversimplification), it isn't necessary - it just helps if you're looking for something specific (signals).

The catch is making a gameplay loop that is worthy of usage (triangulating and possibly using pen and paper to narrow down the interesting location) without making it feel necessary to success. If all you're hunting is guardian signals...this could get very frustrating because you feel like you HAVE to use it. If you're just cruising the black racking up first discoveries, it's a great tool to provide a little extra guidance and gameplay. Use it when you want, don't when you don't.
 
I do think as a utility mount makes sense if a passive module, but I'm reluctant to endorse passive modules (by my nature, not their design) because I want actual gameplay, not just information. That said, the roar of complaints about the FSS (minority or not, that's another debate) shows you can have 'too much gameplay'. that is distracting or time-consuming, not fun and useful. Since what I've basically described is a 'treasure radar' (gross oversimplification), it isn't necessary - it just helps if you're looking for something specific (signals).
100% agree with that assessment. I just threw out the first few ideas that popped into my head when I read your suggestion.

I think a module of some sort with this type of functionality is an awesome idea and would a great asset to the exploration game play in Elite. I think you're on to something!
 
100% agree with that assessment. I just threw out the first few ideas that popped into my head when I read your suggestion.

I think a module of some sort with this type of functionality is an awesome idea and would a great asset to the exploration game play in Elite. I think you're on to something!
I'm far from a crack game designer, but I like to think I know what I want as a consume and can articulate it. As far as exploration goes (my second favorite activity after Search & Rescue with a Beluga!), I fall into the 'needs more skill' camp.

I want to see new gameplay, yes, but what I really want to see is a larger skill gap for the profession. The triangulation idea is one way to expand that gap, without breaking the game or making it too hard to learn. I appreciate 'raw' skill gaps - like twitch skills in combat, which you either can or cannot attain as a gamer. But I appreciate more 'learned' skill gaps - skills that take time to master because of knowledge and reasoning, such as the simple memorization of KGBFOAM for fuel scooping to the much more complex guess-work of the goldilocks zone for finding terraformable planets.

Such skill gaps are highly accessible when built right, but not mandatory for enjoyment - you can piddle along and honk your way to Beagle Point and back and never open the FSS - if that suits your fancy. Maybe you explore to take photos and use exploration solely for that endeavor? If you're a 'treasure hunter' like me, where you're searching for signals to explore or exploit, these tools represent a means for optimization of my tradecraft.

Simply put, modules can give us these features...but it's the idea behind them that we really need: how do we expand the skill gap? Because when the skill gap becomes larger (reasonably so), so does the sense of player progression - which typically fuels enjoyment of the game, too.
 
I wonder if this is something that could be done from the galaxy map as opposed to an FSS style of play (while still using some FSS type functions). Hear me out.

Add a new tab to the galaxy map if you have the "deep space scanning" module (or utility) installed. Next using FSS style tuning you chose the frequency of the signal type you want (guardian, Thargoid etc.). As you hover over different systems you get an audio feedback indicating whether there is no signal, moderate, or strong for the chosen type. Meaning that if you are fairly close but the strong signal is not quite within range you still have some idea of the direction you need to head in. Have this extend X number of Ly from your current system. The strong signal could extend for a few Ly's around the actual system it is in so you may need to search multiple systems to find the right one.

This could be a terrible idea but just thought I would throw it out there!

Edit: After re-reading your original post, this is essentially what you suggested just using the galaxy map instead of analysis mode from your ship. So I guess what this boils down to is: I agree with you and we need this, in one way or another.
 
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I wonder if this is something that could be done from the galaxy map as opposed to an FSS style of play (while still using some FSS type functions). Hear me out.

Add a new tab to the galaxy map if you have the "deep space scanning" module (or utility) installed. Next using FSS style tuning you chose the frequency of the signal type you want (guardian, Thargoid etc.). As you hover over different systems you get an audio feedback indicating whether there is no signal, moderate, or strong for the chosen type. Meaning that if you are fairly close but the strong signal is not quite within range you still have some idea of the direction you need to head in. Have this extend X number of Ly from your current system. The strong signal could extend for a few Ly's around the actual system it is in so you may need to search multiple systems to find the right one.

This could be a terrible idea but just thought I would throw it out there!
Not terrible at all - definitely different, until you consider the galaxy map feature system is already pretty damn complex (that's a good thing). Go back to your original point on stellar class and luminosity, the galaxy map is a tool after all...it just doesn't have a module tied to it. And maybe it doesn't need one, now we're just talking features instead of modules...which is what we're aiming for anyways.

I think the idea of signal tuning could be incorporated into the galaxy map on the existing 'Realistic Tab', which currently serves little purpose other than showing stars as their true color rather than as the filters the other two tabs provide. It stands to reason this tab would be used for exploration purposes, since what we're interested in isn't commodities or politics...but actual exploration.

Here's a concept...

Open Galaxy Map, Navigate to Realistic Tab
Controls are present for the following:
  • Sliding Scale for Radius Scanned, 50ly to 500ly. The deadzone below 50ly is to add an element of expertise in triangulation.
  • Category Dropbox for 'Desired Signal': Biological, Geological, Guardian, Thargoid, Human
  • 'Place Marker' icon: a unique type of bookmark icon that shows no information, assists with triangulation and mapping
  • 'Initiate Scan' icon: initiates the scan for the current parameters and displays 'pings'
How it works:

You open the map and set your scanner range to maximum (500ly) and category to Guardian. In this example, we'll say you get a single 'ping'. A ping looks like this:
  • Your location is denoted as normal.
  • The radius of the scan sent out is represented by a spherical blue 'bubble' around your ship, visually representing the range of the most recent scan.
  • The 'ping' is represented as a conical dark blue area within that bubble, with the point of the cone originating at your ship or pointing towards it. This represents the approximate area of the signal's origin.
  • The size of the cone (depth, tip to base / width of base) is based on the signal strength - which was determined by the radius. A deep-scan (500ly) will be very weak and provide hazy data on location, whereas a tight scan (50ly) will be much more precise. Even with a strong scan, the ping will still be about 50ly deep and wide, giving a good impression of the stars to scrutinize, but not making it obvious where the signal is. This is the deadzone in play and is intentional.
  • You mark out the outline of the cone with your special markers, then choose to warp another 25ly away from the tip of the cone. You repeat the scan on the highest strength (lowest range).
  • Option 1: You get the same size cone (smallest band after all) but it has shifted relative to your position, which means markers you previously placed aren't inside the cone anymore. These systems aren't part of the signal, so you eliminate them. Alternatively, you may have multiple systems with the same signal (which is what you'd expect in Synuefe sector, or in the bubble - signal noise)...but we'll say you're in the black, and this is a unique site.
  • Option 2: You get nothing. Since there is no signal, there is no cone display...but a seasoned explorer will know the approximate location of it and can guess. This means markers towards the front of the cone are probably duds...so now you shift to warping 'behind' the cone to test the other side.
The process repeats until you narrow down the system you want, or you narrow your markers down to maybe ten or twenty systems - enough to know where to explore in the near future. Essentially, the 50ly deadzone has to be achieved from higher ranges unless you luck out and happen to be sitting right next to the desired signal. Given the propensity for geological and biological signals...this may not be very helpful, since they're pretty common when we start talking 50 to 500ly ranges. But more unique finds, like generation ships or alien sites or abandoned colonies...this is the tool for you.

And all within the galaxy map. I think it's much more intuitive than using the FSS model now that I've typed it out. Not everything has to happen in the cockpit!
 
I love the idea, but from what I understand of the Stellar Forge, I fear it might be too ambitions and too much of a hog on resources.

From what I've seen, the contents of most star systems are not stored anywhere in a searchable form. The game simulates the entire "biography" of the star system while you approach it in hyperspace. It starts by working out what elements were present in that region of space, what amounts of gas and dust were present around the star when it formed, how long it's had to evolve, what impacts and near misses would have done to the orbits of planets in the past, how moons and binaries are captured in each others orbits, etc. And from that recipe, it always produces the same result. Stuff like LeGrange clouds, volcanism, and possibly even Guardian sites will also be placed using this method. If my understanding is correct, this would involve simulating hundreds of star systems at once for the game to be able to see what's in them.
 
I love the idea, but from what I understand of the Stellar Forge, I fear it might be too ambitions and too much of a hog on resources.

From what I've seen, the contents of most star systems are not stored anywhere in a searchable form. The game simulates the entire "biography" of the star system while you approach it in hyperspace. It starts by working out what elements were present in that region of space, what amounts of gas and dust were present around the star when it formed, how long it's had to evolve, what impacts and near misses would have done to the orbits of planets in the past, how moons and binaries are captured in each others orbits, etc. And from that recipe, it always produces the same result. Stuff like LeGrange clouds, volcanism, and possibly even Guardian sites will also be placed using this method. If my understanding is correct, this would involve simulating hundreds of star systems at once for the game to be able to see what's in them.
That or creating a way for the galaxy map to load and parse that data whenever a scan is executed....that could be the way it works, but I'm not a programmer and I get what you're saying on the likelihood stellar forge just doesn't communicate this way. If, though, stellar forge could 'report' signals to the galaxy map (strictly binary present/not present) - like it does star class and other information - we've got a ringer and it can be incorporated behind the feature idea.
 
If that's the case, could an idea like this instead be used to find areas where you are more likely to find these signals? If my understanding is correct, Stellar Forge would know if a given area contains the resources needed to form these signals. So instead of locating an actual signal it could lead you to an area you are more likely, but not guaranteed, to have what you are looking for?
 
I'm in the camp that likes the new FSS - it's more interactive, intelligent, and immersive for explorers. That said, I feel like exploring as a whole could use an additional aid in the form of generally locating unique phenomena (like LaGrange clouds or guardian structures) from outside of the system. Below is the base concept:


Deep Space Scanning Mode

While in FSS in a typical system, FSS has two modes: local scanning and deep-space scanning. Local scanning is what we see now and functions as normal.

In Deep-Space Scanning Mode, the FSS displays only star(s) in the local system (to serve as basic reference points - making a single star system not very helpful, which is intentional). Beyond this, it still uses the spectral range but instead of tracking frequencies in the system it tracks stellar frequencies within 100ly. These frequency bands correspond (like in normal FSS) to major signal groups:

-Thargoid Signatures (Barnacles, presence of NHSS, Other...)
-Guardian Signatures (Structures, Other...)
-Human Signatures (Megaships, Generation Ships, Stations, Structures, Other...)
-Stellar Phenomena (Lagrange Clouds, etc.)

Not surprisingly, there could be a LOT of noise with such a wide array of frequencies...that is intentional, after all we want some skill associated with using this mode. Remember, though, only 100ly range means much of our galaxy will only show stellar phenomena.


What it would look like
(I'm not an artist, so sorry, no actual pictures!)

Very similar to FSS now, with signal 'clouds' needing to be pinpointed and scanned. Once scanned, they will be identified as the type they scanned under (Stellar, Thargoid, etc.). They will also display a 20ly range 'band' they fall in: 0-20, 21-40, 41-60, 61-80, 81-100. Exact ranges would be too strong (and easy) but this allows some level of guessing, as explained below.

Then comes the actual work: scanned points will display in Analysis Mode of your cockpit when selected from navigation at the bottom of the list (because their distance is 'an indeterminate range', much like a commander selects a system to warp towards. The point in the HUD will actually display the 'range band' mentioned earlier. The commander now has a sense of direction towards that point and can begin navigating in its direction...but without a perfect sense of distance, we may still be searching across a number of systems.

Towards the galactic core, a range of 20ly covers hundreds of stars! Whereas in fringe areas, the range could very well identify a single candidate system.


Why?

At risk of sounding like a smart-alike...why not? I personally want to see more tools for explorers to 'find' phenomena and sites out in the black, but I also don't want it to be a gimme...otherwise we kill the very heart and soul of exploring: the hunt itself. As it is, though, much of elite: dangerous feels less like a hunt and more of a stumble around and hope. Or just use the codex and not really try at all! A deep-space scanning mode (or module...but reason dictates the FSS ought to be able to do this) would open up the galaxy a lot more, without tearing down the skill wall that separates explorers from codex followers.

I also think 'too much noise' (such as what we'd expect in the galactic core, or the center of the Pleiades) is not bad...this is a problem that 'makes sense'.

Thoughts?
Very cool idea, like it! :D
This way FD would have the opportunity to tell a strong word about the FSS and that it is to stay - without saying a single word.
 
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