Exploration changes for 2018 per the Frontier Expo

Okay, so here is what Frontier said at the Frontier Expo today that impacts us explorers:


  • Q1 2018 - The beige planets get cured and color returns to the galaxy in force! (see pic below)
  • Planet surfaces will see improved features, fog, and terrain (no ETA but for 2018).
  • GalNet will get an audio feature where you can listen to GalNet articles spoken out loud while you fly.
  • Exploration will get a Codex feature which catalogs things you find (no ETA but for 2018).
  • Exploration will get more things to find and search for, sometime in 2018.
  • Exploration will get improved tools, but no details on how or what will be improved. Sometime 2018.
  • Exploration missions were mentioned, no details or ETA.
  • New lighting model for the game for both planet surfaces and outer space, might support multiple light sources.
Some of it is great, some of it is promising, but a lot of it was rather vague. They spoke about exploration last at the Expo like it was an afterthought, and they really didn't have much detail for us, so it sounds like most of the stuff for us will be late in the year, most likely the huge Q4 update in 2018. Q1 will see the beige plague cured though, so that is a very good thing!

Other things not exploration related are coming too like wing missions, squadrons (multiplayer thing), squadron controlled carrier mega ships, a bunch of new ships (mostly combat though?), better trading data, mining improvements, and engineering improvements.

Here is a preview of the cure for the beigefication:




Thoughts? Anything I missed? Frontier, anything you'd like to expound upon? :D

Hopefully we get more details soon, it would be nice to have more to look forward to especially seeing how long we've waited for any kind of development. At least there is promise even if details are vague.
 
I wonder how the CODEX will work on XBox One. Kind of sucks that I'm going to Beagle Point now and will most likely not be able to benefit from all the scans I already did. Once I return from Beagle Point, I doubt I'll be making another trip like that for awhile.
 
a bunch of new ships (mostly combat though?)
No such thing. All ships are explorer options and with engineers not even that much of a compromise most of the time (other than on number of internal slots). Any new ship gives us a new cockpit view, a new look for screenshots and potentially changes to sound effects and handling. All are new options for exploring. FDev might try to optimise them for combat but if I like flying them when I give them a spin that isn't what I'll be using them for...
 
No such thing. All ships are explorer options and with engineers not even that much of a compromise most of the time (other than on number of internal slots). Any new ship gives us a new cockpit view, a new look for screenshots and potentially changes to sound effects and handling. All are new options for exploring. FDev might try to optimise them for combat but if I like flying them when I give them a spin that isn't what I'll be using them for...
When I think of a ship designed for exploring I'm thinking of a ship with a very high jump range in exploration configuration. If the Cheiftain has a jump range similar to an FDL then I would not consider it an exploration ship. Sure a pilot can explore in a Gunship but it is very far from ideal. Similar to how a combat pilot can fight in a CZ while flying an Adder, but no one is going to call an Adder a combat ship.
 
If these are the highlights of 2018, I'm quite disappointed. New textures on the planets and a few menu changes? I sort of understand why they didn't dare to charge money for this.
 
I was really hoping to get better information. I hope we get a big change to the scanners so they get subslots so we can equip it with different enhancements ( some oriented to looking for energy/ em fields, other for looking for minerals/) be able to put waypoints on a planet. I really hope they end eyeball MK1 exploration that we have had for three years.
Devs you need to take risks, and come and talk about what you are doing to exploration so we the players, backers, early beta players get to continue to build the "Game".
 
If these are the highlights of 2018, I'm quite disappointed. New textures on the planets and a few menu changes? I sort of understand why they didn't dare to charge money for this.
I dont know which stream you watched, but the one i watched included a LOT more than new textures and "few menu changes". ;)
 
Very excited. Just wish I could have more than one player character so that I could explore when I feel like it, and play with my mates when I don't. At the moment the commitment to sail off into the black and never play with anyone for weeks at a time is as tempting as it is alluring. But yeah, these updates for explorers would make me want to get out there with my Asp a bit more.
 
I dont know which stream you watched, but the one i watched included a LOT more than new textures and "few menu changes". ;)
The only planets they've show for 2018 is the same airless dry planets we've had access to since 2015. That's what I mean when I say it's just new textures. The exploration options they talk about doesn't really sound like much more than a few more menus. An encyclopaedia, some basic group comms and such. Sure, they've hinted at some new materials and tweaked ways to collect them. But, considering we're getting into the third year after the last big update, I think this is as thinly spread updates as they figured they could get away with.
 
Reading through some of the information given out the future does look somewhat promising if frontier can deliver on its promises that is.


I will say its quite nice to actually have a road map of what's coming so +1 FD although I feel 3rd party sites and individuals on this forum all out did Frontier on explanation of the road map and visualising it through images shared at Expo

there is the whole surface of planets which was mentioned too with a link to this concept art for Icy worlds coming early 2018



if this kind of scenery materialises itself in the galaxy I for one would welcome it, although there was no mention of atmospheres in the 2018 roadmap there would be fogs and more depth to scenery as it was labelled - whatever that is
 
The only planets they've show for 2018 is the same airless dry planets we've had access to since 2015. That's what I mean when I say it's just new textures. The exploration options they talk about doesn't really sound like much more than a few more menus. An encyclopaedia, some basic group comms and such. Sure, they've hinted at some new materials and tweaked ways to collect them. But, considering we're getting into the third year after the last big update, I think this is as thinly spread updates as they figured they could get away with.
I think I read somewhere on another thread, new exploration instruments that gives us new ways to find features, a lot of work in mining that applies to surface mining. Much more out there to find. Yes it's all a bit vague, but it's really all I expect from these sorts of events, I never watch them myself but wait for the really keen ones to supply analysis.
 
One more feature that wasn't mentioned here, but I think might turn out to be relevant to exploration: squadrons, and the carrier that they'll be able to purchase. (Slated for Q4 2018, mind.) They said that these are larger dockable ships, where players can repair, refuel, rearm and respawn at. I'd say that depending on the details of how the logistics are implemented, these could be quite useful for expeditions.

Personally, I was somewhat disappointed by the end that they didn't even mention atmospheric flight, but thinking back on it, I realised something. They showed that they are overhauling planets on a large and small(!) scales. A very nice piece of concept art to illustrate the latter, which is the target for what devs want to implement. Basically, what this all implied, but was of course left unsaid, was: "Before we move on to atmospheric planets, we'll have to finally get airless worlds right."
To be fair, on the whole that's probably more difficult to do than just tacking atmospheric flight on the current planet generation would be.

As for explorer ships: basically, the characteristic for ships that people like to call explorer ships is that they have a high FSD class / hull mass ratio. Personally, I'd be surprised if we got anything better in this aspect, or even near the Anaconda/AspX/DBX trinity, but who knows. But if you don't want 50+ jump ranges, then any new ship can be interesting - and the ones they showed looked interesting. (Although the T-10 will likely jump as a brick, heh.)


Oh, and there's also the part about Engineers getting overhauled and new rolls always producing better results than what you had. Not exploration-specific, but likely to be very handy for explorers too.
 
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