Explorers : would you consider giving up on the infinite honk for...?

Well you can "land" the camera on the surfaces. But it's always a rather underwhelming experience. I really haven't used it that much.

Some very talented people manage to capture some pretty epic scenery though..
https://youtu.be/KjTZBm3fzKc
Again: Very impressive and really looks amazing. But that's not what I'm looking for. It doesn't even come close to the close-up experience that I can have in ED planetary landings (see my sig) and which creates the feeling of "being there" to me. To me it's like the difference between a true travel and browsing a traveler magazine or some travel advertising, where SE would be the latter.
 
Hello Commander RLSG!

We won't just be looking at stellar body discovery.

To be clear, the reasons I would like to replace the honk and eyeball scanning would not be to drag out exploration time, but to give the game play:

* A modicum of player-skill, along with a suitable minor skill-based reward
* A feeling of verisimilitude, that you're operating advanced sensor equipment like a boss
* Satisfying processes, improved visual/audio/interactions
* A reduction required super cruise travel, so you only need to travel to a planet if you're definitely interested in investigating it

Also worth noting, this is a separate point to the concept of having things to discover during exploration (which we see as equally important).
It's wonderful that you are brainstorming about this. I always felt the current mechanism was a placeholder, but players were already discovering tons of systems with it.... The way we currently "unlock" systems and their planets is way to easy, lazy even, and skill-less to be of any interest. The only quality you are required to have to get it done is patience. Which I have a plenty, but it doesn't make the exploration process exciting. It's a bit as if all you needed to do to get your name on a system and its bodies, is fly to it and click at each items. Exploration has to be more engaging, and there should be more things to discover, so that there's a chance people could still discover stuffs after someone else visited the place.

Then having your name on a system and its bodies would be more meaningful! Maybe names could be per type of discovery: CMDR Van de Squik discovered gold here

The current mechanics is only saved by the fact that it doesn't take time. I wouldn't mind exploration to take more time as long as gameplay is engaging. I got used to honking, but it's as convenient as it is boring.

Just like with mission involving searching for objects, I would love to be given some actual tools to triangulate, analyze and pinpoint what I'm looking for or whatever there is to be discovered. It has to be entertaining and require some skills.

EDIT: I had initially posted this message out of enthusiasm after finding a tweet mentioning M. Sammarco's quoted post on the forum... Since then, I read a big chunk of the discussion, and obviously a lot of things and ideas have already been exchanged on the matter. So my post is just stating the obvious... I leave it here, but mostly as a vote of support to the idea of revamping the exploration gameplay.

In the discussion I read, I especially liked the analogy with submarine technology. I tend to think we have way too much information in space as it is now. That we're playing in the 34th century is no excuse. I wish we were a bit more in the dark and that detecting anything in space wouldn't be as obvious. But basically, visual sonar, scanners, spectrograph, wavelenth, maps, etc, are the search in the right direction.


Best regards and fly safe!
 
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Oh, while we are here:

LET THE BLUE POI BUBBLE SHOW UNDER 2KM WHILE SCOUTING A PLANET.

It disapearing is frustrating as all hell. It's MORE FUN to FLY LOW. Why Fdev wants us to never see the surface of planets while scouting for INTERESTING SURFACE OBJECTS, I HAVE NO IDEA.

Actually, I do. As some shallow pretense for "gameplay." Bull. I say. Obfuscating information from the player never results in fun gameplay features. Why? BECAUSE PEOPLE END UP MORE MAD AT THE INTERFACE WHEN IT OBSTRUCTS WHAT THEY ARE TRYING TO DO.

/rant over.
 
The way we currently "unlock" systems and their planets is way to easy, lazy even, and skill-less to be of any interest.

That we're playing in the 34th century is no excuse.
I disagree. It's the perfect excuse for planets to be easy to discover. They should be easy to discover with the technology available. They have already made other concessions that do not make sense for the technology in the game, this doesn't need to be another one. What could be done instead is having other discoveries be more difficult to find on the planets or in deep space. The discovery of the planets should only be the beginning and the beginning doesn't need to be convoluted. Some putting so much value on 'first discovered' tags shouldn't be a reason for convolution. You can even equip a basic discovery scanner if you want to include your own difficulty, which has been argued to death already. I just do not think that making it 'difficult' to find planets is a good step to making exploration more engaging or fun as I don't particularly find putting on my name on planets a worthwhile reward in a video game that I mostly play alone.

Another game makes you use triangulation to find new systems and planets and I find it quite terrible as the reward for doing so is typically zero. Sure, it might be rewarding to have found knowledge if you are part of a community that shares the information, though if most of the systems/planets have nothing notable to even go look at, what's the point? It's a game about being an independent space pilot in the far future where knowledge of systems and their bodies is basic information that is constantly being updated by a stellar cartography organization. Now, add something like anomalies to scan down, relics (as they have been), lost technology, life, or other miscellaneous things then we're talking. Make something like discovering a black hole interesting, make them even dangerous and have gathering information close to them more valuable. These are the types of things that would make it more engaging for me and they would even be optional as I could opt to just do the typical scan and move on should I not be in a risky mood.

With so many systems and planets to yet even be discovered, I find that there is simply no reason to slow that process down. Especially when you consider there are so many already visited systems that will need to be revisited when we are able to land on planets with atmospheres.
 
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I disagree. It's the perfect excuse for planets to be easy to discover. They should be easy to discover with the technology available. They have already made other concessions that do not make sense for the technology in the game, this doesn't need to be another one. What could be done instead is having other discoveries be more difficult to find on the planets or in deep space. The discovery on the planets should only be the beginning and the beginning doesn't need to be convoluted. Some putting so much value on 'first discovered' tags shouldn't be a reason for convolution. You can even equip a basic discovery scanner if you want to include your own difficulty, which has been argued to death already. I just do not think that making it 'difficult' to find planets is a good step to making exploration more engaging or fun as I don't particularly find putting on my name on planets a worthwhile reward in a video game that I mostly play alone.

Another game makes you use triangulation to find new systems and planets and I find it quite terrible as the reward for doing so is typically zero. Sure, it might be rewarding to have found knowledge if you are part of a community that shares the information, though if most of the systems/planets have nothing notable to even go look at, what's the point? It's a game about being an independent space pilot in the far future where knowledge of systems and their bodies is basic information that is constantly being updated by a stellar cartography organization. Now, add something like anomalies to scan down, relics (as they have been), lost technology, life, or other miscellaneous things then we're talking. Make something like discovering a black hole interesting, make them even dangerous and have gathering information close to them more valuable. These are the types of things that would make it more engaging for me and they would even be optional as I could opt to just do the typical scan and move on should I not be in a risky mood.

With so many systems and planets to yet even be discovered, I find that there is simply no reason to slow that process down. Especially when you consider there are so many already visited systems that will need to be revisited when we are able to land on planets with atmospheres.
+ rep

This guy gets it as well, and succinctly at that.
 
I disagree. It's the perfect excuse for planets to be easy to discover. They should be easy to discover with the technology available. They have already made other concessions that do not make sense for the technology in the game, this doesn't need to be another one. What could be done instead is having other discoveries be more difficult to find on the planets or in deep space.
What I meant is that if you follow the idea that in the 34th century, it should be easy to discover thing just by honking, why not also decide that the technology is so advanced that we could simply send bots to any system and wait for them to come back with the data, while we have fun in CZ. The ships could be flying themselves too as well. So no, I don't care about how advanced one imagine things should be. What we assume of 34th century technological advancements don't matter ; gameplay matters.

Another game makes you use triangulation to find new systems and planets and I find it quite terrible as the reward for doing so is typically zero. Sure, it might be rewarding to have found knowledge if you are part of a community that shares the information, though if most of the systems/planets have nothing notable to even go look at, what's the point?
I don't know what game you're referring to, but there are hundreds of ways of implementing that kind of gameplay. it doesn't have to be hard and time consuming, it just needs to make the player feel like he/she's actually doing something of importance, other than the equivalent of pressing a button to reveal some info.

The discovery of the planets should only be the beginning and the beginning doesn't need to be convoluted. Some putting so much value on 'first discovered' tags shouldn't be a reason for convolution. You can even equip a basic discovery scanner if you want to include your own difficulty, which has been argued to death already. I just do not think that making it 'difficult' to find planets is a good step to making exploration more engaging or fun as I don't particularly find putting on my name on planets a worthwhile reward in a video game that I mostly play alone.
My point was not that it should be more "difficult" and annoying, but that it should be "entertaining". I said it should require some skills, but it can start with basic ones. It doesn't have to be crazy difficult, but it has to give you a sense that you're basically trying to detect object in the black using some tools that the 34th century's technology provides ;)

There's an example I often think of when I'm thinking about the honking (not to be taken as an exact reference of what I could imagine for Elite obviously), it's Batman Arkham Asylum. At some point in this game, you get to acquire a gadget that allows you to unlock jammed doors. The dev could very much have made it in such a way that the doors automatically unlook (with a simple animation of Batman pressing a couple of buttons), which would have been the equivalent of the honking system for system scan. But no, they went a step further and have you go through a very simple interaction in which you have to match two wavelengths with your joysticks (basically finding the positions for the two joysticks that will unlock the doors). Quick, efficient, not annoying, and it gives that extra interaction that makes unlocking doors entertaining. It breaks the routine, it makes you feel in charge of something that appears technical (but is not to the player), although it's just about opening a door that was closed before. Fallout 3/4, Elder scrolls series also if I remember well, have those kinds of simple easy routine breaks, that gives nice variations to the gameplay without breaking the flow.

About the time it's going to take versus reward feeling, I think it's already been discussed. I think the problem is some players are already accustomed to getting the info cheap and easy. So obviously, to these players, it would feel like a step backward, if we would have to "work" (hopefully in a fun way) to gather the info we're used to getting effortlessly. But on the contrary, I think each planet we had found could have been rewarding. It also could have been rewarding to discover the presence of Polonium or even Germanium, if this data wasn't already so devaluated. Unfortunately, the game has made all this so casual, it seems to be hard for many to imagine anything different.

It's a game about being an independent space pilot in the far future where knowledge of systems and their bodies is basic information that is constantly being updated by a stellar cartography organization. Now, add something like anomalies to scan down, relics (as they have been), lost technology, life, or other miscellaneous things then we're talking. Make something like discovering a black hole interesting, make them even dangerous and have gathering information close to them more valuable. These are the types of things that would make it more engaging for me and they would even be optional as I could opt to just do the typical scan and move on should I not be in a risky mood.
I totally agree with that part. Of course, content is key. Although, I don't think Frontier can populate this universe with too many incredible finds without turning ED into NMS. Maybe my post didn't put enough emphasy on this aspect. But I will link this to my previous paragraph: Germanium, Polonium, Selenium, Iron, all materials and elements could somehow be part of that great content, if implemented differently.

With so many systems and planets to yet even be discovered, I find that there is simply no reason to slow that process down. Especially when you consider there are so many already visited systems that will need to be revisited when we are able to land on planets with atmospheres.
Well I see it the other way around: I'm not looking forward an hypothetical day when every system would have been scanned. 400 billions of stars, I don't care how fast or slow we discover them ; I only care about how much fun and excitment I get discovering them, how fulfilling an experience it can be.
 
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Oh, while we are here:

LET THE BLUE POI BUBBLE SHOW UNDER 2KM WHILE SCOUTING A PLANET.

It disapearing is frustrating as all hell. It's MORE FUN to FLY LOW. Why Fdev wants us to never see the surface of planets while scouting for INTERESTING SURFACE OBJECTS, I HAVE NO IDEA.

Actually, I do. As some shallow pretense for "gameplay." Bull. I say. Obfuscating information from the player never results in fun gameplay features. Why? BECAUSE PEOPLE END UP MORE MAD AT THE INTERFACE WHEN IT OBSTRUCTS WHAT THEY ARE TRYING TO DO.

/rant over.
This. It's been going on far too long, imho.
 
Oh, while we are here:
LET THE BLUE POI BUBBLE SHOW UNDER 2KM WHILE SCOUTING A PLANET.
I agree too with that, although I think it should be replaced by something more interesting. But as it is, it doesn't make sense that it disappears when we get closer to the signal, and it's annoying.
 
Oh, while we are here:

LET THE BLUE POI BUBBLE SHOW UNDER 2KM WHILE SCOUTING A PLANET.

It disapearing is frustrating as all hell. It's MORE FUN to FLY LOW. Why Fdev wants us to never see the surface of planets while scouting for INTERESTING SURFACE OBJECTS, I HAVE NO IDEA.

Actually, I do. As some shallow pretense for "gameplay." Bull. I say. Obfuscating information from the player never results in fun gameplay features. Why? BECAUSE PEOPLE END UP MORE MAD AT THE INTERFACE WHEN IT OBSTRUCTS WHAT THEY ARE TRYING TO DO.
I think it was originally intended to encourage (=force) players to use the SRV to explore the surface and to use the wave scanner to find stuff. One problem is that the SRV is hopelessly too slow vehicle for surface exploration. Other problem is that limiting ship capabilities in finding surface stuff is just pointless, unimmersive and annoying.

The end result for me is that I completely ignore POIs because of their design (even though I mostly like driving the SRV).

I would much prefer having the ship as the discovery tool (gameplay starting from supercruise and continuing to surface level) and the SRV as an interaction tool. Sure the SRV could still be the tool to find rocks and small stuff.
 
Now that the time has come (or has been announced, let's say) for the reworking of core mechanics, and getting them closer to the original concepts...
Let's talk exploration.

Would you be ready to give up on your infinite scanner range and exhaustive galaxy map for more rewarding probing / navigation gameplay? Rewarding in terms of money/rank/whatever else of course, but also in terms of feeling. Of course you can't be left in the dark and just downgrade to the intermediate discovery scanner now - it would feel like artifical handicap. But there could be modules that detect unfound gravitationnal perturbations... probes to launch that would detect planetary bodies and their surfaces, even system-scaled scanners ala SRV... To an extent, there could be secret systems in galmap, for you to find, with one-knows-what-tool.

I reckon some things can't be changed. You can't remove something the player base is used to - for nothing at least. I'm just trying to know if that particular godly honk and the ease of discovery is that important to you. Not saying exploring is easy though - but it's more a matter of endurance, most of the time, than navigational flair (ok, tbh there is true navigationnal flair in certain expeditions reaching really isolated stars).

Your thoughts?

Edit : reading through the thread, I need to clarify that I do not advocate for its removal. I'd just like to know your advice on it and other methods.
Yes. As an explorer who came to E:D primarily because of exploration (A part of the game that my younger self playing Elite and Frontier: Elite so badly wanted to go and do but was limited by the game engine), yes, I'd happily have the infinite discovery scanner changed for something else that encourages more gameplay options. Here's my concept (probably already stated by someone else, but count this as a vote for that!).


1) ALL SHIPS have a new feature "Spectral Analysis" or something, which is basically like the wave scanner for the SRV (but without the GUI bit) in that it's built into all ships, you drop into a new system, and instead of honking your Dscanner, your ship will auto-scan any new system as so as you enter it (actually your ship is doing this all the time but you'd only notice it in new systems) - only it doesn't reveal exact results, it shows you more vague ideas of what's there (maybe also based on your location, so you wouldn't see anything that's behind the sun, for example). It's like space radar. It works by your onboard ship systems analysing visual, radio, specral, radiation, space juju data. It then guesses at what's there. Your system map after this might show some blobs, (the ones closer to your may even appear as planets if you're already close, the stars will almost certainly show up instantly), or icons representing various types or sizes of objects, or gravity gradients in certain areas - for example, this SA scanner may have trouble telling the difference between a large asteroid cluster and a planetoid, so the icon might represent that ambiguity. It might only be able to tell you "this planet here is pretty huge, probably a gas giant", but it's not until you go look for yourself you can get more data on it. The results are partially RNG based, partially distance based from the object, so two pilots scanning the same system together would get slightly different results, they could combine these results (manually or maybe via an in-game tool) and get a better idea if something is really there.

Ideally I'd like this data to build up over time naturally - so if you spend a while in the same system, or re-visit it often, your ship is able to build up more and more data and the system map gets more and more accurate. If you sat there for a couple of hours you might get a pretty clear map of the system without using anything else! Remember this isn't a module, it's already part of what your ship does by default.

At any time you can (if you have one fitted, use the new Discovery Microprobe module to speed up this process dramatically and collect a lot more data.

2) Discovery Scanner (all versions) module replacement - Discovery Microprobes. Smart people are already talking about possibly using small probes sent to explore other stars in our lifetime. In 3303 maybe they have insect-sized probes that are dropped from a ship in a swarm and flit through the system at supercruise speeds. The discovery scanner would require "charges", which can be purchased or synthesised fairly easily. Different model scanners hold different charges, maybe there's a speed bonus for the more expensive ones too, maybe it's called "processing speed" and it relates to how fast the gathered date can be analysed by the module systems. If the module gets damaged, this speed drops - a good reason to keep it in good condition.

Functionally, this is the same discovery scanner "honk" as before, only instead of instantly getting whatever was in range, it takes time for the microprobes to fly out to the edges of the system, things show up in your system map/scanner as they did before, but it's a slower process with the closer objects appearing sooner, etc. Maybe it takes up to 20 minutes for the very, very largest systems to be fully mapped - or maybe calculate it based on FSD speeds, etc.

3) instead of the Surface Scanner - Surface Analysis Satellites. They work in basically the same way as the surface scanner, but you have to drop them (honk them, if you will), they'd need charges just like the microprobes. You'd drop them from near-orbit, they'd take a while to orbit the planet fully and start the analysis. I imagine you'd basically fly to a planet, drop satellite, fly to the next, drop satellite, etc. and maybe on your third planet the first results are coming back. This data could then be expanded upon in some sort of mini-game like thing and successfully completing "data analysis scanning" or whatever could yield you likely spots to find particular resources - or maybe show the location of a possible POI, at which time you can descend and the same type of "follow the moving target" game that you get with Salvage missions appears.



WHY?!?! Why Do I hate other players so much that I want to ruin the game!

1) Because these three changes won't change much for casual players, or non explorers just zooming through the bubble. But for explorers it will be more in depth, making decisions about whether to drop your Microprobes or not, learning the (complex and deep) symbols and analysys results it's possible to extract from the Spectral Analysis so when you decide to investigate some odd readings in what you think is the Goldilocks Zone for this particular star type and you find a lovely blue-green world, it's because you FOUND IT, not because you held down a button for a few seconds then looked on the system map. Playing the scanning minigame to see if there's anything more to find (maybe something amazing!). Managing your resources more carefully on those long trips outside the bubble. Also as I said they could easily build into this system to make it so that more Commanders scanning the system at the same time will get more accurate results, encouraging more teamwork.

2) It will add a greater possibility for Fdev to hide things that are actually discoverable with in-game tools - one of the things I love has been all the stuff with analysing the sounds of the UP's and tracking signals and decoding things. Bring a little of that magic to exploration. However, I've got almost no chance of cracking that sort of stuff myself, but using in-game tools which can be nice and complex if you want gives everyone playing the game a chance of discovering something amazing by actually playing the game, not just from playing the metagame (and that might only be a new planet with braintrees on it, but it might also be Raxxla).

3) Sure, you're not going to be able to flit through space any more honking your way through dozens of systems an hour, but there's no reason the experience can't be adjusted so scanning a single system could be just as rewarding (or even more so) than scanning dozens. Both in terms of spending your time on it as a game and financially since UC could be adjusted to pay out appropriately more under this new system.

4) Maybe the Galactic map doesn't show you much info any more on every star in the game... it's now kinda vague. Maybe it only fills bits in when people sell data to UC. Maybe there's a lot more stuff there that only shows up when enough people have been through a system and thier various ship scans are compared back at UC HQ and they say "hey, there's a <thing> in this area we didn't know before, let's add it to the map" - this could add a LOT of opportunity for Fdevs to add anything they want (I'm hoping for a ringworld please Fdevs!). I'd like this because I'd like to talk about how you need to "skirt the Dark Nebula on the Hestion Rise and jump through the Scorces Star Pentagram and there's a rogue planet in just the right place to act as a Hyperspace stop to get you through there into a new bit of space... but it doesn't show up on any map yet kid..."

So something like this would make me even more happy.
 
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I think it was originally intended to encourage (=force) players to use the SRV to explore the surface and to use the wave scanner to find stuff. One problem is that the SRV is hopelessly too slow vehicle for surface exploration. Other problem is that limiting ship capabilities in finding surface stuff is just pointless, unimmersive and annoying.

The end result for me is that I completely ignore POIs because of their design (even though I mostly like driving the SRV).

I would much prefer having the ship as the discovery tool (gameplay starting from supercruise and continuing to surface level) and the SRV as an interaction tool. Sure the SRV could still be the tool to find rocks and small stuff.
The game's current implementation of surface scanning is far different from how NASA currently decides where to land on a planet or moon. As far back as Apollo, lots of "scanning" has gone into identifying a landing zone, and still does even if the landing is for an unmanned rover. I'd like to see more science applied to this aspect of the game. It could still be implemented to be fun to do.
 
I think it was originally intended to encourage (=force) players to use the SRV to explore the surface and to use the wave scanner to find stuff. One problem is that the SRV is hopelessly too slow vehicle for surface exploration. Other problem is that limiting ship capabilities in finding surface stuff is just pointless, unimmersive and annoying.

The end result for me is that I completely ignore POIs because of their design (even though I mostly like driving the SRV).

I would much prefer having the ship as the discovery tool (gameplay starting from supercruise and continuing to surface level) and the SRV as an interaction tool. Sure the SRV could still be the tool to find rocks and small stuff.

+1

I hate the whole "blue POIs thing". And like you, I find using the SRV to "find" stuff atrocious. It's not enjoyable, it makes no sense at all, it's completely illogical and ultimately does not serve any purpose other than being annoying.

The fact that stuff disappears from ship sensors in order to justify needing the SRV is beyond daft. Searching should always have been possible from the ship. Nobody would search for anything with a dune buggy while having a flying vehicle available, for fart's sake. Searching / scanning / locating should have always been a thing to be done with the ships. SRV would serve as an auxiliary tool to approach and interact with the found stuff, drill, mine, pick up, analyze, whatever.

Unfortunately, FD has a tendency to make a game within a game out of every new addition, with it's own gameplay loops and self-contained mechanics, instead of using the additions to expand existing gameplay and thinking about how to make it fit with the already existing world in a manner that at least tries to make a bit of sense.

The whole current planetary gameplay is a complete waste. I hope this is on the list of improvements for 3.0.
 
The game's current implementation of surface scanning is far different from how NASA currently decides where to land on a planet or moon. As far back as Apollo, lots of "scanning" has gone into identifying a landing zone, and still does even if the landing is for an unmanned rover. I'd like to see more science applied to this aspect of the game. It could still be implemented to be fun to do.
I may be alone in this, but in the spirit of the NASA/Science idea I'd even enjoy taking "Geology" missions from science-based organisations to scan and record data on mineral compositions, mapping projects where you have to cover a certain amount of the surface, "location survey" missions where you're employed to find a suitable area for a new base, colony, etc. and you actually have to make decisions, maybe you get a payout depending on how good the area you picked turns out to be. There's probably hundreds of mission types that could be done on just one planet in one system. Maybe when space-legs is implemented having to ship out scientists and you land on a planet and they get out and wander round a bit taking readings, you have to ferry them around. I'd totally love all that stuff as a change from the combat stuff (which I also love!).
 
The game's current implementation of surface scanning is far different from how NASA currently decides where to land on a planet or moon. As far back as Apollo, lots of "scanning" has gone into identifying a landing zone, and still does even if the landing is for an unmanned rover. I'd like to see more science applied to this aspect of the game. It could still be implemented to be fun to do.
While I would tend to agree on the scanning front, where landing is concerned the technology in our ships is far more advanced than even the current NASA space flight options. As it currently stands, the point of de-orbit plays an enormous part wrt where the landing vehicle actually lands. Our space craft in ED do not suffer from this limitation in the main.
 
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