Extending the boundaries of known Guardian Space


A couple of months ago I posted a series of updates on my search up above the known Guardian region, centered on WREGOE MC-Z B41-6. I was looking for undiscovered Guardian sites, and I found them! Which was pretty exciting.

It's taken me almost as long to collect and present the data as it did to gather it. But the highlights are here:

And here's an inexplicably small version of the video you can see larger on my "Overview" page:

While I was putting this data together it occurred to me that those Brain Tree locations could be useful to people who are gathering Guardian blueprints and mats. So I put together an itinerary (the 'Harvest Tour') for doing that, while also collecting enough raw materials to satisfy just about anyone.

In the meantime I've continued the search. Adding new data will take a lot less time than it took to create the system that displays it: but I have some catching up to do!
I haven't updated this thread for awhile, but I've continued to search along my A (and now B) vectors. All my new results have been negative... which is less disappointing than you might think.

The negative results have been interesting because they've led me to speculate about the site selection process for these structures. Why do we find them in one place, but not another? And what can that tell us about the process that picked the bodies where we do find them?

But I have gotten a little tired of searching in places where I was pretty sure I wouldn't find anything. So rather than continue up to Area A4 I dropped down to the downward vector below the known Guardian sites and continued there.

Here's a new visualization that shows where I've looked:


I don't detail the Brain Tree locations I've found in these areas because you just expect to find them scattered around here. Not finding Brain Trees would be pretty significant. But finding them doesn't tell us anything new.

As I said, I was toying with an idea about the site selection process. In very simple terms I thought that these sites might have been chosen by projecting rays from some central point (which might or might not be the Guardian home system).

I even worked out a simple rule set for how these rays could work. It was very interesting to think about... but there was no way to prove it. Some entity involved in the site selection process would have to weigh in on the question, and that's unlikely whether in-game or out.

By the time I'd finished searching Area B3 I worked out a set of observations that could show me whether I might be on the right track. Last night, when I made those observations, I found exactly the opposite of what I expected to find.

I think I just debunked my own hypothesis.

That's interesting, though! Now I have to go back to what I have seen and try to figure out what it means.

Because my old idea is almost certainly false I have shielded it from your eyes inside a Spoiler tag.

The idea is that Guardian structure sites were placed by projecting rays from a central point.

A ray would have a limited range, and each ray would continue up to that range unless it collided with a system that had candidate bodies. Those bodies would be tested, and each one would have a very small chance of hosting a Guardian Structure.

If a body was chosen, the ray would die. If no body was chosen, the ray would probably also die. If a ray didn't collide with a compatible system it would continue on its course until it did collide with a system or reached the limit of its range.

This seems pretty sensible, and relatively simple.

You'd project a very large number of rays from your origin point. Many of the rays would collide with systems quickly, so as you went farther from the origin there would be a lower and lower density of Guardian structures until you exceeded the rays' range. The result would be a roughly spherical region with a high density of structures in the middle and a lower density of structures as you neared the boundary.

Significantly, you could expect to find more structures in areas that were densely populated with systems (like my Area A1). Rays that passed through densely packed areas would die off quickly; rays that passed through sparsely populated areas would persist and be more likely to reach their maximum range.

If these rules were accurate then I could record the density of systems along my upward and downward vectors at intervals of about 40 light years. I would expect to find sparsely populated areas below my upward A vector, and thickly populated areas above my downward B vector.

What I found was the opposite. The very high density of Area A1 continued all the way down to the middle of the structures area, while the low density of Area B3 continued all the way up to that point.

At the very least, my ray rules are bunkum. At the worst, these sites were not selected by projecting rays.

They still could have been! If the actual center of the structures region is at least 200-300 light years East of the apparent center then my rays might travel through very different systems, and the whole idea could be accurate. That would place the real center very close to the permit-locked Regor sector.

But if that were the case you would expect a very high density of Guardian structures along the Regor boundary. We just haven't seen that – and that area has probably been examined very closely. So I'm in no hurry to look for the diagonal ray paths that would support my old idea.

The likely conclusion is that I was substantially wrong. And maybe completely wrong.

Now, there's another idea that's reinforced by these new observations. System density falls off very rapidly around the middle of Area A2. I found no more structures above that point.

That suggests that the Guardian sites might have been distributed in selected Stellar Forge cubes rather than by projecting rays. (That's because system density varies from one cube to another, the cause of those gigantic star cubes sometimes seen by explorers. So it looks like there's a cube boundary in Area A2.)

You know, maybe. It's one more thing I'm going to watch for as I survey the points along my search vectors.

But I'm sad about my rays. With enough data they could have led us to the actual center of known Guardian space.
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