Jump Start on the Exploration Feedback - Software Defined Radio Interface EASY!

With the exploration focused feedback coming I thought I'd put in my 2cents now. I've been terribly busy and unable to play lately nor surf the forums. I will be jumping back in full force this Fall and I hope they can take my idea to heart. If someone can take this and roll with it when they ask for Focused feedback I'd appreciate it. Please Frontier! Take this one to heart!

I've always had a distaste for how the signal sources were handled. Its not very scientific nor fun. They just pop up. This part of the game requires attention. I was hoping they'd redesign the entire system to more of a radio style system where you "hear" the signal source before it pops up and you can tell what sort of signal is it by sound. I understand speed of light and how radios work. This is a game after all and I'd like some sort of "ping" when we get signals.

Here is your chance Frontier! With exploration coming up and Sandro himself saying he wanted some form of easy but fun minigame for exploration. THIS IS IT.

How do we explore? We HONK! Then we fly point / shoot and wait. This works well for very large objects. What about finding those anomalies and needles in the haystack? You have to start WIDE, listen very quietly and tune into something to find any form of radiation or reflections. Think of each solar mass pumping out massive amounts of radiation and reflecting off very small anomalies. This is a passive way of acquiring targets. Other targets may have their own "emissions" to listen into.

SOUND IS THE KEY. This concept is sci fi, its fun and its easy. It just MAKES SENSE.

All we need to SEE is the waterfall and waveforms to TUNE to.

If they did this it would open up exploration for "anomalies" and other very specific objects / signal sources.

Think of like the wave scanner but in space.

How do we do this?


There are varying styles of software that do this using very minimal memory and processing power. (you could build the program under 100MB memory and it uses 1% of my 1 processor to actually process)

Software Defined Radios - What are they? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Software-defined_radio They are chips they found out could easily pass wireless information to computers and be decoded via SOFTWARE instead of hardware. Our processing power is now much higher than the earlier days of HAM Radios. To give you an idea of what they are - here are some very basic things you can do with SDR software.



Here are some of the programs I use every day to listen into air traffic, scanners, even satellites around the world.

Want to try this yourself? You can listen into radios right now around the world easily by point click, scroll wheel etc. You'll see how easy it is. I expect the game would make it even simpler.

http://websdr.ewi.utwente.nl:8901/ (Websdr)
https://www.sdr.hu/ (nicer interface but slower)
http://www.sdr-radio.com/ (beautiful and plugins to find satellites!)

How do we put something this complicated into the game? The program itself will take time, the sound will take time - but the actual use of the radio in game can be very very simple.

I've been playing with these for a while now and I'm having so much fun. Its so easy a caveman can use it once its set up. But you could make a very watered down version of this for the game.

  • Joystick / VR and Keyboard Friendly and very easy to do!
  • Left/Right (scroll across the spectrum)
  • Up/Down zoom the spectrum.
  • Fire button - TUNE to the target.
  • Then while "locked" Left/Right moves the signal left right in smaller increments. Up/Down narrows/widens the bandwidth to FINE TUNE the signal in to .
  • If the signal is captured a POI is added to the nav computer.

Think of it like the old flight sim days trying to lock other fighter jets.

Once you have found your tiny target to investigate you then need to go and fly close to get visual and other regular scanner data.

So the process is this:

1) You click a button like loading galaxy map.
2) Scanner program is loaded (transparent hopefully and holgraphic hopefully like being in a station)
3) You are presented with a screen similar to an SDR Waterfall / and signal.
4) Pick a range of frequencies of bands you want to look for (or all)
5) Wait for the waterfall to "listen in" for anomalies and you scroll left right and TUNE to a signal
6) Zoom into the signal and FINE TUNE the signal
7) Computer analyzes signal and calculates its position in space.
8) POI is added to the nav computer.
9) Fly out and investigate.

  • Will give the extremely talented sound team some challenging and fun work.
  • There are ample signals to sample and use out there that make is sound "sci fi". (The actual SDR signals already sound SCIFI!
  • Sound is fun to play with.
  • Minimal memory / cpu
  • Signals can be spotted quickly and tuned quickly using conventional controls
  • UPGRADES for "Scanner Module" will be easy. You simple add Max scan range. For example some SDR's only have a 2Mhz scan range. You can only "see" 2Mhz at a time. But some you can see 30Mhz at a time. So you can see the entire band by zooming back. You can "find" signals easily with more range. With less range you need to manually scan through all the spectrum. Think of it like the "range" of our honking system. The better the "scanner module" the better the range and detail.
  • You could add these properties to the modules - Bandwidth, Sensitivity, Speed


I'll leave that to you - because I'm sure you have a bunch.[up]
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I'll give you an example of a set of rabbit ears in a window can do - this is just regular ads-b data at 1090Mhz throw on a map in real time.

Here is an example of a guy tuning around picking up different signals and narrowing in on them. Jump to 4 minutes

Sounds great. Just need to dumb it down a bit....to say something targetable from 1000ls out ala Guardian ruins and that classic submarine 'ping'
Let's get the bad out of the way first:
If someone can take this and roll with it when they ask for Focused feedback I'd appreciate it.
As Frontier have made clear from the start, the focused feedback sections are for players giving feedback on the specific plans they present there, not for general feedback - not even on sections of the game. So this shouldn't be posted there, no. However, I would recommend posting it now in the Suggestions and Feature Requests section.

That said, I think this is one of those rare times when there's actually a great new idea posted, one that could even be feasible to implement. Well done!
I just wonder about how the in-game interface might be done well, without exploration becoming "look down on the panel constantly", but I'm fairly certain that the interface engineers could get it done. If nothing else, then to have it come up center. It's not like you look at out there while cruising for signals.

Mind you, Frontier might not have enough time to implement such a thing for the Q4 update, but who knows. I don't think anyone were disappointed much if they added it later. If nothing else, then we'll see when the FF section comes up whether it would fit with Frontier's new plans for exploration gameplay or not.
Thanks for the comments. It still is good to get it out there as an idea. Everyone love the wavescanner on the ground... lets do something in space too ... to narrow in and find those interesting things in space. Would be great to have about 100 diff sound types to try and memorize / categorize

Then you could also convert to spectrograms right in the game (like the thargoid transmissions)
I like this idea. It is something different. Right now exploring is fairly boring with honking a system and seeing if there is anything interesting enough to go inspect.
Well, what can I say other than, this is absolutely one of the most game-impacting changes I heard, giving a refresh to an "old" system like the USSs one.

Point, pop-in, scan, drop in, drop off, repeat.

I would really love to see that in the easy way explained above here.

5 keys, maybe shared to avoid conflicts (I still need to move the ship whilst using the scanner, but for instance I don't need Vert and Lat thrusters :p) and SHOOT to lock on.

Also - here are examples of categorized waterfall samples. You can see they have a whole bunch of fun stuff to use. They can use the waterfall to DRAW PICTURES like they forced us to do externally.. instead we will be able to see them by getting into the right position and scanning them.

Here is a massive list WITH SOUND for each signal type. Look for Haarp .. quite freaky!



Here's an irridium sat

Heres APT (I can decode this into actual weather camera pictures)

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Submarines use it, as far as I understand, for identifying targets from non-targets such as whales, fish etc.

It must be true because I played an excellent sub game in the past on the BBC computer, but I can't remember what it was called. You could identify targets from the waveforms.

By the way, it would be great to see this in the game, so +1. [yesnod]
Wish they would have considered it. This new launching probes to prolong things and make it more just "point and shoot" really angered me. I wanted probes but for gods sake... wouldn't probes be so smart you could just launch them with directions ? Why aiming ? Why should it take a really long time to just do one planet?

How much will it pay?

Its just they are not making life easier or more fun, they are making it more tedious just like every other update.
Since the current way of finding something planetside (without hints) is just flying around and eyeballing stuff, they'll be making that less tedious, not more.
The details should come in time... whenever they finally get around to that focused feedback section that's coming "very shortly". Like Godot.
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