New Exploration Mechanics: What I really want to know

I'm seeing a lot of praise / complaining (compraising?) about the proposed changes to Exploration in chapter 4. While my initial reaction has been that this is going to make everything take so long and be so involved that I won't be able to do what I enjoy anymore, I'm trying very hard to give FDev the benefit of the doubt. I do think that exploration could use a lot of work. I doubt anybody would argue with the idea that it's not perfect. There are definitely things that could be changed / improved.

So with this said, it would really help if they would clear up a few things. To elaborate, I'll make a quick summary of my typical exploration style:

1. Planning - First I'll decide on an end destination and a rough route I plan to travel along. So say I'm leaving from Colonia and travelling to a nebula near the Aiphaitt sector, I take a brief look at the sectors between those two spots, decide if I'm travelling above or below the galactic plane, bookmark a few interesting looking systems on the path, etc. I'll then outfit whichever ship I feel is appropriate for my goals and plot to my first bookmark along the path (generally using neutrons)

2. Travelling - So here's where the new mechanics presumably come in, so I'll break this down a bit:

i. Jump into a system.
ii. Honk and align for fuel scooping, or honk and scan neutron / align for neutron scooping
iii. Quickly glance at the system map. In about five seconds I can usually ascertain if there are things that I am interested in. If there's a gas giant within scanning range, I'll always scan it (getting system helium percentage for larger project). I also look for large rings, ringed neutrons/white dwarfs, chaotic orbits, fast orbits, close orbits, super spread out systems (single star, planets exceeding 100,000 ls), tiny moons (particularly with volcanism), etc.
iv. Scan anything I care about
v. Jump to the next system.

Generally speaking, this accounts for 90%+ of the systems I pass through, and I am usually engaging the FSD as soon as I am not in danger of overheating.

So what I want to know now is, what will my new process look like with the new mechanics? Will it take longer? Will it be faster? How much of it will I be able to accomplish while fuel scooping? How long would it take me to scan an entire system? What (if anything) will the journal show before vs after the exploration mini-game?

Everything I have seen so far has suggested that most of what I do will take significantly longer than it currently does. I would love to find out that this will not be the case.
 
You should add your questions to the multitude of the countless existing threads that are currently being ignored by FD (including the official one).
Or maybe you'll get lucky here and receive an official response.
Who knows?
 

Ian Phillips

Volunteer Moderator
Everything I have seen so far has suggested that most of what I do will take significantly longer than it currently does. I would love to find out that this will not be the case.
Join in the Beta, which is when everyone will find out the answers to these questions.
 
I believe ED or Adam said there will be livestreams coming up where I'm sure they will have more Q&A opportunities, along with, hopefully, some demonstrations.
 
You should add your questions to the multitude of the countless existing threads that are currently being ignored by FD (including the official one).
Or maybe you'll get lucky here and receive an official response.
Who knows?
I had thought about that. I just hadn't seen anybody asking about the quality of life differences for my use case. Lots of assumptions as to the conclusion, mind. It seems like the those who currently enjoy exploration (such as myself) are apprehensive about these changes, whereas those who are more casual explorers, or think that it's pointless, are enthusiastic.

In reality, they've given us just enough information to make assumptions, correct or not.
 
I don't really see how the process can become more involved without taking up more time.

This I a big change and our current rhythms of playing are going to change. It will take longer but maybe it will be enjoyable, the current mechanic is so shallow and instant that its not really gameplay. Hopefully the new mechanic will give us a sense of exploration.
So for it to offer the same info whilst taking the same amount of time will be impossible.

But I do think that pretty quickly that we will be able to read the system waveform and with a quick zoom be able to suss out anything interesting.

There will also be new things to find that will hopefully be more exciting than a nice coloured planet.
 
I don't really see how the process can become more involved without taking up more time.

This I a big change and our current rhythms of playing are going to change. It will take longer but maybe it will be enjoyable, the current mechanic is so shallow and instant that its not really gameplay. Hopefully the new mechanic will give us a sense of exploration.
So for it to offer the same info whilst taking the same amount of time will be impossible.

But I do think that pretty quickly that we will be able to read the system waveform and with a quick zoom be able to suss out anything interesting.

There will also be new things to find that will hopefully be more exciting than a nice coloured planet.
While I think that there may be some benefits built into the new approach, if it takes longer and more involvement to get exactly the same information I'm not sure how this is a net benefit to us. Four years ago, sure. This would have been great back then. But this feels like taking something away and then giving the same thing back to us, but impeded by some additional repetitive gameplay.

Again, I hope to stand corrected. But if it's close to what I've got pictured in my mind, it'll threaten to make playing the game impractical for me. I'm not altogether succeeding in my attempt to not prejudge, but I'm trying.

FDev could really do a lot to clarify all of this.
 
It's pretty clear to me: getting rough info will take longer (we don't know how much - I expect you can quite quickly zoom onto all the frequencies that matter to you). Getting scans and discovery tags will be much faster (you no longer have to travel for that in system - the frequency zoom already gets you all the info we can obtain now). That means just checking a system will net you lots of discoveries. Very quickly.

The travel requirement is moved over to the new mapped by tag, is much more involved (probe bowling and management) and reveals points of interest (volcanism/life/ruins/... never eyeball them again).
 
If the past is any indication, on launch, it will be horribly overdone and grindy and tedious, then everyone will complain, then they will change it to be merely tolerable.
 
I will answer to your question because in my opinion the process is clear

1. You jump into a system

2. You press the Scanner button and the new interface will pop-up. I suppose there is now a "honk" that provides a full scan of the main star and detects all signals in the systems.

3a. If the system has only one star, no planets, no USSs you will see nothing else in this GUI. You can close and jump to next.
3b. If the system got planets and features you will see some graphical effect on the GUI where these features are.

4. Moving onto these area you will receive some signal in terms of wave-forms, sounds (I suppose) and other visual information. Every planet, every star, every anomaly and every USS will have a different type of wave-form and will display a different type of information. It will be similar to the SRV scanner, but more detailed. We will need some learning time to understand how to recognize them quickly but it will be possible for sure.

5. Once you know how to recognize the features you can then decide if the signals matters for you (USS, ELW, Ringed Gas Giant) or not (Icy or Rocky body).

6a. If you don't see anything interesting you can close the GUI and jump to the next system

Up to know these are the differences to the current style:
- it will take some more time to understand what's in the system
+ you are involved in the process because you need to decipher the information


6b. If you spot something interesting you need to zoom and focus on the interesting signal in a fashion like "tuning the radio". I don't know in detail how the tuning process works. Once you catch the signal, the feature/planet is shown on the GUI, it's discovered and fully scanned (same level of scan we have now with ADS+DSS). If the planet is far (more than 1000Ls) this process let you save a lot of time. If the planet is near I guess it will take the same time or so.

7. The system map is updated accordingly and you find the same information we have now.

8a. If the discovered planet is landable, after this scan you know if there are POIs. You can get there and use the mini probes to map the surface (to get additional reward) and to find the POIs locations (if any).
8b. If the planet is not landable you can still go there and map its surface, or if you don't care or it doesn't feature anything interesting you can zoom back and look for other signals.

9. You can scan everything in the system with the same technique. Small and far planets will have a weaker signal so it may be more difficult to find them but in general it won't be too hard.

10. Once you've done, close the Discovery Scanner GUI and jump to next system.

Differences to the current style:
+ The new discovery process requires player interaction, experience to make it quicker and minor abilities.
+ You don't need to fly up and down to each planet to scan a complete system
+ You are more informed about a planet before getting there: Orbits representation, POIs, Materials (on the surface or in the rings) and all info that are in general available only after a full scan
= You still need to fly to a planet to check if there are special visual effects


It would be nice a confirmation from Ed, Will or Paige if what I wrote is correct!
;)
 
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My technique for exploration is...

Jump in a system, honk while scooping, move out of scooping range then turn & scan the main star while scanning the Star I look at the System Map.

I'm not interested in Ice/Rock Planets or Asteroid belts. Everything else I visit & scan.


Under the 'new' system I'll still scoop but may have to wait b4 honking (or throttle down to avoid a Star Splat) & I assume that I'll still be able to scan the main Star.

Once I honk it'll take me to the mini-game of 'guess the planet types!'.
I look at all the lines on a new screen, twiggle with some tuning & repeatedly move the 'Ship?' or hopefully a 'Radar' device until I find a Planet of the type Iv tuned in to, then zoom in I assume to discover it.
This removes that Planet's signiture from the lines, but I still have to repeat until Iv accounted for all Planets, that aren't Ice/Rock worlds - once I'm used to how/what these 'lines' are that I see.

Then I decide whether to move on.

Will the 'lines' be easy to distinguish?
The SRV scanner is pretty crappy!
What about interference from multi Star systems, ranges of the ADS, distance to objects!

Will it take longer?
That depends. Currently I can see from the System Map in less than a minute (including scooping), whether a system is just Ice/Rock worlds. Will this new system?
If I want to scan in a System, last time I timed myself it took 24 minutes to scan 13 bodies in a system. This new technique of NOT travelling to these objects must surely be a lot quicker.
What about Anomolies? this depends on what they are & how they're gonna show themselves in this new system & how frequent they will be.

Overall, it's difficult to say for sure until we test it in Beta.

If we don't like it then, sorry it's in-game & we're stuck with it - remember Beta is really testing for bugs!
 
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I will reply based on what I've read and seen on the livestream

I assume that I'll still be able to scan the main Star.
The main star will be automatically fully scanned by opening the Discovery Scanner interface

Once I honk it'll take me to the mini-game of 'guess the planet types!'.
We won't honk. The new system will automatically perform a scan once open.

I look at all the lines on a new screen, twiggle with some tuning & repeatedly move the 'Ship?' or hopefully a 'Radar' device until I find a Planet of the type Iv tuned in to, then zoom in I assume to discover it.
You will aim the scanner independently from the ship in the new GUI.

Will the 'lines' be easy to distinguish?
The regions are blurry, they look easy to be spotted. I guess from the size we can easily guess it's a star, gas giant, planet, USS or whatever. With the additional information we will better cathegorize the bodies without the need to discover them. We need to gain a bit of experience first.

What about interference from multi Star systems, ranges of the ADS, distance to objects!
Every body got a specific signature. On the bandwidth it can be only high, medium or low, with a specific resolutions. When we see for example a high and a low signal together in the bandwidth in the same region we know that there are 2 bodies of those specific types.
The furthest the object the lowest is the emission detected. It will be more challenging to discover it, but quicker than travelling to it

Will it take longer?
The planets identification: yes, but it will get better when we gain practice and experience. In general it will always be a bit longer than the current system...maybe one minute instead of 10 seconds? Just a guess


If I want to scan in a System, last time I timed myself it took 24 minutes to scan 13 bodies in a system. This new technique of NOT travelling to these objects must surely be a lot quicker.
That's been confirmed multiple times. I guess no more than 30 seconds for each nearby planets and no more than one minute for each distant object.
 
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The SRV scanner is pretty crappy!
Just goes to show how different people are, IMO the SRV scanner is one of the best implemented features in the game! As far as the new system scan goes the proof is in the pudding (beta), but the SRV scanner is actually the reason I'm optimistic about how it will turn out.
 
...

So with this said, it would really help if they would clear up a few things. To elaborate, I'll make a quick summary of my typical exploration style:

...

iii. Quickly glance at the system map. In about five seconds I can usually ascertain if there are things that I am interested in. If there's a gas giant within scanning range, I'll always scan it (getting system helium percentage for larger project). I also look for large rings, ringed neutrons/white dwarfs, chaotic orbits, fast orbits, close orbits, super spread out systems (single star, planets exceeding 100,000 ls), tiny moons (particularly with volcanism), etc.
So I've seen a lot of similar posts in many of the other threads, and I feel like I'm at least a competent explorer myself. However, I'm struggling to understand how people can tell from glancing at the system map what the relative distances between planets are, or the size of rings, the types of orbits, whether or not there's interestingly deep canyons, etc.

Yes, it's great to see at a glance how many bodies are in a system and their relative alignments, but without clicking on each and reading/digesting the orbital information about each, I fail to understand this oft-claimed "at a glance" from the System Map.

This is a genuine query btw (I'm currently out on a short mapping expedition) so if there are hints and tips for the current system, please share!

As to being on-topic, I'm personally cautiously optimistic about the proposed changes and very much looking forward to seeing them in action (livestream and beta). Until then I reserve judgement.
 
These are indeed the questions ... hopefully we'll get to see it in action sooner (livestream asap rather than wait for beta when it might be too late to change significantly?) rather than later.

One thing I haven't seen anyone say explicitly ... right now we find out more about planets by "just flying towards them". Now eveyone says this like it's a criticism but the thing is, I like flying a spaceship. If we're now gonna spend time in the new scanning interface, how "fun" is this gonna be? I feel like I'd rather be looking out of my cockpit flying the ship than looking at a flat scanning screen, that's a different game. I just can't gauge what that's gonna feel like yet but I guess we all have our doubts about that. I wonder of there's any mileage in having the scanner do its thing automatically while we fly around as an alternative to us having to do it manually through the new screen? It could be a lot slower and perhaps less accurately (maybe it completes after a minute or so, notifying us with an audio cue that it's resolved a bunch of "candidate" signals for us to double check if we want?). If we want to take over and do it ourselves we can, but if we just want to fly and let the automated systems take a stab at it then that's an option too?

Ho hum ... I guess we need to wait and see. One further question ... if the new system REALLY sucks, will FD be prepared to scrap it or are we already stuck with it perhaps? (Have FD ever scrapped an idea they've committed to because the players really didn't like it?).
 
I will answer to your question because in my opinion the process is clear

1. You jump into a system

2. You press the Scanner button and the new interface will pop-up. I suppose there is now a "honk" that provides a full scan of the main star and detects all signals in the systems.

3a. If the system has only one star, no planets, no USSs you will see nothing else in this GUI. You can close and jump to next.
3b. If the system got planets and features you will see some graphical effect on the GUI where these features are.

4. Moving onto these area you will receive some signal in terms of wave-forms, sounds (I suppose) and other visual information. Every planet, every star, every anomaly and every USS will have a different type of wave-form and will display a different type of information. It will be similar to the SRV scanner, but more detailed. We will need some learning time to understand how to recognize them quickly but it will be possible for sure.

5. Once you know how to recognize the features you can then decide if the signals matters for you (USS, ELW, Ringed Gas Giant) or not (Icy or Rocky body).

6a. If you don't see anything interesting you can close the GUI and jump to the next system

Up to know these are the differences to the current style:
- it will take some more time to understand what's in the system
+ you are involved in the process because you need to decipher the information


6b. If you spot something interesting you need to zoom and focus on the interesting signal in a fashion like "tuning the radio". I don't know in detail how the tuning process works. Once you catch the signal, the feature/planet is shown on the GUI, it's discovered and fully scanned (same level of scan we have now with ADS+DSS). If the planet is far (more than 1000Ls) this process let you save a lot of time. If the planet is near I guess it will take the same time or so.

7. The system map is updated accordingly and you find the same information we have now.

8a. If the discovered planet is landable, after this scan you know if there are POIs. You can get there and use the mini probes to map the surface (to get additional reward) and to find the POIs locations (if any).
8b. If the planet is not landable you can still go there and map its surface, or if you don't care or it doesn't feature anything interesting you can zoom back and look for other signals.

9. You can scan everything in the system with the same technique. Small and far planets will have a weaker signal so it may be more difficult to find them but in general it won't be too hard.

10. Once you've done, close the Discovery Scanner GUI and jump to next system.

Differences to the current style:
+ The new discovery process requires player interaction, experience to make it quicker and minor abilities.
+ You don't need to fly up and down to each planet to scan a complete system
+ You are more informed about a planet before getting there: Orbits representation, POIs, Materials (on the surface or in the rings) and all info that are in general available only after a full scan
= You still need to fly to a planet to check if there are special visual effects


It would be nice a confirmation from Ed, Will or Paige if what I wrote is correct!
;)
...and how exactly do you still safely pilot your ship in SuperCruise whilst doing all these wonderful new things? You have to be in SC to use the scanner.
 
Frontier obviously created the new scan mechanic as a TIME SAVER.

How do we know this?

Think about it. The current time sinks for exploration are as follows:

1) travel to object
2) scan object

Under the proposed system we have:

1) scan object
2) lob probes at object

But if we kept the old scan mechanic and added the new probes, we'd have:

1) travel to object
2) scan object
3) lob probes at object


From this vantage point it's easy to see that keeping the old mechanic and adding the probes would dramatically slow down exploration. Ergo it seems painfully obvious that one of the reasons that Frontier created the new scan mechanic was to SAVE TIME in order to make room in the time budget for the new Probe Mechanic.
 
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But if you guys had it your way, keeping the old scan mechanic and new probes, we'd have:

1) travel to object
2) scan object
3) lob probes at object


The biggest chunk of time in these lists currently is Travel Time. Looking at it this way, it seems painfully obvious that one of the reasons that Frontier created the new scan mechanic was to SAVE TIME in order to make room in the time budget for the new Probe Mechanic.
I heard a lot of explorers wanting to keep the some of the info from the honk/system map. Don't think I saw people arguing to keep the point at a thing for 30 seconds mechanism.
 
...and how exactly do you still safely pilot your ship in SuperCruise whilst doing all these wonderful new things? You have to be in SC to use the scanner.
1. No, Frontier said you need to be in SC to use the Surface Probes, I haven't seen clear references to the Discovery Scanner.
2. Even if SC is required just reduce Throttle to 0, you won't go anywhere at 30km/s in open space, even if you were fuel scooping it will require 1-2 hours to reach the exclusion zone.
3. Interdictions: this is a danger only in the bubble but you can be easily interdicted anyway flying a straight path to a planet so that's not a big difference.
 
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