Q4 Exploration Reveal

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Details of the Chapter 4 Exploration updates! https://forums.frontier.co.uk/showthread.php/447043-Chapter-Four-Exploration-Reveal

Hello Commanders!

We're going to be shaking the format up slightly for the final main topic of discussion surrounding some of the major features of Chapter Four of Beyond. We're soon going to be revealing more details about the next update, so for this post, we'd like you to share all of your questions and comments in reply to this thread, and we'll try to respond to as many as we can!

In this post we’ll be presenting just some of the improvements coming to exploration in the next update. There's a number of benefits that we are aiming to bring in with this exploration overhaul which we've listed out below, with more detailed explanation underneath.

Benefits of Exploration Improvements

  • Make exploration more involved: By introducing a process we aim to make exploration feel more meaningful, making the results more satisfying and rewarding.
  • Replace flying time with gameplay: We want to reduce the amount of time you have to spend flying to a planet just to discover it. The only time we want you to fly to a planet is because you want to visit it as there’s something there you want to see or do. Ultimately that will make exploring planetary bodies and getting first discoveries in a system quicker and more engaging at the same time.
  • Remove Random USS Spawning: You will now be able to use your skill to locate signal sources rather than rely on luck. you will have the ability to identify a USS from anywhere in the system and then explore and discover these locations.
  • Reduce the time to find planet surface locations: You will now be able to employ game play to make searching out interesting surface locations/POIs quicker and more interesting rather than flying across the planet in low orbit.
  • Improve multiplayer exploration: With both of the module upgrades we are making sure that wings and multi-crew are supported.
  • Holistic System:The improvements to exploration mechanics tie together not just new discoveries, but mining, missions and signal source location in one package.
  • All new "First mapped": You'll be able to add a first mapped across any planet within the galaxy, including within the bubble. Giving all players that have joined the game since it's launch even more opportunity to make their mark on the galaxy.
Check out the full details below.

The Discovery Scanner

Because explorers ply their trade far from civilized space, we’ve decided to not add new module requirements. Instead, we’re improving the discovery scanner and detailed surface scanner so Commanders can jump right in as soon as the update is released, without having to spend time traveling back to a port to purchase new gear.

When you activate the discovery scanner you will now be taken to an all-new scanning interface and view. In this augmented camera view you are able to interrogate the system using new functionality of the scanner.


The process still starts with the “honk” (system scan), though its usage is now the start of a more engaging process (if all you did before was scan for some credits, don't worry, the scan still awards credits.)

The system scan now returns an aggregated display of how energetic the electromagnetic emissions are in the system. Signals are sorted on a low to high scale by their apparent energy. For example, emissions from rocky clusters will appear at the lower end of the scale, hot gas giants at the upper range. This information requires some interpretation as signals can overlap.

You are able to tune the focus of your sensors to a particular point on the scale, making emissions from objects at this range much clearer, at the cost of filtering out signals returned from bodies not emitting at this range.

As you move the view around, you are aiming your discovery scanner sensors. To aid you, the discovery scanner view also features a repeating sweep of gravitational disturbance detected in the system. You can use this sweep to narrow your search for stellar bodies, as well as start your search around the star's orbital plane, which is revealed by the initial system scan.

Emissions that come close enough to your view’s focus are represented by signature patterns around a central reticule. If you are tuned to the correct point on the energy scale the signal will show as a symmetrical pattern clearly showing the direction towards the origin of the signal, allowing you to locate it. The further away your energy tuning, the more distorted and asymmetrical the pattern becomes, hiding the precise direction and location.

Once you have a candidate origin, you can use the scanner to reconstruct a massively zoomed in view. If you aimed precisely enough, you will discover the stellar body. If there are a number of stellar bodies in relative close proximity to your focus, you may need to repeat the process to isolate individual signals.


As you locate and identify stellar bodies their emissions are filtered out, instead becoming markers on the energy range, making it easier to find the remaining bodies. It's at this point in that you will gain the “first discovered” tag, rather than having to physically visit the planet (you still need to sell the data at a port to gain the tag). All current first discovered tags will remain.

Importantly, when you uncover a planet using the discovery scanner, as well as being informed of the resources available on it, the presence of unusual locations, such as Guardian sites, will also be revealed. However, their precise location won’t be shown until you have mapped the planet with the detailed surface scanner.


Unidentified Signal Sources

Along with the Exploration update, we are improving the way that USSs work. USSs will now spawn throughout the entire system when you first enter it. This enables you to use the new exploration tools to find USSs throughout the system, not just in the area around you. You can still interrogate nav beacons to find the locations.

Whilst USSs do still have a decay time, the timers have been increased to allow you time to find and fly to the ones you are interested in. The decay time is also now displayed when targeted. Signal sources still obey rules determining where they can appear within a system, and mission critical signal sources will still be highlighted to differentiate themselves once located.


The Detailed Surface Scanner

Again, this module will not be replaced. Instead, the detailed surface scanner gains the ability to launch micro sensor probes in supercruise. You will use these probes to “map” a planet’s surface and locate resource hotspots in its rings.

These flight-assisted probes are launched via a new aiming interface when activating the detailed surface scanner. The probes will arc towards a planet’s surface and when close enough will “display” sensor coverage over a large area. Once enough of the surface has coverage, the probes will collate and report their findings. To map rings around a planet you need to hit each ring with a single probe.

To allow for skilled play you can aim probes away from the planet, allowing them to arc around it, potentially letting you hit the surface on far side of the planet. If you aim too far away, the probe will fly right past and miss, but by using mass and size information displayed on the HUD you will be able to lob probes and get full coverage without having to fly around the planet.

You will be able to synthesise micro-probes for the detailed surface scanner, but the better aim you are, the less probes you will need to get complete coverage.

When you do achieve this, any unusual locations will be revealed to your ship’s navigation systems. So no more eyeballing an entire planet to find those brain trees!


First Mapped By

We are also adding a new opportunity to get your Commander's name immortalised in the game with the new 'First Mapped By' tag. The first person to successfully map a planet to 100% and sell the resulting data at a port, will be awarded this tag. This also applies for planets that have already got a 'First Discovered' tag as well.


Multi-Crew

As part of the exploration update, we are making sure that multi-crew members can use the discovery scanner and detailed surface scanner at the same time and all discoveries are shared among crew or wing.

This allows wings and multi-crew to engage in exploration together, each earning credits and exploration rank and making the process more efficient.


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We'll be revealing more details about Beyond - Chapter Four in the coming weeks and we can't wait to show you, but in the meantime, please post your feedback regarding Exploration in this thread and we'll try to respond to as many queries as we can.

Remember, this thread is not an area for debate between community members – it’s fine to read what others have put, but try to ensure your posts are directed at us rather than your fellow posters.

Livestream from 13th September:
[video=youtube_share;nOcBIuvH7fo]https://youtu.be/nOcBIuvH7fo[/video]
 
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Now this is interesting:

* All new "First mapped": You'll be able to add a first mapped across any planet within the galaxy, including within the bubble. Giving all players that have joined the game since it's launch even more opportunity to make their mark on the galaxy.

There will be an opportunity to tag things inside the bubble.

EDIT: The new ADS mechanics sound somewhat like the SRV wave scanner, for finding bodies (with a telescope view?). No more instantaneous glances at the map to decide the star system is boring. This changes everything.
 
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As i said in main thread - i like that discovery scanner will not show every system body. Yes, it makes it much more time consuming, but i think it also makes discoveries more "precious" (for the lack of better word). Galaxy should be mysterious place, and i like the more so called "fog of war" as i think it is called.

Looks like great update.
 
As i said in main thread - i like that discovery scanner will not show every system body. Yes, it makes it much more time consuming, but i think it also makes discoveries more "precious" (for the lack of better word). Galaxy should be mysterious place, and i like the more so called "fog of war" as i think it is called.
What's funny is that in a way, I was terrified that they would do something like this, because my current mode of operation is to travel the map quickly, and only stop and scan systems that look interesting at a glance. But having read it, I'm excited for this change, because every system you pass through will be mysterious and empty until you investigate it. That means you can still travel quickly, but will be unlikely to find anything, or you can take some time in each system and look it over. Basic travel will be much slower if you're being deliberate and methodical. But that creates opportunities to optionally travel quickly, to then explore in more detail over there somewhere.

I like it. But I'll have to radically change my approach.

EDIT: I'm still going to endlessly fret that I'm missing potentially important and unique discoveries at any time that I decide not to detect everything in each system. Thoroughly looking for those rare diamonds in the rough will be slow and difficult.
 
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Basic travel will be much slower if you're being deliberate and methodical.
Yeah it will be tough for someone who scans everything. Or those who only want to find specific thing (for example my current trip is search for intersting tiny icy bodies).

But it makes things discovered worth more. You can't "cheat" with quick system scan. I don't need to scan everything - i'm sure little bit here, and little bit there. There might be bit of "learning experience" here - you might get better spotting and scanning as you repeat it.
 
I'm worried about the ADS changes. Although on paper it sounds good as it adds more depth to exploration, imagine how tedious it's going to be like having to go through each planet and moon individually in every system on a long distance exploration trip just to see if there's something worth scanning in depth. It will take forever to cross even short distances exploring! Saying that, the rest of the features sound brilliant, especially the probes and the planetary mapping which should add a good kind of depth to exploration, as opposed to the seemingly grindy depth of the new ADS mechanics.
 
Now this is interesting:

* All new "First mapped": You'll be able to add a first mapped across any planet within the galaxy, including within the bubble. Giving all players that have joined the game since it's launch even more opportunity to make their mark on the galaxy.

There will be an opportunity to tag things inside the bubble.

EDIT: The new ADS mechanics sound somewhat like the SRV wave scanner, for finding bodies (with a telescope view?). No more instantaneous glances at the map to decide the star system is boring. This changes everything.
Sooooo.... who is going to be camping where and logging in the instant the servers go back up after the update drops so they can get the first mapped tag? :D And along with that, using the entire beta time to hone and perfect their probe launching skills to get those early first mapped tage?
 
I'm sure that one of the exploradevs (you know, the ones with more than 1 million Lys under their belt and well into their 4th Myriad of visited systems) will have considered any small negative impact on explorers (after giggling with Pew Pew Bob about USSs and tagging stuff in the bubble). Have faith Explorers - what could go wrong...……..
 
Adam Waite added one interesting point:
https://forums.frontier.co.uk/showthread.php?p=7010634&viewfull=1#post7010634
The data you currently earn from the existing Discovery Surface Scanner (DSS) is provided when using the new Discovery Scanner mechanics. The new DSS will provide the player with surface scan data, which currently does not exist in the game. This allows the player to get the first mapped tag on their discoveries.
So new Discovery scanning = old Detailed Surface Scan
new DSS will be probe thing and will earn "first mapped" tag
 
I'll reserve judgement until I see it in effect, but this looks to me like something designed to make exploration more interesting for those who currently do not explore but will make it much less interesting for those that do.

For anyone who has been to a few thousand systems, it is hard to imagine getting any fun from playing some mini-game just to find out that it is a bog standard system without any remotely interesting content. Perhaps if this had been there from the start it would be fine. After all, we would all have discovered much less so more things would be outside our personal norm and hence interesting. But you cannot just pretend that you haven't already seen thousands of systems.
 
For anyone who has been to a few thousand systems, it is hard to imagine getting any fun from playing some mini-game just to find out that it is a bog standard system without any remotely interesting content. Perhaps if this had been there from the start it would be fine. After all, we would all have discovered much less so more things would be outside our personal norm and hence interesting. But you cannot just pretend that you haven't already seen thousands of systems.
I'm concerned about this as well. Will the mini-game still be interesting after 10,000 systems? After 25,000? My hope is that they make it quick and easy, enough so that you can learn to pick out interesting signals from the noise before even fully pointing at, and scanning the target. If a quick assessment is still possible, before moving on, then I'll be happy.
 
I'll reserve judgement until I see it in effect, but this looks to me like something designed to make exploration more interesting for those who currently do not explore but will make it much less interesting for those that do.

For anyone who has been to a few thousand systems, it is hard to imagine getting any fun from playing some mini-game just to find out that it is a bog standard system without any remotely interesting content. Perhaps if this had been there from the start it would be fine. After all, we would all have discovered much less so more things would be outside our personal norm and hence interesting. But you cannot just pretend that you haven't already seen thousands of systems.
Yeah, we will have to see in beta. I am personally feeling a bit torn on this because I will definitely have to change some things in how I go about exploring.

That said, the differences in game right now between what is called exploration, travel, and object and tag collecting are pretty slim. These changes make a pretty hard differentiation between travelling and exploring. Exploring is not really going to be a passive activity that people do while engaging in their primary activities any more. Quite possibly gone are the days of running out to Palin for some engineering and making a few million credits by jump-honking. Also, jumping into as many D mass systems to collect as many earthlikes as quickly as possible.
 
I'll reserve judgement until I see it in effect, but this looks to me like something designed to make exploration more interesting for those who currently do not explore but will make it much less interesting for those that do.

For anyone who has been to a few thousand systems, it is hard to imagine getting any fun from playing some mini-game just to find out that it is a bog standard system without any remotely interesting content. Perhaps if this had been there from the start it would be fine. After all, we would all have discovered much less so more things would be outside our personal norm and hence interesting. But you cannot just pretend that you haven't already seen thousands of systems.
You hit the nail on the head here.

Currently you can glance at the system map and see, well dang, whole system of minor icy bodies

Unless the energy signatures are SIGNIFICANTLY different between icy, rock, metal rich and metallic well, isolate each one and let it resolve before 'Oh, drat, I just spent 'whatever' time identifying a system full of icy bodies. that I would have skipped before all these wonderful changes...

Some are gonna love it, others, not so much.
 
'The system scan now returns an aggregated display of how energetic the electromagnetic emissions are in the system. Signals are sorted on a low to high scale by their apparent energy. For example, emissions from rocky clusters will appear at the lower end of the scale, hot gas giants at the upper range.'


Sounds like a seasoned explorer could quickly discern if a system would have potential or not.
A system with only snowball planets would show only low energy signals on the scale.
 
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