Where is the exploration?

I much prefer exploration now, but in truth, exploration for me has never really been about the honking or the tuning. It's about going and looking at stuff, finding stuff, being places where nobody has been before and probably nobody will go again, the rare chance of pinning down something genuinely useful, or just those nights on remote planets with starless skies and a ringed moon creeping over the yardarm.

(Other opinions on exploration are available.)

As a step on the road towards the actual going places, I find the FSS more engaging than a quick blunt honk, but ultimately, it is just a step on the road, a part of the process.
 
Some of us predicted this was likely to happen ..... the initial flush of enthusiasm out in the black for the "new" method, then a realization that it's a tedious design.
I have the same great enthusiasm for the FSS today that I originally did, with the exception of bugs / glitches in the UI. I find with threads like these, one new guy says, "I don't like it" and the same ten old guys who didn't like it from day one come in and sing their well-rehearsed chorus loud and proud.

Don't get me wrong, everyone is entitled to their opinion, but I don't think the FSS is hated by the majority of players like is often implied.
 
I have the same great enthusiasm for the FSS today that I originally did, with the exception of bugs / glitches in the UI. I find with threads like these, one new guy says, "I don't like it" and the same ten old guys who didn't like it from day one come in and sing their well-rehearsed chorus loud and proud.

Don't get me wrong, everyone is entitled to their opinion, but I don't think the FSS is hated by the majority of players like is often implied.
Oddly enough that impression goes the other way too from posters making some sarcastic attempt to suppress or diminish reasoned discussions.
 
Searching through old threads about exploration gameplay/mechanics is rather interesting; the impressions I form from them is:

  • there are a few expressing dissatisfaction with the honk-scoop-jump cycle, but
  • there is a greater dissatisfaction with not having many things to discover or much variety in the ways to discover them
This thread is a good example but there are others: https://forums.frontier.co.uk/threads/what-gameplay-elements-are-needed-to-make-exploration-as-fun-and-engaging-as-combat.326901/

In this context the FSS makes sense; the ADS is useless for finding POIs on bodies or in space. It also changed the USS mechanic too, which was essentially fly about a bit and hope you get a good die roll. With this in mind the ADS is not fit for purpose for accessing these changes. Whether you regard the FSS as being a "good" way of incorporating them or not is of course debatable, but the FSS or something like it was going to be necessary.
 
I have the same great enthusiasm for the FSS today that I originally did, with the exception of bugs / glitches in the UI. I find with threads like these, one new guy says, "I don't like it" and the same ten old guys who didn't like it from day one come in and sing their well-rehearsed chorus loud and proud.

Don't get me wrong, everyone is entitled to their opinion, but I don't think the FSS is hated by the majority of players like is often implied.
Don't get me wrong, you are entitled to your opinion, but when one old guy alleges there are only ten old guys who don't like it, I begin to doubt the quality of his argument.

The value of the FSS, as has also been mentioned by Commander biot, is that it allows the immediate identification of POI's (not their precise location of course), which has eliminated a tedium which the majority of us could not tolerate. But the FSS still needs improvement for general discovery, and an assumption that it is the best tool we can have for the purpose will not encourage further improvement, I'm afraid.
 
My biggest issue with exploration is the codex. The codex is just a tick box of what you and other people find. There is no breadcrumb mechanic to find rare things.
The mechanic is there with the rumoured section, but it hasn't been used yet. Maybe there is stuff out there we haven't found yet.

As to the codex as it is, its good, but could be better. Its certainly better then what we had before which was essentially nothing.
 
This is how I would have done it.

Have the FSS tell us there are biological or geological activity detected. It shouldn't tell you how many or what POIs, just the basic type. The FSS should also tell you what materials are there but not the percentages, that should be left to the probes, so it gives you a reason to probe planets that don't have POI's on them.

When you get there and probe, that will highlight search areas on the planet where you can find these POI's.

Then have a wave scanner type thing on your ship which you can follow to find the POI's or land and use your SRV wave scanner to find them. It would give a much better and fluid approach to finding POI's. Once the POI is scanned then you get the pin point co-ordinates on your nav panel.

As to the FSS I like it. I prefer to interact with the games I play. If you wanted realistic then realistically we wouldn't be flying these ships at all and they would all be drones while we sit at home watching netflix.
No, I don't want realistic, never said such thing.

In fact, I would also be happy the other way around, with the FSS taking care of aiming itself. It's a very advanced sensor that can tell me spot on what content to find on unexplored worlds, and automating the aiming (there's nothing that can possibly fail there) would be trivial. So you see my argument is that my ship is doing the funny part, the one that's challenging, identifying features, and I'm left with the robotic clicking at things. So who's the human in this game? Who's the machine?
 
My biggest issue with exploration is the codex. The codex is just a tick box of what you and other people find. There is no breadcrumb mechanic to find rare things.
And I also dislike the codex greatly.

Just to clarify because someone is not reading right: the part where you enter a system and its bodies and orbits are mapped by your ship is fine. That's unfailable mathematical work that a computer can certainly and I want it to do.

POIs are not. When a computer knows what is that I consider a "point of interest", and its location from very far distances, then that computer is an AI. If I have an AI on my ship then cool, but I'm still the human and it's my slave, so I don't want to point at things for it when it can do it perfectly fine.
 
No, I don't want realistic, never said such thing.

In fact, I would also be happy the other way around, with the FSS taking care of aiming itself. It's a very advanced sensor that can tell me spot on what content to find on unexplored worlds, and automating the aiming (there's nothing that can possibly fail there) would be trivial. So you see my argument is that my ship is doing the funny part, the one that's challenging, identifying features, and I'm left with the robotic clicking at things. So who's the human in this game? Who's the machine?
This is exactly the problem - automation in the FSS is implemented in precisely the opposite way to how it should be.

Body location and tuning should be done by automatically by the hardware. Evaluation of the results to determine the planetary composition should be done by the pilot.

Since people seem to love comparing current technology to a futuristic space game:
My car stereo is capable of automatically sliding through the radio frequencies and identifying where stations are broadcasting, but this is completely beyond the ability of the FSS, requiring manual intervention to adjust the scanning frequency. This makes absolutely no sense when you consider what the FSS IS capable of.
 
also, I see that as it was before you had to fly to each planet to look for interesting things. That could have worked. I'll try and make a list of steps myself of what I expected exploration to be:

  1. Enter system. Discover main star.
  2. Honk. Get the orbital plane with the positions of all bodies.
  3. Open scanner.
    • Point scanner at a body: you'd get a spectrograph (not the real thing, but a toy spectrograph, one that fits with the game), that will make you decide what kind of body it is (earthlike, asteroid, ammonia, etc.).
    • Use other features of your scanner that hint at geological activity, life, etc.
    • Scanner would give you no way of determining whether your reading is correct! No locking you on the correct solution like the current installment does, so to get that discovered by tag you'll proceed to...
  4. Fly to the planet.
    • Getting close enough marks it as discovered and you can see if your readings were right.
  5. Launch probes, for complete planetary features and POI positions.
  6. Now you can land and see with your eyes.
All of these steps are entirely optional! Nothing would stop you from flying to each body and probing it without using sensors at all, and you'd still get all the discovered by tags and the hard cash from Universal Cartographics.

The scanner should have been a tool to avoid some of the grind and help you decide which bodies were worth flying to and probe, and at the same time you'd get layers of exploration and grind to suit everyone's needs. I don't think it was supposed to do all the work. Then if it was supposed to do all the work, why is it leaving the most tedious part to the player?



I've put this down as a suggestion for something new in the end, but really it is no more than what I was expecting exploration would be like.

Sorry, had to edit this several times. o_O I'm finished now.
 
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It took me longer than it should have, but I just came to the realisation that the FSS was introduced for the happiness of the completionist who wanted everything mapped with his ship parked next to the main star.

This is just that feeling again when you fall in love and then... :eek:
 
It took me longer than it should have, but I just came to the realisation that the FSS was introduced for the happiness of the completionist who wanted everything mapped with his ship parked next to the main star.

This is just that feeling again when you fall in love and then... :eek:
How do you map stuff by being parked at the star. You need to travel to each planet to map them.

Is this some new functionality I have never seen in the FSS?
 
How do you map stuff by being parked at the star. You need to travel to each planet to map them.

Is this some new functionality I have never seen in the FSS?
Sorry, wrong choice of words: you do <discover> everything while parked next to the star.

Then if the system contains anything interesting you go on and map it.

It contains something really interesting, you land on it.

Nothing interesting at all, you move on to the next system.

You see how mechanical exploration becomes? What simple choices you are left with? How human intervention becomes totally unnecessary?

You can <discover> everything there is to a system while sitting next to the star, and your discovery will be all the time 100% accurate with no fear of overlooking even the tiniest detail. It even tells you system scan complete! How different is this than spoon-feeding content?

This IS a Candy Crush kind of mechanic, and it totally kills exploration.
 
Sorry, wrong choice of words: you do <discover> everything while parked next to the star.

Then if the system contains anything interesting you go on and map it.

It contains something really interesting, you land on it.

Nothing interesting at all, you move on to the next system.

You see how mechanical exploration becomes? What simple choices you are left with? How human intervention becomes totally unnecessary?

You can <discover> everything there is to a system while sitting next to the star, and your discovery will be all the time 100% accurate with no fear of overlooking even the tiniest detail. It even tells you system scan complete! How different is this than spoon-feeding content?

This IS a Candy Crush kind of mechanic, and it totally kills exploration.
Better then the last versions of press a button for 5 seconds (which discovers every planetary object in the system) open system map, close system map and either supercruise to planet/area of interest or jump.

While the FSS is far from perfect and I would also like there to be more options in discovering different things it's far better and less "mechanical" then the last version.

Gameplay mechanics are mechanical and there is nothing you can do to change it, even with options, people will just naturally get into a routine. My routine may well be different to yours because I am looking out for different things, but a routine I have and that is makes it feel mechanical.

As to discovering everything there is to discover sitting next to the star, that is totally wrong. I can't see vast mountain ranges or huge craters while just sitting there, I can't see the amazing vistas while passing through a gas giants ring by just sitting there doing nothing. I have to explore the system and planets to do that. Looking at them in the system map or looking at a table of text doesn't do it for me. But each to their own I suppose. You may find that exceptable for exploration. Not me.
 
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Better then the last versions of press a button for 5 seconds (which discovers every planetary object in the system) open system map, close system map and either supercruise to planet/area of interest or jump.

While the FSS is far from perfect and I would also like there to be more options in discovering different things it's far better and less "mechanical" then the last version.

Gameplay mechanics are mechanical and there is nothing you can do to change it, even with options, people will just naturally get into a routine. My routine may well be different to yours because I am looking out for different things, but a routine I have and that is makes it feel mechanical.

As to discovering everything there is to discover sitting next to the star, that is totally wrong. I can't see vast mountain ranges or huge craters while just sitting there, I can't see the amazing vistas while passing through a gas giants ring by just sitting there doing nothing. I have to explore the system and planets to do that. Looking at them in the system map or looking at a table of text doesn't do it for me. But each to their own I suppose. You may find that exceptable for exploration. Not me.
To the vistas I agree, they're fantastic and you just have to look for them, there's no spoon-feeding that kind of content. In fact, when you go looking for an amazing vista, the FSS is of very little help. I'd consider the amazing vistas to be slightly off topic, but they are an important part of exploration, so...

Actually, you really don't know if there's anything beautiful to a planet until you go out and see it. If your scan didn't give off straight away that the system is empty, you might have to take the decision to fly the ship around anyway and see for yourself. And maybe you'll find no game content after all, but before you take off kicking stones you might see something beautiful and unexpected.

Sure, even the most complex game mechanics becomes mechanical given time. Maybe after a hundred hours of exploration the spectrograph will speak plain text to you and reading it will be just as tedious and boring. That I would consider to be an achievement though.

Also, don't forget you're in a vast galaxy: add a little variable to that spectrograph after 100 hours of exploration and you'll know you're on to something. A quick way to break the routine an it may also help with the breadcrumb mechanics that pilots are asking for looking for rarities.


I'm sure that the current thing aimed to be an improvement over the old one, and partly it succeeded. However, its behaviour of telling off all game contents without a shade of doubt needs to be fixed.
 
To the vistas I agree, they're fantastic and you just have to look for them, there's no spoon-feeding that kind of content. In fact, when you go looking for an amazing vista, the FSS is of very little help. I'd consider the amazing vistas to be slightly off topic, but they are an important part of exploration, so...

Actually, you really don't know if there's anything beautiful to a planet until you go out and see it. If your scan didn't give off straight away that the system is empty, you might have to take the decision to fly the ship around anyway and see for yourself. And maybe you'll find no game content after all, but before you take off kicking stones you might see something beautiful and unexpected.

Sure, even the most complex game mechanics becomes mechanical given time. Maybe after a hundred hours of exploration the spectrograph will speak plain text to you and reading it will be just as tedious and boring. That I would consider to be an achievement though.

Also, don't forget you're in a vast galaxy: add a little variable to that spectrograph after 100 hours of exploration and you'll know you're on to something. A quick way to break the routine an it may also help with the breadcrumb mechanics that pilots are asking for looking for rarities.


I'm sure that the current thing aimed to be an improvement over the old one, and partly it succeeded. However, its behaviour of telling off all game contents without a shade of doubt needs to be fixed.
Yep. Or having some stuff left to other processes as I mentioned in one of my previous posts. It would give a more natural flow to the process. Also if you have search areas after probing you may not find every POI as the search areas could have multiple POIs in them.
 
I'm sure that the current thing aimed to be an improvement over the old one, and partly it succeeded. However, its behaviour of telling off all game contents without a shade of doubt needs to be fixed.
I can only imagine what this thread would have been like if you had started your two weeks of elite dangerous 6 months ago.
 
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