Friday, April 10, 2015

Ways to Improve Exploration

Good day!

This post is especially made for the good of Exploration!

I live in wormhole space. Really good experience. I have been learning the basics, scanning, scouting, making bookmarks, using  nice 3rd party apps, doing Planetary Interaction, hauling stuff, bashing Sleepers, salvaging and other stuff. Among all things I see one aspect of these activities that really needs improvements:

Probe Scanner and Scan Results/Bookmark Sharing

Yes, improvements in this sphere. We need them badly. Especially when it comes to sharing a multitude of scan results that we have just spend a long time picking up. From my experience in wormhole space I can tell that when you have to bookmark, say, about 30 signatures, things can get complicated. Basically it means spending a lot of time bookmarking each signature one by one, setting a relevant name and so on.

But what can be done to make things better? I got some things to offer.

Probe Scanner Memory and Coordinates Lists

Have you ever wanted your Probe Scanner to remember your last scan results in a system and keep them for you to view after you leave that system? It is pretty annoying that it currently doesn't do that. Present time when someone is scanning multiple wormholes and wants to check where they lead to, they have to bookmark each sig either from the Probe Scanner list or if they want to know their type they have to warp to each, bookmark them noting down their type and then jump through each to see where they lead to. If the exploring capsuleer decides to go through a wormhole before doing all these things, their scanner will forget the results and when they come back to see where the other wormholes lead to, they would have to do the scan again. Well, it may be a common thing for a seasoned pilot to bookmark first and check later, but again, with multiple things to bookmark it may take a large portion of their time to pick them one by one.

What I suggest is that there should be a small button or ticker box in the Probe Scanner that would make it memorize the scan results in each system that you have scanned and keep them as bookmarks in a neat interactive list, one list per system and all such lists should be stored in a special folder for example. Such folder may be stored in Personal Bookmarks and maybe it would be nice if it could be accessed via the Probe Scanner.

Each Coordinates List should open in its own neat window, showing all its content.

A Coordinates List for each system would be something very useful, not only for the exploring pilot - it would let them share it with others and cooperate in a better way!

Let’s go further in details about this Coordinates List.

Whenever a pilot decides to memorize their scan results, they should activate the Probe Scanner Memory and then the scanner should memorize the coordinates of all signatures that have been scanned to 100% signal strength. It should do it by creating a Coordinates List for each system scanned for as long as Probe Scanner Memory is activated and put them in the designated folder - let’s say Memory Folder.

Editable and Replaceable Bookmarks In the Coordinates List

Each Coordinates List should consist of a nice set of bookmarks that should show each signature ID, group, type, name, etc. And each of these bookmark names should be editable so that whenever the pilot decides they would rename bookmarks as they please.

Also - a very important part of this is the ability to replace the listed bookmarks with newer and updated ones, for example when a scout has scanned the exact On Grid location of a wormhole and wants to replace the Off Grid bookmark in the Coordinates List, adding details on where the wormhole leads and so on. This should be done in a way similar to the way we move skills in our skill queue. Whenever a pilot drags a bookmark from their People and Places folders to the Coordinates List and holds it above the bookmark in the List that they want to replace, the dragged new bookmark should highlight the one in the list and a “replace” confirmation box should appear upon release, showing the names of the old bookmark and the new one. Clicking OK should replace the bookmark. Seems simple to me and I hope it would be easy to implement. This will be very useful in other cases, for example when making a custom coordinates list with tacticals.

It is clear that such Coordinates List won’t save much time when scanning a wormhole chain where bookmarking still should be done by checking the holes one by one, but when it comes to bookmarking multiple combat or data/relic/gas signatures it would be very useful to have this tool for a nice and quick way to share coordinates.

Coordinates List Naming

When Probe Scanner Memory is active there should be a bar above the signature list in the scanner and it should display the title of the Coordinates List for the current system. This bar should be the actual Coordinates List link and it should be able to be dragged and dropped in various places such as Personal or Corp Bookmarks, cargoholds, cans or chat. The title of each Coordinates List should be something like this:

Coordinates List: [System Name], [Date], [Time], [Pilot Name]


Coordinates List: Bania, April.09.2015, 15:40, Veskin Sentinel

The “Coordinates List” part of the title should act like the List name and should be able to be edited, while the rest of the info should be automatically generated when someone is making/editing the list. Editing a Coordinates List name should be done via a right-click menu. The date, time and pilot name fields should change with the last edit made.

Coordinates List Sharing and Synchronizing

Whenever someone has scanned a system rich of signatures, they should be able to share the results with others. Coordinates Lists should be linkable in chat, or at least in Fleet Chat. Also- they should be able to be saved in Personal and Corp Bookmarks, and later - in Alliance Bookmarks. When a Coordinates List appear in chat, other pilots should be able to right-click on it and select the Synchronize option and if they are in the same system and if the Coordinates List is up to date, their Probe Scanner should be populated with all the matching signatures with a 100% signal strength. Of course if there are other signatures that have appeared later, they would show as unscanned ones, and if the signatures ID’s in the List don’t match with the existing ones, the probe scanner list should not be populated. There should be some error message saying that the List is outdated. Actually when someone is synchronizing their coordinates with others, a Coordinates List for the appropriate system should be saved in their Memory Folder. If they already have a Coordinates list for that system and if it is newer than the data they try to synchronize, there should be some message that should acknowledge them of their options and letting them decide whether to keep the old results or the new ones.

In case a Coordinates List is old, let’s say more than two days old, there should be some indication, probably icon color changing or something. But if there are still signatures that match the actual ones, the list should be populated upon synchronization.

Cooperative System Scanning

I think that these synchronization tools should be used more. So how about a real time synchronization between two or more exploring pilots? Here is the idea.

Whenever a small scout/explorer fleet is in a system, they should be able to open a synchronized scan session. That means that when someone is scanning a signature and receives a scan result, this result should also appear in the probe scanner results of the other pilots currently in sync. This is how explorers can quickly pick up the signatures in a system. They would be able to set priorities, one pilot scanning wormholes, the other scanning data/relic sites, the other scanning gas sites or combat sites and so on. This will also allow the adding of more signatures in each system, especially when we have more things to explore as EVE evolves further.

To open a Synchronized Scan Session pilots should be in a fleet and each should be able to right-click their own name and open a Sync window, where they can drag other pilots names in order to invite them. When they accept, there should be indication - a green tick next to their names, and upon clicking the OK button of the window, a Synchronized Scan Session should be live.

And here is a question: Should probes remain attached to each pilot and return results as if they act as a single group (and add results to everyone in sync), or should probes of all scanning pilots stack their scan strength and give better results? In the second case maybe it would be good if pilots could see each-other’s probes upon pressing a button or something. I am not sure which of these two things would be better. Maybe having both options would be best. Or maybe the second option would make things too easy? Well not if there are some really difficult signatures along with the normal ones. I guess things can be adjusted.

Yes, there should be some limitations. I think that up to three or four explorers should be able to synchronize their scan session at a time. This should keep server performance good.

Actually I don’t really know how all this would affect server performance. Generating tons of bookmarks in a second sounds a little complicated. I wonder if it could be done client-side...

When a pilot closes the probe scanner, their synchronized session should not expire, at least until they are in the same system as the other pilots in sync. To cancel the sync, they should press a special button on the scanner window or something.

During a synchronized scan each pilot should receive a Coordinates List in their Probe Scanner results and in their memory folder (if they have Memory activated) and they should be able to keep the new Coordinates List wherever they want. Each list should have the name of the pilot that owns it accordingly.

All this stuff will make the life of all scouts/explorers a lot better, especially wormholers!

This is how I imagine things. Hope you guys enjoy these ideas.

See you next time!

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