Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Spectral Analyzer - Introduction and Development

(( The In-Character Part ))

Hello everyone!

Veskin Sentinel here. I want to introduce something to you. It is a piece of technology - a spaceship module, dedicated to exploration, capable of revealing in-depth information for everything it scans.

It took quite a bit of time to forge this into a presentable state, mainly due to the complexity of creating such a dedicated tool. You know - algorithms, compiling a database of existing knowledge on the various objects around, some historical data and all other little details, that it needs to process, so that it can be a trusty tool for curious pilots. And it has to be prepared for the unknown. While me and my team did a lot of work on it, it is still not certain that it is quite prepared for its tasks, but that will be determined in the testing phase, that I will describe below.

With this tool we are aiming to provide our kind - capsuleers - with the power to not just plunder whatever we find in the depths of Space, but also examine, analyze and discover things in a better way. You see... present days, when it comes to exploration technology, we got tools for discovering sites, structures, objects and ships, but when we do it, in most cases we can only utilize our available analyzers to just breach the computer security systems of the objects and scoop whatever we find inside. There was a forum discussion on that matter, some time ago, where this question was raised and it got me thinking even more on the topic.

I call this device Spectral Analyzer. After a steady and extensive research plus development, it is finally going into a state where it can be presented. Me and my teams have worked on it independently and with our own funding, but we got the entire crew of Sapphire Interstellar Capital Holdings behind us, with all the support they are willing to provide.

Without further ado, let's see the details of this new tech.

Spectral Analyzer

A special spacecraft Medium Slot device, capable to reveal in-depth information about various mysterious objects and events in space. It can be loaded with scripts and it is actually the only way it operates. Various scripts must be loaded into it in order to scan the full spectrum of the object properties. Since scanning takes time it would not be reasonable for the pilot to wait for the full spectrum scan, especially in dangerous situations and hazardous environments. This is why each part of the spectrum scan is divided in the scripts that can be loaded one by one according to the situation.

When the device scans, it creates a special file where it stores the information of each successful script scan and it updates each segment of the information (derived from each individual script) in case something is changed. A separate file is created for each object, also containing information on scanning pilot, location/coordinates and date and time of scan.

Initially there are the basic scripts that cover the full spectrum scan, but there might be more scripts that are specialized and more effective in certain situations. The basic scripts are:

Energy Spectrum

Scans for the object energy spectrum, aiming to provide information of its internal state, whether it is passive or active, information of any energetic processes that might run in it, the object energetic properties compared to the rest of the environment - is it an anomaly or is it homogenic with environment, etc.

Environment and Lifeforms Spectrum

Scans the object inward and outward environment. Detects any hazards and overall describes the environment in detail, with readings on temperature, humidity and so on. Points out and gives details on whether the environment is hostile or friendly, unstable or stable.

Also scans for any lifeforms in or around the object, determining and describing any known species, as well as unknown ones, pointing out whether they are of Life as we know it or some other kind of Life, not seen before, if they can be recognized.

Gives detailed info on the lifeforms structure, attributes and properties.

Material and Structure Spectrum

Scans for the object material components and structural composition. Provides info on the structure and material origin, based on the database of existing objects. Also provides all other facts related to components and structure that are found.

Age Spectrum

Scans and determines the approximate or exact age of the object, based on structural and material data as well as various spectrum algorithms that are used to determine age. If the object has component materials that are more familiar (exist in the material database), the Age Spectrum scan will be more accurate.

Origin Spectrum

Uses the available data to determine the origin of the object that is being scanned. Provides information based on the available database and compares it to closest matches in the case when no certain conclusion can be made. Also determines whether the object has similarities with known entities or is completely unique.

Purpose and Function Spectrum

Attempts to compile an analysis for the purpose or function that the scanned object has, based on information on the previous spectrum scans, as well as object layout and composition, compared to the computer database.

Recent Events Spectrum

Scans the environment in and around the object, using algorithms and information of the database and scans from other spectrum. If enough data is collected, it can provide an in-depth analysis on events that have occurred in or around the scanned object with varying accuracy, depending on the case.

Usually the basic spectrum scripts scans would take between 7 or 10 seconds each. For the more specialized scans, it would take a little longer, maybe between 15 and 20 seconds. These stats are a subject to change as we develop the technology further.

The additional spectrum scripts might be called "exotic" or "specialized". They may be needed when some specific scanning needs arise, for objects of a particular group, like Sleeper, Talocan or Jove objects, structures, ships etc., when we need to know their inner workings in details on how they are developed, for reverse-engineering purposes and the like.

We have recently attempted to develop specialized scripts that scan specific types of objects such as Sleeper, Drifter and Triglavian ones, but we need to acquire more data on them for the research. As we develop this tech further, we will tie it to the Rhea Initiative, so that everyone who is interested, can contribute.

So far the Spectral Analyzer has been developed to be an autonomous device, but we are looking to integrate it with the Aura AI, for a better and more capsuleer-friendly user experience.

With this technology we will be able to gain some answers regarding the mysterious objects that are scattered all around New Eden and Anoikis, and potentially Abyssal Deadspace. Yes, so far our ship integrated scanners and Aura have attempted to provide us with some details on these various objects, but we simply need more information and in-depth analysis.

The technology around this device needs to be developed further. So far, it is only available for cruiser sized ships and larger, and it works only when supported by bulky calibration modules, that we need to customize for each ship type and this makes the distribution process tedious.

We are willing to work with CONCORD, Empire authorities and, of course, independent capsuleers, so that the Spectral Analyzer can be better integrated for use on most ships. As much as we are confident in this technology's capabilities, we are well aware that it is far from "perfect" and it definitely needs approval from the official authorities and especially the ones that will use it most - us, capsuleers.

So this development will continue in two main phases and upon passing through them, will proceed to any further steps. The two main phases are:

Phase 1: Gathering Support and Approval

In this phase Capsuleers and Empire authorities that support the project, will be able to express their opinions and desire to use the technology. Additionally they will be able to examine the technology in some of our laboratories, and then approve it to be used in various ships of their corresponding factions.

This will be a key phase that will determine the future of the Spectral Analyzer.

Phase 2: Additional Developing and Testing

If Phase 1 is a success, then we will go to the next phase, that will gather various science and engineering teams together. They will be comprised of interested Empire and Independent Capsuleer personnel, along with their baseliner staff, and they will work together with us, in order to bring the technology to a more suitable form, so that it can be used on most ships with ease. In the meantime various tests will be conducted, having the technology carefully distributed to noted Empire and Capsuleer individuals. The development and testing will continue as long as it is needed, in order to fulfill the goals we have collectively set.

Only when these two phases are complete, we will be able to put this technology in the hands of explorers. Blueprints will be developed and released for use, and from then on, the Spectral Analyzer will be at our disposal.

I want to note an important detail. This analyzer uses weak AI for its operations, similar to Aura. As much as we are tempted to try and use strong AI, we are well aware of the laws restrictions and moreover - the potential dangers that may occur from the use of strong AI, so we chose to use weak one. And it will be more than enough to complete the tasks of this technology.

We are well aware that this technology may not bear fruit in the foreseeable future. But we also see that it has the chances to become widely used in our cluster. That is: helping curious explorers, scientist, engineers and the like, so that we can be in a better position to unveil the mysteries around us.

I hope this presentation has been useful to you, and if you enjoy this project, please express any support and interest here.

We just want to note that we are not inclined to work with criminal organizations, criminal factions and overall criminal entities or individuals. I hope that we will be approached by individuals and entities who have an overall clean record of activity in the cluster. I know that sometimes the lines may be blurred, some may have a criminal past, but may be clean present day and so on. We will do our best to evaluate the ones that approach us and proceed with the needed understanding.

Thank you for taking the time to read this.

(( The Out-Of-Character Part ))

(( Thank you everyone, for reading this. If you like this idea, please support it and spread the word throughout the EVE Community.

I want to turn directly to our devs at CCP: Guys, if you are reading this, please consider this idea and ways to bring it to the game, the best way you can. It is presented In Character and I am prepared for all outcomes - whether you decline, delay it or approve it - I will play my role. There is no pressure.

I do realize that to bring this idea to the game, there will be a need for a dedicated team of developers working on it, and it will be a serious task. Basically it requires making some "hidden" pieces of text info for every mysterious object ingame, that would be revealed by the Spectral Analyzer. And there should be multiple hidden pieces on each object - for each of the spectrum scripts scans that would work on it. That means a lot and lot of writing, brainstorming and story crafting. And some of the objects hidden info would need to be updated with time. Not sure how unsuccessful/semi-successful/successful scans would work, I leave that to you. There is room for improvisation, and it should be simple, at least at its core.

But please, try to imagine how interesting this will be for explorers out there! Revealing hidden clues about the strange objects that we find in explorations sites. Some leading to other exploration sites. Some leading to combat sites, with guards and treasures, and maybe more clues. Finding hidden keys that lead to special exploration sites, that are usually not seen on scans. Escalations based on these things. All containing pieces of the story, that will, of course, lead to more questions and mysteries. I would love to discuss this with you! And there are tons of possibilities for this to become a dedicated and interesting mechanic for Exploration and Archaeology in EVE!

I know you are already busy with a ton of things on the game that need your attention. But if you do like this idea, and if more players like it as well, it would be fantastic to see it bear fruit. Creating something like Team Puzzle Makers, would help you get on the next level when creating more story driven content and thus attracting more good players to the game.

Another important point. Data mining - it will pose a serious problem towards the development of this idea. If players find the text files on Sisi, with their corresponding objects, they will know their content before they even hit Tranquility, before players can even scan them. And this would spoil the surprise, would spoil the gameplay around the Spectral Analyzer.

Overall, I don't like when players data mine the test server and announce the changes, because they do just that - spoil the surprise. So in the case of this analyzer idea, maybe you will have to think of ways to encrypt the hidden spectrum text files, corresponding to various objects in space, that this analyzer can scan. Or maybe think of some clever ways around this.

I hope it is not too complicated to develop this idea. And if you do it right, there will be some nice and interesting gameplay that can come out of this. Explorers all around the cluster (including me) and even their combat oriented friends, will have more things to do, more things to discover.

Thank you, everyone, for taking the time to read this. See you in Space!

Until next time! ))

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