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Probe scanner interface is a mess

Author
Mangcho Ngai-Lam
Science and Trade Institute
Caldari State
#1 - 2017-06-26 17:07:43 UTC
The interface used to scan for anomalies and other phenomena is pedantic and broken.

Why is it not possible, after launching the probes and receiving signals, to simply click on an object with a signal above, say, 75%, and have the probes automatically align for a rescan, to pick up the signal at 100%? The current system forces the player to manually position the probes' epicenter over the signal. This wouldn't be an issue, except the map is in 3D, while the player can only adjust the epicenter on a 2D plane. This means constantly adjusting the map to fit the epicenter, to account for discrepancies in depth between it and the anomaly's signal. How is this fun? Especially since you have to wait an extra 10 seconds or so for the re-scan to finish? Only to increase the signal strength from 92.3 to 100? No sane person would enjoy this. Ever.

Moreover, it's ridiculous to have probe launcher take up an entire high-energy slot. This makes a wormhole jump in a frigate more dangerous, since 1 turret + 1 other high-energy fitting = 1 remaining space for probes, meaning, in a Merlin, 1 less weapon. Probe launchers should be mid or, ideally, in a separate fitting category, so they don't force you to take a destroyer if you want to stand a chance.
Matthias Ancaladron
Imperial Shipment
Amarr Empire
#2 - 2017-06-26 19:59:43 UTC
... Sigh
StarterrorPrime
Black Rose Fleet Strategics
#3 - 2017-06-26 22:17:37 UTC
Mangcho Ngai-Lam wrote:
The interface used to scan for anomalies and other phenomena is pedantic and broken.

Why is it not possible, after launching the probes and receiving signals, to simply click on an object with a signal above, say, 75%, and have the probes automatically align for a rescan, to pick up the signal at 100%? The current system forces the player to manually position the probes' epicenter over the signal. This wouldn't be an issue, except the map is in 3D, while the player can only adjust the epicenter on a 2D plane. This means constantly adjusting the map to fit the epicenter, to account for discrepancies in depth between it and the anomaly's signal. How is this fun? Especially since you have to wait an extra 10 seconds or so for the re-scan to finish? Only to increase the signal strength from 92.3 to 100? No sane person would enjoy this. Ever.

Moreover, it's ridiculous to have probe launcher take up an entire high-energy slot. This makes a wormhole jump in a frigate more dangerous, since 1 turret + 1 other high-energy fitting = 1 remaining space for probes, meaning, in a Merlin, 1 less weapon. Probe launchers should be mid or, ideally, in a separate fitting category, so they don't force you to take a destroyer if you want to stand a chance.



While I agree that the GUI for probe scanner is a little clunky and could stand a little streamlining. i however disagree that scanning isn't fun, the real fun is in the rewards you find doing it such as relic sites and what not, as I've made quite a bit of profit from exploring wormholes. You're astrometics and scanning skills factor in how to quickly you can scan and acquisition accompanied by the type of ship you may be flying such as the minmatar Probe or Society of Concious thought's Gnosis.

Its not really ridiculous since you are operating a highly advance probe launcher that has probes that can warp to anywhere in a solar system to scan and pinpoint cosmic signatures, even ships with combat scanners. You can imagine how much power would be needed for the capability to launch a set of probes, maintain the connection and be able for them to return. Now i know as a Caldari you may not get as many hardpoints for weapons unlike as cutthroat minmatar but the idea is to be sneaky with probes not loud and obnoxious
grgjegb gergerg
School of Applied Knowledge
Caldari State
#4 - 2017-06-27 00:27:42 UTC
I remember ONE-SHOT probes, that you didn't even get back, and you had to carry piles around, warping to progressively less vague points in space until you finally landed on your target.

The current system is plush hand-holding, with all the corners filed off so you can't hurt yourself.

And it's still too hard for you?
Donnachadh
United Allegiance of Undesirables
#5 - 2017-06-27 12:53:28 UTC
grgjegb gergerg wrote:
I remember ONE-SHOT probes, that you didn't even get back, and you had to carry piles around, warping to progressively less vague points in space until you finally landed on your target.

The current system is plush hand-holding, with all the corners filed off so you can't hurt yourself.

And it's still too hard for you?

Simply because it is easier now than it ever has been does that mean that we cannot or should not try to make it even better?
As one who spends a large percentage of their game time scanning in one capacity or another I agree with the op, we should be able to simply right click on a signature in the scan window and have options to auto move the probes to re-center on that signature and I will add that it would be nice if we could reset the scan range at the same time.

I disagree with the OP on the launcher taking up a high slot. If you cannot get enough guns / missiles on your frigate then take a destroyer, cruiser or even a T3 set up for exploration. So to be blunt no you cannot have that high slot back.
Axure Abbacus
KarmaFleet
Goonswarm Federation
#6 - 2017-06-27 13:01:32 UTC
Didn't new pilots use to get 50,000 isk and a firm handshake when starting the game?

It's not safe out here. It's wondrous, with treasures to satiate desires both subtle and gross. But it's not for the timid.

Mangcho Ngai-Lam
Science and Trade Institute
Caldari State
#7 - 2017-06-29 02:57:48 UTC
grgjegb gergerg wrote:
I remember ONE-SHOT probes, that you didn't even get back, and you had to carry piles around, warping to progressively less vague points in space until you finally landed on your target.

The current system is plush hand-holding, with all the corners filed off so you can't hurt yourself.

And it's still too hard for you?


It's not an issue of hard, it's an issue of what you just said: "plush hand-holding". If the devs are already making it clear where the anomaly is, why does centering the probe cursor over it have to be such an ordeal? If auto-adjusting the probes is too unchallenging, one solution would be, if a signal is too weak, require an increase in the number of probes launched, to enlarge the scan radius. Indicate the number of extra launched probes needed, next to the anomaly signal strength, and combine the launch & scan into a single 5-second delay. This would eliminate the unintuitive cursor wrangling and keep a limit on how many sites appear within radius.

And yes, just because a system was a complete nightmare before, as opposed to a partial nightmare today, doesn't mean it can't be refined.

Donnachadh wrote:
I disagree with the OP on the launcher taking up a high slot. If you cannot get enough guns / missiles on your frigate then take a destroyer, cruiser or even a T3 set up for exploration. So to be blunt no you cannot have that high slot back.


The current system limits gameplay opportunities for players relying on frigates, or who already have a frigate for relic salvaging, without having to strip and swap to a destroyer/cruiser.
Zhilia Mann
Tide Way Out Productions
#8 - 2017-06-29 05:00:18 UTC
I'm going to refrain from real comment on the current probing system. I personally liked the era of DSPs but that's neither here nor there. It appears we're going down the road of reducing the value of experience and practice, which sucks, but we might as well embrace it I guess.

However: no, you can't have a free high slot. This is the second topic on the first page to suggest a free module and it remains a horrible idea. If you find yourself with too few high slots, then either get a different ship for the job or accept the limitation. It's seriously that simple. Ships aren't meant to be able to do everything all the time. Probing is one small option. Want to do it? Fit for it! Does it limit other options? Well, yeah, no ****!

At least the half of the idea where you want probing to be easy enough for my puppy to do it isn't entirely brain dead. Asking for a free high absolutely is.
Donnachadh
United Allegiance of Undesirables
#9 - 2017-06-29 14:16:49 UTC
Axure Abbacus wrote:
Didn't new pilots use to get 50,000 isk and a firm handshake when starting the game?

Why stop at that, why not just say screw it all and go back to what EvE was the day it was released?


Mangcho Ngai-Lam wrote:
The current system limits gameplay opportunities for players relying on frigates, or who already have a frigate for relic salvaging, without having to strip and swap to a destroyer/cruiser.

My Golem cannot use turret based weapons systems, that limits my game play opportunities so CCP needs to change that.
My shuttles cannot fit a cloak, that limits my game play opportunities so that has to be changed.
I cannot fit a micro jump drive onto my assault frigate that limits my game play opportunities so CCP needs to change that.
When I am cloaked in my stealth bomber I cannot target or shoot at you that limits my game play opportunities so CCP needs to change that.

I can go on if needed but I hope my point has been made.
Every ship in the game has some form of limits that adversely affect your game play opportunities and those limits are very much intentional and they are in fact a design feature of the game, they call that feature balance. I do not pretend to know how or why CCP choose to put the probe launcher in a high slot, what I do know is that your ship and every other frigate in the game are balanced in part around that launcher taking up a high slot. By changing that and allowing frigates to have the launcher AND that second high slot for a gun or missile launcher you would disrupt the balance an entire class of ships. So no you cannot have your second gun AND the probe launcher.

But fear not there are at least two game play opportunities that would solve your problem, they are called Astero and Tristan. Both would replace the damage lost because probe launcher with a full squad of 5 light drones and the Astero has the added advantage of giving you a scan signal strength bonus. Cannot fly these ships because alpha clone, congratulations you just ran into another of those intentional restrictions on game play opportunities so you will have to suffer with a single gun or step up to a destroyer or cruiser.
Mangcho Ngai-Lam
Science and Trade Institute
Caldari State
#10 - 2017-06-29 17:37:11 UTC  |  Edited by: Mangcho Ngai-Lam
Donnachadh wrote:

Every ship in the game has some form of limits that adversely affect your game play opportunities and those limits are very much intentional and they are in fact a design feature of the game, they call that feature balance. I do not pretend to know how or why CCP choose to put the probe launcher in a high slot, what I do know is that your ship and every other frigate in the game are balanced in part around that launcher taking up a high slot. By changing that and allowing frigates to have the launcher AND that second high slot for a gun or missile launcher you would disrupt the balance an entire class of ships. So no you cannot have your second gun AND the probe launcher.

But fear not there are at least two game play opportunities that would solve your problem, they are called Astero and Tristan. Both would replace the damage lost because probe launcher with a full squad of 5 light drones and the Astero has the added advantage of giving you a scan signal strength bonus. Cannot fly these ships because alpha clone, congratulations you just ran into another of those intentional restrictions on game play opportunities so you will have to suffer with a single gun or step up to a destroyer or cruiser.


None of these solve the problem because the interface is still a broken mess. You're saying the only options to reduce frustration whilst probing are behind a paywall. Nobody should have to pay a monthly fee to overcome obnoxiously bad game design. Anyone defending this practice is a complete chump.

Moreover, claiming the entire game balance would be broken because probing frigates could take an extra high slot into battle is ridiculous. Nobody is saying specialized ship classes are a bad idea. Having to place the probe launcher on a destroyer or cruiser, to stand a chance in a wormhole or other anomaly, is needless specialization. What if I don't want to risk my 4-turret Destroyer in a wormhole? What if I'd rather sacrifice a Merlin? Having the probe launcher take up an entire high slot limits my ability to do this successfully.

I realize probe launchers don't interfere with turret and missile hardpoints, but the fact remains a frigate fitted with a launcher won't be as capable, especially if I want to use gas harvesters, remote shields etc.

Undoing this problem would have no devastating impact on balance. Making anomalies more accessible to a greater number of ships, that can at least put up an actual defense, would simply increase the rate at which ISK is globally acquired. This would result in lower prices for rare items, yes, but at the expense of tedious refitting and swapping, or losing expensive gear. Giving frigates, at the very least, a designated probe slot would make the game substantially more fun.
Xzanos
Tribal Liberation Force
Minmatar Republic
#11 - 2017-06-29 20:07:39 UTC
Donnachadh wrote:
grgjegb gergerg wrote:
I remember ONE-SHOT probes, that you didn't even get back, and you had to carry piles around, warping to progressively less vague points in space until you finally landed on your target.

The current system is plush hand-holding, with all the corners filed off so you can't hurt yourself.

And it's still too hard for you?

Simply because it is easier now than it ever has been does that mean that we cannot or should not try to make it even better?
As one who spends a large percentage of their game time scanning in one capacity or another I agree with the op, we should be able to simply right click on a signature in the scan window and have options to auto move the probes to re-center on that signature and I will add that it would be nice if we could reset the scan range at the same time.

I disagree with the OP on the launcher taking up a high slot. If you cannot get enough guns / missiles on your frigate then take a destroyer, cruiser or even a T3 set up for exploration. So to be blunt no you cannot have that high slot back.



Nothing wrong with making things better, but easier is not always better. While I dont like having to manually set up probes i think that its there as some what of a deturent. The easier they make scanning the more people will do it, which will result in a drop in the isk per hour that you can making doing it. IF they did make the probes auto orientate around your selected sig then i think they would HAVE to increase the duration in which each scan occurs. Otherwise you would be able to scan an entire system in much to short a time.

*activates thermal hardeners for incoming flame

Mangcho Ngai-Lam
Science and Trade Institute
Caldari State
#12 - 2017-06-29 21:23:26 UTC  |  Edited by: Mangcho Ngai-Lam
Xzanos wrote:
Nothing wrong with making things better, but easier is not always better. While I dont like having to manually set up probes i think that its there as some what of a deturent. The easier they make scanning the more people will do it, which will result in a drop in the isk per hour that you can making doing it. IF they did make the probes auto orientate around your selected sig then i think they would HAVE to increase the duration in which each scan occurs. Otherwise you would be able to scan an entire system in much to short a time.


How much more of a genuine challenge is it to wait for 20 extra seconds for the game to grant you access, rather than actually use skill, reflexes, and critical thinking to progress? You're claiming the only way to balance a more intuitive interface would be to prolong the amount of time it takes to get a 100% anomaly signal. In other words, you think if the interface is actually intuitive, it needs to be balanced by making it inconvenient in a different way, by waiting an extra 10 seconds, as if sitting there, not actually doing anything, is a good way to restrict access to parts of the map.

This isn't good game design. This is restricting access based on the amount of time the player is willing to invest, rather than actual player skill. If scanning a system is meant to be a low-skill operation, compared to the encounters within the anomalies themselves, why make it so convoluted? Why not make the gameplay within the anomalies the actual focus, instead of the busywork and pointless waiting it takes to get there?

As to your other point, like I said earlier, a solution would be making the size of the scan radius dependent on the number of probes launched, to a certain maximum (say, the diameter of the system you're in). Then you click the anomaly you wish to warp to, and the epicenter automatically adjusts. A 5-second rescan and you're done. Players shouldn't be discouraged from exploring because the interface is time-consuming and pedantic, they should be discouraged because their ship isn't ready to take into dangerous space.

And the effect on the markets would be very negligible, since you're still only granting access to sites within the local system. You're just streamlining the means by which those sites are accessed, so players don't have to spend pointless time moving a 3D cube around a 2D axis.
Do Little
Bluenose Trading
#13 - 2017-06-29 21:48:11 UTC
There is no reason why the scanning process couldn't be fully automated given the technology we can reasonably assume for New Eden; but easier and better are not the same thing. There are players who can use combat probes to scan down an enemy ship in seconds. It's a skill and they are that good.

When I was learning to scan, someone else showed up, scanned the site I was working on and cleared it before I could get a lock. I can do better now but it took practice.

From a game design perspective, players need something to do - just sitting back and watch ISK flow into your wallet isn't much fun. Scanning is a skill that you can master with practice and you should be able to nail most sites with a couple of scans.
Zhilia Mann
Tide Way Out Productions
#14 - 2017-06-30 00:35:11 UTC
Mangcho Ngai-Lam wrote:
How much more of a genuine challenge is it to wait for 20 extra seconds for the game to grant you access, rather than actually use skill, reflexes, and critical thinking to progress? You're claiming the only way to balance a more intuitive interface would be to prolong the amount of time it takes to get a 100% anomaly signal. In other words, you think if the interface is actually intuitive, it needs to be balanced by making it inconvenient in a different way, by waiting an extra 10 seconds, as if sitting there, not actually doing anything, is a good way to restrict access to parts of the map.

This isn't good game design. This is restricting access based on the amount of time the player is willing to invest, rather than actual player skill. If scanning a system is meant to be a low-skill operation, compared to the encounters within the anomalies themselves, why make it so convoluted? Why not make the gameplay within the anomalies the actual focus, instead of the busywork and pointless waiting it takes to get there?


Alright, **** it, since you brought up this line of reasoning first: no. Let's not restrict access based on time. Hell, let's not restrict it based on whether any idiot can click the red dot. Let's go ahead and make probing harder. Much harder. Much, much harder.

Have accuracy increase proportional to number of probes launched, but also increase deviation for each additional probe launched. Increase base deviation by several orders of magnitude. Shrink signature size by several orders of magnitude.

Require scanning implants, not just perfect skills and a tricked out ship, to find the hardest signatures. Make absolutely sure that with the skill set available to maxed alphas, they can just barely pin a K162.

Remove probe formations. Obviously.

Equally obviously, remove any indication an unprobed signature is out there for you to pin down. Maybe reintroduce DSPs; maybe not even make it that simple!

Introduce random variation to each scan. Not enough to really help someone hit a site they couldn't get before, but enough to make someone question whether they jiggled their probes -- each one individually! -- the right way or not.

Oh, and obviously remove escalations from anoms from the game.

That's a probing system.

(Oh, and just to really kick everything: probe launchers will not require two high slots. Because that makes exactly as much sense as zero does.)
Mangcho Ngai-Lam
Science and Trade Institute
Caldari State
#15 - 2017-06-30 02:34:56 UTC
Zhilia Mann wrote:
(hilariously over-the-top, angry deflection)


Yes, we should accept a bad interface because worse alternatives exist. That's the best reasoning I've ever read. Congratulations. Your gold statuette from CCP for "Most Obstinate Developer Shill" is in the mail.

Do Little wrote:
There is no reason why the scanning process couldn't be fully automated given the technology we can reasonably assume for New Eden; but easier and better are not the same thing. There are players who can use combat probes to scan down an enemy ship in seconds. It's a skill and they are that good.

When I was learning to scan, someone else showed up, scanned the site I was working on and cleared it before I could get a lock. I can do better now but it took practice.

From a game design perspective, players need something to do - just sitting back and watch ISK flow into your wallet isn't much fun. Scanning is a skill that you can master with practice and you should be able to nail most sites with a couple of scans.


1) Nobody is talking about collecting ISK for doing nothing, just the opposite. The gameplay opportunities that open up don't involve doing nothing, just reaching sites more immediately.

2) I'm not talking about combat probes.

3) Imagine the scenario you could've had if the interface wasn't so fussy and broken. Meeting up at the site the same time as the veteran, fighting over the prize. Instead, that opportunity was taken from you. Leaving you shrugging your shoulders and looking for something else to do.

4) If veterans are so fast at probing, this process would merely increase their efficiency by seconds. It would have a minor impact on what they do, other than not have to mess with positioning a cube around a 3D map on a 2D plane.
grgjegb gergerg
School of Applied Knowledge
Caldari State
#16 - 2017-06-30 06:11:18 UTC  |  Edited by: grgjegb gergerg
Zhilia Mann wrote:
Mangcho Ngai-Lam wrote:
How much more of a genuine challenge is it to wait for 20 extra seconds for the game to grant you access, rather than actually use skill, reflexes, and critical thinking to progress? You're claiming the only way to balance a more intuitive interface would be to prolong the amount of time it takes to get a 100% anomaly signal. In other words, you think if the interface is actually intuitive, it needs to be balanced by making it inconvenient in a different way, by waiting an extra 10 seconds, as if sitting there, not actually doing anything, is a good way to restrict access to parts of the map.

This isn't good game design. This is restricting access based on the amount of time the player is willing to invest, rather than actual player skill. If scanning a system is meant to be a low-skill operation, compared to the encounters within the anomalies themselves, why make it so convoluted? Why not make the gameplay within the anomalies the actual focus, instead of the busywork and pointless waiting it takes to get there?


Alright, **** it, since you brought up this line of reasoning first: no. Let's not restrict access based on time. Hell, let's not restrict it based on whether any idiot can click the red dot. Let's go ahead and make probing harder. Much harder. Much, much harder.

Have accuracy increase proportional to number of probes launched, but also increase deviation for each additional probe launched. Increase base deviation by several orders of magnitude. Shrink signature size by several orders of magnitude.

Require scanning implants, not just perfect skills and a tricked out ship, to find the hardest signatures. Make absolutely sure that with the skill set available to maxed alphas, they can just barely pin a K162.

Remove probe formations. Obviously.

Equally obviously, remove any indication an unprobed signature is out there for you to pin down. Maybe reintroduce DSPs; maybe not even make it that simple!

Introduce random variation to each scan. Not enough to really help someone hit a site they couldn't get before, but enough to make someone question whether they jiggled their probes -- each one individually! -- the right way or not.

Oh, and obviously remove escalations from anoms from the game.

That's a probing system.

(Oh, and just to really kick everything: probe launchers will not require two high slots. Because that makes exactly as much sense as zero does.)

Yeah, that's a bit much. You know that, though.

How about this: make ship placement matter for scanning. Currently, you just park at a random Citadel, or cloak anywhere, after you drop probes. Your ship location has zero effect on probe results.

What if it did?

This would mean that when you are scanning near a planet, you would probably warp near the planet. This would get you scan times and probe stats at current values. (Since most things spawn near-ish planets, it would be more or less convenient.)

BUT- if you throw probes across the system, the time lag and communication distance causes slower and less accurate results.

One new ability would be nice, though: the ability to warp in the general vicinity of a result, so that you can get somewhat near the result. Or even the ability to warp to probes. (Yes, I know people would use it for safespots, the warp should only work if you're in a reasonable area inside the system.)

This should probably be more pronounced for tighter probing, so that people can do a system-wide scan from anywhere with the same accuracy and speed as now, but when they start to tighten down, they have to warp approximately near the result they're going for.

This would make probing take a little longer, with the warping, so it would be reasonable to make the scans just a little shorter, probably. Keep total times about the same.
Zhilia Mann
Tide Way Out Productions
#17 - 2017-06-30 23:55:05 UTC
grgjegb gergerg wrote:
Yeah, that's a bit much. You know that, though.


I'm more serious than you think. OP seems to think that probing is an arbitrary barrier to content. I want it to BE content.

For the record, no, I don't like the current interface. That doesn't seem to be a big part of the discussion one way or the other though.

grgjegb gergerg wrote:
How about this: make ship placement matter for scanning. Currently, you just park at a random Citadel, or cloak anywhere, after you drop probes. Your ship location has zero effect on probe results.

What if it did?

This would mean that when you are scanning near a planet, you would probably warp near the planet. This would get you scan times and probe stats at current values. (Since most things spawn near-ish planets, it would be more or less convenient.)

BUT- if you throw probes across the system, the time lag and communication distance causes slower and less accurate results.

One new ability would be nice, though: the ability to warp in the general vicinity of a result, so that you can get somewhat near the result. Or even the ability to warp to probes. (Yes, I know people would use it for safespots, the warp should only work if you're in a reasonable area inside the system.)

This should probably be more pronounced for tighter probing, so that people can do a system-wide scan from anywhere with the same accuracy and speed as now, but when they start to tighten down, they have to warp approximately near the result they're going for.

This would make probing take a little longer, with the warping, so it would be reasonable to make the scans just a little shorter, probably. Keep total times about the same.


I could live with this. It adds something back to a pretty lame system. If we could couple it with removing signatures before an initial scan I'd be great with it.
Mangcho Ngai-Lam
Science and Trade Institute
Caldari State
#18 - 2017-07-02 20:26:49 UTC
Zhilia Mann wrote:
For the record, no, I don't like the current interface. That doesn't seem to be a big part of the discussion one way or the other though.


Please review the thread title.