Friday, February 13, 2009

Apocrypha: Probing III

Searching for a Cosmic Signature!

Last time we determined that finding a Cosmic Anomaly was fairly easy. But Cosmic Signatures are much weaker strength and usually much harder to find in the current mechanics. How does it compare in the new expansion?

I logged in last night and once I had figured out the graphic problems again, I was off to get a new Cheetah and probes before heading out into the black once more.

Figure 1 - I started with Deep Space Exploration probes because the Core Probes, while higher strength, have a maximum range of 32 AU compared to 1024 AU for the former. By setting the range to 64 AU, I was able to cover most of a system. Here we see a hit where the surface blue sphere represents the possible locations for the selected item.

Figure 2 - The minimum range of the Deep Space probes is 16 AU (or 8?) so I switched over the Core probes to cover the surface of the blue sphere and narrow down the search area.

Figure 3 - Notice that there are three Cosmic Signatures showing up now whereas before there was only two? This confused me at first before I realized it was the same signature but only covered by three probes. Since each probe only gives a range to the target, one probe gives a sphere, two probes a circle, three probes give two points representing the possible locations that all three ranges given by the probes intersect. You need four probes to eliminate on of those possibilities so I need to move the one outside of the two points in closer.

Figure 4 - Resolved to one point but only with 2.52% strength. I'm assuming that reducing the range of the probes corresponds to an increase in strength.

Figure 5 - After reducing the range to 0.5 AU and scanning I get the strength up to 22.14%. Need more resolution!

Figure 6 - Down to 0.25 AU, the shortest range the Core Probe can go. I get a hit with a strength of 92.98%. Notice how the map shows the signature as yellow now? No idea if that means anything besides "getting warmer". Obviously four probes is not enough, so I launch a fifth and move it into position.

Figure 7 -With the fifth probe in place, the scan quickly comes back with 100%, a green icon, and ability to warp to it.

Figure 8 - As I enter warp, the information box to point me in the right direction: need archaeology analyzer.

Figure 9 - The promised land!

So from start to finish it took exactly 16 minutes and I think with practice I could shave another couple minutes off there as there was a point I had to recall the probes and redeploy when I deactivated them to clear up the display to move one at a time and reactivating them had the graphics all screwy and out of place.

So far the new probing mechanic makes finding exploration content easier for me: no annoying warps and bookmarks, no mysterious signals that cannot be found, easy to narrow down. Of course, I am assuming that if a signature exists in system that the Deep Space exploration probe, even on its high ranges, will still detect it. If some complexes are missed than it might be more difficult to find the good ones. Dev blog required to fill in the details I suppose.

One more task left in this exploration expose: finding enemy ships. My gut tells me it will take longer to scan down pilots in missions and safe spots but I will have to actually test it and see.


  1. Urg, I'm jealous! I've been trying to play around with probing all week - I just get an error saying my skills aren't high enough to scan that many groups (I only have 1 selected!) and I don't get any re-position handles or probe bubbles in the system map. Booo! :(

  2. There is a known bug atm where you need Astrometrics V in order to probe. Derranna happens have that as part of Perfect prober plan in 2008.

  3. To me the pictures looks slightly intimitating...

    Hope I can catch on pretty easily, and I cross my fingers hoping that we can ninja'loot/salvage without too much hassle!