Friday, November 16, 2012

Directional Scanner's Time Is Now

OK CCP, the time has come. Its time to start thinking about planning the contents of the summer release. I'm sure you will have lots of big things and little things planned (like re-balancing another 60 ships or so) but as a small little stakeholder in the grand scheme of things I'm going to propose something that will require a small amount of effort (compared to say, POS rework) but earn you a huge amount of goodwill with all players of all stripes.

Directional Scanner Rebuild.

(This post is inspired by this forum post I was asked to view and comment on by the original poster.)

Stolen from Yarrbear Tales blog post of similar content from 2009. Come on CCP, get on it.
Here are the problems with the current directional scanner:

1) Range box is a type box and not slider, and no automatic conversion to AUs. Trying to figure out with range finding if the target is at a moon or not? But the moon's distance is in AU and the directional scanner is in millions of kilometers? Frustrated? You bet.

2) Angle slider is really finicky in the small angles. Trying to pick 15 degrees and not 5 or 30 is a pain in the ass.

3) You turn the camera to aim the directional scanner. Seriously?!

4) No visual indication of angle in space. Your forced to aim your scanner with the camera, but when scanning 90 degrees or less you can't tell exactly what objects are in that cone centered on your ship and what isn't.

5) You get everything or the current overview settings as filter. Why does the scanner not have its own set of filters to create and select from? Because the design is 10 years old!

I know some people want new bells and whistles to do things like repeat auto scan and to do automatic signal searching, but I'm fairly ok with the manual method if the reason is to prevent directional scanning from being too easy (like probing has arguably become). However, CCP, if you fix these five items you will improve the user experience for pilots in all sectors of space immensely.

Do it, CCP. Do it now.


  1. Anonymous10:44 am

    Yes yes yes

  2. Indeed. Potential noobishness follows:

    The F11 map is way too tiny to see what's in the green scan cone. Is there anyway I can get the scan cone to appear on the normal solar system map? I'd settle for that.

    Imagine if scan results appeared in the HUD somehow with tagged ranges. Probably a lot more difficult to do, but I think I might die of happiness if this happened.

  3. F10 or F11 (at work, can't remember which) opens up a minimap on the left hand side of the client that shows the directional scanner as an overly on a map of the current star system (ie a green cone that incorporates distance and direction). Unfortunately its only 2D, but its a step in the right direction.

    1. It's way too small though. I was practising Dscan skills this morning (I'm a noob) and it took AGES (nearly 10 minutes!) to track down my chosen target to a particular moon. Obviously I'll get better utilising the camera and scan angle at 5 degrees, but if it was shown on the main system map I'd of had it done in a minute.

  4. Starsky says Do it!

  5. *right hand side of the client

  6. Great idea. I'd love to see it given a bit of sci-fi-ishness too. Perhaps with some kind of graphical display element to make it feel like a bit more connected and less like it's just sucking game data from server files.

    Some kind of some kind of animation on your ship would be great too, even just a gentle pulsing wave or something - it'd be handy for FCs to see that his pilots have got their eyes to the sky or to monitor hostile behaviour.

    1. I can see it now : "stop looking at POS porn and focus on the gate!"

  7. I agree d-scan needs a revamp. I cannot agree with all you ask. Mostly it's #3. Not everything in space, even in EVE, is on the x/y plane. The scanner needs to look "up" and "down" as well. The camera makes best sense for doing this. The view of your ship in space is the only 3D view in the game. Nothing else allows that pitch and yaw motion. Writing something else that will is completely unnecessary. I also like the fact that d-scan picks up the current overview setting. That means I only have to detail settings in one window rather than two. I have multiple tabs in the overview to cover different focus needs.

    One thing I would like to see added to your list is the ability for pilots to get range detail on smaller objects. This would be skill dependent. The better your scanning skills, the more precise your range estimate on d-scan. For those who wish to decline the skills and still get a rock solid readout, I'd recommend some code that allows a fleet of at least four ships to quadrangulate a position (this is 3D space so an extra you'd need an extra ship.) They just have to spread out like probes and then use their d-scan to know precisely where a ship hangs in space.

    Regardless of what you want done, I certainly agree d-scan revamp is long overdue.

  8. i would like it if you could adjust the size of the font on the d-scan similar to the chat boxes. large screen high res Eve is painful

  9. Put me down for a +1 too. :-D

  10. The big problem with EVE is that you need so much to adapt, that you don't even think about what obvious things need to be fixed... this should be pretty easy to change, but I never though about it.

  11. You can tell that picture is old, because it shows the selected d-scan angle. For some reason, this has been removed, so now you only see the angle when you're changing it. Removing this information is just weird.

    The range box should not be a slider. When hunting, it can be quite beneficial to use halves, thirds, or quarters of AU to arrange a better placement of probes. It should definitely be in AU, though. And it should have a better defined upper range, instead of some arbitrary limit that no one can remember or care about.

    Point 3 is rather lacking in explanation. How else would you aim d-scan but by turning the camera? By turning your ship? There's no way I'm going to be making slight adjustments to my ship's attitude, trying to get 5-degree increments, when trying to hunt miners, switching back and forth from the system map. Just think of it as an phase-angled array and relax a little. This bit works fine.

  12. Should definitely be in AU.

    Better filtering is a must. Make it like the probe scanner, so that when I see a ship/POS/whatever I can 'ignore' it if I like. This makes the dscanner more useful in well-traveled systems. It would be neat if these ignores could tie in with the probe scanner's ignore filters as well.

    Does changing the ship name clear the ignore? I can see arguments both ways on this, but if tied to the probe scanner it would not.

    How about giving me a scan history? So that if I set narrow filters for ships I can glance at my scan history and say 'I saw a helios 5 minutes ago.'

    Should definitely *not* be auto-scanning though.