Scaning really lacks. Some ideas to improve it.

Have an idea or suggestion for PULSAR: Lost Colony? Post it here!


  • After playing as the science officer last night, I really feel that the system is lacking a bit at the moment. Basically you are just running buffs/debuffs, and the captain tells you to not use the scanners, because it kills targeting. And even if you do, the information received is limited.

    To beef up the experience for the scientist role, I suggest the following changes:

    - Scanning should NOT interfere with targeting at any time. It makes absolutely no sense, that the science officer automatically hinders everyone from doing their job if he does his job. From an ingame point of view it makes no sense that sophisticated systems like that are not able to compensate for using scanners. I also do not see any balancing reasons for this, as scanning already takes time that could be better spent on running programs.

    - If a target scan has succeeded, there should be basic combat-relevant information on the target screen. Those bars are nice, but in the end during every combat situation they will be at the same levels, so effectively they provide little information aside from stealth runs. If those are shrunken a bit, there should be room for the following information on top (once successfully scanned): shield/hull HP (numeric), amount of turrets and expected combined turret damage per shot (including whether physical or energy), expected main weapon damage per shot (including damage type).

    - If a similar target has been scanned once, the information of that other ship should be displayed with a ? aside, so the player knows that these are best guesses. Because honestly: I can't just memorize 20 different ships that I have never seen and only read about on a console. Also it makes sense that ships do have a database of recently encountered other ships.

    - Scanning should have a feature "Scan for vulnerabilities" which then - based on the ship sensor levels - has a chance to give a permanent buff vs that specific target. This way scanning can be used for combat aside from summarizing the weapon/defense systems and provide alternate ways of approaching a situation. It would also encourage to buy better scanners, which is currently not so much encouraged. Vulnerability scans should not be repeatable to prevent scan-spamming, in addition the scan time should be around 10 seconds, so that this is not the one and only solution for every fight. Buffs should range from relatively common things like "+10% shield damage" to very rare extreme conditions like "No warp-core plating, a precise hull hit can instantly destroy it".

    - All viruses should be on the virus screen, boosts should be on the ship's overview screen, with the target to get rid of the program screen and display ship stats while doing science stuff. During a combat situation it is absolutely crucial that the science officer can see the current ship stats, but right now he always has to have that virus/boost screen open to react quickly. And having the approximate ship stats in the corner of the screen where you are usually not looking at is not helpful. To get rid of that execute button, while still making sure that no program is run by accident, the activation should be changed as follows:
    The first click will highlight the program with a yellow corner/background. Clicking on a highlighted program will execute it. Double-click will always immediately execute. A highlighted offensive program will de-select itself if it is not activated within 5 seconds, defensive programs after 1 minute.

    - There should be an option for automatic execution of programs, like right-clicking a selected program to toggle automatic/manual mode. Automatic execution should be reasonable but dumb, so the science officer can focus momentarily on something else (like scanning), while it is still more beneficial to have them run by hand. E.g.: shield boost auto-executes at 50% shield, Ph virus runs whenever it is not running, Thruster boosts cannot be auto-executed (because there is no easy way to tell when to activate it).

    - Looking up planets/sectors via search should display additional information like expected threat level. The scan screen should have a "current route" tab, that lists the next 4 targets on the selected route with short information (relation, threat level, warp time) and switches to detailed information if clicked. This would give the science officer something to do while at status green.
     
    TwoThe
     
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  • I agree with everything you wrote. These are great suggestions, all of them. Right now Scientist don't have really that much to do other that executing programs over and over again. This class have much more potential and why not use it?

    Also, if we will remove interferences in targeting, scanning should increase the energy consumption a lot to compensate for that. That will make using scanners for finding weak points more balanced.
     
    Pszemo
     
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  • Lots of good points here, but I can't say I'm fully on board with everything.

    TwoThe wrote:- Scanning should NOT interfere with targeting at any time. It makes absolutely no sense, that the science officer automatically hinders everyone from doing their job if he does his job. From an ingame point of view it makes no sense that sophisticated systems like that are not able to compensate for using scanners. I also do not see any balancing reasons for this, as scanning already takes time that could be better spent on running programs.


    I'm uneasy with the prospect of always having sensors when doing enhanced scans. It doesn't make sense from a practicality standpoint.
    That said, from a gameplay perspective, it introduces a downside/risk for gathering the extra information.

    I think as a trade off, regular scanners can slowly gather the information passively, but may take 90 seconds(+) to get a complete picture. Would also open up new balancing points for sensors (passive scan speed, sensitivity, active scan speed, power use)

    TwoThe wrote:- If a target scan has succeeded, there should be basic combat-relevant information on the target screen. Those bars are nice, but in the end during every combat situation they will be at the same levels, so effectively they provide little information aside from stealth runs. If those are shrunken a bit, there should be room for the following information on top (once successfully scanned): shield/hull HP (numeric), amount of turrets and expected combined turret damage per shot (including whether physical or energy), expected main weapon damage per shot (including damage type).

    - If a similar target has been scanned once, the information of that other ship should be displayed with a ? aside, so the player knows that these are best guesses. Because honestly: I can't just memorize 20 different ships that I have never seen and only read about on a console. Also it makes sense that ships do have a database of recently encountered other ships.


    Makes sense. I'm a bit 50/50 on having shield/hull HP values since the information is already duplicated on the info/status screens across the entire ship, but when given more thought, it lets the scientist view another target's HP/Shield stats.
    Rest seems relatively fine to me!

    TwoThe wrote:- Scanning should have a feature "Scan for vulnerabilities" which then - based on the ship sensor levels - has a chance to give a permanent buff vs that specific target. This way scanning can be used for combat aside from summarizing the weapon/defense systems and provide alternate ways of approaching a situation. It would also encourage to buy better scanners, which is currently not so much encouraged. Vulnerability scans should not be repeatable to prevent scan-spamming, in addition the scan time should be around 10 seconds, so that this is not the one and only solution for every fight. Buffs should range from relatively common things like "+10% shield damage" to very rare extreme conditions like "No warp-core plating, a precise hull hit can instantly destroy it".


    This I can mostly get behind without substantial reservation. I can't say I'd be on board with a buff 100% of the time, but a 25% chance to get a new effect might be worth investigating.

    TwoThe wrote:- All viruses should be on the virus screen, boosts should be on the ship's overview screen, with the target to get rid of the program screen and display ship stats while doing science stuff. During a combat situation it is absolutely crucial that the science officer can see the current ship stats, but right now he always has to have that virus/boost screen open to react quickly. And having the approximate ship stats in the corner of the screen where you are usually not looking at is not helpful. To get rid of that execute button, while still making sure that no program is run by accident, the activation should be changed as follows:
    The first click will highlight the program with a yellow corner/background. Clicking on a highlighted program will execute it. Double-click will always immediately execute. A highlighted offensive program will de-select itself if it is not activated within 5 seconds, defensive programs after 1 minute.


    Definitely could be useful, but I'm not quite sure on why you separate offensive vs defensive programs with different de-select times. It'll be more cohesive if they both had same time.
    A double click for activation would be quite useful, though! I'd probably still keep the "execute" button visible as another method to activate the selected program. It'll make it a bit clearer for new users (or old users who can't break the habit of selecting the program, then executing).
    Besides, applications that have been around forever let you achieve the same result 50 different ways (like Microsoft Office). If the UI space can be afforded, then it'll be good to keep the UI element exposed (and leads to a better understand of the implied mechanics).

    TwoThe wrote:- There should be an option for automatic execution of programs, like right-clicking a selected program to toggle automatic/manual mode. Automatic execution should be reasonable but dumb, so the science officer can focus momentarily on something else (like scanning), while it is still more beneficial to have them run by hand. E.g.: shield boost auto-executes at 50% shield, Ph virus runs whenever it is not running, Thruster boosts cannot be auto-executed (because there is no easy way to tell when to activate it).


    I can't say this would be a practical suggestion.
    1) The scientist doesn't have much to do currently. This would take further action away from them where their job essentially goes on autopilot (see: engineers and high power output/level reactors).
    2) It may be too cumbersome for users to configure these kinds of settings. Despite its overall intricacies, Pulsar is quite approachable. Adding this mechanic might make the scientist position less accessible, and may lead to unnecessarily executed programs if the overarching program launching settings are bugged out (either by design from the player, or less likely, a glitch from the game).
    3) It would make it an interesting troll tactic. Configure the programs to launch in edge case situations when you least expect them, so when the troll leaves, programs could fire seemingly randomly at the most inopportune moments.

    It makes sense lore wise, absolutely, but there's a lot of reservations that I have regarding configuration of automatic program launching.

    TwoThe wrote:- Looking up planets/sectors via search should display additional information like expected threat level. The scan screen should have a "current route" tab, that lists the next 4 targets on the selected route with short information (relation, threat level, warp time) and switches to detailed information if clicked. This would give the science officer something to do while at status green.


    This is an excellent idea. When the captain plans a route, the scientist can take a look and realize that the third jump puts them right into a black hole sector. Warp time might not be as useful if short on UI space, but otherwise this is something I could see being introduced!
     
    Bleet
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  • Bleet wrote:That said, from a gameplay perspective, it introduces a downside/risk for gathering the extra information.

    There are already several downsides: it costs time both in scanning and analyzing the results and it reveals your ship, because EM skyrockets as son as you scan. Currently it also hampers your combat effectiveness, and I don't thing there is a need for a third disadvantages from having a scientists doing his job. To me it feels like if every time the engineer wants to change power distribution, he has to reboot the ship.

    Makes sense. I'm a bit 50/50 on having shield/hull HP values since the information is already duplicated on the info/status screens across the entire ship, but when given more thought, it lets the scientist view another target's HP/Shield stats.

    That is one point, but also the position where information is displayed has an effect on gameplay. If I look at the center of the screen, because that is where the action is happening, it is beneficial to have the crucial information at the center of the screen as well. Because otherwise I need to intentionally distract myself from what I am doing to get the information I need to do my job.

    This I can mostly get behind without substantial reservation. I can't say I'd be on board with a buff 100% of the time, but a 25% chance to get a new effect might be worth investigating.

    Low chance would be the idea. This should by no means be an extra guaranteed combat buff, but more like an incentive to have the scientist do his job on the scanner. This would also make fights a little more interesting, as suddenly alternate options might pop up.

    I can't say this would be a practical suggestion.
    1) The scientist doesn't have much to do currently. This would take further action away from them where their job essentially goes on autopilot (see: engineers and high power output/level reactors).
    2) It may be too cumbersome for users to configure these kinds of settings. Despite its overall intricacies, Pulsar is quite approachable. Adding this mechanic might make the scientist position less accessible, and may lead to unnecessarily executed programs if the overarching program launching settings are bugged out (either by design from the player, or less likely, a glitch from the game).
    3) It would make it an interesting troll tactic. Configure the programs to launch in edge case situations when you least expect them, so when the troll leaves, programs could fire seemingly randomly at the most inopportune moments.

    The idea was to just have the program set to auto-mode via right-click. Then the program does, what the devs have decided this particular program should do on auto mode. So no trolling, and I think also no confusion on how to use it. Similar methods are in many other games.

    Also any player will be better than an auto-mode program (intentionally), so it is not a solution to lay back and drink some earl gray, but to free you a few seconds of time so you can do scanning, extinguish fires or rush to the teleporter room to beam over and help your friends take the enemy ship with your regeneration aura. Currently in many situations the scientist is bound to his console, as he has to recharge the shield every few seconds or yell for recharge on his programs. This is intense and good experience, but you just can't do anything else, and that is where it soon gets boring.
     
    TwoThe
     
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  • All suggestions seem great!

    The programs which would be about to get de-selected could start blinking (faster blink = less time to getting de-selected) before getting de-selected; of course blinking programs would still be launched with one click (because they are selected).

    The dumb-execute should use terrible values. Shield boost would start either at 80% of max shields (a waste) or at 30% max shields (like a sloppy player would do), etc.,

    They also could be:
    • hard-coded by devs to snip the elaborate trolling attempts in the bud;
    • programmable, but [url=forums.pulsarthegame.com/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=2837&p=13822]logged[/url];
    • programmable when Captain permits changing it and accepts the program changes once programmed
     
    Mr n
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  • there needs to be some kindve long range scan too so you can scan other systems and at least tell if theres ships there or not
     
    Khobai
     
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  • When I captain, I don't even ask for scans any more. No point. Takes for ever and returns so little meaningful information. They're either shooting at me or they're not. Until something changes, the scientist to me is the virus programmer that engages in electronic warfare + damage control when needed.
     
    togFox
     
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  • There are a lot of things I think could be done to make scanning useful.

    For one, ships need to exist in a state besides "fully detected" and "gone." Things like faint sensor ghosts, unidentified contacts, etc should be normal, with the scientist getting to decide if they want to activate a ping or not to get more info. The game has stealth, why not go full ham with the submarine simulator idea?

    I like the idea of scanning for vulnerabilities. I would actually be more inclined to make scanning operate like a program. Run the "vulnerability analysis" program and it pulls together all the information available and produces a solution at the end. The longer you've been fighting, the more info it produces.

    An idea that I've been advocating for a while now is to get rid of the idea of one-shot programs entirely. First, from a lore perspective, it's kind of contrived. Second, it means the scientist can, in fact, be automated. Shields are low? I should run the SH program. It's a part of the game so boring that you're suggesting we get rid of it entirely. That should be a warning sign.

    Imagine if programs could be turned on and off but had no usage limit, but the ship's processor could only run so many programs at once. A scientist would juggle programs the way the engineer plays with power. Running the shield boost program would result in a faster passive recharge (instead of a one-shot boost), running the warp jump computation would be essential pre-jump. Passive scanning is another signal-processing program which provides targeting boosts. (Active scanning is an actual switch to send out radar pulses.) Virus broadcasting is just that -- you turn it on until your targets are infected, then turn it off.

    Running too many programs results in reduced efficiency of all of them. Viruses that infect you are programs too, which makes them annoying since they make the CPU sluggish. Now the scientist is always making choices and juggling things.

    The only downside I can imagine is if the upgrades allows a scientist to have "all programs running all the time." Right now that happens to the Engineer with a supremely good warp core. This could be avoided for the scientist just by having certain programs more than willing to use up massive amounts of CPU. Warp jump calculation, for example, will use 100% CPU if you let it, so there's always an incentive to turn other programs off.
     
    maplealmond
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  • maplealmond wrote:There are a lot of things I think could be done to make scanning useful.

    For one, ships need to exist in a state besides "fully detected" and "gone." Things like faint sensor ghosts, unidentified contacts, etc should be normal, with the scientist getting to decide if they want to activate a ping or not to get more info. The game has stealth, why not go full ham with the submarine simulator idea?

    I like the idea of scanning for vulnerabilities. I would actually be more inclined to make scanning operate like a program. Run the "vulnerability analysis" program and it pulls together all the information available and produces a solution at the end. The longer you've been fighting, the more info it produces.

    An idea that I've been advocating for a while now is to get rid of the idea of one-shot programs entirely. First, from a lore perspective, it's kind of contrived. Second, it means the scientist can, in fact, be automated. Shields are low? I should run the SH program. It's a part of the game so boring that you're suggesting we get rid of it entirely. That should be a warning sign.

    Imagine if programs could be turned on and off but had no usage limit, but the ship's processor could only run so many programs at once. A scientist would juggle programs the way the engineer plays with power. Running the shield boost program would result in a faster passive recharge (instead of a one-shot boost), running the warp jump computation would be essential pre-jump. Passive scanning is another signal-processing program which provides targeting boosts. (Active scanning is an actual switch to send out radar pulses.) Virus broadcasting is just that -- you turn it on until your targets are infected, then turn it off.

    Running too many programs results in reduced efficiency of all of them. Viruses that infect you are programs too, which makes them annoying since they make the CPU sluggish. Now the scientist is always making choices and juggling things.

    The only downside I can imagine is if the upgrades allows a scientist to have "all programs running all the time." Right now that happens to the Engineer with a supremely good warp core. This could be avoided for the scientist just by having certain programs more than willing to use up massive amounts of CPU. Warp jump calculation, for example, will use 100% CPU if you let it, so there's always an incentive to turn other programs off.


    This sounds way better to me than how programs and scanning currently work. It would be cool if the ships/computers differed in terms of program storage, CPU speed, etc, and could be tweaked/upgraded at the cost of increased heat production.
     
    subunit
     
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  • Hello...

    Thank you guys for sharing the above information about Scanning...,It's really helpful for me.., but i need some more information about, how to scan in a best way and I want to improve it..
     
    daria19
     
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