Exploration Walkthrough

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Diary of an Explorer: Day 3

(A step-by-step guide to probing in the new system, in plain English)

I undock my ship for yet another exciting day hunting down wormholes. As soon as I am in space, warning alarms sound as my ship is targeted by an absolution. Instinct takes over as I activate my warp core to get my ship safely bounding through space-time toward a safe spot that I've created in-system. While in warp I load my probe launcher with core scanner probes (Yes, today I've opted to try probing without deep space probes to better understand my skill-deprived capsuleer brethren.)

Arriving in my secure location, I engage my microwarpdrive and begin launching probes. Once five probes are away (the bare minimum is four for effective scanning), I re-cloak and switch to my scanning interface.

A probe is quickly dispatched to each of the outermost four planets and one is sent to the star, all set to a 4 AU radius. What luck! They happen to cover the entire system effectively. I won't need to launch more. I initiate my scan. Five quick seconds produce a report showing a ring between planets 4 and 5. Excellent!

I know that since I'd used a 4 AU radius scan, that the site was within 2 AU of that ring. I send one probe to the center of the ring and position the other 4 at the north south east and west positions and set them to a 2 AU radius except the one in the center which I leave at 4 AU. I kick off another scan. This scan report showed the site as a red point in the northeast area of the ring and the type reveals that this is indeed a wormhole.

It took a matter of seconds to adjust the probes around that point. One last 5 second cycle later, I have a 100% signal strength green dot to warp to! Total time spent: 5 minutes.

My sensors showed this wormhole led to another low-sec system so I decline its invitation and instead head to the next system over to see if I can find a more interesting one...

-Mara Saotome

Diary of an Explorer: Day 1

(Authors note: As you read this, you will no doubt be able to see where I’ve made mistakes or see more efficient solutions. This was only my second try with the new system and I have learned much since then but I thought this story was amusing and instructive.)

As the deep space probe was ejected from my ship in speeds excess of 2000km/s I felt a sense of thrill and anticipation for the unknown. Coming back from my moment’s reverie, I activate my cloaking device and initiate covert communication with the excited scanning device; telling it to adjust to maximum scanning range. The probe takes a moment to adjust itself and establish a frame of reference for its report before the antennae begins to glow and pulsate with signals which will hopefully interfere with some object or anomaly and return to my probe thus allowing it to determine how distant the object is. 5 seconds later, what seems an eternity, the machine is finished with its scan and has sent a report to me for review.

Before me is a table of objects the scanner has detected: Ships, moons, small pirate fleets (anomalies), and … yes! There at the bottom of the list, an unknown deadspace signature. In the interest of simplicity, I tune the results to only show me the results that correspond with deadspace signatures. According to the report, it is located about 13 AU from my position.

I think a set of commands to my forward bay and again drop my cloak. 3 more deep space probes join their brother in quick succession as my now re-cloaking ship hurtles away from them as if it were embarrassed to be seen with them. My HUD changes from the view from my camera drones to a HUD showing the details of the solar system and the locations of my probes. Thinking quickly, I send 3 probes away from here in any good direction and have them set for maximum scan radius. The compulsive probes obey my commands and joyfully warp to their destinations. Once again, a five second eternity passes before a report again appears in my view.

Confusion! My reports now show two deadspace signatures. The distance readings from two of my probes have generated a halo of opportunity while the other two probes’ data don’t seem to be of any use. I can think of two situations to explain this phenomenon: my probes readings are skewed by their proximity to each other (they’re too close together), or the object I seek is not in their scanning radius.

I check to make sure my scanning radii are set to maximum, then I turn my attention to the positions of the two errant probes only to find that my earlier thought process had already moved them further from me (You would think after all these years as a capsuleer that I would be immune to being surprised by such efficiencies). If I imagine the halo as a compass, the probes have settled themselves in tandem positions at the North and East sides. 5 quick seconds later, another report is ready. Nothing new. The probes warp to the South and West positions and 5 seconds later, yet another report displays before the eyes of my consciousness: A point!

Encouraged by this development, I dispatch four core scanner probes to join their comrades. Once my ship is again safely hidden, I send them to congregate around the point I found, radii set to minimum scan (this worked in an early version on SISI). Five seconds pass, then comes a surprise. The point has shifted away from my core scanner probes! I send them to the new point and scan again, only to see the point jump away from them once again. It was time for some thinking. The errant behavior of my result point suggests that although all four deep space probes can see it, there exists some variance in how far away from themselves they sense the object. I had not anticipated this variance. I decide to try to get the better fix with my core scanner probes.

This time I set the four core probes in a wide arrangement around the point, disabled my deep space scanner probes and set the radii for maximum scan. Five long seconds later I see three individual spherical results on my overview. What the… This is a step backward! I guess this means that three of my probes can see the site but that they can’t decide on a pair of points where it should be, and the fouth is lost. Not yet discouraged, I scan a second time and get a pair of points! Still not a single point again, but it’s a step. I adjust the fourth probe around a bit and scan again. Woot! A point once again resolves in my mind’s eye but this time the color has shifted from red to yellow!

At this point, I decide to try to make use of the other information provided in my scan results: the distance. I’m not sure what to make of the distance reading but thinking back on the old probing system, I decide that the figure of 14 AU means that the point I see is accurate to within 14 AU. I adjust the radii of my four core scanner probes to 16 AU and once again congregate them loosely around the yellow point. “Five seconds to victory!” I think to myself. The report comes back: A red point with a distance reading of 13 AU. “Well, it’s an improvement,” I think to myself as I adjust the probe positions and scan again: red point: 12 AU. “Slow progress is still progress,” I reassure myself as I scan again: 14 AU, 12 AU, 13 AU, 15 AU. What the hell? That little red point is jumping all over the place!

I decide that it must be a difficult site to find because I am in low-sec. I must need more probes. I recall the four deep space probes which resignedly return to my cargo hold, and launch 4 more core scanner probes. I set all the radii to 16 AU and move them into position around the current result. Taking a deep breath I scan: 14 AU, 12 AU, 15 AU. WTF! I start a process where every time I get a result, I send one of my probes to that point until all 8 of my probes are on points where I had seen a result appear; 14 AU, 12 AU, 13 AU. That five second timer is becoming an eternity again but for an entirely different reason.

Frustrated and defeated, I decide to seek assistance. I open my comms and ask for help. A fellow explorer An Anarchyyt responds to my plea and directs me to documentation which states that the distance figure when only one probe is present represents the distance from the probe to the target but the distance reported from multiple probes is the distance from your SHIP to the target. I ponder this for a moment and realize how much sense this makes. In my excitement, I close the comms. I can’t remember if I thanked him or not.

I quickly reduced my probes scanning radii to 8 AU and congregated them around the current result point, crossed my goo covered fingers, and scanned. Success! I got another yellow result point! I moved the probes closer, reduced the radii to 4 AU and scanned again. Another success! My signal strength has gone up to 50%. I reduce them further to 2 AU and scan. Now I am close enough that my scanner can tell that this is an unstable wormhole that I’m zeroing in on! Reduce to 1 AU and scan… BINGO! 100% Signal Strength!

I take a deep breath and tell my ship to warp to 70km off the event horizon. My ship comes out of cloak as I approach and I re-initiate cloak once I’ve arrived. My ships readings indicate that this wormhole won’t last more than a day and that it is relatively undisturbed. Also it can tell (I’m not sure how. Maybe it can sense the presence of Concord ships) that this wormhole will take me to high security space.

After a moment, I decide that there is little to no risk beyond that of simply navigating the wormhole, and I commit my ship to a trajectory leading it inside the maw of this giant beast…

-Mara Saotome