I saw that there was brief mention of implementing an exploration mechanic next universe, and totally understand if things are already pretty baked, but here were some of my thoughts on a possible scheme regarding exploration. Exploration if done right is a huge draw to a big portion of the gamerbase (a lot of 4X people love the exploration phase most), so I’m proposing my framework (threw in initial numbers which I’m sure will change) and would love further discussion.
All white systems will have planet location and basic composition known (rocky or gaseous, high/low temp, pressure, grav) but no resources or fertility known. This way, exact fuel amounts to travel to, land/take-off are known in advance.
Start everyone with a third ship, an exploration ship. As a rough draft, I’d make this ship have:
- 500 FTL, 1000 STL fuel tank, and 100/100 cargo capacity
- Travel at 1/5 the speed of regular ships, but take 1/4 of the fuel and 1/2 the damage
- Have specialized survey equipment
These attributes hopefully make the ship infeasible as a third cargo runner unless in dire straits, but well suited for landing/taking off of planets.
- Tie survey programs to the faction itself, with the following characteristics
- Clicking an unexplored planet will show whether a) the faction already has it surveyed, in which case data can be purchased or b) the amount the faction is willing to pay for exploration of the planet
- The base survey purchase cost will be 1000 credits.
- The base exploration fee will be purely 5,000 credits plus the one-way cost of fuel to the planet from the closest CX and also to land and take off, with the reimbursement amount set to 10 for both FTL and STL at minimum speed.
- Other members of the faction, however, may “pre-order” a planetary survey dataset at a 20% discount to the 1000 credit price, which will also have the affect of boosting the reward amount for surveying the planet by 500 and the base cost of buying the survey by 10. In other words, the second person to pre-order will pay 808, third 816, etc.
- Other factions will pay just half the base amount, etc. for the same survey data to discourage espionage. (Also the planets tend to be farther away so would be easy money).
As for the survey itself, the following order of operations will take place in case a player may decide to abort the process early with incomplete information:
*6 hours to set up camp / dispatch survey drones
*1 hr to check fertility or not
*6 hr to check fertility level
This will be a toggle, either check concentration upon each resource discovery, or check all resources first and then check concentration in order of most “rare” resource:
*102 hr to run an exhaustive resource scan (34 resource types * 3hr each)
*12hr per resource to check the concentration threshold
For those who have a COMPLETE planetary survey, players may then choose to either sell their survey data or keep it to themselves for the time being - however once someone ELSE sells the survey data, that option will no longer exist!
While I think this will create an interesting exploration mechanic in the next universe of the game, I probably left out things. Thoughts?