Sunday, July 21, 2013

Odyssey Exploration Guide Part 5/8

(Draiv Solregard's Exploration guide is subject to change, based on updated information, new information, expansions, and the apocalypse.  If you notice any errors in this guide, wait for your booster side effects to subside.  If the error is still there let me know and I'll look into it.)


Your ability to find things with probes.

Discovery Scanner:

Shows you all signatures that can be probed down in a system.

Depending on what you are trying to do, the Discovery Scanner can be a boon to your success, or the bane of your existence.  It is the main reason that you are now a scavenger instead of an explorer.  You see, to be an explorer you need to be looking for the unknown.  While this is hard to accomplish in a game due to the fact that everything is known and there is no real "unknown", the discover scanner eliminated the one aspect of making things unknown in a video game. 

The discovery scanner's key role is to reveal if there are any signatures in a system, it does this automatically when you enter the system, and periodically re-scans while you are in the system to let you know if anything new has popped up.  This means you are no longer searching for hidden signatures in a system, but everyone who enters that system knows exactly the same thing as you.  Like a dead carcass on the side of the road, it is seen by all, but which creature will scavenge it first?

So if you jump into a system and there are no signatures to scan then you jump to the next system in your route.  While this makes it easier to farm sites and move quickly through systems which is great in high security space, in low and null security space pirates will know exactly what you are up to and may hunt you down instead of moving on.

Scanning terms:

·         Scan Duration - This is how long it takes to complete a scan.
·         Scan Deviation - When you perform a scan there is a calculation of how far the actual location of the site is from what you see.  While you can't calculate the exact distance to your probe, you can calculate the max scan deviation.  This means there is a max distance which the actual signature will be located from the signature which you are shown.
§  Max Scan Deviation Equation - (Scan Range/Base Scan Range of Probe) * (Base Maximum Deviation of Probe)  Signal Strength plays a role here in that the higher the signal strength the lower the deviation.  But it's best not to rely on it.
·         Sensor Strength - This determines how well you pick up signatures, bigger is better.
·         Scan Range - This is the radius your probes will scan when you initiate a scan.

·         Cosmic Signature - These are the dead carcasses you will see as you move along the space highway.  You will scan and identify if the carcass is worth scavenging.
·         Cosmic Anomaly - These are always shown if there are any in system, with the ability to warp to them without scanning.

·         Data Site - Where goodies are located.
·         Relic Site - Where goodies are located.
·         Combat Site - Where rats are located which will shoot at you.
·         Gas Site - Where gas clouds are located, sometimes they have rats and other things.
·         Wormhole - The great unknown, lots of goodies here.  Except that Data and Relic sites will have Sleepers which will blow up your wee frigate.


When presented with your probes you actually don't see any of them unless you're holding Shift or Alt, instead it gives you a probe box in the middle of where all your probes are located this is the focal point where all probes intersect.  Any changes you make to the focal point will affect all probes unless you are holding Shift or Alt.
·         Hold Shift - Allows you to modify a single probe.
·         Hold Alt - Allows you to affect all probes relative to the center of the formation.
·         Hold Mouse Button - Allows you to move the formation as well as change the scan range.
·         Double Click - Centers your camera on the probe or cosmic signature (when it is a red dot).

Your probe box will look like this:

·         Blue Circle - This shows your scan range and all the things your probe encompasses.  You may adjust the size of the circle by click + hold the first mouse button and drag in any direction towards or away from the center.
·         Arrows - These will allow you to move the probe only in the specified direction, to do this all you need to do is click + hold and then drag in the direction you wish to go.
·         Box - The sides of the box allow for a bit more freedom of movement, except you may now move the box diagonal as well as sideways or up/down, just click + hold and move to the desired location.

The two formations you will be using are:

·         Pinpoint - This formation is what you will be using to zero in on a signature.

·         Spread - This formation will be used if you forgot which planet the other signatures are at after you have warped into a system.

After you have launched probes and cloaked up in a safe spot, you now need to hunt down all those pesky signatures.  A key concept to remember is that no signature will appear more than 4 AU away from a planet.

After you have positioned yourself, your screen might look a little like this:

1.  These are all the signatures which you know are in the system, hence why you are a scavenger not an "explorer".
2.  The giant red circle means the signature which you are looking for is probably located somewhere inside that circle.  Since a signature can't appear more than 4 AU from a planet and there are no other planets within the giant red circle, you now know the exact location of all signatures in the system to be within 4 AU of that planet.  So there is no need to use the spread formation after you find those signatures.

Edit 2014.03.16
A quick update to point number 2 above, thanks to an anonymous comment and their willingness to do a bit of research and testing; have shown that some of the higher class wormholes can indeed spawn a bit further than 4 AU from a planet.

Move your probes over to the planet that is close to the signatures and make sure your distance is set to 4 AU and hit scan.

After scanning you see 3 signatures of varying signal strength:

·         Green Triangle - means you have scanned that signature to 100% and are now able to warp to it, as you can see under the signal column. 
·         Yellow Triangle - means that you are fairly certain the actual signature's location is near there.
·         Red Dot - means you got a hit on the signature but you're still going to have to do some finagling to find it.  You would do this by readjusting your probe focal point onto the red dot and lower the range of your scan from 4 AU to 2 AU.
·         Rinse and repeat until you have scanned all the signatures you wish to.


·         Centering - Make sure to double click the signature you are trying to scan down (if you are unable to do this make sure to center on a probe, it really does help), this will center your camera on that signature and make it easier to move your probes around.
·         Vertical Alignment - Because you are working in a 3D environment perception can be skewed, to minimize this it is helpful to move your probes until they are on the same horizontal plane as your target.
·         Horizontal Alignment - Because you can't get directly 90 degrees above your signature it is best to align probes vertically, then change your view above the signature and move your probes on top of your target.
·         Adjusting Range - It is common practice when zeroing in on a signature to only ever drop your range by 1 tier e.g. 4 AU to 2 AU.  The reason for this is your max scan deviation will normally be near that number.  As you gain better skills and more experience you will be able to drop 2 tiers e.g. 4 AU to 1 AU this can normally be done with yellow triangles.
·         Bookmarks - Always bookmark a site after you scan it, this will save the location in case you leave system and also allow you to warp in at another distance besides zero for safety reasons.  When you right click a signature which has been 100% scanned and select bookmark, it will bring up a little window for you to enter in a name.  I normally keep the signature type where it is and instead enter at the front of the name the first letter of the group of site, and the first three letters of the ID e.g. "C HTU Sansha Hideout".  (IDs will reset after downtime.)


  1. I think you should add some more discussion of the shift and alt uses. In particular, I would suggest that for a beginner up through a low expert there is no need whatsoever to adjust individual probe locations (shift). There is also no need for the use of alt, except for the one situation. This is when you've got a signature up to around 80+%, but you're at the minimum scan distance (.25 AU for core probes). Then by moving the probes closer together (and re-scan) you may be able to get to the full 100%. If you are at greater than minimum scan distance, just reduce it.

  2. some of the lower-sig strength wormhole signatures might appear up to 6AU from planet. Rest is accurate.

    1. I've never encountered that before with any type of signature. If you want to send in some screenshots I'll see about updating this guide at some point.

  3. As far as I know this is common knowledge. I scan more less the way you presented here its common to find signature which shows up outside 4au range bubble, if it does you can be sure it certainly is a WH. Google forums, or have a look at other scanning tutorials, best one you can find on Penny's Tiger Ears blog. I am sure she mentions it.

  4. screenshot u asked for

    1. Thanks for the screenshot. Quick question what class WH was this and is this the final scan or before it was scanned to 100%? You could park yourself at the planet and show the AU distance to the signature from the bottom part of the probe window.

      This type of info is quite helpful as my time to investigate such changes is quite limited at the moment.

  5. Here it is. I am at planet, probe set to 4AU range, wormhole scanned to 100%. Probe scan toolbox clearly says wormhole is 5.3AU from my current position.
    I scan a lot but I didn't have to look for them to make these screenshots. I find them every third system I scan. I find it hard to believe you never encountered them.