I like the exobiology game; I like flying around low to the ground and exploring a planet surface, the experience of searching and finding. What it lacks is depth and development (of course, this is ED). Most of these ideas I think are not too far-out; just adding a bit of depth and complexity to the exobiology game, extending existing features. Little here is fundamentally new. I'm sure it will all remain in my dreams, but just wanted to share my ideas:
Exobiology wish list:
Binoculars with a rangefinder – stand on a ridge and survey the area for good locations
Multi-bin refinery-style exoscanner – obviously. If nothing else, something on-ship for storing incomplete samples (especially with a change like in item 12).
Location marker (‘flags’) – just build off the existing exoscanner markers. Also see item 17.
A useful local map view showing foot travel and flags dropped on-foot, and locations of scanned samples
A local heatmap, still fuzzy/vague and maybe dependent on some kind of ship-fired probe (see item 17).
More variety (always more).
Allow different varieties of one species on one planet. I want to see a planet with dozens of bio signals!
Bigger plants (why no 50-meter tubus? why must everything be human-scale?); plant size should roughly scale inversely with planet gravity!
Make plants damageable just for realism; some secrete dangerous substances etc, need to rush back to ship for decontamination.
Soil and air sampling (another scanner mode?) – “spores detected!”
Fauna (tiny flying bugs in a floating swarm? squirmy worms in a patch on the ground? holes in the ground where something might peek out? A lot of the plants look like they require pollinators…
Maybe break out of the simple 1/2/3 sampling scheme. Make it exponential with a little randomness (50%, 75%, 88%, 94%, …) but VG will pay for any degree of data so no frustration for not reaching 100% (pay proportional to completion2 to encourage fuller samples).
Probably unpopular idea: very-difficult-to-land terrain should be richer with samples. Would encourage using all the tools listed above (binocs, markers, maps, etc) to set out on an efficient and productive expedition.
Exobio filter in galaxy map (based on known samples – personally-gathered like with the visited/not-visited filter, or purchasable data for a region from VistaGenomics – select a system and a radius, and pay a fee for all known data for that bubble, to guide further searches) (nearby systems have similar biology – makes some use of this)
Different plants seem to show up in particular geographic locations, more specific than the heatmap indicates – let this info show up in Codex. If there are also correlations between plant type and star/planet type, also list this info. Just for richness sake.
Somewhere show a record of data collected (maybe galaxy map filter would be enough)
Specialized exobiology tools for ships – a local scanner, get up to 1000m, fire a probe, get a 2-km radius heatmap viewable from ship, SRV or on-foot. Or a flag/marker that can be set from the ship and viewable from SRV or on-foot (survey an area from the ship for hard-to-reach samples, then get on-foot and trudge out to the markers). A sample locker (or just another tab in the inventory menu) for switching out incomplete samples in the exoscanner. Etc.
Getting far-out here. Could use a terminal in the ship bridge for studying exo data. Get up, go to that terminal and view the ground map, samples collected and their locations, other possible activities (soil/air etc). I don’t care if there’s a fade-to-black in-between: “activate exo terminal”->FTB->”standing at exo terminal”. Maybe this terminal is available only in a few ships…
edit Another one I forgot: tie exobiology data to ship, not person. So you can 'die' on foot and keep whatever data you've at least loaded onto your ship. At the moment, I think if you die on-foot you lose it all, as though the data stays in your suit or something.. which is weird.. so, if you have the sample locker (item 17), you can go on your ship and save data, then get back out there in the 1200K heat (I was scanning anemones last night) and get more samples.
All this together, an exobiology expedition would consist of:
DSS to find a good region to investigate;
Close-proximity survey from the ship, finding/marking locations of interest and a landing spot
Egress to collect samples, building up content in a map
Repeat 2,3 to completion or diminishing returns.
Similar/same as the existing game, but with more detail and more opportunities for variation and surprise.
Anyways, got it out of my system now. Thanks for reading.