Travel times in supercruise have always been a hotly debated topic in Elite Dangerous. On one hand travel times allow us to show the sheer scale of the universe. On the other hand, they are often nothing more than a several minute long loading screen.
IMO Elite has one of the better in-system travel when it comes to space games. Both Star Citizen and No Man's Sky lock you into a single speed straight line movement when traveling in system, whereas in Elite you maintain full speed and movement controls. However, there is still much room for improvement
Here are my suggestion to improve supercruise travel:
1. Increase Supercruise Acceleration and Deceleration Rates
This is probably the easiest and most effective way to lower supercruise travel times. The issue of supercruise travel does not come from supercruise speed. Our ships can easily go hundreds of times the speed of light, and at that speed most destination are only a few seconds away. The issue lies with getting to that speed and then slowing down enough to exit supercruise. Building up from 30km/s to 100c takes time. The longer it takes to build up to that speed, the longer the travel time will be. Even when you are going that fast, your ship has to slow down far in advance to your destination so you are within the 1mm/s speed necessary to drop out. This again adds more travel time. By increasing the acceleration and deceleration rates, the ship gets to higher speeds faster and can stay at that high speed for longer before dropping out. Even better, this method preserves the sense of scale, as objects further away will still take longer to reach.
2. In-system Mini-Jumps
Most of the celestial bodies that take excruciatingly long times to reach occur in systems with more than one star. The planet, station, or point of interest you want to go to orbits a different star than the one you exited hyperspace next to, and this star can be hundreds of thousands of light seconds away. A supercruise system in which you can directly jump to other stars in a multi-star system would fix this problem. Preferably it would be a built in system to all ships, but it could also be a special module. Of course, this wouldn't work in the Alpha Centauri system. Working to get the Hutton Mug shouldn't be easy.
3. Things to do while in Supercruise
This solution would require far more work on Frontier's behalf, but I believe it would have the greatest improvement on supercruise travel. Let's face it, supercruise is often boring. It is often nothing more than a loading screen with the occasional interdiction to shake things up (not even that in unpopulated systems). We need more things to do other than just listening to Galnet and the Codex. Of course, the best way to do this would be to add ship interiors. But, we honestly shouldn't be expecting this to happen anytime soon, especially with the size of some of these ships. However, I do ask of Frontier to at least let us walk around our cockpits. They arealready fully rendered and designed and it would be nice to at least stretch our legs during supercruise and see space at a different angle, even if we can't do anything else.
Another solution would be to add minigames to play during supercruise. For example, what if we had a minigame to analyze the different signal sources that pop up as we travel? In the minigame, we can analyze the signal to see which engineering materials appear in that source. Minigames likes these would greatly cut down on the boredom felt during supercruise.
Congrats, you've reached the end of this post. If Frontier puts in any of these changes, I have full confidence it would greatly improve our experience with supercruise. If they put in more than one, I will actually buy ARX.
I hope you liked this analysis on how to improve supercruise. I would love to see your critiques and suggestion as well. I will try to add popular suggestions in the comments. Thanks for reading!
Edit: The Hutton Mug thing is a joke. Don't take it seriously.