The first contact and intel improvements in 3.0 has completely changed the exploration experience, for the better. One further improvement would be having star systems remain invisible on the map until they have been within our hyperlane detection range or we get intel on them by other means.
- Experientially, this would increase the sense of discovery as we explore the galaxy. We would no longer know in advance what positions and types of hyperlane-connected star systems may be found as far away as the other side of the galaxy. The galactic hyperlane network beyond our hyperlane detection range would be truly unknown, not partially known from day 1.
- It would also be less weird and more consistent when new/special systems are added to the map during the game (precursors, Hyacinth, Rubricator, Paridayda, the L-Cluster). It would play out the same way as with every other star system: a new discovery adds another star system to the map.
- We would not know the location of the sealed psionic entity system before we actually open the wormhole.
- Systems in special locations, such as outliers beyond the edge of the galaxy or bridging the gaps between spiral arms, would be surprises during the game rather than known from aforementioned day 1.
- Thematically, it makes no sense that we would know exactly which star systems are connected to the hyperlane network on the far side of the galaxy while they are still far beyond our hyperlane detection range. There are usually hundreds of billions of stars in a galaxy, meaning that there is about one hyperlane-connected system per billion stars. The alternative explanation, that even the farthest systems would be seen far in advance, is similarly difficult to reconcile with there being too much dust and interference in the way (the far side of the Milky Way is called its "dark side" for a reason); if that issue is explained with references to super-advanced astronomy, it instead becomes unreasonable that we would still run into previously unseen stars in our own backyards (see the special systems mentioned above). Thematically, limiting the visibility on the map to systems that we have previously gained intel on would be the most logical approach regardless of which model be prefer.
- Under the alternative interpretation that the hyperlane network connects all star systems in the galaxy, but we have to settle for a small number of systems as representative of the galaxy due to processor and design constraints, it makes no sense that we would have perfect knowledge of the stellar objects on the other side of the galaxy (there is too much dust and interference in the way) while still running into several previously unseen stars within our own territories.
- Visually, the nebulous image of the galaxy would still remain in the background, showing us where we can expect greater and lower densities of stars.
- Practically, gameplay-wise, the "precognitive" beelining for particular system types beyond our hyperlane detection range would no longer be possible (short of using the "observe" cheat command). There would be more reason to send explorers on long-distance missions, ahead of the system surveyors, to chart the hyperlane network and identify interesting systems and areas.
- Looking ahead, this could also allow a novel solution for the hyperlane gore problem (when a newly created system's hyperlanes cross other hyperlanes on the map). Rather than generating new systems and hyperlanes during the game, all of the special systems could exist from the beginning but have their hyperlanes remain hidden until their respective event chains grant you intel on them. This would in turn support completely new design approaches to the precursor quests and other further improvements to exploration and discovery in the future.