Scout and Scout Controller have a lot of problems and need serious rework.

thesolothesolo ✭✭✭✭✭
edited April 30 in General

Here are the problems I've run into so far with working on the Scout and Scout Controller badges.

1) Uploading is a total guessing game (forum software doesn't like the phrase c r a p s h o o t even though it's literally a gaming term in the dictionary...okay). First and foremost, there's no real progress bar, just a spinner endlessly sitting on screen. You have no way of knowing how long it will take, and the scanner cannot be used while the process is ongoing.

Secondly, it crashes the scanner. Sometimes you get through all of your scans without crashing. Other times, good luck. I did hundreds of scans yesterday, and it took 5 tries to upload them all. The majority (100+) went through in one go, but then it took 4 more attempts to upload the remainder. This happens almost every single time I upload scans in batch. (Galaxy S10+) Sometimes I'll have a crash uploading as few as 5 total scans. This should be an easy, seamless process, and it isn't.

2) There's no way on intel to see if a portal has a scout controller or how many scans you need to do to gain controller status. It's very easy when working on pioneer to say, "This area is gray/opposing faction", so you know you can go there to work on your badge. But I went to a gray area yesterday with 150+ portals, only to find out that while a third didn't have a controller, the rest did. This completely changed the amount of time I was planning on spending doing scans. People have been complaining about this since November of last year, and nothing has changed. This is going to be really problematic as more agents attempt these badges.

3) There's no way in scanner to see how many scans you've done on a portal/how many you have pending for upload. This is critical information when attempting Scout Controller, because if you need to take Controller status from another agent, you need to ensure you upload more than them. So you wind up having to keep track of each portal quantity mentally.

This is even harder if someone else has already Controller on a portal in some quantity, because the number you need to keep track of is then different for each and every portal. I used a mod-tracking system yesterday (1 mod down means I've done a single scan, 2 mods means more than existing Controller), but I was the only agent around. If it had been in a busy area, I would have certainly never gotten it right. This is too high of a barrier for most agents.

4) Since almost no one is going to be uploading scans in the field because of the high amount of bandwidth and time to do so, the vast majority of agents will submit scans when they get onto WiFi, usually at home. This effectively creates a race condition.

Imagine this scenario: Agent A goes to place that has zero Controllers, and scans each portal once. They then go about their day and upload when they get home in the evening. Agent B comes along in the meantime, scans everything, and immediately uploads them. Agent B gains controller on everything, Agent A gets zero points for Controller and has to return to the area and now upload a second scan on every portal to gain credit for what they did. This means that it is imperative to scan and then find public wifi or run home to your house/hotel/whatever to upload, or else you may not gain any Controller credit for what you did.

This will cause serious issues with multiple agents attempting this badge, even among the same faction/team. It also means that it is very difficult to do Controller on day trips, because you cannot guarantee that you'll gain any credit once you get home. It also means that agents who want to ensure someone else coming along won't mess up their status must do multiple scans to ensure they gain Controller status. Which brings me to the next point...

5) The number of available scans is too low. Yesterday, I had almost my full allotment of 400 scans, and I went to an area with 130 portals. So how many scans do I have left? 93. This is because I got to the area, realized that other agents had Controller (often with 2-3 points each) on every portal, and so I had to submit 2-4 scans for each portal as I went. So while my Controller went up by 135 points yesterday, my Scout went up by more than double that, because I had to submit multiple scans for 1 controller point. As a result, I now have less than one hundred scans left for the next 6 days, which means I'm going to run out and cannot keep a solid cadence on Controller. Because there's no guaranteed ratio between Scout and Scout Controller, and you may use 3-4 scans just to gain 1 Controller point, the number of available scans must be higher or refreshed more quickly.

@NianticBrian I know Portal Scans are a big thing for you and your team; please read this carefully and take this feedback under consideration.


  • vidiconvidicon ✭✭✭✭
    edited April 30

    Yeah, because of this, when I see that another agent has controller on a bunch of portals in an area, I will always do at least once test scan to see if it immediately earns controller before I continue scanning. I tend to assume that if one person is controller on a lot of portals in an area they probably did them all at the same time, so if I can get controller with a single scan, I will go ahead and scan the others once each.

    If, however, one scan doesn't immediately earn me controller on that portal, I tend not to scan at all. If the existing agent has 1 scan, I might scan some of the portals twice, particularly the very interesting ones. But if the existing agent has 2 or more scans, I will stop scanning entirely.

    And I use the term "I" lightly here. My husband is much more actively chasing the scout controller badge, so if we are out playing together, I will usually let him get scout controller and I will not scan the portal at all. Only if I am playing alone or if he had already claimed scout controller more than 30 days ago will I actually do the scan.

    The incentives are way out of w h a c k.

  • gazzas89gazzas89 ✭✭✭

    Wasnt even aware that to get scout controller you had to scan more than the person who already has scout controller thats blooming stupid, I doubt there's anyone who wants to scan a portal once, let alone wander round 2 or 3 times trying to, thats really bad game design in general

  • And as @Toxoplasmolly mentioned, the number of scans that need to be done to take Scout Controller decays while the value shown on a given portal remains the same. If I see a Portal with an SC value of 5, I will have to take up to 6 scans to reclaim it. If I'm lucky and the last scans were fairly long ago, it will only take 1 scan. If the other agent scanned the Portal the day before, then I need to do all 6 scans.

    Amidst the other, more engaging features that were added in the last year, Scout Controller is bafflingly poorly designed.

  • thesolothesolo ✭✭✭✭✭

    It was clearly an attempt to prevent/encourage people from just scanning the same portal over & over. But the existing implementation is quite bad.

  • thesolothesolo ✭✭✭✭✭

    You can if the area is illuminated, but in pitch black darkness, no. Really limits your options.

  • That's not really something they can fix, unless you install an infrared camera though.

  • RushdieRRRushdieRR ✭✭✭

    as mentioned in the announcement of the launch of the Portal Scan feature :

    where it states "Ideal candidates for Portal Scanning are statues and sculptures that Agents can walk around" so we can see the results of the reconstruction of the Portal there:

    While we have seen a lot of finding and even scanning portals outside of these ideal candidates, such as museums or buildings with unique architectures and others that do not allow us to perform 360-degree scans according to the time provided, what are the results of the reconstruction 3-D point cloud visualizations?

  • thesolothesolo ✭✭✭✭✭

    I'm not saying they need to fix it, just agreeing with the poster that you can only really do them in daytime. I intentionally didn't include that in my original list because it's not broken.

  • Otrera35Otrera35 ✭✭

    You can bring a halogen or flood light with you then you can do your scans.

  • a21schizoidmana21schizoidman ✭✭✭

    True, but then during winter months, if you don't happen to live/play in a city (or just carry some massive floodlight with you all the time) you might not be able to scan at all.

    Same reason I rarely submit portals in the winter, hate wasting my time for it to come back that the photo was too dark on a church in the middle of nowhere I came across.

    All the other points here are 100% valid though. I did a ton of scans yesterday and just kept hoping no one else would submit before I got home, and that it wouldn't crash too many times while waiting.

  • thesolothesolo ✭✭✭✭✭

    Could not agree more, and I'm buoyed to hear you say that, VAIN.

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