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

thesolothesolo ✭✭✭✭✭
edited April 2021 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.



  • 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

  • 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.

  • LightseagreenLightseagreen ✭✭✭✭

    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.

  • 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.

  • thesolothesolo ✭✭✭✭✭

    Bump for visibility. 💙

  • thesolothesolo ✭✭✭✭✭

    Can confirm that since upgrading to a new device, I no longer get crashes on scan uploads. The fact that my previous phone was only 2 years old is pretty disappointing. (Samsung S10+ to S21 Ultra)

  • ZeroHecksGivenZeroHecksGiven ✭✭✭✭✭

    My two biggest complaints at this points.

    1) Not knowing if one scan will give me scout controller or 10. If the 30 days are up and those points are no longer “valid or accurate,” then why are they showing? I get maybe maintaining the agent name as the controller, but we absolutely should know how many scans it will take to become the new controller. Basically any portal that has scans on it I straight up skip unless I’m there making fields or taking one down. Then sure, I’m already out of the car and making the walk, what’s another minute or two. Otherwise, I’ll keep driving every time. Please fix this Niantic. Scout Controller Decay will motivate your agents to scan more.

    2) Would to see Scout Controller status on the Intel map. I travel a bit for work and would love to include scanning as part of my planning. Right now, I plan for missions and uniques, scanning is still somewhat of a side quest. Don’t even need agent names, just current points need to become Scout Controller.

    We know you’re still kinda figuring things out with this, at least regarding what it might look like, in game, but let’s keep any bit of momentum you have with scanning and maybe find ways to get more agents excited about it and keep others going.

  • MJ78MJ78 ✭✭✭
    edited May 2021

    The requirements for Scout and Scout Controller are the wrong way round.

    The Scout badge should be 12,000 scans and Scout Controller, 6000 portals.

    The current requirements for onyx Scout Controller is bonkers, even with the volatile Scout Controller portals (rotating yellow square) that can occasionally be found on a portal - although I've not encountered any of those for quite a while.

    Even then, wasn't Scout Controller status on a portal supposed to reset every 30 days? This clearly isn't happening- as I still have portals scanned months ago, for which I'm still showing as Scout Controller.

    Post edited by MJ78 on
  • PangarbanPangarban ✭✭✭✭✭

    I pretty much agree with the problems raised in the first post. In particular, the upload process needs improvement and being able to tell the actual number of scans needed for SC is essential, both in the scanner and in intel. And the bugs which cause the app to close during uploads is frustrating.

    However, I would like to focus on a few positive points (and I'm the guy who started the thread Scout Controller Badge tier requirements ridiculously high):

    1. The reduction from 15000 to 12000 was a good move, and realistically probably cut the overall difficulty in half (on the assumption that gaining more SC points becomes progressively more difficult). Having actively worked on my SC badge for a couple months, I would now say that anything lower than 12000 for onyx would be too low.
    2. Volatiles are a good feature. When I go visiting a new place, it's nice to end up with more SC points than the number of scans I've made. Yes, it is annoying that nobody has taken SC away from me on nearby portals, so I'm missing out on a few points, but it is still a good thing to gain extra points when travelling. And few of us will get onyx in any uniques badge without extensive travel.
    3. Reduction in file size has made a huge difference, although it came coupled with a longer minimum scan time.
    4. It is now possible to continue playing while uploads are happening in the background. This works with both the "Upload Now" button and the "Save for Later". I don't think it would work while using other apps (I haven't tested it), but it certainly works while playing Ingress.
    5. The layers button has made a world of difference, enabling us to know at a glance which portals we have already gained SC on. Since I usually upload right away, I know within a minute if I need to scan a portal again.
    6. The increase in the number of scans per week has helped a lot, and I have not run out of scans since it was changed.

    There is certainly a lot of room for improvment, but these factors have made onyx Scout Controller achievable while still being an impressive achievement.

    One more thing has made a difference for me, but this is out of Niantic's hands. An absolute game-changer for me in regards to Scout Controller has been getting an unlimited data plan because my provider offered me a very good deal. I know this isn't possible for a lot of players, but it obviously makes a huge difference to be able to upload the scans right away. It means I know right away if I achieved Scout Controller or not (escpecially with the help of the layers button).

  • MJ78MJ78 ✭✭✭
    edited May 2021


    You may be fortunate to have an unlimited data plan, however not all players have that luxury.

    Secondly, the Scout Controller requirements ARE too high for Onyx, whether you agree, or not.

    There are not enough volatile scout controller portals to make much of a difference. Coupled with portals not resetting every 30 days, as it was originally stated would happen.

    I've seen players with onyx Scout, yet have left Scout Controller padlocked. Why? Probably as they know trying to obtain onyx Scout Controller is far too much effort and near impossible, and don't want a bronze badge on their profile for the foreseeable.

  • I second onyx SC still being too high. I've earned SC in every portal in my town and only managed to get SC on other portals in other areas because I've had to travel to those places for reasons such as hospital appointments, or helping one of my siblings move into uni.

    I don't drive, so I definitely don't have the luxury of being able to travel to different areas easily to get SC on other portals.

    I'm also facing the difficulty that the other locals that scan aren't touching the new batch of volatile portals at the time in our town, which means I'm losing out on the extra SC points there as well. So I also feel that a few more volatiles or a more regular rotation would be beneficial.

  • thesolothesolo ✭✭✭✭✭

    I agree with your post except the part about Scout Controller onyx. I personally still think it's too high, and agree with other posters who say it is inverted; Scout should be higher than Scout Controller. Just like how Explorer (easier) is a higher number than Pioneer (harder), Scout should be a higher number and Scout Controller should be lower.

  • ZeroHecksGivenZeroHecksGiven ✭✭✭✭✭

    I agree, much too high. I wonder if there would be more agents willing to get into scanning if these numbers were adjusted and other fixes implemented. Also, with a game that has much less activity and number of users, are these medal numbers in line with todays use or the "good ole days?" Is a medal worth having if less than 1% of it's agents will ever attain it (onyx specifically). Would a medal like this work more in Niantics favor if the numbers were swapped? Swapped and lowered? I assume these medals were introduced to help garner interest and motivate agents to do work for Niantic. Wouldn't it be in Niantics best interest to motivate more agents with medals they might actually achieve? I get making some medals actually require work to complete, but this is something that really isn't part of the game

    I guess the point I'm trying to make is, what the hell is Niantic thinking? They want our free help, barely make it worth our time and then make the medals so damn impossible to achieve that most people haven't even unlocked the bronze medal. My mind is so confused on the entire thing. I'd be so curious what the actual thought process behind all of this was. What is the conversation like now? Something like, "Lets continue to make this so frustrating to use that only the most obsessed agents will continue to do work for us!" Yes, that's a great plan!

  • KhatreKhatre ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited May 2021

    scanning takes times but it's been in game for less than a year and some already have achieved top tiers, so no it's not one of the 'hard' medals.

    i think less agent will ever have black connector/pioneer/explorer than black controller.

  • starwortstarwort ✭✭✭✭✭

    This may be pointing out the obvious, but the rotating yellow square now no longer appears unless you've turned the scout controller layer on.

    The not resetting scout controller thing was covered in the first comment to this thread. It's a bit odd - I think it's documented that your name will stay on the portal indefinitely until someone else scans it, but the scanner gives you no way to tell how many times you need to scan the portal to claim it off someone else (because it does decay after 30 days but the scanner doesn't tell you that). This week I've been getting notifications that I lost scout controller status on some portals that I scanned last July, which seems pointless.

Sign In or Register to comment.