Exploration in Space Empires V is performed with ships. When you start the game, often you will start with no ships. Exploration is best done early so that you know where your rivals are and have enough information to begin your expansion when ready. These means that one of your first tasks should be to design and build a ship for scouting the outer-lying systems. Once you have at least one ship, you may begin exploration.
Exploration begins by directing your ship through a Warp Point. Warp Points are indicated as blue balls of light on your system map. To do this, select your newly built ship by pressing the 'Space bar', then press 'W', then click on the Warp Point you wish to go through. Once the ship has gone through the Warp Point (this may take a few turns), a new sector will appear on your Quadrant Map and you may issue movement orders to explore the sector.
The first thing you'll notice is that your ship cannot see the entire System at first. This is because ships have a limited sight range. This means that you will have to move the ship all over the sector until it has found the Planets, Stars, and Warp Points for that sector. Once you find Planets, Stars and Warp Points, you do not have to remain near them. They will remain "memorized" for you so that you can continue to explore. Other ships, however, do not remain in memory and must be within your sight range to see them. Once you see another ship (or an occupied planet, you will have made contact with an empire and Diplomacy and Intelligence will become a factor in the game. Occupied planets are very easy to spot as they will have a flag that is not yours above them. All other planets are unoccupied and ripe for colonization.
- Sight Range is affected by the Sensors on your ship. By Researching Sensors, you may upgrade your Sensors components and increase your sight range. This can dramatically reduce the amount of movement required to fully explore a sector.
- Movement is affected by the number and type of engines on your ship. You may either upgrade your engines or place more on your ship design in order to increase your movement points.
- At the beginning of the game, it is often best to stick close to home. Doing so will insure that you have the maximum number of fastest possible options with regard to early colonization.