Upfront, I’ll admit that I don’t like the directional scanner, or anything that gives the player information they don’t actually deserve to have. It’s a form of hand holding that abets risk avoidance.
If we’re going to have one, it might as well be one that updates itself on the regular, at a rate that is tolerable to server performance and likely linked to the time dilation system.
For realism’s sake, let’s pretend we weren’t limited by the integer return mechanism that underlies it, or rather that the client can decide what of that information it chooses to present to the user. As there are options to modify the range, aperture and hypothetically the sensitivity of the scanner, the obvious offset would be frequency of updates.
More sensitive scanning usually means more signal averaging, or more scans to cancel out false positives. The composite is then computed and shown to the user. In gaming terms, all that means is that a more sensitive scan takes longer to perform, yielding signals of decreasing intensity at farther ranges.
That system is in place for anomalies, but not for ships or other non-natural objects. It might as well be for realism’s sake. Seems like ship names should be reserved for ships in your own fleet, especially as it would serve as a rapid FoF identifier.
In terms of scope, a 180 degree scan is half as much data to compute as a 360 degree scan. I’m not sure how to compute a 90 degree arc “area,” but some crude approximation would suffice. I imagine it’s a point with a 45 degree radius around it for some sort of “unit sphere.” Diminishing returns on cycle time would be logical.
If there could be a ship stat or two which modifies directional scanning capability, it would then be a simple matter of having modules or rigs modify it, perhaps even using existing modules.
Intensity might as well be modified by both distance, source and type.
If there were some reason to really double down on the sensor game, static sensors as deployables would be a logical development, preferably something comprised a strategic objective. In the context of pragmatism, it would make sense if covert ops frigates were dual role ships as squad generalists.