A while back I wrote an article about how I think artifact detectors should work, since then I have worked on most of the conceptual basis for how each detector is constructed, and what it will be used for. Unlike the system used in Clear Sky and Call of Pripyat, detectors in Zone of Alienation will not be tiered in nature, rather each one is more like a piece of a jigsaw puzzle, you will need different types to find certain artifacts.
From the very start of the game, Sidorovich will give you one type of detector. So far I have five varieties in total, the first is free, but the rest will be rewards from special quests that I have currently written for them. Two of these detectors you will have to gather components for, and the stalkers that give you the mission to find them will build them and give them to you, although this is usually done in exchange for something. The two other ones, will be rewards for fulfilling tasks, one will be done in the new first area, the other as a reward for X-16.
Detectors themselves will cost more than weapons, usually between 1000, and 5000 RU. Except for the one built by the Scientists in Yantar, which is a very sophisticated instrument that costs around 15k.
In the starting areas it is not likely that they will spawn on NPCs, they will be quest items that open up your economic prospects, although it is possible that I may add a very small probability of finding one on a corpse.
Since the Soyuz faction are primarily composed of "diggers," they will be the main supplier of most types of artifact detectors in the Zone, which are often comprised of electronic components most often found in the garbage.
The process of finding artifacts in an anomalous area is very different than finding the anomalous area itself. Artifacts usually produce a pattern of signals at specific frequencies, which are buried in the electromagnetic noise of their parent anomalies. As a result, most anomaly detectors are extremely poor at finding artifacts, because they are not specifically calibrated to find them. Most of the detectors themselves were developed by stalkers, after incidentally finding each artifact's signal in an anomalous field while carrying electronic equipment. This equipment was then modified and paired with other equipment, the level of gain was changed, and the width of the signal band was cut down to fall into specific frequency ranges. The final product pairs the two signals picked up by the artifact's pulsating core, and is heard by the operator as an auditory beep.
Part of the history behind the spur of diggers sifting through the trash of the garbage was not just for artifacts, but for equipment better suited to find them. It led to the four common designs constructed by stalkers.
The five varieties of detectors are:
- Given at the start, works for Springboard and several other types of artifacts.
- Is constructed out of a modified AM radio and a scintillator + semiconductor detector
- Uses frequencies from the upper microwave section of radio frequencies, combined with soft X-ray signals
- Is made from a Ka band satellite reciever and a scintillator + semiconductor detector
- A highly sophisticated instrument constructed by the scientists at Lake Yantar.
- Quite costly but invaluable in finding certain artifacts.
- Built from the seeker head of a Kh-25MTP guided missile, and a hand-radio antennae.
- Part of a quest to gather components for in the Army Warehouses, and take it to Screw for assembly.
- Constructed from electrician's equipment, calibrated to find specific voltages and field patterns within an electra anomaly.
- Given as a quest reward from Dog.
Even though SoC occurs after somewhat established conventions on finding artifacts, official documentation on which artifact are found with which detectors is scarce. Most of the information you will get from stalkers regarding what to use to find some artifacts will be hearsay. Only the more experienced diggers and research collaboraters will be quite knowledgeable about artifact detection.