I’ve been fairly absent from the blog lately, even with lots of stuff happening around the world and locally that I would have loved to offer my take on. But I couldn’t, I’ve been busy. Busy with work stuff and much of my spare time has been occupied by Elite Dangerous. In my last post about this open-world spaceship video game, I covered how I would outfit a small ship to transport rare goods.
Well, I got bored of that fairly quickly because the Adder was slow and the cabin view was very limited. So I went back to my trusty Asp Explorer, which does everything I would like to do. I then found myself taking up the Ram Tah ancient ruins mission.
There were bits of great fun with other players (in private groups; fuck open) trawling the ruins sites in our SRVs and discovering new site layouts. For the most part, it was ruined by developer bugs, such as random data being collected in multiplayer modes and messed up terrain for AMD cards which made data collection impossible. The lack of tools to find new ruins sites was a serious limitation which Frontier partly addressed later on.
So I stopped doing that and went to do passenger missions instead. The best ones are the sightseeing missions because they play to Elite’s best strength: eye candy. No I’m not talking about the passengers themselves, but where you get to take them. They want to see all kinds of beautiful planets, or features on the planetary surface. You go to a few sites, then drop the passenger off where you picked them up and get a few million credits. If you ever go to an geyser field, try driving your SRV over one and see what happens!
There are also long range passenger missions which take you across the galaxy to an unusual system. I was foolish enough to accept one of these. My target was ~13,000 LY away from my home system of Valta*. A round trip of ~25 kLY with a jump range of ~45 LY equates to ~550 jumps, each with a frame shift drive (FSD) charge-up, time in hyperspace and refueling around stars. This gets boring pretty quickly.
While travelling, you can collect exploration data from uncharted systems and sell it on to a station when you return. Some features such as stars, terraformable planets, water worlds, ammonia worlds, and earth-like worlds are rather valuable and have high payouts. Plus there’s the ego-stroking aspect of getting your gamer tag added to show that you were the first to discover it!
I found that playing things on in the backround helps boredom from setting in. I still haven’t found any podcasts that I can listen to on a regular basis. Instead, I had some recordings that I needed to listen to as part of work, so why not listen and play at the same time?
Once I had gone through the recordings, I resorted to albums by the Electric Light Orchestra (ELO), my favourite band of all time. Listening to the full albums was an enjoyable experience. There were many tracks that I hadn’t heard before and would have otherwise skipped since the introductions weren’t as alluring as their more popular songs. It’s also an appropriate choice given that ELO has always had a bit of a sci-fi feel to their songs; after all their logo was turned into a flying saucer on some of the album covers!
Now for the holiday snaps:
Three A class stars in close formation. It can be a bit of a shock to jump into these systems since there is a heightened risk of overheating.
My first discovered Earth-like world! PRU ASECS JB-F D11-154 6.
The night sky looks different as you get closer to the core. These are mostly B Class stars which have high magnitudes, making them more visible from this distance compared to lower star classes.
My second Earth-like world! FLYIEDGIAE GC-K C25-18 A 6.
Now this was neat, a pair of binary water worlds closely orbiting around each other. My notes indicate that they were GRIA DRYE SU-A B6-10 1 and GRIA DRYE SU-A B6-10 2.
There’s a lot in this shot. On the right, there is a terraformable planet (more credits for my commander). I’m in its planetary ring. Through the ring particles, you can see the Y-class star with its own ring that this planet orbits. They orbit around the A-class star which is the bright dot in the bottom left of the image.
My third Earth-like world! AUCOPP II-M C10-1 A 5.
I wasn’t the first to discover this system, but it’s still cool. The gas-giant is only 30 Ls away from the star, which is really close. It makes for a unique image.
Here you can see my bookmarks for the journey into the Milky Way. It illustrates the scale of Elite Dangerous. Just as well players are given a month to complete long range passenger missions. I’m glad that I’m now parked up in Conway Dock**, as Valta became embroiled in a civil war while I was away. Since I’m allied to both warring factions and I’m not very good at combat, I’ll sit it out.
The long range passenger missions are a bit much, but definitely give shorter ones a go. It only requires a couple of hundred LY of travel and it’s a great chance to see the most interesting planets and landscapes in the galaxy.