major_clanger: Clangers (Royal Mail stamp) (Default)
I haven't posted much about Elite:Dangerous lately. I continue to play it on and off, and have now traded in my Cobra Mk.3 for a Vulture, less an all-purpose craft and more one fit for bounty-hunting. My game play has been very much of the form of unwinding by blasting pirates to smithereens and spending the resulting bounty payments on upgrades, to the point that I still only have a few million credits in the bank but now have a ship that can single-handedly take out a Python.

Anyway, yesterday I was having a play and I found myself with a passenger. I don't recall Luke Skywalker or Starbuck having this problem; maybe Mira thought she was Nimitz from the Honor Harrington books.

CatElite - 2.jpg

I think I have a case of Back Seat Space Pilot Cat:

CatElite - 1a.jpg
major_clanger: Clangers (Royal Mail stamp) (Default)
My first thoughts on Elite: Dangerous: I liked it, although there was clearly a bit of a learning curve. And indeed, a steady trading grind to get more money.

I've now been playing on and off for a couple more weeks. I took the helpful hint and have been playing mainly in solo mode, which means you only meet NPCs rather than trigger-happy loons, and I also took myself well away from the core area of starting systems. By the time I was a hundred light-years out, the visiting ships stats for stations I was docking at - even back in multi-player mode - showed that very often there was only ship passing through in the last 24 hours, i.e. me!

Wanting to Make Money Fast(er), I traded in my Sidewinder (fast but small) for a Hauler. This really is Frontier's idea of a Space Transit Van. It even sounds like a Transit with a dodgy transmission, especially decelerating from frameshift drive. It handles like a pig and is armed with a popgun, but, with a minor upgrade, holds 16 tons of freight - four times the cargo of the Sidewinder. Once I'd found an adjacent pair of systems where I could reliably trade gold at a profit of 1,000 credits per ton (and consumer goods at 200 credits per ton profit the other way) I could hop back and forth making tens of thousands of credits per hour. Even better, I was offered some very profitable missions; somebody was awfully keen to pay a lot of money for lithium, which didn't take too much tracking down.

Finally, my net worth exceeded half a million credits, so I went ship-shopping again.

Cobra Mk 3, you are mine!

This was the ship you had in the original Elite, and it was a further shot of nostalgia to see a Cobra Mk 3 in 3D rotation during the loading screen, albeit much more nicely rendered than the crude polyhedral model from the 1985 version. Much faster than my Space Transit, respectably-armed even in the basic version, and with 18 tons of cargo capacity by default.

Emboldened, I tried some of this bounty-hunting that you can supplement trading income with. I headed off to the nav beacon in my local star system, and sure enough there were several 'unidentified signal sources' on scan. Heading to one of them and dropping out of frameshift, I found a Sidewinder pootling around; a further scan marked it as 'wanted'. Tally ho! A rather one-sided fight ensued, and as my target exploded I was notified of a 1,700-credit bounty.

Hmm, this is easier than I thought. I find another such USS, and this one turns out to be a Hauler. Ha, having flown the Space Transit, I can see this one - another 'wanted' - will be easy.

Perhaps I should have wondered why a pirate would be flying a truck.

I was within moments of finishing off my target when another ship appeared, hailed my target, and offered to help. I'm not sure exactly what it was because one shot knocked my shields out and took my ship health from 100% down to 78%. I was not hanging around; hit afterburn, frantically pick a distant station in the same system as jump target, and engage frameshift. I limped in to dock, went to repairs, and looked at the bill for getting the dents buffed out of my shiny new Cobra Mk 3.

1,700 credits. There is probably a moral in that.
major_clanger: Clangers (Royal Mail stamp) (Default)
At 16 there was no question whatsoever of my favourite computer game: Elite, on our BBC micro. It's hard to overstate how incredible it was at the time, with 3D graphics, seemingly vast expanses of the galaxy to explore (cunningly produced via procedural generation to let the game fit in 32K memory) and a trading system to fund your progressive levelling-up of your ship. It was incredibly addictive, although - fortunately for my university plans - I didn't neglect my homework enough to get the titular highest ranking in the game.
Revisiting a new version of a classic )

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major_clanger: Clangers (Royal Mail stamp) (Default)
Simon Bradshaw

June 2017

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