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Elite: Viper Mk III, it shall be mine

PostPosted: 09 Dec 2014 01:40
by Thunderfoot
Gonna be an interesting 2nd half to the month even before the festivities, space ships and barbarians to play with!

No idea how my time will be split between saving up for a Viper Mk III and taking fump out for a spin with the new barbarian changes due in U24.

So, obviously I'll be bumping into some of you horrors in stormreach.

Question is who will be taking to the skies on the 16th?

I'll be dropping my commander name in here when i get to bag one, not part of the beta so i dont get to reserve a name.

I've been messing with the combat tutorial, got myself a shiny new joystick for a reasonable price and a homemade head tracking gadget should be on it's way some time in the new year.

after much deliberation i went for the http://www.thrustmaster.com/products/tflight-hotas-x

sure i can think of many more buttons i want to bind, but the price of a full on HOTAS type stick is a little hard to justify at the moment. seems with elites built in ability to create shift function buttons i'll be able to get plenty of functionality off the keyboard and onto my finger tips.

after watching far too many vids of people dogfighting in elite (some with flight assist off the whole time!) it seemed clear to me that i need to update my game and actually start looking about in combat (i typically use the hat switch for ship management not looking about). the rift of course would be the tool of choice, just as one of those £150+ HOTAS sticks would be, but i'm not in that market. trackir is also way out of my range, but there is a good looking open source project that's spawned from the elite forums that's grabbed my attention and my pre-order (they prefer it if you pay when it's built)

http://edtracker.org.uk/ started out as a DIY solution based on a few very cheap components. some software was cobbled together and a circuit diagram created for users to follow. naturally there was a lot of interest from people who didn't fancy creating a giant blob of smoking solder so a team gathered to try making a simple product for us simple folk. if any of you are a dab hand with a soldering iron then they still provide all the necessary information for free. they also offer a custom made PCB to solder the chips to, helps keep the footprint down and is less cumbersome to have on your head than a breadboard is.

after a bit of deliberation (they have 2 different sensors to chose from!) i put myself down for a basic sensor all prebuilt in a box with a cable. came to about £35 with signed for postage, a real bargain compared to the £180+ trackIR! from what i can see the basic sensor works just fine, but will probably need to be centered every 30 mins to 1 hr. the more expensive sensor should never need to be centered, but it's also a little laggier. no idea how noticeable the lag between movement and reaction is, but i figured if the basic one was fast and functional i might as well stick with that.

there also seems to be a webcam based solution that i'll mess about with later, http://facetracknoir.sourceforge.net/home/default.htm

no idea what that's like but seems to be worth a go while the EDTracker guys get busy with RL xmas stuff and a backlog of orders for their fellow pilots.

i'm looking forward to exploring elite properly, not sure if i'll do my normal trade till my eyes bleed then buy a big ship routine or if i'll take a cheaper ship out for some fun and drag in the cash the long way. seeing as we can have more than 1 ship now i might be able to get a hauler and a fighter if the hanger rental fees aren't too prohibitive, that would be quite the liberating feeling being able to swap between ship types based on my mood!

i'm a bit apprehensive about how the imperial courier will look, the concept art didn't float my boat, it was my fav looking ship in frontier and first encounters. a fan did a knockup that just looked perfect, but i'm guessing after all the man hours that goes into creating a detailed 3d model the concept pics will be the end look (it was a detailed model, not just a sketch).

not too impressed with the viper either, it's lost some of it's sleek curves, but it looks to handle just the way i want to fly.

anyway, i'm sure some of you are also waiting to take to the skies, so what are you looking forward to and what sort of setup are you aiming for?

Re: Elite: Viper Mk III, it shall be mine

PostPosted: 16 Dec 2014 14:56
by Thunderfoot
it lives!!!

looking forward to making my first credits tonight, but i've gone and bagged my name just in case

i'll be cruising the stars as ReaperAlex.

fly fun :)

Re: Elite: Viper Mk III, it shall be mine

PostPosted: 17 Dec 2014 21:12
by Guranta
have fun flyboy....(i'll stick to mother earth for now)

Re: Elite: Viper Mk III, it shall be mine

PostPosted: 06 Jan 2015 16:04
by Thunderfoot
Tales from the Frontier (well, ok, from the well established and populated Milky Way)

From rags to riches to something more familiar

So, there I was in my brand new ship with a grand to my name curtsey of some mysterious benefactor planning my route to riches. I hit up the bulletin board and found a few easy missions, standard stuff, haul this from point A to point B. Suited me just fine so off I went. After a while of following where the work took me I'd got comfortable behind the controls of my new ship and had built up a nice profit, 14K to my name now!

I decided it was time to start making my money work for me. Pulling up the galaxy map showed plenty of trade routes with goods being imported and exported all over the place. I settled on running some metals, fairly high value, promised a good return and i could fill my cargo bay completely for my 14K.

On my approach to the docking port of the station I realised I was coming in a little too fast and wasn't quite lined up yet. I slammed my throttle to reverse and tried to aim for the slot with my ship doing it's best to push my ship in the new direction. It was all too little too late and I slammed into that station at a great speed, my shields failed on impact and the last thing I heard before I blacked out was the computer saying "ejecting ejecting ejecting".

Thank the gods for these new escape pods, fully automated and very reliable. I awoke back in station with my insurance broker offering me the keys to a new ship. I asked about my cargo, he gave me a disgusted look and signed off the new 1K that came as part of my fully comprehensive package.

Great, from 14K down to 1K again. Ho hum, back on the treadmill. I followed the work again and built up my funds. I decided a new Frame Shift Drive was in order to help me get about the galaxy faster and open up further reaching stars. Worked a charm and my fuel bill went down too as I wasn't stressing my FSD to make the distance.

I built myself up to a very respectable 32K and with more hours behind the controls I felt it was time to trust my cargo bay to hold some valuables again. This time I could afford to fill up on some precious metals, bit of gold and a bit of silver. After plotting my route I very gingerly eased my ship into dock, then found out to my horror that while this station used to import metals they now had an abundance and we're actually trying to export the stuff!

Great, I now had 32K's worth of expensive weight and no-one to sell it to. I visited a few more systems that had been importing metals, same story. I then set course for some systems that didn't import or export metals just on the off chance they fancied some today.

I was approaching the docking slot on another station, one of those fancy ones with the habitable ring full of lush green vegetation, I nipped inside the ring paying close attention to the spokes, took a quick look about then my focus drifted back to the chatter on comms. Big mistake, with my lack of attention I'd not noticed that my ship was drifting towards the spinning ring. Sure avoiding the spokes is the main danger, but flying into a spinning ring is also dangerous.

Smarmy insurance man time again, only this time he has a new offer on the table. I can, if i wish, get into debt to get that expensive FSB back. It means he will take a cut of any profits I make, but he is offering a loan for just 10% of the FSD's value, so it's an offer I can't refuse.

So there I am, one grand to my name and a debt over my head. Still, at least my ship has that new smell...

Re: Elite: Viper Mk III, it shall be mine

PostPosted: 06 Jan 2015 16:23
by Thunderfoot
Tales from the Frontier (well, ok, from the well established and populated Milky Way)

These ships come equipped with guns, right?

So I'm a little irate at my foolishness and my predicament and I'm not in the mood to be civil and haul goods about. I've already had a few pirates try to intercept me and I understand the authorities pay well for any that are brought to justice. Not dragged in in handcuffs, that is far too time consuming. Blown out of the sky is the way society likes to deal with pirates.

So I decide it's time to see what these pulse lasers can do. I head out of station and spool up the FSD for some low speed cruising. While the FSD is great for getting from system to system it's also very handy for cruising about in system. In my travels my scanners have picked up a fair few unidentified signal sources. I figure these could be pirate hideouts so I cruise about hoping to find one.

Sure enough one pops up on the HUD, I target it and use the guidance indicators to get into safe dropout distance. Once back in normal space I look about, my scanner is full of contact! Holy crap, I was hoping for a pirate hangout, but not their annual meeting! I spin my ship round to get a lock on one, big ass ship, looks like a monster with a lot of escorts all my size. By now I'm getting worried, then my ship completes the scan, It's a funeral barge with a procession behind it. Panic over, but there is no profit to be had here so I spool up the FSD and get back into supercruise.

A few USS's later I finally find something of interest (besides abandoned goods that could get me into trouble for stealing). I've got a Sidewinder locked, same ship as I have, but this guy has no shields. He's bust scanning me and muttering on comms about if my ship has anything nice inside, so it's no surprise when my ship confirms he's wanted. No time for pleasantries this guy is worth money to me so I open up. We get into a furball but I've practised this in the simulators, as we get stuck in a pitch war I give my vertical thrusters some extra juice that helps me tighten my corner that little bit to bring him into my sights. My ship is performing very well, my pulse lasers, not so much. No sooner have I got the pirate zeroed and opened up my lasers are going offline due to excessive heat. Fine, I route power out of my shields and engines and into my guns. That helps a bit but my ship just cannot sustain those guns, and they are not exactly shredding my target. I make my kill however and get out alive.

A few more marks later and I'm back in station cashing in my vouchers for their bounties. Those guns are going though, I've had enough of them. I part exchange them for some multi-cannons. Sure it will cost to have them reloaded, and I can in theory run out of ammo, but I figure 2 thousand shots is enough to last and they kick out a lot less heat.

Yup, those new guns work a treat. Sometimes they reload at a bad time but for the rest of it my ship is coping with them leaving power free for other things. I also get a new power distribution system, these things are magical. While my power plant has more than enough grunt to power my ship, it's the distribution unit that my guns, shields and engines lean on to do their work. I can reroute power between those 3 as I see fit, very handy mid-fight to be able to shunt power back and forth. A new upgrade however promised to give me more juice for all 3 systems! So my shields get stronger, my engines get faster and my guns can fire for longer, best upgrade I could hope for!

It finally feels like I'm getting somewhere in the harshness of space.

Re: Elite: Viper Mk III, it shall be mine

PostPosted: 05 Apr 2015 01:19
by Annastesia
Still on Elite?
I'm seriously thinking on it. I loved the original one (I had a Spectrum) back in the 80s!

Re: Elite: Viper Mk III, it shall be mine

PostPosted: 06 Apr 2015 18:48
by Thunderfoot
There is a lot of the feel from the originals, which is both good and bad. The downside is the bullitin board generated content is a bit bland by todays standards, though there are plans to give the missions a proper pass later on. If that sort of auto-generated content doesn't put you off (never was a problem for me in the original) then you'll probably find a good game in ED.

The flight mechanics are more engaging, hitting the sweet spot on speed for the best cornering. Having all 6 degrees of freedom is great too (vertical thrusters are a real boon in combat). Having to reroute power between systems to match the flow of combat. I also like how all the ships feel different to fly.

Exploration is quite something if that's of interest. Not done any myself yet but I've read a few tales and it sounds like they really hit the nail on the head with how they implemented it.

Trading is more complex than before as trade routes change, especially ones that are heavily farmed by other players. There is also the rare trading which is a good alternative, and very lucrative before you can afford one of the larger trade ships. No conflict over demand there but the main hub for rare trades is Lave, and in Open it's full of player pirates so you need your wits about you.

Mining is functional, but quite basic at the moment.

Combat has had a nice boost with a buff to the earnings to make it more attractive compared to trading. Still earns a little less, but it's more fun so I've stopped running rares and spent my time blowing NPC pirates away. There are also combat zones where civil wars pop up (station and even system ownership can change between the NPC factions). Those make for great space battles with all the ships buzzing about shooting each other.

We can't land on planets yet, that is in the pipeline though. The last main update was some proper support for playing with friends and came with 2 new ships (still waiting on my imperial courier).

It is still a very harsh game, maybe even more so with the lack of a save game. Still loss is quite manageable if you remember to keep some cash liquid for the inevitable insurance claims. Adds a good dynamic in where you're itching to get that new ships, but even though you can afford it you know if you don't earn a bit more you could risk losing it completely should you crash without enough credits to cover the insurance payout.

Docking will get you killed at some point :). Normally once you get the hang of it, get a little cocky and try to do it too fast...