Flieger, grüß' mir die Sonne, grüß' mir die Sterne und grüß' mir den Mond. Dein Leben, das ist ein Schweben, durch die Ferne, die keiner bewohnt! - Hans Albers, F.P.1 antwortet nicht (Adaptation in the 80s: Extrabreit)

Monday, 15 September 2014

In where a station teaches me a lesson

Worried that I might loose my skills with Elite: Dangerous, I decided I had to log in and fly a few rounds. It is not like bicylcling. My Anaconda had logged out in the middle of nowhere in Surya. Flight controls felt stange and alien. I had to struggle to remember all my VoiceAttack commands, and this lead to an extensive flight check of about 40 Minutes until I felt comfortable again with everything, including remembering the hotkey for the galaxy map. Yes, there is none, but it took me a while until I realized/remembered this!

While sifting in vain through the bulky key-binding menu, I found out that you can activate ship lights. Never used this. I hope there will be the need for it later, e.g. when exploring, or maybe also for signaling other ships who don´t bother to read the chat in that muddled comm panel...

Hyperjump to Ross 1051. I believe I never was there. An unidentified signal close to the sun provides for a test for combat. A Cobra with wanted status attacks me on sight. I destroy it with one capacitor charge before it can boost out of my firing position. Neat! The gimbal bug is gone, all four guns do track the target again as supposed to! Oh what happyness!

And the transition to/from supercruise works faster too! Wonderful! Wait, no, scratch this, it is just fast when apparently a no-traffic zone like an US is entered. Dropping into the station´s perimeter still takes sufficient length to make you feel it´s a loading screen in disguise.

Abetti Platform is a very welcome sight. It is the standard multi-sided dice, however, with two very long protruding piers or towers along one axis. Very high/long, indeed! Which other station designs have I missed yet? It is a nice surprise and I am looking forward to seeing much more variations in future still. Also, the station lights seem to have improved, more shiny, really christmas tree like. Or is it just that I already forgot so much about the game during those little two weeks where I haven´t touched Elite: Dangerous? Well, playing intensively another game with entirely different graphics, game mechanics and controls sometimes has this effect of amnesia for the previous game.

Pleased I notice that I haven´t lost my docking piloting skill and manage to land efficiently even though it is once again one of those awkward "close to the door" landing pads. VoiceAttack is a bit unreliable tonight, but I can finally make it to put out the landing gear. Let´s see, where are the keys for navigating the station menu? Ah, mouse control. Fuel, 29%, reservoir 2%, that´s almost empty, glad I remembered to check. Cash: 4,3 million Credits. Nice, but could be cushioned up a bit more, no?

So I load tritatium, which is in high supply; a sure indicator that you can sell it somewhere for profit. The question is, where. Before I go through the hassle of eliminating every other commodity from the trading view in the galaxy map, I fire up Slopey´s Trading Tool and see that a trade run of titanium to Bolg,just two jumps with an Anaconda, will provide me a profit of 100.766 Credits. And I never was in Bolg, neither.

Enthusiastically I launch, briefly wondering if I should start practicing docking routines with flight assist off. The hyperjump target is behind the station, so I fly a tight turn along the stations walls. I almost feel at home again in the cockpit. Once the nav target is in sight I accellerate and boost. What is it with VoiceAttack? Sometimes it seems to have a bad day and sometimes it runs without any hassle. Today is the former occasion.

- a rather unusual setup, more like a, space hazard...

Finally I am on trajectory, boost, flight assist off, and I lean back and grab a coffee. Anaconda cockpits are actually bridges and they do have a coffee dispenser. This is when I hear a loud crashing noise, some screetching and my cockpit explodes in sparks. The ship is already in a violent uncontrolled tumble and before I can even think "WTF.." I am in flames and embraced by vacuum. Blackness.

In white, the insurance message asks me for a fee of 348.000 Credits. Plus 142.000 Credits worth of titanium. Dumbfounded I pay the fee, and while the loading sceen loads, and loads, and loads, I have ample time to analyse what just happened.

It was Abetti Platform´s particular design which turned to be my downfall. Totally forgotten about their existence, my ship´s path had dared to cross the station´s large extension axis. Like a giant club it came crashing down for an instant kill. I have to laugh. Elite: Dangerous teaches you to remain sharp in some disingenuous ways!

With this little lesson learned, I quit the client. It was stuck in the loading screen for about 10 minutes, anyways, and I had to kill the process via Window´s Task Manager. I studied a bit the new paints for the Viper and am very tempted to buy one. Especially the orange copperhead looks cool. However, I realize that I hesitate to switch to a Viper. Not because the Viper is not fun. Actually it is because of all that hassle it would be to buy again an Anaconda and find and equip the proper armaments. Yes, it is time that they implement the multi ship ownership feature!

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