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)

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Again Kerbal Space Program

Just a short update what I am at right now. Elite is canned again for the time being. The Occulus Rift still not out, and I am still not sure where Elite is headed after that bare-bones release. Just grinding missions and money for different ship skins does not cut it for me, and the sheer beauty of all those red, white, blue, yellow, orange stars are just not enough to keep me entertained for hours and hours. Compared to Kerbal Space Program, the variations in your ship´s setup are virtually non existant. Combat or Trader, and not much difference for an exploration setup.

Well, yes, Kerbal Space Program on the other hand... just have a look at this thread, for example.

The mix of building, trying out and, eventually, succeeding against all odds of physical laws, those challenges do have a certain addictive gravity. Also proving that a truly true sandbox game can very well work with a quest-like mission campaign as a focus.

And, it is flying in space, with landing on planets! Landing on the Mun is such a satisfaction, as is a successful landing on Kerbal after a mission. It turns out that designing and flying a "spaceplane" or a rocket which does not jettison any parts from launch until landing (SSTO - single stage to orbit), seems to be the hardest challenge.

Needless to say, steering a spacecraft in Elite: Dangerous is for four year old kids, in comparision.

My short list of achievements so far:

- Can handle satellite deployment like a pro. Figured out a setup which is cheap as dirt (7,000 Credits only, versus a profit of about 20,000 to 50,000 Credits or even more): A 3-ton satelite with a light Rockomax 48-7S engine on an entirely small-booster launcher (stage S1: 3 RT-10 Solid Fuel Boosters, the center one fires as S2, S3: 1 booster), which easily achieves an initial apoapsis of 100,000 km and thus plenty of time for the small satellite engine to raise periapsis into >70km orbit and plenty of fuel left to achieve wide-ranged orbits around the planet or one of the two moons.

- my satellite rocket launcher

- Did a one-stage low-tech Mun landing with a setup similar to in this video. Needed four tries, every piloting mistake leeches off the scarce fuel and thus left my pilots stranded in space; even managed to catapult one of them on a one way trip into solar orbit. Ouch.

- "Moonwalker", with jet engines in the mix

- Brought a spacestation into orbit; wondering now what use it could be, except for having fullfilled a mission, the game does not have any game mechanics connected to it. Maybe as a refueling point for later launches?

- Learned how to rendez-vous and dock. Let´s say its just so much more faster to just launch and go where you want to go instead of this tedious process of matching orbital speed and heading in newtonian space, with just those good old fashioned liquid fuel engines and limited fuel.

- Constructed a spaceplane and finally managed to fly one into orbit. However, atmospheric flight physics is a bitch, even with the game´s simplified model!

Spurred by my success to actually being able to construct - and also properly pilot - a space plane as an SSTO (which took quite some time to figure out), my strategy plan is to use those for efficiency´s sake to handle ground-to-orbit business, such as refueling the space station and to send and assemble vertiable spacecrafts in orbit and supply and refuel them there via the space station for various missions in the solar system.

Currently I have one space craft (I call it affectionately "Warthog") ready for leaving orbit for Mun (I have stacked a number of survey missions both on the surface and in flight there). Launching it into orbit used up most fuel and I am in the process of refueling it via an SSTO plane.

While the mentioned smaller 18-ton spaceplane already had managed to transfer a proud number about 400 units of fuel, my space craft has room for 1440 units. I probably would not need a full tank just to reach Mun, but I am nevertheless going to need it for landing either the spacecraft itself or/and in parallell fuel a small lander spacecraft for multiple landings and flights. And did I mention already that docking in orbit can be quite a hazzle?

So, in order to cut down the required number of preparatory orbital rendez-vous, a bigger space plane is in order. However, its construction incurs some problems. I use a similar layout as for the 18-ton heavy version, just that it now is 30 tons heavy. Something is wrong, though. While I already expected that take-off would be a bit difficult due to all that fuel in its hold (960 Units reserved for fuel transfer), the real problem starts at greater height when it picks up supersonic speed levels (from about 500 m/s onwards). The plane just flips over and tumbles down without any chance to regain control. Trying to keep the angle of attack very low screws my apoapsis at some point (engine thrust is too weak to keep the plane on an ascending course), and I am not sure if that helps, anyways, so I am not the wiser just by exercising piloting by my guts.

Now, I researched a lot in videos on fora on the possible issues behind it. The most common one, the center of mass being behind the center of lift, seems not the culprit here. I have the center of mass placed a good chunk forwards, to a level that even take-off gets to be an art in itself. It is also pointed out that using up fuel causes shifts of the center of mass; I covered that by checking the distribution with full and empty fuel tanks and all stadia in between and balanced it out that there is not much shift in the center of mass.

There are two more factors which could be a cause: The center of thrust could be too far below the center of mass, thus pushing the plane up once the ram jet engines´ thrust increases at greater heights (not sure though, thrust should decrease due to less scoopable air, just speed increases due to less drag due to thinner air). Or the center of lift is still too much in the middle of the plane axis; this is good for low altitude controlability, but could be bad at upper atmosphere, supersonic flight levels (not sure though, a forwards center of mass should sompensate and thus not be influenced by speed).

It is just weird that my smaller plane seemingly did not have that flipping issue. But, well. plus ten tons is plus ten tons and basically makes for a totally different plane, right?

Once I have solved this problem, I am going to be happy to have this plane as a drone-fueling spaceplane and a similar-weight-design model as a passenger liner for orbital supply ferrys, and can finally focus on the space travel itself. My current Warthog-class spaceship in orbit is very rudimentary. It consits of an Apollo-style 3-man cockpit, a crew quarter and a science quarter and a Rockomax "poodle" engine with the said 1440-unit Rockomax X200-32 Fuel Tank. Landing struts, docking port, solar panels, RCS steering jets. I designed it this way so that my passengers do have some room for comfort, and it also can count as a space station for some of those missions (space stations have and seem to be only defined by a high crew requirement).

My ultimate plan is to launch light weight modular elements, which I can assemble in space via docking clamps according to what kind of spacecraft I am going to need, thereby re-using what I already have instead spending my finances for building and launching everything anew. Higher tech levels offer nuclear powered or ion engines, for example, which are well suited for interplanetary travels. A host of different landers and land rovers can be constructed for each planet with their different gravity and atmospheres.

Looking forward to it; this game has quite some stuff to ponder about. A kind of Lego in space, for adults. Jay! It would be cool if the game would evolve over the years with some "science-fiction mods", so that at some point, we arrive at an Elite-like game environment? Well, I can dream, can I?

Monday, 16 March 2015

Dipping into Patch 1.2

So, my excursion through Kerbal, the new Sid Meier´s Starships and some refreshment of his Beyond Earth are done. The advertised connection between the latter two games is neigh inexistant. A story logic neither. But those games are ok if you want to do some tactical game.

Elite: Dangerous greets me with the installation of a new launcher. The latest update is out, "Wings". And, the game insists again that I play it in German; no, thanks. Of course I am very curious about all new features... wow, the starting screen looks better and better, for once!

The funny moment is always when I have to get to get used again to the specific way the mouse reacts to input for each different game.

 - ah I had almost forgotten the nice view

Arriving in Wregoe IL-P C2 1, I swoop down to scoop some fuel. Ooops, that could have easily gone wrong. The heat mechanic has changed, and I realize it it time when I wonder why the heat does not mount as quickly to 100% as it used to. 100% is bad, under the new game mechanic, already melting my ship modules. I get out of the star´s atmosphere just in time at around 90%.

Nice is also that my head look is not whisked straight forward anymore when the hyperjump countdown starts. And when I look around in the cockpit, my view does not clip throught the seat anymore.

The system I am arriving in has some beautiful blood red double stars; that´s when I remember that Frontier also now allows an external camera for beautiful screenshots. Surprises, nice surprises only, you can also assign a hotkey for the system map, amd also one which re-targets the next system for hyperjump after I scanned something in the system! I am a happy explorer now!

 - very moody


It takes some time to assign all keys and it sure still will do so until I feel really comfortable with all those new keys. I need more than ten fingers to play this tune. I happily cruise owards, which takes a while since I just have to play around a lot with the external camera view. 

- yesss, great tool

While I jump and scan, for some systems, I seem to follow the tracks of CMDR Izza. In order to not do so, I have to deviate a bit from my course here. There are plenty of stars for everybody!

And such passes by an uneventful, with some new buttons to play with, game session.

Monday, 9 March 2015

Joined the Kerbal Space Program

Yes, it´s the fault of Elite: Dangerous that I found out about this game called "Kerbal Space Program"; it was mentioned in an online article alongside. I had already read about it before, but hadn´t been convinced by its early access programme, the impression of a very inaccessible UI without any game goal to achieve turned me away. This has changed. Open Beta now offers a career mode, where your task is to accumulate money, technical expertise ("science") and reputation in order to start and grow a veritable space programme for your species, the Kerbals. The latter provide for comedy relief, they seem to be offspring or grand-grand-evolution of the Lemmings of the old days. They would just go ahead and do whatever required. In other words, perfect test pilots.

I got sucked in right from the start. You have to build your rocket, later also air/space plane if you want to, and fulfil missions in order to get the mentioned game representations. The fascinating thing is that it is very accurately representing real physics. It took me two days (literally) in order to figure out the higher art of entering and maintaining earth orbit. Apoapsis and Periapsis, prograde are terms from space flight science which I never had heard of before. Well, this knowledge is vital for this game. Moreso, outfitting rocket is a delicate game of balancing thrust to weight ratios, take into account some rudimentary lift and drag (air resistance) simulation, the economic costs and the Kerbal lifes (plural). Fortunately, the beta version has a "reverse flight" button, so I could undo my countless attempts to get that heavy load up higher than 10 km...

- one of my first tries to mix rocket engines with jet engines for reaching nav points for missions on Kerbal

It is a sandbox for your creativity, remining me of my old days when I constructed real rockets from a mix of fireworks and Lego components (yes, I made it work, but I never found them again after launch...). Of course, just playing the rules is not enough for me, as with Elite, there are my own added goals to fulfil. My generation has received key terms like recycling and sustainability with the mother´s milk already, as we say in Germany, it is of course hardly acceptable to use throw-away stages, expensive ones at that. As a result, my rockets have to pull along a lot of dead weight. Combinations with air/space planes are not available yet for me. Kerbals evolved their tech with rockets first and not with planes, it seems.

The Kerbal Space Program has an abundance of positive reviews, mostly from early-access nerds, but that´s fine by me. Why does this game fascinate me? Because it covers some aspects which I would passionately like to see but are not covered by Elite: Dangerous yet. It is even closer to real world paradigms, you can build your own realistic spacecraft and you can actually land on planets.

Add to that a 100% newtonian flight model and realistic physics with drag and gravitation mechanics, and you have your challenge set up. On top of having to figure out the games mystical UI; the tutorial on travelling to the moon ("Mün") stops the moment when it comes to actually land on it with the lander module (quote tutorial: "Have fun trying it, mission control, over and out!"). Let´s just say, the infamous "splash" at an Orbis´ station walls from the old Elite gets a whole new dimension here! That´s where the Kerbals´ genetic qualities from the Lemmings comes into play. Fortunately the game´s player fanbase got most aspects covered with a wiki portal and numerous tutorial videos (some of them also from an avid Elite-fan).

This game is for sure an incredible learning experience. After all, the goal of virtual realities is to have a learning environment. One of the more known computer game celebrities, Sid Meier, only recently stressed that every good game includes a little bit of learning grounds. If just more so called adult humans would understand this. It is part of our basic motivation to actually play games; we want to learn. This is also again my point driven home that we should actually re-label computer games into virtual reality applications (might want to find a snappier term, though).

The Kerbal Space Program it is easy enough on you to get started with, and soon I found myself immersed in rocket construction and testing. There are also a lot of sub-orbital missions, which require extra finesse to time and steer your rocket into certain ascend and speed levels, at best cost efficiency, if possible on first try, of course...

It is still a beta version, I realized when a mission had me land on earth/Kerbal itself for a simulated EVA mission. Problem is, landing at 1g gravitation in a thick atmosphere on a spot which is unmarked and only rudimentary pointers as to where exactly this spot is supposed to be, proved indeed to be the toughest challenge so far, some gradients above the challenge of "just" getting that damn rocket into a stable orbit. And after four hours, when I finally succeeded with one controlled touch-down close enough to a target area, I was crazy enough to take two more of those well-payed missions later on. The result was some hair tearing, lots of deceased Kerbal pilots, a passed weekend, and some dawning but crude understanding about how tough being a pilot can be, and how scary it can be out there in space, where you are in essential just falling and falling permanently, and that rocket science is indeed rocket science!

The most notable result and my current pride is my "Space Ship One". It is a hybrid consisting of three turbo jet engines, a centered liquid-fuel engine and one staged cheap and small solid fuel rocket engine. This setup is able to get the spacecraft into sub-orbit of up to 100 km (sub-orbit in Kerbal starts already at 70km), but also fly through the atmosphere for an extended time, and land vertically and actually allow the pilot to get out (space-proof ladders are a high tech item which took some research to make available, right next to wheels...). An upgrade with three more small booster rockets provides for enough punch for achieving a stable orbit, thereby reducing throwaway components to an absolute minimum.

My other accomplishment was to build an airplane, get it launched and also land it safely, on my first try (although that one has remained the only one since...).

 - common occurence in Kerbal Space Program

And such hath passed the weekend, and will do some more days to come, I get the feeling! I don´t mind; Elite: Dangerous is still on my low apoapsis until the Oculus Rift is finally out and anti-prograde until a "landing on planets" expansion. It is just a pity that my day has only 24 hours and there are only 7 per week and that an efficient life includes mundane stuff like a job, socialising and sports (and a need for food and so on...), else I would love to also maintain my daily travels through Elite´s beautiful galaxy! But Elite: Dangerous is not the only shunned bride; wife and kid are away, and I have also skipped tackling the weekend challenge from Dragon Age Inquisition Multiplayer.

Thursday, 5 March 2015

Having climbed the stair of stars

This thread has another report of a longer exploration and some hints where valuable systems are.

From another thread I take it that HIP 63835 is a black hole, so I can finally look up one and see how it is supposed to look in the galaxy map. Ok, an appearance of a kind of blueish giant star, good to know.

This game session goes slow and serene, while I spend my time also chatting, reading, watching some videos. I do some long jumps through a bundle of red stars with only ice planets around (I can tell from the way they look in the system map), until I find a cluster of stars with some more interesting planets about. No earth likes, though, but I scan everything down anyways, since they are still undiscovered. Now and then, I spot another water world, sometimes also a metal rich world with an atmosphere which can be terraformed.

At one point, I enter a system which has a brown dwarf as the last "planet" of the system; it has a ring which does not identify by a surface scan, so I get close to see whether it is ephemeral.

It is not, and my ship computer initiates an emergency drop, which costs me 1% of my hull structure. However, the scenery my ship falls into is simply gorgeous. The twilight purple shine intermingles with that immense a vast dusty asteroid belt, which probably should be more kind of a protoplanetary disk, and the light of the milky way permeates this gloom with a golden shine. It sure looks like something proto...

I now really regret that the external camera is not ready before next week. Of course I could fly in the separate beta 1.2 client, but then my exploration would not count on my character name, which is part of "the game" for me. Nono, I am now "at home" in this game, no more beta for me! But this scenery, this was really worth coming here, best moment for this game session!

There are other sights which capture me, and so it goes on and on. This session will consist more of pictures than text, I suspect.

All the while, I was headed again upwards, but now I have landed in another dead end; the next star up there is 40 ly out. There might be other routes, though. I am 1,114 ly away from Yakabugai, the system I had spent most of my time in civilised space, and I have climbed my own stair of stars up to this point. I think I am content about this spontaneous venture. Now, what to do next?

I understand now that travelling to the farthest outer shores require the longest range jump drive I can get. I should rather use my Cobra for a shorter range trip and do some sightseeing. For example, the Horse Head Nebula (about 1400 ly from my current position). A bit farther away still is the Soul Nebula and right next to it the Heart Nebula; about 8,000 ly from here. Whew... I still do not get how big all of this here is.

I spend a very long time just floating through the galaxy map, trying to get a better read on its data and a sence of location. At some point, zooming backwards from Barnard´s Loop, I spot a system with two black holes in it; HIP 11792. A system on the path over there, HD 16440, has a strange denomination called "AEBE5 VI". I think it is a worthy venture to travel the 1,775 ly over there. I probably arrive in time for the new patch next week, to have an external camera for some awesome screenshots.

I get a bit despaired for a moment when I cannot find again my target system; the galaxy map shows different stars, even though I type the same name each time. So I better note down also a neighbouring system, just in case; Wredguia AE-T C3-2. Now the difficult taks is to plot a good course, since the pathfinder resets everytime when I start a surface scan. Very, very annoying. I choose Wredguia KG-O D6-17 as a 978 ly away half-way nav point and start ploughing my way through the stars. This might take a while.

As I plot the course and follow it back to my current location, another star system with a black hole comes into view, HIP 46659! How convenient, so I do not need to travel that far, after all! The first jumps I have to backtrack through my already explored systems, how annoying. Climbing down the stairs of stars. Time for a new soundtrack, Divine Divinity, very well suited for exploring. It was a fantastically moody game in that regards.

So time passes again, I have my course and heading, and if all goes well, those systems on my way are going to be bearing my name as the first discoverer. Logging out.

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Getting darker

Wregoe UL-C D13-16. Scans here are still unfinished and I slowly pick my way through the system, while I alt-tab to my web browser and sift through the first reports about impressions from players of the beta version of the 1.2 patch. I finally see the form of the Vulture, a nice little fighter, it seems. If everything goes according to plan, it should be life next week, along with the external camera and the "wings" feature. With it, up to four explorers could share data if working in the same system. I guess anything more would disadvantage the solo player a tad bit too much.

Concerning my unsuccessful tussle with that elite Anaconda some sessions back, I found a very helpful thread in the ED forums. I will for sure follow up on this, but in the meanwhile, I still haven´t satisfied my desire to play explorer. I would want to go out at least by 1000 ly, scan as much systems as possible, and my faint hope is also to find something rare and exotic, not only an earthlike planet, but, say, a neutron star, a black hole, or something I did not hear of yet.

In the meanwhile, two potential winners of the triple-elite contest have emerged. CMDR Onepercent answered some questions and told the community that he needed about 65 days, 12 hours each day. Wow. I knew I would not stand a chance to win this one.

Snap out of revery, interdiction, a Sidewinder was on the scanners before, but got replaced by a Cobra while I was reading the forums during supercruise. Boom, bagging 20,000 CR. I fear at some point alt-tabbing out will cause my destruction, when an Anaconda catches me thusly being unawares... but come on, supercruising for hours is a tad bit too monotonous, even for a relaxing do-nothing evening, dont you think?

- turned out, this was my last interaction with "civilised" spacefor this session

HIP 63420, a double star system with a class G giant star, check. The sky above me has become quite empty of stars. It will soon be time to shift over to a more horizontal heading, I guess.

For some time, I skip surface scans, just to get a bit more ahead; though, the word "ahead" hardly has much of a meaning. Not to sound overly romantic, but also from an achievement perspective: unexplored star systems are near and far now, and being the first discovering a system becomes more and more a normality. Ship encounters seem to have ceased by now.

While scooping fuel, I check the galaxy map for some anomalies, something which is different than the accumulation of red, yellow, white dots. Some black inkish cloud far below me is labelled "Coalsack", too far away from where I am headed. No black hole or neutron star, so far. Earth like worlds still elude me, too. HIP 62112´s last two planets are terrestrian virgin water worlds and two more with atmospheres which are terraformable; I had not seen one for some time now. If this simulation of our galaxy should be remotely right, any future colonist should plan for bringing sea-borne settlements with them. Pure water worlds seem to be a better choice for colonizing, anyways. Never can have enough water, right?

After a while, I check for my modules. The lowest condition is 87%, which is already bad, considering that I did not travel really far yet. I wonder, how did the CMDRs do who went out 10,000 ly and more? They probably just jumped very quickly without much pause in supercruise. Or maybe fuel scooping too close also causes module decay?

- apparently, Cobra does not compare to a german car

Plotting still courses upward, it is a bit weird with only mostly blackness in front of your cockpit. In truth, it varies from system to system; sometimes almost nothing is visible against the blackness, sometimes there are still enough stars so that you don´t think you are just floating around in a dark room. It is probably only the graphic lightning playing tricks, or it might be some dark matter which obfuscates the view a bit from this system, or it might be the angle of view containing only few stars.

The selection of systems becomes smaller, which probably lessens my chances to actually find something interesting. The best thing is probably to continue now anti-spinwards (i.e. counter-clockwise to the galaxy´s rotation), or rimwards. I am not so sure anymore if I should really try to reach some kind of outer rim; chances are I won´t reach it with my Cobra´s jump range. This should probably be postponed to a later expedition, with a super light and long range Asp? After all, I have learned now that ship encounters seem to totally cease after I am out from about 500 ly of settled space, so I do not really need a heavily armed Cobra as I though before; just quickly jump through the first 500 ly and it should be fine.

- seems I did by now cover a little bit of distance to home
Some jumps away, I spot an unusually named system, setting itself apart from all those Wregoe-xxx designations, namely 38 G Carinae. However, google does not give me an indication that or why it was named in real life like this, too. As I arrive there, of course, someone has already before me, and the system does not contain anything special.

It starts to feel a bit lonely, and add a bit of disorientation. As such, I am almost glad to see the occasional system where another CMDR already had left his mark. My expedition feels a bit aimless by now, I might want to re-think my goals for this one. Since it has gotten late, this is a good moment to log out.

- never leave without a fuel scoopable star

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Time passes out there

I had a long relaxing weekend (to avoid confusion: I publish my blog entries on a n+1 scedule - editing takes a bit of time!). Coming home late night on Friday, which was an unusual bright and sunny day, I looked up and saw the stars. And I realised, it has been rather long time since I saw the real ones. One of the drawbacks of living in a bigger city, I guess, but also large part due to the largely crappy winter weather which we had the last monthes.

And I also realized that, even though Elite: Dangerous is already a very nice simulation of what could be up there, with some very nice graphics, they never can do justice to the real thing. I realized also, I would be scared to fly up there all alone.

And on top, floating in just a bathtub, which all those cute little vessels in Elite: Dangerous actually are. Hell, even an Anaconda seems to be not much bigger than a Boeing 747. And I am sitting out here in a Cobra, which is merely a little bigger than your average modern combat yet. I think this is one of the few aspects which EVE: Online actually did better; the spacecrafts are more sizeable and thus feel more realistic to me. This galaxy is too big for rowing it in a bathtub.

Wregoe VG-C D13-30. Another white star is close by, but it is only accompanied by gas giants and ring planets, so I move on. By hindsight, probably a mistake, since all those rings could be high metal content and thus bring in some cash. No matter, I want to move on.

My hull is at 94%; leftover from an interdiction where I somehow could not submit properly to. Or maybe already part of the "usage-decay" system?

Some star systems further, again some findings. Even though CMDR Tryfan explored a part of this sytem already, a lot of planets are still "virgin", and many of them have a blueish aura about them. This means again quite some travels in supercruise, but, hey, it is exploration, this is what I am here for, right?

But first, I have to deal with a pesky Cobra pirate. It is nice how they come at you and deliver you their bounty voucher, this time only ~9,000 CR, though. Then I sweep the close-by planets, about 1,000 to 5,000 ls out. Then those close to the next star; about 48,000 ls out. Then the third star; 237,500 ls out...

- this perspective on orbit lines relays a sense of correspondence

This is where I am glad that I installed a second monitor, so I can do something in parallel while doing so... and music, to feel in the Elements. Yes, it sure is a different way to play a computer game. Reminds me of all those old turn based games where you acted when you felt like and thus complemented perfectly to watching that movie or series in parallel, which you always wanted to know but was not too exciting for itself alone. Well, let´s say without a TV, it is just a more serene way to have your leasure.

A bit annoying are the countless asteroid belts, which the nav system treats as a stellar object each. You have to click though all of them to find out whether there might be a planet amongst them. They are not shown in your view either, and I wonder what would happen if they actually were there and you flew through one of them in supercruise with 40.0c... aand maybe that´s exactly the reason why Frontier did not implement them (yet)?

Well, anyways, after about 45 minutes later, having surveilled more than a dozen of high metal content planets and one water world, it is finally time to move on. KK, thx, goodbye Wregoe VG-C D13-28.

- without the illusion of actually sitting in a cockpit, the long travels would be only half as immersive

I move on, this is my third session out there; checking how far I have made it out, it is only about 500 ly from Yakabugai. Amazing. How long did those CMDRs travel to make it so far out as 17,000 ly? I get the feeling that being a that far-out explorer would make me unsuited for continuing this blog on a per-session basis. After all, there is only so much which can happen.

Zooming a bit farther through the galaxy map, upwards where I want to go, the star population thins out notably after about 1,000 ly and finally seems to end at about 1,200 ly out. This is not far enough "up" in order to appreciate a full view of the galaxy with all its spiral arms. More so, I can´t find a route higher up than 500 ly more from where I am; distances between stars increase, and from there on seems to be about 30 ly already. I guess an Asp would be in order to really really get out farthest possible. Yes, I should have thought about this before, but this is the inherent disadvantage of my moment-to-moment playstyle; I just want to get up and running and do something entertaining. After all, real life is full of planning issues already. So, it takes me 500 ly out from civilisation to realize the limits of this trip. Of course I can and maybe will then continue on a horizontal course, as long as I feel like doing so.

- about 1000 ly more up from where I currently am, this star is one of the highest above the galaxy

And such the time passes. A few interdictions, but nothing dramatic; I am not ungrateful, as with each jump, the burden to actually bring home this accumulated mountain of data increases.

Log out.

Monday, 2 March 2015

Lots of nice impressions out there

There, I found an Elite blog which is similar to mine, but focusing on exploration. Great! Welcome! CMDR Zulu Romeo sure has been at it from the very beginning and expertly does wonderful screenshots from his expeditions. I am envious and immediately added some them to my deck of desktop backgrounds. The next update of the game will have an external camera and I am pretty sure that I am going to make use of it!

HIP 66740.The primary star is one of those beautiful class F elven white-golden main sequence stars. 10,000 ls out is a seconday class K yello star, and there are some planets over there which look interesting, although already explored before by CMDR Sturn. Nevermind, there could be an earth like and I want to see it! As I approach, i see one planet with a vertical orbit; it is metal rich. Then, 1,000 ls out there, twin planets, seemingly without an orbit but around themselves. Cute, little dance. One is a water world; the other high metal. Keep them coming! Yep, another water world! And another! All of them are nitrogen-oxygen based! A pity I am not first explorer anymore. But just imagine, imagine, guys, if this game´s simulation had a core of reality in it. How many worlds out there are waiting for us?

- forget about Mars, I say!!!

Their frequency in some systems show that twin planets, just revolving around themselves, without an orbit around the star, seem to be a common occurence, if Elite´s modelling of the galaxy is remotely correct. Ah, see, I found this article about it; it seems worth to look them up.

I take a lot of screenshots. This system fascinates me; probably because I somehow a have a very good "orery like" view on it, which makes for a really good "bird perspective". I jump about a lot, there are many white or yellow star systems on a planar level, so I do not get "up" much yet.

- white star class A in COL 285 Sector NY-Q D5-47

Then I am suddenly again out there, alone. It feels good. The next system is the first virgin system; COL 285 Sector CS-H C11-7. It even has a water world, which is mine now.  But it seems I was luky, after this, more already discovered systems.

A deadly Eagle interrupts. Kill scan costs me another shield cell, and it is not worth it. I must remind myself to stay on my toes, lest I fare the same fate as on my first expedition!

Slowly, imperceptly, the night sky above me gets darker, as fewer and fewer stars dot the sky. Below me, the galaxy glows brighter and more beautiful than ever. all those dust clouds are out of the aay

Wregoe VG-C D13-30 is another virgin system, and it is big; three stars, no planet looks earth like. But it is mine again. Sigh. How long can I continue to surface scan every virgin system? But the work is worth it; another water world. Seems I am a specialist on water worlds. Some earth likes can pop up sometime!

 - Imagine we would live in a solar system like this, instead

Exploration is slow, trance-li... if not suddenly a Viper would snap out and grab you. This one again is rated deadly and I have respect out here; one mistake and my hull suffers and my expedition is in jeapardy. I fight carefully, since my shield cells are already exhausted. I works well, and the bounty is sizeable; 32,000 CR.

As I am finally finished surface scanning everything in this system, I realise a little difference in terminology which escaped me before: there are metal-rich planets, and there are high-metal-content planets. The latter are probably worth most.

Well, time passes by quickly and I have to log out. I have probably traveled though only 20 systems, but most of them had indeed metal planets to scan, so it should have been worth the while.

- first planet of this kind for me to encounter