Monday, May 16, 2016

Basking in the light of the suns

There's been a few game related posts lately hasn't there ?

It started with someone lovely asking me a question along the lines of "So what games are you enjoying at the moment ?"

And I think that reminded me that I really do enjoy playing the games. I find them relaxing, enjoyable, interesting. Depends on the game of course. Something like the new Doom would stress me out with its high paced action. I have my eye on a new strategy game called Stellaris but I think that one would annoy me as soon as I ran into end game micromanagement and the various AI bugs it has.

(Will still most likely pick up Stellaris the first time it goes on sale).

Games should be for relaxing with or for fun. Or in the best of times, both fun and relaxation.

That's how I'm finding Elite, some of the time. Also Planetbase. The thing about modern games is that you have to learn their characteristics. They have much more complication built in because that's what modern machines can handle, it's expected from the players. I'm enjoying Planetbase as a space colony builder, much more than I did with Banished. I found Banished quite frustrating when your colony would just go into death spiral for very little reason. Planetbase is much simpler and its AI rules can be understood, warts and all.

Let me tell you about some of what I've been doing in Elite over the weekend ... But first !!! Pictures.
As always with these, click for bigger.

Aww look. The beast was sleeping in her hangar. There are a few ways to make the money in Elite and I'm needing a fair bit of cash to fit out the Beastie in the picture above. She's called Imperial Merchant Vessel Min Maxer. I had been running a much smaller ship which felt like a race car after flying the big ones. The littler one was all about dashing around the galaxy quickly trading small volumes of cargo.

Making the cash ?
Combat is one way - I'll do this later because I want to get to the maximum pilot ratings for combat, trading and exploration. But I'm not really in the spaceship game for lots of mindless shooting.
Exploration gets a reasonable amount of cash but it is slow. The fortnight trip to the centre of the galaxy and back netted I think around 20 million credits.
Trading rare goods is a decent option if you don't have much capital or cargo space. You can get profits of around 16,000 credits per tonne and upwards. But you do need to travel long distance to get the profits.
Running long range smuggling missions - this can get you loads of cash but ... if you get caught by the Rozzers, you lose all the reward.

And the last way, which I'm doing now, Space Trucker.

This is where the enjoyment comes in and the relaxation. As a wannabe astronaut in my early years, games like this, like Planetbase, like Take On Mars (be The Martian) when it's ready (not bought it yet but I know what it could be) really speak to that kiddie in me that wanted to be on a different planet.
It was feeling too long since a picture. There we go ! I grabbed this one because I couldn't believe how close the big companion planetoid was to the one that I was looking to land on. They were about the same size !!! Orbiting really closely too. Like, probably closer than our Earth and the Moon.

That's one thing about this game that keeps me coming back. All the new things. The sights. The sparkly objects in the skies :
There she is, basking in the light of Facece's sun, with the heat dissipators open over the stern section. Definitely a pretty ship in near silhouette;
And with this particular line of ships, they designed in some beautiful organic lines. This level of complexity of ship model wouldn't have been possible a few years ago. The suns are active as well, most of them rotate, many have streamers of solar flares erupting from the surface. There are black hole gravity distortion effects;
I can't remember which sun provided the redness there. There are some amazing graphical effects coming in there though. The Main Sequence of stellar objects is modelled, which brings in all the variation of stars, as well as the proto T Tauri stars and end stage stellar objects like white dwarf stars, neutron stars and black holes.

Astronomers definitely lucked out in being able to study some incredibly beautiful phenomena.

It does help that it's a really beautiful game. Perhaps a little empty ? I'll be curious about No Mans Sky when it comes out. That could have the gorgeous outer space graphics combined with lush landscapes on the planets. We'll see there.

Oh ? Those trading things ... I got frustrated with what I think might be a bit of a bug at the moment. The police are really good at scanning you right now, better than what I remember. So when the Rares Trading involved smuggling illegal items, they'd spot those even when I hid in the station. When I tried the Long Range Missions, I got spotted after the first drop off.

So I went back to the massive ship, which is trading 720tonnes (the Python carried 240 tonnes, the Asp 80 in long range smuggler mission spec) at a time. I have no guns though, so if anyone tries pirating me, I just run. The Cookie Cutter has the turning circle of an asteroid (could be worse, the big freighter has the turning circle of a small planet) but it's pretty nippy. It'll get nippier too when I upgrade it.

And there are so many upgrades to come. I'm 54 million credits away from a "Starter Spec", i.e. way below what I'd call a proper minimum spec. Lots of running away to do until then. I'm 287 million away from the top trading spec. That's maybe 287 trading runs ...

And I'll enjoy every one of them. Especially with the inflight snacks that Cookie SpaceWays promises :
Yep. I did the Cadbury Does Spaceships thing again :-).

Fly safe, drive safe, be safe. Enjoy yourself !

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