Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Mission Meltdown

Hmm. Where did I leave it last week ?

It's got a little cooler this week. Bit more livable. It was a bit damp yesterday though but that's ok.

Meltdown is working pretty well now. It has its updated Windows licence (if your Windows isn't activated, it puts watermarks on all your screenshots. Couldn't have that) and I picked up the new cooler too. It's a bit of a monster ...
4D looks suitably impressed with the size of the box. The idea is that the bigger the cooler, the more fins and surface area it has and the heat dissipates away more quickly if there is more surface area. The fans are also a factor, with CFM being the unit of interest. Bigger 120mm fans like on there have more surface area again and more radial velocity at the outsides, so (Too Science Didn't Read) they can push more air through as well. And because they're more effective, the bigger fans can be run slower which means less noise.

So ... monster cooler means everything is cooler, everything is quieter. Win ! But I haven't fitted it yet mainly because ... effort. (It's a pretty big job to replace a cpu cooler) And also because the AMD Wraith Stealth cooler that comes with the processor is ultra quiet. As in silent ... I can barely hear it even when there are no other active noise sources and even there, I may well be hearing the case fan or the power supply fan.

Because I'm not running the machine hard yet, like it will be when it gets colder and I turn the Science Sums back on, it doesn't need that better cooling.

So far, I've been doing more internet spaceship piloting, more motorsport managing and I'm having another look at Battletech's massive Roguetech mod.
That little fella is my crazy pirate melee mech. A little fella but effective when he gets in close. Hasn't acquired a name yet, I'm naming the mechs when I reconfigure them. So far there is the Fires of Elysium and a Clint class mech got named Rise of Eastwood.

Battletech ran just about on the old machine, I had to run it off the SSD in order to get acceptable performance in the basic campaign. The bigger Roguetech mod was unplayable, probably because it was wanting to take up 10GB+ of memory and Pumpkin only had 8GB. It was apparently barely touching the processor load actually, which may be a sign of how poorly optimised it is. Great game, poor implementations.

Motorsport Manager doesn't feel any different ... but it shouldn't really, it's not a game that relies on or gets advantage of better PC performance past a certain point.

Elite feels smoother. I've reached the edge of the galaxy ...
That's an earlier shot and I've turned up the anti-aliasing a little since then. (Anti-aliasing attempts to make lines less jagged).
I may have found some tea down there ...
Time to enter The Abyss. There are differences in the density of stars in the galaxy. In the centre, the stars are so dense that before the route planner was substantially upgraded, the planner would crash the game client if you tried to plan beyond about 300 light years (too many options to check). Out in the Abyss, ships with lower jump ranges have to go around. Mine is very long range but even there, the path goes wiggly and shorter jumps need to be taken.

Here's the travel map so far :
It's quite a distance travelled there ! More to go. The plan is to head back in a semicircle. Soon.
I found another couple of close binary stars on the way in, always good for a screenshot. This one is definitely with the improved anti-aliasing but I'm not sure that'll be apparent there.
That's where I've parked up until I go back in. That's at Beagle Point, looking back at the Milky Way from the edge of the galaxy. There are stars on the map further out but because they're beyond the jump ranges, they're unreachable.

One thing you do notice when upgrading like this are the shortcomings of the other machines. I really notice that at work but it's not really the fault of the laptops we have. They're actually pretty solid machines and would make me consider getting HP laptops as well (business grade, as their domestic grade is rubbish). The big problem with the work machines is the infrastructure, especially the Microsoft side. Too many slowdowns seem to come from the laptops having to check elsewhere even for the simplest of operations like changing to bold. They'll pause when opening the dialogue for formatting a cell in Excel.

It's pretty sad that the Microsoft applications have got that bad. They really need to be better than that, or have a rethink on how much they're communicating with the servers.

But I'm not thinking about that at home.

Soon ... Deus Ex Mankind Divided or Prey ! Am knackered though and still a bit worn out mentally and those games need a bit more mental energy than I'm willing to put in at the moment.

Soon :-D

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Melting Meltdown

Gosh, it's hot this week. As in really hot.
Yep. Hot. I think I picked the perfect week to take some annual leave, although maybe not the right week to build a new computer ... It's been a bit toasty for doing more than loafing about drinking lots of water.

But still, new bits arrived on Tuesday after a little bit of Cardiff wandering on Monday. Let's actually talk about Cardiff first. I like Cardiff, there's lots to look at including a few curious book caves. The following appeared and escaped with me :
Orson Scott Card - Ender's Game
CJ Cherryh - Chanor's Venture
Michael Crichton - Jurassic Park
Larry Niven - Tales of Known Space
David Brin - Existence

A few in there that I know should be really good, a few which are speculative. I still need to finish 2312 ... and you know that more will appear during a Book Barn raid in a few weeks.

I also went a little mad acquiring albums with albums from Aurora, Mike Oldfield (x2), Tori Amos, Vangelis, Jade Bird and Lorde appearing. Also sherbets and bonbons. Cardiff is a good place.

Computer ? Here we go. This'll include an honest critique on some of the bits that appeared, because I will immediately replace one and may well replace another as well.
That's the box, a Bitfenix Nova case and is the candidate to maybe be replaced. A box swap is a big job though so inertia may help it survive. Why don't I like it ? It only extracted a light blood sacrifice (a cut about 3mm long, nothing) but it's just too small and doesn't off enough space for fans or for air to escape. We'll come back to that later.

There was also a small distortion in the corner where the power supply fits in, which must have been the result of a fairly major dinting in the factory and should have made it a quality control reject.
That's the inside of a very empty box ... It's just about big enough. The mainboard goes in the top and there's a fan there to extract hot air. The power supply goes in bottom left ....
There we go. Corsair make good power supplies.

(Disclosure note - there is no sponsorship of any kind here !)
That's the motherboard, which everything fits into. It's an Asrock board, following the Asrock board that did pretty well for me in my last machine.

The ports are at the top left, the little square at the top is where the processor goes and the 4x sockets to the top right is where the memory goes. The longer slot in the middle is where a graphics card will go. Everything else plugs in around the edge, including disc drives and the lights on the case.
That's the processor installed under the stock AMD cooler and the 2x sticks of memory are there too. The label saying "Crucial" in the lower right is a 500GB (actually 470GB) M2 SSD hard disc and then there's the back plate laying loose on top of it all.

You get 2x sticks of memory instead of one (cheaper) big one because the machines are capable are using double the bandwidth of just one stick, which makes them faster.
And that's the gubbins in the box. And actually the last proper picture in this series too. The hard discs go over to the right and graphics in the middle. One of the tricks is to manage those power supply cables such that they don't block the airflow and I couldn't really tuck them somewhere out of the way in this box.

This all actually took a hell of a lot more time than the builds usually do ! It was incredibly hot on Tuesday. Literal sweat dripping and other nonsense like that. It should get a bit cooler from tomorrow.

The next thing to do is to connect the leads and switch the power on and ....

Uhoh. No screen. My keyboard is a little awkward so after plugging in its other USB plug (it has two), I reboot and find "Windows did not start up correctly" followed by the dreaded Blue Screen Of Death.

Oh crikey no, that's really bad news.
Zombie PC. Actually not that bad though because the machine was attempting to boot off the most ancient hard disc which was from 2x machines ago, instead of the Windows 10 older SSD. It fired up nicely after switching the boot order around to the correct hard disc.

What was worrying though was the temperature. I'm pretty certain that I have the cooler installed correctly but ....
That's the readout from a hardware monitoring desktop gadget from Addgadgets that I find really useful, getting its data from Core Temp. A steady 53 degrees C on idle is far too hot for comfort, even in these temperatures. You'll see the graphics card below hovering at 35 degrees C. It's not in any danger of melting down, the machine has survived a quick SETI (Milkyway at Home) stress test topping out at 83 degrees C but that sawtooth pattern to the temperature is worrying. It really shouldn't be doing that and I think the machine was derating itself as well during that stress test. What it all means is that you won't get the full performance out of the machine, it's liable to crash when worked hard and you're unlikely to get the 8 years of life out of it that I got with the last build.

(This is why that hardware monitoring gadget is really handy - it lets you spot and diagnose issues like this, including if the horror of horrors happen - a failed fan).

The temperature is hovering between 53 and 66 degrees C at the moment but it was on a nice and steady (as in, a line and not a sawtooth) 73 while playing Motorsport Manager earlier.

So I'll be heading to the shops tomorrow when it's cooler to acquire a new ... cooler. I also need to get a new Windows licence because I've changed too many bits now. I'll still be able to use the other Windows licence in the old machine.

I haven't transferred over the bluray drive yet. I think that might be a dead'un although I need to verify that by finding an opportune evening to watch Rogue One.

How does it perform ? I used the 3d Mark benchmarks on the old machine before switching and on the more stressing Time Spy demo, the numbers went from 3500 wibbles to 4100 wibbles. I think that's graphics card limited. On the cpu test, the numbers went up from 2200 wibblies to a much shinier 7000 wibblies. The new machine has 6 cores up from 4 and can handle 12 threads, up from 4. it's also a little quicker in the GHz.

So - happy with the upgrade, although the heat and the dodgy cooler mean that I haven't gone into heavier gaming yet. I'll definitely replace the cooler and I'll think about replacing the box. The diminutive size of the box means I'm limited on those cooling options and I'm unconvinced that it will get sufficient airflow.

The name ?

If the old one was called Pumpkin after being built at Halloween, this one had to be Meltdown :-D.

Addendum time .... I've figured out the heat issue ... Check out this updated pic from this morning :
That's much more steady, including a steady idle where I turned the Milkyway At Home calcs off to see how quickly the temperature changes would happen. This is much better.

Fix - in the picture in the middle of the post, the Clock is 4199MHz where the mainboard had auto overclocking enabled and turned the wick up on the processor. When the overclocking is disabled and the processor is back to stock 3600MHz performance, the temperatures are just fine. The idle went up to a little bit high 45 degrees C but I'm ok with that considering ambient temperatures.

This is a bit silly and a black mark against Asrock ... The auto overclocking shouldn't be enabled by default, it makes things hot and shortens the life of the machine.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Resting, Internet Spaceships, Fancy Pooters, Annoyances

Hello everyone.

Week off for me this week. I'll go on so long and then need to get away from Stuff for a little while. That'll be people, work, having to get up in the morning, various stuff like that.
Oh and it's also a chance to listen to a lot of music, get stuff in that I wanted to have delivered, lots of general chill out. Maybe a few trips out and about, may that be in the virtual world or in the real world.

I haven't actually listened to all of the music on the laptop yet and that's approaching a year. I haven't bought much music over the last year, only about 500 tracks. There are 1850 tracks to go to listen to everything and I'm at tracks in the S albums. After listening to tracks individually, I'll queue up the albums and I'm in the O albums there. It's a reasonably systematic way of jumbling up what gets listened to. The next album up in the queue is Once I Was An Eagle by Laura Marling.

One reason for these occasional weeks off is to rest, recover and let some of the painful bits fix themselves up a bit. I'm having to be careful with certain games at the moment, because my wrist is threatening to go very painful ... First person games where you have to do fine aiming with the mouse seem to be the worst and I haven't played many of those for quite some time. WoW was bad for it too because that fine aiming would see me looking to press certain buttons on screen.

Oh - tracks from one album have been coming through at the moment, that's Scarlet and Other Stories by All About Eve and there are some great tracks in it, like Only One Reason.

Internet Spaceships may dominate, if that's Elite, Stellaris or something different when the PC upgrade arrives .....
That's the latest from EDSM star map and I'm now through the centre of the galaxy and heading way off to the left towards the farthest points you can navigate to from Earth. That got named as Beagle Point in game and is the next destination. I can now plot a route to it as well, with the route plotter being limited to just 20,000 light years. That was a great upgrade from the somewhat unreliable 1,000 light year limit it had when I first started playing.
I got me a new paint job ... A few Dragon Green stripes in there.
And that's Sagittarius A* at the centre of our galaxy from at least a light minute out. (Earth is just over 8 light minutes away from our Sun and Mercury is 3.5 light minutes out). The ring inside the black hole is actually light deflected from the Milky Way ribbon to the top right.

Astronomy is fascinating. And scary when it comes to super massive black holes that just happen to be the engine that makes our galaxy happen.

I'll hopefully get back to collecting some great screenshots soon (although there are more that haven't been posted yet). But I would like to go back to some of the games that I set on one side for a bit. Like Deus Ex Mankind Divided and Prey which were going beyond the capabilities of my computer as it was at the time.

New bits are on their way ... What'll be in the box ?
AMD Ryzen 5 3600. Latest modest processor from these guys and it's apparently better than Intel if you feed it with good memory.
X570 motherboard. Gotta have something to link it all together.
500GB M2 drive from Crucial. This'll be my 4th SSD from Crucial and they've done well so far. This upgrade was a bit too tempting.
32GB of DDR4-3200. This will be another 4x upgrade from the 8GB I have here. More memory always helps because the unused memory gets used to help the disc caching out.
New box ... and power supply. Because it's awkward to take a motherboard out when it's in.

I'll be transferring over a 1060 graphics card and my various hard discs. Oh and a bluray drive that may need to be replaced because I think it finally failed. I had to abandon watching Rogue One tonight because it was breaking up too much and I think it's actually been failing for a long time now because it was corrupting the imports of audio cds.

Oh and I'm happy with monitor, keyboard, mouse and speakers so those will transfer over too.

One thing that's annoyed me though is the attitude of my credit card company ... I ended up using my debit card to buy the bits too because they (Barclaycard - beware of them) flagged the transaction as potential fraud despite the order being placed at the same IP address as I use to do all the paying off of that card.

They did the same thing last year with the laptop.

Highly annoying. Oh and they did an automatic phone call thing at 10.00 this morning to clear the issue. 10.00 on a Sunday ? WHAT IS THIS HERESY.
Back to reality and better things.

I don't think the bits will arrive tomorrow because I ordered after they all went home on Saturday. May well find myself over in Cardiff again for munchies. And a wander. A wander that may well take me past :

Lego Shop
Music Shop
Sweet Shop
Market Book Stall
Cardiff Castle
(And I need to do a general shopping too)

Hopefully my back feels better this morning to allow me to do that. It was very stiff this morning. Perhaps because I left the window open last night on a cooler night than it has been. Oh and that 10.00am crawl and flop down the stairs for that call from the credit card people.

We shall see !

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Cups, Races, Jumps, Moons ...

I feel like I might have a bit of catching up to do !

There's been lots of internet spaceships over the last week ... Also work stuff going on and the build up to the cricket World Cup final. You can probably guess that I've watched as many of the world cup games as I could. At some point, there might well be a team of the tournament post coming out ...
May also have rewatched a very old film again last night. The models still look great even after all these years.
That was the starting point for a shorter expedition to see some of the prettier sights in the local neighbourhood. There's my ship there in the foreground, with an asteroid space station behind which is located in the rings of a local gas giant. Looks spectacular with the Witch Head Nebula around too.
There we go. A little planetary expedition. Looks like they had the water all steamed up. Any use for tea ?
One stop along the way. The Dumbbell Nebula, with a tourist station (that doesn't allow Commanders on board to sample the tea) orbiting a water planet.
That was one of the favourite shots of that expedition. I'm calling it "Adrift on a Nebula Sea". (Except I was fully fuelled up and not really adrift).
There's another shot from inside a nebula, with a Wolf Rayet star in the background. They're very hot stars which have consumed almost all of their hydrogen and are fusing the heavier elements instead. In Elite, they're big white stars that you can't scoop for fuel.
If I remember right, that will be me basking and refuelling at a F or G type star with what looks like an older, smaller M type star in the background.
Before finding another of the Wolf Rayet stars.
It was getting near time to call a halt on that expedition though. Time to head home. (Another 2001 shot, showing the quality of the effects in that movie).

I've been out considerably further over the last few days, including experimenting with neutron star boosting. You start in ships that can do hops of up to 7 to 10 light years and better engines can make them reach around 20 light years. Choosing a lightweight exploration load out gets that to around 35. Engineering that to the nth degree means my current ship can do hops of 61.5 light years at a time with a little cargo. Neutron star boosting is a highly dangerous technique where you fly through the cones of a neutron star (here's one) ....
... and that supercharges your hyperdrive. I've been testing jumps of just over 240 light years today. But you don't get to see what was at the stars on the way with that, so I won't be doing it too much.

How far have I got ?
There we go. The green lines show my course plot since restarting the character. I'm currently heading for a black hole system called the Great Annihilator before turning in for the galactic core. From there, it'll be towards the opposite side of the galaxy and a loop around the East side.

Soon. I felt a little burnt out on the game perhaps today though, so while yesterday's trip was the northerly leg of the trip to the left of that picture, today's activity was the much shorter line heading out.
I found a good place to stop though. Back on it soon. Have a good next week everyone.

Oh - also took advantage of the heat to defrost the freezer as much as it could defrost yesterday which gave me a good excuse to visit the pizza shop after restocking again. Good times.

Monday, July 08, 2019

On the upgrade trail again

I'm seriously considering doing a PC upgrade again ...
Trying to remember the last time I was seriously checking out doing an upgrade. Probably when AMD brought out their Ryzen 2 processor and then the time before would have been the Ryzen 1. It's a good chip and is apparently a lot better than the competition from Intel, depending on who you talk to.

(Obligatory disclosure note - I don't get any sponsorship of any kind. Also, if anyone recognises a picture, all but 1 of these are all from the Google and I would be overjoyed to add a credit if you ask).

Oh ! Anyone recognise the picture from the thumbnail ? We actually had one of those. Ended up having to hack a lot of the games too so that they'd work with the disc interface. Memory limits meant that programs would cheat .... and overwrite memory vital to the Operating System, ok if you didn't need the floppy discs any more. Oh yes. This was a machine from the days of 5.25 inch actual floppy discs ...

But I digress again. As per usual :-D. No internet spaceships again. Maybe.
Couldn't resist. That's part of the thing about upgrading actually. For Elite, I don't actually have to upgrade at the moment. There is the very occasional judder but the machine I have at the moment (i5-2500k and nVidia 1060 graphics) is just fine with Elite at maximum graphics and 1440p. So no upgrade needed for that one. Maybe later when they bring in more features to the game. There will be more Elite screenshots in a later post, I caught a few shiny examples over the weekend in another expedition.

Games like Battletech and quite likely Prey and Deus Ex Mankind Divided (still need to play both of those) are a different story though. Battletech definitely munches through the 8GB in this machine and the Roguetech expansion was unplayable. Prey and DXMD will put greater pressure on the processor. So I'm much more open to an upgrade now.

The usual thing applies though ... only spend what you want to spend. There is literally no upper limit to the daft money you can spend on a computer ... but there's usually no reason to go above a certain point. My machines are powerful but on the modest side. A graphics card that costs £800 will not give you 4x the fun of a £200 graphics card. I'm not convinced that a processor costing £800 is 4 times as good as one costing £200. There's a certain pragmatism that has to come in to choosing the bits.
Saving money that can go to other better places means you can buy more toys than you could before. That £1173 between the £1476 nVidia 2080Ti card (yes you could buy a graphics card for more than what my first 2 cars cost) and a £303 RTX2060 card could go on a Lego UCS Millennium Falcon, a Lego Death Star with a significant amount of change.


Ok, so what's this modesty PC ? First up, it's not going to be a whole PC.
It was a lovely relief when changing over laptops last time that my cookies and other internet stuff was just There. I didn't have to set up all the passwords again. Maybe a bit scary that though when you think about it.

What I'll be doing this time is keeping certain parts out of the old machine, like the screen, keyboard, mouse ...
... hard discs and bluray drive and the rest will be upgraded. New box, motherboard, memory, power supply and processor. Oh and actually maybe definitely a new SSD because ...
Quicker, much quicker. Oh and bigger too, so I could put the games that want the performance on the bigger disc. Last year, the 256GB M2 SSD that went in my laptop cost me a discounted £55 if I remember right. This year, you can have a 500GB SSD for £67 or a 1TB for £100. Neat. Pumpkin (current desktop) has a 256GB SSD, an ancient 256GB conventional drive but all the games (except Battletech which was more demanding) go on a 1.5TB conventional drive.

SSD - Solid State Device drive that's essentially memory like you card in your camera. Ultra fast to find your stuff but not as high capacity.
Conventional drive - uses spinning platters with chemicals that store data magnetically. Takes much more time to get the platter to the bit of the disc that has your data. Takes ages if your data is all over the disc.

I better get to the details before I run out of pictures !

Processor - 3rd gen Ryzen 5 3600 costing £190. This goes at 3.6GHz and I don't think the 3.8GHz of the 3600X is worth the extra £50. This comes in a Socket AM4 which needs a suitable motherboard.
Motherboard - there's either the newest shiny of the X570 chipset and MSI offer one that has my eye for £180. Or an older one with by MSI with the less capable B450 chipset for £89. I think the better one is probably worth it here because the advantage is in the bandwidth in the PCI bus.

(Translation - the bits can talk to each other faster and it'd mean shinier graphics that go more smoothly)

Either way, both of them demand DDR4 memory. Don't worry about what DDR4 means (Double Data Rate mk4 = faster than DDR, DDR2, DDR3, SDR and the other types that went before that I can't remember). Things to look for are "System Memory Specification" and the Ryzen 5 3600 is looking for 3.2GHz. It would work with slower memory but it's better to match the speeds. Options ?
DDR4-19200/2400MHz - slower, would work, 2 sticks making up 32GB from Kingston would be £145.
DDR4-25600/3200MHz - synchronised, 2 sticks for 32GB from Kingston again would be £188.

I think it'll be the faster memory because apparently (Rockpapershotgun article) the Ryzens might like the faster memory.

I'd usually go for a cooler as well. I'm only likely to ever go air cooling, as having water around PCs when you don't need to do that is a recipe for disaster. The Sandy Bridge machine I have now has been very stable on air cooling that probably has the Dust Bunny population of Bristol in it by now.
Wasn't taken from inside my PC ... honest.

Power supply ! Last but one piece. Corsair supplies have done me well over the years, so it's over to them again for a 750W. A 650W would be more than enough for what I'll put inside it but I'm looking to do a little future proofing. It's well worth spending extra on a named brand like Corsair because power supplies do blow ... and they can take out the other components with them when they do pop. I've had this happen before. Anyway, 750W for £75.

Case is a curious one. I had the eyes opened to one requirement I would have forgotten about. I do occasionally like to watch a dvd or bluray on my desktop and I'd miss that if I couldn't. My computer chair is sadly a little more comfortable than my sofa. So the requirement is to be able to fit a 5.25" sized bluray drive. Drives seem to be missing those out now ...

Anyway - case ... the AVP X6 caught my eye (link to Novatech) because it has 5.25" bays and a couple of internal fans. Something else to look out for is the graphics card depth ... there are some chunky cards out there. I need to do research there. Price - £35.

I think that's it ... total cost is £668 but bear in mind that's missing the price of :
Graphics - budget for me is c.£200.
Windows - £100 for Windows 10 64bit Home.
Keyboard - £30 will be fine. Unless you find a £150 keyboard for £30 :-D.
Mouse - £30, this is very your own preference again.
(I go for wired for both keyboard and mouse, wireless has drawbacks that I don't think balance the benefit)
Screen - mine is from AOC and I love it. 24" 1080p screen from them would be £140.
Storage - I'll probably acquire a 500GB SSD for £67. And there are 2TB conventional drives for £54.

I think that's it.
If anyone local wants a PC built by the way, supply the bits (I'd consult) and I'd ...
Substitute battlestation for computer.

Wednesday, July 03, 2019

Taking a cruise, solving the puzzles, finding the prize

More internet spaceships again ....
I'm admitting straight up too that I've been reading guides here and not solving stuff on my own :-).

That's the last ship by the way, the "Captain of Elysium" with a name that follows a trend I've been using for the Federation combat ships. This one was a Federation Assault Ship and a pretty satisfying ship to fly around too. I've been indulging in the engineering to customise and handily improve the components that go on the ship.
One of those Pews is not like the other two Pew Pews. Before then though, I did a bit more investigation of the crashed ship that I found* (looked up while researching to discover it was a good place to go).
A sighting of the Thargoid scout ship, this time in much better light. Oh and as always, click for bigger.
Cue obligatory declaration of "I did not crash that ship officer, honest guv."
That's the newest ship. She's the "Chrissa's New Potato", after HeyChrissa who is one of my most preferred streamers to have on. The joke is in the name, she thinks she has potato looks (Nope) and in my last Elite save, I attached the name "Chrissa's Potato" to the most potato like looking ship. It's an Asp Explorer and in the very original Elite with its wire frame graphics, it had the profile of a flattened off pentagon. It's a good name.

Seen above there getting some quite hefty engineering work done to prepare her for going to Infinity .... and beyond ! (Or to the opposite side of the galaxy and back). There was a mission to perform before heading off though ...
I've found a night vision system .... I like.
Doesn't work for the remote camera shots though. What could be in these mysterious ruins ?
A curious obelisk, what could the markings mean ?
Shooting these pillars makes light come out of the top.
The defenders were spirited .... but their missiles were no match for the point defences on my conveniently close by ship.
The puzzle is solved but what will the reward be ? The defenders are attempting to make the reward one of dust .... (Yes, being shot at while taking the screenie !)
A lovely light show heralds the appearance of an orb ... with data.
The objective is achieved, so it's time to head off back to the base ship.
And a last pit stop before heading off to finish off the fit.

In Elite speak, it's an Asp Explorer capable of jumping 61.47ly when fully fueled (that's a lot) and I'll be able to jump up to maybe 640ly before needing to refuel. Handy.

The objective will be to head off on an exploration binge that'll probably be what I'm doing in the game for a good few months. There should be some awesome looking screenshots coming :-D.