Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Elitecember Day 31 - Frame shift charging to a Happy New Year

Hello everyone,

Last one in this series of posts ! I'll start with the pic I grabbed at an opportune moment :
Dramatic innit ...

That's my big freighter about to punch its way into hyperspace ... through a space station. Hopefully it gets in there before it goes all Last Jedi on it.

What is it ? The game has a form of warp drive called a Frame Shift Drive. It's pretty much the same as a warp drive, except that it can't go from star to star (except inside a system), it just lets your ship go from place to place within a star system. Going from system to system uses the same Frame Shift Drive ... except it means a jump through hyperspace.

Ignore all that ... it's gameplay mechanics that work for the game and the player.
Sublight - for combat and docking.
Warp drive in a system - lets you go places quickly.
Hyperspace - this is not a loading screen that takes you from system to system.

And because Warp Drive is already probably copyrighted by all kinds of people, it gets called something different with the same meaning.

I've been in game again today and yesterday. The current aim is to ramp up the rank with the Empire to unlock the last faction ship. I'm taking it in small bites instead of one big grind but it should be done by the end of the week and then I'm off to find some mysterious tip off places. And hunt for minerals.

(one slight discontinuity later ...)

Apparently I was really tired, closed my eyes for a second and half an hour went by ! Oops.

New phone arrived today. It's a Google Pixel 4 and I'm not altogether convinced just yet ... The extra fascia buttons on the Galaxy S7 confused a lot of people but I'm not convinced by the alternatives just yet. It may take a little getting used to but at least I should be able to use internet on the phone without having to reset it into airplane mode and back on again to sort out the Samsung malware, like I had to do on the old phone.

Oh and then there's the transferring over of data and credentials from the old phone to the new one. It's copied across data just fine but I'm having to remember credentials that I haven't entered for a Very Long Time. Just means an excuse to update the passwords.

I can feel that latent sleepiness overtaking me again (it's because I didn't get much sleep last night and was active at 8am today waiting for a likely delivery of phone not long after) so it's time to wish everyone a happy new year and leave with one last picture :
There we go. Not my work but a great one by whoever dropped it on to the Steam forums. It comes from a slight accent difficulty by the cockpit voice lady person ...

Happy new year everyone.

Monday, December 30, 2019

Elitecember Day 30 - Credits

Hello everyone,

Day 30 !

Today's theme is credits, which in the Elite universe is money. Everything revolves around the credits, although you can't actually buy everything in the game with credits. You have to go out and find Stuff.

Picture ?
Couldn't resist. Especially as I get to eat the chocolate coins later.
A different clook from a closer angle.

Yep - everything revolves around the credits and the commodities range from an ultra cheap 9 credits for a tonne of water up to almost 1.7m credits to sell a tonne of Void Opals. You have to go out to find and mine the Void Opals, which is something I have in mind to do in a future ship. I need to mine 500 tonnes worth of Stuff and 500 tonne of Void Opals will be worth a fair bit.

My current ship, the Odo's Courage would cost 113.5m credits to buy again. (Here's a link to the fit). I had a bit of mission running today, which got me another Empire rank with another to follow when I get the right mission, raised I believe another 10m (Inara is being a bit slow to update).

Here's how the credits and assets have accumulated since I restarted at the end of April :
There are a few weird blips up and down there where Inara has to catch up to where it's done imports of the data but apart from that, it's been a happy steady upwards climb there. The blip before July was a shorter exploration trip in the Searching for Tea :
And the blip upwards around August saw me returning from a trip halfway around the galaxy in the Chrissa's New Potato :
I had to abandon that particular route because the Potato didn't have the jump range to visit a very tough to reach star but that ship did really well for me.

And onwards we go. I gotta get back to a cooling pizza :-D.

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Elitecember Days 28 and 29 - Imperial Aisling

Hello everyone,

What's up with me - lots of cricket watching, a fair bit of going to bed a bit too late and getting up a bit too late too ...

A lot of Motorsport Manager has been happening too. The game is at that very interesting phase where my team is building up towards the money making buildings. Getting those gives your team the income to compete at the higher level. Except, so many of the parts (wings, engine, gearbox) are forced to be standard so there's not that much difference between all of the cars. It's just brakes and suspension, which are reasonably minor cars.

Makes for close racing and I'm actually having to work my brain to win. (Mostly because the other best team has better drivers than my team - working on that !) Been enjoying that and perhaps doing a few too many races on it ...

Been missing the internet spaceships a little though.
We'll come back to that one later.

The Elite themes for yesterday and today were Aisling Duval and Imperial. For those not aware of the Elite lore (most of you I think !), the Empire in Elite was a group that splintered off from the Federation of Earth and left, eventually becoming their own Empire. One big difference is that they allow slavery as well as living mostly in space. They're also led by hereditary succession and the latest succession was part of an in game event a year or so ago.

Yesterday's theme was Aisling Duval :
When the Powerplay mechanics were introduced a couple of years ago to boost in universe player vs player action, Aisling Duval was brought in as the People's Princess. I didn't think I'd be drawing that one (I think my brain has gone on a general break over the last couple of days anyway), so no post yesterday. That picture is from the wiki, although the wiki has taken it from in game.

Oh ! I've also been enjoying listening to the music when the cricket hasn't been on. There's been :

England playing in South Africa - I've been watching this time delayed after emerging from slumber. (I'm catching up on bad sleep - feels like I have that Thing in the back of my throat that's tickling and needs to be ejected - I sense you know that feeling).
New Zealand playing in Australia - I've been watching this until really late.

Both games finished last night though so ... time to rebuild the sleep patterns I think !

New music has appeared :
Far Lone Sails soundtrack - I'm enjoying the atmospheric pieces on this.
Carly Rae Jepsen's Dedicated - fun disco dance style music.
Stacy Kent's Raconte-moi - a singer with a very cute sounding voice singing lovely songs.
Christine and the Queens's Chris - edgy, not quite sure what they want to be, sounds good.

And more music is likely to join that. Another game has joined those in the library, Football Manager 2020. It's curious to be going back to that series. It's one that you can have on in the background while doing other things.

I think it's time to put a marshmallow order in actually. And a ugears order too :-D.

Back to Elitecember - today's theme was Imperial and one task I'll look at doing over this week is levelling up the Empire rank. I'm currently at Baron with another 5 ranks to go before reaching the rank required for their biggest ship. I thought I'd try somewhere new ...
That's the Odo approaching the Pew-1901 station in Aditi. That's a system a little off to the edge of space and I figured it would be a good place to go for missions that just go to the local systems. Didn't work out.
Nice looking station though.
Especially when you get inside. This is the Odo repainted in a more Imperial livery.
Last one.

Imperial stations can be pretty posh and I was lucky to not need to do much jumping around before finding this one. Shiny !

Friday, December 27, 2019

Elitecember Day 27 - Giant Gas Marshmallows

Hello everyone,

Back home again after the Xmas festivities. Tired, so no drawing from me for Elitecember today but I'll have some pics in a bit including some sketches that happened while I was away.

I had an oops when I left and realised when I was about an hour up the motorway. Realising when I'm an hour away seems like a standard thing for me. I forgot the advent calendar ! This could only mean ...
Marshmallows today !

The advent calendar had 2 doors remaining. On the 24th, we had a Mint Choc Best Chip marshmallow and for the 25th, a hot chocolate with marshmallow thing. The spoon remains and will be consumed imminently.

I've picked up some more goodies ...

Good little Xmas break. Tired now though. It was good to see the sister and blokes again and definitely good to see the mum. Many tasty munchies were consumed.

Items were procured, in some cases built and exchanged :
Tiny papercraft frog from the Jigzle people (of last year's Squirrel). This one went together much better than the squirrel. The shop had more stuff there from a place called Ugears and I'll be ordering something from them imminently too. More when it arrives and gets put together !
Good to see the dogs again too. Here we see my arm being a hostage to a rather tarty Murph who was definitely enjoying belly rubs. Let's see that from another angle :
Same rubs different day.
Icey was much more chilled out this time around.
Perhaps compensating for the Slurp Monster :-D.

I thought I'd try a little sketching again ...
Could have done with more light shading around the eye.
And the Icey one enjoying a little snooze.

Back home now, looking forward to some determined chill out time to recharge the batteries before going back in to work. I'll need to head out again at some point due to :

Need new shoes
And because it's not good for me to stay indoors for that long.

Elite pics ? 25th was missing because it was Covas, or voice assistant and I had no idea what to do for that one. For the 27th, the theme is Gas Giant and I've run in to a few of those ...
A ring around a gas giant on the way to the Rosette Nebula.
That's from when I restarted the character and found myself outside a station orbiting a planet in eclipse. Pretty.
Last one for today is where I found a moon on the verge of a gas giant's rings ... with a wonderful canyon to park by.

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Elitecember Day 26 - Life Support

Hello everyone,

Day 26 of what's now Elitecember !

Hope you all had a great Xmas and are heading into a food coma Boxing Day.

What's the theme for today ? It's life support today.
I like his spirit.

Hopefully you all had sufficient cake yesterday. Perhaps too much :-D.

The ships in Elite are set up a bit curiously when it comes to life support ... and a lot of that is down to gameplay mechanics. Your commander flies the ship wearing a flight suit ... but the air they breathe is ship air. Suffer enough damage to the canopy and the glass screen separating you from the outside will blow out and then you're down to what remains in the emergency supply to get home. And that's better or worse depending on how much cash (and weight) went into the life support system.

I don't think I actually have a shot with the canopy blown out (It's not something you want to do too often). As well as the air, you lose the external Head Up Display references too, as the system attempts to project them on to glass that isn't there any more. This can be a problem ... Although not as big a problem as it could be as there are other references you can use.

Add that to the limited amount of time left to get to safety and it's nervy times. It's not like you can get out and push when you're in a spaceship :-).

Anyway, that's it for me for this Boxing Day (erm - actually writing this on the 23rd!). May add more later.

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Advent Day 24 - Porg Moon Party

Hello everyone,

Day 24 ! What's the last in the Star Wars collection today ?
Last in the set is a Xmas Porg.

These critters came in for the last few movies, apparently because the island that those scenes were shot on was covered in Puffins and instead of trying to shoo them away, they CGI'd them into Porgs.

But ... what's that in the background ?
What's happening around that fire ?


Oh dear.

Don't look.
You looked ...

Today's Elitecember theme is "Moon" and I've found a few of those over the last month or so ... Will our Dwagon Commander find one ?
Is there a face in that moon ? Dwagon wants to check it out.
I found this curious little arrangement. The planet is off to the left and the moon is just about visible eclipsing the sun over to the right. Can we get a better look ?
That was on heading in to this couple of planetoids.
And on the other side. Little moon is in eclipse again.
And a little potato moonlet seen from the Captain of Elysium.

Not sure if a post will come out on the 25th, we shall see what happens ! The Elitecember theme for the 25th is Covas or Cockpit Voice Assistance. I have one idea of what could come out for that but it would need a considerable stepping up of my skills to bring out what I have in mind. We shall see !

Addendum - I forgot to bring something with me ! No marshmallow advent calendar today. Catch up when I get back.

Have a great Xmas everyone.

Monday, December 23, 2019

Advent Day 23 - Butterscotch Gonky Shields

Hello everyone,

Firstly, before I dive in, the next few posts are going to be a little weird in how they come out. I'm not sure how much writing chance I'll get over the next week so I'm writing them in advance and hopefully adding in an update or two. This one might be a little shorter than usual too, because I'm actually going to be writing three posts now !

Day 23 ! What's behind the doors ...
It's a favourite of the original movies, the Gonk droid wrapped up in festive colours. You can get a Gonk droid now (and an R2D2) with motors in from the Lego people. (Linky) It's the Droid Commander set. Shop around though, you can get that set so much cheaper than the £180 that Lego are asking. (More like £125 from a local shop).

It's another set I'm very curious about ... but space is even more of a factor with this one.

The marshmallow is another Butterscotch marshmallow.

We've hit the last of the Mass Effect posters ! I think they've been pretty good. They borrowed a decent amount from other scifi but they created a wonderful universe for Mass Effect, that you could happily lose yourself in. And the games did an excellent job of letting you do just that. I must play through them again some time and do that journey again.

The Elitecember theme for today is Shields and after getting his shiny new Sidewinder yesterday, the Dwagon wants some defences for it.
I don't think those are quite the right kind of shields but his heart's in the right place.

I was enjoying doing some combat in the Fer-De-Lance acquiring some more pictures for this theme ...
Ockali there was about to have a really bad day as their shields failed and the guns started chewing into their hull. The combat damage looks fairly spectacular in game, as lasers leave molten scars in the hulls of your enemies.
But you have to get through those shields first. This over curious (aka canned scripted lines) fella was about to get a surprise as my guns lit up those shields.
And another enemy feels the force of those multi-cannon. This one was firing back though, my shields are a little down and the distortion starts coming in on the displays.

I didn't win all the fights that day (I was very surprised by how effective a little fighter was) but it was a good day in the Gingery Nonsense.

Back tomorrow for you with more of the saga of the Dwagon Commander.

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Advent Day 22 - Cookie Emblem Sidewinder Guard

Hello everyone,

I may have opened Stellaris again today. This is very dangerous. I have managed to extract myself from it though. (Smells were coming from the kitchen and I didn't want that to turn into burny smells)

What's behind the doors ?
Milk and Cookies again today, with someone who I think is a guard of some kind. Ah ha ! Jays Brick Log comes through again and it's the pilot of yesterday's Cloud Car.

The emblem in the background is for Commander Shepard of Mass Effect's N7 space marine organisation. The best of the best and all that.

Before I do Elitecember's theme for today, I'm going to mention buying stuff. Elitecember includes a quick drawing today ! Hurrah, drawing soon. Natter later. Or natter first. I think part of my brain is still subjugating the xenos in Stellaris. My neck definitely is.

I'm seeing the usual offers pop up for places like Steam, Humble and I'm even on the Epic Games store as well now. But I haven't pulled the trigger on anything yet. Probably very soon. I think it's because I've collected a bunch of games that I just haven't played and acquiring more seems like a waste. Maybe I'm being more careful with my money. Maybe I'm thinking of house stuff that needs to be acquired. The cooker is the latest. It still cooks stuff actually quite nicely but the fan's died on it. Just means you cook things for longer.

It's Amazon too ... I haven't bought any new music for a while. Probably soon, when I come back from the Xmas break. Posts are going to be a little weird over the next few days by the way. I need to do a couple more drawings, including another attempt at a real face ... We'll see how that works out.

For now though, the Steam cart has 4 things in it :
Far Lone Sails - a charming side scrolling adventure game.
Stellar Tactics - a promising looking space strategy game.
1000 days to escape - a fun looking game about getting Earth's population to escape before a calamity hits
Motorsport Manager DLC - something I'd avoided so far but it's only £1.50.

Fuzzy playing Alien Isolation has me more curious about that game again. Surprisingly though, it's only on the standard 15% off sale on Humble and not on sale on Steam. Must look at Amazon again.

Elitecember's theme of the day is the Sidewinder :
That's going all the way back to the start of my character and the ship is the Money Spider. The tiniest ship in the collection that's still a full fledged starship.
There's the one from my previous save, named Humility.

The Sidewinder is essentially just a box with a hyperdrive on it. A small, get you going ship. Nippy. Couple of guns, bit of cargo space. You could get going quickly in it doing fast courier missions between neighbouring stars.
Dwagon's first starship if you will. He looks excited. may the little ship do him proud.

See you tomorrow !

Saturday, December 21, 2019

Advent Day 21 - Elite Elite Gingerbread Cloudy Reaper

Hello everyone,

Advent Day 21 and what do we have :
There we go. Another gingerbread marshmallow, being a cloudy base for the Bespin Cloud Car from Star Wars today. Nice little model, one of the best of this bunch. I put in last year's Cloud City (and cloud car) model too, just behind there.

Today's Mass Effect is more concept art from Mass Effect 3, where the enigmatic and relentless Reapers have arrived to wreak terrible destruction on the sentients of the galaxy. They were a group of machine AIs, which would return every 50,000 years or so to wipe out all those sentients who were beyond a certain level of sophistication and it's our turn when Mass Effect comes along. The DLC of Mass Effect 3 adds a little more backstory to what we knew. Must play through the games again sometime, although I have that "I have many other games unplayed ... it's a shame to go back to one that's been finished".

I've been having another flying day today. For nebulae, I thought I'd run an expedition* that's popped up with the title "First Nebula Circle For Rookie and Salted" and it was a good, quick 13,000ly or so around a small selection of the nearby nebula. (One issue - there are heavy permit locked zones between two early waypoints and it needs a bit of a zig zag).

*Expedition - this is something that EDSM tracks and assists in the organisation of (Linky). I don't join in with the multiplayer aspect but I have enjoyed using them as a series of waypoints to find Shiny Pretty Things In Space.

But before that, today's theme is "Triple Elite". I'm not quite there yet :
Getting closer though. I reached the rank of Elite Explorer earlier in the year. That's gotten a lot easier since this character restart, mostly due to the vast improvement in the exploration system. There's a full list of the ranks at this convenient link. A bit more trading and I'll hit Elite in that one as well (Tycoon is the last but one rank) but combat will need more work. That'll come in time. Expert in combat is the middle rank with Master, Dangerous, Deadly before Elite.

But I do enjoy the exploration more than the combat or the trading. Where was I today ?
A slightly moody shot looking on at a very distant Rosette Nebula.
Little bit of ring surfing along the way.
A spectacular close up of the Rosette.
And heading off again. I was very curious here about how the cockpit was casting a shadow over the bow of the ship.
The Python isn't supposed to be that good at exploration, because the jump range isn't as extreme as some ships ... but the Odo's Courage has done me proud. There's still an almost 54ly jump range on this one, although I was missing the detailed surface scanner and didn't fit a rover bay. It was handling neutron star transits very nicely without being bounced around as much as the Asp or Orca were.
Next stop was a little teaser of the Jellyfish Nebula.
And closer in. I have to say I'm loving the Predator paint jobs. I switched the colour out before this run started and the more purple shades have been very pretty.
There was no rover on board but I thought I'd still try and get a landing in. Gas Giant is peeking over the horizon as well.
And we're off again, this is what I was seeing while heading through hyperspace to another neutron star.
The game allows for some truly spectacular shots.
Finishing up for today, the last stop on the trip took me to the California Nebula.
And looking back at the sun.

That's all folks for today ! See you tomorrow and if you're disappearing to Xmas festivities, have a great holiday.