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Elite Exploration

BrixmisBrixmis Posts: 1,729
Project 2501
edited May 19 in Games and Apps
Getting well  into my second month of exploration along this route:



If you get fed up with bugs or mundane missions in the Bubble, it's well worth heading out into the black. Taking your time, doing a sesh whenever you feel like it, with no stress, no time constraints or targets - just cruise and do what you like. I'm out here with Commander Hazardous Matt and another companion, and so far my undiscovered system count is at 134. Yes, that's 134 systems that will have my commander name on them - and an awful lot top-up for the bank, and I'm nowhere near the end of the journey yet.

First, we met up at the "bottom" of the galaxy (or top, depends which way you look at it!) and then headed towards the Lagoon Colonia Highway stop. From there we headed out towards the NGC/War & Peace Nebula. There were quite a few undiscovered systems along the way - but not much that was spectacular or particularly noteworthy - just regular systems, 65 undiscovered in all. When we got to NGC, I found that all of the systems from 20LY out had been discovered.

Whilst we sat there, wondering what to do next, I came up with the route in the picture above, and Matt was keen - so off we set. Since leaving NGC, almost every system I have come across has been undiscovered and there has been lots of nice screenshot material. Planets of all kinds of colours, werid huge gas giants and silvery, mirror-like rings, not to mention very spectacular looking nebula clouds.

Here are some screens from along the way. I'm only at stage 2 - and there are another 11 to go yet! Seey sometime around Christmas.... maybe! ;)



See these clouds on the galaxy map?:



Well, they are there in the galaxy, too:




Planets are often coloured based on the clouds around them - like this one:



A typical system, ripe for scanning and imprinting with my name:



...and in many cases, they are just a few light years from each other, all in a nice, tight cluster:



You can see the nebulae we are heading for - it's almost like joining the dots:



these are a couple of the nicer ringed bodies - the second one is actually a shining Brown (Tauri) star and was very spectacular in-game:





This is where we are now - was a little reluctant to enter this aggressive looking cloud - but no worries, apart from cutting out some of the light and actually obscuring some of the neighbouring stars, it's quite harmless:





All of this, not even half as far away as Colonia - so you don't have to go that far to find it, and find 'fame' in the form of your name spread across astronomical bodies in the galaxy.

And it's so much more relaxing... B)




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Comments

  • ChazmeisterChazmeister Posts: 436
    Trinity
    Nice, good to see you're still out there and still at it. I haven't played it for a few weeks now. Been too busy doing the motion controlly Touch thing with Fallout and Skyrim etc.
  • Greylock3491Greylock3491 Posts: 2
    NerveGear
    Love playing Elite in VR, wish they would add true Touch support
  • BrixmisBrixmis Posts: 1,729
    Project 2501
    edited May 22
    Nice, good to see you're still out there and still at it. I haven't played it for a few weeks now. Been too busy doing the motion controlly Touch thing with Fallout and Skyrim etc.
    I've been trying to do that, too, but so far been pretty disappointed. Gun Club is one which promised a lot but has been disappointing due to implementation. The basic concept is fun, though.

    I also tried some of those virtual disco ones and they just left me laughing too much at the silly AI groovers to actually do anything!

    Playing rFactor via VR desktop has been good fun, though.

    Here's a couple more shots:

    This is the nebula I'm heading for next - wish I could visit the two white ones, but they are outside the galaxy, so unreachable...



    this is a smart looking ringed class II



    Progress is very slow due to the amount of decent and undiscovered systems. I gave up counting at 157 systems.

    Exploring in the Clipper is very different from what I've done in the past - the humongous fuel scoop means that I have refilled before I've finished the initial scan, so can either get straight on to the next jump or start detail scanning. It's like exploring in a limousine instead of a Beetle.




  • ChazmeisterChazmeister Posts: 436
    Trinity
    I find also the exploration can be very slow once you hit the properly unexplored parts of space, especially if like me you tend to try and scan everything that you can with in reason and don't just cherry pick the best paying objects.

    When you've had enough of that, I could do with some one of your flying skills to teach me how to play IL2, because I'm terrible at it. Just taking off is hit and miss right now as trying to control the rudder on the plane in the training scenarios feels like mission impossible.
  • BrixmisBrixmis Posts: 1,729
    Project 2501
    edited May 28
    No problem - be happy to. I've done quite a bit of flying online with IL-2 BoS and it works very well.

    May I suggest watching some of Sheriff Sim Shack's "How To...." vids on YT. I learned the best way to fly certain aircraft from his vids.

    I'm just about to arrive at the 3rd of 11 destinations in E:D, so I have quite a long way to go yet - but just give a shout when you want to fly IL-2.

    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCEOoU9PxkXEmsFdzrbvx37A/videos?view=0&sort=p&shelf_id=5

    Edit: oh forgot - I only fly the allied aircraft - have never even tried the 'enemy' ones :p




  • ChazmeisterChazmeister Posts: 436
    Trinity
    Contemporary or historical allies and enemies?
  • BrixmisBrixmis Posts: 1,729
    Project 2501
    Well seeing as it's a historical sim...




  • BrixmisBrixmis Posts: 1,729
    Project 2501
    edited May 28
    I'm currently approaching the third nebula cloud - and it's a pretty spectacular show. These are from the first 3 nebulae:

    (note: you can right-click on the images and select to "View Image" to see a larger image than here in the post - just press 'back' to return to the post)





    Looks just as dramatic on the galaxy map



    Exited today on arrival in this undiscovered system:




    I'm finding that all of the systems within a nebula cloud have already been discovered - but on the routes between them, virtually none have. It all depends on the jump range, and this is where using a slightly shorter jump range comes in really useful (39LY in our case) - because you land on the systems that others with the biggest jump they can get, haven't.













  • BrixmisBrixmis Posts: 1,729
    Project 2501
    edited June 11
    Still going strong - now up to the 7th nebula - only 6 to go. Even then, after all this time I only just found my first undiscovered earth-like world - and a couple of undiscovered neutron stars.

    Ship is beginning to look the worse for wear - but still 86% hull integrity, so a long way to go before needing attention...



    ...and here's a few more shots from deep into unpopulated space - the furthest I've been towards the middle of the galaxy:







  • BrixmisBrixmis Posts: 1,729
    Project 2501
    One more stop and it's the last nebula of the tour.

    I've changed my mind about going to Colonia, though - I'm going to stop in at the last port on the Colonia Highway and hand in all the cartography data and get my ship serviced, then I'll head directly to Sagittarius A - the centre system of the galaxy.

    Then I'll return, via the sceneic route, to Colonia and set up shop for a while.





    In the 4 years I've been travelling the Elite: Dangerous galaxy, I have never once come across an undiscovered neutron star - but in the last couple of days I have stumbled across 10 of them! Mind you, only one single Earth-like world in the several hundred undiscovered systems I've scanned on this trip.



    Cleo is definitely in need of a scented bath....






  • SkScotcheggSkScotchegg Posts: 578
    Neo
    edited June 21
    Thanks for update mate, out of curiosity are you playing in VR only or on a monitor as well? Do you do both?
  • BrixmisBrixmis Posts: 1,729
    Project 2501
    Only in VR - I had a long pause on 2D (had the game 4 years) but when I got my Rift it was like a new, far better, game and I've not stopped playing it since.

    When my Rift was being replaced, which took about 2 weeks, I played in 2D and found it awful - so I stuck to exploration then, as it's a lot easier than combat etc on the monitor.

    I just arrived at Polo Harbor a short while ago and finally got my Elite rank - plus a nice 320,349,560 credit! Well pleased. Of course, there's a also now several hundred systems with my name on them, too :)

    Before:




    after:





    and my new destination:



    Though I do plan to have a short break first and play something else in VR for a while before setting off.





  • ChazmeisterChazmeister Posts: 436
    Trinity
    Not a bad little haul for a bit of exploration. I still can't bring myself to make the trip out to Colonia though. I've only ever made 2 trips out and I only got 5k ly out each time and that was about far enough as far as I was concerned at the time. Maybe the new exploration changes in .4 will make it more rewarding to do so, ie as in terms of the actual activity.
  • BrixmisBrixmis Posts: 1,729
    Project 2501
    edited June 24
    It's more rewarding in cash - but I think they have made exploration way too easy now. The dangers are minimal - the only way I suffered damage was my own fault (apart from the gradual damage from neutron jumping). Things like forgetting to slow down before repairing modules or dropping too fast. Or reaching for a coffee as you're approaching a planet and the emergency stop kicks in. Planet roving in the SRV is also not the fun it once was - nor anywhere near as rewarding in materials.

    These days you can drop out of jumps at full throttle and suffer zero damage, whereas previously that was a death sentence. Being able to repair just about everything, having easy refills for the AFMU and heat sinks, not to mention the oxygen supply - it all adds up to a much easier experience. The only challenge now is not letting boredom set in. I originally went to Colonia because it was challenge just to get there - it took a minimum of 10 days and you had to know your stuff to survive it (and I wanted to join that 'club'). Now it's considered a simple cruise and there are plenty of missions to deliver stuff or people there and back. It's just not the same.

    It's about time we had more to worry about.




  • ChazmeisterChazmeister Posts: 436
    Trinity
    Brixmis said:
    It's about time we had more to worry about.

    Yeah but knowing Frontier, that'll probably be a system of taxes and self assessment forms and high penalty inspections. You know, the bad kind of worry.
  • BrixmisBrixmis Posts: 1,729
    Project 2501
    Let's see what the big update brings later this year. I think that will decide how much Elite I'll be playing for the next year. I can't see myself returning to the Bubble by the end of the year - I've decided to pull out of the Distant Worlds II expedition as I don't see the point any more and won't be back for the start anyway.
    I'm hoping for the long mooted Tharg attack on Colonia.

    For now - only 155 jumps left to Sagittarius A   :|




  • BrixmisBrixmis Posts: 1,729
    Project 2501
    Finally got to Sagittarius A* - it seemed a helluva long haul from the last highway station, but never mind...



    ...and now it's a 192 jump trawl to Colonia :(     Oh well, could be worse - at least I don't have to go more than double that back to the Bubble (yet).

    That's the second last item on my Elite bucket list completed, only Plaeides left to go - and if the Thargs turn up at Colonia I won't even need to bother with that. Here's hoping.




  • ChazmeisterChazmeister Posts: 436
    Trinity
    Pleiades is only about 1000ly from the bubble, you could easily do that on the way back.
  • BrixmisBrixmis Posts: 1,729
    Project 2501
    edited July 7
    What I am planning to do is head for Colonia now and spend a while there. It's possible that the Thargs will make an appearance. It was mooted a while ago, in the weekly news round ups (on Galnet - I listen to those when I'm out in deep space) that they might be intending to probe the defences in the Colonia area. That's one of the reasons I decided to head in that direction.

    If they do, my main reason for going to Pleiades will be void :)

    If not, I'll be heading to the Bubble to pick up my Chieftain before heading out there. Don't fancy my chances against the Thargs with an unarmed Clipper ;)  (I'll be buying a Python for knocking about Colonia with, then sell it before I head back - if I head back...)




  • ChazmeisterChazmeister Posts: 436
    Trinity
    edited July 8
    For the Thargs you need something with good armour rating, as their weapons do hull damage through the shields and burn out the shields pretty quick anyway. So you want a hull tank basically. Oh and don't forget to pack some AX weapons. Not that I've done any thargoid blasting myself but I keep meaning to, as the bounties on them are pretty good by all accounts.

    The Pleiades is handy for Thargoid blasting as it's only 10 or so jumps out there from the bubble and even then, there's quite a few stations and things out there now anyway. So if your home base is a t Shin D, it's not too much of a pain if you need to go back swap ships and re-fit.
  • MowTinMowTin Posts: 1,027
    3Jane
    I can't imagine doing 192 jumps. ED is an open world game with a galaxy-sized map. The problem is that nothing interesting happens as you travel the map. There's no emergent gameplay that develops as you travel. You don't discover new alien civilizations or encounter strange anomalies. 
  • ChazmeisterChazmeister Posts: 436
    Trinity
    The problem is that the galaxy is so big, that if you came across something odd and interesting every hour or two, it would mean the galaxy would just be crammed full of stuff like that, which just isn't likely. For me that would kill immersion in same way the planetary POI's currently do.

    Drive along a planet's surface in a 20-30km stretch and you'll come across nearly half a dozen POI's of wrecks and dumped container caches etc. It's just overkill due to the way it's implemented. They are changing planetary POI's in the Q4 exploration update though and completely scrapping all that for something better and more realistic. There's going to be something like exploration probes that you fire down to map out planet surfaces that will pop up any POI's of interest such as wrecks geological activity etc, and they'll also show material concentrations etc. It all sounds very good. My only contention, is that the idea they showed of it is a little reminiscent of the planet scanning in Mass Effect 2, and that became a massive chore and was awful. Right now the idea is that you slingshot probes down into the planet surface to map out areas of it in a circular radius around where your probe has landed. Problem is, like with ME2, if you have to fire off a dozen probes to map every planet, it could soon get really tedious. I'd much rather have to guide a single probe into a looping satellite type orbit that then maps the planet surface. It's still all in concept stages though, so it might well change. Oh the same probes will also be used to map out rings for mining materials too in a similar fashion. So it all sounds cool, but they just need to ensure it doesn't become another massive grind.

    For galaxy exploration what's needed maybe is some sort of long range system scans you can do that perhaps give you percentage chances of something unusual being there, or a rough estimate of the types of bodies in the system. Maybe they're working on something like that, I just don't know. As usual the info they let out is little snippets here and there. Then of course there needs to be interesting stuff to find, which you'll be glad to hear they are working on too. The example they showed was a nebula cloud with electric storms in it etc. They still want them to be reasonably plausible and not too fantastic.

    Also they're going to be implementing some sort of codex, where stuff like ruins sites and things like that will be catalogued. Whether this will also include player discoveries as they happen or previously discovered systems, I don't know.

    All the info here is in this vid if you want a gander. Also some really good stuff about the new mining changes coming up. As in you have to crack the asteroids open to get at the good stuff. The exploration stuff is at about the 24 min mark and at 39 min mark there's some really cool shots of the new planetary graphics, the ice planet visuals look stunning. Well worth a watch start to finish to see where the game is headed and the cool stuff they are doing.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=52kOyADxK5E&t=3246s




  • BrixmisBrixmis Posts: 1,729
    Project 2501
    edited July 10
    MowTin said:
    I can't imagine doing 192 jumps. ED is an open world game with a galaxy-sized map. The problem is that nothing interesting happens as you travel the map. There's no emergent gameplay that develops as you travel. You don't discover new alien civilizations or encounter strange anomalies. 
    This would be nice, yes - I often think so myself. I used to love coming across crashed stuff on planets in the middle of deep space - but then they are no different from finding stuff in the Bubble, and they should be. For one, why is there a beacon in the middle of nowhere? Give us a story to go with the wreckage, please, Frontier!

    192 jumps isn't that much, though - and as I've got the Elite rank for exploration, scanning is just about money now - so that's how I see it, a cash cow. It's also only half the distance from the Bubble to Colonia, which is some 22,000LY (though you can use the "highway" stations to stop roughly every 100 or so jumps for that).

    Having said that, yesterday I wasn't even in the mood for Elite, yet managed to get 42 jumps along the way in one session - moslty honking and jumping but still stopping to scan good earner systems. Normally I would scan all undiscovered systems, but I've been out here a few months now and starting to get a little fed up of the scenery :)

    Like Chaz sez, hopefully the big update will improve things. The planetary missions are in dire need of change, they have got so ridiculous. I'm also finding that roving surfaces with the SRV, which used to be lots of fun, if a little repetitive, has become a real chore. There are far too many "mogelfields" now (as in Skiing) which are simply awful to drive through and in addition, I'm not finding anywhere near as many useful materials as I used to in deep space. As a result, you fill up your 500t of common materials really fast, but your 100t of rarer stuff remains 90% empty and you keep coming across stuff you can't pick up at all. Like iron or nickel, etc. Even on planets that are supposed to have a reasonable amount of the material you are looking for, the chances of actually finding it seem to have diminished way too much.

    PS - it would be just awesome to come across an alien ship now and then, in deep space - just flying around, doesn't need to be any interaction (or could send some simple messages via comms) - anything would be better than nothing, and as we have the Thargoids, it's not as if humans are the only life form around.




  • ChazmeisterChazmeister Posts: 436
    Trinity
    Brixmis said:

    Even on planets that are supposed to have a reasonable amount of the material you are looking for, the chances of actually finding it seem to have diminished way too much.

    PS - it would be just awesome to come across an alien ship now and then, in deep space - just flying around, doesn't need to be any interaction (or could send some simple messages via comms) - anything would be better than nothing, and as we have the Thargoids, it's not as if humans are the only life form around.

    When looking for the rarer stuff go for craters. I usually find it's much more abundant there. You're still up against the rng though, but generally after an hour I can get a pretty good haul of the rarer materials on a planet. There are some exceptions like Technetium though which you rarely see in quantities above 1% even. So if you're lucky enough to come across a 1-3% Technetium deposit on a planet, get down there and blast rocks like there's no tomorrow.

    It would be awesome to come across a derelict alien ship, but even if they did put a few in there somewhere, your chances of coming across them are so miniscule because the galaxy is just so big. There is of course still the restricted area of space that they haven't opened up yet. My guess is that they have plans or are working on putting stuff in there. Probably Thargoid bases and homeworlds to attack at a guess.
  • BrixmisBrixmis Posts: 1,729
    Project 2501
    edited July 10
    I forgot, another way in which exploration has been made easier is with Frameshift Drive integrity.

    When I started exploring, as soon as the FSD got down to 89% integrity (usually due to neutron jumping @ 1% per jump) the drive would start malfunctioning and there was no guarantee of being able to make a jump at all, until the module was repaired in a station or usually, with an AFMU.

    Now I am finding that the rate of deterioration is slower, but even worse (or better, depending on your point of view) is that I've been down to 80% integrity with no ill-effects whatsoever. I don't know how much lower it can go, or whether they decided to bin this feature altogether, but it adds to the feeling of invincibility whilst exploring. Which again, makes it more tedious.

    136 jumps to go now :) Could make it tomorrow, with a concerted effort, as I've done a 105 jump journey in a single evening session before - but I've slowed down a bit now and am scanning more bodies. I'll take it on a day by day basis.

    Question is, what to do when I get there? I hear mining can be very lucrative in the neighbouring systems.




  • ChazmeisterChazmeister Posts: 436
    Trinity
    I'm doing a spot of mining at the moment in my refitted T9. It's still tedious. Zap rocks for a bit, then wait for a bit longer for your drones to pick up all the bits, zap some more etc. Really do make sure you have a collection limpet controller that can handle two limpets at a time, as you'll really regret it if you don't. You only need one prospector limpet at a time, so don't worry too much about that one. Even with two limpets collecting, it can be slow going. I don't know how people manage to mine in smaller ships as the amount of equipment you need plus free cargo space for the limpets and mined cargo is quite considerable. I also really don't know how people make loads of money from this either, as the whole process takes ages. I've taken a wing mining mission at the same time to try and boost my creds, whilst I work my way up to the required 500 units mined to unlock Selene Jean.

    However as in that video I linked to, mining will be getting a bit of a boost at some point, it's just that right now it's still pretty dull. The occasional bit of fun when I need to set my SLF on a pesky pirate and occasional bring my weapons on it too. I usually wait for a few moments when I first jump into a spot to see what arrives before I start mining. At asteroid belts if there's trouble about it will be there when you arrive or seconds later, and once you take care of it, that'll be it. Rings can be a bit more random in that respect and trickier to mine. The asteroids in the belts are stationary and are easier to mine and present very little difficulty. The ones in the rings rotate, so you have to be more careful how you position yourself when mining so that the spinning asteroid doesn't take out your drones when they zip in to pick up the fragments. All stuff to consider. Pristine metallic asteroid belts shouldn't be too hard to find out where you are though.
  • BrixmisBrixmis Posts: 1,729
    Project 2501
    edited July 11
    I think I posted a long time a go that I wanted to try the then new mining system (might have posted that at Mudspike), but I still haven't got round to it. The last time I went mining was when you could get a maximum 4 chunks from any single rock and had to collect them in the scoop :)

    So thanks for the tips - it'll be a learning experience.

    I got a reply to my previous mining enquiries - wherever they were - about mining certain rare materials and belts near Colonia that were very lucrative, especially when sold at a particular station somewhere a few systems further away. I must try and find those posts, as that is what I'm hoping to do, rather than the standard pot luck method.

    Footy's done for the next 4 years - so back to the Galaxy now...




  • ChazmeisterChazmeister Posts: 436
    Trinity
    Yeah, asteroid fields are easier, but I think rings are the more profitable option but a bit harder due to the spinning rocks. Basically you want to try and line yourself up with the centre of it axis of spin and it's harder than it sounds. Some of the more valuable minerals like Low Temperature Diamonds and I think ones like Painite can only be found in rings too.

    To go mining properly now, you'll need a refinery, preferably with about 8 slots. A prospector limpet controller, you only need to manage one at a time really so go for a single shot one with a long time limit. You don't need a prospector limpet controller, but obviously it gives you the info of the asteroid's mineral content and more importantly it also increases the yield of the asteroid if you use one. Lastly you'll also want a collector limpet controller that can at least manage 2 limpets at a time. Fitting more limpet controllers increases the amount of limpets you can control. If you're out for a couple of hours at a time you'll want about 50 limpets with you. You'll also need space in your hold for your cargo once your refineries have processed enough fragments. As you use up your limpets, you will of course free up more cargo space. On anything but the large ships, fitting out for mining can be a bit of a juggling act.

    Once you've assigned your limpet controllers and mining lasers; to mine basically point your ship at a nearby asteroid and fire a prospector limpet at it. Select the limpet to see the content of the asteroid. If you wish to mine it, try and get within about 250m, it means there's less travel time for your limpets and still keeps you at a safe distance. DEPLOY YOUR CARGO SCOOP, if your collector limpets come back to a closed scoop you will lose the item they were carrying. Deploy your collector limpets. Start zapping the asteroid with your mining lasers and drag the beams over it to break off fragments. Your collector limpets will automatically start picking stuff up. DO NOT SELECT INDIVIDUAL FRAGMENTS, as this will engage the single use pickup mode of your limpet collector and it will use up a limpet on the single selected fragment. Once you have depleted the asteroid move off to another one and fire off another prospector. Your collector limpets will follow you at a reasonable speed. If you close your cargo scoop whilst moving, remember to open it again when you start blasting more rocks. And that's about all there is to it. For the good money spots, you really want pristine metallic rings.   
  • BrixmisBrixmis Posts: 1,729
    Project 2501
    edited July 12
    Sounds like decent advice - thanks again.

    I was thinking about this as I carried on towards Colonia last night - it's a shame we can't invite individuals to crew our ships (or can we? - so far I've only used the general invite function) else I'd invite you along to give me a demo :)

    Wondering whether to store all my special bits from the Clipper and use that for mining or look for something else. I remember the last time - the old method, of course - I used a Viper. I know it's small, but the scoop was very easy to use on that, and my thinking was defence - and it worked very well in that respect. I'm also thinking of buying the Python and kitting it out for mining, with a couple of heavy weapons to ward off undesirables. Probably a bit OTT, but can't think of something more suitable that is available there.

    93 jumps to go - more than halfway there! :)

    Oh - I know this is quite old now, but found this whilst researching the subject:

    https://eliteccn.com/mining-in-colonia/

    and this:

    https://forums.frontier.co.uk/showthread.php/410039-Protecting-Colonia-(Mining)





  • MowTinMowTin Posts: 1,027
    3Jane
    It would be awesome to come across a derelict alien ship, but even if they did put a few in there somewhere, your chances of coming across them are so miniscule because the galaxy is just so big. There is of course still the restricted area of space that they haven't opened up yet. My guess is that they have plans or are working on putting stuff in there. Probably Thargoid bases and homeworlds to attack at a guess.
    You can solve the needle in a haystack problem by having a signal sent such that if you're within X light years of a site you get a signal and can find the location. The larger the signal radius the higher the probability that someone will find it. 
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