Saturday, December 26, 2020

To Live and Die in Alpha

~or "A Day in the Life of a Citizen"

Contemplating Cargo

Now that I have a few weeks' experience in Star Citizen under my belt, having learned at least the basics of this game's mechanics… movement, flight, fight, object and NPC interaction, having joined an "Org" (equals a "Corp" in EVE), having flown and fought in my own ships and flown and fought as crew on other players' ships, I feel it is time for a Noob Post from Stanton.

I have tried FedUPS (“Box” Delivery) Contracts, I have tried PanHandling (FPS mining), I have tried Trading (Cargo Hauling), even went to prison once... I was INNOCENT!! I was FRAMED I tell you! I have been jumped by “Nine Tails”, the NPC pirates in Stanton, I was able to run away a few times but twice I fought back, and to my surprise, won (against NPCs, mind you). I have been attacked and assploded by players... but I did have a CrimeStat at the time.

Top Left corner, RED = 1st Level CrimeStat

A CrimeStat or Criminal Rating, is similar to SecStat in EVE but implemented very differently. What I had was the First Level, about a 1/5th level CrimeStat, this is equal to getting approx a universal -6 SecStat to EVERYONE in EVE, thinkaboutit...

So I was fair game for all, a fair "kill" possibly with a bounty payout, I do not actually know much really other than how really hot the explosion and fire was right before/as I flash froze in space… Seems there is nothing in SC like EVE's infamous "Kill Mail"… oh, and corpses can’t be scooped either, can’t say I really miss that little piece of the only First Person gameplay in EVE… corpse collecting.

UPDATE: Corpses can NOW (in SC v3.11) be “scooped”... well, searched for loot then dragged out and “airlocked” to hide the evidence... (this is SOOOO much better than a can of corpses!!!)

Random Body found in a station... I SWEAR I didn't do it!

Yup, I dragged him into an elevator and out to a random landing pad

This is such a drag... (Death Dad Humor LOL)

There he goes... potential misunderstandings with the Po-Po, solved

So I am by NO means "Up to Speed" and fully versed (LOL he said versed) on all aspects of the Star Citizen 'verse, but what I AM is "Up to Trudge" on the bleeding edge aspects of BEING a Noob IN SC, and that is saying more than you might imagine so...

I am going to share a Night in the Life of Tur in Star Citizen. I will journal everything I do and everything that happens to me from the moment I wake up, (login) to when I throw my clothes on the floor and fall into my rack like a dead thing (logoff).

I will tell you a tale of surprises, wonder, fear and loathing and the aUEC made (or lost). I will chronicle the highs, lows and glitches (both known and unknown), the dreaded 30K DC and the truly weird shit like retrieving your Cutlass Red to find that only about 30% of it actually shows up on the landing pad...

I doubt that will pass a safety inspection...

So this then is A Day in My Life in Alpha...

I wake in my rack in my Cutty Red on the pad at Port Olisar. Yawn, sit up... scratch balls, stand up, scratch ass, stretch then spend a few minutes in the head…

Wakey wakey, eggs and bakey!

The Hab area just aft of the cockpit, 2 racks and a wet head

(yup, it says SIT)

Uh huh... Yes, I did

Let's see... what to wear??

This is fast becoming my main suit and weapon loadout

Ready to get to work...

OK, I didn't actually take any notes... so this will be off the cuff and as I remember it. The Bad the Good and the Weird.

The Bad

Basically, I had only one 30K all day today (which is near unheard of TBH) and only lost one shipment of cargo and that was not lost to the game, I was assploded by a player at GrimHEX station. Totally my fault, I took off and didn't have a warp point set so when I burned to clear the rocks near the dock, I also cleared the Armistice Zone... then I heard the “radar lock” alarm a split second before I was getting hit and hit hard... I tried evading, but in a stock fit Cutty RED I was outclassed and dead in seconds.

During the course of the day I had visited GrimHEX several times without incident, prolly why I was slacking that time. I can guarantee I was not lax the next time! After I recovered my Cutty RED and was prepping to depart, I had a player lock me up while I was still in the hangar... I think it was the same guy, floating just outside the edge of the Armistice Zone, figuring I was a noob, which I am, but I'm not a noob to gankers and space pirates! Anoikis and BOB don't suffer no stoopid pilots!

So I eased out of the dock at a crawl, just 5ms... I had already set up a warp to Olisar, so I slowly aligned and let the Q-drive spool all the way up... then I went to full burn and punched it! Warped out right past him.  =]

Something else happened today that I had only read about... A player tried to steal my ship right out of the hangar while I was there. It seems Shipjacking is a thing in Star Citizen. He followed me into my ship in the hangar bay. I don't know if he followed me up in the elevator or was lying in wait in the hangar but he tried to get past me and into the pilot seat... I barely beat him to it. I waited until the ship was auto-stored and that kicked both of us out and back into the Ship Terminals area. WHEW!

Had I not read up on that I would not have recognized what he was up to and he most likely would have taken my ship and cargo to scrap and sell or just joyride till it died.

I saw him there when we both respawned and watched him immediately follow another player into the elevators... I yelled out a warning (in Proximity Chat) to the player, I don't know if he heard me but as the elevator doors closed I gave the Shipjackin asshat a salute...

Our weapons may be peace-bonded, but this aint'!

The Good

Made some aUEC... I really dislike that monetary designation. aUEC stands for “alpha United Earth Credits”. It does not sit well in the mouth... “Ay, Yoo Eee See”... (I also keep wanting to say “ISK”, but this AINT EVE that's for sure! LOL).

So just FYI and personally, henceforth I will be using “CR” as my abbreviation for “aUEC” and I will use the word “credits” instead of “Ay, Yoo Eee See”.

So, I finally did bank a few “earned” credits today. I didn't keep track, and I still can't find my “Wallet”, or the SC equivalent but I do know I started the day with 145,204CR and ended with 159,068CR so over the course of day I made 13,864CR. I do not know if this is good or bad, I'm just a noob, BUT... it's close to 14,000CR MORE credits than I started the day with and keep in mind that includes one full cargo loss to a player. All I can say is that in the last 4 weeks loggin' out with a profit of any kind has NOT been my usual experience so I'm pretty happy over all.

There is one other thing I need to tell you... I bankrolled this venture with an ingame Holiday “thing”... The “Luminalia Gifts”.

"Luminalia", a Banu Tradition adopted, and commercialized, by Humankind

These little green and red “presents” are/were scattered all over the stations, worlds & moons of Stanton during the holidays. These can be collected, and sold... for 1,000CR each. Caveat, they were “supposed” to be sellable... but there was a “glitch” (go figger) which was only fixed a few days ago... <sigh>, Life in Alpha...

Needless to say once I realized the glitch was fixed, I spent a fair bit of time running around like a madman all over Olisar, GrimHEX, New Babbage, Loreville and anywhere else I landed, searching for and selling as many of these as I could find...

This was rare but did happen, 9,000UEC just lying on the floor...

(Just FYI, I threw all of these away, before they fixed the bug)

More often in dark corners and places most of us just “run” past...

This was how I built my first all ingame bankroll...

I ended up selling enough to put me somewhere north of 100,000CR and THAT allowed me to start trading in earnest. I could finally afford to lose a shipment or two and not have the losses take me completely out financially. I could finally afford the capital risk to get into trading, and maybe even create a little profit too, which I finally did.

What I am Trading and Where

I have settled on mainly two player created Metatools, Galactic Logistics and SC Trading. So far these two used together have given me decent results, well if you count 14,000CR as good for a days worth (say 5, 6 hours) of trading that is.

I setup my runs like this in “SC Trader”...

Starting port + Cargo capacity + Number of runs

Then I use Gallog as a check on the details for each station, port and commodity.

Starting at Olisar, buy Med Supplies for 17.25CR/unit

First stop, sell Med Supplies for 19.25CR/unit

So, as you can see here, I run Med Supplies from Crusader/Olisar to Microtech/Shubin Mining Factory, then Astatine (gas) from Shubin to Clio/Rayari McGrath Research station, then Agricium (??) from Rayari to Delamar/Levski, then Iodine (yuch) back to Port Olisar! Rinse and repeat.

I have found you can't always “fill” your hold with say Medical Supplies, they may not have enough in stock, so I use the Gallog data to find fill-in cargo if I can.

One of the “real world detail” things I like is that your ships, and you, require fuel, IE, Hydogen, Quantum fuel and food & water. I have yet to run out of ship fuels. When I am setting a course, I always look to see if there is a Lagrange Point R&R Station near to my flightpath. I always set my course with a stop off on each leg to top off fuel and repair if needed... and I'm still learning, so yes... there are times repairs are needed...  LOL

Did something just fall off my gorram ship?”

Scotty, the Yard Manager says, “Dinna worry, that'll buff right out!”

As for human fuel... Well, I kinda din't know and sorta ignored the little fact that in SC “you” need food too... so one day a few weeks ago, when I was seriously broke, like “1”UEC to my name broke... like could not afford water broke, this happened...

Things get harder to do when yer slowly starving to death...

It's hard to describe but I feel that the devs at CIG have found a way to make you feel like you (IE, your toon, character, avatar) actually are sick... colors separate and vision gets blurry and it really does negatively impact gameplay... I was quite surprised and seriously amazed. Talk about your Real World Consequences... this was delightfully unexpected.

And, The Weird

OK, so we players are used to NPC's not behaving in realistic ways, we understand the devs try to balance the NPC code, realistic actions versus server load and things like “clipping”, where you slip through walls, floors, etc.. We get it. And SC is still very much in Alpha and all of us who actively play accept that. But it does add an interesting touch of the strange to your gameplay too...

One of my biggest issues early on was my Cutlass RED got borked somehow. I was unable to retrieve it from storage, well, at least not “all” of it for about 3 weeks.

Three weeks of this...

And yet, sometimes "art" just happened

Fascinating, yet also consistent

And sometimes, educational too

Now a few words from the NPCs...


Hmm, less messy I guess

OK, I realize GrimHEX is an outlaw station but really... get a room!

I got trapped between the elevator doors and that little inner gate... <sigh>

Twice! Now trapped inside the elevator door itself!

One day I logged in and as the game loaded I found myself stuck to the ground, outside, I know not where. I was unable to “Get up” yet I could move my head and upper body a bit... I tried for quite some time in the dark to figure this out... then I realized it was getting lighter... the sun was rising. So I just layed there and watched the sunrise... Ahhhhhhh...  then I Backpaced back into the game.

A strange form of beauty

So, that's what a day in the life in Alpha is like. Well, I know it's more a post about gameplay in SC than an actual chronicle of events over one day, but it gives you a feel for what you might run into out in Stanton system.

I must say even with all the bugs, glitches, crashes and such, it is still THE SINGLE BEST MMO(RP)G gameplay I have ever experienced. Period, full stop, 'nough said. And yes, for me personally it even has EVE Online beat hands down. Sorry CCP, it's just the way it is.

One technical note, for them as interested, The Dreaded 30K is a Default Server Timeout error msg...

The Infamous 30K

My time in SC has taught me the 30K is a major thing ingame, so much so it has become a meme.

I have experienced days where I lost count of the 30Ks... seriously, 10, 15, 20 per session. But... now I “seem” to have beat that back a bit. I have experienced only 1 30K per session in the last 2, 3 days of playing.

What changed you ask? Well, first, if you follow me you know that I recently bought a Dell G7 7700 gaming laptop specifically because my 9 year old laptop simply could not run SC, you might say that had a net positive affect on my gameplay...  =]

Second, the G7 came with a Rivet Networks, “Killer” Wi-Fi 6 AX1650 wireless network adapter. This has an app, the “Killer Control Center 2.0” that can be set to disable a whole bunch of background apps in order to free up memory, and it does seem to work. There was a noticeable difference when I started using it.

Third, back during the Feb 2020 DDOS attack on EVE, I tried using a VPN account (Proton VPN) to get back into EVE. I decided to try it with SC and yes, this too seemed to have a noticeably positive affect on connectivity and gameplay, so much so that I now run the VPN all the time and have seen a serious drop in 30K's and a tad more stability across the board in SC. It loads the launcher faster, it loads the game faster and as I said, I crash out one helluva lot less now.

OK, so that is it for now... I hope the few of you who did not faceplant right into your Wheaties while reading this Wall-O-Text (w/ PIX!) enjoyed it and one or two of you might will take another look at SC. I am a fan boi alright, and proudly so, it's an amazing game and ambitious as all hell.

I mean, what other MMO(RP)G offers this level of immersion hmmm....?

The View from the Head, while in warp... =]

Fly it like you stole it, cause maybe you DID!


Friday, December 18, 2020

My Cutty RED


My Cutlass RED, the ERS Frigate, UEE "BONES", by Drake Interplanetary

When I decided to play Star Citizen and become an active backer of and blogger about this game, I started with a ton of research.

Primarily I researched the currently available ships in the game. The reason being quite simply I wanted to recreate what I enjoyed most in EVE. By this I mean I wanted a place of my own, a player owned station or ship I could actually "live" in, 24/7/365.

You see in EVE I was a wormholer. And if you know EVE that says something. I have been to EVE Player meets and when asked, “So, what alliance?” my reply, “No Alliance, we're just a small wormhole corp.” caused an amazing real world response once... the guy asking and another player both actually took a small, unconcious step back... and the response to that is always something along the lines of, “Oh... You guys are weird.” ...this from EVE players.  =]


This is because in EVE there are 3 "official" levels of Security, but I say there are really 4... Hisec, Losec, Nullsec and Negative Sec. NegSec is “Wormhole space” AKA, my beloved home by it's proper name, Anoikis.

You see in Anoikis:
(1) There are No gates. You have to scan down random wormholes, warp to and BM, then gird your big boy panties and jump the crazy marble... into a space where there are NO rules and NO rulers.

(2) There is No “local”. If you do not broadcast, you do not show up. THIS is the one that really kills most Empire (Hi, Lo & Null) players. They just can't let go of “perfect local intel”.

(3) We can use every tactic, and many that are unique to our space, AND we can use warp bubbles! There are no gate or station guns and NO NPC police or military.

(4) There are No NPC Stations... well, none you can dock at.

The NPC's in Anoikis, “The Sleepers”, are the toughest in the game and as I said, there is NO game generated safety in wormhole space, it IS the deadliest space in EVE. Hence in wormhole space the rewards from active and passive PVE have always been the highest in EVE.

So... this is where I lived and died for 9 and a half years in that game. We bought a Large Player Owned Station, anchored it, fueled it, powered up the 30 kilometer wide forcefield bubble and armed it to the freekin' TEETH... then our little corp settled down and lived full time in that Large Minmatar POS, "Serenity Station"

It was OUR HOME. We payed for it, we fed and watered it and kept it strong and healthy and we defended it when we had to. It was our home in space.

The Defense Plan for “Serenity Station” our Home Station

So, I want that back, and for now, it's gonna have to be living aboard a ship... and the ship I decided on is the “Cutlass Red”.

It's an Emergency Response and Support Ship. It has one really schweet feature. Between the cargo hold at the rear, and the cockpit forward it has a MedBay with 2 Autodocs. Wherever you are, as long as you have selected an AutoDoc as your “Preferred ICU”, they will be your respawn point if/when you die.

So if one is mindful you can live in this gameworld, I hope permanently, in your ship... even if you die. This would please me infinitely.

OK, time for some screenporn...

In warp... (top view)

Just beautiful...

Front view

Port Side view

Loading Ramp (Rear view)

Starboard Side Universal Rescue Airlock, extended (Portside also)

Ready for takeoff at Grim Hex...

Notice the Rotating Nacelles?
(Remind you of any particular Ship?)
Out into the black...


Let me show you around... float after me.

Cargo Hold, facing fwd (12SCU capacity)

Inside the MedBay, facing aft

Setting “Preferred ICU”

Starboard Side Rescue Airlock and Cockpit Hatch (looking fwd)

Cockpit, Pilot berths, head and hatch to MedBay (looking aft)

Cockpit, view from the bunks (looking fwd)
Cockpit, in warp
Cockpit, View Fwd from the Head (yes, you can sit on the john)

Yes, I feel I can definitely live in my Cutty RED quite comfortably. As a matter of fact, that's where Tur is right now.

You see, I messed up last night and got a CrimeStat. It's only Level 1, so I'm not being hunted by the law and I could try to land somewhere and pay off the fines... but I am flagged as an enemy with a bounty to lawful citizens so I'm fair game for the players, especially when outside of the Watchful Eyes of the Law (IE outside of the Armistice Zone).

It's late, I'm wanted, I'm broke so no paying any fines for me, and I'm tired. So I decided to "go to ground" as outlaws say, hunker down somewhere remote.

I warped out to Daymar and flew down to a random Emergency Shelter then burned hard for the mountains in the distance. I finally saw an interesting canyon system and flew down to take a closer look and YES!!! A small tight box canyon!

Nice and secluded

Climbed the cliff to get this shot

Once around the perimeter then hit the rack

Closing her up for the night

So all is good. I simply could not be happier. This reminds me so very much of those early days in EVE with my son's and a few close trusted friends when we moved into the first wormhole we shared with another small corp. That same heady excitement and wonder at the newness of it all, facing the unknown and so ready for this new journey.

Life is good again in Tur's world.  =]


But... THIS is what I REALLY want, this is now my goal in Star Citizen.

OH     MY     GODS

The Pioneer. A self-contained mobile construction yard, capable of creating planetary modular structures, ushering a new wave of aspiring colonists to customize their new homes on the frontier.

I'm broke, gotta a quarter tank of fuel, half a cigar, it's dark and I'm wearing a spacesuit...

Hit it!