August 17, 2006

I should write some more

Anyway .. a heap's been happening in space land. The universe has become much more vast and contains much more life. It's a joy to be around I tell ya. That's not what I am writing about tho, so let's get to it.

I had the most bizarre thought the other day. Know how there's all those galaxies out there that we can see and all those alternate universes people reckon exist, one for every decision or difference made. What if they're the same thing ?

Imagine that we can only see the galaxies that are reasonably similar to ours, say for example where life evolved on Earth to the point where humans exist. All the other galaxies are the famed 'dark matter'. The reason it's in halos around the galaxies is pretty simple - it's similar but there's not much life there so the matter's not visible to us but we can 'feel' it.

So in other words it's all there, but because it's not something we could see (if it existed we would not) .

Maybe I'd had too much to smoke .. dunno. Makes a weird kind of sense though.

July 30, 2006

Public !

XFP has finally gone public..

June 13, 2006

S'bin frickenages.. 'choobindoon .. man ?

Yeah, all right .. I'm sure my massive audience has been going home every day and kicking their dog 'coz I ain't posted in a while. Well, maybe not. So what the hell have I been doing ?

Funnily enough, lots. Firstly in a most exciting sequence of events I've wound up doing some pretty big work jobs over weekends involving replacing all the PCs on a site where I work (2 days 10ish people 2 floors and 300 computers .. fun ..) so that's taken 3 out of the last 5 weekends. As a side effect of this of course there's well money for working my arse off (what little of it there is). eww fuck hang on a sec some real tripe's just come on the headset .. OK now that's more like it, an extended mix of Bomfunk MC's 'Freestyler'.. then maybe some black eyed peas (My humps .. my humps .. yes tell me more about them, please!).

So anyway my poor PC's been invaded and had some of its guts ripped out, new guts added, more flashy stuff (I finally got a motor that should run a disco ball .. whoohoo !) so the upshot is I've now got 2Gb of quick DDR RAM. The aging NVidia 6600GT/128 has been ditched for a (eww) ATI x1600Pro/256. I just prefer NVidia. Nicer logo, smoother gear not that I know any more than anyone else does these days. In real terms I've doubled my RAM (video and system) and beefed the video power up by about 1/3. Not bad for under 300AU.

In addition to this I was so friggin' sick last monday it wasn't funny. Fine on Sun and gradually improving from Tues, but if I wasn't spewing I was sleeping. Except for the 15 minutes it took me to hang 3 towels on the line (requiring a half hour nap on the path) that was all I did. Best flex I've had in AGES.. it had everything .. vomit, poo splatters. sleep. Marvellous virus.

So what else have I been doing ? ? Well I've hooked up with a bunch of X3 freaks, all of whom have a bunch of different skills, and I've been doing some design but a lot of testing and learning ..

Suffice to say that after adding 70+ ships, many stations, and extra depth and flexibility to the game where we think it's needed (and incorporating very many popular additions (mods)) we're getting a little closer to releasing it each day. So anyway I found at starting my testing session, I was a version out so I'm now downloading just under 50 meg so I can test it .. which is why I'm actually -at- the computer -and- have time to post.

More when I get chance, Firefox tells me it's finished. Go the 'fox !

April 22, 2006

Things have been slow

I've been doing all sorts of odd things lately, like playing Star Wars : Empire At War, V8 Supercars 3 ( I miss that one, it's way cool but I only borrowed it) as well as the old favourite Guild Wars. Guild Wars has an add on coming out in a week and I can hardly wait. X3's a lot of fun don't get me wrong but as I am sure anyone can understand, a bit of variety isn't a bad thing at all.

Anyway suffice to say the X3 empire's still growing, Paranid are still becoming dead, and all in all the universe is a hell of an interesting place to be. I'm not really 'doing' anything just flying around and taking on whatever I see .. but combat practice is never a bad thing ! :)

Here's a pic of the UFO in case I've never posted one before..

April 11, 2006

To fill you in ..

Well firstly I should recount one of those 'ofark' moments. Those who know me will have heard this one already so apologies in advance.

Anyway as I am pretty sure I've mentioned, there's a variety of missiles you can find that show as 'unknown' and sell for a significant sum (like 80K). Anyway at some stage recently, I've collected one.
Also recently, I ran into a bunch of Xenon, including a P, which is one of their funkier M6 craft. Armed with my trusty 'stick I decided to take 'em on.
Hurriedly (as you do) I saved first when I realised it may be a good idea - no point in seeing what the P was capable of the hard way. The closest Xenon was about 2K away at that time. They were heading for me so I was not travelling that fast .. no point in rushing the inevitable .. and there was less chance of getting swarmed if I stayed away.
Anyway as I grabbed the stick I hit the missile fire button. Since I didn't have it on loud I didn't hear the announcement, or if it did, it didn't register.
A couple of moments later I was close enough to start firing on the Xenon with a PSG. That's the weapon in the last post, the cyan glow. It's essentially an expanding ring of hurt. Good for lots of small fast bastards.
By the time my first shot was expanding, it was around 1km away. Oddly, that's the same range as the aforementioned missile. The hapless Xenon were now 1.5Km away.
In essence what happened next really took under a second. However in the 'ofark' of the game time continuum some things happen painfully in slomo.
There was an almighty bang.
Each and every Xenon ship turned to a ball of flame [at this point I realised I had fired the missile]
"The End" came up.

Had I realised that thing was in motion I'd have just run. There is a reason that they sell for the price they do .. anything within 5km of the point of the blast is obliterated. The split second of Xenon on fire was just the time it took for the blast to reach me .. maybe 3 frames total. If I'd known, I'd have run and tried to hit it with another faster missile from a larger distance.

So anyway here I was, head in my hands, headset on, laughing at myself with 'the end' on the screen. And I wonder why my partner thinks I am mad.

So anyway I reloaded that save, took the Xenon on and got my arse handed back to me, and to add insult to injury I didn't score a kill.

On another note game wise I've basically given the Paranid hell. They despise me. It's fun taking their ships and cargo. I've done part 1 of the 3 parts of the next mission, which involved entering Xenon Sector 101 (sounds like a TAFE course doesn't it ?) and finding a small bit of cargo near an M0 wreck.There was about 50 bits of crap floating around, and luckily I only collected 10 before I found the one I needed. Even in a Discoverer which is the second fastest ship, I had a lot of trouble collecting cargo and keeping clear of the hordes that were around. Since then the Disco has been renamed 'Xenon Hero'. Much as I'd have liked to take that missile in with me then .. the Disco can't fire it. On the way back to Argon Prime I found a PBE factory (Pulsed Beam Emitter - next weapon "up" from a HEPT) which pretty much rapid-fires extremely fast and painful blasts. The Xenon L can carry it, but not the Nova, which I have appropriately renamed "Le Poobox".

I sure hope that a freighter counts for the same as a fighter .. otherwise I ain't doing myself any favours combat rank wise. Some of the ships are M class rather than T, but not many. Those that are M class can usually outpace the Nova, so I *finally* repaired the Xenon. It's a bit quicker but not much. Besides that, it looks way cooler.

The Xenon, loaded with 2 APBEs and 2 each of B and A PACs has been granted the honourable title of "Feral Wombat" in appreciation of prior service, including barely surviving several near fatal wounds, helping me find half the universe, and likely a third of my kills. The original Buster probably got 1/5. the Nova 1/3 as well.

March 30, 2006

It's alive !

Any concerns I had about the complex have been allayed .. I stopped it whacking anything over 100K back into my account, and in a very short timeframe had just under 230K in there, so I am sure it makes a few bucks ! In addition to this I've been getting used to my new joystick and it rocks. It's a Logitech 3D Force Pro. 12 buttons, 3 axes, throttle and POV hat. Since you can put commands on 'press' and 'hold' a button, this allows 24 commands on the stick. Then consider that some commands are allowed to overlap (eg you can't select a target at the same time as you're docked and selling stuff) I can use the same buttons for different functions in different spots and you can see how it took some getting used to.

Anyway last night I tried an assassination mission. This was me in 'Le Poobox' (the Nova) since the 'Feral Wombat' (the L) was out of commission until I did some serious fund raising (560K to repair! :( ) .. so I've taken to violence for fund raising (surprise surprise!) .. this one put me up against a TL (station transporter .. huge) and 4 Perseus (Paranid M3) ships. From just over a K away it looked bloody huge. I looked at the beloved mouse and keyboard but saved and grabbed the stick.

Suddenly in the zone .. blessed with the powers of an ancient, caffeine fuelled gamer late at night, the stick and I became a ninja-powered force of death. Feeling my uber gamer prowess in full swing (or maybe I was just tired and stupid :) ) I decided to hug the large ship and draw fire into my target as well as hitting the bugger with a few of my own weapons. This meant a dogfight star wars style around a rather large ship.

This may give you a good indication of scale .. I'm a few hundred metres away still here. However you can see a missile hit (ball of fire lower right) which is the same missiles you've seen earlier leaving an M3 coated in flame.

This last shot is of a few blasts from a PSG .. note the lovely spirals of death it inflicts on anything in its wake. It's not that powerful but it's excellent defence against inbound missiles.

And lastly .. the dude telling me that he's happy I killed the mofo and here's some credits.

Since then I've left the L docked and used the money to outfit another freighter I managed to capture from a Paranid (hehe !) which I now have doing the old distillery run. Beyond that I've taken out any Paranid I have seen, and done a few 'fly me around' missions where speed is the most important factor and made a little dough that way. I've also had my Fleet Tender travelling around sectors collecting any ore it can find .. it's raked in a few hundred units which should be a good earner when I find a desperate buyer .. and I am happy to have the ship keep that cargo until I do .. especially with all the other stuff going on. I've not had time to think about the next mission even.
I think I can manage to live without the L for a while .. if only I can get a Crystal Fab on my complex instead .. then it'll rake in the dough. I hope. :) Meanwhile I am happy to have fun doing what I'm doing. The freedom in this game's the best part !

March 28, 2006

X3 : Fugly Complex !

No .. it's not a condition, though it IS something I have but wished I didn't .. :) Suffice to say I can't seem to work out how they get laid out 'attractively'.. Anyway in that tangled mess is (all Medium sized) Solar Power Plant, Wheat Farm, Cattle Ranch and Cahoona Bakery.. I added the SPP last night as I found it was chewing more power than anything.
The production cycles are quite simple really :
Wheat Farm + Energy = Wheat
Cattle Ranch + Energy = Argnu Beef.
Cahoona Bakery + Energy + Argnu Beef + Wheat = Meatsteak Cahoonas [basic Argon food]
Solar Power Plant + Crystals = Energy.

The Meatsteaks will be handy in the later phase, I first need to get this complex self sufficient .. So the 2 ships I had on Energy supply suddenly found themselves shipping Crystals. This worries me a bit, as Energy's cheap at 12-20cr/unit depending on supply. Crystals, however cost 1,684cr/unit. I hope that you get a fair few energy cells from a crystal .. otherwise I'm gonna lose cash faster than I was ! :(

Since I already have both a Silicon and an Ore mine, these are what is required to make Crystals (from memory) - of course combined with a rather costly Crystal Fab (4 mill) and some energy .. so in a nutshell once I raise the necessary cash my mines will cease trading with the public as well. Realistically it should leave me with a nice self supporting complex which I can use to feed any workers in factories. Mines are robotic so there's no need to feed workers.

Once I get the food happening, I can then start making weaponry. Mmmm .. profitsss.

This image is a 'Plasma Shockwave Generator'.. best way to describe it is you fire a little ball .. which explodes and expands. Anything in the nice cyan smear gets belted. From a distance it looks like a funnel if you have a ship firing it constantly, it's a very pretty weapon, good against large numbers of weak foes really, though I must admit that I've had my arse handed back to me a few times as a result of messing with people carrying them.

Not once I get a Particle Beam Emitter on my Xenon L.

Oh, speaking of my L.. he got his arse handed to him bigtime. I'd never really taken much interest in missiles. I've never really had much luck remembering what one is guided and which isn't - I just use them to make things more visible and to get their attention when out of the range of my other weapons. Well I got hit 3 times mid battle with some missiles. You don't know what they are .. it could be a pathetic mosquito missile (guided, fast and 168cr).. to a hammerhead (shows as 'unknown' but unguided, slow, and 80,0000). Basically it hits and anything within 5km is pretty much vapourised, but since I get 80 K to sell them .. I've been doing that. My trusty L with its 75Mj of shields suddenly went from "quite healthy" to "exceedingly unwell". No shields, hull at 14% top speed of 42 (as opposed to 123) and half its systems and weapons destroyed. Now that's going to be bloody expensive to fix. Problem was I'd done some good stuff in between saves and did not want to lose it (my Universe Trader and Fleet Tender were under attack by a horde of pirates .. in 10 attempts that was the best outcome).

And just to make it much more fun I got a Logitech Force 3d Pro joystick for my birthday (26/3) .. once I get the config set 'just right for me' I'm gonna really toast some Paranid ass. After seeing some of their ships, I think I want some. Shame they hate me so much now I can't even visit any of their sectors without getting fired upon.. let alone dock and buy energy cells.. Piracy does have its drawbacks ! Intolerant three eyed pious bastards, those Paranid. I can always find some and convince them to bail. I'll have to see what a new Perseus looks like, the X2 ones were awesome.. quite Cylon-ish, whereas now their general appearance seems to be like the Bitmap Brothers' artwork on some of their games.. metallic, rounded and kinda old style.

March 21, 2006

X3 : Pretties

If there's one thing X3 does well, it's eye candy .. all it needs is the vapour trails from X2 ;)

A Xenon L (Mine) copping a missile hit ..

This one just looks wicked. Especially animated. It's from a cut-scene tho.
A Paranid (piloted but Argon built) Freighter getting caned.
A blast of Beta PACs (Particle Accelerator Cannons) from 3 dodgy evil Space Pirates Of Doom (for 2 of whom, the last thing they heard was my cry of 'EAT HEPT PIE ALIEN SCUM!")

An Argon Buster
A Crystal Fab
This one is a Nova on fire. Pretty.

Besides that I've just been trying to make money. No big hauls as yet though.

March 20, 2006

Advancing the Empire

Well kinda. I've basically been sticking to safe areas for a while, occasionally jumping into pirate sectors to kick some butt. I am still vastly impressed with the 1.4 patch so all's well on that front, the game runs a treat even with PSGs firing away. Those and Ion Disruptors are nice for crowd control, though you need to be careful that all of the crowd's unfriendly at the start .. they're certainly not friendly if you hit 'em !

In addition to that I've also added a second Xenon invasion mission to my list of accomplishments. All I am going to say is that it was a hell of a lot harder than the first. I had to keep jumping back to the gate to get away from the onslaught. It's not as if 3 or 4 Xenon ships (like I faced the first time) are much trouble, but 20 or so are, regardless of how well armed and shielded you think you are!

Beyond those few things I've done little .. well I've gotten myself 2 more ships which are now helping keep my complex happy. I am not sure whether I should wait until I can afford a Solar Power Plant, or add another factory .. which will increase energy requirements .. and maybe another ship (3 buy already!) .. with keeping updating my ships I have about 2 mill but that should improve quite fast now.. I hope, otherwise I'll be tempted to add something else before a plant!

March 19, 2006

X3 .. the progression

Well .. since I've been away I've not had a lot of time to play. Between UrQuan Masters and FEAR, my gametime's somewhat stretched. That said I found the 1.4 patch for X3 (I love you guys!) and it seems all the issues I've ever had with the game which really are as minor as slowdown in some sectors with lots of asteroids, occasional crashes on loading saves after the game's been running a while and a slowdown when a particular class of weapon is fired. Each of these has gone, and now the game runs sweeter than it did before, autopilot is better and the game doesn't feel bloated anymore. Not that any of that stopped me !

So with the proceeds of my raiding Paranid ships and having a few ships working for me I managed to raise a couple of million credits and bought myself a Wheat Farm, Cattle Ranch and MeatSteak factory, then joined them up in a complex. Essentially this joins all the factories together with "tubing" and adds a docking bay to them. The advantages are many, including the fact that you only need to transport items outside the factory. So if all 3 were separate I'd have to have 2 ships for each .. one taking Beef from the Ranch to the Meatsteak factory for instance. Now the items are automatically transferred and I actually only need 3 ships, 2 buying energy (until I can add a Solar Power Plant to the complex) and one selling Wheat .. I leave the beef to be collected by ships other than mine .. I don't need it :)

Even though I've spent about 3 million credits on my complex I have not taken a photo yet. You'll have to make do with the one above.. which is me kicking a Paranid's arse.

Since the patch it seems pilots are much happier to bail from their ship and indeed I've managed to capture about 10 ships, most of them M3 and M4 class which means there's a nice little earner in there. I've already made my money back from the complex pretty much including the ships. The main concern I have is that a medium sized power plant costs about 4.5million credits then I found a large one for sale at 29million.. so I felt a little better. The thing with a power plant is that's the main bottle neck in the economy, energy cells can't get around fast enough, so supplying your own power is a big bonus. You do need crystals to make power but they seem to be easy enough to obtain.. and if not it's easy enough to manage. A Crystal Fab needs Energy, MeatSteaks and Silicon. I have a Silicon and Ore Mine, a Wheat Farm and the complex ('Wombat Alpha' : Wheat, Cattle, Meatsteaks). I have started maxing my transport ship's holds now too. Since it costs 516K to fill out a ship properly, that's where a lot of my credits are going.

Me ? I'm kicking back and letting all that run itself at the moment. And playing Pirates and Paranid. Fun game :)

A week away ..

I went to Sydney to get trained in SAS. Not the army type stuff (which if you've read any of my blog you would not think that :) ) .. but SAS the database / mainframe software. Ah fun.

March 06, 2006

X3 update ..

X3's had a lot going on and I've been so keen to play I've not had any time to blog ! Shit happens :)

At the end of the last post, If I Recall Correctly (IIRC) at last post I have 3 factories, and one Sector Trader (ST). I had sold the majority of my ships, and was happily scouring Argon space.. watching money roll in! Ah, the life !

While that was going on, I went and did the next mission which involved me taking a small spydrone on a rather perilous journey through the inside of an asteroid, dodging scanners moving in various ways (red lines). Without giving too much away there's a cut scene at the end of a rather perilous flight that tells you something rather important in the plot. Afterwards there's an invasion and one of the races decide to blame all of the others, and bar them from their 'Core' sectors. Anyway since they won't let me fly in their space, I won't let them fly in any I occupy and shoot them on sight. There was quite a few of them in my current sector after the mission so I decided to take them out.

Most of the time they drop garbage cargo and are no more profitable than basic food units, and I have less luck persuading freighters to bail so I pepper them with a few / lot of shots and then hassle them to drop freight. Anyway as you can imagine, a "small" drop of freight is enough to quickly fill my little fighter, so I call my sector trader in to hoover up the goodies and I sent it back to sell what of it I could. I suddenly found myself a nice weapons trader. Once I started comming him for goods he started dropping some wonderful things, like 1 and 5 MJ shields, worth 5 and 20K each. The station would only take 30 at a time but there was over 600K of clear profit. Even though I hate the Nova it's the only thing that will carry an Ion Disruptor which I will explain later . . .

Suffice to say I wound up buying myself some more ships and equipment, so I have replaced my Raider with a proper freighter. All 3 factories are making tons of money. The Silicon mine is a bit all over the shop but I recently pulled 160K from it, and that's the first time I've looked since I saw it go as low as 15K.

My most recently purchased ship has been completely kitted out and is now following me as a fleet tender, which means basically I put all my garbage in it that I collect. It means I have to protect it all the time, but conversely I can be out longer and carry potentially thousands of weapons / hundreds of missiles as well as my spoils. I now have a veritable pile of money, and I am planning on buying a power plant when I have around 5 million credits.

As the Teladi would say : PROFITSSSS!

March 03, 2006

Now that's a first !

Never seen that before .. Firefox GPFed just as I went to add a pic.

Grr.. post lost :)

Basically I've been selling all my ships and now have only 3, my trusty L, one Nova and one Octopus.
I have bought 2 factories and deployed them in good places so both are making money.
I've also gotten myself 3 freighters so that I can manage the factories. Annoyingly you can have one selling or buying, not both :(

So now I have an Ore Mine, Silicon Mine and Wheat Farm. This means I am making food and some basic resources essentially. These can then be used to make other stuff as an example since I am producing Wheat and can get energy easily, I could place a a Cloth Rimes factory, which needs both items. Obviously the closer it is to each of them the better.

As a finale I went and did another asssassination mission. Basically I've found I was always repairing ships or having one sat waiting for me to be able to repair it. The money in those things was pretty good (I got 1.5million for one of the Novas). I have a bit of it left over, but I am holding onto it until I can afford a power plant. At a measly 4.5 million it'll only be 5 minutes before I can afford one .. not ! :)

March 02, 2006

Governments and packaging

Where I live they've decided that we need pictures of cancerous organs and stuff on our cigarette packets. So shortly I will be able to buy a packet of smokes with an extremely graphic picture of someone with mouth cancer (and extremely festy teeth) amongst other impressive biological abominations.

Why are smokers singled out ? We're a captive audience. After all we're going to buy them anyway. Most of what we pay goes in taxes to the government and finally .. I bloody well KNOW the cause cancer and other illnesses, I know they're ugly, do I really need to see a picture of decaying lungs on the packs ?

First up a link to the story itself - be warned the picture is foul.

Now to be fair there's some merit in the idea of making them extremely unappealing to younger people, but I really feel that there should be some levelling in all this and make sure that nobody wants to do other dangerous things.

Here's some ideas :
Alcohol : On anything containing alcohol let's have a nice advanced case of cirrhosis of the liver.
Aspririn : Someone bleeding to death
Extra (and any other "laxative effect" items) : A steaming pile of mushy shit.
Anything sharp : Someone with an amteurishly removed digit
Power Tools : Somone with an amateurishly removed limb
Anything anyone might be allergic to : Any pcis of the worst allergic reaction possible
Anything electrical : A pic of someone being fried
Stoves, lighters, matches, electric pans, toasters, someone with third degree burns
On a seedling tree in a pot at a nursery : a house crushed by a fallen tree
On some insecticide : Vomit (in case you want to eat it)
Packets of carrots : Vomit (if you eat a few they make you hurl, trust me)
All cholesterol high food : nice fatty blocked arteries
New cars should have a big picture of a shocking accident on them.
Trucks .. picture of a couple of dead families just in case the driver falls asleep
Politicians should have money changing hands on the suits they wear
Cosmetic surgeons should get a pic of the worst of most overdone surgery anyone can manage.

That's a start. Anyone else want to suggest some more to little johnny ?
He should come with a pic of sperm since he's such a wanker.

OK rant over.

graphical Glitch

Just adding this pic to show a glitch I've never seen mentioned in the forums .. wonder if it's on my PC or all .. :)

Now you see it .. (just about the centre of the ship, a cyany square)

Now you don't.

March 01, 2006

My Lotus 123 X3 toy :)

My X3 Map and tool

Thanks to Dad for popping it on his page. My ISP don't give me web space (losers!).

This link is direct to a Lotus 123 workbook. Obviously that other program still using code it used in 85 can't deal with 123. I mean it can't even open 2 files with the same name. How you supposed to trust that ?

February 28, 2006

Chapter 13 .. Unlucky ? Nah !

The last few days as I have mentioned have all been about building my reputation in the starting areas, so that I can buy some more powerful ships. As it stands the Argon won't let me buy an M3 from them but these things happen, and anyway it's what the game's about - as it says : Fight Trade Build Think :)

While exploring as I may've mentioned I came across 2 more of those 'dumped' ships, a Boron Mako (M5 I think) and a Pericles Vanguard (M4). The first picture is the Mako itself, the second is one of both ships from my spacesuit whilst claiming the Pericles.
Once I had these I put the Xenon L onto autopilot and jumped it into a safe area and piloted the 2 craft back with one protecting the other and called into the first equipment dock on the way to kit them both out properly which cost a nice sum of 250K once I'd kitted them out with everything.

Over the course of my return journey I met about 5 lots of pirates which the 2 ships got rid of pretty well considering they're only little buggers. I managed to capture 2 Novas as well thankfully (both for the 'new' ship and that it shortened the fight).
Both had some shields onboard, one had a couple of missiles, the other an AHEPT (pictured) which is a potent but energy draining bright green weapon.. too powerful for either of my current ships to use, but even so since I was in relatively safe space I decided to escort them back.

During the course of those battles my 2 newly found craft got a bit more than scuffed. Teach me to go brawling without my trusty Xenon L I guess. That I got my arse pretty well kicked and had vessels to repair had nothing to do with it. Serious :) The Pericles was down to 34% hull. One more hit from an AHEPT and pop.. even with full shields. Put it that way.

You reckon that's scary you should see the bill! Just under 500K to repair both.. so I left them at the dock and jumped into the Harrier for some bulletin board scanning to find some rank raising missions. No real luck there, however the trader is doing well, and so is the mine. I've not lost any ships, only sold them, but I must admit to using a lot of salvage insurance :)

I have spent several hours in the Argon sectors continually looking for missions and found very few that I've been allowed to attempt, and amusingly although I have managed to take out an M2 craft with my wingmen (excluding the ones with damage :) ) in an assassination mission, I've never remembered to save afterwards .. and then died by some stupid means like crashing into an asteroid.. or in the case of the one pictured, not doing it in time :)

On a more interesting note, satellites are so cool. You buy them and they give you live sector information wherever you put them. It's hard to show how nice they look when animated but consider these 2 pics from either side of one .. now you see it, now you don't. The transition is kinda instant too :)

February 26, 2006

Chapter 12 : Stabilising ..

Over the last few days of play, I've gradually moved everything back into what I consider to be 'safe' areas which is pretty much all of the Argon sectors where you start. On the way from where my ship was, there were a few Khaak vessels which, with the aid of salvage insurance (save at any time)I took them out on the way in and finally got promoted to 'Fighter Chief' rank.
This means I get some decent missions to take on, such as assassinations but I'll get to those later. There's also a shot of some Khaak action. Note that they have 'proper' lasers - a nice funky beam that hurts you. When a cluster splits and starts laying into you from all angles you know it's gonna get nasty !

For now, suffice to say my Ore mine is making money, I've taken the starting capital back and it has 130K in its coffers. Still need another 500K before it 'officiailly' pays for itself but I ain't so fussy.
However I have bought something more expensive for my freighter.
In case I didn't mention it, I bought a smaller freighter to transport ore from my mine, and left the original one also selling for a bit, so it had 2 ships supplying and 2 unloading it. I have now reduced this to one each way, by putting one ship permanently on the distillery cash cow, and the other .. well I spent 500K on some software for it - yes the most expensive thing I've bought yet excluding the freighter itself, but now it can trade automatically in a given sector, just fire and forget. It need to make a million before it's paid for itself so let's hope !

Now it looks to be mainly cruising, managing my factory and other ships, while travelling around and capturing ships. I'll write a bit more detail later but there's the basics. Here's a shot of my entourage so far on a sector map. There's not much there really, besides a few ships. It'll be more exciting once I manage to get my hands on a big big big ship but that's ages away!

February 23, 2006

Chapter 11 : Guess who's coming to dinner !

Those bloody Khaak, I tell you. They're nasty intolerant bastards who should be shot. Oh, they are ? Great.
I know I've mentioned clusters before but while I've been hooning around I've seen some beauties. Check these:

Normally one Khaak is one little triangular segment, maybe 2 'blocks' of one of these clusters. The first two are huge, and suffice to say I did not get as close as the screenshots make it appear. Even with my 6 ships following me, I did not feel safe taking them on.
Little buggers like the one here are no hassle at all, there's at most 10 ships (one M3 and several M5s). That might give you an idea of why I don't like messing with them.
About the only GOOD thing is that when a cluster splits you get maybe 5 seconds where they're 'stunned' for lack of a better word, and you can usually time a missile hit so that the splatter effect gets many of the small ones.
That said it's still something not for the faint hearted if it goes wrong.
Historically game-wise nobody knows where the Khaak come from, they arrive, they kill, they leave. Nobody has communicated with them so they're very much an enigma.
The Xenon however are actually caused by people - apparently some terraforming droids were sent out into the galaxy at some stage .. and they became the Xenon, who are apparently self aware if not sentient. They don't communnicate either. Be nice if either one spoke gibberish at you, 'coz otherwise they seem very wooden. Scary but still wooden.

Chapter 10 : Repeating myself

What the hell ? Where's chapter 10 ? I know I wrote it 'coz people other than me READ it. Fnarch.

Oh well I guess I'd better put my rememberinationing cap on.

Basically since I posted (the time before last) I've been exploring, making sure I have as much of the map covered as I can safely reach, and generally finding what I can. Part of this involved going to the far south of the map, and opening a few sectors up down that way.

The first half of the journey was relatively uneventful, a couple of pirates, some stations to dodge and generally flying past asteroids. That is, until I reached a Split sector. Now they're definitely not keen on me, but they've not been overly hostile. Well that was until I entered some of their more central sectors. It seems on the borders they don't care who you are but if you're entering their home areas, rather than sectors they own, they're a little fussier. Anyway I arrived and got a "Bugger off or we'll kill you, you've one minute'" message.. So I left! The sector I had just come from was also Split, but it was Border. So, I spent some time in there looking for some stations to trade at, or more helpfully some missions to do. After visiting a few stations there were no missions and no moneymaking opportunities, so I undocked from the station and found a pirate ship nearby, so I went to snot it and gain some reputation that way. Once I got him there was another ship just in range, and a third one near it. Once I took all three out, I was advised I'd gained rank, so I decided to try the Split sector again.
This time, no message, and no reds. Err .. except for a lasertower in the centre of the map. I managed to get past it without getting hit but my 3 wingmen were not so lucky, they got attacked and then went it, as you would, but they failed. Losers! So I kicked its arse myself just to show it I was no pushover - I then reloaded my save and went through the sector the long way, staying out of range of the tower. In comparison my best weaponry reaches about 2.5km, so it's not something you want to mess with.

Much of the exploring I wanted to do involved getting to "lost" items I've learnt of, including more ships (apparently there are 12) and cargo. Using my trusty map based on all the other shite ones online, I made Lotus 123 draw the map up based on a database. This way I can add something and just click draw. No more screwing around with formatting. Yay ! As a result though, I've explored 24 sectors, found 2 ships (an M4 Mako Raider and M4 Paranid Pericles) and also captured 2 Falcons and 2 Busters. I sold the captured ships to make some money to spend on outfitting the 2 ships I found. In addition to the 2 ships I got some nice cargo, some big freighter shields (180K each) and some missiles which I am holding onto rather than selling.
This picture is of a bit of biffo with a pirate. You can see the shots I've fired in the centre screen (and a warp gate) and also on the monitor at topleft, said shots arriving where they're most likely not wanted.

February 22, 2006

The weekend away

Well it was good .. should at least write something ! :)

Firstly, I must admit I was not keen on getting the train from Wauchope to Wollongong but figured it was something I could deal with .. well not really, even tho it was 1st class on the XPT it was extremely uncomfortable. The seats were not something you could really sleep in put it that way. It was pretty much bang on time at each end, so there's some consolation, but I didn't sleep more than half an hour I reckon. As my luck'd have it the old bastard sat next to me snored and smelt bad but pff.

I dropped in at the station and got collected by Dad, went and had a well earned cuppa and a chinwag. Gotta love that :) My sister and nieces came over and we had a nice BBQ tea.

The next day was spent with Dad in the morning then collected my children from Mum and went to my sister's. Brandon being Brandon wanted the XBox on, and Phoebe wanted to go to the pool which is very conveniently across the road.

We settled in and had some fun around the house first, and waited for Head (my sister) to get back. That afternoon one of my sister's friends held another barbie so we went to that. The kids, as they do ran rampant.. here's a game of 'slap your sibling on the arse with a thong'. Brandon's winning as you can see :)

Later on they're all kicking the balls around and stuffing the dry bits of recently mown grass down each other's shirts .. then complaining they're itchy .. as you do ! Ah the joys.

Later that evening we went 'home' and had baths, and played some more fun stuff 'til it was Kiddie Bed Time®. Then Head and I got the XBox and Crash Tag Team Racing out and proceeded to have a ball. That's one excellent game and -almost- makes me want an XBox. In addition to the craziness and stupidity the series is well known for, now when racing you can team up with another player by joining cars, and them shoot everyone who comes near you 'til you run outta ammo. Brilliant ! Even better pressing buttons while it's loading makes fart and burp noises .. brilliant-er!

The next day Brandon and I went to a computer fair with Dad and Nigel, which is where all the bling came from, and had some fun looking at swish new stuff. Dad got himself a mobo thinking it'd solve a problem he was having but no :( it turned out to be RAM after all that. Once we got back from that we had lunch and then went to the pool for a splash. The rest of the day proceeded like the one before .. showers, bedtime for kiddies (and hometime for mine :( ) and some Crash.

The next day was spent making sure I'd organised everything not missed anything and had room in my bags .. which I didn't .. so I borrowed one and was still short ! Also a good deal of Crash action happened ..

Baxter the adorably cute, gentle and dopey Collie features below. He's such a dork though.

February 21, 2006

PC : Lights are better in the dark !

The title pretty much says it all :)

The first image is just the main lights, no blue cold cathode or sound light. Just fans, the 'powereyes', the power supply itself. EL string and the UV ring. The exposure time's 1/10 second. You can also see the big blue power light at the front (reflecting on a cable) and USB light shining on the desk (it's extremely handy for scanning maps in the dark :) ) It's slightly blurred but you get the idea.


The next one's 4 seconds which makes it all look way cool. You can see the upper fan shining out of the top of the case, there's been some drive activity (the 2 red lights above/below power). The cable you could just see is fairly visible now, and there's a nice smear of colour reflecting off the LCD.


And the last one is the lot on, for 2 seconds :) You can see the cathodes shining very brightly, and even shining through the front grill. I reckon this shows the wiring more clearly .. which the more observant of you may notice .. I tidied up ! Unplugged the lot and rewired the beasty from the ground up.
To be honest it seemed to get a lot hotter so I figured I'd better rewire it and make sure the airflow was improved.. let's hope otherwise I might need (god forbid) another fan ! There's room for 2x4" behind the front grill .. wonder how much those fans with multicolour LEDs on the blades are .. hmm.. :)

PC : Lights + Power + Blu-Tac = Bling Bling

On the weekend I went to see my family in Wollongong and went to a computer fair. Previously my Dad's generously given me an Akasa 21 function panel. (
For some reason anyone I've tried to show it to doesn't manage to find it so I'll try again..
In the list of products on the home page search (browser search the page) for "21 function" or click the item in the topright of the product list. Yes, one of them. Cool huh ? I can tell you all my fans are doing 3180 RPM and it's 43.4c in the case near the CPU and 35.6c where the inverters are next to the power supply.
But when I went there to look at that, me being me I decided to check out the bling bling too. :)

Anyway in the grey/blue bar along the top (home, products, new products) click products then 'case lights' section. I got for myself a pair of blue 'cold cathode' lights, one internal EL string and 5 of the 'powereyes' which show under 'other illuminators' on that very page. mmmm ... sweet.

So as you can imagine there's a bit of stuff in my PC .. 3HDs, 2 DVDs, an Audigy 2 and an ASUS / NVidia 6600Gt with 128Mb. The processor's a P4@3.0 with hyperthreading and it tools along with a gig of quick ram. So it's only fair to display its awesome power by lighting up the room it's in (and making the rest of the suburb dim for a sec when it powers on :) ) Previously installed bling bling includes a sound sensitive light, 2 tricolour case fans (top and side) and a spunk ACBel power supply with a big fan with lights that change colour.. so maybe a bit over the top but well I don't mind at all.

The image here shows the PC on, with the side case off. You can see (on) the EL string just strung across the inside of the case, a shitload of cables (hehe .. fun getting them in there!) the five powereyes, and (off) the sound sensitive tube along the bottom of the case, and the lower edge of one of the blue tubes vertically along the back side of the case (next to where the screws go to hold the side on). The second cathode is at the front, same spot if you follow. Hey look ! X3's running on the PC too.

This image shows it all turned off, however I've relocated the EL string to being attached to the side of the case with 'uhu tac' which I think is just yellow blutac but hey. I think it looks nicer like that than strewn across the case.. :)

This last picture shows it all on, and the BIOS screen on the LCD :) Needless to say that by this time I'm getting pretty keen on the idea of switching it on :)

And lastly, the whole thing closed up and on from close up.
Realistically I don't think I can fit anything else in there if it needs wires.. at least not without completely rewiring the PC .. and I figure you'll agree that sorting that spaghetti out is much less important than whether the Split and Teladi like me or not .. which neither of them really do.

I might do another couple of 'my PC in the dark' pics now .. I seem to have misplaced the ones I took a while back. Anyway, some aliens gotta die (or sell me stuff and then die) so I'm goin' to get 'em.

February 15, 2006

Chapter 9 .. Things get even more funner !

Well .. sorta. I got fed up of running around destroying the one or two Xenon that came in the sector so as you would, I buggered off somewhere else.

Right on entering the next sector there was a bunch of pirates so I decided that they had to die.. you know how it is being evil pirate scum (except for the FSM worshipping ones of course). Maybe this particular universe felt sorry for me not getting so much out of the invasion who knows, but 3 of the 4 pilots bailed with good damage (hate but love the Nova) so I sent their sorry asses off to get sold. There's 2 caps and the resulting fleet (docked, from the Xenon).

There's some stupid bug with anti aliasing and screenshots not saving. Since I play in 1280x1024 I don't give a shit about AA and have it off now I know. :) For this reason tho I try to grab a pic of everything I think is interesting, since I've had that setting on and off for a while seeing if itaffects performance too much, I've missed a few potential pics .. if you care, that is ;) Hence there only being 2 ships here not 3 for instance.

The upshot of all that was once I sold those ships and the missiles, I had 4 fighters and 3 transporters and more impressively .. a million credits. Talk about pitching a tent ! :) What to do what to do ..

Well I still haven't fixed the Xenon but only have about 300K left (the Xenon is kitted out and I'm flying it) but what happened ? Why do I sound calm ? :) I bought myself an Ore mine, as you would. That simple tho ? No. First.. as you can imagine any station is pretty bloody big, let alone one with a dirty great asteroid hanging off it.. so to get it from the shipyard to the end location you need to buy a 'large transporter' or as I prefer .. 'mass hog'. Now big is an understatement. Like a freighter they're long and thin. Here's me flying over it's rear end. The 2 yellow things at the bottom are engine exhausts .. I'm the pissy thing in the centre. You hire it, send it to the shipyard then wherever you need it to dump the stuff. There's a fee, of course, on top of the 400K I paid for the mine :)
KItting the Xenon out with some goodies took another 150K, and of course you need to give the station operating capital. It's also keeping the freight transporter buyst selling the ore it makes, and the 2 passenger vessels occupied getting energy .. so there's 3 ships out of the way ! Ah, fun. :)

So what's a broke person going to do .. I then set about being a very naughty boy and annoying people into dropping their cargo or making their ship explode .. but just for fun I went and harassed some laser towers (station defences, very nasty) for the hell of it. I saved first but there's some very sweet pics here of the Nova (hate the Nova) copping some lasery death. Testament to it, it coped and I took all 5 towers out with no damage ..

Even so, I reloaded then as the pirates were shitty and I couldn't be bothered rebuilding my rep with them in that sector :)

There's still more to come before I catch up completely but really I have all 3 freighters working, and the 4 fighters (2M3, M4, M5) all in a bunch. Still, only having just over 150K makes me realise how quick cash can go. By the way one of those freighters is either 48, 66 or 86 million .. I do intend to have one .. but after I get a carrier ! :)