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 ?