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121  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: PC Game Recommendations - Update! on: February 28, 2015, 12:45:22 PM

Quote from: Eco-Logic on February 28, 2015, 06:07:30 AM

I ended up starting Tomb Raider tonight and really dig it so far.  It actually reminds me of Uncharted 3 and that is a great thing.  

Oh, fun!  Tomb Raider is an excellent game: it has really tight controls, a steady stream of new abilities that unlock throughout the game, and a great sense of pacing that neither feels rushed or overstays its welcome.  I fully intend to replay it once the sequel is available on PC or PS4!

And when you're done, you'll be able to watch this enjoyable Conan O'Brien video.  Save it for later, though: there are some setpiece spoilers from late in the game.

-Autistic Angel
122  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Elite: Dangerous on: February 22, 2015, 06:10:27 PM

Quote from: wonderpug on February 21, 2015, 10:28:41 PM

Can you afford the maintenance on your Python in any way other than trading?

Oh, for sure!  The Python, Asp, and Cobra are all multipurpose ships with abilities that vary widely depending on how they're configured.

Consider fuel costs.  Hyperspace jumps consume more fuel based on the mass of the ship and the distance of the jump.  At any given time, the Skinypupy is weighed down with 280+ tons of cargo in the racks.  My character prefers to make the longest jumps possible because they cut significant time off each run -- 2 jumps instead of 6 along a more fuel-efficient flightpath.  Long range jumps also make it much more difficult to be pursued from one star system to the next.  This costs much more fuel, and the Skinypupy has intentionally been fitted with lighter-weight components that maximize range at the cost of heightened wear and tear.

Unfortunately, I don't think that will be a viable configuration in a Lakon T9.  I've never piloted one, but if the T7 was like flying a stack of shipping containers, this will be more like a soaring warehouse.  I'm proceeding on the assumption that it'll be too unwieldy to evade interdiction, too slow to keep distance in realspace, and too large for even the greenest of newbies to miss.  That means turtling.  Thick shields, thicker armor, point defense and chaff launchers, with enough automated turrets to make sure every hostile in a two kilometer radius is having a real rough ride -- I'm aiming to make the Skinypupy an absolute flying fortress. Truthiness!

Quote from: wonderpug on February 21, 2015, 10:28:41 PM

Even doing $150k elite Anaconda bounties seems like it would turn little to no profit with a Python.

If you preferred bounty hunting, exploring, or even mining in a Python, you'd be installing different components that would probably never approach the same mass as a heavy transport.  I'd still recommend a good fuel scoop because it would save a ton of credits over time, but it would have enough internal bays left over to mount every sensor array in the catalog plus room to spare.  It's a *really* versatile ship!

-Autistic Angel
123  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Elite: Dangerous on: February 21, 2015, 05:49:23 PM
My character traded in the Lakon T7 for a Python about a week ago, and it's a very interesting ship.  Smaller than a dedicated cargo ship, capable of landing on Class 2 pads at outposts, but somehow able to carry about a third more tonnage in cargo.  It's also got better weapon mounts, thicker bulkheads, stronger shielding, better heat dissipation, and it handles like a goddamn Mustang compared to the T7.

All of that technical sophistication comes with some steep maintenance costs, however.  The Python is substantially more expensive to operate than anything my character has owned before, with even incidental hull damage from an interdiction costing tens of thousands of credits to patch up.  Fuel cost is also a big deal.  For a medium-sized craft, the sheer density of its construction requires 8,000 - 10,000 credits worth of fuel to jump into an adjacent system!  Fortunately I found a good deal on a Size 3 fuel scoop, so in exchange for 8 tonnes of cargo capacity, I can do a couple laps around a star and save upwards of 40,000 credits in refueling costs.

Thanks to that efficiency boost, my character's total assets surpassed a hundred million credits this weekend.  Most of that is obviously invested in the Skinypupy, but it's also enough that my character can finally afford the Lakon T9 Super Heavy.  That's space trucking endgame right there: a dedicated cargo ship so massive, it can barely fit through the atmosphield slot of the largest stations.  Piloting that ship has been my character's lifelong dream since back in November, and I'm looking forward to seeing what it's like! nod

-Autistic Angel
124  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: [PS4/XB1/PC] Assassin's Creed Unity on: February 18, 2015, 06:41:14 PM
According to Game Informer, Patch 5 is removing all requirements for the Unity companion app and the "Initiates" website:

Quote from: Game Informer
The title previously required users to connect with a companion app and the AC Initiates website in order to unlock certain items. That changes today.

“Patch 5” unlocks all of the blue and gold chests connected with progression related to Initiates and the app.

The patch, which also includes a new round of performance optimizations and bug fixes, is expected on consoles today and on PC later in the week.

-Autistic Angel
125  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Elite: Dangerous on: February 17, 2015, 10:49:12 AM
You can pay a fine by landing at the station where it's owed and going to the Contacts tab of the Station Services menu.  It's the same page where you accessed the Black Market.  If you don't do this within a prescribed amount of time -- I think it's about 24 real-time hours? -- the fine becomes a bounty which other pilots can try to collect on.

You can pay off your own bounty just like a fine, but if you're scanned by system security while Wanted, they will not care if your greatest crime is art smuggling.  The station itself will melt you.  It's best to pay the fine off while you can.

-Autistic Angel
126  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Elite: Dangerous on: February 17, 2015, 03:04:28 AM

Quote from: Gratch on February 17, 2015, 02:38:19 AM

I've been getting new mapping locations automatically whenever I jump to a new system.  Not sure what (if anything) I'm doing to get them, I just get a "1 new celestial body" notification from time to time.  I assume I should be doing a manual scan whenever possible?  Is there even a manual scan toggle?  Don't remember seeing anything in the control settings, but maybe I just missed it.

Every ship comes with a Basic Discovery Scanner pre-installed in one of the internal bays.  Manually activating this will generate a sensor ping that will reveal all astronomical bodies within a 500 LS radius.  You'll need to assign it to a firing group and trigger it like you would a weapon, but it can be used while in supercruise and does not need the hardpoints deployed to work.

Tagging objects with the BDS will mark them as "Unknown" on your local navigation list.  If you target them, point your nose towards them, and fly close enough, you will see a "Scanning..." animation begin in the target display.  The exact distance varies based on the size of the object -- stars can be analyzed from a much greater distance than small moons.  A few seconds later, your display will fill in with the object's name and a simple description.  These details will substantially increase the value of the map data when you go to sell it to Universal Cartographics.

There are more advanced exploration tools like the Detailed Surface Scanner and more sophisticated Discovery Scanners that ping a much larger area, but the BDS is a good way to make some extra credits while you're getting started.

-Autistic Angel
127  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Elite: Dangerous on: February 17, 2015, 02:12:09 AM

Quote from: Gratch on February 17, 2015, 01:06:49 AM

I'm struggling a bit where to find particular items.  Accepted a mission to deliver some tea, but pulling up the "import/export" panel in the galaxy map and filtering down to just "tea" didn't show any options at all.  Will try checking the commodity board next time I'm in a major port, that might give me a better idea.

The economic display is showing nothing because none of the stations where you've docked are importing or exporting significant amounts of tea.  You can purchase more detailed economic information about more populous systems from the Galactic Map, but it probably isn't worth the cost at that level.

Instead, try adjusting the Galactic Map to colorize stars by economic type.  Use the Population slider to filter out the lowest population systems, and then look for one that specializes in Agriculture.  Large Coriolis stations are all but guaranteed to be producing all the tea, coffee, fish, and other fresh foodstuffs you need.

-Autistic Angel
128  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Elite: Dangerous on: February 17, 2015, 12:52:18 AM

Quote from: Eco-Logic on February 17, 2015, 12:27:03 AM

This game sounds really sweet.  I have a new computer on the way too...  I assume you're playing with a joystick I assume?  Any recommendations?

I'm using an XBox 360 controller.  The default mapping works very well -- the only change I made was to give my left stick a finer degree of yaw control.  I can post the specifics if you're interested.

Many other people have invested in an inexpensive joystick or stick & throttle setup.  I imagine this is beneficial for more advanced maneuvering, but with well over hundred hours into the game, I can assure you it isn't necessary to have a good time.  Many people are perfectly content with the keyboard and mouse.

-Autistic Angel
129  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Elite: Dangerous on: February 16, 2015, 11:15:09 AM
Your bullets were also hitting the canister around the 19-second mark.  It isn't that they were otherwise non-existent -- without an active target, your guns were set to a default convergence point and you were firing past the canister.

I can guarantee you that weapons fire in the main game will inflict damage on non-targeted ships.  Everyone who's played Elite long enough has had the experience of a stray shot glancing off a system security vessel and the sensor screen transforming into a swarm of red bees.  The AI has only recently been patched to be more forgiving of incidental hits, but you'll still want to check your targets! paranoid

Quote from: drifter on February 16, 2015, 04:14:05 AM

I have done a few missions in solo mode just cargo delivery or deliver flyers.  I bought algae and prevented a famine for a station.  Missions are only paying 1k to 4k credits so I have about 16K in the bank. 

Let me just lean in to confirm that yes: this is how much missions pay when you're first getting started.  Do not be discouraged by tales of people clearing 1M+ credits on a trade run -- those people are flying much more sophisticated ships, and often slavishly following online guides to maximize their profits as well.  Money-making in Elite scales up like XP would in a traditional RPG, so as you buy your way into better ships and improve your reputation, more lucrative activities become available.

One quick note: food donation missions usually do not pay money.  They are extremely helpful when you're trying to improve your reputation with a faction or increase its influence over the system -- both things that will produce better Bulletin Board missions -- but you are not being financially reimbursed for your charity.

-Autistic Angel
130  Gaming / Portable Gaming & Apps / Re: NEW 3DS and XL on: February 15, 2015, 07:57:52 PM
My experience so far is that the improved 3D effect alone is enough to sell me on the new version.  The fact that the C-stick nub works like champ in Majora's Mask and Monster Hunter 4 makes it even better.

The only minor disappointment is that the improved processing power helps some games launch more quickly, but otherwise goes unused.  I'd been hoping that the 3DS Pokemon games would get a frame rate boost to make the battles more bearable in 3D, but no such luck.

Quote from: Bullwinkle on February 15, 2015, 06:16:10 PM

There maybe a couple of games that use the extra processing or control nub, but I honestly don't think any will require it.

The Xenoblade Chronicles port requires the New 3DS.  I don't know whether that's a measure of the better processor or additional controls, but it's important enough that Nintendo is willing to risk disappointing a lot of people who had no earthly reason to research the issue.

-Autistic Angel
131  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Weekend Playlist - Valentine's Day 2015 edition on: February 14, 2015, 09:26:37 PM

Quote from: Gratch on February 13, 2015, 07:55:51 PM

Might pick up Wind Waker HD after hearing about how they improved the sailing bits (that was what made me quit the game when I played it ages ago).

Then allow me to repost Game Informer's guide on how to acquire the Swift Sail:

Quote from: Game Informer
After completing the first true dungeon in the game (Dragon Roost Cavern), sail to Windfall Island at night. Once there, head up the stairs to the auction house. While the Swift Sail may not be the first item up for bid, it should show up fairly soon.

The auction house is on the first floor of the upscale home with all the fine pottery.  My memory is that the Swift Sail is third item up for bid.  Another major upgrade to Wind Waker HD is that every wallet size holds many more rupees, so try to save up as many as possible by this point.

Quote from: Game Informer
To bid, jam on the A button to fill a meter, and then decide how much money you want to put down. If you bid high enough, the other bidders will be dazed and unable to bid any of their own rupees. Because of this, you'll want to time a big bid near the end of the bidding window.

The Swift Sail allows you to skim the waves at twice the normal speed, and automatically adjusts the wind so you don't have to constantly pull out your baton.  It is well worth the small amount of effort necessary to get it.

-Autistic Angel
132  Gaming / Portable Gaming & Apps / Re: Re: Re: NEW 3DS and XL on: February 14, 2015, 01:43:44 PM

Quote from: Canuck on February 14, 2015, 11:35:08 AM

Quote from: ChaoZ on February 14, 2015, 02:23:00 AM

First thing that struck me was how low res the screens are. I guess I'm just used to cell phone screens.

I don't get how Nintendo gets a complete pass on that from all the review sites.  I read somewhere online (in a comment not an article so take from that what you will) that the new 3DS XL has a 95 ppi. If true then that's just horrible. I suppose being an upgrade and not a brand new system they maybe can't change the resolution but hell.

Bryan Vore, the Game Informer editor who never misses an opportunity to snark about Nintendo's place in the industry, posted his review of the New 3DS XL.  It was overall "Very Good" with a score of 8 / 10, but he brought up the resolution issue near the end:

Quote from: Bryan Vore, Game Informer
Resolution Ratings
The New 3DS XL’s pixel density remains unchanged from previous models. See how it compares to other common devices at similar screen sizes.

It’s not all good news, however. Surprisingly, the New 3DS doesn’t include an AC adapter. Also, storage has changed from SD on previous models to microSD, so customers needing more than 4 GB of storage will have to buy a new card. You’ll also need a tiny screwdriver (#0) to access the card locked under the back panel instead of an easily accessible side slot. These minor annoyances can be overcome, but the unimproved, painfully poor screen resolution can’t. The imagery looks completely outdated compared to what you’re used to seeing every day on phones, tablets, and monitors with at least triple the pixel density. While this is the best 3DS yet, these flaws hold it back from being a must-buy reinvention.

Also, I don't know why this meme exists, but people who came up short finding a Majora's Mask-branded New 3DS are pointing fingers at Taylor Swift.  As seen on Cheap Ass Gamer:

-Autistic Angel
133  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Elite: Dangerous on: February 14, 2015, 02:20:44 AM
1) Check the Bulletin Boards of the stations you visit.  Look for courier missions that require no cargo space.  They offer reliable income on jaunts to nearby systems, particularly while you're learning the ropes.

2) If you want to focus on making money, exploring uncharted star systems is one of the most effective money-makers in your free Sidewinder.  Simply assign your Basic Discovery Scanner to a fire group and make sure to trigger it at least once on your way past any unmapped stars.  You can increase the value of your map data quite a bit if you take an extra few minutes to point your ship's nose at any "Unknown" astrological bodies and getting close enough to scan them.

3) If you prefer fighting, try dropping out of supercruise near a Nav Beacon, Resource Extraction Site, or Unidentified Signal Source.  These all have a fairly high chance to lead you into a combat encounter.

4) You receive a 100% refund for selling any component you have purchased for your ship, no matter how long you've been using it.  Don't hesitate to try different loadouts!

Don't hesitate to ask if any other questions come up.  Some of the activities like fuel scooping or mining aren't completely intuitive at first, but I'm sure people here can help get you acclimated! smile

-Autistic Angel
134  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Eurogamer drops review scores on: February 11, 2015, 01:59:28 AM

Quote from: Gratch on February 10, 2015, 06:58:07 PM

Right or wrong, sites that drop review scores pretty much drop off my personal radar.  

The irony here is that Gratch himself does not use numerical scoring in his own reviews.  Fortunately, the consistent standards he applies to every game make it fairly easy to determine what they would be.

"I put more than an hour into this game...."  =  7.0 on IGN

"I might give this another chance someday."  =  8.0 on IGN

"I'm not disappointed enough to stop playing yet."  =  9.0 on IGN

"I am playing Neir."  =  12.7 on IGN

-Autistic Angel
135  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: [PS3/360] Assassin's Creed: Rogue on: February 09, 2015, 09:41:22 PM
Yeah, I'm looking forward to it!  The PC version of Black Flag was an upgrade over the XB1 / PS4 versions -- not to mention the 360 / PS3 versions! -- so I was hoping to see a good port at some point.

-Autistic Angel
136  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: What are you buying this week? (2/10) on: February 09, 2015, 12:40:26 PM
I thought Majora's Mask was the best Zelda game in the entire franchise, up until it was eclipsed by Twilight Princess.  I'll be buying that on 3DS for sure, along with a standard New 3DSXL if they're available.

The worse part about these touchscreen consoles is that I always have trouble getting a screen protector applied. confused

-Autistic Angel
137  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: I took a wrong turn and ended... on: February 08, 2015, 08:21:55 PM
But are you listening to the soundtrack of KOTOR whilst playing Bayonetta 2?  Because if not, you're doing it wrong.

-Autistic Angel
138  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Elite: Dangerous on: February 06, 2015, 10:04:10 PM

Quote from: Lockdown on February 03, 2015, 04:23:35 PM

Quote from: Autistic Angel on February 02, 2015, 10:49:19 PM

One of the less advertised features of the heatsink launcher is that an ejected cartridge appears on sensors as ghost ship that disrupts security scans.  It's a handy trick when you need to slip into a Federation station without getting flagged as a criminal trespasser.

-Autistic Angel

Wait.... Wouldn't that also help in smuggling stolen goods into a station by not getting scanned!?!?

My character can neither confirm nor deny that forcibly resetting security scans by ejecting your ship's thermal signature into disposable heatsinks is a highly effective way to evade inspection on the way into secured stations. ninja

Quote from: Lockdown on February 03, 2015, 04:23:35 PM

Oh, and your story cracked me up.

Thanks!  The cat was pretty pleased with himself too, but I think that's because he'd rather journey aboard a ship named HapyKity.

I've saved up enough credits to afford a baseline Python, so now I'm just collecting enough to get it outfitted and get something in the cargo hold.  There's an odd quirk to the ship buying where your pilot gets back significantly more money if you sell or downgrade every ship component before selling the chassis.  With higher end components, the savings can measure in millions of credits.  You usually don't want to go the effort of stripping your current ship down for parts unless you're sure it's time to upgrade, so there's a bit of estimation in figuring out how much cash you'll have after a trade-in.

Nonetheless, my character is on track to transfer the Skinypupy transponder into a shiny new Python sometime this weekend thumbsup

-Autistic Angel
139  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Elite: Dangerous on: February 02, 2015, 10:49:19 PM
One of the less advertised features of the heatsink launcher is that an ejected cartridge appears on sensors as ghost ship that disrupts security scans.  It's a handy trick when you need to slip into a Federation station without getting flagged as a criminal trespasser.  One quick meeting with the federal security liaison later, and the Skinypupy is free to fly again!

Thanks again for the advice, TiLT!

My character has earned enough money to buy an Orca, but based on the spec sheet, I don't think it would be an upgrade.  The Orca is listed as a luxury passenger liner.  I assume this will someday be useful for ferrying passengers to and from tourism-based stations, but until those hypothetical features are added to the game, it is less capable at fighting or hauling cargo than less expensive models.

Fortunately, the price jump to a Python is pretty manageable at this stage of the game.  I'm hoping to have one within the next week or so. thumbsup

-Autistic Angel
140  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Wii U on: February 02, 2015, 06:28:58 PM

Quote from: Gratch on February 01, 2015, 09:00:31 PM

Spent this morning bouncing between Bayonetta 2 and the new Super Mario World game.

I knew I'd love Bayonetta, as nothing else matches the sheer insanity it brings to the table.  However, I'm about to say something I haven't said in over 20 years...this Mario game is really damn fun.   I'm actually quite shocked at how much I'm enjoying it. 

I'm not sure from this context whether you're playing New Super Mario Bros. for Wii U which is structured very much like the original Super Mario World on SNES, or Super Mario 3D World which actually has "World" in the title.  Whichever one it is, though, you should definitely play the other when you're done -- they're both stupendous games!

And don't forget to play some Nintendoland with MrsGratch and Little B!  Some of those multiplayer games are tons of fun!

-Autistic Angel[/i]
141  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Elite: Dangerous on: January 28, 2015, 10:26:27 PM

Quote from: TiLT on January 28, 2015, 05:40:04 AM

You've got a bounty on you that is paid separately from fines. You can see bounties against you through your own ship computer, on the screen to the left. AFAIK, you can only pay this bounty on a federation station. I recommend locating an outpost and paying it there, as you risk getting shot by patrols or even the station itself if you dock with a major federation station.

Thanks!  I thought I paid things off at a Federation station, but in retrospect, it may have been an independent outpost operating in Federation space.  I'll charter a taxi to take me out to the station where it happened and see if I can square things with the local security office.

One thing's for sure: the Skinypupy is staying in its berth until this legal matter is resolved.  My character can't afford to lose another shipment like that.

Quote from: jztemple2 on January 28, 2015, 01:07:53 AM

Give them the cat? (sorry, just couldn't resist icon_wink)

The trouble is that he is as black as a rumor and even harder to detect.  No visible light escapes his surface: you can see his eyes and a little bit of his ears if he happens to be looking directly at you, but otherwise you have to look for a cat-shaped silhouette against some lighter background and assume that's where he is.  If I tried to give him away, people would probably say, "Thanks, but I'm not really in the market for a spatial void right now."

-Autistic Angel
142  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Elite: Dangerous on: January 28, 2015, 12:59:05 AM
So, I have a problem.  A cat broke into the cockpit.  He jumped on the controls, flipping the headlamps on and off and transmitting "m,li;m n" to a nearby pilot.  He also tried to mash his face against the throttle, but I was already easing down so I could return him to the bunk.

Normally this wouldn't be a big problem, but this all happened moments after dropping out of supercruise near a station.  It was enough of a distraction that I wound up breaching the station's airlock without receiving clearance.  This provokes a lethal response.

So now my character is down 1.5 million credits for the insurance deductible, plus another million in lost cargo.  Oh, and a 600 credit fine for trespassing because death didn't quite cover the infraction.  No problem: I'll just rent a Sidewinder and head over to the nearest Federation outpost to pay the ticket.  Easy peasy.

Except that even after settling the debt, my character is still listed as Wanted in Federation space.  Not just the system where it happened -- every Federation system now has price on my head. icon_frown  Does anyone know if there's anything more I have to do to clear my character's name?

-Autistic Angel
143  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Elite: Dangerous on: January 25, 2015, 08:26:15 PM
The Skinypupy faced her first successful interdiction.  It went something like this.


Pirate:  Your cargo.  I want it nOH MY GOD NO!!


Wherein "PAFFF" is the sound of a Viper's hull crumpling inside a ring of proximity mines.

The bounty on the pirate's head wasn't enough to cover the spent ordinance, much less the stress damage of being yanked out of supercruise that way, but those costs were still a teeny tiny fraction of what it would have cost to replace my ship and the 200 tons of cargo inside.  My character tries to avoid conflict whenever possible, but if some burnout thinks a fancy interdiction tether makes him a real pirate, the Skinypupy is equipped to bite back.

-Autistic Angel
144  Non-Gaming / Political / Religious Nonsense / Re: Palin's Back on: January 25, 2015, 02:21:18 PM
Correct.  If Sarah Palin were interested in wielding political power, she wouldn't have resigned her governorship midway through the first term.

She is very interested in taking on television appearances and speaking engagements, snarking about liberals, and getting paid for the effort.  She's found a way to make a very comfortable living while doing something that she loves, and recognizes that occasionally making noise about running for office is an effective way to reinvigorate her brand.  She did the same thing ahead of the 2012 presidential race when she rented a bus and drove around aimlessly for a few days as part of a cheap publicity stunt.

Sarah Palin has put zero effort into readying herself for a presidential bid.  She has no financial backers, no support infrastructure, and even fewer policy credentials than she had as the vice-presidential candidate in 2008.  She is not "back"; she is not running for president.

-Autistic Angel
145  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Elite: Dangerous on: January 22, 2015, 06:34:48 PM
There's a new patch today that references fixing a major crash.  You may want to try it out before going to the effort of reinstalling your system.

-Autistic Angel
146  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Elite: Dangerous on: January 20, 2015, 10:13:16 PM
I saved up about 4.5 million more, though it took somewhat longer than I'd anticipated.  One of the more populous systems in my trade network got embroiled in a civil war which really screwed up the normal supply and demand rates, so I spent some time running non-confrontational missions to help sway the outcome.  Then I refitted my Asp for the long journey to LHS 3447 to take advantage of the 10% shipyard discount.

Now I own a Lakon T7 the way it was meant to be flown: top shelf internals, high capacity cargo racks, anti-turret and missile defenses in every utility slot, and quad-mine launchers to deter pursuers.  Fully loaded, it can clear 425,000 credits in round-trip profit along my usual trade routes.  Seems like a good ship to keep me moving towards an Orca and, someday, a T9.

I call it the Skinypupy because, while that isn't a very good name for a kid named Gratch, it is a pretty excellent name for a heavy space transport loaded with high-end consumer electronics. thumbsup

-Autistic Angel
147  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Elite: Dangerous on: January 17, 2015, 06:01:49 PM
I briefly tried out a Lakon T7 Transport.  One cargo run out and back convinced me that ship is going to require a *lot* more than the 17-million credit down payment to be a flyable ship.

First of all, the T7 is first ship that requires a Class 3 landing pad to dock.  This means it cannot dock with smaller outposts at all -- a fact they don't bother to mention in the sales brochure.  Better check your courier contracts real carefully before signing up!

Secondly, if the T6 handled like a shipping container bolted to an engine, the T7 flies like a cinder block tied to a paper airplane.  I bounce around a number of Federation and Alliance-owned systems, all relatively safe from serious criminals thanks to the frequent security patrols.  Nonetheless, I've been occasionally interdicted by some enterprising young hooligan who thought they picked an easy mark.  My T6 could run.  My Cobra or Asp could fight back.  The stock T7 is so slow and piggish that only a massive investment in turreted weapons, defensive systems, and heavy armor would enable it to survive even a half-hearted mugging.

Thirdly, with a 17-million sticker price, the insurance deductible on a stock T7 is almost 900,000 credits.  You can't insure your cargo, so that means that unless you're rolling with 2-million in reserve after filling your hold, losing your ship just once would be tantamount to deleting your save game.

The one shipment I completed in the T7 netted me almost 200k, and it was the most stressful gaming moment I've had since Fatal Frame II.  I flew it back to the dealership with the cargo racks 2/3rds empty and traded it back for my previous Asp.  Call me a coward, but that thing just felt like a Hardcore Mode deathtrap. paranoid

-Autistic Angel
148  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: [Wii U] Xenoblade Chronicles X on: January 16, 2015, 07:42:07 PM
The portable remake of Xenoblade Chronicles is one of the flagship releases for the New 3DS, taking advantage of the increased processor speed and extra analog input.  It would be surprising if Nintendo undercut their release by making the original available digitally.

Of course, it's surprising that Nintendo didn't integrate Dolphin-like upscaling and anti-aliasing for Wii games running on the Wii U, or produce enough Amiibos to profit from all the demand.  So who knows how they make their decisions?

-Autistic Angel
149  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: [Wii U] Xenoblade Chronicles X on: January 15, 2015, 02:43:22 PM

Quote from: Gratch on January 15, 2015, 02:23:50 PM

Does the Wii have any sort of backwards compatibility with Wii games?  I actually wouldn't mind giving the original Xenoblade another look, and I never did give Last Story a fair shake.

For the record: yes, the Wii U is 100% backwards compatible with the original Wii, including all of the controllers and peripherals.

And if you think about it, at some point you're going to need a Wii U for the gratchlings to play anyway.  They're going to love games like Mario Kart, Smash Bros, Mario Party, and Splatoon!

-Autistic Angel
150  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Elite: Dangerous on: January 11, 2015, 06:41:44 PM
I traded my Lakon T6 Transport in for an Asp.  Though it's primarily intended for deep space exploration, it features better thrust, stronger bulkheads, and somewhat more cargo space than the T6.  It also sounds like a World War II bomber during normal cruise which is a natural plus.

It had an odd quirk during my first couple trade runs: spooling up the hyperdrive would immediately redline the temperature gauge.  Every interstellar jump I made had my heat levels at 115% - 125% capacity.  It wasn't causing any damage, but that would change real fast if I were ever interdicted near a star.  Turned out that jumping with a full hold was overtaxing the basic power plant, so upgrading to a higher grade core fixed things right up.

Does anyone know if there are any defensive modules against the more powerful interdiction tethers?  The ones that pump a feedback pulse through your systems and glitch out your HUD are proving to be really effective at yanking me out of supercruise and its just a matter of time before someone has enough firepower to back up their threats.

-Autistic Angel
151  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Elite: Dangerous on: January 02, 2015, 02:30:00 AM

Quote from: Lee on January 01, 2015, 11:15:56 PM

The exploring thing: I have seen in videos people say that some planets were already scanned. Wouldn't all the planets in the world be scanned by now so this is no longer a money maker? Probably a dumb question, just trying to figure out how the game works.

Star systems with a large enough population are considered settled and are completely mapped out for everyone, whether they've personally flown there or not.  Those systems represent a very small percentage of the 400 billion procedurally-generated systems that fill out the Milky Way galaxy.  The rest are available to be mapped by the player population.

When you collect survey data about a star system, you must travel to a station at least 20 light years away to sell it.  I guess the idea is that people who live nearby already have a general idea of where the planets are, even if they haven't taken the time to collect detailed readings about their orbital declinations.  Once a system has been completely mapped by a player and sold to the database, other players will have the option to buy the data instantly from the Galaxy Map.  They can still choose to map it out for profit themselves if they prefer, though I've heard that the first player to map an astronomic body gets a bonus.

Accurate map data isn't strictly required because stations and outposts are always visible in the Navigation tab of your ship's computer.  It is extremely helpful, however: mapped planets show their gravity wells as blue rings when you're in supercruise, and looping your flight path around those horizons allows you to reach your destinations *much* faster!

The developers have talked about plans to expand the exploration game by adding atmospheric flight and planetary landings in future updates.  Those will presumably be how "Detailed Level 2" and "Detailed Level 3" surveys are completed -- right now, those accomplishments are listed in your pilot's Statistics menu but are impossible to pursue.

-Autistic Angel
152  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Elite: Dangerous on: January 01, 2015, 07:44:01 PM

Quote from: Lockdown on January 01, 2015, 06:05:40 PM

OK, so here's a couple dumb questions I could use quick help with:

1.  I have about 150,000 credits banked.  I want to buy a ship to mine ore with to try it.  I'm thinking an Adder?  Any advice here?

I have not piloted an Adder.  I can say that mining requires a hard point with a mining laser, a refining module fitted to one of your internal bays, and cargo racks to hold the processed goods.

When you shop for a refinery module, you'll see them listed by how many "bins" they include.  This represents the number of different ores / metals you can be accumulating at one time.  The bins are not emptied until you collect one full ton of that element, at which point it moves into your cargo rack.  The fewer bins your refinery supports, the more selective you have to be about which asteroid chunks you scoop up.

Asteroid rings are rated in the System Map by their general composition.  "Metallic" rings, or ones listed with "Pristine Reserves" are the best places to try mining; "Rocky" and "Ice" rings are generally not worth your time.

Quote from: Lockdown on January 01, 2015, 06:05:40 PM

2.  Once I buy my second ship, does my free Sidewinder get turned in?  In other words, am I now only in possession of my 1 new ship?

You usually choose at the time of purchase: trade in your old ship towards the cost of the new one, with added credit for all of the upgrades you've added, or move your current ship into storage and pay the sticker price for the new ship.  I highly recommend taking advantage of the trade-in credit as you're working your way up -- you can always trade back later in if you decide you preferred your old ship.

The only exception: I don't believe your free Sidewinder has any trade-in value.  You still get credit for any components you've upgraded (anything that isn't listed as "Loaned" in the Outfitting screen), but the ship is treated like a free rental you are returning.

Quote from: Lockdown on January 01, 2015, 06:05:40 PM

3.  If #2 above is correct, than any ship I buy from that point forward gets added to my ship count, correct?  In other words, it's only the very first free ship that goes away?  I need some clarification.

Ships you put into drydock are held at that station free of charge.  Star systems with ships you own are marked on the Galaxy Map with a blue icon.  I believe they're also listed in the Shipyard interface at any station, but you cannot interact with them unless you are docked in the same station.  There are no options for remote piloting or having them towed to a different facility.

Quote from: Lockdown on January 01, 2015, 06:05:40 PM

Edit to add Question 5.   What about picking up illegal cannisters?  It is really bugging me how I get scanned about 75% of the time, and end up paying more in fines than my "stolen" cargo is worth at the Black Market.  Any tips for that?

You can try to evade scans by switching into Silent Running mode to seal your heat signature.  Unfortunately, this will cause rapid overheating unless you also power off nearly all of your systems.  Disabling Flight Assist and burning the engine just before powering off all your systems can allow inertia to carry you past a security patrol.  Better pilots than me can use this to glide right through a station airlock without being scanned, but you should make real sure you can afford the insurance rebuy before giving that a try.

A better option is to simply take your illicit cargo to an outpost where there are no system authority patrols to harass you.  You probably won't make nearly as much, but *some* profit is a lot better than taking a loss from hefty fines.

Finally, if you're about to get caught, you can keep a keybinding for "Jettison All Cargo."  Just make sure you don't have it next to your button for Boost or Deploy Hardpoints. Tongue

-Autistic Angel
153  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Elite: Dangerous on: January 01, 2015, 03:39:16 PM

Quote from: Lockdown on January 01, 2015, 12:49:30 PM

So, funny story:  I'm now really into exploring and last night I am out there jumping away, just having a blast.  Completely forgot about checking my fuel.  Ended up in God-knows-where with no fuel and absolutely nothing around.  I was toast.

If you enjoy exploring, aim to fit a Detailed Surface Scanner into one of your internal bays.  It doesn't take the place of your Discovery Scanner, but it significantly increases the value of the survey data you collect by aiming your nose at stars, planets, and moons and completing a full scan.  A detailed scan of a single star is often worth 1,200 - 1,500 credits all by itself; mapping out a complete star system with lots of astrological bodies can easily net you 50k.

I've also noticed that the DSS will scan asteroid fields many times.  I mean, scanning once will identify the field for cartographic purposes, but if you actually enter the belt, you'll see your scanning display cycle between scanning, analyzing, and scanning again.  I don't know if this is a bug or if letting this run for a while will produce better mining results, but it doesn't *seem* to affect the value of the map data.

Finally, once you can afford one, the Cobra Mk III is a superlative exploration ship.  Its default fuel tank lasts for days.

-Autistic Angel
154  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Elite: Dangerous on: January 01, 2015, 03:58:47 AM
Sorry: I meant trade runs to systems within 2 - 3 jumps of my home star. 

Generally speaking, you won't make much shipping goods to an adjacent star system.  Faction traders fill those needs on their own.  If you can locate a importing station a couple jumps away from the nearest supplier, however, they're usually willing to pay top dollar.  Keep an eye on the Commodities board for items with a High Demand rating and willing to pay significantly above the Galactic Average -- find an overstocked factory or refinery, and some of those things can earn you 1,000 credits per ton.

-Autistic Angel
155  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Elite: Dangerous on: January 01, 2015, 01:51:54 AM
I traded in my Cobra Mk III for a Transport Type 6.  It's basically a block of steel shipping containers bolted together with an engine attached to one end, and it handles exactly the way you'd expect.  But holy god: the trading you can do!  With 100+ tons of cargo space, my average profit I pull on cargo runs around my home system is 84,000 credits, including fuel and munitions.

I've also been filling out the map data for all the nearby systems.  The highest level Discovery Scanner can ping astrological objects several thousand light seconds away, effectively guaranteeing that I can locate everything in a star system for a Detailed Surface Scan flyby.  I finally found a good mining prospect around a bright yellow star too, so I'll get to give mining another shot. thumbsup

-Autistic Angel
156  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: My favorite cat in the world is dead on: December 28, 2014, 03:21:06 AM
I'm very sorry for your loss.  I had a favorite cat pass away some years ago, and it was incredibly painful. icon_frown

-Autistic Angel
157  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Elite: Dangerous on: December 27, 2014, 08:16:59 PM
I've been playing my way up as a space trucker, with a little bit of space cartographer on the side.  Charted one system that was worth a cool 75,000 credits all by itself -- thank you Detailed Surface Scanner!

Mostly, though, I ran courier jobs until I could trade the starter Sidewinder in for a light Hauler, then used that to fulfill special cargo orders until I could afford a Cobra Mk. III.  A few upgrades to the cargo racks gave this medium transport about four times the carrying capacity of the Hauler and really opened up opportunities for free trading my way around the galaxy.  My last run involved moving half a million credits worth of precious metals to a manufacturing complex five systems away.

The Cobra also makes a good mobile refinery for freelance mining.  I tried my hand at that for a while: pulled in about 150,000 credits of pure profit from a palladium-rich asteroid ring before some pirates took notice and I had to bug out.  The trouble is that the only "Metallic" mining site I've surveyed so far is orbiting a red dwarf that gives off so little light, the asteroids were completely invisible against the starfield.  I probably could have doubled my profits if I didn't need to fly out and locate their silhouettes against the sun.  I'll give it another try once I can find a resource site near a brighter star.

Otherwise, I've saved up enough money to afford a heavy transport...I just need a little more to make sure I can mount a good jump drive and put something in the cargo bay once I have it.

Quote from: Gratch on December 25, 2014, 06:46:12 PM

I'm alternately intrigued and intimidated by this game.  How do you think it fare for someone for someone with ZERO experience in this genre?

I don't have a joystick, not sure I can justify that for a game I'm not entirely sure I'll like.  However, I might not like it unless I have a joystick.  Conundrum...

I actually think Elite: Dangerous has a significantly lower learning curve than other games in its genre.  You can start making money in almost any way you like, whether its trading, bounty hunting, or checking the bulletin boards for jobs, and there's virtually no penalty for experimenting with your ship loadout.  Unless you die, of course.

That said, it's important to note that there is absolutely no story in this game at all.  There's no motivation to do anything except that you enjoy doing it, and want to earn money so you can do more of it.  My sense is that you prefer games with strong narratives to drive the action, and Elite is all about how your actions generate a unique narrative.

For example, the first time I got interdicted in my Hauler, I thought a mine launcher might be a good way to deter pursuers in the future.  It turned out I was wrong: the very first time I deployed it, the poor SOB that yanked me out of hyperspace tried plowing right through my impromptu minefield and got himself killed, awarding me a 5,400 credit bounty in the process.  Now I'm sporting quad mine launchers, and I like to think that my pilot spends the off-hours stenciling the ordinance with friendly fuck-yous like "Please Don't Tailgate!" and "How's My Flying?  Call 1-800-EAT-MINE".

Quote from: dback99 on December 25, 2014, 10:09:02 PM

So is this game like the X spacesim games? Is there dialog with other aliens you run into or just mainly trading and fighting?  

The X games are mostly about building up an economic empire: building yourself up from a pilot with one ship to a factory owner with a fleet of AI-controlled ships trucking your products around the galaxy.  Elite is very much about being an individual pilot doing your own thing: exploring, hunting, trading, and pirating in a galaxy filled with other players.

This may sound less ambitious, but I also think Elite's flight model blows the X games completely away.  There's very little incentive to fly anywhere in the X games I've played -- I mostly just selected my destination from a menu and then sped up time until I was automatically docked.  In Elite, you need to actually fly your ship, managing the flight path and throttle yourself, and be ready to evade interdiction when someone pulls up on your tail.

Even the manual docking is a good time.  Once, I was running behind schedule on a courier run so I hit an engine boost on my way out of the station airlock...ramming straight into the heavy transport that was coming in the other way.  My Hauler ricocheted into one of the pylons, shattering the canopy and venting the cockpit into open space.  This is how I learned about the emergency life support system, as well as how to navigate by sensor readouts alone.  Turns out those HUD projectors don't work if there's no glass there to catch the holograms eek

-Autistic Angel
158  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: [PS4/XB1/PC] Assassin's Creed Unity on: December 17, 2014, 01:10:57 AM

Quote from: Jimmy the Fish on December 16, 2014, 10:06:34 PM

Did anything noticeable change on the map? Are there still treasure chests that require the stupid mobile app to unlock?

My understanding is that the map *appears* completely unchanged its earlier form.  All of the changes are below the surface, fixing invisible flags on environmental objects and other structural flaws that were causing the worst of the technical problems.

So yes: treasure chests that require free-to-play meta-content to access.  I have not played AC: Unity yet, but I have every intention of ignoring that garbage.

-Autistic Angel
159  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Elite: Dangerous on: December 16, 2014, 01:06:23 AM

Quote from: wonderpug on December 11, 2014, 07:47:47 PM

I haven't played in a patch or two -- didn't they add some kind of way to track people in hyperspace and intercept them?

Yes.  In order to interdict other ships, you need a Hyperspace Wake Scanner and an Interdiction Tether.  Pirates would also do well to invest in a Cargo Scanner, allowing them to assess the contents of a target ship, and some Hatch Limpets which can be used to forcibly jettison their cargo.

When a target ship jumps into supercruise, use the Wake Scanner to identify its destination system and lay in a pursuit course.  Closing to within interdiction range and activating the tether will initiate a mini-game where you must align your ship on a sheering angle faster than the target ship can zero in on an escape vector.  A successful escape will drop your ship into normal space alone; a successful interdiction will bring both ships out of supercruise together.

It will typically take a significant amount of time for either ship's supercruise drive to recharge for another jump.  This opens the door for some spirited negotiations:

CMDR TaylorSwiftNo1Fan: And what is it, eh?  Is it a smuggler far off the
CMDR TaylorSwiftNo1Fan: normal space lanes?  Maybe a BAD smuggler
CMDR TaylorSwiftNo1Fan: with some nice contraband!  Heh heh heh!

CMDR TiLT: stop it

CMDR TaylorSwiftNo1Fan: Just a tourist with a fragged nav console, you
CMDR TaylorSwiftNo1Fan: say?  Then you're deep in trouble, little
CMDR TaylorSwiftNo1Fan: tourist.  Prepare to be boarded.


You cannot steal TiLT's hard-earned cargo until his shields are down, so apply laser fire liberally to the exterior of his ship until parts start coming off.  Disabling his weapons systems has obvious benefits, but damaging his engines can make it much easier to lock a Hatch Limpet onto his cargo bay doors.  It is not enough for the Limpet to simply strike his ship, so use the subsystem scanner to highlight his cargo bay and strike from the correct angle.

In the event that he turns the tables on your ambush and punctures your canopy -- which, let's face it, is more likely than not -- be sure to save enough O2 to transmit out, "Who are you that flies so good??  Are you insane?!?" and "You shouldn't kill me just for attackin' ya!"  He loves that.

-Autistic Angel
160  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: The end of a gaming era on: December 09, 2014, 03:40:35 AM

Quote from: Dante Rising on December 09, 2014, 02:26:09 AM

Harcore gamers will obviously own all 3 eventually, and I'm guessing a few years from now Gratch will grab an Xbox One. By then it will be $199 and have a better supply of exclusives.

In fact, I'm putting money on it. By the end of Black Friday 2016, Gratch owns an XB1.  icon_biggrin

Well, before putting your money where, keyboard is, you might want to consider that Gratch has always been pretty accurate in planning out his life.  Just check out this post:

Quote from: Gratch on March 11, 2005, 01:47:42 PM

Oh man, this just looks like it could be all kinds of awesome.  In a kiddie sort of way, I'm sure, but the cool potential is through the roof if you ask me.

Lego Star Wars.  There's a movie and a PC demo on that site.  I haven't played the demo yet (work computer wouldn't be able to run it), but will try it when I get home.  Wish the house weren't so empty though.  Maybe it's time I get married and have three kids.

Unfortunately, some people weren't always so nice to him.

Quote from: Autistic Angel on March 24, 2005, 07:12:28 PM

Yeah right, "Gratch."  If that is your real name, SKINYPUPY!  That's right, I know who you are: you're that punk who thinks he knows everything about JRPGs on OO!

I'll tell you what: if you're married and have more than two kids within the next ten years, I will personally buy you a Xbox 720

Whew!  Dodged a bullet on that one-

Quote from: Autistic Angel on March 24, 2005, 07:12:28 PM

...or whatever they wind up calling it.

-Autistic Angel


-Autistic Angel
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