Kara Babcock

I read, write, code, and knit.

2 Articles from March 2016

  1. My first exploration expedition: success

    I have returned from my first exploration expedition in Elite: Dangerous. I'm putting a checkmark here: huge success.

    Financially, I made over 7.8 million credits. I spent about that much buying and outfitting my Asp Explorer for the trip, so I’m very happy with that. Exploration is not an easily lucrative venture—yes, you can make money by “farming” more valuable stars, but it takes much more time to make the same amount of money you can get through bounty hunting or trading. This being my first trip, I had no concept of how much money I was likely to make. I would have been happy to make 1 or 2 million credits (as it was, when I left I was perilously close to the buyback cost of my ship—well above, but enough for only one buyback). Nearly 8 million left me quite comfortable.

    Making the Journey

    I left from Alioth on February 29, 3302. After much consideration, I decided to go to Barnard’s Loop, via the Witch Head Nebula. My Asp had everything I needed for exploring, but I could not afford an A-rated FSD, limiting my jump range to about 22 ly with a good tank of…

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  2. Boldly going forward, because I can't find reverse

    I started playing Elite Dangerous over the Christmas break. Now that I have a shiny new computer (which I still have to blog about), I can actually play PC games again. I’m pleasantly surprised by how well my XPS 15 can play such a demanding game, graphically—once I figured out why Windows kept crashing at the worst times (totally unrelated to the game) it started running without any hiccups at 1080p. I haven't been running it at 4K, but that might change, because I am going exploring!

    Here’s the crash course: Elite Dangerous is a first-person cockpit simulator, much like flight sim games … except you're in space. It isn’t “realistic” but it is sci-fi realistic—which is to say, there are all the standard MacGuffins that let you travel faster-than-light and use amazing weapons, etc., but at sublight speed it’s mostly Newtonian physics and amazing views.

    Elite Dangerous is one of the largest open-world sandbox games—literally, since you can go anywhere in the Milky Way. Like most such games, there is no “right” way to play it. If you fancy some imperialism, you can get involved in Powerplay, the interstellar struggle by various factions of humanity to expand the number…

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