Aly's Starmap Matrix Evolved

Excerpt…

This week’s episode is a long time coming for me. The idea began with the release of the Star Citizen ARK Starmap and evolved over time, as I delved into the data to understand how it could be used to inform my gameplay. I manually compiled a Starmap matrix and shared it with the community via a Google Sheet.  The purpose was to present the data in a manner that was easier to consume and scan, especially on mobile devices. It’s not as sophisticated as the Starmap itself but served its purpose.  I’ve now matured that idea in an auto-populated website.

Show Transcript

Welcome to another episode of Casual Citizen. An on-going series about the upcoming first person MMO, Star Citizen by Cloud Imperium Games.  I’m your host Alysianah from the Mystic Worlds Gaming Blog. This week’s episode is a long time coming for me. The idea began with the release of the Star Citizen ARK Starmap and evolved over time, as I delved into the data to understand how it could be used to inform my gameplay. I manually compiled a Starmap matrix and shared it with the community via a Google Sheet.  The purpose was to present the data in a manner that was easier to consume and scan, especially on mobile devices. It’s not as sophisticated as the Starmap itself but served its purpose.  I’ve now matured that idea in an auto-populated website.

Feel free to follow along on the live site which is http://contentcreatorsunlimited.com/. I’m reusing a domain I had available when I began this journey. A future release will change it over to the permanent domain I have in place.

Please sit back, relax and enjoy.

BEGIN TRANSMISSION

I started down this road after becoming intrigued by the information presented in the official ARK Starmap. It was entertaining to explore what will become our physical universe and read the bits of lore it contained. I enjoy the lore for its storytelling aspects. And I also endeavor to include lore and star system information in my content, to enhance the context of the topic being discussed. The star system information is also very relevant to player careers, a huge focus for me in MMOs.

This site reflects a desire to have the star system information more accessible and create opportunities to combine it with relevant lore from the Galactic Guides. The ARK Starmap itself is amazing. It’s useful for many tasks and not for others.

For example, a player is starting out in the mining career.

They might want to know things like:

  • What are the safest UEE star systems that contain asteroid belts?
  • What are the systems closest to where their ship is that contain asteroid belts?
  • What asteroid belts contain common minerals suited to beginning miners?

You’d be hard pressed to quickly or easily answer these questions using the ARK Starmap.

A group of friends wants to organize a refueling run using the Starfarer. They’re going to have escorts, some of whom want to engage in local combat while the Starfarer is sitting around sucking up vapors.

  • What are the star systems that contain gas giants?
  • Of those, which have a moderate amount of combat activity?

Again, it would be tricky and time consuming to use the ARK Starmap to answer these questions. They’re better suited to an environment where you can see information about multiple star systems at once, search for specific star system attributes, filter and sort the data returned. This is what I’ve tried to accomplish in a straightforward and simplistic manner. It ain’t fancy but it works.

BASIC FEATURES

  • Daily retrieval of data from the official ARK Starmap – frequency will be increased as necessary
  • Starmap Matrix page that shows all known star systems
    • Designed to support easy scanning of high level system data
    • Supports searching for a specific system
    • Clicking column headings will sort the matrix by that attribute
    • Clicking a star system name goes to its Detailed System Composition
  • Detailed Star System Composition
    • Shows all celestial objects within a single star system
  • Star System Dossiers
    • Combines matrix elements and detailed system composition view
    • Prefiltered to specific player careers
      • Refueling – star systems that have gas planets. Is relevant to refueling career/ships.
      • Mining  – star systems that have asteroid belts or fields. Is relevant to mining career.
      • Green Planets  – star systems that have green planets. Is relevant to careers that rely on populations of consumers – import, export, passenger transport, etc.
      • Fair Chance Act – star systems designated as protected for developing species. Is relevant to science and potentially contraband and black market activities.
      • Trade – coming in next release – relevant to cargo hauling opportunities, import, export and black market

CLOSER LOOK AT THE STARMAP MATRIX

  • Lists all known star systems.
  • Intended as a quick way of scanning basic star system information.
  • Assists in identifying systems that may warrant a more detailed review.
  • Designed to answer “which systems…” type questions
    • Contain two stars?
    • Belong to the UEE?
    • Have high or low populations, economies and/or danger?

Use the following features to answer those types of questions:

  • Each of the columns can be used to sort the data in the table by clicking the column heading such as “System Name” or “Type” or “Population”, etc.  The first click sorts A to Z. Clicking a second time sorts Z to A.
  • You can search for a specific system by typing the name in the search bar located directly above the table and pressing Enter.  Delete the value and press enter again, to see all systems.
  • Population, Economy and Danger use stoplight coloring metaphor. It’s a method for more quickly identifying good, poor and bad performance. This can be tricky when it comes to player professions since good and bad can be subjective. In this case I used it to denote volume – how much exists according to the starmap.
    • High economy or population will be green. Low will be red. Conversely, high danger will be red and low will be green.
  • To see more details about a single star system click it’s name.  This will take you to the next page we’re about to discuss, the Detailed Star System Composition page.

CLOSER LOOK AT THE DETAILED SYSTEM COMPOSITION DOSSIER

The intent of System Composition page is a deep dive into a single star system.

  • Displays all of a star system’s known celestial bodies and jump points.
  • Includes the descriptions and other useful information.
  • Celestial objects are grouped by Type – Stars, Planets, Jump Points, Man Made, Asteroid Belts and Satellites.
  • Next release will combine information gleaned from the Galactic Guides.
  • There’s more information available but I’m still sifting through it.  Remember, this is a work in progress.

MULTI-SYSTEM DOSSIER PAGES – PUTTING DATA IN TIGHTER CONTEXT

The more context you can incorporate into information, the more useful it becomes for answering specific questions. This idea manifests itself in what I’m calling Dossier pages. Dossiers combine Starmap matrix, System Composition and lore into predefined scenarios, where each scenario represents player career opportunities such as mining, fuel collection, cargo hauling, etc.

Dossier pages show multiple star systems so contain fewer data points than the System Composition page.  It’s just enough celestial data +  lore and user contributed data in the future, to assist in logistics planning.

I enjoy having data at my fingertips to help inform decisions. It’s a natural desire for me, given that I’m a data analyst turned product manager for analytic solutions. This natural mode of behavior supercharged by resolve to make the available data more consumable.

All of the dossier pages behave similarly :

  • Initially shows all star systems that meet the intent of that page
  • Support multi-system filtering
  • Supports multi government alignment filtering
  • Planet information within each star system section can be sorted by clicking column headings
  • Lists the jump points associated with all systems currently displayed to help identify common pathing for route planning
  • Jump Point table can be sorted by clicking column headings

RECAP

I consider the Matrix view and System Composition pages to be the fundamental locations for investigating what we know about the physical Star Citizen universe. The matrix is the designed to support quickly scanning through the known star systems.  The System Composition is the deep dive view where you confirm that a star system will meet your needs. If you’re doing logistical planning for a specific career, check to see if there’s a dossier page that might be helpful.  

While Google Chrome is the recommended browser for this site it should work with IE.  Some of the pages such as the Matrix work quite well with in iPad too. I hope you’ve enjoyed this episode and will check out Alysianah Noire’s World of Star Citizen at http://contentcreatorsunlimited.com/.

There’s more to the site than the Starmap data, so take time to explore it.  Until next time be kind and fly safe!

END TRANSMISSION


Cathcart Star System - A Den of Thieves

Excerpt…

Welcome to another episode of Casual Citizen. An ongoing series about the upcoming first person MMO Star Citizen by Cloud Imperium Games.  I’m your host Alysianah from the Mystic Worlds Gaming Blog.  This week’s episode takes us back to the outer reaches of the Star Citizen universe, to explore another Star System. It’s Cathcart, one of the systems in my top 10 must see list.  Please sit back, relax and enjoy.

 

 

Show Transcript

Welcome to another episode of Casual Citizen. An ongoing series about the upcoming first person MMO Star Citizen by Cloud Imperium Games. I’m your host Alysianah from the Mystic Worlds Gaming Blog. This week’s episode takes us back to the outer reaches of the Star Citizen universe, to explore another Star System. It’s Cathcart, one of the systems in my top 10 must see list. Please sit back, relax and enjoy.

BEGIN TRANSMISSION

Directly from CIG, as printed in an Observist article on RobertsSpaceIndustries.com

Greetings, traveler, there are millions of sights to see in the universe. While the team at THE OBSERVIST is here to make sure you get the best traveling experience possible, the true traveler goes beyond the safe and secure, into the wild and unpredictable edges of the universe. This is OBSERVIST DARK, chronicling the systems where safety is not guaranteed.

Today, we’re taking you to the ultimate den of thieves. The capital of crime. The nexus of the nefarious. That’s right, traveler, we’re heading to the Cathcart system.

END QUOTE

Astronomically speaking, Cathcart is fundamentally void: a star without true planets. It’s a loose chain of asteroids and mini-worlds orbiting far from a green band. With this structure, there was no compelling reason for the system to be developed, let alone inhibited.

Cathcart was initially charted about five hundred years ago, listed as a Class C military zone and abandoned. When attention returned to the system it was for security purposes. The Navy initiated a plan to build a snooping post in Cathcart. However, improvements in scanning technology increased rapidly shortly after, negating the need for a large orbital spy post. Work on the Navy’s partially built platform was terminated, leaving Cathcart to the void.

Sometime later Cathcart’s usefulness was revisited. It was identified as a location where military spacecraft and a limited amount of supplies could be stored. With no planets or local populace to manage, it could be used as a staging area. Making it easy to re-crew the ships and deploy them in the event of a crisis. Decision made, pre­fab processing industrial units were towed in the system. For decades, the system amassed all types of military spacecraft – cruisers, destroyers, carriers, and frigates. All floating aimlessly in space.

As the galactic expansion moved beyond the region, the UEE left the vicinity. The idea of using the system as a staging area was all but forgotten. It was reclassified again. This time as private industry and salvage rights were sold to the highest bidders. Cathcart had become a junkyard. And not a well monitored one at that.

Eventually, someone came up with a plan for what the government had discarded. An enterprising pirate named Whando recognized its potential. He set the precedent in motion, that would transform Cathcart into a pirate’s den. He recognized that the abandoned platform and ships could be used to house his cartel. By 2750, other pirates had come to the same conclusion.

Small clans, illegal cartels, and individual pirates retrofitted the various ship hulls into homes and bases of operation. Snaking them together by whatever means necessary. Goodbye Cathcart. Hello Spider, a straggling world-­sized mass of retired starships, half built platforms and abandoned colonizers. All held together with a prayer and plexi-metal.

Using Spider as a jumping off point, pirates raided the surrounding systems and occasionally, each other. Buyers looking to obtain illegal merchandise were drawn to the area, which in turn encouraged the establishment of permanent businesses. The UEE became aware of the system’s transformation but was unwilling to dedicate the money and resources to reverse it.

Spider is a living beast, continuously expanding. New wrecks and abandoned ships are joined to the maze daily. It’s a labyrinth on a grand scale. Taking a wrong turn could lead to a new find or your death. When you enter Spider, you are very literally taking your life in your hands. No insurance company will insure a spacecraft that is knowingly going to Cathcart.

This den of thieves has one saving grace. If you’re accepted as a member of the pack, the wolves won’t strike. However, establishing those credentials can be tricky and unhealthy for your life span. If you insist on visiting, your best course of action is to dock at one of the locations that require password access. Entering through one of these “secured” locations will give you the air of being a member.

The current protocol for docking is to signal the tower four times for a vector approach. Any other number will immediately flag you as an outsider. You’ll also need to know the following docking location passwords.

  • Charm’s Weapons landing zone its eggbrain
  • Lance’s Lair, also called Organs is 42equinox
  • Dace Headquarters is dorrit
  • Spinward Toxin Farm is highnoon

It’s interesting to note that even pirates may harbor a fondness for history references from earth. Dorris is likely a reference to Little Dorrit a novel by author Charles Dickens that is considered a classic look at society’s view of poverty and crime in Victorian England. And the classic American western film, High Noon that examines loyalty, in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds.

Even with these passwords, you are at great risk entering Spider. I don’t advise going alone. And always be on your guard at all times. A friendly smile can quickly turn into a knife in the back.

END TRANSMISSION


Life in Alpha 2.4

Star Citizen Alpha 2.4 is live. This episode takes a look at the content available for testing.

 

Show Transcript

Welcome to another episode of Casual Citizen. An on-going series about the upcoming first person MMO Star Citizen by Cloud Imperium Games.  I’m your host Alysianah from the Mystic Worlds Gaming Blog.

It’s been awhile since Casual Citizen covered “playing the game” – talked about what’s going on with the game itself and not its assets. The release of patch 2.4 to the Live server brings new gameplay to chat about, so let’s!

Please sit back, relax and enjoy.

BEGIN TRANSMISSION

 

Setting up shop

Anyone who has followed my gaming blog over the years knows that I enjoy meaningful player housing.  Housing where having that personal space brings gameplay mechanics that impact the persistent elements of the game.  Things like being able to craft or sell items out my house.  

The closest equivalent to player housing we have thus far in Star Citizen is our ship hangars. Here we can see our ships, configure our ships and display hangar decorations and furniture we own. It’s your personal instance in space. For testing purposes, we can enter into our hangar via the game’s menu and only one exists at any given time.  When the game releases, these hangars will be located on a specific planet in a particular star system that you’ll have to travel to. It will be your ship’s garage and a place to store local inventory similar to how stations behave in EVE Online.

The fact that the game was placing my inventory automatically made the hangars feel like a generic waiting room. Like walking into a stranger’s office or home.  Patch 2.4’s new Item Port System changes that. We don’t have 100% control over where things go – certain size items can only go in slots of a similar size. But nothing is placed in my hangar that I don’t explicitly place myself. It feels more like it’s mine now. Hence the very first thing I did when 2.4 was pushed to the Live server was decorated my hangar.

I started with the Aeroview because I like the art style better. It’s has a homier feel to me. I like the observatory office’s layout. But after spending more time decorating it, I realized it was too dark for my tastes and had to return to the Revel & York.  And while I don’t enjoy it’s modern somewhat austere corporate style, I prefer brightly lit rooms and so far, Revel & York is the only hangar with bright lighting.

I got a kick out of placing my ships by hand.  Walking around placing my furniture and decorations where I wanted them. I can’t wait for more hangar variety such as reflecting the aesthetics of the planet where the hangar is located.

Configuring My Combat Ships

I had a strong dislike for the holo table. Coming from the easy to use Ship Fitting tool in EVE Online, it seemed blasphemous to deal with that thing. I’m sorry. I know that was someone’s baby and they like it…  But no, just no. Without persistence retaining my efforts made using the hellatable, I couldn’t be bothered.  The new item port system removes that barrier so I went whole-hog on trying new weapons on my primary ships.

For combat, my go to ship is the Sabre, a single seater fighter from Aegis Dynamics. There’s no interior other than the cockpit. I don’t have to worry about stowaways boarding her in the persistent universe and she’s so sexy. Such a sleek sexy looking ship.

Her original weapon configuration was two CF-117 BADGERS, which are size 2 laser weapons and two CF-227 PANTHERS which are size 3 laser weapons.  I opted to change over to using four size 3 PANTHERS for more damage and a single target pip.

Before settling on the four Panthers, I had tried replacing the two Badgers with two TARANTULA GT-870 MK3s, which are size 3 ballistic weapons. But I didn’t like the slower rate of fire on a fast ship like the Sabre. I do realize that for optimum configuration, I shouldn’t have all laser or all ballistic but at this stage of the game, it’s fine.  Instead of letting the Tarantulas go to waste, I put them on the slower moving, designed to hit heavier, Freelancer. Like the Sabre, I outfitted my Hornet Ghost with Panthers.

Interacting directly with the ship to test different weapons combinations was much more intuitive. It’s also a great way of learning what components make up your ship – the names and sizes of your ship’s components, for when reconfiguring more of our its systems is brought online.

Adjusting Voice Attack for Game’s New Control Scheme

I can not fly without Voice Attack – period. I fly with a HOTAS and there simply aren’t enough buttons to achieve even the basics.  If you’re interested in more details about the ins and outs of Voice Attack, you can find articles I’ve written on the subject in the show notes.

2.4 included a complete overhaul of the game’s control scheme. This meant that everyone’s voice attack profiles had to be reconfigured. Changes like this, which are to be expected in an alpha, are why I keep mine very bare bones. It wasn’t much of a hassle to fix mine and I decided to integrate using my own voice as A.I. responses, as early testing for creating voice pack I have considered undertaking. It won’t be a command-oriented voice pack.  It will be about lore, gameplay, and roleplay. More on that in a future show.  For now, I tested recording a few things and integrating them into my profile. I think it turned out well for a first attempt.  Here’s a small sample. A completed version will have star system information and lore.

Earning aUEC to buy my first flight suit

Hangar, ships and voice attack profile all set, it was time to hit the 2.4 persistent universe. I had one and only one goal in mind – obtain The Yeezy space suit! To know more about the origin of how the Odyssey Flight Suit was nicknamed The Yeezy, check out the show notes for a link to an article on my blog. It’s a bit started by Dan Gheesling that’s caught on among his Star Citizen followers.

Purchasing The Yeezy meant accumulating 7.3 thousand aUEC in game.  You start off with 2.5 thousand.  If you don’t have to replace or repair your ship, successfully completing 2 or 3 missions should earn enough credits. The fastest route, with the smallest risk of encountering PVP, is doing missions from the ICC Probe.  These missions occur in far-flung parts of the Yela asteroid field, which tends to be quieter than other parts of Crusader.

I took three missions in succession.  The first one was rather a poor showing combat-wise. I encountered lag when the NPC pirates spawned and created more lag by needing to capture video footage. Once things hit 15 FPS or less my motion sickness kicks in pretty hard but I was determined to finish.

My Sabre and I were able to successfully route the pirates. I even helped out another player in between my second and third mission. EVAing out of your ship in the asteroid field is pretty damn spectacular. The lighting.  Feeling the immenseness of space as you glide away from the safety of your cockpit. Interacting with objects in space to complete the missions such as retrieving voice recorders from wrecked ships, does not get old!

I didn’t spend time exploring Yela for the new wrecks with abandoned cargo that have been introduced.  But I lucked up on one.  I noticed a wreck a short distance away from where I was completing a mission. When I arrived at the location, it was a crate of premium cigars.  I quickly looted them and vacated the area.

Now that repairing your ship costs credits, I’ve noticed more players flying around with partially damaged ships. It’s actually funny to see how quickly the 2.4 changes have infiltrated the mindset of the average alpha player.  I waited until after I’d purchased The Yeezy to assess whether or not I wanted to repair and restock missiles. In the end, I did. It cost less than 1 thousand aUEC so I figured why not? I’m not interested in FPS weapons. I’m unlikely to bother with buying civilian clothes until the female avatar is in the game.

The Yeezy out of the way, next I want to complete the Comm Array mission that culminates in you being asked to defend Port Olisar. And I want to try out the pirate mechanic just once and using the hacking system and Kareah to erase my criminal record.  That’s going to be an adventure and a half!

I’m extremely pleased with the features introduced in 2.4. I’d like to spend more time in the persistent universe now.  If I can eek out the time.  I’m excited about what’s to come in the immediate future as it’s only up up up from here!

SHOW NOTES

The Show notes will contain links the articles I’ve written about using Voice Attack.  A more detailed retelling of getting The Yeezy Suit that was written from my blog and a sample of the Voice Pack I’m working on for Star Citizen.

Voice Attack Articles

What’s all This Voice Attack Stuff?
http://www.redacted.tv/whats-all-this-voice-attack-stuff/

How to Add Voice Attack Profiles
http://notadiary.typepad.com/mysticworlds/2015/07/star-citizen-how-to-add-voice-attack-profiles.html

And So It Begins.  The Road to Obtaining The Yeezy
http://notadiary.typepad.com/mysticworlds/2016/06/star-citizen-24-and-so-it-begins.html
If you’ve enjoyed this episode please consider subscribing to my channel and giving this episode a thumbs up.  All the kind words and support are much appreciated.  Be sure to also check me out on www.Reacted.TV, where I’ll be bringing you newsworthy articles on Star Citizen.

As ever, be kind and fly safe.  This is Alysianah signing off until next time.

END TRANSMISSION


Dramatized Lore Narration: Discovery of the Tevarin

Excerpt…

Today, our Discovered series presents the personal correspondence of Dr. Kellar Lench, on loan to us from the Gemma Museum of Interspecies Tolerance. Lench was a young scientist when he first discovered the Elysium System and the existence of the Tevarin in 2541.

Related Content

 

TEXT GOES HERE


The Drake Herald, Info Running & EWAR

Show Transcript

Welcome to another episode of Casual Citizen. An on-going series about the upcoming first person MMO Star Citizen by Cloud Imperium Games.  I’m your host Alysianah from the Mystic Worlds Gaming Blog.

Sorry about the two-week hiatus. Between work, a business trip and being offered an exciting opportunity to narrate a small audiobook, I’ve been rather overloaded. I was at least spared the agony of watching the pot boil for 2.4 hitting the Live Server. Here’s hoping it’s not too far off.

This week’s episode will discuss another ship that’s near and dear to my heart, the Drake Herald.  It’s one of only three small career ships in my line-up. The fact that I can own platform ships, ships for medium sized groups AND engage in solo or duo activities, is a huge part of what excites me about Star Citizen.  I like the flexibility to control my playstyle and/or dependency on other players to fit my mood or what I feel like accomplishing at any given time. In looking at the Herald, we’ll touch on Drake as a company, the Magnus System where they’re headquartered and Electronic Warfare, as it relates to the Herald.

BEGIN TRANSMISSION

Most players would likely agree, that the Herald isn’t the prettiest or sleekest ship in the ‘verse.  Some consider it downright ugly. For me, it falls into the so quirky that it’s cute category.  I find it attractive in a crooked smile kinda way. And although I preferred the original asymmetrical design, I’m not bothered by the change in direction.  Those were concept images.  This is alpha.  Shit happens…Yadda.  Before delving into the Herald, let’s take our first look at its manufacturer, Drake Interplanetary.

For many citizens, the name Drake Interplanetary conjures up images of ships whose silhouettes don’t look aerodynamically balanced.  And the ne’er-do-wells and criminals flying them.  Pirates.  Drake hasn’t helped change this perception by naming its ships things like Cutlass and Buccaneer. And their the cheesy billboards featuring an overly endowed woman, dripping sex appeal all over the newest starfighter they’re showcasing, doesn’t help much either.  When you’re not seeing Drake’s in-your-face adverts, it’s yet another newsvid about investigations into their criminal ties.

Drake’s keystone design is the Drake Interplanetary AS-1 Cutlass. Incredibly inexpensive, Drake Cutlasses are used across the galaxy for thousands of different roles. From search and rescue ambulances to mining prospector conversions, to short hop food transports.  The modular nature of the Cutlass means it can be anything to anyone. Including those skirting the law.

Beyond its modularity, the Cutlass’ claim to fame is that it’s built from common parts.  This makes it an affordable ship to replace for those who are living a lifestyle that no longer offers the benefit of purchasable insurance. Drake Interplanetary incorporated soon after the success of the Cutlass. Lead designer Jan Dredge became CEO, with a seven-member board, consisting largely of aerospace engineers who had worked on the project.

Drake is not the surname of anyone involved in the project; it was selected as an acceptable “smooth-sounding” name, chosen specifically in the hopes that it would make their spacecraft more appealing. This was the first of a series of money-over-all decisions that would quickly come to define the company.

Another factor that swaying the UEE’s belief that Drake is in some fashion associated with criminal activity, was their decision to locate their corporate headquarters and key factories on Borea in the Magnus system.  At the time, Magnus was a desolate and lawless system, peppered with ghost towns and people living on the fringe of the space frontier. Locating on Borea, was yet another seed planted in the garden of their outlaw image.  Regardless of the UEE’s assumptions or those of more polite society, within five years Drake was the fifth largest spacecraft manufacturing concern.  

However, with the galaxy in a relative level of peace, or as close to peace as it had ever been –  Vanduul raids at the time were disorganized and the UEE military was in the middle of a several years stand down. Who was buying thousands upon thousands of Cutlasses? The answer, of course – pirate organizations.  The affordability of Drake ships created readily replaceable spacecraft that fit a pirate’s budget, and thanks to its larger-than-average cargo hold, they could also transport pirate booty.

It eventually became clear, though not publically acknowledged, that Drake had made a deal with the devil … but the money was too good to turn back. It’s rumored that in looking toward future, CEO Dredge is authoring a plan to streamline their spacecraft lineup and clean up the company’s image.  A daunting task for the modular, boxy Cutlass, Caterpillar, and Buccaneer! And then there are those ship names. Only time will tell.

Life in Magnus

Directly from CIG

“Magnus: On the Edge of the Unknown!” or so reads the local government’s standard travel brochure. In truth, the phrase better describes Magnus a century ago; recent decades have seen increasing settlement and overall civilization in a system that considers itself the unofficial capital of Human frontier culture.

End Quote

First discovered in 2499, Magnus was a small, entirely undistinguished system: three planets orbiting a type K main sequence star. Dimmer than Earth’s own sun, Magnus did not have the pull to generate a system of outer planets or an extensive network of jump point tie-ins. Surveys have located no protoplanets, gas pockets or asteroid fields in the system’s environs; the area surrounding Magnus is the deepest, most desolate space imaginable. A single world, Magnus II, was identified as ideal for terraforming.

For a time, Borea – Magnus II, was a barren desert world — the effects of terraforming had not yet completely transformed the planet, and a ten-year period of extreme solar flares hampered its transition to a temperate world.  This increased the decay of the UEE facilities and generally reduced overall interest in resettling Magnus. The result was an eerie, depopulated ghost world with declining structures full of refining and shipbuilding equipment considered too expensive to move elsewhere. During this period, the system’s population declined to less than 3,000, most of whom had no legal right to their encampments.  

Let’s step back for a moment to consider living on a planet whose entire population is 3000 inhabitants. It has to feel something like living in a post-apocalyptic world. Or being on a backwater border planet in FireFly, where Jayne is worshiped as a deity. I think I’ll pass but Drake said sure, sounds good!

Drake’s decision to locate the headquarters and primary factories on Borea eventually helped to revitalized the landscape. Vast tracts of empty warehouses and rusting construction yards have been modernized and returned to life from building Cutlasses and Caterpillars.  All’s well that ends well and good on Drake.  But personally, I’d have started job hunting when the news came around about where the offices were going.

The Drake Interplanetary Herald

Overview

The original concept sale for the Herald was November 2014.  The Herald is a small armored ship, designed to safely deliver information and you, from one place to the next.  Its speed will rival racers but it won’t have the same nimble handling. It has a powerful central engine to support advanced data encryption. It also sports data protection systems, redundant power subsystems, EMP shielding and high capacity broadcast arrays for data transmission.  In a nutshell, it’s spec’d to acquire rare data, encrypt/protect it, escape with said data and/or transmit it to your cohorts. As a fallback, it has a quick method to clear your drives of evidence, in case you get caught in the act or hijacked.

Ship Configuration

Classified has Info Runner.  Is 23 meters in length and weighs 18 thousand kilograms.  Supports 2 crew stations and 0 cargo units.  For hardpoints, it’s configured with 3 S1 gimbal mounts, an S3 shield, and one additional equipment mount.

A bit of Drake related fiction from RobertsSpaceIndustries.com…

Dispatch:  A New Threat to Data Security by Drake Interplanetary

SUBJECT: DRAKE HERALD DATA

STATUS: URGENT

Attention Team,

Attached to this dispatch are the final specifications and 3D holo-model of what you have worked all these long months to accomplish! Our Herald prototype will now enter the construction and testing phase, with a planned Q2 2945 rollout for the first sales units.

On the surface, the Herald represents a significant advance in interstellar data transfer… but as we Drake team members know, its long-term implications for data interception, stream interruption, and even outright piracy are enormous. I’m proud of everything we’ve accomplished, and now I can’t wait to see this baby fly!

Becke Linns

Senior Spacecraft Designer

Drake Interplanetary

END QUOTE

 

In that final paragraph, we can see that Drake’s intention of cleaning up their act is only surface level.  A little spit-n-shine for the ole public image.  Clearly, they understand and acknowledge the potential ramifications of their designs!

Quick Chat about Electronic Warfare

In August of 2015, CIG published a design document discussing their plans for implementing Electronic Warfare, often abbreviated to EWAR.  EWAR mechanics played such a heavy role in EVE Online combat, I’ve been very interested in learning more about how it would play out in Star Citizen. Oftentimes in EVE, you can lose a fight before you’ve undocked from a station, simply by not having your ship adequately configured for an encounter.  Will EWAR in Star Citizen have the same far-reaching impacts? It will be quite some time before we can answer that question.

Let’s review the portion of the Star Citizen EWAR Design Document that speaks to capabilities we can expect to see incorporated into the Herald, as an interceptor of information.

Radar (Object-Detection) and Scanning

The Drake Herald is an information runner but includes a dedicated e-war suite, which includes the ability to scan.  Scanning is the tracking or gathering of information based off of the three main signature outputs: Infrared, Electromagnetic, and Cross-section.

Every ship has a suite of default systems that give it basic operational functionality. Our radar systems use IR, EM, or radio waves to determine the range, angle, and velocity of objects. Standard operating mode for radar systems is omnidirectional.  However, players with the right equipment can change the focus of their unit. Changing the focus increases the transmit power, but reduces the area in which targets can be located.

Scan and radar effectiveness are also impacted by the environment.  For example, solar radiation from the nearby star could wreak havoc on your results.  The goal is to introduce variance in performance between radar components and require choices from the player, as to what type of information they value above others, as well as reduce the time of a scan and/or the risk of being detected.

Players will be able to scan their surroundings either passively or actively.

  • Passive – The player is letting the information come to them versus actively searching for the information (in essence listening). This emits a much smaller signature.
  • Active – The player’s ship is actively looking for information around their ship. This emits a much higher signature.

In passive scanning, the range and detection type is based off of the radar component that your ship has installed. Any potentially targetable object within your ship’s radar zone will show up as different contact states, discussed in the detailed design doc. This feature will emit a signature when turned on. It will be up to the player to choose if they want scans to run constantly or enabled during certain times. Multi-crew ships can assign this as a full-time task to a radar officer; allowing them to balance scanning systems with the ship’s signature output.

By switching to active scanning, you can acquire more specific information on a target such as their type of armor, shields, weapons, etc.  You can even attempt to reveal undetectable targets. This can be done with the focus set to either omni or fixed direction, with fixed direction requiring more skill to use but potentially producing a more detailed result. Active scanning will also increase a ship’s signature since it requires additional power.

To stay safe from incoming hacking and electronic warfare attacks, pilots will need to outfit their ships and flight-suits with appropriate countermeasures. Electronic defenses require less specialized equipment than their offensive counterparts, and while this does favor defenders to an extent, they can still be met with multiple attacks and overwhelmed.

This is just the tip of the iceberg for Electronic Warfare.  Please read the full design document for more details.  Including the defensive mechanics players will have at their disposal to minimize and/or negate, the offensive effectiveness of EWAR attacks.

I liked the idea of the Herald before we had the EWAR design document.  My primary decision for purchasing one was to have another two station ship. Although I’ll probably do a lot of the work solo, since I enjoy that too, I’m hoping to introduce friends to Star Citizen who don’t traditionally play MMOs but are interested in space. And it’s a non-combat focused activity I can do with younger kids in the family.

For now, it remains to be seen how heavy of a role EWAR will play in day-to-day combat.  Most encounters happen too quickly at the moment when we’re mostly flying small fighters.  In EVE, EWAR plays a large factor even in those types of encounters.  Or determines the outcome before the first shot was fired.  In that scenario, fitting EWAR modules is a foregone conclusion – a necessity of survival.  I could live without that level of EWAR in Star Citizen combat and have it more focused on being used in career pursuits.  But I’m okay dealing with however the chips fall on it.

SHOW NOTES

I hope you’ve enjoyed this look into the Herald and Drake Interplanetary.  Please check out the show notes on my blog for links to mentioned content such as the Herald ship page, Drake’s write up on RSI and the Magnus Galactic Guide.

If you found this episode useful and entertaining, please considering subscribing to my channel and giving the show a thumbs up.  It would be greatly appreciated and doing so helps the show’s visibility, making it easier for others to find their way here.

Be kind and fly safe.  This is Alysianah signing off until next time.

 

END TRANSMISSION

Tying it all together

Understanding that the herald was designed to intercept data, a fancy way of saying steal, we can imagine that part of game play.  I imagine there will be opportunity to hijack information from ship systems, structures with data storage capabilities and possibly mobi devices.
If we also consider that it has a dedicated EWAR suite, that introduces offensive combat mechanics.  Acting as a scout, the herald can gather information about primary targets and relay that data back to the fleet. It may be possible for it to disable certain subsystems, which inches us closer to aspects of how EWAR plays out in EVE.  Exciting times and sounds like very interesting gameplay mechanics for a small two station ship.


Star Citizen Universe Historical Timeline

Related Content:

Show Transcript

Welcome to another episode of Casual Citizen. An on-going series about the upcoming first person MMO, Star Citizen by Cloud Imperium Games.  I’m your host Alysianah from the Mystic Worlds Gaming Blog.

This week’s episode returns to Star Citizen lore. I know people enjoy shows about ships, which is understandable.  But I don’t always have enough time to compile the content necessary to do a those the way I prefer.  I’m working on doing the Hull Series for next week.  For this week, I hope you enjoy this narrated look at our fictional universe timeline.

Please sit back, relax and enjoy.

BEGIN TRANSMISSION
2075: Roberts Space Industries introduces Quantum Core Engine Technology. Capable of traveling at 1/100th the speed of light, this new engine allows humanity to travel to the corners of our solar system with relative ease.

2113: Terraforming technology patented.

2120: First attempt to terraform Mars begins.

2125: The Mars Tragedy. An Early attempt at terraforming the planet suffers catastrophic failure. Over 5000 souls killed when the atmo collapses.

2140: First commercially available starship.

2157: Mars successfully terraformed. Memorial built to honor those killed in the Mars Tragedy.

2214: New version of the RSI engine released, allowing travel up to 1/10th the speed of light. More ships exploring our solar system.

2232: Artemis Launched. First attempt to have a manned spacecraft fly (slow-burn) to the nearest star system. Captain, crew and thousands of volunteer colonists are placed in stasis for the flight. Ultimately the ship disappears.

2262: A series of ships inexplicably disappear in the same area of space. Drawing comparisons to the Bermuda Triangle, the government declares the Neso Triangle a no-fly zone. There is much more myth and conjecture about why this happens than there are hard facts.

2271: After almost ten years of study, Nick Croshaw goes to investigate the Bermuda Triangle-esque Space Anomaly and discovers the first jump point, becoming the first human to travel to another system and the godfather of the modern Navjumpers.

2380: Croshaw System has been terraformed. The search for new jump points signifies the beginning of Humanity’s expansion to the stars. The Earth’s social and political differences are set aside. We are united in our desire to strike out into the stars. The United Nations of Earth (UNE) is born.

2438: First Contact. It is considerably less cinematic or romantic than many had dreamed of. An explorer encounters a Banu in Davien. He is just as surprised as we are. The Banu are also just beginning to expand into the universe. General Neal Socolovich and delegates negotiate the first intergalactic peace and trade treaty.

2460: Through expansion and terraforming, there are vast amounts of land and territory for humanity to move to. Earth is overcrowded, so more and more people are leaving to stake their claim out in the universe.

2516: Terra settlement established. Found at a confluence of jump points, it’s a perfect nexus.

2523: 70% of humans live off-world. They feel that they deserve equal representation in UNE proceedings. The government changes form once again, becoming the United Planets of Earth (UPE). The new government will be run by a tribunal; a High-Secretary (responsible for maintaining the infrastructure), High-General (responsible for expansion and protection), and a High-Advocate (responsible for maintaining the law).

2530: Discovery of the Xi’an Empire. We stumble into their territory without knowing and are about to start terraforming. High-General Volder receives criticism for being too aggressive, while there is muscle flexing and threats from both sides. A cold war of sorts begins, with occasional casualties, but not full-on open conflict.

2541: The UPE first establish contact with the Tevarin. While not as technologically advanced as us, they were just beginning to strike out into the universe. A proud, martial society, the Tevarin wanted what we had and struck first. The First Tevarin War begins. Colonel Ivar Messer, a brilliant and ruthless strategist, distinguishes himself in the Battle of Idris IV. He quickly becomes the pride of the military and the face of the War.

2546: Messer, now promoted to commander, brings the captured Tevarin leader to the UPE floor. He rides the popularity of his victory to become High-General. Claiming the Tribunal is an outdated system and cultivating a fear of the Xi’an, Messer proposes the creation of a new single office with the title of Prime Citizen. Upon election as the first (and last) Prime Citizen, it isn’t long before he restructures the government into the new United Empire of Earth (UEE) and anoints himself Imperator, ushering on in an age of unprecedented expansion and colonization.

2603-2610: The Second Tevarin War. Repopulated after hiding on the Fringe, the Tevarin have spent the last fifty years building their forces for the sole purpose of retaking their homeworld Kaleeth (renamed/resettled by the UEE as Elysium IV. While theirs is a cause that some humans could support, the UEE isn’t about to give up territory. Realizing that they can’t win, the Tevarin decide to make a final desperate push to scuttle their ships on Elysium IV. If they can’t live there, they will die there.

2638: Senator Assan Kieren of Terra publicly decries the pro-military agenda of the UEE and its unconditional support of the military-industrial complex. He calls for another vote of sovereignty for Terra and its adjacent systems. Imperator Messer XI wields the UEE’s brutally efficient propaganda machine to discredit and destroy Kieren, who disappears soon after. There are rumors that he is murdered, but nothing can be proven.

2681: The Vanduul, a nomadic leeward race in the west, starts raiding our new settlements in the Tevarin systems and disappearing. They seemingly have no homeworld; each Vanduul clan is a roaming fleet, making them exceedingly hard to catch.

2715-2788: The military regime reaches a plateau. While the human populace has been somewhat beaten into submission, there’s a current of subversion in the culture. People are starting to see the cracks in the system. Activist groups launch attacks against the political/propaganda machine. The military is stretched thin, bracing for war with Xi’an, chasing down Vanduul raiders, and trying to maintain security on the human systems. The Imperator’s power is waning.

2789: In a daring act of defiance, peace is independently brokered with the young Xi’an Emperor Kray by Senator Terrence Akari of Terra, who refuses to fight open war on his doorstep. Terra blasts Earth for being imperialistic and short-sighted. Xi’an looks at the situation as a potential way to create a divide in the Human Empire.

2792: The Massacre of Garron II. A terraforming Corp begins to terraform an inhabited planet. The inhabitants weren’t star-travelers, just a developing race, which gets wiped out from the atmo-processors. The corp vehemently denies that the aliens were capable of conscious thought. Activist vid footage of the aliens’ rational behavior is leaked to the Spectrum. It is also revealed that the terraforming Corp is closely tied to the Benevolent Imperator’s family. That’s the final straw; the people rise up and overthrow the government. Erin Toi of Earth becomes the new Imperator and promises an age of enlightenment and social consciousness.

2795: The Fair Chance Act is ratified, decreeing that is a capital crime to attempt to terraform planets with developing creatures. These planets are to be left alone to give the species a chance to advance/evolve.

2800: UEE builds the Ark, a repository of information and culture located in space for all the races in the universe. It is seen by some as an attempt at reparation.

2872: In response to criticism that humanity is only interested in greed and blood, the UEE embarks on its greatest achievement: a SynthWorld, converting a lifeless rock into a life-sustaining planet. Construction begins in Chronos system. It is viewed as the current era’s legacy. A massive undertaking, it will take decades, maybe centuries to complete.

2920: The SynthWorld project is moving slowly and it’s draining the Empire economically. This is the point where our reach starts exceeding our grasp. The disparity between the rich and the poor is reaching an all-time divide, and the poor are reacting with greater and greater frustration. The Vanduul attacks are growing in frequency and the UEE doesn’t seem to be doing a thing about it.

2942: Today…


Dramatized Lore Narration: Ellis to Taranis Jump Tunnel Discovery

Excerpt…

This standard year marks the 150th anniversary of Harper Nguyen’s famous journey. At 128 years old, she holds the record for the oldest explorer to ever chart a jump point. To this day, she is renowned for not only her discovery but also the harrowing circumstance in which it occurred.  To honor her accomplishment, below are select excerpts from the incredibly detailed audio journal Harper kept during her voyage.

Star System Dossier pages on Aly’s World:


Dramatized Lore Narration: Discovery of the Vanguard System

It’s the discovery of the Vanguard system, captured in the journal of Christian Meyer.  Here’s a look at the actual star system composition via Aly’s World Star System Dossier pages.

 


Dramatized Lore Narration: Discovery of the Oya System

From the on-going Discovered series on RobertsSpaceIndustries.com we have, the Journals of Lieutenant Eli Price of the United Empire of Earth Navy.

 

  • Oya Aly’s World Star System Dossier page: http://alysianahsworld.com/_system-overview/?q=409
  • Official dispatch on RSI: https://robertsspaceindustries.com/comm-link/spectrum-dispatch/15093-DISCOVERED
  • Oya on the Starmap: https://robertsspaceindustries.com/starmap?location=OYA&camera=60,-73.15,0.002,0,0″,”Oya”
  • Castra on the Starmap: https://robertsspaceindustries.com/starmap?location=CASTRA&camera=60,0,0.0591,0,0″,”Castra”