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Nebula Expedition – California Nebula

California Nebula: 991 LY from Sol

What happened on my first Christmas nebula trip? I damaged both the buggies and took my ship hull down to 85% percent. Now, most of this isn’t as bad as it sounds, as I had copious amounts of materials to repair the buggies, but the 85% hull was a pain.

As a result, I chose to return to Obsidian Orbital in the Pleiades Nebula to fix the hull and re-group. It goes without saying if I’ve been substantially further away from Sol than 1K I’d have been kicking myself.

Never Forget It’s Not A Plane..

….or an X-Wing. Well it is, but possibly it doesn’t fly exactly like one. This trip has reinforced the obvious fact that landing on planets is one of the biggest risks to making the trip.

Basically, it’s all too easy on low gravity worlds to get too carried away with the vessel flying around the surface like an X-Wing. It does do this, but all it takes a lapse of concentration and you’re bouncing off the surface and taking hull damage. In this case I’d spotted a point of interest on the surface and I did a banking observation and got a bit carried away. If I’d bounced like that 10K out I’d have been stomping around the house cursing and getting really annoyed.


You can repair everything with an automatic repair unit but for your hull. The conclusion to this?

One of the simplest conclusions is if your goal is to get 65K LY across the Milky Way Galaxy then don’t land on planets. It’s as simple as that. You’re introducing risk compared to the other elements of the journey. This is certainly true if you don’t need FSD boosting materials to complete the trip, which I don’t. I’d certainly say there is little benefit in going for a landing on a high gravity world unless there is something you really need on it, which there never really is.

I realise this spoils half the fun, so the real lesson is manage your risk and be very careful and ridiculously cautious

Risky Canyon Business

One of the planets in the California Nebula has some really interesting canyons, including an epic large one. I took the opportunity to land on the edge of it and have a drive around. It did occur to me what would happen when I called the ship back? Would it nicely land in the base of the canyon?

The answer is quite simple: drive somewhere rugged and extreme and you can’t guarantee your ship will land anywhere close. I literally had to drive most of the way back to find my ship. This also raised the other issue of getting back up the hills that were ever so easy to get down. Luckily there was a route back to the ship, though at one point I thought I’d have to explode the SRV to get back to ship.

Lesson for the long trip? Be really mindful of where you are going and what it means for recalling your ship and getting back to it as it may not land that close.

Some Extreme Driving Practice

The canyon did allow me to practice with the SRV on the exact opposite of a flat surface and also to play with how it handles in drive assist off and on. It’s interesting, because it’s the exact opposite of your ship. The ship flights more easily with flight assist on as it then flies like a plane, as it automatically uses your thrusts to remove the complexities of inertia and momentum, etc. So what you do is turn flight assist off for brief periods to do nifty turns and slides in order to use space physics for the most benefit in short bursts.

At the moment I can’t even begin to control the SRV with drive assist on, which is a bit odd. I was expecting it to drive more like a car, with assist keeping it from drifting and gluing it to the ground, but this isn’t what happens. The drive assist seems to do anything but… assist. What I’ve taken from this is I’m going to use the SRV with drive assist off and then use bursts of on if it happens to make sense.

I’m not sure yet, more practice and experimentation is probably needed.

Don’t Anger The Drones

I’m pretty crap at fighting drones. I tend to get beaten up a bit. Since I’d taken my ship down to 85% hull to investigate the POI I was insistent on taking the SRV up to it. It was quite a big POI considering where it is, but it was guarded by sentry drones. I gave it a go but I felt overwhelmed and did a runner, further damaging the SRV.

I’ve come to the conclusion I’m going to completely ignore protected points of interest during Distant Worlds. There isn’t much point unless I’m missing something? The chances all it will offer me is something that needs cargo space on the vessel and I’ve not got any.

A Typical Nebula

What I learned from the trip is the California Nebula was nice, but not the most spectacular of nebulas. It’s pretty typical it would seem. It lacks any really striking colour and formations. Some of the nebulas on my first trip where more interesting.

It was much better from learning some of the implications of planetary flight, using the SRV, managing the surface of the planet while driving and also the some of the variables of recalling your ship.

The next location is the Pelican Nebula, which is 2.4K out from Sol. Once I’m there I should stay out there and end run a number of nebula before returning.

About Ian O'Rourke

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