This is the third part of my Dog Plays X3AP series. For all parts, go to the bottom of the article.
…OCCASIONALLY, THERE ARE ALSO PIRATES.
My first Sector Trader, Trader Jo, has already gained a few levels. He is becoming more experienced, as he’s been making a good amount of profit in both Ore Belt and Home of Light. I’ve been staying around the same area, making profit between Ore Belt and Home of Light, and when the demand of ore has been fulfilled, I’ve switched to Cahoona sector trading in Home of Light.
During this repetitive trading, pilots of opposing careers met in Ore Belt. Since I had helped to jump-start the trade in Ore Belt, somebody else’s trade was also jump-started, which was a trade that most merchants don’t find agreeable.
I launch off from an ore mine, with my cargo bay stuffed with ore. I’m hardly four kilometers off, when my radar also becomes stuffed, with red contacts. Son of a biscuit.
I check their ID, and yup, they’re pirates. They’re firing at another Mercury (not Trader Jo’s, thankfully), so I decide to just avoid them and head directly away. So they decide to not avoid me and head directly towards me. Sigh.
I’ve also armed my Discoverer since the last Dog Plays X3. I tell him to go annoy them. Maybe he can use his practice from colliding with me head on to kamikaze into these guys.
A Golden Corral of missiles and laser rounds think I want their autograph for some reason. The pirates don’t care the least about my Discoverer. The “Game Over” screen cares about me, though, and gives my screen a hug.
Two loading screens later — one to load the menu, one to load my save — I’m back at the station. Good thing I have autosaves turned on. This time I just wait. Trader Jo is already on standby at another mine, but I clear his orders just to be safe. There are other freighters at the mine, and apparently the AI is smart enough to stay at the station when danger is near. (Ships can’t be damaged at a station, unless the entire station is destroyed.)
I decide to undock after some time, to see if the pirates have passed or have been destroyed by the many military fleets that come through this system. The lefthand edge of my screen gets dipped in squares of ketchup. Nope.
I comm the station and ask for docking clearance. Since I haven’t moved from where I undocked, I’m instantly back in the safe embrace of the station’s landing clamps. Off in the distance, laser rounds can be seen darting to and fro between asteroids. Apparently, who ever they attacked is fighting back.
HEY, BUDDY, I DARE YOU TO UNDOCK
After a snack break, the docked freighter to the right of me undocks. I figure it must be safe now, and I do likewise.
Nothing exciting seems to be going on. I rotate the camera around to see if I can spot anything going on off in the distance. Nope. Merchants seem to be acting as normal, and there’s an Argon Rapid Response Centaur a fair distance behind the mine. The pirates must’ve had some nice healthy playtime with that.
Back to trading. Trader Jo has just become a Universe Trader. He’s flying off to Cloudbase Southeast to trade stuff. I equip a mineral scanner, and fly off to Cloudbase Southwest to scan asteroids. I’m looking to construct a silicon mine, as there aren’t really many around at all. This first station isn’t totally a seriously thought out weeks-of-planning-galactic-domination station. I just want to build a quick station, and then once I have one working, I’ll start building the real stepping stones of my empire.
DANCING WITH THE STARS
At first, I was going to try to build a silicon mine in Home of Light. I hired a Mammoth, bought a large silicon mine, and stuck it on his ship. I fly him into Home of Light.
The funny thing about this, is I didn’t know that the asteroids here were all too small. They looked big enough to me. I was scanning them, or what I thought was scanning them. I was just pressing “I” the whole time on the asteroid. I didn’t know how the heck people were coming to the conclusion that twenty-six is a minimum yield you should have for an mine. I wasn’t getting any of these readouts. I sit there trying to tell the Mammoth to “drop my freight here”. The map tells me to pick an asteroid, but it isn’t giving me any options. C’mon dude, there’s a giant asteroid right in front of your face.
I try to get the Mammoth to get closer to the asteroid, and instead he flies off towards the TerraCorp HQ and flies in circles. I sit there for a half hour watching the Mammoth spin around and around at the SETA-accelerated speed of 1000% normal speed. At least someone’s thrilled about station building. I tell him to follow me, to travel to position. Nothing. Now he’s started doing a figure-eight. Well, that includes twice the circles as his previous dance. The people looking who happen to be on the side of TerraCorp with a good view hold up signs. Most of them are tens, but some of them are nines and eights. At least my hired Mammoth is popular with the people.
After busting through useless EgoSoft forum page recommended by Google after useless EgoSoft forum page recommended by Google, I find a useful EgoSoft forum page (also recommended by Google). It says that I have to be within ten-kilometers of an asteroid, press “I”, and then hit “SCAN”. I look at the game. Nope. My interface gives me less options than the candybar isle in an East Coast grocery store after news about really bad weather. (And I would know) For those interested, I should also mention that the Mammoth has started weaving around asteroids while I’ve been reading up on my failure. The croud goes wild.
I use my extreme cunning to come to the conclusion that these asteroids are too darn small. I leave the Mammoth there to continue his Dancing With the Stars (literally) and go to the other place that I think would be good for mining: Cloudbase Southwest. I scan the asteroids on the way there, in Ore Belt, but they’re all ore.
DOG’S FIRST ASTEROID SCAN (IS REALLY EXCITING)
I come screeching through the gate (well, as close to “screeching” as a Mercury can get) and fly to the other end of the sector, past all of the Cahoona bakeries and the Free Argon Trading Station. There are a few asteroids out of the way of the major trading lanes between the gates. I hit “I” again. One buttons! Two buttons! THREE BUTTONS! I count in my best Count Dracula voice, which isn’t a good one.
I start scanning the asteroids. The first two have readings of a horribly average amount of ore. There’s only one more large asteroid.
I send my Mercury hurling towards it, hoping my Discoverer is not quite stupid enough to whack into these asteroids. (Actually, I’m giving the AI less credit then it deserves. I’ve had very few problems with the autopilot running into things, compared to what I’ve heard from other people. This may have to do with me using a Pentium processor, as X3 doesn’t have multithreading support because of limitations of the game engine architecture. Even though my processor has fewer cores than some of the big new shinier Intel CPUs, it’s individual cores are more powerful, so maybe that’s why X3′s AI works really good on my PC.)
I, Arrow Key Up, Enter. The scan returns a silicon yield of nine. Not a fantastic yield, but it should still make me some money.
I go back to Home of Light, and tell him to get his Ashton Kutcher the fudge over to Cloudbase. I turn on SETA. He is going nowhere very fast. Okay, look, Beyonce, you have my station, so you better book it over there fast.
I go OOS (Out Of Sector. At least this playthrough can be educational about the many abbreviations for this complex game) and wait on the other side of the gate he’s supposed to be going through. If your ships run into stuff, or get stuck, I recommend you stay OOS from your ships, as there are no collisions when you’re OOS. This can also make travel slightly faster for your ships in asteroid fields, as they can basically travel in a straight line towards their destination.
I bring up the map of Home of Light. He’s moving now.
BIG SQUARE THINGS FLY THROUGH BIGGER ROUND THINGS
The giant, shining bulk of metal that is the Mammoth blocks the North gate of Ore Belt. I watch that bulky mass clunkily turn towards me, as my ship reaches the event horizon of the West gate, and my own, smaller metal bulk, drifts on into the turqoise tunnel of oblivion that provides a shortcut through the stars.
Thanks for reading my poetic journey through the menus of X3: Albion Prelude. As always, if you enjoyed this playthrough, leave a comment or twenty down below, and drop me a “like”, which is also below, and of course, be sure to return next week, as I build stuff.