Commander’s Briefing 7

Right. Onward, Commanders.

Good to see that a few of you are persisting with the briefings and trying things out in space there.

We’ll start with what’s new out there. We have a bigger playground. Little bit more space to fly in and best of all, Frontier brought a giant doughnut for us to play around.

The Orbis station is yet another thing for us to go OOOH at. Bigger than the older stations, Frontier have taken some of the cash injection from the corporations and set it up as another trading hub.

What else is new? You’re all getting bored and shooting each other. There have been no messages as of yet from Galcop representatives about the protection of innocent traders but we’ve been reassured that they’ll be joining us around the stations sometime soon. I suspect that they’re having too much fun watching the Federal police trip you all up and scan your cargo for “illicit” goods.

Back to the subject in hand – more complex flying.

From the beginning. If someone is shooting at you and you want to evade their shots, or if you’re killing an Anaconda and you want to sweep majestically out of the way of the boss-eyed turret commanders, you’ll need to know how to use yaw and lateral thrusters whilst flying.

We’ll begin at any of the test scenarios that you like. As usual, don’t choose sides, we’re testing how to fly, not how to crash and burn in combat.

Get about 3k from a fixed target – I suggest one of the massive flaming hulks out there but you can try a beacon if you can find one.

Twist your stick to the left. You yaw. Don’t yawn. The target will slowly drift to the right. If you’re travelling forward, you’ll be slowly sweeping around in an arc, your nose leading the way.

Then…. apply a little lateral thruster in the opposite direction. Your ship will start sliding to one side. Try and keep the hulk in the centre of your vision. Back off the lateral thrust if you need, or reduce the yaw. Keep trying this until you can keep the target in your view.

If you imagine your ship in space, flying a nice neat line for a second. Then imagine I’m behind you with some lasers and I want your cargo.

I don’t care if it’s gold or food, pretend I’m a pirate and you’re my lunch ticket. My beer token for tonight’s drinking at the station. Maybe I’m just doing it for giggles.

No. I don’t actually have an eyepatch and I don’t fly like that, but I could.

You are drifting lazily in a gentle curve through space. Not hard for me to shoot.

So – try again. Put full power to yaw and opposite thrusters and instead of changing the power to either, use a bank/pitch bank/pitch bank/pitch combination to keep the hulk in your view.

What do you think that will be doing to your flight path now? Yes, if you left trails out in space, they would look like a pretty flower. More importantly, you’d be harder to hit.

So – back off to 3k again. Get your circle strafe going. Then pitch/bank in a pattern until you can reliably keep it in view. Your target will appear to rotate in front of you.

Let’s get really complicated now. What’s this?

<Holds up a corkscrew>

Yes. That’s right. It’s a gimbal avoiding tool. No, you don’t lob it out of your cargo hatch to try and stick in one of their vents.

So – you’re flying forward and you apply vertical thrusters – you’ll drift up in that pirate’s view. Bank hard to one side whilst the vertical thrusters are on. What happens now?

Yes, you’ll start to corkscrew. If you want to be really fancy pants, you can do lateral AND vertical thrusters.

Point your nose at the nearest fixed target. try it. Try not to vomit into your Remlock – it smells and tastes really bad.

Until you’ve got the hand of corkscrewing your way right to the top of the class, don’t bother trying the next bit.

Get 1k from the side of an Anaconda. Full power to your shields. You’ll appreciably slow down at this point.

Then start a circle strafe. You should start to see it spin in space – first the underside, then the top and over again. If you drift toward the bow of the ship, use bursts of lateral thrust to swing back around to the rear quarter.

Your objective is to spiral like this, keeping it in view, ready to shoot.

OK. Now you want to pick sides. I would suggest the OPPOSITE side to the Anaconda. Don’t try it on a tester’s Anaconda. They tend to be better armed and turn you from a big flying block of cheese to a big block of holey cheese.

Bring up your weapons and as the man says “Unleash the fury” once you’re in a stable drift around the Anaconda. If you’re closing on it too fast, throttle back a bit.

The trick is not to stay still in space. Don’t carry on in a regular path. If it all gets a little too shooty out there, drift behind it and hang around behind its engines. If it starts running away, bit more power to engines. If you’re closing on it, divert to weapons and shields. You can control your speed using power balance rather than the throttle.

If the Anaconda is defending itself from someone else and you’re not being shot at, dump power to the weapons and let him have it…. If he starts shooting at you, put some into your shields and try and spin around to the other side of it, or the rear. Once his attention is diverted, back to weapons and keep that shield going low.

That’s all there is to it. Whilst everyone else is killing each other over at Dahan station, get out to somewhere deep in space and put the guns away. Fly like a boss. or at the very least, like an assistant sub-manager.

As a footnote to this briefing, here are a few tips for you. I’ve said them once, but I’ll say them again.

Don’t fly with more than you can afford to lose. If you put your life’s savings in the hold and launch from a station into the dotty wide black yonder, all you will do is raise your blood pressure and you might as well have a target painted on you saying “kill me”. Don’t come back here crying that you’re back in a Sidewinder or I’ll send you out there with a loaner again to start from scratch.

If you’re worried about defending yourself – buy some missiles. They cost more than Stu’s gold teeth but when someone is using you for target practice, it is quite a good way of saying “Foxtrot Oscar” before scarpering.

Oh – and one thing. Don’t do ANY of the above in an asteroid field. You do not have mystical powers that help you avoid giant rocks in space. You won’t bounce. People WILL video it and play it repeatedly on the station feeds and laugh. They’ll probably point and laugh.

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