You Want How Many Landmines?

This week I’ve been hanging around my adopted home station, Aleksandrov Gateway, in LHS 115. It’s a small station in a small system with about 10.4 million inhabitants. However, it’s got a lot of ships available and modules available in one place so I’ve parked all of my ships here for the time being.

I’ve been working on gathering the materials I need for the pre-engineered FSD and DSS that are available at the human tech broker. The best way to do that seems to be running missions and taking the materials reward and using the material trader to convert materials I don’t need into materials I do.

When I returned home and handed in all of my explorarion/exobiology data I instantly became allied with the stations governing faction C.O.N.T.R.A.I.L which happens to be a player faction. I hadn’t run many missions out of Aleksandrov Gateway so I had very little reputation with the other factions. Better reputation leads to more missions with better rewards being available at any given time. I started taking missions from everyone but C.O.N.T.R.A.I.L to increase my reputation and expand the available missions so I had a chance of getting the materials I actually needed.

At first, I was tasked with running data to other stations, picking up food for the station, and delivering goods that the station produced. As my reputation increased, I started getting missions to source minerals and raw materials, presumably whatever industry needed in the station to make goods. It was like this for a few days but at some point things started to take a darker turn. The factions started feeling more comfortable asking me to get some military gear. Where I was sourcing and returning consumer appliances now I was asked to source some armor or non-lethal weapons. I didn’t think much of it as these requests were from the military faction on the station. Maybe they were serving as the stations security force.

Welcome to Ferreira Control where the only thing they sell is guns, landmines, and hydrogen fuel!

Then I noticed non-military factions started wanting things like personal weapons brought in. They offered materials I needed in return so of course I’d go source them some guns. They may not be legal on the station, strictly speaking, but I had a great relationship with the guys in charge so a few fines wouldn’t be a big deal if I got caught.

Now that I’m friendly with almost every faction on the station they all want one thing and that’s landmines. Why? You might ask. Landmines don’t seem like something you would want to use on a space station. Probably not even something you want on a space station and yet it seems to be the number one requested item to import into our little station. It’s not just one faction either, it’s all of them, they all want landmines and they’re able to pay with high grade materials for them.

We’re not just talking about a few either. Cargo capacity is measured in tons so when someone asks me to source 107 landmines that’s 107 tons of land mines. I don’t know how much your typical landmine weights but that seems like a lot of landmines. But like I said, they pay with high grade materials and the factories that produce the landmines are only a jump away. So the runs are quick and the materials flow in and so far I haven’t been caught smuggling them in.

At this point, the station may have more landmines on board than people.

Back to the Bubble

The trip back to the Bubble included a bit more sight seeing along the way. It did take quite a bit less time though, mostly because I wasn’t stopping at every biological signal I found. With the credits I made from my trip out I had more than enough.  Still I made a point to only stop and scan systems that either weren’t fully scanned by Canonn or logged in the Elite Dangerous Star Map. I still stopped at planets that potentially had biologic signals I had not seen before

On the way back I stopped by the Triford Nebula (above left) and the Lagoon Nebula (above right).  As it turns out, once you’ve seen one cloud of space dust you’ve pretty much seen the rest. Still, they were good stop overs to break up the journey back.

One of my current goals is unlocking the pre-engineered size 5 FSD which boosts jump range. To unlock it, I need to turn in a bunch of materials to a Human Tech Broker. One of the materials required is Tellurium which can be found surface mining on planets with the SRV. As I made my way back, I tried to stop at some planets that had geologic signals and more had a composition of more that 1% tellurium. This type of planet can contain Needle Crystals which can be mined for tellurium. However, I never found any of these in my few hours of scouring planets. I did find some metallic meteorite and Mesoiderite nodes but they were few and far between. Before I abandoned my search I was able to scrounge up 3 units of tellurium over about as many hours. I later learned there are Crystal Shard forests in HIP 336601 where I can fill up on tellurium and other raw materials rather quickly. It’s 1600 light years from the Bubble so once I gather all of the manufactured materials in the Bubble that I need I’ll head out there. Now that I’m back, I’ll have to figure out the best way to do that.

If nothing else, exploring in Elite leads to some awesome screenshot opportunities. I’ll leave you with some shots from my adventure:

Essential Third Party Tools for Elite: Dangerous

Essential third party tools may seem like a misnomer. Surely, an eight year old game has everything it needs baked in to it at this point but that’s just not the case. While there are plenty of in-game tools they just don’t offer the level of information that you would expect. For example, the trade map will show you the types of goods trading between systems but for systems that you’ve visited. With 20,000 systems in the Bubble that are also constantly changing you’ll never get a full picture. And good luck if you’re trying to find a system that sells a ship or modules you’re looking for. That info doesn’t appear to be findable with in game tools alone which, as you would imagine, is very inconvenient. To fill in these types of gaps in information, the Elite: Dangerous community has produced a wealth of third party tools.

There are a ton additional tools out there with varying degrees of specialization. In this post, I want to point out a few that I’ve found helpful and that can be useful for any play style. I also wanted to leave myself a list to come back to in case I decide to take another long break.

Essential Tools

Elite Dangerous Data Network (EDDN)

EDDN is the backbone of many third party tools that provide information about the galaxy, systems, and stations. The data is gathered by the community running tools that gather and send the data along side the game. There are a number of tools that do this listed on EDDN’s Github. My preferred tool is EDMC.

Elite Dangerous Market Connector (EDMC)

This is a light weight application that runs along side game that utilizes the Frontier Companion web API and the games journal files to send data to EDDN and various third party sites that utilize EDDN’s data. If you’re playing on PC and using sites like Inara, EDDB, or EDSM consider running EDMC, the more data we can send the more up to date everything else will be.

EDMC also has a bunch of plugins that can be used to display more data in the app or add additional funtionality. Shoutout to the EDMC – Screenshot tool which automatically converts your screenshots to PNG format. Useful for taking high resolution screenshots and compressing them down so they don’t take up as much space.


Need to find a station with the ship or module you’re looking to find? Want to find the best place to sell your mining haul? Looking to find a lucrative trade route? Want to find the faction states and influence of your favorite minor faction? Look no farther than Inara, your one stop shop for system and station data. If you link your Frontier account to the site it will also track a whole bunch of stats for your commander in an easily readable format as well.

In addition, Inara serves as a social hub as well. You can find Squadron recruitment here, read other commander’s personal logbooks, and keep up to date on Galnet News too.

Elite Dangerous Database (EDDB)

This site presents the same data as Inara but in a different way. I prefer Inara’s layout but it’s always good to have options!


These sites allow you to experiment with ship builds without having to buy the ship or the parts.


EDCodex is is a website that maintains a list of third party tools for Elite Dangerous. If you’re looking for something specific, it’s a great resource to have on hand.

Nice to have Tools

Elite Dangerous HUD Mod

The orange and blue HUD colors in Elite are certainly a choice. Last time I played, I found out there was a way to change them by tweaking a xml file in the graphics folder and never looked back. While this changed the HUD colors it also changed the colors of the portraits of people and made some things harder to see in general. This time around I discovered EDHM which allows a finer control of the HUD color changes. Most importantly for me, it doesn’t change the portrait colors. There are templates created by others that you can apply or create your own though the mods customizer.

VoiceAttack + HCS Voicepack

VoiceAttack is a program that lets you map hotkeys to voice commands. This is recommended a lot to people who play Elite in VR but is also very useful outside of VR as well. On it’s own, it’s a cool program you can offload some buttons to that you might not use often. However, add an HCS Voicepack to it and you’ve got your own ship computer who will respond to your voice commands. The voice pack comes with the added benefit of already having scripts made for all sorts of things like request docking at a station or get clear of an area and jump to the next system. It adds a whole level of immersion to the game that I think is worth the extra money. Both have the added benefit of working for other space games as well including No Man’s Sky, Star Citizen, and Star Wars: Squadrons.

Into the Black

Last week, I started my first long trip out of the Bubble to the Eagle Nebula which is about 6,000 light years outside of civilized space. It’s a trip I had planned to take back in 2018 and made it about halfway before turning around to rush back to the Bubble when some friends wanted to try out Elite. I used to work at a museum with beautiful murals if he “Pillars of Creation” which inspired the trip in the first place.With the current jump range on my Diamondback Explorer the trip is just over 200 jumps. While plotting my route I was surprised to see there was a system with an economy right in the middle of the nebula which means there’s stations with people. Even more of a reason to see what’s going on over there.

In preparation for the journey I took a couple shorter trips about 1000 light years out to figure out the Exobiology activity added with the Odyssey expansion. I needed an Artemis Suite first which was easy to find at a nearby stations. Then it was off to find some planets with biological signals.

Scanning some space grass.

There’s currently a bit of a gold rush going on for Exobiology. In a recent update, all of the prices for each complete scan were increased ranging from 1 million to 19 million credits depending on the type and species. There also a five times multiplier if your the first person to turn in the data from a specific planet. Since the updated prices are pretty recent there are a ton of systems close to the Bubble that no one has landed at and scanned the biological yet. Which leads to some impressively quick cash. With only a few samples in hand after my little trip I boosted my credit balance from 30 million to 300 million. More than enough to get my DBX outfitted for the longer trip. Modules installed, I set off for the Eagle Nebula and settled in for the long journey.

I took my time scanning each system I visited, looking for biologics to collect samples from, and taking screenshots. Lots and lots of screenshots. It turns out, life is pretty common in the Elite Dangerous galaxy. Some systems had upwards of 10 or more biological signals. But not so common there is life to find in every system. Sometimes I would go a dozen or more jumps without finding any signals.

Only a few jumps away from the Eagle Nebula

In all, it took me about a week to arrive at my destination. It was cool to see the nebula gradually getting bigger and closer ever jump. At the center, there was a whole system with an asteroid station and multiple on planet settlements. There were only three factions present: The Colonia Council, the loose government organization of the second Bubble, the Eagle Guards, and the Eagle Inmates. Apparently the Eagle Nebula holds some sort of prison complex for Colonia. I was surprised to find missions there too. That would be quite a distance to run missions to and from.

The asteroid base had a Vista Genomics office to sell my exobiology data. With the fist discovery bonus, I handed in 2.5 billion credits worth of data. I shouldn’t have to worry about credits for a while!

A Commander Once More

It’s been a long time since I was this engaged with Elite: Dangerous. In fact, it’s been about 5 years since I’ve posted about it which is probably the last time I was playing.I made a few attempts to play in VR earlier last year and, while it looked amazing, re-learing all of the controls with the headset strapped to my face left me uncomfortable and frustrated. But on a whim a few weeks before the holidays I fired it up and I’ve been playing every day since.

Earlier last year, in my infinite wisdom, I deleted my old profile to start fresh. I thought it would be easier to learn the game from scratch after being away so long. I didn’t play very long so I came back to a profile with a Sidewinder (starting ship) and a handful of credits. In retrospect, I should have just kept my old profile. After a few hours it was all coming back to me and I missed my stable of ships. I also missed being called by my call sign. When you enter some stations, the control tower operators will address you by the first three letters of your name. I got so used to hearing “Juliet Echo X-ray” when docking at stations that it didn’t feel right being called anything else. So I restarted my profile again, and recreated my old commander, Jexi Tomlin.

I started my career as a glorified space mailman. Taking on data courier missions to nearby systems delivering everything from poll data to secret missives. They didn’t pay much but they got me back in to the swing of things and gave me much needed docking practice.

Every once and a while I would find a mission to deliver commodities from one station to another. These tended to pay more but the Sidewinder’s cargo capacity is pretty small. There were fewer missions with small hauls but I took them when I saw them.

After a few hours of space trucking I made enough credits to upgrade to a Cobra MK III aka the bigger Sidewinder. Even with stock modules it’s quite an upgrade and is a great all around ship for activities in the Bubble. Most importantly for me was the option to add a whole lot more cargo space to take on higher paying delivery missions. I also started taking on sourcing missions where the goal is to find a certain commodity and return it.

I tried my hand at mining, which is something I used to enjoy once I could afford the proper modules. While mining was still fun and brought in decent profit I had a nagging desire to get back in to exploration. I ended up buying a Diamondback Explorer, a ship I had never flown before, and outfitted it for a journey and set off in to the black.

My Diamondback Explorer “The Blazing Rochester”

Take Me to Space

This weekend, I found myself with an intense desire to play a space game. Maybe it’s because I just finished Ghost Song and wanted to continue with the scif-fi theme. Or maybe it’s because I’ve finished two very long games over the past couple months and wanted to play something different. Maybe it’s just a whim of interest that my brain has latched on to. Either way, I wanted to play something in space! I have a fair few games in my library that fit that bill and so I set out trying out different ones to see what peaked my interest the most.

First up was Empyrion – Galactic Survival, a game I got from last year’s Yogcast Jingle Jam bundle and have been meaning to try out. Prior to the bundle, I had been eying the game for a number of years but never pulled the trigger as it seemed to be in a state of perpetual early access. Since I’ve been into 7 Days to Die lately, a sci-fi survival game sounded right up my ally.

I appreciate a game that let’s me shoot dinosaurs with laser guns

I had some difficulty getting it to run and actually load in to a game but eventually I was able to go through the tutorial. Unfortunately, Empyrion seems to be more of a sci-fi building game with some survival elements instead of a survival game with some building elements. It was also giving me some Entropia Universe vibes. I don’t know if it’s the look of the game world or the UI but I couldn’t help thinking about my time in EU while I was going through the tutorial. This wasn’t scratching the itch so I loaded up the next game.

No Man’s Sky is always good for some interesting screenshots.

No Man’s Sky is one of those games I’ve always wanted to get in to but after 10 hours or so I’m over it. It could be because I always start over when I come back to it. There’s usually months in between play sessions and I don’t remember all of the controls so a restart always seems best. This means doing the tutorial and retreading the same ground again and again.

I thought this time for sure I was in a place where I would stick with it. I jet packed around hoovering up all the materials to fix my equipment, started building a base, gathered all the materials to launch the ship, and took off for the nearest space port. As I was flying, I knew this was not the time I was going to get hooked on No Man’s Sky.I knew exactly what I wanted to play and this wasn’t it.

Elite: Dangerous was calling my name. The rest of the weekend was spent installing and updating the game, rebinding keys on my HOTAS, setting up VoiceAttack, and figuring out if the other third party tools I used to use were still relevant. I’ll admit, I did very little playing but now that everything is set up, I’m excited to get back in to it.

Almost Ready to Explore

Asp Explorer: Not Squishy
Asp Explorer: Not Squishy

One of the coolest features of Elite Dangerous is the scope of the map. A 1:1 scale of the Milky Way leaves a mind boggling amount of places to go. Every star I can see when I leave a station can be traveled to. That’s crazy. A

My first long term goal has been to purchase and outfit an exploration ship and make my way to out of the bubble of civilized space. After doing some research it looked like I would need around 18Mcr for the Asp Explorer and all the necessary modules. I started this month with 3Mcr so I wasn’t expecting to do this any time soon.

This all changed after last week’s Community Goal. After just selling the ore on the market last week I ended up with 10Mcr. Then there was the 15Mcr reward for being in the top 50% of contributors. That padded out my funds to 25Mcr and I set out to buy an AspX.

After splurging a little on outfitting my bankroll is down to 2.5Mcr again. Barely enough to afford the 1.5 Mcr rebuy of my shiny new ship. And if there’s one thing I’ve learned, you never fly without a rebuy. So the Not Squishy is sitting in Lee city while I take the T-6, Trinkets and Baubles, out for some trading missions to pad my funds.

Once I’m back up to 5Mcr or so I plan to take a trip out to the Eagle Nebula. We have a gorgeous wall mural of it at work that I pass by every day. It’s 7000 light years form my home system. The Not Squishy can travel 33 light years per jump so that’s just shy of 235 jumps.

It’s definitely going to be an adventure!

Community Mining Madness

20180205003354_1Since the begging of the year there hasn’t been a day when I didn’t log into Elite Dangerous.On paper the game doesn’t seem all that compelling. Most of it is spent waiting. Waiting to jump to a new system, waiting to get close enough to a station to dock, waiting for collector drones to collect things, but here I am still logging in. I’ve put in 65 hours and I’m still learning a lot and trying new activities.

Usually my time is spent running missions for the Euboa Life Solutions Corporation in my adopted home station, Lee City. I’ve been trying to increase my reputation with them so that’d they’d give me better paying missions. But lately they’ve been stingy on the missions lately.  Most of them are requests to kill corporate competitors but I’m not that interested in combat right now. I can kill things in a lot of games, there aren’t a whole lot of games where I can play solely as a trader, explorer, miner, scavenger, or passenger transporter and be rewarded for it.

So I took off in search of something else to do late last week. I saw that there was a community goal of delivering consumer technology and domestic appliances to a nearby system where a station was trying to build a family restaurant. I’d wanted to get into bulk trading commodities between systems and this was the perfect excuse to start.

Seeing as my current ship could only carry 32 tons of cargo I needed to upgrade to something a little bigger. Thankfully I had about 6 million credits built up from my time doing missions. I was able to buy and outfit a Type-6 Transporter (pictured above) that carries 100 tons of cargo. It’s not pretty and not as agile as my last ship but it sure is an upgrade.


Community goals are something I’ve been watching from afar for the past couple weeks.  Each CG run for a week or until they are completed. There are 8 tiers to the goals and as players turn in items to the station the tiers increase and so do the rewards when the event ends. Participating in the goal earns you a base reward of credits and depending on your level of contribution more credits are awarded.

The goals end on Thursdays and I started last weeks on a Wednesday. I managed to get into the Top 75% contributor bracket and ended up with about 4 million credits when the goal was over. This was on top of the 2 million I had made from selling the consumer tech and domestic appliances to the station. I made my money back from the new ship with a little extra for profit. Not bad for only 2 hours of hauling cargo.

This week the community goal centers around mining Osmium, Samarium, and Lithium Hydroxide. Judging by a few Reddit posts there hasn’t been a mining CG in quite a while.

I like how each goal has a little story behind why these materials are needed. Here’s this weeks:

The Alliance has announced plans to build an Orbis starport in the Synuefai EB-R c7-5 system, between the core systems and the Alliance’s outposts in the California Nebula.

Alliance official Torvan Dast issued the following statement:

“The remoteness of our California Nebula outposts makes reaching them a potentially dangerous proposition. This new starport will bridge the gap between the settlements and the galactic core, and lessen the risk to ships journeying to and from the California Nebula.”

The initiative is being overseen by the LP 128-32 Corporation, which has placed an open order for various raw materials for use in the construction. The organisation has also placed a kill order on all ships on it’s wanted list, to ensure that those contributing material to the campaign can do so safely.

I didn’t feel like going back to Lee City and the new goal was only a few jumps from the location of the last one. Lucky for me the T-6 can be outfitted for mining with just a few swapped modules and very little credit investment.


Mining is another activity in Elite that just sounds mindnumbingly boring. You fly into an asteroid field and start firing prospecting limpets into asteroids. When the limpet lands it will tell you the ore composition of the asteroid. If it has the ore your after you fire your mining lasers at it until its depleted while collector limpets scoop up the fragments of asteroid the lasers are shaving off. Once the asteroids depleted you rinse, lather, and repeat until you either have a full cargo hold or run out of limpets.

That’s how I spent my gaming time this weekend. Flying around resource sites looking for asteroids with a good amount of Osmium and Samarium. Sometimes I would find a whole cluster of asteroids and sometimes I would waste 10 prospector limpets looking for something worthwhile to mine. I died twice while I was out mining. Once to an NPC pirate who wanted my hard earned cargo that I unsuccessfully tried to out run. And again when I got a little too close to the rotating edge a very large asteroid that totaled my ship in three seconds flat.

So far I’ve delivered 108 tons of goods to Bulychev Hub, enough to put me in the Top 50% bracket for now. The goal is on tier 6 and the payout so far will be 7.5 million if I maintain my current bracket.  I’m not sure if I’ll put anymore time into it this week. I did enjoy my time mining but the T-6 isn’t very efficient with it’s small mining lasers. On average it took about an hour to fill up enough to justify going back to the station.