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Thread: Buckyball Racing Club presents: The A* Challenge

  1. #1

    Buckyball Racing Club presents: The A* Challenge

    Fancy a shorter trip? Keep an eye on the Club website for more races coming soon.







    What is it?

    The A* Challenge is simple: Fly from Sol (or Wolf 359) to Sagittarius A*, the supermassive black hole at the centre of the galaxy, and record your time for doing so.

    Of course, this being an endurance run there is a little bit of challenge in that, not least the troubles of plotting routes in the galactic core. The clock starts on launch from Galileo / Lomas Orbiter, and ends upon arrival at Sagittarius A*. The time recorded is total elapsed time, so that includes any breaks, time asleep, at work, whatever. The clock doesn't stop ticking when you're offline.

    Some take the challenge as a means to push the limits and see just how fast it can be done. Others have a go at just getting the best time for their ship class. Yet others are more about giving a permanent record of completing the trip, regardless of time. All are welcome to the A* Challenge.

    The start line is Galileo in Sol, or Lomas Orbiter in Wolf 359 for those who don't have access to Sol.
    The finish line is at Sagittarius A*.



    Warning: This is a long way. 25,900 light years, give or take. This is the marathon of the racing world, not a sprint - expect to spend upwards of 12 hours in the cockpit. Also, route plotting in the galactic core can be challenging, to say the least. This thread helps to explain why.

    Classes

    Entries will be accepted in two classes, Classic and Unlimited.

    Classic Class entries must abide by the following regulations:
    • (Engineer-)modified modules are not permitted.
    • Enhanced Performance Thrusters are not permitted.
    • The use of materials synthesis (e.g. FSD Injection or AFM refill) is not permitted.

    (This class is thus comparable to all previous runs, and available to Commanders who do not have the Horizons season pass)

    Unlimited Class is for entries that do make use of (engineer-)modified modules, Enhanced Thrusters and/or materials synthesis (e.g. FSD Injection).

    Rules and regulations

    • Starting point is either Galileo (orbiting the Moon) in Sol, or Lomas Orbiter in Wolf 359 for those who don't have access to Sol. Record the start with a screenshot of the station clock on the launch pad.
    • Finish line is entry to the Sagittarius A* system. Record the finish with a screenshot of the galaxy map showing the time and date with current location as Sagittarius A*.
    • Entries only accepted for runs completed in Open Play, in the main game universe (runs in the beta universe(s) don't count).
    • The A* Challenge is open to any ship, and to players on any platform (PC, Mac, Xbox or PS4).

    Like the Buckyball Runs, we operate on an honour basis here. There's nothing I can do to stop you from faking screenshots or using exploits. But where's the benefit in that? It wouldn't get you anything, except a lasting feeling of shame. This is all about doing the run for the fun of it, and because you can.

    History

    Back in early April 3301, Commander Anuranium turned up for Buckyball Run 7 after having only the week before conducted his own little private challenge. He'd posted a picture of his clock at Galileo station, and then posted another picture of himself at Sagittarius A* roughly 13 hours later. Many of the regular Buckyball crew were impressed by this, and it got us to thinking - would there be any demand for hosting this as a recorded race? It turns out the answer was yes...

    This event started as the Buckyball Run A*, hosted by ElectricZ and Bucky. When that drew to a close after 3 months, we at the Buckyball Racing Club weren't prepared to let the challenge lie, so it has carried on ever since as The A* Challenge. Same rules (for Classic Class), same route, even the leaderboard was carried over, but sorry, no bumper stickers.

    See below for a summary of notable feats in the A* Challenge, along with the history of the record times for each ship type.

    • 21 July 3301: Buckyball Run A* comes to an end, and The A* Challenge begins. At this point the overall record is 8 hours, 43 minutes and 43 seconds, set by Cmdr Alot in the Anaconda Rhonda, following close competition with Cmdr Kligg's Rub Tub. Second place was held by Cmdr Rusticolus with a time of 9 hours, 17 minutes and 30 seconds in the Asp Explorer My Bare Asp.
    • 2 August 3301: Cmdr Savanik became the 100th commander to complete the challenge, in the Asp Explorer We Made It.
    • 16 August 3301: Cmdr Farge secured the bottom rung of the leaderboard with a time of 104 days, 13 hours and 21 minutes in the Orca Explorca.
    • 8 November 3301: Cmdr StokeMeAClipper finally breaks Cmdr Alot's overall record after a little over five months, setting a time of 8 hours, 21 minutes and 13 seconds in the Anaconda Pinpoint 8. This marked the start of the very top competitors running without stellar body scanners in order to absolutely maximise jump range.
    • 6 December 3301: Cmdr Alot regains the top spot in Rhonda with a time of 8 hours, 7 minutes and 5 seconds.
    • 24 January 3302: Despite already holding the top spot, Cmdr Alot decided that he was nonetheless determined to set a better time. With the first attempt not quite achieving the target, Alot self-destructed and started again. After two complete runs within 24 hours, Cmdr Alot became the first commander to break the eight-hour barrier, setting a record time of 7 hours, 56 minutes and 41 seconds. This remains the overall record for a ship not using engineer modifications or boosted jumps (from FSD injection or neutron stars).
    • 25 February 3302: Cmdr Takaru Minari completes the challenge in the Anaconda Dawnbringer as the first leg of a fast trip to Beagle Point, reaching the far side of the galaxy in 25 and a half hours.
    • 20 March 3302: Cmdr Asier's run in the Diamondback Explorer A-D Zirconium is the first run completed in virtual reality, using the Oculus Rift (as well as setting a ship type record).
    • 17 June 3302: Cmdr Luke3107 became the 150th commander to complete the challenge, and the first to do so on Xbox One, in the Asp Explorer Insert Name Here.
    • 26 June 3302: Unlimited class commences, with the first run in an engineer modified ship. Cmdr Up2d4t3's Anaconda Goldie sets a new overall record of 6 hours, 24 minutes and 32 seconds.
    • 29 June 3302: Times in unlimited class start tumbling, as Cmdr Allitnil in the engineered Anaconda Paradox Drive breaks Up2d4t3's record after only three days, with a time of 5 hours, 29 minutes and 35 seconds.
    • 10 August 3302: Having previously proven to be a contender in Standard class (see entry from 8 Nov 3301), Cmdr StokeMeAClipper returns with an engineered Anaconda, Blacknight, to improve the Unlimited class record to 5 hours, 19 minutes and 22 seconds.
    • 4 September 3302: The competition in Unlimited class continues, with Cmdr Up2d4t3 returning for another run in Goldie, bringing the record time down to 3 hours, 59 minutes and 9 seconds. This remains the fastest time without making use of supercharged jumps from neutron stars.
    • 30 October 3302: While it had appeared that Cmdr Farge had an immovable grip on the bottom of the leaderboard, that proved not to be the case as Cmdr Matokla reported in, having finally reached Sagittarius A* after 218 days of travelling in the Asp Explorer Apollo 13.
    • 24 March 3303: Cmdr Allitnil returned for another Unlimited class run in Paradox Drive, using a new route and approach. The use of the neutron star superhighway (with its supercharged jumps) proved spectacularly successful, setting a new unlimited class (and overall) record time of 2 hours, 45 minutes and 39 seconds.







    How to enter

    1. Read all of these notes before starting!
    2. Post your intent to race in this thread (optional, but should get you some good luck wishes and might lead to friend requests from others underway at the same time so you can track each others' progress). Include the following:
      • Your commander's name
      • Ship name
      • Ship type
    3. When ready to make the run, get to Galileo in Sol or Lomas Orbiter in Wolf 359. Make repairs, fuel up, ensure the ship is configured exactly how you want it for the run - it's a long way back if you miss something!
    4. Open the Outfitting screen and capture screenshots (F10) of your ship's configuration. Note that for this challenge, sufficient screenshots are required to cover all core internal compartments and all optional internal compartments.
    5. Return to the surface and prepare for launch (it is strongly suggested that you plot the first leg of your route before capturing a start time!). Remember, Open Play only (Solo or Private Group times don't count).
    6. Hit F10 to take another screenshot, or start your video capture, showing your start location, date and time.
    7. Launch and get going!
    8. Navigate your way to Sagittarius A*.
    9. Upon arrival in the Sagittarius A*, open up the galaxy map and take another screenshot showing your current position (i.e. the fact that you are in the Sagittarius A* system!) plus the date and time. Congratulations, you made it!
    10. Send a PM to me (drakhyr), or email drakhyr <at> buckyballracing <dot> org <dot> uk, with the following:
      • Your commander's name
      • Your ship's name
      • Your ship type
      • Your total race time
      • Links to your screenshots: Outfitting, start time/location and finish time/location (if you've recorded video, please extract screenshots or short edited segments covering these three rather than just sending / linking to the entire video!)
      • Please let me know if any special conditions apply (see below) *
    11. Having completed the 25,900LY run from Sol to Sag A*, you now have a wonderful opportunity: to turn around and fly all the way back again, by your own route and at your own pace. Enjoy!


    For more details on the information needed to evidence your race entry, including example screenshots, see the How to Enter page of the Buckyball Racing Club website.

    * Special conditions include: runs made on Xbox One; runs made on Oculus (or other) VR; runs made while in a wing; use of supercharged jumps from neutron stars / white dwarfs.

    Full leaderboards











  2. #2
    Great to see the tradition is continuing!
    A helpful hint: if you have posted an image in the forum, then that image has its own url on the Frontier forums that you can use for the link in a PM, so there's no need to set up other accounts to host the images if you don't want to.

  3. #3
    Thank you drakhyr for this. I'll try a new run on Monday

  4. #4
    Great job Drakhyr.

    Commander Rusticolus
    Ana...

    Only kidding

    Actually, how long before you get an Anaconda? I am no closer than before but have started wondering if I need to start grinding...

  5. #5
    Excellent work drakhyr ... it's a great thing that you are doing by keeping this event alive!

    I salute you and all the brave/foolhardy (delete as appropriate) commanders attempting this challenge.


  6. #6
    declaring intent to race

    CMDR Quineloe

    Imperial Courier

    ship loadout:


    takeoff 12:36 game time


    I'll be streaming the whole run as well at
    http://www.twitch.tv/quineloe/

  7. #7
    Originally Posted by Quineloe View Post (Source)
    declaring intent to race

    CMDR Quineloe

    Imperial Courier

    ship loadout:


    takeoff 12:36 game time


    I'll be streaming the whole run as well at
    http://www.twitch.tv/quineloe/
    Good luck CMDR

  8. #8
    Originally Posted by Infernal Forum
    You must spread some Reputation around before giving it to drakhyr again.
    Gah!

    CMDR Alot: Alot of Space!
    Deadly | Entrepreneur | Elite
    Buckyballer | Fuel Rat | 65k Club Member
    Videos: The Good, The Bad and The Bucky, Do Not Deviate, From B to A, A Job Well-Done, The Fateful Eight
    The A* Challenge: Anaconda, "Rhonda" - 07:56:41; Asp, "Big Bird" - 11:46:05; Type-7, "The Transporter" - 13:53:10

  9. #9
    Originally Posted by mjmw View Post (Source)
    Great job Drakhyr.

    Commander Rusticolus
    Ana...

    Only kidding

    Actually, how long before you get an Anaconda? I am no closer than before but have started wondering if I need to start grinding...
    No, no, no, no, don't tell drakhyr about the Ana..., he'll just save up for it, race and then beat my time....
    Keep it a secret, eh, just you and me, and nobody else.
    Fly dangerous, CMDR Macros Black

  10. #10
    Originally Posted by Esvandiary View Post (Source)
    Gah!

    Heh, same thing happened to me!

    - - - Updated - - -

    Dammit, now I'm going to need to be tempted to race to Sag A again so I can get onto the new leaderboard. And then I'll end up doing something stupid like exploring the galaxy again. And I just got home again.

    *Sigh*
    <b>CMDR Marlon Blake</b>
    CMDR Marlon Blake: Expeditions include The 145 million credit Expedition, The 65,340Ly Destination and The 35 Ship Expedition
    CMDR Froggit Blake: Footpad for hire!

  11. #11
    Originally Posted by mw_aurora View Post (Source)
    Great job Drakhyr.

    Commander Rusticolus
    Ana...

    Only kidding

    Actually, how long before you get an Anaconda? I am no closer than before but have started wondering if I need to start grinding...
    I don't expect to have an Anaconda any time soon. Even if I sold every one of my existing ships (which I don't want to!), I'd still be well over 100m credits short. I don't enjoy grinding, so I don't do it, and thus it isn't likely that my credit balance will increase terribly fast. I'd be surprised if I manage an Anaconda run before Christmas.

    On the other hand, I do expect to have a pop at taking back the top T6 time rather sooner (and possibly the Asp time as well...)

    - - - Updated - - -

    Originally Posted by GregMalcolm View Post (Source)
    Dammit, now I'm going to need to be tempted to race to Sag A again so I can get onto the new leaderboard. And then I'll end up doing something stupid like exploring the galaxy again. And I just got home again.

    *Sigh*
    Don't worry, the new leaderboard is an extension of the old one rather than a complete replacement, so your old time is still on there

    EDIT: Initial leaderboards now added

  12. #12
    Originally Posted by drakhyr View Post (Source)
    EDIT: Initial leaderboards now added
    Looks like you noticed my change in identity, thanks for updating the board

  13. #13
    Originally Posted by mw_aurora View Post (Source)
    Looks like you noticed my change in identity, thanks for updating the board
    Luckily I was paying attention, people changing user names (or Commander names...) could just get frustrating

    - - - Updated - - -

    For info (as I know there are some here who will look at the stats):

    While the list of entries on the board is up to 104, we haven't actually reached 100 commanders finishing yet, due to those of use mad brave enough to run in multiple ship types. 91 different Commanders have completed the challenge at the time of writing.

  14. #14
    Awh, no more quotes on the leader Board?

  15. #15
    Originally Posted by drakhyr View Post (Source)
    The A* Challenge is a continuation of what was originally Buckyball Run A*, the extreme cousin of the Buckyball Run series of races. Same rules, same route, even the leaderboard is carried over, but sorry, no bumper stickers.
    Thanks for keeping the race going Drakhyr, you were already officially awesome, but now you're more-awesomer!

    Originally Posted by Quineloe View Post (Source)
    takeoff 12:36 game time
    +1 Rep for being the first to depart on the new board Quineloe. I normally just try to rep each CMDR as they arrive in Sadge (I'll just have to try and spread some rep around before you arrive!)

    At least this will take your mind off the current state of trading and the CGs for a while.

    And an Imp. Courier, I love the look of that ship, but you'll be getting mighty hot in there before you reach the finish line...

    Originally Posted by mw_aurora View Post (Source)
    Actually, how long before you get an Anaconda? I am no closer than before but have started wondering if I need to start grinding...
    I could just about scrape a Trade 'Conda if I stripped the parts out of The Nomad, but not a Buckyball/Exploration 'Conda unfortunately. Maybe by the time I've scouted out for the Galactic Rally I'll have all the credits that I need. So I'm unlikely to have a shot at Alot's record until after that. Plus I want to carry on across the galaxy next time I visit Sadge.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Originally Posted by GregMalcolm View Post (Source)
    Dammit, now I'm going to need to be tempted to race to Sag A again so I can get onto the new leaderboard. And then I'll end up doing something stupid like exploring the galaxy again. And I just got home again.

    *Sigh*
    Originally Posted by drakhyr View Post (Source)
    Don't worry, the new leaderboard is an extension of the old one rather than a complete replacement, so your old time is still on there
    Of course, you know you'll beat your old time if you run again, and maybe you'll find a star even further from Sol next time as well....

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