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Thread: Sagittarius A* ["supermassive" spoilers]

  1. #1

    Sagittarius A* ["supermassive" spoilers]

    We got there in the end.

    As my in-game CMDR, Zulu Romeo, I used the Explorer start Cobra, and having done trading and missions over the first few days to raise funds to upgrade the FSD, thrusters, discovery scanner, power distributor, power plant, and other things, plus get a decent fuel scoop from YZ Ceti. Christening the vessel the "Useless Reptile" (don't ask), I set off last week just to have a look at Sagittarius A*, the radio source at the centre of the Milky Way Galaxy, something which has piqued my curiosity for years. It was my first ever long distance exploration journey.

    The journey was actually quite frightening. I wasn't sure if the ship would last as I made a lot of silly mistakes with fuel scooping and failed interdiction evasion techniques from the numerous NPC encounters in these uncharted areas of space, in particular losing a supercruise argument with an interdicting Sidewinder and a fuel-scooped Class M red dwarf, that cost me valuable hull percentages and also created a big crack in the front of my canopy. I have no idea where these NPCs are coming from (although I'm sure they'd ask the same thing of me) especially those with seemingly weaker FSDs and lack of fuel scoops - and from the forums, a lot of others are also finding this a big problem. Unfortunately, I didn't find any old or isolated stations anywhere, so I was stuck with the ship damage for the long haul.

    Seeing the Milky Way centre loom ever closer was also very intimidating. At the halfway mark, the clouds and globular clusters (for some reason the clusters displaying in a cube formation ) opened up before and behind me. In the core region itself, everything was an ambient peach-beige colour, while the plane of the galaxy surrounded me like a blinding ring of light (less so when in the proximity of a nearby star, as the game dims the graphics brightness as you get closer to stars) which may be unnerving at times.

    I didn't expect to see many planets in the core, but there were quite a few - not as many as around the rim or in the arms - and even a few Earth-like worlds. Most of the systems there were either single stars with asteroid belts, or multiple star systems. The Core wasn't as densely packed as say the Norma Arm or the Scutum-Crux arm, which surprised me, and there was no ambient temeprature rise affecting my ship at all. The only thing that disturbed me was the luminosity and the brightness, really.

    ***

    On a more serious note, the game started having significant performance problems at the halfway mark of the journey, with frame dropping after viewing the Galaxy Map (temporarily resolved by viewing the System map), followed by severe stuttering on going into hyperspace, which I have ticketed. I don't know if this is due to the rendering of the Galaxy closer up adding strain on the CPU or GPU, or some other kind of memory leak or whatnot, but it's something to be aware of when you visit. Furthermore, the very frequent Server Error problems in hyperspace, resulting in being kicked off the game and back to the main menu, didn't help me at all. Also ticketed.

    ***

    Anyway, we got there a short time ago.

    Sagittarius A*, as seen on the Galaxy map:


    System Map data:

    "1.0000 Solar Masses" :D


    Unlike other footage of smaller black holes I have seen in the game, this one was very easy to spot against the glow of the galactic core. :) The area itself was empty save for the SMBH and the companion class B star, although there was no accretion disk. There was, however, a LOT of gravitational lensing everywhere you went, although the Reptile was able to fly well in supercruise and sublight supercruise. I pretty much treated it like any other star, albeit a very black and very terrifying-looking one. Seeing a big black area of nothing zooom right in your face as soon as you exit hyperspace is not the most welcoming of sights.


    The most surprising thing of all:
    NPC ships were there too! They're everywhere! Not just the Viper and another ship, one of whom was actually next to the SMBH's event horizon, but also a USS with an Eagle and shieldless Sidewinder lying in wait! Typical! :p


    Some images:




    After keeping a safe distance, say in the proximity of the companion star. ;) Already there is significant gravitational lensing.



    Nudging myself a little closer. In reality, I was still perfectly safe.



    Lensing effect in action. Quite disorientating at times.



    The video, which includes the jump to the system, some views, and other things - be prepared for a lot of waiting for going to places, and unfortunately there is no commentary (I don't "do" commentary really). There will be stuttering due to the technical problems my computer has been having with the game as described above, and a few pauses due to some attempts at high resolution screenshots.




    I've learned a lot while doing this trip. I've learned more about the structure of the Galaxy, what to do and not do when faced with danger, what I need and don't need to take with me (why didn't I bring that auto field repair kit? why did I bring that docking computer? ), and exactly how long and tedious such a journey takes. I've been inspired by so many others on this forum and my friends in the First Great Expedition, who have all taken their own long journeys to visit stellar black holes and nebulae and supergiants and pulsars and stellar nurseries and other wonderful things out there that I have yet to see, and who had also seen the arms of the galaxy before I did. I thank you and look up to all of you.

  2. #2
    Wow it only took you a little more then a week. Who would have thought so.

    Great stuff anyway!

  3. #3
    *We're not worthy*

    Excellent stuff

  4. #4
    Congratulations Sir!.

    I'm speechless .

  5. #5
    Great achievement, congrats!

  6. #6
    One question: so far, I only seen that lensing affect the background graphics. Does this also distort objects visible in the system itself, in this case for instance the companion star?

    Other than that: good job! An expedition well done!

  7. #7
    awesome, we can scratch that off the list to do. you did it!!!! the centre of the galaxy.
    pity the blackhole looks like all the other blackholes, what an anti-climax that must have been.

  8. #8
    <applause>

    Well done Zion! An amazing trip beyond the great barrier!

    I'm amused that even that far out you were beaten there by NPC ships!

  9. #9
    Nice.

    My view on npc ships being in places that you think that they couldn't get to is answered in two ways.
    Either these ships followed a larger, more capable ship into the void but got stranded as they didn't follow it back out for whatever reason (either destroyed said ship or was not quick enough to follow it back out) or they travelled far in a very large ship that was carrying a smaller ship inside but made some sort of misjudgment and therefore had to abandon their main vessel.
    In either case, these unfortunate people are stuck in the middle of nowhere with no real way to get back and have gone ' space crazy' since they do not meet many people and the first ships they met would not help and so have just resorted to piracy in order to survive.

  10. #10
    Originally Posted by Janichsan View Post (Source)
    One question: so far, I only seen that lensing affect the background graphics. Does this also distort objects visible in the system itself, in this case for instance the companion star?
    Unfortunately the companion was too far away (some 55,000 Ls) to see any shape distortion from the proximity of the SMBH, but I'll need to fly out closer to that star again and see for myself seeing as distortion was literally all around the ship.

  11. #11
    Nice job with this one!

  12. #12
    Congrats on making it all of the way out there!

  13. #13
    So can you say what this 'other ship' was?

  14. #14
    Originally Posted by Memnoch View Post (Source)
    <applause>

    Well done Zion! An amazing trip beyond the great barrier!
    No sign of "God" or Sha Ka Ree though: instead a desolate hole. Oh, wait...
    I'm amused that even that far out you were beaten there by NPC ships!
    LOL, it's gone beyond ridiculous now.

    Originally Posted by EidLeWeise View Post (Source)
    So can you say what this 'other ship' was?
    Reviewing the video, it turned out it was another Sidewinder.

  15. #15
    I did say to several members of the Great Ex that it could be done in around about a week. And Its been proved, I suppose its the getting back now with the data. but it does leave one question what do the Great Ex do now? I love the idea of the group play and finding new systems ect, but they are now like scott in the Antarctic, beaten to the goal by a single member of their own group which I find ironic. Great achievement though

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