Community Event / Creation Buckyball Racing Club presents: Falling With Style : An SRV base-jumping festival (19-27 May 3304)



Back on Earth in the decades around the turn of the 21st century a thing called "base jumping" was a popular past-time for the spoiled and reckless (basically an urban underclass who dressed and spoke like they were poor yet could seemingly afford to hire helicopters to drop them at the top of mountains or spend weeks of voluntary unemployment travelling the globe looking for tall buildings to scale). The name "base jump" came from the acronym B(uilding) A(ntenna) S(pan) E(arth), things the base jumper would climb and then, you guessed it, jump off. Typically using parachutes or wing-suits to survive the fall, the objective was to have a "wild ride man!" and survive to make a cool video about it that could be shared on social media.


Fast forward nearly 1500 years and we find ourselves parked on top of the 15km high mountain next to Smith Base in the Beta Sculptoris system thinking, well basically ... "let's do this thing!"

So, on with the race instructions (please arm yourself with a strong coffee and a large pad of paper before opening this spoiler 'cos you're going to need to concentrate now and make copious notes).



But seriously, the actual rules (in case the above diagram isn't 100% clear):

1) Fly to the Beta Sculptoris system, head on down to Smith Base (planet ABC 4 A B) and land right on the top of the nearby mountain (landing co-ordinates should be within latitude -5.06 to -5.10 and longitude +97.95 to +97.99).

2) Deploy your SRV and take a screenshot which shows the appropriate co-ordinates, the HUD clock and an indicated speed of zero.

3) Drive to any garage at Smith Base (more on this in a minute) and take a second screenshot which clearly shows you parked inside the garage with the HUD clock visible (no need to request boarding permission, no need to board your ship).

4) Winner is the person with the fastest time between those two screenshots.

More on "driving to Smith Base".

OK, so clearly the word "drive" doesn't quite do justice to the insane, 400km/hr freefall down a 15km high jagged mountainside which you are about to experience. Courage my dear commander, courage! Here are a few tips:

1) You are allowed to repair the SRV as many times as you like on the way down so don't forget to highlight SRV repair synthesis in the right-hand inventory panel BEFORE you set off.

2) The local gravity will tend to pull you down the slope and off to the left of Smith Base so aim to the right of it at the beginning to counter this.

3) Be wary of picking up too much speed, especially towards the bottom half of the mountain as it's extremely easy to overshoot the base by a good 20km or more (I guarantee at least one of you will do this).

Additional challenges.

As well as the main competition for outright fastest time there are a few additional challenges which you might like to have a go at:

1) "Falling Fast" - winner is the person with the highest displayed speed during the descent (remember, indicated speed is for the direction you're facing in). Include extra screenshot showing speed and the HUD clock to take part in this challenge.

2) "Falling Upwards" - winner is the person with the highest altitude displayed in their SRV HUD during the descent. Include extra screenshot showing the altitude and the clock to take part in this challenge.

3) "Falling With Style" - winner is the person who manages to string together the best series of stunts and tricks during their descent. This will require video evidence of the stunt sequence. Videos will be judged on criteria such as number of spins, loops, rolls, etc, audaciousness of stunt considering speed and terrain, how clear it is that the stunt was intentional and embellishments such as lasers, light flashing and local chat exclamations during the stunt.

Note: screenshots/videos for additional challenges must all occur between the start and end points of a qualifying run (i.e. it's all very well making some totally insane stunt video but if you don't survive and make it to Smith base to tell the tale then I'm afraid your footage will be considered "lost" and your tales of pulling 5km high "switch backside bloody draculas" all the way down will be treated as nothing more than idle bragging[B]*[/B]).

* actually - although your video won't qualify for the official "Falling With Style" challenge scoreboard, do please share it anyway!
The race starts at 00:00 (game time) on Saturday 19th May 3304 and is currently scheduled to run until 23:59 (game time) on Sunday 27th May 3304. All submitted screenshots and/or videos must be taken between these two times.

Race submissions should include at least two screenshots (more for additional challenges as described above) which should be uploaded as an album to an image sharing website such as IMGUR. You should then send me the URL of that album along with the following additional details:

  • Your commander name.
  • Your forum name if different.
  • The name of your SRV.
  • The time you are claiming for your run.
  • The height/speed you are claiming for any additional challenges and, if you're entering the "Falling With Style" challenge, the URL of your stunt video.

I may decide to create a Google Form for submitting your entries but if not then just pm me here on the forum with a subject line of "Falling with style - <your commander name here>". (n.b. anyone who actually puts "<your commander name here>" in the subject line will be docked 10 seconds and made to stand in the corner for 5 minutes).

Runs should be submitted within 48hrs of completion! In other words, if you complete a run at 22:00 on Monday 21st May then you should submit the entry for that run no later than 22:00 on Wednesday 23rd May. The reason for this is to prevent people from simply sitting on their best runs all week without engaging with the forum thread and the other participants. Part of the ethos of the Buckyball Racing Club is one of active involvement with the group and friendly sharing of times, tales and tips. It's fun for everyone to see the new times being submitted throughout the duration of the event and to see the best racers competing for those coveted top spots on the leaderboard. I do realise that the SRV HUD doesn't show the date. I could change the rules to say that you have to dock in the garage at the end and have the station clock visible in the screenshot but I don't really want to so take this as an informal request to play fair OK? If anyone who hasn't posted all week submits a winning run on Sunday night then chins will be stroked!

Some general rules on how to enter a Buckyball Race (some of which will probably apply) can be found here.

And there are a couple of videos of test runs which you might find instructive and/or terrifying here.
Speed run.

Style run.

OK, that's it folks! Feel free to get some practice in, try not to die, try not to overshoot and above all else, try to have a wild ride man!

P.S. join us in Discord for live chat before, during or after the race!


Q) Does our screenshot for altitude or speed have to come from our fastest run? Or can we do, say, one run going for altitude, another for speed, and one for time (and style)?
A) I'm happy to have separate submissions for time, speed, altitude and style if that's how it pans out ... as long as the altitude, speed and style ones are each part of a successful run (i.e. with accompanying start and finish screenshots to prove that you set off from the right place and survived your amazing display of altitude and/or speed and/or style).

Q) Is it posssible to ride an SRV on a ship?
A) Riding your SRV on another commanders ship will NOT be allowed, riding it on your own ship however ... well I wouldn't dismiss the idea ;)

Q) How did you manage to find such a fantastic location?
A) I didn't - the location was pointed out to me by "lightspeed" over in the guide-to-good-base-jumping-locations thread so if you like the place then go and bung him some rep!

Q) Is it ever daytime there? (aka "I can't see a bloody thing")
A) Cmdr Bruski has asked me to point out that turning up your gamma/brightness in display settings can make a HUGE difference.

And now a word from our sponsor ...


(image courtesy of Ian Baristan @ Sagittarius Eye magazine)
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lol nice video Alec :) that looks much more insane than I've ever SRVed in my couple of months of SRVing, so I think I need to do it, I'll surely get better at my SRV flying skills! (plus, I actually have time this weekend to participate, unlike the last couple of weeks).

I looked up some more stats for the planet in question, Beta Sculptoris ABC 4 A B:

distance to arrival: 6,588 ls
gravity: 0.12G
materials (to scoop on the way down at >100m/s): S, Fe, C, Ni, P, Cr, Mn, Zn, Cd, Sb, W
Greetings MostlyEvilKiwi and congratulations on being the first to discover my hidden and as yet unannounced race thread! (the Buckyball publicity machine will roll into action tomorrow).

Thanks for the extra planet stat's, I should also add that replacement SRVs can be purchased at Smith Base (I'm heading there tomorrow so I'll just double check that and also find out if they also stock vehicle bays).

I'm expecting a wide range of times for this event, there'll be people who can flive it in 15 minutes and others who'll tumble down the mountain like a Gloucestershire cheese run and take 3 times that long but I'm hoping everyone will have a lot of fun and discover the joys of SRV base jumping (one of my favourite ED pastimes these days).
Why did I expect you to turn up here? :D

In case anyone is wondering what ship to take to the top of the mountain.

Feast your eyes on these cheap to acquire, mass SRV transports. Just in case you don't own an Anaconda or larger.

ShipSRVsJumprangeApprox cost
(million Credits)
Asp Scout7256.5
Cobra Mk 38223.0
Asp Explorer101410.7
Cobra Mk 411184.6
Hello, thank you for calling Vodel, premier manufacturer of all-G surface vehicles. How can I help you today?

"Hi! This is Priyanka Okahata calling from Smith Base in Beta Sculptoris. I'll make this quick: how many Scarab SRVs can you get delivered before this weekend if we order now?"

Let me see. <Pause> Good news, ma'am! I think we can get a dozen or so routed your way before then. Will that suffice?

"Hah! Not even close, I'm afraid. I was hoping for more along the lines of a hundred. Maybe two hundred."

Two hundred?! What would anyone need that many recon vehicle kits for?

"Well, I just got word that the Buckyball Racing Club is headed our way. You see, we've got this enormous mountain-"

-Say no more. Let me contact my executive supervisor and see what we can work out. We'll get back to you very shortly with a contract proposal.

"Thank you."

Not a problem! One favor to ask though. Does your facility have any penthouse apartments with a mountain view?

"As a matter of fact, we do. Can I see to it that one is reserved for you?"

Two please, if you can manage it. The executive supervisor and I thank you in advance.

"Likewise, sir. I look forward to getting the detailed contract finalized. Always a pleasure."
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Word is spreading and from every corner of the galaxy the SRV enthusiasts are slowly beging drawn to an ash grey mountain deep in the Beta Sculptoris system!


A mountain which, despite all the warnings ..


.. our intrepid race organiser has now decided to try and free climb!

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From your early tests, what is a reasonable time to aim for?

Well, the demo video in the OP was a 10 minute run but I have to say that was a pretty good one. The one I did this morning was closer to 15 minutes but that was partly because I got pulled miles off to the left by the gravity and also because I stopped to pick up an occupied escape pod. Oh, and full disclosure, I also lost an SRV this morning too (a bad bounce at 150m/s took me from 75% to 0% in 0.01 seconds flat). I dare say the 10 minute barrier will be smashed (I'm looking at you Sushi and Nookie) but I'd also expect many people to take over 20 mins.

What's a reasonable time to aim for? Two minutes faster than your previous run! [yesnod]
Yeah, I also started littering SRV parts over the place yesterday when checking out the venue.

The mountain starts off nicely enough, but the bottom half gets increasingly jaggy and sharp edged.

On the flipside, I now have 11 SRVs in my hold, enough for some serious practice!

"Oh, outfitting? Yeah, I'd like some SRVs. About a dozen of them."
"Sure thing, how many ships will we be loading?"
"You're Buckyballing, right?"
A quick note (from personal experience) on not getting downhearted about your SRV skills.

When I hosted the "Kick the alien and run like hell" Buckyball race back in November 2016 I thought I was pretty good at controlling the SRV.

Then a bunch of people showed up (I'm mentioning no names ;)) who's times were frankly unbelieveable. I mean, as race judge, I literally DID NOT BELIEVE THEM (sorry guys, but I think I can say that now, take it as an extreme compliment). It was only after studying the videos (and eventually flying chase cam' alongside them) that I came to the awful realisation that, good as I thought I was ... I'd barely begun my SRV learning experience. I truly believe that, alongside PvP combat (which I know I'm bad it), controlling the SRV under these high-speed, low-g, airborn conditions is one of THE true skills of this game and something that can only be truly mastered over a long period of time (and I can say that without pride because I know I'm still not quite there yet).

So, if you take a crack at this race and find yourself at the bottom end of the scoreboard, don't get disheartened, you're on a glorious and ultimately very rewarding learning path. Dust yourself off and, as mentioned, focus on beating your own previous best time.

Here are some tips on SRV "fliving" that I wrote last year some time which I think still hold reasonably true.

n.b. full pips to ENG ... shields don't protect the SRV against terrain collisions!

Lots of practice is definitely a thing when it comes to SRV driving.

One thing you can do which is a great little practice exercise ... get yourself stationary on some level ground on a nice low-g world (this one will probably do) then boost straight up (using almost all of your boost capacitor). At the top of your jump start rolling the SRV. As you start to descend, and once you've nearly spun all the way around, counter the roll in the opposite direction. The objective is to do a single barrel roll and to then land perfectly level again, feathering with a bit more boost at the last minute to gently touch all 6 (8 actually) wheels simultaneously back down on the ground. Then try the same thing with a forwards (or backwards) somersault using your pitch controls. Once you've mastered that you can try turning faster to squeeze in 2 spins before touching back down.

As to travelling at speed, a couple of tips to remember.

1) After flying the ship (especially with a HOTAS) use of yaw becomes 2nd nature. Alas the SRV has no yaw control. You must unlearn what you have learned! If you find yourself travelling somewhat sideways after a bad landing (or even backwards when you get really good) then in order to re-align your SRV with its direction of travel you have to: pitch down, roll a bit, pitch up & roll back to level. Try it now with your hand (point your flat hand forwards, tip it down, rotate it right, tip it back up and roll it level - see?). It's a REALLY tricky little manoeuvre to master but absolutely essential for fast SRV travel.

2) Travelling along the ground at speed the SRV has a very nasty tendency to suddenly go into a spin. To avoid this keep ground contact to a minimum. Once you get much above 30-40m/s your (brief) touchdowns (which should then bounce you back into the air - don't make them too gentle, you can bounce pretty hard) need to be precise. You need to be level (with the ground you're about to hit) and facing the direction of travel. Don't be tempted to land on the back wheels, you could be excused for thinking it might work but it won't end well.

3) Look ahead and choose your landing spots. Use boost (or lack thereof) to control your descent and hit them. On rough terrain pick a nice mound (don't know if you've ever skied moguls but you're aiming to bounce across the smooth tops of these, possibly just slightly before each peak).

If you watch videos from people like Tannik they make it look almost too easy. Here's me (from "Kick The Alien") ...


You can see that when I land without being perfectly straight and level it goes badly wrong. For example, at 55s my front right wheel touches first and I then have to wrestle the controls like a madman to correct my orientation (with lots of amateurish over-correction!) and at 1:21 I land back wheels first (WRONG!). But at 50s I basically hit just about right and it goes tolerably well.

As for changing your direction of travel ... you can make VERY gentle corrections using steering control when travelling along the ground but otherwise you need to tilt onto your side while moving through the air and use boost to push yourself back into the right direction.

It's all very challenging (possibly THE most challenging thing in the whole damn game) but also enormous fun (possibly THE most fun thing in the whole damn game).
I'm going to take part in this but I think I'll be burning through some SRVs. Lately I've been trying to fly more than drive but, although I have been able to improve my speed, my landings are terrible - I am faster staying on the ground still because most of the time I bounce and spin/crash rather than land. Practice really makes perfect in this case, so I'm persevering - but this is going to be a tough race for me.
I'm going to take part in this but I think I'll be burning through some SRVs. Lately I've been trying to fly more than drive but, although I have been able to improve my speed, my landings are terrible - I am faster staying on the ground still because most of the time I bounce and spin/crash rather than land. Practice really makes perfect in this case, so I'm persevering - but this is going to be a tough race for me.

I'll probably be neck and neck with you in this one then! [noob]

Alec, if you dock at the surface base, then fly to the top of the course and start flyving down only to explode mid-way, where do you respawn? Back in the surface base or in orbit?

And can you restock at the base?

Just deciding how big an SRV hangar to fit.
I'll probably be neck and neck with you in this one then! [noob]

Alec, if you dock at the surface base, then fly to the top of the course and start flyving down only to explode mid-way, where do you respawn? Back in the surface base or in orbit?
In the air, a few 100km above the base - not too much of hardship really.

You could of course leave your ship docked and just drive to the top of the mountain! at which point I think you'd probably respawn back in the dock. :p I'm sure the more hard core among the base jumping community would heartily approve of this (there must be a name for skiers who eschew the lifts in favour of hiking up the mountain). I am currently in the process of attempting this ... it's quite a hike!

And can you restock at the base?

Just deciding how big an SRV hangar to fit.
Yup, you can restock SRVs at the base. Oh, and they also have planetary vehicle hangars for sale!
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