Community Event / Creation Buckyball Racing Club presents: The A* Challenge V2.0

Do you all have any advice for shortening the loading time between jumps?
Loading times are consistently the same no matter what you do. Back when the Horizons expansion first released I know that launching and playing in just the base version without Horizons would result in faster hyperspace loading screens, but they eventually fixed that.
 
Hell, it's about time!

Honestly, it's been so long since I announced this run, I should probably say, "Beware, I live!"

Commander: Timothy Knight
Ship: BRC-84 Joyeuse
Ship Class: Imperial Courier
Entry Class: Unlimited

Source: https://imgur.com/aLvcdst


Source: https://imgur.com/Kicmlz4


Source: https://imgur.com/wtmG4Sq


Elapsed Time: 4 hours, 16 minutes, 7 seconds

Comments later, I gotta get out of this chair for a bit, because I am aching right now!

Raiko, since this is Unlimited, do you need the Outfitting screenshots? I got 'em if you do, but didn't know if I should bother.
 
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So... comments were promised. But first... a screenshot:


So, after a lot of distractions and having announced myself as being back in the game and ready to make my run, and then a lot more distractions that kept me away for almost a year longer... I finally really am back. And then I thought I was going to do some practice before trying to make a run, but then yesterday I said to myself, "You know, the only real way to practice a neutron run is to do a neutron run, so I might as well just do it." So... I did it.

Funnily enough, one of the things that had kept me from just doing it previously had been that I didn't want to use up my jumponium on a bad run and then have to farm more. As it turns out, I decided 4 jumps into the run that FSD injection was just not helping me. Between the long wait for synthesis to complete, and problems with the route plotter misbehaving when trying to plot injected jumps, I don't think FSD injection actually saved me any time at all on this run, and may have even cost me time. At the same time, I didn't feel like starting over, so I just rolled with it, skipped over all the special waypoints I had plotted for use of injection, and ran straight to my first neutron.

I had really thought this race was going to be easy compared to my Classic runs, and definitely compared to my Neutron run in Firebrand, just because of the shorter duration.

I was so very wrong about that. The thing that I learned yesterday about doing a neutron run in Unlimited is that you don't get a break. When you have sufficient jump range to run multiple successive neutron jumps the entire way, there are none of those moments where you can stand up and stretch your legs for a jump or two. While I can certainly make regular jumps without using my rudder pedals, thus allowing me to run a couple of successive jumps standing up to ease the arthritis in my hips and knees, neutron jumps require keeping my feet on the pedals at all times to counter the induced yaw from the jet cone. As such, I made the entire 4 hour, 16 minute run without getting up from the chair the entire time, and with my arthritis, by the end of the run I was really feeling it, even worse than I did on Firebrand's run.

Of course, some of that might be because I am off my immunosuppressants right now (because of the ongoing pandemic - COVID-19 is much more deadly for people whose immune systems are compromised, so I'd rather not take that risk), so my autoimmune symptoms are a little worse right now than they would normally be.

The other thing that made this run harder was that apparently neutron stars don't show their safe limit at all anymore. At least, they don't for me. As such, I was having to guess on every jump. Thankfully, I had a lot fewer of the really bad wispy jet cones on Joyeuse's route than I did on Firebrand's, but the ones that I did have were brutal. There were a number of jumps where I had a really hard time getting a supercharge due to entering way out at the end of the jet cone because I was playing it as safe as I could; in one case, I got booted out of the cone three times before finally getting a supercharge, which was extremely frustrating. I don't think I lost more than a few minutes over the course of the run that way, however.

As with Firebrand, the really long fuel stops required for a neutron run were problematic in a Courier... but a bit less problematic in Joyeuse thanks to her Low Emissions powerplant (Stripped Down for mass, of course). Still, I took more heat damage than I would have liked.

I went in with a goal time of 4 hours, 30 minutes, which I beat handily, so I'm fairly happy with that. I feel like I could probably do a little better than I did, but not so much better that I feel compelled to run it again (unless someone beats my time, of course, at which point I'll have to). If it weren't for the arthritis, I might feel differently about that, but my life is a little different now than it was back when I made a second attempt in a Hauler just to try to knock off a few more minutes.

iTunes was good to me on this run, frequently giving me music that suited where I was in the race and my emotions at the moment. One of the best examples of this was about three hours in where I had settled into a nice rhythm and it gave me ZZ Tops's "Tush", which was the perfect steady groove for that moment. One less kind moment was when it gave me "Transformation" from Macross Frontier, a rather tense piece, while dealing with one of those obnoxiously wispy jet cones. Possibly the very best moments, though, came at the end. As I made my final run into Sagittarius A*, I was treated to one of my favorite songs:


And then after arriving, Journey's "Wheel in the Sky". Which just seemed... appropriate.

At this point, I half expect it to start the long trip back with Stevie Ray Vaughan's "Long Way from Home". Which I wouldn't mind at all...

Thanks again to everyone who's been an inspiration and an encouragement along the way.
 
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Loading times are consistently the same no matter what you do. Back when the Horizons expansion first released I know that launching and playing in just the base version without Horizons would result in faster hyperspace loading screens, but they eventually fixed that.
Yeah, the only exception is if your connection is bad or the servers are misbehaving, at which point your load times can be longer than usual (which CMDR Alot once described as "Mr. Braben's Wild Ride"), but nothing makes them shorter than the usual ~14 seconds. I had one run where my time was slightly marred by a couple of extended hyperspace loading times in the 1-minute-plus range. I think it was the Unlimited run in Cortana, but my memory is not the most reliable, so I could be wrong about that.
 
CMDR: Goosefraba
Ship Type: Anaconda
Ship Name: Phoenix
Class: Unlimited

Time: 2:00:06

So close to breaking 2 hours! I made a number of mistakes along the way, so I'll definitely get under it next time.
That's an extremely impressive run, nonetheless! I'm sure missing your target time by six seconds has to be frustrating, but... you're in pretty rarefied air with that time. And in pretty good company on the six seconds thing, too (if you've watched Alot's "The Fateful Eight", you already know what I mean, and if you haven't, you should).

I know what it's like to miss one's target time, though. It still burns me that I didn't go under 9:30 in Haulin' A*'s last run, and the only thing that keeps me from trying it again is that I don't think my body is good for 9 and a half hours in the pilot's chair anymore. And I'm still tempted to try!

So, very well done, CMDR, and may the wind be at your back in your next attempt!
 
CMDR: Goosefraba
Ship Type: Anaconda
Ship Name: Phoenix
Class: Unlimited

Time: 2:00:06

So close to breaking 2 hours! I made a number of mistakes along the way, so I'll definitely get under it next time.
As Rankaze mentioned, I may have some experience in this regard... only it was after 8 hours rather than 2. :LOL:
Either way, that is a thoroughly respectable time, and as you implied: you learn plenty with every run. Looking forward to seeing what you can pull off next!

Also, as an aside... Rankaze, it is fantastic to see you back and I look forward to seeing more of your exploits again in the near future. Sorry to hear about the discomfort you had on the run; we all suffer for our art one way or another, but you perhaps more literally than most. It's inspiring to see you push forwards despite that and post a pretty impressive time!

(Edit: looks like the forum move broke the links in my signature. Grumble grumble... Will sort that momentarily. 😄)
 
Also, as an aside... Rankaze, it is fantastic to see you back and I look forward to seeing more of your exploits again in the near future. Sorry to hear about the discomfort you had on the run; we all suffer for our art one way or another, but you perhaps more literally than most. It's inspiring to see you push forwards despite that and post a pretty impressive time!
Well, your runs and your videos have often inspired those exploits, so I'm glad to hear that I can return the favor in my own way.

As for further runs... I'm sure the bug will bite me again before too long. As previously noted, 9:35:22 still haunts me, and I still think it's possible to do better. At some point I may break out Haulin' A* and do some 4 or 5 kylie test runs to see what kind of pace I can set with everything that's changed.

Aside from that, someone's gotta take a Mamba to A*, and since I'm falling in love with the thing, it might just be me... (that would definitely be an Unlimited run...)

Of course, before I can do any of that, I've gotta fly home and sell my scan data for Saggitarius A*. I've only been there 12 times, I might as well (finally) get paid for it!

Something I forgot to put in my comments on the run earlier:

I love my TrackIR. It's one of my favorite gaming peripherals, because it makes the piloting experience so much more immersive. It gives a tangible advantage in certain situations in the game. That said, I have never cussed at my TrackIR so much in one day as I did during that run. It kept glitching out on me when I'd look up (usually checking to make sure I wasn't going to fly back into the neutron star while lining up for my jump). It wouldn't do it if I turned my head a little before looking up, so I'm guessing one of the relfectors on my my trackclip must have been bent. So... protip: TrackIR is great! I heartily endorse it. But if you have one, be sure it's working correctly before you start a race! ;)

And, now I have something else to add.

Elite: Dangerous gave me a birthday present tonight (yes, my birthday is March 17)!

It has long kind of burned me that I was Elite in exploration, but had never been the first to discover an Earth-like world. I started playing in Beta (admittedly, I've gone on extended hiatus a couple of times), I've been on multiple long exploration trips, I have tons of first discovery bonuses and almost 600k light-years on the clock, but somehow I had never managed to find an Earth-like that someone else hadn't found before... until tonight.

I had decided to properly scan my way home, largely in the hopes of finally finding one, and had gone almost 4,000 ly in a couple of nights, religiously scanning everything I saw... and then I pulled the FSS scan of the Dumbooe OO-I C9-1314 system and nearly fell out of my chair. There it was, the tell-tale blip just to the right of center on the frequency graph. Frantically skipping over every other signal until I found the one that matched that reading, I zoomed in, and... Earth-like world. Unclaimed Earth-like world.

Suffice to say I scanned it, mapped it, went and got screenshots, including this one of Joyeuse over my new discovery:

(This one is cropped, the original is in 5760x1080)

...and then I quickly scanned the rest of the system. Then, realizing I was closer to Explorer's Anchorage than anywhere else I might go, I buckyballed it right back 4 kylies to sell my data! And finally, finally I have first-discovery on an Earth-like world. That's about as good a feeling as completing this run was. I'm almost giddy. I might not sleep tonight at this rate.

Of course, now I am once again 26 kylies from home, but what's that to a veteran A* Challenge runner? This is what we do!
 
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Welcome back @Rankaze. And congrats to both you and @goosefraba19 on two great runs. :cool:
I'll get the leaderboard updated with all the recent runs in the next day or two.

Time: 2:00:06

So close to breaking 2 hours! I made a number of mistakes along the way, so I'll definitely get under it next time.
Those six seconds must have really sucked, I look forward to you smashing two hours next time. o7

Raiko, since this is Unlimited, do you need the Outfitting screenshots? I got 'em if you do, but didn't know if I should bother.
I've accepted quite a few unlimited runs with just a start and finish screenshot, so no need to send me outfitting if you don't want to. I just need to know whether an FSD-Booster is fitted, which you've already told me in your PMs. You're correct as well that I just tend to assume a booster is fitted these days unless otherwise stated.

So classic and neutron class runs need outfitting screenshots, but they're optional for unlimited class. :)

Again, welcome back friend and keep safe during the outbreak. :)
 
Well, your runs and your videos have often inspired those exploits, so I'm glad to hear that I can return the favor in my own way.

As for further runs... I'm sure the bug will bite me again before too long. As previously noted, 9:35:22 still haunts me, and I still think it's possible to do better. At some point I may break out Haulin' A* and do some 4 or 5 kylie test runs to see what kind of pace I can set with everything that's changed.

Aside from that, someone's gotta take a Mamba to A*, and since I'm falling in love with the thing, it might just be me... (that would definitely be an Unlimited run...)

Of course, before I can do any of that, I've gotta fly home and sell my scan data for Saggitarius A*. I've only been there 12 times, I might as well (finally) get paid for it!

Something I forgot to put in my comments on the run earlier:

I love my TrackIR. It's one of my favorite gaming peripherals, because it makes the piloting experience so much more immersive. It gives a tangible advantage in certain situations in the game. That said, I have never cussed at my TrackIR so much in one day as I did during that run. It kept glitching out on me when I'd look up (usually checking to make sure I wasn't going to fly back into the neutron star while lining up for my jump). It wouldn't do it if I turned my head a little before looking up, so I'm guessing one of the relfectors on my my trackclip must have been bent. So... protip: TrackIR is great! I heartily endorse it. But if you have one, be sure it's working correctly before you start a race! ;)

And, now I have something else to add.

Elite: Dangerous gave me a birthday present tonight (yes, my birthday is March 17)!

It has long kind of burned me that I was Elite in exploration, but had never been the first to discover an Earth-like world. I started playing in Beta (admittedly, I've gone on extended hiatus a couple of times), I've been on multiple long exploration trips, I have tons of first discovery bonuses and almost 600k light-years on the clock, but somehow I had never managed to find an Earth-like that someone else hadn't found before... until tonight.

I had decided to properly scan my way home, largely in the hopes of finally finding one, and had gone almost 4,000 ly in a couple of nights, religiously scanning everything I saw... and then I pulled the FSS scan of the Dumbooe OO-I C9-1314 system and nearly fell out of my chair. There it was, the tell-tale blip just to the right of center on the frequency graph. Frantically skipping over every other signal until I found the one that matched that reading, I zoomed in, and... Earth-like world. Unclaimed Earth-like world.

Suffice to say I scanned it, mapped it, went and got screenshots, including this one of Joyeuse over my new discovery:

(This one is cropped, the original is in 5760x1080)

...and then I quickly scanned the rest of the system. Then, realizing I was closer to Explorer's Anchorage than anywhere else I might go, I buckyballed it right back 4 kylies to sell my data! And finally, finally I have first-discovery on an Earth-like world. That's about as good a feeling as completing this run was. I'm almost giddy. I might not sleep tonight at this rate.

Of course, now I am once again 26 kylies from home, but what's that to a veteran A* Challenge runner? This is what we do!
Hey @Rankaze - meant to welcome you back and congratulate you on your run ages ago. Completing a run like that is hard enough in itself without all the "complications" life seems to have thrown at you ... glad that iTunes chipped in with some good fortune tho! :) Bravo sir!

And yeah, love my TrackIR too - I couldn't really fly without it now. The idea of being forced to just look straight ahead (other than manually using mouse-look to look around occasionally) would feel really constrained. I even have VR but actually prefer to just use screen + head-look (for the increased resolution, high-res screenshots, video recording and general convenience and ease of use). Don't get me wrong tho' - love VR in general and would replace the headset tomorrow if it broke. That glitching you mention tho' - it's annoying isn't it! When I'm flyving the SRV I'm looking "up" a lot (essentially looking where I'm going while the SRV is nose down). If I'm not careful I get quite a lot of glitching at the extremes of that movement. One theory I have is that I'm sitting too high, so the peak of the baseball cap I have the clip attached too obscures the top sensor. I also know the thing is sensitive to bright spots in the room around me (bursts of sunlight can play havoc and also, everytime I lift a glass to my mouth it does a little glitch - presumably light reflecting off the glass).

Anyway, good to see you and the Joyeuse back in action again!
 
Again, welcome back friend and keep safe during the outbreak. :)
Thanks, and will do -- and you keep safe, too! I'm blessed with a job that allows me to work from home as needed (and i frequently do, as some of my autoimmune symptoms are far easier to deal with from home when they flare up) - and right now, my entire company has been given the "work from home if at all possible" memo. I'm pretty much holed up in my apartment right now with no plans to go out, so I'm as safe as I can make myself.

If nothing else, self-isolation gives me more time to play Elite, so it's not all bad.

Hey @Rankaze - meant to welcome you back and congratulate you on your run ages ago. Completing a run like that is hard enough in itself without all the "complications" life seems to have thrown at you ... glad that iTunes chipped in with some good fortune tho! :) Bravo sir!

And yeah, love my TrackIR too - I couldn't really fly without it now. The idea of being forced to just look straight ahead (other than manually using mouse-look to look around occasionally) would feel really constrained. I even have VR but actually prefer to just use screen + head-look (for the increased resolution, high-res screenshots, video recording and general convenience and ease of use). Don't get me wrong tho' - love VR in general and would replace the headset tomorrow if it broke. That glitching you mention tho' - it's annoying isn't it! When I'm flyving the SRV I'm looking "up" a lot (essentially looking where I'm going while the SRV is nose down). If I'm not careful I get quite a lot of glitching at the extremes of that movement. One theory I have is that I'm sitting too high, so the peak of the baseball cap I have the clip attached too obscures the top sensor. I also know the thing is sensitive to bright spots in the room around me (bursts of sunlight can play havoc and also, everytime I lift a glass to my mouth it does a little glitch - presumably light reflecting off the glass).

Anyway, good to see you and the Joyeuse back in action again!
Thank you! I did find a partial solution to it - well, really, two things which together seem to have solved it. First, I'm putting the hat (with the trackclip on it) angled a little further forward on my head, so the brim doesn't obscure the top sensor as quickly. It makes the hat feel a bit odd on my head since It's sitting differently than I'm accustomed to, but after a few minutes I don't notice that anymore. Secondly, I've raised the translation curve a bit in the software, so a bit less motion produces the same amount of "headlook". Between the two, I haven't had the problem since.
 
Speaking of custom plots...

It looks like I didn't do a great job with mine. I went with a 4-jump build in Joyeuse for my run, for a couple of reasons:
1). A 4-jump build jumps 53.4 ly, while a 6-jump build jumps 50.8
2). The Courier heats up so much on fuel stops that picking up 6 jumps of fuel will always require two passes at the star (or else getting less than max scoop rate!)


Unfortunately, it looks like the extra 3 ly didn't help me nearly as much as I thought it would in terms of number of jumps, and I would in fact have been better off going with a 6-jump build after all. In fact, the data I'm getting from Spansh now suggests I can cut as many as 20 jumps off my route (partly due to better routing, and partly due to fewer jumps to fuel stars). As a result, I'm probably going to be setting out again to plot a new route pretty soon after I get back to the bubble.

No, coming in slower than a Viper Mk. IV doesn't have anything at all to do with my motivation to make another run in Joyeuse, why do you ask? :cautious:

I will say, the fact that I've made crazy credits on my exploration data on the way back (just sold a bunch at Eagle's Landing yesterday and the number was kind of eye-popping!) makes the decision to run again a bit less painful. Suffice to say, I can no longer use "I can't afford an Anaconda!" as an excuse, and now have to admit I just don't want to fly one. :p
 
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