Elite / Frontier Elite Plus


I've spent whole day for watching my old recorded EP runs, testing various things in the game, and for calculating and concluding some stuff for the future speedrunning attempts.

1) I recognized systematic problem in my approach to a hardcore grinder in an anarchic system concerning "jousting hunters", situations where 2 hunters (Worm/Cobra MKI/Mamba/Gecko/Adder/Sidewinder) begin their dodgy chicken race with each other without shooting. The best, least time wasting approach is to fly outwards from those fake combatants and shoot them from distance. It is on average much faster to get rid of them that way than if starting to chase and snipe them from a point plank range. It is also much less risky as these ships are notorious for their tendency to start spam missiles after being hit (that happens always with 100% probability, and they always launch all of their 4 missiles). Also, risk to get unintentionally crashed with one (usually non-lethal, often useful to do) or two (potentially lethal if crashes happen within a short timeframe. Something to avoid at all cost if there are simultaneously radar screen full of incoming and shooting pirates, particularly when shields/energy banks are already down and depleted), the risk of death decreases accordingly. There are also more time to react to missiles with ECM. Most deaths in anarchic systems tend to be someway related to "jousting hunters", if not for anything else then because if you get stuck to chasing them down, you may ignore much dangerous foes due your 'obsessed target blindness'. For example, you concentrate to chase a Sidewinder down when there are 4 pirates and 1 hunter coming towards you all shooting simultaneously...
Missiles are useful remedy for dodging hunters.

2) I tested how thing would go in a speedrun if buying only Fore Mining Lasers and Escape Capsule at Leesti (I had already Fuel Scoop, practically the first thing you buy in speedruns, and the reason why you must sell your Fore Pulse Lasers and one of 3 missiles at Lave as your first in-game action when starting a new speedrun attempt) then straightforwardly jumping to Riedquat, trying to approach the system's Coriolis as long as possible (may even be successful) but immediately launching Escape Capsule when situation in your Cobra MKIII's energy banks warrant/force that action. The point of this method is to get as fast as possible to Riedquat's station and start grinding within it's shield perimeter. Enemies do not shoot or launch missiles there as long as you stay within the shielded zone, thus you don't necessarily need ECM-system and Extra Energy Unit installed to your ship. Sounds cool and un-cool same time, like a crafty plan you devised to save more time; the record category is Any% after all.

But!!!, this hideous plan doesn't work well in practice. In speedruns of this category you need to minimize all the time you're not shooting (or crashing) any enemy ship, this Elite Plus Speedrunning's Rule 101, but you do not have any control over the game's RNG on does ship(s) appear or not as long as you're within the shield perimeter. You cannot use jump drive there to haste next encounter with enemy ship(s) as the station makes the drive MASS LOCKED, and in practice you cannot have continuously a steady stream of new ships on your radar screen while hanging there. Also, you lose the rhythm of grind if you have to be constantly conscious about where you're relative to the station and the planet, how far you're outside of shield perimeter, did you already hit to that particular Adder (or whatnot) from within the perimeter or not (expect a launch of missile asap you go outside of the perimeter), etc. other things that will ruin your sinister scheme for shorter speedrunning time.

My test pilot Commander Chicken got soon bored to this kind of action, departed to Uzsaa (another anarchy nearby) via hyperspace without Extra Energy Unit soon after having been promoted to DEADLY, and there he met his cruel but honorable end in the intense dogfight against endless hordes of local pirates and hunters. His Cobra MKIII's condition was RED almost all the time. Energy bank depletion and forced "pauses" (to recharge) in the use of jump drive for search of next enemies is the real killer of flow, and the reason you have to have Extra Energy Unit installed to your ship if trying seriously contend and cut time out from any records of the 'Elite Any%' category. You cannot either use intentional crashes that often (or at all) as a weaponized counter-measure for avoiding undesirable situations happening in the space, for example aforementioned "jousting hunters", and that alone decreases your average Hits per Time Unit -efficiency dramatically.

I'll be only happy if someone can make this scheme work someway...

3) On a start of speedrun. Conclusion is simple, just abandon a start with bad ship and loot RNG and/or bad success in hitting targets and with scooping stuff, and restart the game immediately - why to waste time to bad prospects when your time investment with the attempt isn't yet that high? For serious attempts you need the start where you made it to Riedquat and to the real business within 10 minutes. To achieve this you may need to restart the game several times. My Last record would have been potentially 7-8 minutes better if I would've followed this principle myself.

4) S/H efficiency. I counted Seconds per Hit -rates for my three official WR speedruns:

Cdr Hannibal 2:14:35 -> 8075 secs/1000 hits -> 8.075 s/h
Cdr Polybius 2:36:30 -> 9390 secs/1024 hits -> 9.170 s/h
Cdr Awesome 2:42:59 -> 9779 secs/1021 hits -> 9.578 s/h

For a Sub-2h10min time you need at least following s/h efficiency when we assume you're ranked Above Average having already 30 hits when making arrival to Riedquat after a maximum of 10 minutes start at Leesti, thus you need shoot down the minimum of 970 more hit points for ELITE promotion.

You need achieve at Riedquat the minimum efficiency rate of 7200 secs/970 hits -> 7.423 s/h to make it Sub-2h10min, with overall run efficiency of 7800s/1000h = 7.800 s/h.

For conjectural Sub-2h times (using same assumptions on the start of a run as above) you need efficiency of 6600 secs/970 hits -> 6.804 s/h in Riedquat, and for whole run 7200s/1000h = 7.200 s/h.

In other words these rates mean that you need lower seconds needed for a hit on average at least (relative to current record):

3.41% for Sub-2h10min time
10.84% for Sub-2h time.

The First of two is doable, no doubt. Second one is a little bit harder to evaluate as possibility as there must be practical limits somewhere how fast you can actually play the game for 2 hours in row. At least it means that there shouldn't happen any idle, unnecessary moments in the space with empty radar screen. Jump drive must be used always as soon as a last enemy is killed to get next ones with minimal waste of time. You cannot hang in station's or your ship's cargo manifest screens any time longer than necessity, you cannot browse star maps freely with a cup of coffee, neither there are spare time left for thinking too long what I should buy from a station, you must know that already... generally you would need minimize every non-essential and idle second off from your spacemanship practices in-space as well as out-of-it. You should always try to get rid of time consuming dodging hunters as soon as possible, always trying to lenghten a steady flow of incoming pirates on your ship's fore arc by accurate aiming and timely use of jump drive, rabidly destroying possible navigational hazards preventing you from utilizing jump drive (asteroids/boulders/escape capsules/plates), you couldn't make extra jumps to other systems for buying more equipment, and generally avoid all non-essential docking to a station until you're ready to get the promotion to ELITE... and forget that cute little Tribble. :D

Hmm... Let's see what the future will bring to us.

5) Psychological aspects of Elite Plus speedrunning. The Maxims "Anything you've done or achieved before is incredibly less stressful to attempt next time than it was when you made the first attempt.", but also: "If you have done something without stress or pressure, 'naturally' or 'accidentally' before, be assured that you feel pressure and stress when you try to repeat that effort as intentionally planned action." These both maxims co-exist, and ultimately it comes down to a playing routine and mood you feel.

What is good mood generally in a life, doesn't necessary have to be same as "good mood" for achieving things and making stuff happen in Elite Plus, particularly not in serious speedrunning sessions. You need certain level of stress, and feeling of urgency to be successful. You need a state of mind where you can concentrate, but your concentration cannot be fake, over-done thought of "Ok. Now I concentrate!" as that mental set will almost certainly lead to either failure or at least making you under-achieve what you're trying to achieve.

Feelings of Transcendence, Meditative Euphoric of Flow, and Archangelic Wholesomeness sometimes occurring in the middle of intense space battle are the best part of Elite Plus experience. There is the dark side even in this deep aspect of the game; you can get addicted to it, and usually addictions are not good thing to have by default. Luckily EP is rather mild drug, and if your required daily doses aren't too extensive or impacting destructively to your other everyday life and social relations, no problems!

Problems start when your title is Archangel, you call yourself as such, but in practice you're not trying to live and play the game as that title obliges.

That is ultimately why Archangels are so hated among all Commanders over all different versions of Elite.

Right on Commanders! Good night!

EDIT: Typos and bad English
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And... during same day, 9+ hours later the last speedrun record was obsoleted with secs/hit efficiency rate of 7.526.

The New Record is 2 hours 6 minutes 4 seconds with 1005 hits at Riedquat by Commander Zamzara
Feat Rob Hubbard 'Lightforce' (again!) :D

I ruined the end with usual extra dockings and pressure induced mis-calculations of hits, and start could have been better. Video will appear here, but likely not too soon. I'm very tired and hungry now. The First Sub-2h10min Elite Plus speedrun is the reality now, but even with optimal start and end I couldn't have been able to achieve Sub-2h time.

All of this probably sounds very mundane, but it is not. I've never played this game more seriously than during last few days and now I'm just harvesting the sweet fruits of my efforts from it.

These kind of things make you feel you earn the title of Archangel.

New Speedrun record to 'Elite' : 2 hours 6 minutes 4 seconds with 1005 hits at Riedquat by Commander Zamzara
FEAT. Rob Hubbard 'Lightforce'

Seconds/hit rate: AVG 7.526 seconds for 1 hit
Relevant timeframe of the record's timing in the video: 00:00:36 - 02:06:40

>>The start of the run<<<
  • Hyperspace jump from Lave to Leesti with Fuel Scoop and 2 missiles: 00:00:21 (00:00:57 in vid)
  • Promotion to 'Mostly Harmless' with 2 Hit points: 00:01:49 (00:02:25 in vid)
  • Promotion to 'Poor' with 8 Hit points: 00:04:11 (00:04:47 in vid)
  • Scooping Fuel at Leesti (star): 00:06:15 (00:06:51 in vid)
  • Promotion to 'Average' with 18 Hit points: 00:07:38 (00:08:14 in vid)
  • Promotion to 'Above Average' with 21 Hit points: 00:10:22 (00:10:58 in vid)
  • Hyperspace jump from Leesti to Riedquat with 22 Hit points and 24.9 Credits: 00:11:51 (00:12:27 in vid)
  • Equipped with Fore Mining Laser, Fuel Scoop, ECM-System, Extra Energy Unit, and 1 missile
>>Grinding in Riedquat<<<
  • 1 hour 40 minutes 6 seconds later:
  • Promotion to 'Deadly' with 910 Hit points (888 Hits this far in Riedquat with bounties of 11541 Credits) and declined tribble offer: 01:51:57 (01:52:33 in vid)
  • Further grinding for missing hits...
  • Promotion to 'Elite' and completing the first confirmed and verified Sub-2h10min Speedrun to ELITE in the history of humankind: 02:06:04 (02:06:40 in vid)
  • s/h efficiency rate for grinder part in Riedquat was 02:06:04-00:11:51 = 7564s-711s=6853s ---> 6853s/(1005 hits-22 hits) = 6853s/983h => 6.972 s/h
  • Total bounties from Riedquat 11636.4 Credits (incl. 30 Cr price of one purchased missile after first docking)
  • Bounty per ship average in Riedquat: 11636.4 Cr/983 Hits = 11.838 Credits/ship
  • Total profit of the run: 12346.6 Cr - 100.0 Cr (starting cash) = 12246.6 Credits
>>CDR Zamzara's Notes for the record<<<
CDR Zamzara - WR Notes.jpg

  • There was at least 9 restarts of the game before the record run, probably more
  • The record was made Friday morning, September 25th, 2020 between 7:06am - 9:13am [UTC +2]
  • It seems that Commander Zamzara is avid coffee drinker :D
  • Zamzara's scrap notes saved here for posterity as it is very likely this paper will find its way to a paper bin
  • Impression of the paper is similar than seeing the note of famous 'WOW!-Signal'...

Right on, Commander!
Indeed! CROM! o7

EDIT: some statistical stuff and rough time line of the run added
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Argh, these uploading speeds. I'm sure video will appear here... someday. :D

"Archangel Perkele, ('Double Elite' with over 100000 hits) surviving from Witch Space after hyperspace mis-jump en route to Eddi, Galaxy 6. Escaping to the Galaxy 7 using Galactic Hyperdrive unit, because available amount of fuel was insufficient for hyperspace jump to any nearby system. Witch Space 00:02:00 onwards. (Bounties from Witch Space: 705.0 Cr)

Also, testing "Viper tactics" for speedrunning purposes to accumulate hits faster by sniping police Vipers, but only managing to waste two Energy Bombs. Then some usual skirmishing in an anarchic system, but this time using full throttle...

The End of the week long Elite Plus vacation with 70-80h of gameplay, over 320000 Credits made, the milestone of 3 million played credits broken, thousands of kills, and two new Speedrun World records, extensive testing, etc.

Right on Commanders!"

I had a very nice, proactive, and industrious EP vacation. Btw, Rob Hubbard's 'Lightforce' was repeatedly listened hundreds of times... :D

Witch Space.png
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In the E+ existential crisis

I've been playing and thinking the game lately absolutely too much, reaching the point seriously contemplating 'retirement'... flying my Cobra to Kuiper's Belt of Riedquat, picking an asteroid and becoming Rock Hermit. Grinding in an anarchic system for money and kills to get next overflow in the hit counter is actually getting very boring ...dock...sell...launch...grind 7-8 minutes...dock...sell...grind another 7-8 minutes (repeat tens and hundreds of times). Currently at BERITERE, G7. After 26 rounds made already 50K profits, the effort taking only few hours+, with average profit of 1940+ Credits per trip (Bounties and loot included). When it takes about 7 minutes (duration of Rob Hubbard's Lightforce) to get cargo bay full, that means I'm currently making some 16600 Credits and maybe about 450-500 hit points per played, effective real time in-game hour...

But I don't really want get there soon, as I probably lose motivation to play the game entirely for a long time after reaching to the third Elite promotion. Thus I play abnormally high amount of speedrunning (that doesn't seem to lead anything)...

A Routine of grind have a good effect to speedrun attempts, but I started to discard bad and mediocre starts, causing a situation where I get about one "good" start once every 40-50 tries (including deaths to crashes when being too greedy with scooping, starts abandoned when already nearly fully equipped 13-14 minutes in the run, bad RNG in looted cargo etc), and even then when succesfully getting the start around 10 minutes or less, I abandon the attempt easily if Riedquat -part of the flight doesn't begin smoothly, fearing to waste next 1h 45 minutes for vain only because it is already impossible to make the record better with bad start.

Lately tested extensively so called "Viper Tactics". There is potential there, but sheer dullness of pattern of simplistic repetitive tedium that includes easy way to get killed (tactics still needs high level of concentration and accuracy to be successful and efficient enough) doesn't make these efforts easy to conduct, and not particularly because if it is really possible improve hit/time unit efficiency dramatically by using Viper Tactics and making new record with that style, it means that ALL following, next successful record breaking attempts MUST use that same tedious tactics. Trade off is extremely bad for a new speedrun record prospects, even if Sub-2h could be possible that way...

Maybe I need to take a break from the game....

I found this ancient discussion about Elite Plus and laughed my ironarse off nearly hysterically when reading it due the utter absurdity of the topic. These guys talk seriously how to make profit in PC Elite Plus!!! Here: https://groups.google.com/g/comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.action/c/eDtq2IBF6tM?pli=1

J J Nebrensky
12.9.1993 klo 21.34.19


I played this game a lot last winter and ,yes, it was very hard to
make a profit. The only way I found to predict prices was to write down
the prices at every system I visited (include Tech level & political
info). Eventually, for a new system you can make a guess from a similar
system you've already been to. It's definately harder than the
"computers to agricultural planets, liquors to industrial planets"
strategy that worked on the original.
If you're starting from scratch, my strategy would be
1) Make a list of the prices at planets around Lave. Use this to find a
likely trade route - 2 or 3 safe planets where you can make a reasonable
profit on each leg.
2) Milk it - go round and round for as long as possible. The prices will
stay constant but the amount of goods available will fall.
3) Move on. The planets tend to form clusters, and there's generally a
good route in each cluster. Leesti rings a bell as somewhere I made a
lot of money, but I can't remember exactly where it is.
Other hints:
1) Sell your missiles when you start. At $30 a go you can't afford to
use them until you're making over about $40 per run, so you may as well
flog them and increase your capital. Keeping one is useful as it lets
you I.D. other craft.
2) When buying add-ons for the ship, remember to leave yourself working
capital (trading money). I would recommend more missiles, an ECM and
fuel scoops, in that order. The ECM stops you dying. The fuel scoops
let you pick up cargo canisters, escape pods (sell as slaves) and
pieces of asteroid (blown up with normal lasers, but you have to get in
quick before the bits disperse). Make sure you have some room in the
hold before trying this. It's not really worth going to the star to get
fuel early in the game, as you'll get too much grief from bandits.
3) Learn to dock manually, and forget the docking computers.
4) Think carefully before buying the tribbles ...

Bounty hunting (deliberately going looking for bandits) can
be good fun + much money, but you need a big laser and energy unit.
I hope this is some help. Unfortunately I haven't touched the
game since April, but having written this I'm sorely tempted to dig it
out again...
That was the topic of Year 1993.

My problem 2020 is that how you could cut average 2 minutes out from the usual 12-14 minutes of game play needed to get sufficient gear for grinding in Riedquat. Using that same gear it requires about 2-2.5 hours in that same system to get enough money to buy everything to your Cobra MKIII, including useless Docking Computers, Escape Pod, and Military Lasers, while you're already achieved ELITE status long before having enough for fully equipped ship.

Anyway, if PC Elite Plus has features that can be considered "broken", career option of peaceful merchant/trader doesn't actually exist in the game as a realistic career unless you voluntarily start play the game absurdly inefficiently, cumbersomely, slowly, forgetting the main reason you even sell anything in the first place: to buy equipment -> to improve your hit efficiency and survival expectancy -> to become ELITE.

I think it is possible for Jameson to achieve that within 2 hours of game play.

Awesome thread. Thank you!

The 'thread' of my main commander and some of her most important offshoot aliases:

The real time timeline and synopsis for the career of Archangel Nothoria Infama (.cdr)

Nov 6th 2002: Lave, G1. Commander/game started.
Nov 9th 2002: Sotiqu, G1. Elite (1264 hits). 21610.8 Cr.
Nov 11th 2002: Erbiti, G1. New system record: ~1008 hits/10880.6 Cr bounties. 82372.6 Cr.
Nov 13th 2002: Usdive, G2. 104913.8 Cr.
Nov 16th 2002: Anenat, G2. 155721.4 Cr. Supernova Refugees mission. ---> MISSION1.CDR
Nov 21st 2002: Inrieran, G3. 197141.2 Cr. Mask Device mission. ---> MISSION2.CDR
Nov 23rd 2002: Onmaar, G4. 240767.5 Cr. Thargoid Invasion mission. Archangel! ---> CENTAUR.CDR / MISSION3.CDR
Dec 4th 2002: Edrebi, G5. 312581.3 Cr. Stolen Police Ship mission. ---> MISSION4.CDR
Dec 7th 2002: Isatanar, G5. 394494.4 Cr. Thargoid Plans mission. ---> MISSION5.CDR
Dec 26th 2002: Xeisanan, G6. 458212.2 Cr. Asteroid Bombardment mission. ---> MISSION6.CDR
Feb 22nd 2003: Estiri, G7. 603528.9 Cr.
Apr 12th 2003: Quzabibi, G7. 678278.7 Cr.
Sep 6th 2003: Enatzaus, G7. 707906.5 Cr.
Dec 21st 2003: Atbea, G8. 808807.3 Cr.
Dec 26th 2003: Xexean, G8. 928490.1 Cr. ---> LUCIFER.CDR
Jan 14th 2004: Veerbidi, G8. 936864.6 Cr.
Aug 17th 2004: Erlabeor, G8. 1000031.7 Cr. 1 MegaCredits! 1st Retirement.
May 9th 2008: Tevebebi, G8. 1019676.6 Cr.
Jun 3rd 2008: Ribiso, G1. 1106763.8 Cr.
Jun 15th 2008: Riedquat, G1. 1206436.4 Cr. New system record: ~1030 hits/11025.4 Credits bounties.
Jun 21st 2008: Bibe, G1. 1393470.4 Cr.
Nov 11th 2008: Xeesenri, G1. 1578755.2 Cr. New system record: ~1161 hits/12208.2 Credits bounties.
Jan 7th 2009: Inleus, G1. 1634119.6 Cr.
Sep 12th 2009: Zeaqu, G1. 1734717.7 Cr. New system record: ~1212 hits/13085.3 Credits bounties.
Feb 28th 2010: Raoror, G1. 1807431.3 Cr. 1st 60K+ Promotion: 60081 Hits !!!
Mar 3rd 2010: Errius, G2. 1836140.8 Cr. 2nd retirement. ---> ERRIUS.CDR
Feb 1st 2011: METAGAME - Registering account 'Nothoria Infama' to forums.frontier.co.uk
Oct 6th 2013: Dimadi, G2. 1880884.3 Cr.
Jan 24th 2014: METAGAME - Launching Youtube channel 'EliteMegaWeed'
Jan 31st 2014: METAGAME - Speedrun World Record. Commander Awesome: 2h 42mins 59secs with 1021 Hits at Riedquat ---> AWES1021.CDR
Feb 3rd 2014: Isoned, G2. 1926290.2 Cr. 'Archangel Nothoria - Fastest way earn some Credits' (Youtube video)
Jun 15th 2014: Onatbeza, G2. 1961415.2 Cr. ---> NOTHORIA.CDR
Jun 15th 2014: Xeate, G2. 1963129.0 Cr. 2nd 60K+ Promotion: 64014 Hits !!!
Jun 15th 2014: 2 MegaCredits!
Jun 16th 2014: 3rd 60K+ Promotion: 65111 Hits !!!
Jun 17th 2014: Isxees, G2. 2027710.1 Cr. Normal Promotion: Competent, 74 Hits. 1st Hit Counter Overflow!
Nov 26th 2014: Beedbeon, G2. 2060925.1 Cr. (Deadly) ---> HORUZ.CDR
Nov 26th 2014: Galaxy 2. 2089376.1 Cr. Normal Promotion: Elite, 1006 hits. 1st Confirmed 'Double Elite'. 3rd retirement.
Dec 6th 2014: METAGAME - Starting forums.frontier.co.uk thread 'Elite Plus'
Dec 16th 2016: Ondisora, G3. 2300429.2 Cr.
Dec 18th 2016: Maer, G3. 2360166.8 Cr. ---> CHARONG3.CDR
Jan 10th 2017: Oninriar, G3. 2416499.7 Cr. Cartographing G3 completed. ---> 2416NOT.CDR
Jan 15th 2017: Diriceen, G4. 2535091.7 Cr. Cartographing G4 completed ---> CHARONG4.CDR
Apr 15th 2017: Leedtier, G4. 2551263.6 Cr. 'Archangel Charon's Easter flight 2017' (Youtube video)
Apr 15th 2017: Querbe, G4. 2558948.0 Cr. 'Archangel Charon and 500+ hits at Querbe' (Youtube video)
Jan 22nd 2018: METAGAME - Registering Speedrun.com account 'EliteMegaweed' and starting Elite Plus (PC/DOS) category 'Speedrun to Elite promotion from the start of the game'
Jan 29th 2019: Esteerve, G6. 2710054.8 Cr. ---> CHARON6.CDR
Jan 29th 2019: Isxein, G8. 2709369.1 Cr. ---> CHARON.CDR
Jan 28th 2020: Esausle, G6. 2709090.9 Cr. 'Police Viper kill test' (Youtube Video)
Jan 30th 2020: Ariin, G6. 2684724.9 Cr. 'The Drunken Archangel 8-galaxy tour' (Youtube video). AA PERKELE!
Mar 1st 2020: METAGAME - New Speedrun World Record. Commander Polybius: 2h 36mins 30secs with 1024 Hits at Riedquat. ---> POLYBIUS.CDR
Jun 4th 2020: Esonge, G6. 2700267.9 Cr. ---> PRKL2700.CDR
Sep 22nd 2020: Soaat, G6. 2800681.6 Cr. ---> PRKL2800.CDR
Sep 22nd 2020: Beored, G6. 2900965.0 Cr. ---> PRKL2900.CDR
Sep 23rd 2020: Beored, G6. 3001460.0 Cr. 3 MegaCredits! 'Breaking The Milestone of 3 million played Credits' (Youtube video) ---> PRKL3000.CDR
Sep 23rd 2020: METAGAME - New Speedrun World Record. Commander Hannibal: 2h 14mins 35secs with 100 Hits at Riedquat. ---> HANNIBAL.CDR
Sep 25th 2020: METAGAME - New Speedrun World Record. Commander Zamzara: 2h 6mins 4secs with 1005 Hits at Riedquat. ---> ZAMZARA.CDR
Oct 2nd 2020: Xeer, G7. 3100395.4 Cr. ---> PRKL3100.CDR
Oct 4th 2020: Beritere, G7. 3220989.2 Cr. ---> PRKL3220.CDR

To be Continued...
  • Times and dates following the universal time of Finnish Colony of Riedquat.
  • METAGAME tag added to some happenings that aren't directly related to Archangel Nothoria Infama's (and her multitude of aliases) in-game career curriculum, but are nevertheless critically influenced to it, or by it. Commander was originally named and started as Centaur.cdr
  • Almost complete system-by-system logbook (.txt and .doc files) exists until the first 60K promotion.
  • Relevant existing .CDR savegame files and names of Youtube videos notified in their proper chronology.
  • 'System Records' for hits are 'manually' head-counted bodycounts that cannot be considered "official" and from which there doesn't exist anykind photographic or other proofs.
  • For '60K+' promotions there are screenshots available (in this same thread)
  • By the law of Riedquat's Finnish colony the legal drinking age is 18 years; November 6th, 2020 will be that anniversary of Archangel Infama's career continuum, and there was already some 6-7 years worth of previous incarnations of her before she got her current Elite Federation pilot's certificate....
  • backups of .CDR files are made adequately and often enough, to several different mediums. Only a system-wide EMP from illegal Energy Bomb detonations would totally nullify the progression achieved already

Right on Commander!

EDIT: typos. ADD: writing this comment and updating the career synopsis (that got mostly deleted in OP when the forums moved to xenforo) as it looks very probable that Nothoria's 4th retirement day will happen in a near future. No worries! Last three retirements weren't successful, why the 4th would be either? :D
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Urgh... Feeling demoralized now. Temporary retirement from the game seems to be good action. I've been slowly continuing the current grind in BERITERE (anarchy), Galaxy 7 on a daily basis for accumulating more hits (and money as a by-product) to get nearer to the goal of 60K-promotion, next hit counter overflow and odd 60K+ promotion messages before that.

Today I decided to actually look what the hit counter says making a TEST.CDR back up file from the current situation with the pilot, googling about Hexadecimal-to-decimal conversions, and inner workings of Elite Plus savegame files etc. finding out that in savegame file line:

Offset 00000090 (h): FF 53 83 53 83 54 45 53 54 00 4C 45 00 00 00 35

Bolded values are the hit count twice in hexadecimals, and that when making conversion to decimals you need to switch the order 53 83 to 83 53 to get right decimal value (right?), which is 33619. That means that I've been systematically overcounting my hit points as long as I've been playing this game (some 25 years+), but I've still no idea what is the ship/object in the game that doesn't award a hit when shot. This systematical misconception and erroneous assumption has ruined the ends of my speedrun records as I've accustomed to count kills in my head and every single time my counts seems to be higher than actual in-game promotion messages indicate. When I still kept system-by-system logs from everything I did in the game between the start of commander and the 60K hits promotion message, the 'manual' bodycount had accumulated some 8000 hit points error upwards. Considering the fact that I often replayed a system from the last savegame if I lost a bodycount too badly, I do not put such kind systematic error only on my over-optimism when counting hits. There must be some ship in the game that doesn't award a hit point when shot.

Anyway, 65536+33619 = 99155 career Hit points, which means I'm not yet 100 Kilohits Archangel, and that there are still 26482 more hits required to get that second 60K promotion of the career, 31918 hits left to next Hit Counter overflow, and 32918 hits to the next ELITE promotion.

If we translate those hit gaps to real time required to achieve them assuming optimal playstyle only for maximizing hits/time unit (which would realistically be about 450-500 kills/hour) - in effective in-game time -, at minimum some 65-70 hours more of insane grinding would be required, that of course with assumption you don't die too often while doing that. Effort would be equivalent to about 2 weeks of full time daily work...

Sure, I'll get there someday if alive IRL, but currently it feels I really need take a break from the game. Recent level of involvement to the game... it isn't healthy anymore.

Now, someone probably think that: "Why you even bother?!!! Just hex edit your commander's hit counter to FF FF FF FF and you're there!", to which I only say that people thinking that way cannot ever achieve 'Triple Elite' status in Elite Plus, such archangelic deeds of longevity and persistence are simply out of their event horizons. Such people can hardly ever reach anywhere near Raxxla. ;) Of course people can test this or that cheat if they want, but if they claim any achievement would hold any value at all if "accomplished" by cheat, then they aren't realizing that playing PC Elite Plus to any degree is totally pointless thing and waste of time to do if you're so f*ing bad that you need to cheat in it. God f* sake! It's easiest and most fast paced version of the game! Everyone and their aunt can achieve nominal ELITE status within 3 to 5 hours of gameplay if they really want, and hardest part imaginable of an effort can probably be for someone to get the game work in the first place if they don't know anything about DOS operating systems and DOSBox Emulator.

Uh, sorry, exhausting some steam and frustrations out now... Whatever, few more years needed. Realistically.

Right on Commanders! 07

ADD: After some testing with Deadly pilot with 999 Hits, one hit and one ship type at time. At least Ferdelance and Worm doesn't award hit points, and that explains everything!!! I feel complete idiot now! In an anarchy it is easily possible get over 10% of all encountered ships as Ferdelances (Wolf, No Bounty) and Worms (Hunter, No Bounty). I've always automatically counted them as proper kills. No wonder anymore why my in-the-mind-hit-counts have been sucking that much systematically all the time.

This makes RNG aspect of 1000 or more hits speedruns very significant factor between success and failure in attempts to lower the time. Aaaaaargh!

Viper tactics starts to look very lucrative prospect in speedrunning. At least you know constantly you're accumulating more valid hits.

How this kind revelation of basic fact about the game can be even possible for a pilot of experience of quarter century? I'm totally devastated. Bye!
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You can do it, keep at it back in the day when it first came out I went through it. In today's hectic pace society it's not as easy as it was back then, same game not the same free time 😉
Although no-where near the number levels you’re talking about, I messed up my kill count while marching towards Elite with the ZX Spectrum - I thought my next 2xROC would see me right, but when I reviewed my other save-states I’d miscalculated by just under 1.5k kills 😅

Still don’t know how I messed that up, but it was around that time I realised Missiles counted towards Rank, which speeded up things considerably.

Sorry the hear about your burnout with Elite Plus - at the speed you play I feel it’s like that bit in Blade Runner where Tyrell tells Roy Batty, “...the light that burns twice as bright burns half as long, and you have burned so very, very brightly Roy...” - a break will probably refresh your batteries.

I’m balancing my FE2 combat runs (about 40mins at a time) with a play-through of Final Fantasy VI, which I’ve never played before and is a nice complete change to refresh the palate.

(I never liked JRPGs back in the day, but I’ve recently been bitten by the bug and have recently completed PS1 FF7 & GBA Golden Sun)
Dear @Arioch

I don't feel deep Elite Plus burnout currently, its more like a deep frustration when you realize that you've held systematic misconception in a basic thing you thought you know like a back of your own hand. Big part of my calculations and statistical schemes, proxies and models aren't valid anymore because of that.

God dammit! In the future I will shoot those pesky Ferdelances and Worms with unprecedented fury. They shall be my primary source for more alloys! :D

With current routine in the game it wouldn't be totally out of realistic possibilities to hang in Riedquat (as familiar example) alive enough long to actually shoot 1000+ Ferdelances and Worms, and ignore every other proper hits from the mind while doing that. However, such effort would require about 8-10 hours continuous mass murder... XD
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It's anarchy which gets the Thargoid and those do add to ya ratings 😉
Yay! My fear glands are already removed too long time ago. :D

If someone adept in cracking, hacking and programming would be so nice to make a Elite Plus mod where you can initiate witch space misjump/thargoid interdiction at will, or mod where significant proportion of all ships encountered would be thargoids and thargons regardless of govermental type of a system, I'd be extremely happy. Kind of 'Thargoid Invasion' mission trainer that you can toggle on/off anytime you want, anywhere you want.

Speaking of Thargoids in Elite Plus. There are those random encounters with Thargoids in a game. For my current pilot the last time that happened was April 9th 2003 at Arceores, Galaxy 7:
(Excerpt from old logbook)

9.4.2003 Quraa (DE) 654816.8 1555.5 27 -> 23914 Hits
Gexean (FE) 656489.7 1672.9 47
Usleance (AN) 661525.7 5036.0 306 !!
Orbelaxe (DE) 663219.5 1363.8 34
Antiis (AN) 669272.5 6053.0 441 !!
Veesqu (CS) 670656.0 1383.5 12
Arveaa (CS) 672019.2 1363.2 31
Arceores (CS) 673552.2 1533.0 21 [1 TIS + 1 thargon]
12.4.2003 Quzabibi (AN) 678279.7 4727.5 321 !!
Oredveus (MG) 680121.4 1841.7 61 -> 25188 Hits
4.5.2003 Onusan (FE) 681846.8 1725.4 54
Qugeza (CM) 683434.5 1587.7 42
8.6.2003 Isare (CM) 685174.1 1739.6 48
2.9.2003 Edcea (MG) 686775.7 1601.6 31
Usquen (CS) 688419.6 1643.9 15 -> 25378 Hits
Date/System/Cash/Profit/Hits/----> Total Hits. Hits are my 'manual' hits for a system and accumulated totals to that point of game.

I don't know why these encounters ceased to happen, or what exactly triggered the end of their occurrence. There are a lot of things we simply don't know yet about Elite Plus. If someone knows, please enlighten us all about the issue. Note that Witch Space misjumps have occurred all the time, occasionally, but Thargoids haven't been seen in the "normal" space after above date.

(another excerpt from logbook demonstrating the disparity of manual hitcount and system hit counter at the moment of the first 60K promotion)

28.2.2010 2.4 Onisqu (AN7MI) 1784831.3 3812.2 255 !! [30min]
[3h 10min] 2.8 Arxeza (DE2AI) 1786225.8 1394.5 29
6.4 Cemave (MG4RI) 1787592.8 1378.0 28
3.6 Sotera (CM7RA) 1789215.3 1622.7 33 -> >67772 Hits
3.2 Ceinzala (DI4MA) 1790709.1 1493.8 34
5.6 Ara (AN10PI) 1795103.0 4393.9 276 !! [35min]
1.2 Orgetibe (MG4PA) 1796651.9 1548.9 34
2.0 Esteonbi (DE11AI) 1798113.7 1461.8 20
0.8 Rebia (CM2RA) 1799980.4 1866.7 32
5.2 Tiinlebi (DE3PA) 1801590.6 1610.2 31 -> >68199 Hits
6.0 Esteonbi (DE11AI) 1803043.7 1453.1 21
WOW! 5.6 Raoror (AN10PI) 1807431.3 4387.6 271 !! -> >68491 Hits
[30 min]
You have achieved 60081 hit points.
You have been promoted to

' ' status! 60081 HIT POINTS !!!
Error was 14% too much. Until now, after all these years I know why. Lol. Only senile rock hermits can be so slow with their learning. The learning curve cannot be considered that steep. :p
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Commanders. Good news! Sub-2h speedrunning times to ELITE are not anymore conjectural hypothesis. I attempted make a new record using hybrid of 'traditional' Lave-Leesti-Riedquat-grinding tactics and Viper tactics used at Leesti (and Diso) dying at the flight time of 1h 31mins 17 secs with at least 700 but probably with some 730 kills. Riedquat part of the flight was 220+ hits grinder (NOT Counting Fer-de-lances and Worm landing crafts as hits!!!) with accidental hit to the station forcing refuelling at the star before jumping back to Leesti.

From video footage it was possible verify exact hit count for the first Viper tactics part in Leesti, starting from Competent 42 promotion and ending to Deadly 332 promotion, effective flight time being 28mins 8secs and accumulated 290 hits during that timespan. Only simple linear extrapolation is needed here to state that a speedrun to Elite in less than two hours is entirely possible thing to do. After Deadly promotion I continued Viper killings at Leesti and Diso. Estimated kill count (by extrapolation) from that part is about 145 hits in some 14 minutes vast majority of them being Vipers...

In the end I had energy bomb and escape capsule paid with the money from bounties at Riedquat, but I failed to use either in time in the end when starting Viper killing grinder in Leesti again, in which I counted some 37-40 Viper hits within only few minutes before the death.

Note that the speedrun using Viper tactics requires on average longer start at Leesti as you have to buy both Fore and Aft mining lasers. Or do you? Pure Viper tactics run would need only Aft Mining laser (and Extra Energy Unit, ECM-system), as by default you wouldn't have to leave from Leesti at all and tail gunning Vipers is only really working modus operandi using that tactical scheme, but if going purist you don't get much income from anything than occasional scoops of floating cargo canisters and space depris and from traders' cargo you annihilate inbetween massacring Vipers, while being unable to sell the loot in the system. If going to buy any extra equipment you must make extra hyperspace jumps to other system to reset Leesti's Dodecahedron to allow you to dock into it again and dispelling assaulting stream of Police Vipers. Riedquat is the best place to make some money as you still accumulate also hit points while being there for economic reasons. A minute wasted for buying Energy Bomb and Escape Capsule could be easily worth of that time as safety measures. Vipers can get you killed easily, anyway.

Every single part of the attempted run were horribly un-optimized. It is starting to look that new conjectural times are something of 1h 45 mins to 1h 55mins in which it would be theoretically possible to become ELITE in PC Elite Plus. Video isn't worth of publishing here or anywhere else, but I gonna save it anyway as proof of concept. I was close to break the record today, regardless of experimental, chaotic, unplanned, un-optimized, and ad hoc nature of the run, containing long pauses spent to thinking how it goes and making notes. That Commander Jameson (No idea how manyeth) was very brave and innovative one, I was already decided that if he becomes Elite his name would've been Commander Ragequit. Must remember that name for the later use.

Good remedy to recent feelings of my EP angst. :D
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