The FFED3DAJ Thread

Looks awesome. It's fantastic to see this version released - it's been a long journey!
Hasn't it just!

Sweet! Ummm...except I should have mentioned that I already have an Imgur album setup for this texture pack, as well as my others:

http://nanite2000.imgur.com/

:eek:

But more publicity is good publicity! :D
I should have thought to add your albums to the front page too - hadn't noticed you'd got a new album... as it happens I was just updating page 1 and also the SSC page with links to the album when you posted!
:D


Also, here's an old WIP montage I'd made with nanite2000's metal textures, showing the original model Cobra MK1's using multiple paint jobs once again just like Frontier did, but which didn't work in FFE:



This feature (fixMultiTexturesOnShips) also adds some variety back again to the original FFE Adder and Constrictor ships. Obviously, those of you using the external .x models won't see these!
(you can switch between 'original models'/.x models mode though with CTRL-F6 ;))

[edited 28/08/2018 to update image URLs to postimg.cc]
 
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Sweet! Ummm...except I should have mentioned that I already have an Imgur album setup for this texture pack, as well as my others:

http://nanite2000.imgur.com/

:eek:

But more publicity is good publicity! :D
Hehe, I figured you would have them somewhere. I did some looking about but didn't find anything so I said what the heck, and uploaded them to my account.

You guys are doing a fantastic job on this game. Loving it in it's current state, and anticipation is growing for what's to come. Great job!
 
Just popped by to say thank you AndyJ and Nanite2000 for all the hard work- it is very much appreciated.

I threw together a little vid to celebrate v1.10a, hope you enjoy-

[video=youtube;9ToRefwqPpE]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ToRefwqPpE&feature=youtu.be[/video]
 
Haha, thanks for that - it put a big smile on my face! :D
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I'll add a link to it on the first page if that's ok?
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[edit] any chance that you could edit the youtube page to add that it's running the FFFED3DAJ mod with nanite2000 texture packs? ;) (it says FFED3D, ittiz build)
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And I will have line breaks where I want them on this new forum, even if it means I have to add right-aligned dots! grrr...
 
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Thanks Hermit, Elite and Hitchhikers always seem to go together in my head- I think its the sense of humour in the newspapers.

I've no probs with you putting up a link Andy. :cool:

edit add- if you click 'show more' in the description it should have the rest of the info there. I might go edit it though as just unfortunate it only shows the first line unless you expand it, which is the Ittiz Build line.

edit add, um, add- put all the info on the one line so it can be seen without expanding the box. There is a link to this thread too in the full description.
 
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Ah cheers for that, hadn't noticed the 'show more' button :eek:
...but anyway, it'll avoid any confusion for any other viewers who also lack basic observational skills! :p
(front page updated with link, thanks!)
 
Adjust difficulty?

First off great work on keeping this awesome game alive AJ. After backing Elite Dangerous I find I have no inclination to play what they've made and happened across FFED3D while browsing various Elite related Internet stuff. I love what you guys have managed to achieve with the old FFE, but I'm having a balance issue that I'd appreciate some help with.

First of all I didn't initially realize that Anisotropic was the name of a modder's custom rebalanced build so I thought that the FFED3DAJ_Anisotropic.exe had anisotropic filtering while the vanilla FFED3DAJ.exe did not, so I started playing using the Anisotropic version.

That was very hard from the get go. On a first trip to Soholia in the startup Saker I would regularly encounter plasma accelerator equipped Imperial Explorers, Imperial Couriers, Vipers, Asps, lots of really high end pirates and everyone was really heavily shielded. I didn't mind that too much although it was near impossible to take anything down with a pulse laser Saker. That wasn't an insurmountable problem though as it doesn't take long to get better equipped.

The big problem I had with the Anisotropic version was that I found enemy missiles were completely impossible to dodge in a Saker let alone a Cobra or Asp. I really didn't like the idea that tank and ECM would be the only counter to missiles, it takes a lot of skill out of the fighting and leaves you having to save and reload when your hull gets low and your ECM is destroyed instead of being able to skill your way through. (The double missile speed configuration was not on btw).

I've played every version of Elite and got to Elite ranking in all of them and though I don't consider myself anything special I do consider myself reasonably competent. I tried outrunning the missiles and banking hard as they closed on me to throw them off, I tried getting inside the missile's turning circle and chasing it, I paused the instant a missile was launched to target it and thrust perpendicular away from its course, but they just seemed to change direction with no inertia at all and close you down at ridiculously high gee. It was bad. Not only did I not ever manage to dodge a single missile, in about 100 attempts I don't think I even survived for more than about 2 seconds after a missile was fired at me.

Eventually I realized my mistake with the exe's though and tried the standard FFED3DAJ.exe. With that I had the opposite experience. Missiles behaved as I remembered. In a Cobra MkIII I was able to dodge some missiles, but some would still get me if I didn't ECM them. That's perfect, and just as I would expect as I am still quite rusty.

The thing that bugs me with the standard FFED3DAJ.exe though is that none of the enemy ships now have any shielding. Flying into Velase (the anarchy system near Gateway) I mooched around sending distress calls and picking off whatever turned up and almost nothing had any shielding at all. I encountered Adders, Cobra MkIIIs and Asps and 80% of them had no shielding whatsoever. I was one shotting Asp Explorers in a pulse laser equipped Saker. So that's disappointing for the opposite reason.

Is there some configuration I can tweak or mod I can install to adjust the opponent equipment specifications to something approaching the Anisotropic mod level, but without encountering the 'undodgeable missile' problem?


I have the Ittiz beta 3 pack, the FFED3DAJ patch, and the Nanite2000 textures installed exactly as described in the OP, I also installed the higher quality cabin textures from Donik's build. Looks absolutely smashing :)
 
Invaluable Artwork mission dates are incorrect.

The timings for the mission 'Transport Duval Artifact' are incorrect and make it impossible to complete the Soholia plague mission and get the artifact.

According to the Alioth wiki whose link I'm not allowed to post:

"Your best bet is to do the Soholia Run until you can afford a Class 2 Military Drive, and set off for Achenar no later than 24th Feb. The rest of the mission will then be much easier. You will be collecting the artefact on the 14th of March, and you should fast-forward during that day until you are told to take off. You need to be at Scott Town by 4th April."

However, in game the BBS message INVALUABLE ARTWORK required to be transported to Beta Hydri states "It will be ready for collection on 26-Feb-3250".

If you do the Sohalia run until the plague ends then even with a Cobra MkIII and a class 4 hyperdrive there is no way you can make this, and if you arrive late you do not get given the artifact on landing at Checkovport.

I think it's unlikely the Alioth Wiki is incorrect and more likely that FFED3D has affected the dates, (I've just checked on JJFFE and the Alioth wiki dates are correct). Is it possible to change the mission date to that specified in the Alioth wiki because at the start of the game you ideally want to be able to take full advantage of the Soholia plague run and do a spot of sightseeing in Velaise before heading off to the Empire for the next mission?
 
Hi Neutrino!

Thanks for the feedback and nice to hear that you're having some fun with it!

I must be honest, Anisotropic isn't a build I personally play (too busy coding lol) but yes - it is more challenging on combat, missiles have twice the thrust if I recall correctly so trying to out-manoeuvre or out run them is, as you've gathered, probably impossible at close-range! It's interesting to hear that you think this is perhaps a bad thing, skill-wise, as that probably wasn't the intention :D

At the moment, there isn't anything in the 'standard' FFE build settings that'll let you alter the load-outs of ships to match Anisotropic's when it comes to shields. I think from a quick look that the mod might reserve 50% of internal space for them, and if so, then this might be easy to add into the standard build as it perhaps just replaces a single function call in the assembly code. If that's the case then I could easily add a 'patch' setting to decide to either call the original code or Aniso's routine depending upon user's preference. (And on the flip-side, I could also add a 'patch' option for the aniso build to switch off those double-speed missiles if you wanted to continue with that one)

To be honest, I was a bit reluctant to add Anisotropic features in the early days because that mod was so unstable. I think that I found & fixed the causes of the crashes a fair while ago now though - well, nobody's saying otherwise(!) so I'm far happier to include options to "feature-share" between standard and mod builds where it can improve the game or add variety. I did take a look at adding some of the other combat tweaks last year but decided to postpone this to a later date: In aniso, enemies have an attack-delay timer so they won't start firing immediately before you can even react, and also it stops you from cheating via accelerated time to either dodge enemy missiles or to warp your own into the target!
As it happens, I'm a little more 'up-to-speed' with the aniso code at the moment as I've just been porting a new (well, quite old!) mod that the Russian community created called "HellMod" - and that was also based upon the Anisotropic code base. There's another little feature that I'd noticed the Anisotropic mod has added, which is that an AI will decide if it can shrug off a missile hit and just carry on attacking if it hasn't got an ECM, rather than simply turning tail and running away! This stood out as it was something that the older versions of "HellMod" didn't have but the newer ones did have due to using a more recent Aniso version. I've already added a 'patch' to turn that behaviour on/off in the "HellMod" - so probably should do the same for the 'standard' FFE build and let that be tweaked too...

I'm hoping to throw out a beta-1 v1.11 in the next couple of days so that the Russian forum can test the new "HellMod" exe and also to check some optional translations that I've plugged in for the Journal stories.
I'll probably not try to add an AI load-out 'patch' to that build as well as I'm keen to get them testing it, but I can take a look afterwards if you fancy testing a beta-2 build?

Cheers
Andy
 
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Invaluable Artwork mission dates are correct in FFED3D.

Grrrr, can't edit my own posts either.

Regarding the last issue about the Invaluable Artwork issue. I've just checked in vanilla FFED3D and the date is correct there too 14th March so this appears to be an FFED3DAJ specific issue.
 
I think it's unlikely the Alioth Wiki is incorrect and more likely that FFED3D has affected the dates, (I've just checked on JJFFE and the Alioth wiki dates are correct).
Alioth wiki should be read with caution as it includes non-lore Oolite information... Jades First Encounters site is the original and the best!
[edit 22/10/2015] Just to clarify this statement: I didn't mean the information on the wiki is incorrect, only that there is information & stats there from several games. The reader has to ensure comparing like with like. Jades' is exclusively FFE information so avoids any potential confusion.

I really doubt that the date was changed in FFED3D. (and I definitely haven't altered anything!!!)
I'm fairly confident that I did a full code-diff between it and JJFFE (on which it's based) to double check exactly what was changed, although that was 2 years ago now!

It does seem though that the date varies depending upon your start position.
I did think perhaps it's distance related to Archenar (1,-4), but the final value ruined that theory...

Starting a new game at:
Old Blackelk, Gateway (-1,4) states it's available for collection 14th March. 69.46ly. (click mouse during intro)
Sirocco Station, Ross 154 (-1,0) states it's available for collection 19th Feb. 36.09ly. (press 1 during intro)
Olympus City, Sol (0,0) states it's available for collection 26th Feb. 36.75ly. (press 2 during intro)
Lave (-3,-6) states it's available for collection 2nd March. 32.23ly. (press 3 during intro)


[Edit1]
actually just to be doubly sure, I've just checked by starting new games in JJFFE and they are the same dates!

[Edit2]
Just tested against my original FFE in DosBox and that one IS different... 5th Feb at Gateway or 25th Feb at Ross 154 ... but no other positions!!!
Turns out that one's v1.05 15/05/1995 - where JJFFE and the derivatives were all based upon the final v1.06 ('v1.1 remastered version') patch.
GLFFE new games are also matching JJFFE/FFED3D(AJ) to my relief :)
 
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You're right. If I start a new game with FFED3DAJ then the collection date for the artwork is indeed 15th March, however if I take the mission in my current save game (which is also in Gateway) then the pickup date is 26th Feb.

That's really odd. Perhaps it's because I've used the same save game with several different FFE versions. I might start a new game from the beginning and check whether the pickup date changes.

I see that you were still working on FFED3DAJ just recently, is there any further development planned? If so is there a page anywhere describing what's in the pipeline? If you are open to suggestions then I have a couple that might be 'easy wins'.

1: Skybox - The FFED3D nebula skybox overrides the black sky leaving you with a blue background. To get a black background you have to use the drawOriginalNebula setting instead. Space should be black, the kind of flat screen monitors most of us use don't render a very good black anyway (because of the backlighting) so a blue backdrop which is even lighter doesn't look all that great. The other issue is that all the stars are monochromatic (i.e. white). In reality of course the stars are all different colours. Would it be possible to create a high resolution black skybox with realistic main sequence star colours? I think that would have fantastic visual impact and address one of the few remaining obvious visual incongruities.

2: Lens Flare - Space is mostly black, with some some coloured stars and if you are in system usually one star that is brighter than all the others. It doesn't have the same kind of potential for visual terrain richness as other settings, therefore it's important to make best use of what you have. The suns already look fantastic but the view is largely static, (i.e. at normal game speed if you are not in combat there is usually not much happening). Something that I think might be nice to give the in space view that final sparkle and polish would be a nice lens flare. Nothing over the top, just a nice subtle effect that perhaps only occurs within 40 degrees of the systems main star or something. Is this something you've already considered or experimented with?
 
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I started a new game and the INVALUABLE ARTWORK mission dates were fine, so that must have just been a local aberration.

I've encountered a few other issues, none of them particularly serious.

1. After undocking sometimes Hyperspace is not enabled unless you switch to the map and back again. (Not a significant issue by any means, just something to be aware of).

2. Sidewinder, Cobra MkI and Cobra MkIII have no rear view. Switching to the rear view you just see the inside of the ship's model. This is quite annoying.

3. You can hear the sounds of NPCs docking and crashing into the space station no matter where you are in system. It occurs most noticably just after hyperspacing into a busy system like Sol. (This is the most annoying issue by far).
 
Hi Neutrino,

It's a good idea to have started over rather than taking a game from Anisotropic back into the 'canon' FFE based build.
Although the saves between the different Mods are 'compatible' in as much that they'll load, Aniso does tweak ship values, prices/costs, mission values etc. So while FFE->Aniso is not too bad, Aniso->FFE is not such a good idea.
If you have an original FFE save that you wanted to use though, it's perfectly fine to use that with any of the JJFFE, GLFFE, FFED3D and the FFED3DAJ.exe builds as they're all based on the same 'game' and only have bug fixes.

The "easy wins" ... aaaah, if only!

1) The issue with the FFED3D nebula causing space to be blue when enabled is due the skybox0.png->skybox5.png images that you'll find within the textures folder.
The code has been fixed already to honour current space colour settings compared to the original FFED3D, and the images were also tweaked to be transparent where originally they were solid textures.
I didn't spend a huge amount of time with the images though as had plenty of other things to do last build! If you're able then you might be able to edit them and make the darker areas fully blank/transparent. The textures form a cube and you'd probably want to pull them all into a single image first to edit. That way you can be sure that any changes will match from one side to the next. skybox 0,1 ,3,4 are the sides of the box that draw the nebula, and 2,5 are the top/bottom although I'm not sure which way around they're used.

FFED3D's background stars come from the Models\stars.x model and the stars.tga in the textures folder. It'd need someone who can edit models to alter/enhance this and I'm afraid that's not me!
I think that a new model & texture could swap this existing one out and wouldn't necessarily require a coding change, although it is currently only looking for .tga as the texture.

FFE did plot its own backdrop of stars originally, but I don't think it's something that could be used and enhanced. Unfortunately it creates a 'model' of points that I still have no idea how to render correctly. It would probably be "non-trivial" to figure out and lower quality than the .x model, so I doubt it's worth trying to do so.

So the galaxy skybox and stars can be improved - if someone wants to take on the challenge!
(that's about as 'easy' a win as you'll ever get with FFED3D lol)

2) Lens flares, animated suns are things that I've looked in passing at over the last year or 2 when searching for a candidate atmosphere shader.
Might be nice to add but I'm not a HLSL shader writer by any stretch of the imagination, just integrating the pet-rocket atmosphere shader was quite a challenge!
To add others there'd need to be a decent DirectX9/XNA example that could be reused and then it'd have to be plugged into the render routines. Some that I've seen are multi-pass or use post-processing which may be "interesting" to slot in! I can see lens-flares being problematic as they have to be occluded by other objects...
I'm more likely to revisit ship skins & bump mapping first, and the gas-giant 'glow' shader.


Just to answer the issues you've highlighted:

1) Hyperspace symbol not appearing is probably the original FFE code isn't lighting it on the console. Would have to find where that happens in the .asm and see if sometimes it gets skipped accidentally.
2) Blocked rear views - these are already fixed in the next build. Had to adjust the camera positions to account for the updated models, and in some cases FFE had them inside its own ships. (FFED3D can't identify if sides on the 'original' polygon models face inwards or outwards and so the renderer can't cull them - this means a view would be obscured by a model's side if you're trying to look through it from the inside)
3) Sounds are generated by the underlying FFE assembly code. I think that the most likely culprits are setting volumes depending upon how far away the object is from the camera. The only place I've spotted could have an issue is a test for the distance being negative and if so, set to 0 - I'm wondering if very distant objects might be falling foul of that.


Anyway, there is a v1.11-beta1 build over on the Russian site so that they can test their translations of the Journal stories that I've plugged into the game. They had created a Word document of translations over several years but never got to implementing it themselves - so I decided to as a bit of 'thank-you'. I've split this into separate story files which can be read in, have game texts for locations, player name, ship id's etc inserted, and then the text is rendered to better fit the screen width/font too. (there is an English "translation" too that can be used to benefit from the reworked layout)
There's also a new .exe of a mod that they had created called "HellMod". This is a variant of the Anisotropic mod so I'd like them to give it a bit of a bash to check that it's working as expected!

I've also spent a little time fixing the small-items/passenger roster, which is now full-width and scrollable, as well as crew manifest and missions list.
Mouse-wheel will scroll lists and (not-so-smoothly) zooms in/out of the system/planetary view and also I've added some new code into the assembly so that I can now force the static screens to be fully repainted when switching resolutions (game menus, equipment/stats/missions etc, system info + galaxy view). Oh and the radar/cockpit now persists during video playback and menus.
Hopefully this next build fixes those last remaining issues that made the D3D wrapper seem incomplete as well as adding a little more polish and usability.

Change list at present:
2015-03-24 - Version 1.11-Beta1:
+ FFED3DAJ now supports translations for the Newspaper/Journal stories from external Unicode text files.
It will insert variables into the translated text, such as names and dates and it will re-format its display to
better fit the selected font size and screen resolution. See the ffed3daj_readme.txt file for more information.
+ Fixed Imperial Herald "Commander Decorated" story in FFE which had a malformed [Sl code and no variable to choose
the type of dealers which had been caught. It always displayed the text "ems".
+ FFE fix to correct thruster values on the escape pod/stowmaster before launching. FFE would leave the values
of the previous ship. This fix can be enabled/disabled via a patch setting and is enabled by default. To disable
the fix, set fixEscapePodThrusters=0 in the .cfg PATCHES section.
+ FFE fix to track the current position within the Military missions list and return to it when closing/accepting
a mission. FFE would always jump back to the top of the list. A new day will still reset the list position to the
top in the same way it does the main BBS message board. This fix can be enabled/disabled via a patch setting and
is enabled by default. To disable the fix, set rememberMilitaryBoardIdx=0 in the .cfg PATCHES section.
+ Passenger & Small Items roster icon will now be displayed on the console when there are only package deliveries in
the list.
+ FFE Fix to the small items/passenger roster list. This screen could only display the first 12 items from the roster
and the information was compromised further due to displaying the rotating ship. This screen has been reworked in
the assembly to add up/down scrolling of the list and the rotating ship has been removed so that the items can use
the full screen width. System co-ordinates have been added after the name of the destination system.
+ FFE Fix to the contracts page to improve layout. The rotating ship is removed so that the full width can be used.
System co-ordinates have been added to texts that omitted them, and up/down scrolling of entries has been added so
that contracts are displayed 4 at a time, without drawing off the bottom of the page.
+ FFE Fix to the crew roster page to improve layout. When using a mod that permits hiring of additional crew members
it will now replace the spinning ship with a 2nd column of crew when required.
Normally this extra column is unneccessary as the largest playable ships in FFE coincidentally only require a total
of 12 crew including the pilot. However, the manual did state that the Panther Clipper required 15 total, and there
was some code to draw a 2nd column, but it used a formatting string that output payment values to a fixed x-position
and so text would overlap! This could be the reason for the crew discrepancy in the manual; rather than fix the
display issue - perhaps it was deemed easier just to reduce the crew value to 12 and avoid needing the 2nd column!
+ Newspaper/Journals, BBS, Stock Market and Equipment/Status pages now have support for mouse wheel to scroll lists
up/down. Galaxy and System maps also support mouse wheel for zoom in/out actions.
+ Model 395 is now cached at start-up for modelPreLoad=2.
+ Some FFED3D packages were found to include a replacement grass-tile model for model 89 which is actually a 2-pad
base. Bases and cities are actually collections of sub-models, so a check has been added to prevent them from being
replaced.
+ New check during player/NPC docking event to test if stations or spaceports have docking bays/pads populated by star
dust or other non-ship objects! These will be tidied up and made available. Scenario typically happens if the player
has used BUFFET to destroy AI ships, but perhaps it can happen without. It has also been noted on open-air starports
that a pad can appear to be empty but does actually have a ship assigned to it - taking over the ship with BUFFET
causes the ship to be rendered on the previously empty pad - unclear at present why the ship is not rendered,
possibly it is below ground level.
+ Missile viewer does not draw the model for the active missile now as previously it blocked the view.
+ Radar scanner, cockpit panel/lights and status messages are drawn again during video playback. Any scanner stalks
appear to 'freeze' as their positions aren't updated during playback, this is the same as in JJFFE. They will also
be preserved when paused and within the Game settings/load/save menus too.
+ Static views will now be redrawn after switching screen modes or when DirectX9 is recovering from a 'lost-device'
event. This fixes the problem where the Game menus text, equipment/status/mission-etc pages, journals and System
information screens didn't redraw themselves and the game would return with a blank screens or areas. New functions
were added into the FFE .asm code to allow these pages to be redrawn on demand.

+ Additional corrections to ShipData.txt files:
+ Renamed the numeric sections to contain the ship/missile names, corrected turret view value names, removed some
unknown and untested value names.
+ Corrected rear view values for Escape Capsule, Interplanetary Shuttle, Thargoid Fighter.
+ Corrected turret view values for Lion Transporter and Panther Clipper.
+ Corrections for displaying ships in the Equipment view/Ship yard which can not normally be flown by the user
but are selectable using tools such as BUFFET. Thanks to George Hooper of http://ffeartpage.com/ for these fixes.

+ Added an additional .exe build for HellMod v0.15a001 created by Helga, XL and Steel of www.Elite-Games.ru.
This was an extension of the Anisotropic mod and Nic's later GLFFE mod of it. It further balances ship data,
replaces the Moray with a Cobra Mk IV, tweaks NPC combat and creates populations which are spread throughout the
entire galaxy.
This build includes all enhancements and fixes that I have added into the FFED3DAJ Anisotropic version to date.
Otherwise, it is provided 'as-is' and I won't be attempting to fix any issues that are specific to the mod itself.

I'm not intending to add anything more, but might debug the sounds/hyperspace icon whilst waiting for feedback on beta1.


Cheers!

AndyJ
 
I have done some messing around with .x models years ago so I may take a look at the skybox issue if I can find some free time.

I don't doubt you are correct about the potential complexity of adding a lens flare although I'm not quite sure about the point you make regarding the lens flare needing to be occluded by other objects. Any lens flare should not be occluded by anything in the 3D scene as it not an artefact of the scene itself as it simulates reflection within the camera (or the observer's eye), therefore I think it should only be occluded by the UI/overlay (which is largely what made me hope it might not be too tricky).

Glad to hear the blocked rear views are fixed in the next version. You mention that the FFED3D renderer is incapable of detecting inwards or outwards facing triangles. If memory serves the facing of triangles in a .x model are normally defined (no pun intended) by the winding order of the vertices so unless the model is malformed it should be possible to cull interior faces systematically without having to offset viewpoints. But I expect you know this already and the problem is probably due to an inherent behaviour of the renderer outside your control.

Regarding your suspicion that the sound artefacts may be caused by a rollover error for far away objects I have to say it seems to me that most times I encounter this is immediately after hyperspacing into a system. Now that could be that's because at that point I'm furthest away from anything else in the system, or it could be because the AI is still in the process of positioning NPCs after just loading the system into memory. I'm guessing here of course, but I'm certainly willing to do some testing and see if I can spot a pattern, and I'll be sure to do some testing of your new beta1 build too.
 
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