Vanlock-Hosk Comet torn by tidal forces
Early today, the Enceladus Telescope Array captured the Vanlock-Hosk Comet being torn to pieces by the tidal forces of Saturn. Comet debris scattered and hit a wide area of the A and B Rings, triggering a limited Kessler syndrome – a runaway cascade of collisions causing vast clouds of debris on erratic orbits – and shifting the mass distribution in multiple registered excavation claims. While extreme caution is advised when traversing out of the plane of the rings, the Enceladian Space Observatory claims that craft operating within the rings should be well shielded from impacts. Spectrography did not detect any unexpected mineral signatures.
Astrogation advisory for in-ring transits
A sharp increase in piracy across the disturbed A-ring regions has prompted the Astrogator Guild to issue a new advisory for private operators. Performing burns out of the plane of the ring itself are no longer advised, as with the transit velocities limited by clouds of orbiting debris, ships performing manoeuvres outside the ring plane are exceedingly easy to detect, track and ambush. To prevent illicit interception, the Astrogators guild recommends performing the manoeuvre entirely in the plane of the rings and cutting all thrusts as soon as your ship enters the open space above the ring plane. Trajectories back to the station cannot be intercepted and can use a classical trajectory.
Elon Interstellar StarCAT recall
Multiple events of the fusion misfire of the famous Elon Interstellar StarCAT Stellarator were traced back to a software bug. The mars-based fusion spaceship manufacturer issued a recall on all Model-E ships for a mandatory software upgrade. To compensate customers for lost profit, the company extended the free supply of fusion reactants to their signature Z-Axial-Pinch torches by another year, or as long as the stocks last, whichever comes first.
- New astrogation protocol for in-ring transits. You can now set the velocity of the transit, and it will require you to make the initial burn without a cutscene. This makes the astrogation burns either more challenging or much longer if you opt for an easier transit – but in return, you can orient the ship the way you want it, you are not sitting still when trying to astrogate away from a hostile situation and you have control over your ship orientation when you reach your destination.
- Improved performance of the in-game physics.
- Improved performance of the Enceladus station.
- Some of the NPC ships and drones were using much more resources than they should. This includes certain rare ship encounters using 1000% more CPU than it should and mining companions, cargo containers and drones using 400% more CPU. This dramatically improves performance in relevant encounters.
- New visuals for rare and unusual encounters.
- A new way of tracking the ring density and composition, combined with enhanced physics performance, makes the rings much denser.
- The game now tracks your excavation progress during a single dive and you are able to completely strip a region of the rings of ore and asteroids. This both incentivises discovering new areas, improves the immersion factor and enables you to clear a path for an astrogation burn in advance.
- Improved tracking of unusual excavation sites. Unique items will now be depleted gradually, and having multiple unusual sites present won’t cause their content to respawn when you visit them sequentially.
- Astrogation proximity alert now has an active display when activated, making it easier to spot objects preventing your jump.
- Improved the way the game tracks events to take into account lidar contacts and rumours that you did not check out yet. This prevents some objects that were not supposed to move around the rings from spawning in another location.
- The game now correctly takes account of your angular velocity when computing the kinetic energy of the impact. This prevents asteroids or ore chunks wedged between your ship and cradled equipment from inflicting heavy damage when you rotated your ship.
- Disabling post-processing now disables the background nebula shader and overheated computer shader, making the game perform better on low-end hardware.
- When entering and exiting the Tuning menu multiple times in quick succession you could trigger either a crash to the desktop, or make the tuning menu miss all the settings.
- Ship transponders were visible only on the first LIDAR screen they appeared on. This usually meant that they did not display on the Pilot and Geologists tabs, but in some cases, they could be missing from your main display.
- Kinetic weapons with a high rate of fire did not fire at all when your framerate was low.
- The fusion reactor now ignites correctly in low framerates. Previously, if the frame rate was low enough, fusion-based ships were not able to boot up and leave Enceladus station in the initial cutscene, and when disabled in the Rings they remained powered down indefinitely.
- When NPC check if your ship is docked, it checks if it is docked to them specifically. This prevents weird dialogue quirks when a station will give you an unexpected “docked” conversation even if you are docked to another, nearby station or ship.
- Updated Cothon-213 description to reflect the missing Faraday’s cage.
- Fixed some of the crew-based dialogues that were referring to two different persons with the same first name.
- Race drones will not be piloted by a human anymore.
- Fixed lighting and line-of-sight glitches on ultra-wide monitors.
- Race drones and lifepods will now communicate immediately when they enter your cargo hold. This prevents the need to wiggle your ship in order to get your race reward on ships with a long cargo hold.