Voyage Across the Void

Last night, I went back and forth, frequently, on whether or not I was going to keep the universe expansion I’d installed for X4. More than once, I had escaped to the menu, mouse hovering over the exit to desktop.

As the night wore on, those hovers increased in duration. But I kept going, and I started to realise that maybe the scripted quest start from the Terran wasn’t broken after all.

Well- no, it was broken in the sense it didn’t behave as intended anymore. That was undeniable, but perhaps it wasn’t ‘broken’ as in, absolutely unable to be completed. The trouble was, with the expanded universe, systems the game once expected to be adjacent — literally a single system hop between them — no longer were. Not only that, areas of space once represented by a single sector now occupied several.

The resulting distance between sectors the quest scripts recognised for the quest status was now incredibly far apart.

Surprisingly, this didn’t break quest navigation… Entirely. But it did make it more… interesting.

Plotting a path to the quest destination will only go as far as your knowledge of the universe allows. Initially, I kept thinking the navigation had broken; as I’d make the next system jump, the autopilot would automatically disengage and then refuse to turn back on. The navigation path would suggest that the current system was the end of the line if you just looked at it.

Invariably, exploring the system it landed you in would uncover another jump gate, accelerator, or super highway connector, and off you’d go again.

A near fly-by of Mercury, on my way to Sol itself. I did pause and wonder about the wisdom of jumping to even closer proximity to the Star. But fancy space tech seemingly kept me safe. Unfortunately, this was an earlier trip I tried, and I didn’t quite realise how quest navigation worked yet and thought it *was* broken. I’ll have to head back and try this again, later.

Even after unpicking how the navigation was working, there was one more time I almost pulled out, quit and uninstalled the expansion.

That was upon the discovery of the fact the new Universe layout required traversing an area of space known as ‘The Void’ in order to continue forth.

The Void was already known to me from videos such as, ‘HOW TO CROSS THE VOID WITHOUT IMMEDIATELY EXPLODING TO DEATH!’ (That may actually be a verbatim video heading for all I know.)

Immediately upon jumping through (you don’t know where you’re going if it’s undiscovered space before you do), I was greeted with ‘Warning: Hazardous Zone Detected’ with my shield starting a steady descent toward nothing. It wasn’t alarmingly rapid, but it was certain that I wasn’t going to get across the sector without it running out.

However, being the smart lad that I am, having seen such videos as mentioned in my pre-playing-watch-all-the-things portion of getting excited for X4, I knew a trick!

Aim yourself directly up (or down) and fly above (or below) the elliptical where most of the radioactive material resides.

So I held my breath, aimed myself up, and activated a full burn on Travel engine mode. Quickly coming to speed at over 2,200m/s, I kept an eye on the diminishing shield, looking for the first sign that the drain had stopped.

But… It didn’t. Several hundred kilometres from where I started, the shield continued depleting — until, at last, it was gone.

The long journey home, after completing a mission up near the exclamation mark in the North East. I haven’t deployed any surveillance satellites or have enough activity in any of these sectors yet to uncover the fog of way when I’m gone.

I must’ve audibly sucked in breath at that point. I fully expected my ship to turn inside out, with poor effect upon my person.

But… nothing happened. My shield was gone and would not regenerate. But no hull damage was being sustained (beyond what I had taken for not having an appropriate service crew onboard, still. An effect of one of my mods to encourage crewing even self-piloted ships).

I couldn’t tell you why, though.

Is it an effect of the mod itself, expanding the universe? Some patch change since those videos were created?

Either way, this was still dangerous space. If an enemy managed to knock me out of travel drive, beyond the obvious of not having shield to absorb any damage, it also meant there would be no combat boosting.

But it seemed like the Antigone faction were busy beavers in these sectors, having claimed them early and were building hard, drawing on the other natural resources of the sector. Technically the Antigone are my ‘enemy’, and… well, I might have a slight criminal status problem to deal with at some point in the future, but they aren’t actively hostile. So I was happy enough to see them building up in this space as opposed to, say, the Xenon.

Whether this will be a problem for Terran development, we’ll have to see.

For now though, I’ve made it across The Void. Twice, in fact, as I’ve just made my way back home to upgrade and perhaps get a little industry of my own rolling. :)


This was posted during Blaugust 2022, the annual blogging event hosted by Belghast. Blaugust is an event aiming to welcome new blogger blood into the fold and revitalise those who’ve been at it a little longer.

The Blaugust Discord is still available to join in year-round!

Naithin

Gamer, reader, writer, husband and father of two boys. Former WoW and Gaming blogger, making a return to the fold to share my love of all things looty.

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