A new postcard from Elite: Dangerous’ Distant Legacy Expedition
The postcard from Waypoint 7 in The Distant Legacy Expedition is here now, as the space explorers, now divided between platforms, continue the journey towards Phua Brue FL-P e5–0 , in hommage to Toby, the cat.
As the HMS Atreides Dawn carries those playing Elite: Dangerous on PC to WayPoint 8 from a 19 stops journey that will end during the Summer of 2023 — while console players make the trip on Toby’s Rest Fleet Carrier — I’ve changed a few things in my image gathering process, while in VR, in order to have better quality screen grabs to use as the base for the postcards. This also means that I can have larger resolution images to use for the articles published here documenting my journey.
Elite: Dangerous offers you two ways to grab screenshots: a high-resolution image — captured with Alt+F10 if I remember well — and a normal screenshot the size of the screen you’re playing on. High-Res pictures look great, but have a problem: the game freezes to capture the BMP. Some say that you can do it if playing solo, but I didn’t even bother. The monitor screenshots are OK, if you use the full resolution of a 2560x1440 monitor, as is my case.
Now, because I am always playing in VR, I’ve lowered the monitor resolution, to have more resources free (some people say it helps). Because VR can be a PITA when taking pictures and you have a challenging time framing the shots, and never know exactly what will be inside or outside the frame or even if the horizon is straight, if that’s what you want, I’ve not bothered to take many pictures while playing. In fact, I’ve not been playing Elite much until recently, when I decided to retry Odyssey and felt it was stable enough to explore.
From postcards to a final eBook
As I embarked on the Distant Legacy Expedition I felt the urge to capture screenshots to tell the story, and decided to do so through a series of postcards, which consistently show the different Waypoints and will in the end, be a good eBook — I want to do it — of the voyage that all participants can share once we reach Toby’s Rest destination. Even if Frontier has broken the expedition in segments, without warning, the spirit is still there, and I believe the final eBook — which will include some base notes and other info about the trip — will mark the adventure.
As I wrote before, “I’ve mostly given up taking pictures in Elite, because of VR — no way a flat rectangle shows all the magic of the feeling of being immersed into the scenery — and because the resulting images are nothing to talk about. They are at a lower resolution and getting everything properly framed is almost impossible. For the photographer in me it is a good reason to not even try. Well, until now, because I want to document the Distant Legacy expedition.”
So, having decided to go ahead with the project, I’ve been honing my image capture skills while in VR, and I am getting better at exploring angles and compositions, which allows me to go beyond the normal snapshot. As part of the process, I decided to revert my monitor resolution to 2500 x 1440, to have better quality screengrabs to use both for the postcards and these articles, which to a certain extent work as my diary of the expedition.
Capturing screenshots in VR continues to be a challenge, but I’ve now managed to create some interesting compositions. Remember that focus adjustment and blur are not available in VR, so the options there are less than when using a flatscreen. Still, by placing elements in different planes of a frame one can achieve some good results, some of which are shared here. As with some old analog cameras without a precise viewfinder, the trick in VR is to leave enough space around the main subject, so you can either crop the image or adjust the horizon without problems. I still fail, a few times, but I am becoming a better VR photographer.
While at Waypoint 7 Frontier surprised explorers by paying more money for any exobiology samples, which made the entire process more interesting. I’ve made quite a few credits while on this area, even though RL took its toll on the free time I had to explore, the last couple of weeks. I hope to be able to do more at WayPoint 8, hoping that Frontier doesn’t lower the payment on exobiology, as it is something that I want to explore further, despite the grinding aspect of only being able to capture one sample at a time…
Anyways, here is the most recent postcard from The Distant Legacy Expedition. Hope it makes you want to jump into Elite: Dangerous and reach for the stars.