Explanation of Engineering
Spread throughout the bubble (and Colonia) are some people who somewhat turned their back towards the “powers that be” but are willing to help out random commanders by enhancing parts of their ship.
If you start playing you’ll eventually get an invite from
Felecia I mean: Felicity Farseer in Deciat. Visit the engineer and they’ll tell you what they want from you before they’re willing to help. In this case it’s Meta Alloys (hint: the Maia system is a good place to look for those).
Once you handed over their payment you can ask ‘m to enhance parts of your ship. The only caveat: it’s gonna require materials. Also: upgrades can be done for a maximum of 5 levels, where each level will require more materials to make it work.
For example… Felicity specializes in FSD’s. To enhance your FSD by one level you’ll need to have plenty of “Atypical disruptive wake echos”. This is a so called encoded material. But for the 4th level of upgrade you’d need:
- Manganese (raw)
- Chemical distillery (manufactored)
- Eccentric hyperspace trajectories (encoded)
There are three material types: encoded, raw and manufactured. And each type can have dozens of different mateirals. These materials can be found throughout the whole game. Kill a hostile ship, it’s bound to drop some materials to grab. Go mine in an asteroid field… you’re bound to find some stuff there. And of course… wake scanners. Those can get you encoded materials as well, but also: signal sources in varies systems are also a nice source of mats. And there are also planetary areas where you can find some.
The major issue at hand: you’ll only get so many materials from every source.
Fortunately there is a bit of a solution: material traders. There are traders for every material type, and you can try and find ‘m by using the galaxy map: user data mode, services tab. At a trader you can trade one material for another, but only of the same type. So you can trade, say iron for nickel (both raw), but you can’t cross types.
Which brings us to grades. There are 5 grades of materials (from the top of my head).. Let’s just say: there are multiple grades of materials. And this can also affect the trade: sometimes you may need 36 of “material A” to get 1 item of “material B”. Practice makes perfect.
And that’s basically the whole thing in a nutshell: collect materials, which you can then use to enhance parts of your ship by asking an engineer to help you.
Going back to those engineers again… there are several, and each have their own speciality. I already mentioned how Ms. Farseer is very knowledgeable about FSD’s, but when it comes to powerplants she can only do so much. One overcharge level at best. Overcharge: ‘squeeze’ more power out of a powerplant. Marco Qwent otoh… he’s an expert on power regulation and can take thus up to 5 levels.
These engineers “unlock” in different ways. Sometimes one engineer will refer you to another if you have raised your rep. Some engineers will notice you once you traceled an x amount of lightyears, and so on….
However, there are more caveats… engineers work for “free” (only material costs), but they don’t just bow to your wishes. Ergo: you need to have a certain reputation with them before they’re willing to apply higher levels of engineering. If you use their services at their own base you’ll raise your reputation with them. Sometimes you can do more, like for example selling cartography data at their base (basically the same mechanic that applies to random stations).
I like to imagine that you’re showing your appreciation by visiting their base, and using it, and they like that.
This is important to note because… we call the changes that an engineer can make “blueprints” and you can actually “pin” one of those (one per engineer), which will make them accessible at any port around, as long as it has an outfitting option. So once you raised your reputation with an engineer to unlock their level 5 services… you don’t really need to be at their base anymore. Assuming you’re satisfied with the “pinned” blueprints.
With one major exception: experimental effects. These can only be applied at the engineers base.
You see… Some modules can have one extra “experimental” effect applied to them. For example… you can increase the jumprange of an FSD, but then also apply the “stripped down” experimental effect which will reduce module mass, thus making your ship lighter.
There are usually several of such effects to choose from, and it’ll be up to you to make a choice. Of couse applying this will also cost materials.
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