Elite: Dangerous Blog

News and events from the Elite Dangerous galaxy

Making a Remlok Space Helmet

Quick link for each day: Day 1 - Day 2 - Day 3 - Day 4 - Day 5 - Day 6 - Day 7

I have for some time liked the idea of making an Elite: Dangerous Remlok space helmet. One I could wear to LaveCon and go in cosplay.

The early concept art was quite basic, but the helmet in game is a thing of beauty. When I bought a 3D printer a few weeks ago, I started to look for a model I could print.

Low and behold, on Thingiverse, the talented CMDR Antonia [Bradley] had created a model for 3D printing a wearable RemLok on a filament printer. The printer I have is a resin printer which has a smaller print area and works very differently. Filament printers are like an icing syringe on a robot arm, while resin printers pull the model out of a vat of liquid a 5 micron layer at a time.

Day 1 – 18th March - printing the small bits

Some of the models included a thin sheet; a “base” or raft, for filament printing. Before I could start, I needed to edit the models to remove the base or they wouldn’t be usable in the 3D printer slicer software. I did this using Windows 3D Builder.

First, I printed out the jaw which just fit on the build plate, then the ear muffs and their caps. The results were stellar, but I managed to chip a bit off the jaw getting the print-supports off. Note to self: be more careful!
I had hollowed out the prints, so I needed to seal the drain holes and did this with a light paint of resin and a UV Torch. This is a technique called resin welding.

Day 2 – 19th March – rear top side-pieces and the cross member

The rear left and rear right side pieces were printed next. One of the STL models from Thingiverse was corrupt, so I just mirrored the good model and printed them both.

The cross member which is the bar that goes over the top of the helmet was my first real problem. It was considerably larger than my print area. To resolve this, I used Windows 3D Builder to cut the cross member in half and then printed it in two halves. Once printed, washed & cured, I used resin welding again to join the two halves. I could then assemble the pieces then for the first time.

Day 3 – 20th March – welding with a jig

In order to ensure the ear muff, jaw pieces and rear top section all join act exactly the right angles, CMDR Antonia had modelled an alignment jig. I printed a left & right jig during the day and then in the evening put all the parts from one side into their respective jig and carefully welded them together with spots of resin and the UV torch. Once the parts were fixed, I removed them from the jig and added a thin application of resin in all the cracks and joins, effectively making the parts a single piece.

With that done, I printed the rear cross sections. Again I needed to print these in two halves and then weld them together. This was getting easy now, so having done that, I welded the rear cross section to the main helmet.

 

Day 4 - 21st March - getting your paint on

I had done some sanding and smoothing on the helmet and felt the main assembly was complete enough to paint. I gave it a coat of black primer and then with some key areas masked off, applied a second coat of chrome.

The masking tape worked with mixed results, however it did serve to give the paint a "worn and scratched" look. I then added a coat of Plasticoat clear to finish.

Day 5 - March 23rd - resin or vacuum forming?

 The visor for the helmet is in a number of sections. All of these are twice the size of my print area. This means I have two options. One, I print a set of former pucks (as suggested by CMDR Antonia) and vacuum form some plastic over them to make the visor. Two, I print the visor model in translucent resin. This comes with several issues, the main one being size - I will have to half all the parts then weld them after printing. Another issue is resin is transparent, but a little cloudy; fine for "glass" statues, but not much use for an optically transparent visor. To fix this you need to sand and polish the resin to a clear finish.

To test this I first had to buy some translucent resin. I then chose a small "glass" model I could print and test to see how hard or easy it would be to get transparent. This was the result.

With some painted caps and little alcohol ink, the results were excellent.

Having proved the concept, I went on to halve the front visor model and add some pin holes for alignment, so it would be easier to assemble.

 I set it printing and came back twelve hours later...

Day 6 - March 24th - Can you see?

Wednesday morning after feeding the kittens, I checked on the print. It looked awesome.

However once washed and cured, the visor had become a little cloudy. This is caused by oxygenation of the resin. Over exposure to UV also caused yellowing. So there are a number of problems to address. One suggestion is to add a little blue dye to the resin to prevent yellowing. The suggestion of curing the model under water to reduce oxygenation is impractical as the visor part is way too big for any container I have and none would fit in the curing station either.
Anyway, the (now proven) method is to repeat sand and polish the resin to a clear finish. I have ordered some various grade of sandpaper and some turtlewax polish compound, so that will be my next step. Currently it's a case of cloudy with chance of RemLok!

Day 7 - March 25th - mirror mirror! Seven years bad luck?

Last night I sliced the rear dome in 3D Builder and added pin holes for alignment. Then I loaded up Lychee slicer and made a print file for the left side and set it printing.
 

This morning, I took the print off the print bed and found a problem. It had printed the right side.

Assuming I was just an idiot I rechecked the model and Lychee, both showed left-hand models, but the print icon showed (clearly) a 3D model that was the right side. It looks like a bug in Lychee that any model mirrored in the application is printed back in it's original orientation.

In the meantime I popped the rear-right half dome onto the rest of the helmet and just propped it up to see how it will look.


The front-right visor (I checked three times before hitting print) is now started. See you in 12 hours or so...

Amazon delivered the higher grit sandpaper, so I have got busy after supper this evening and it it looking reasonably clear. Obviously I haven't done the entire section and there are three other sections to sand and two that haven't printed yet. Lots to do!

Day 8 - Shiny

To Be Continued...

Odyssey Dev Diary 3 Reveal

The third Odyssey developer diary, Frontier released today (below) has revealed a lot of information. Of interest to me is the details about the player weaponry and the surrounding lore.


Three weapon classes from three manufacturers

Who are they? The three manufacturers are Kinematic Armaments, Manticore and Takeda. 

Kinematic Armaments have been seen previously in Elite Concept Art, but this will be their first representation in game. They will produce kinetic weapons, such as traditional bullet firing rifles and pistols as well as rocket launchers.

Click on photos for larger image


Manticore are currently known as the manufacturer of the limpets, but their weapon making roles will be the plasma weapon class.

Finally a new name to the game is Takeda, who are manufacturing the laser weapons class. Their logo is distinctly visible on the new laser weapons in both this and previous dev diary videos.

With the weapons, much like the ships, each manufacturer has a distinct look and feel to their products. A glance can tell you which gun came from which manufacturer. I see a few weapon blueprints in my future next year!

Sounds good

Frontier took themselves to Pinewood studios to record sound effects for the new Odyssey weapons. They recorded the same weapons in a variety of environments, so that when playing Odyssey the weapon sounds will change based on the CMDRs location.

Odyssey Engineers

As with ship engineers, Odyssey will come with engineers who can modify, tweak & upgrade weapons and suits. There are different suit types, each with a unique add-on tool, such as a plasma-cutter. These support different roles, so players will need to swap suits for each occasion, switching back to the old vanilla flight-suit when back in the safety of their ship.

Combat

Conflict can take place anywhere; bases, planet surfaces and even stations, however the security level of the location will mean there would be dire consequences for starting a shootout in the wrong place. Mission-giving areas and social interaction locations are the exception.
In Frontier's end-of-year stream, Odyssey lead designer Gareth Hughes, spoke about combat being on foot, SRV and ship in the same conflict zone. He also mentioned there would be assassination missions.

Elite Dangerous Meatball

Lunchtime I was doodling - I've always loved mashups, so I drew a mashup of Elite and the NASA logo (referred to as the meatball) to create an Elite Dangerous meatball; EliteBall? Anyway this might make an amusing patch for the next LaveCon.

 

Horizons will be rolled into the base game from October!

From 27 October Elite Dangerous: Horizons will be available for all Elite Dangerous owners as part of the base game.

Everyone who purchased Horizons prior to 27 October will be receiving an exclusive Azure ship paint job compatible with ALL ships currently in the game as a thank you.

Frontier have posted on the forums (here) the following announcement:


Greetings Commanders,



We are happy to announce that Elite Dangerous: Horizons will become a free update for the base game on the 27 October 2020 for PC, PlayStation, and Xbox users.


After the fold down, anyone who owns Elite Dangerous will get access to Horizons content and features free of charge, and all future purchases of Elite Dangerous will include this content.


As a huge thank you to everyone who has purchased Elite Dangerous: Horizons over the past four years you will be receiving an exclusive Azure ship paint job compatible with ALL ships currently in the game.


 
Anaconda_LRPO_Azure_Stars_1920.jpg
 
 
Cutter_LRPO_Azure_Stars_1920.jpg
 
 
Krait_MkIILRPO_Azure_Stars_1920.jpg



Elite Dangerous: Horizons brings planetary landings to the Elite Dangerous galaxy, together with weapon crafting, ship-launched fighters and exhilarating multicrew co-op action. This premium expansion also allows players to put wheels on the ground and explore the galaxy up-close with the SRV Scarab ground vehicle, and access to many surface star ports and other locations


Elite Dangerous: Horizons will remain on sale on all platforms until 26 October to allow players a last chance to obtain the exclusive Horizon owner reward.



o7 Commanders

Odyssey Development Diary 1

The first developer diary video is out for Elite: Dangerous Odyssey and it's fascinating.

Topics covered include ship scale from a on-foot perspective, the new bio-sample tool, the sound of the commanders breathing inside the pressure suit, bio-diversity of organic life on planets, ice worlds with cryo-volcanism and the new look and enhanced detail of planet surfaces.

This is just the first video in a series. 

The Odyssey expansion for Elite: Dangerous is due for release in early 2021.

It came from LaveCon 2019

I made it to LaveCon again this year with my two sons. Like going to a reunion party of strangers you've known for years, LaveCon is an event like no other.

Please accept my sincere apologies if I forgot your name or didn't post your photo. So much happend Saturday, that it's a whirlwind. I didn't take nearly enough photos or talk to nearly enough people. 

Docking permission granted

We drove up to Northampton on Friday afternoon and rolled up at the hotel in the early evening. After check-in and a bit of unpacking we went to the bar lounge, which is the social hub of LaveCon and got some food!

In the bar, John Stabler (Lave Radio presenter retired) was setting up a projector, so my son Alistair and his friend Sam helped get the projection going with the miniature SNES, while John put up the screen. We then had a few games of Street Fighter (which I lost) and then the boys played Mario Kart - to test things were all working you understand.

My sons dispersed to the LAN room and bar, respectively, so I sat down with Colin Ford & Grant Wilcott of Lave Radio and a group of half a dozen others in the bar lounge and joined in a bonkers card game of something (not sure if this is correct) named "We didn't play-test this game". It made no sense even after a few vodkas! Anyway it was a lot of laughs and I turned in around 1am.

No loitering!

I had set an alarm for 8am on Friday night. But after taking off my glasses (and possibly the drinks my son insisted I have) I managed to see a "Weekday" alarm. So I woke up to sound of housekeeping checking rooms! Eeek! Time? 9am! Damn. Washed & dressed as fast as possible and headed for the restaurant, luckily breakfast was served until 9.30 at least, so I got myself a full English. The three boys William, Alistair & finally Sam, joined me before the restaurant closed and all were fed.

Docking is dangerous

After breakfast we went for a walk in the hotel grounds and just enjoyed the air for a bit, before trying some "Hutton Orbital Docking Darts". This is a game some of us had played before. You have three coloured darts a "small", "medium" and "large" dart. The idea is a small dart can "land" on any pad, a medium can use a medium or large pad, and the large dart can only "land" on a large "pad". Hitting the wrong pad gets a penalty, the correct pad a score and a miss gets nothing (sorry if I've got any of the rules wrong).

Will didn't score too well, neither did I, but Alistair scored 1300 points, which was the days best score at that early point.

Just inside from the darts was the games room. Inside (which I stupidly didn't take any photos of) people were playing board games and miniatures. William was rather taken with a Fallout based game as this is a subject he is really interested in. 
Colin Ford from Lave Radio had his Elite miniatures game out and the tiny painted scale models of Elite: Dangerous ships were a sight in themselves.

Because we were only staying the one night, we had to check out of our rooms, putting everything back in the car, except I had a couple of things for the charity raffle. One was a ship scale chart (A0) and an A2 blueprint poster. I dropped off the poster with Karen Fishwick (the awesome lady who organises the LaveCon event every year) and attempted to put the large poster on display - unfortunately the hotel didn't have any string and I'd not been able to bring any - in the end we improvised a hanger from three lanyards and put the poster on display in the bar's conservatory for all to see.

My raffle contribution wasn't the only community effort hanging on the walls. CMDR BeetleJude (Jude Walker) had an amazing array of hand-painted illustrations on display. Below is a photo of just a few of them. 

Jude donated her works to charity and they were auctioned off over the weekend raising over £750 for the Special Effect charity. 

During the morning we had the LaveCon welcome from Lave Radio in the hall and after that had finished the Frontier team started to arrive. Paige, Sally, Zac & Will from the community team as well as a contingent of "behind the scenes" staff.

The hotel was laid out as below (from memory):

Going old school

Our next stop was the retro gaming room, run by the most excellent Stephen Usher. We had a crack at getting high scores on Arcadians as there was a competition to win a space invader plushy and I had a go at Asteroids while the boys tried out some Acorn Archimedes games & Atari titles.

Not bad getting 3rd after 35 years without practice!

The morning was going fast and with an Artemis session booked for 1pm, we headed to the restaurant for lunch.

We come in peace, shoot to kill!

Artemis. How do you describe it? It's a PC game for up to six players. A captain who gives all the orders, but has no control. Then five computer stations: helm, engineering, communications, science & tactical. The various stations report to the captain & do what he says (mostly) but cannot see what any of the other stations see. Only the captain has the whole picture.

The result? Star Trek: Incompetent Pure comedy and tremendous fun. On our 10 minute test run our ship was attacked, dragged away by and destroyed by a space dragon! A space dragon for Kirk's sake!

Our live attempt ended when we (after a successful run of combat) finally took the "mission" from DS3 to collect a message from a ship in far flung sector, however planted on the the ship with the message was a booby trap, which exploded as we approached, taking our ship out in the process. BOOM! Game over man, game over!

The LAN room & VR

Not very visible in my plan and at the end of the hotel complex, was the LAN room. There was supposed to be a VR room (near the panel room) but to be honest there was such a large VR headset contingent in the LAN room, the VR room was somewhat redundant this year.

Alistair scared the snot out of himself playing a haunted mine train VR game (girly squeals of fright!), while Will sat down with the Tenth Doctor to discuss their shared interest in Cities Skylines.
A number of commanders had their - fairly awesome looking - PC's set up around the LAN room and more of them seemed to have Virtual Reality setups than didn't. In the corner a CMDR from Canonn research, wearing a burn-spotted lab coat (whose name I should have written down *kicks self*) was running a 3D printer making Canonn Research key-rings and demonstrating VR on a headset not available in the UK - he'd imported it from the USA.



The CMDR also showed me a two part Asp Explorer model around 25cm long assembled, which tool 40 hours to print! One day my blueprints will be 3D prints!!

He is the one who knocks writes..

Drew Wegar was set up with a small bookstore in the conservatory below the lounge bar and was signing and selling his books Elite: Reclamation, Elite: Premonition & The Shadeward Saga. My personal favourite is Reclamation because the opening chapter is pure cinema in your mind. Drew told me that he found Reclamation the easiest to write. I sat down with Drew and had a nice chat. I've met him at a number of Elite events over the years and he is a really nice guy.

The Frontier Panel

In past years Frontier has mostly presented some new feature of the game, but this year was slightly unusual in that the first presentation was a special edition of "Discovery Scanner" from Dav Stott which delved into the details of the changes made to the game last year in the Beyond update. What Frontier were trying to achieve in changing the BGS to use six factors of influence instead of three while retaining a similar end result, what came out of the changes and the modifications they had to make in order to get the desired results in a live environment, which included new factors added in the Q4 update. It was a fascinating peek behind the curtain of Frontier into Elite's ongoing evolution.

September update (Q3)

Frontier outlined the content of the next minor update in September which will contain a voiced tutorial (guided missions) for new players in the game, including flight course, navigating & using super-cruise (faster than light travel), some combat tutorials at a derelict mega-ship and finally a tutorial on interstellar travel in hyperspace.

Frontier then announced that the PC version of the game would be getting a new way of purchasing in-game cosmetics. The console platforms will also be changed to come into line with the same thing. The game will have an in-game currency called "Arx" which can be purchased in the Frontier store or, critically different, earned in game. This Arx credit can then be used to buy skins, decals, bobble heads etc. in the game within the cockpit UI. Whats more, the appearance of your ship will be possible to modify when in flight, so explorers won't have to return to a station to change that dull old skin, but instead can buy and apply the newest paints at Beagle Point!

The currency was named "Arcs" at concept, but then it was discovered Star Trek online already used "Arc Points", so there was a long discussion with many different names examined and discard before returning to the original name, with a different spelling. Arx is not an acronym and doesn't stand for anything. I did ask, but apparently "Space Wonga" wasn't considered. Maybe next time. Also worth noting is that I believe Frontier said the Arx points in the screenshot were not necessarily what the items featured will cost when it all goes live in September.

December update (Q4)

Frontier ended their presentation with "before we go, here's a little something from our December update" and showed this video.

"Massive frame shift disturbance detected!"

It features a short teaser of the squadron fleet carriers delayed from last year's Q4 Beyond update showing them in game. Frontier gave no more details than this. 

All details of Frontier's announcement have been posted on the Frontier forums here.

Group photo

After the Frontier panel finished their Q&A session a little after 3.30pm, everyone filed outside for the annual attendee photo. This year I was better prepared and was outside and ready with my drone in the air waiting when everyone came out into the hotel gardens.

The photo from my drone here is full size, so you can download it. Feel free to spot the top of my shiny head or see what facial expression of your I managed to capture if you were in the photo.

My favourite picture was the one I took to include our "official" LaveCon photographer, Oliver - who never gets to be in the photo at these events - and even Chris "Fozza" Forrester's Mavic Pro drone is seen flying though the picture. We had a pre-agreed height restriction so there was no danger of mid air incidents, so the UK drone air-safety record remains spotless! (suck on that BBC/Horizon)

William went back to the LAN room, as Alistair & Sam had taken advantage of the rush to the Frontier Panel to get another cheeky game of Artemis in at 3pm, so they were still busy doing their own thing.

Cards on the table

William had brought his "Cards Against Humanity" game with us and I had promised Adam Woods a game, so getting on for 5.30pm we started a game with my three reprobates, Adam, a chap from the LAN room William had made friends with (and his son) and a young lady also from the LAN room. 
Cards Against Humanity is a game where you have 7 white cards filled with bizarre and sometimes highly inappropriate statements. Each turn a new player draws a black card from the deck and reads aloud the question or statement on the card - a bit like Blankety-blank - "My father has a smile when he returns from the shed with *blank*" Answers could then range from "Tomato sauce" to "The perfect plan for child murder". You get the idea. The player whose turn it is to deal, judges the winner on which answer (no matter how morally wrong or weird) made them laugh or caused the most outrage.
Adam Woods was not there in an official capacity and if anyone asks, he wasn't there. You didn't see him, right? Sally? Zac? You saw NOTHING. 'kay?

Something to do until next year

So there's not a lot going on in the galaxy, so while you're waiting for the end of 2020. What to do? How about some paper craft. Here's a Coriolis station, the Sidewinder & a Cobra Mk III.

Update: On request, I've added a small landing pad for the Sidewinder and Cobra.

Port Zelada was published in Newsletter #18 circa April 1st 2014.

 

 

 

All credit to whoever created these (they've been on IMGUR and Reddit for years).

Elite: Dangerous Ship Size Comparison for 2.2 Guardians

With the addition of the Beluga Liner and the new Taipan fighter, I have created a revised version with the new ships added.

1080p version

For those of you with big screens, the 1080p version (above) and a 4K version are on an Imgur.com gallery here.

By request of CMDR Cullingworth on the Elite: Dangerous Facebook group, here is a PDF version. Be warned - it's a big file!

elite-ships-11.pdf (35.61 mb)

UPDATE: I had the Hauler and Adder's function transposed. This is now fixed. Well spotted CMDR Orpheus.