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Tips for Beginners: Engineering 3.0

Engineering has changed. Quite a bit. For players who’ve done ship engineering it’s a matter of personal opinion if the new process is better or worse. We’ve swapped random results, where getting the best outcome (a god roll) was in the hands of R.N.Gesus unless you were prepared to take 1,000 stabs at it; now instead the results are consistent, but every module must be engineered from Grade 1 to Grade 5 and as a result more materials are required.

For players who’ve not engineered their ships, this is all new. Assuming you’re the latter or a former who’d like an explanation, this is how it works.

Who are the Engineers?

They are a collection of Non Player Characters (NPCs) with their own planetary bases at remote locations. I've included a full list at the bottom of this article.

Elira Martuuk, Felicity Farseer, Liz Ryder, The Dweller & Todd "The Blaster" McQuinn are all visible to start with but the rest require a referral – usually from another Engineer - and will ask for some kind of “sweetener” in the form of goods or information before they will start working for you.

To see the engineers and find out if you've unlocked any already, go to the Ship Panel and on the Status TAB select the hexagon Engineer icon.

This will open the list of known Engineers. This list can be sorted by distance or engineer access - the level of upgrade you've reached with that engineer. Selecting an engineer will display information about them including their biography, location and how to gain their services.

What do they do?

They modify ships modules to make a variety of improvements. Each Engineer has a specialty and whether that is Frame Shift Drives or Multi-cannons, they will apply changes to modules ranging from Grade 1 improvements up to Grade 5. They will also (for a price) apply a selection of “special effects” to these modifications.

In the old engineering, these effects were rare AND random, but now can be selected by the player in exchange for raw materials and data.

Which takes us to the new “currency” in Elite…

Materials

These are packets of data, manufactured items and raw elements that can be obtained by mining, surface prospecting in an SRV, collecting debris from combat or Unknown Signal Sources and by scanning ships and ships’ wakes.
Some of these activities such as mining or wake scanning require special equipment, or the SRV, the rest can be done in any ship, at any time.

To see what materials you have, view the Ship Panel on the right-hand side and on the Inventory TAB select the Materials and Data sections. You will see the name and quantity of each item and on the far right, an icon indicates the material grade.


Materials Data Filter materials view Material information

Click on the slides above to expand them.

The materials lists can be filtered to only show particular grades, or items required for pinned blueprints (more on that later) and selecting an item will display an information panel that tells you what the material is used for and more importantly, where to find it!

The excellent Inara website has a full list of materials here. https://inara.cz/galaxy-components/

Material grades are 1 being the most common to 5 being rare. The higher grade of engineer modifications generally requires higher quantities as well as higher grade materials – the better the modification, the more costly they are in materials.

Why would you want to get your ship engineered?

It’s a lot of effort to chase down the specific materials for a desired module upgrade. Forcing you to grind away at repetitive tasks if you are time-poor, assuming you don’t want to just wait until you acquire the necessary materials over time. So why do it?

The engineers can (to paraphrase the Lave Radio advert) make your frame shift go further, your lasers more powerful and your gas tank really big.

You can with engineering, make your ship more specialised to the task you want and do it better than you ever could with off-the-shelf parts.

For example, my exploration Anaconda has a modified FSD drive that jumps further, a lower class (size) of Power plant and Distributor than the Anaconda should use, both modified to have better output, so they are usable but of much lower mass. My ship’s armour is lightweight, as is the life support, and the shields are reinforced to make up for being undersized (and again lower mass). This means my Anaconda jumps 56Ly with an SRV and Fighter Bay fitted.

My Corvette on the other hand has upgraded armour, shields and hull all with increased resistances. The weapons all fire more efficiently, longer or faster (respectively) and have special effects that make the bullets aid target-lock, pass through shields or recharge my wing-mates shields. These are all engineered modifications.

Modding the module and engineering the engines

Having learned about an engineer, met their entry requirements and handed over the sweetener of the initial contract, you can now go to their base and turn phosphorous into FrameShift Drive upgrades!

At the engineers base, you select "Engineers Workshop" from the station services menu. You will then see a list of "blueprints" for modifications you can make to the ship you currently have docked. If you select "browse all" you can look at everything the engineer can do and potentially pin one of those blueprints for later.

Assuming you want to go ahead and engineer the ship you have, pick a module type. You are then asked to select which module on your ship to apply the engineered modification. Obviously if it is a power plant, there's only one, but if you're upgrading weapons there could be up to eight multi-cannons to choose from.

 

Once you've picked the module (in my case sensors) and picked the type of modification to make (long range), you can generate the modification.

Each time you press the generate button, the modification improves and materials are consumed. At certain points, the current Grade is completed and you move up to the next one. You'll either max out the module to Grade 5 or more likely, run out of materials. The details of the pros and cons of the blueprint are displayed. In this case, I have sacrificed 30% scanning angle and a few tons of mass in order to get my sensors to a range of 12km (13km being the maximum achievable).

Each engineer modification is different, but the actions and the principles are the same.

Blueprints, pins and the Remote Workshop

Each engineer will carry out a number of their specialty modifications and each type of modification is referred to as a "blueprint". You can choose to "pin" one of these blueprints per engineer. You can only pin engineering blueprints when at the respective engineers planet base.

This is a very useful feature in Engineering 3.0 for two reasons. Firstly the new materials panel will now filter to just items needed for pinned blueprints. This helps you separate the items you do and don't have from those you really need. Sadly this filter doesn't seem to apply to encoded data materials.
Secondly and a huge bonus for 3.0 is that once a blueprint has been pinned, you can engineer ships modules using the pinned blueprint at any station! This is done from the "Remote Workshop" menu on the Station Services page.

There are two three limitations to this new feature;

  1. You cannot get any special effects applied to modules at the Remote Workshop - these can only be obtained at the original engineer base.
  2. The second limitation (which will be short lived) is that existing (pre 3.0) modifications made to modules cannot be altered using the remote workshop. You have to take these "grandfathered" modules to an engineer to be changes to 3.0 blueprints. This will drop them down a grade (5 becomes a new 4).
  3. Any upgrades you carry out in the Remote Workshop do not count towards your reputation with the engineer - their access level. Thanks to CMDRs icarusbird & lyonhaert on Reddit for pointing this out.

The major advantage of this new feature is convenience. You can (after a tour of your unlocked engineers) pin a wide selection of the most commonly used engineering modifications, then take a new vanilla ship and engineer the heck out of it from the comfort of your "home" station without the ship ever leaving it's berth once. Very handy getting engineering done to those combat ships with low jump ranges, which would be a pain to get around all the highly remote engineer planet bases.

Time and Materials

Collecting materials for engineering is time-intensive and has always been an in-game activity that divides opinion; on whether it is fun, or drudgery.

With the new version 3.0 Engineers we’ve got an alternative to slaving away on a planet looking for that elusive rock with polonium or arsenic - the materials traders.

They can be located on the Galaxy Map Services filter, by selecting the star-filter TAB, choosing the map option and selecting the "services" filter. You can then chose the type of service you want to see - in this case, Materials Traders.

Once at the station select Contacts from Station Services and then pick Material Trader.

The materials trader will swap one type of material for another, at a premium. Higher grade materials swap for multiples of lower grades materials and vice versa. You can only swap the same types of material. You cannot swap data for elements or manufactured materials for data.

 

Also, each type of material is in a category (such as Crystals, Alloys, Composite etc.) and swapping between categories comes at a greater premium. So you would need to swap 6 Grade 1 materials for 1 Grade 2 item, but 1 Grade 5 item would get you 81 Grade 1 items of the same category. Below are some example material "exchange rates".

For materials in the same category
For materials in a different category

Target the grade 5 materials

With the Materials Traders it is possible to get all the lower grade materials you need, with a few of the Grade 5 items you’ve collected, by trading down. Collecting Grade 5 materials should, where possible, be your priority.

Another new feature of Engineering 3.0 is the new quantity limits on each material. Where before we could only store 1,000 materials in total, now we can collect 300 of each Grade 1 material, 250 of Grade 2, 200 of Grade 3, 150 of Grade 4 and 100 of Grade 5. This means you no longer have to pick and choose what to keep hold of, but can horde materials across the board. Gone are the days where you suddenly find you need four of the material you just jettisoned.

Unlocking the Engineers 3.0

Here's a full list of the Engineers, with their locations and what modules they modify. With tips on how to gain access and their initial contract requirements.

CMDR lyonhaert on Reddithas pointed out that for the engineers that require exploration data, you could accumulate this data first, before making the visit to those engineers, thereby raising your access to grade 5 much faster on arrival. Don't overdue it though; they don't need that much to get you to grade 5 and the data can be used for other engineers to unlock them. And don't sell them the data until you've completed the initial contract! Spoon feed them the exporlation data, then check what your access level is. 100K CR of data will get you from grade 1 to grade 2. Sometimes the change only shows after logging out and in again.

Bill Turner

Alioth   Alioth 4 A   Turner Metallics Inc
Learn about: reach level 3 and 33% reputation with Selene Jean.
Gain access: Become Friendly with Alliance and Allied with Allioth.
Initial contract: 50T of Bromellite.
Modules max. grade + type: Plasma Accelerator , Sensors , Detailed Surface Scanner , Life Support , Refinery , Auto Field-Maintenance Unit , Fuel Scoop , Frame Shift Wake Scanner , Kill Warrant Scanner , Manifest Scanner
Short-cut to reputation: None.

Note: The Alioth system needs a system permit. If you trade with 78 Ursae Majoris (2Lyr away from Alioth) you can work to become allied with Alioth Independents, who will then offer you the system permit.

Broo Tarquin

Muang  Muang 5A Broo's legacy
Learn about: reach level 3 and 33% reputation with Hera Tani.
Gain access: when you reach Competent or higher combat rank.
Initial contract: 50T of Fujin Tea - obtain this from Futen Spaceport at Fujin.
Modules max. grade + type: Burst Laser , Pulse Laser , Beam Laser
Short-cut to reputation: none.

Colonel Bris Dekker

Sol Iaptus Dekker's yard
Learn about: reach level 3 and 33% reputation with Juri Ishmaak.
Gain access: reach Friendly status with the Federation.
Initial contract: 10,000,000CR of Combat Bonds (double-ouch!).
Modules max. grade + type: Frame Shift Drive Interdictor , Frame Shift Drive
Short-cut to reputation: none.

NOTE: Sol is a permit-only system so you will also need to earn a Sol permit by doing missions for the Federation and attaining the rank of Petty Officer (rank 4) in the Federal Navy.

Didi Vatermann

Leesti Leesti 3A Vatermann LLC
Learn about: reach level 3 and 33% reputation with Selene Jean.
Gain access: reach the rank of Merchant or higher.
Initial contract: 50T of Lavian Brandy - this is a rare commodity purchased at Lave Station in Lave, but can only be bought in volumes of 3-6T, so you'll have to make multiple trips.
Modules max. grade + type: Shield Booster , Shield Generator
Short-cut to reputation: Sell goods at Vatermann LLC station.

Elvria Martuuk

Khun Khun 5 Long sight base
Learn about: revealed by default.
Gain access: travel at least 300lyr away from your start system.
Initial contract: 3T of Sooltil relics - obtain from Soontil at Cheranovsky City station in Ngurii.
Modules max. grade + type: Frame Shift Drive , Shield Generator , Thrusters , Shield Cell Bank
Short-cut to reputation: Sell her exploration data.

Felicity Farseer

Deciat Deciat 6A Farsee Inc
Learn about: revealed by default.
Gain access: reach the rank of Scout in Exploration.
Initial contract: 1T of Meta-Alloys - obtain from Darnielle's Progress planetary base in Maia.
Modules max. grade + type: Frame Shift Drive , Thrusters , Sensors , Detailed Surface Scanner , Shield Booster , Frame Shift Drive Interdictor , Power Plant
Short-cut to reputation: Sell her exploration data.

NOTE: Farseer Inc also sells Enhanced Performance Thrusters at the station outfitting. These can be bought regardless of the Engineer unlock state. EPT's come in Class 2A and Class 3A only.

Hera Tani

Kuwemaki  Kuwemaki A 3A The jet's hole
Learn about: reach level 3 and 33% reputation with Liz Ryder.
Gain access: reach an Imperial Navy rank of Outsider or higher.
Initial contract: 50T of Kamitra Cigars - obtain these at Hammel Terminal in Kamitra.
Modules max. grade + type: Power Plant , Detailed Surface Scanner , Sensors , Power Distributor
Short-cut to reputation: Sell goods at The Jet's Hole station.

Juri Ishmaak

Giryak Giryak 2A Pater's memorial
Learn about: reach level 3 and 33% reputation with Felicity Farseer.
Gain access: when you have earned more than fifty combat bonds.
Initial contract: 1,000,000CR of combat bonds (ouch!).
Modules max. grade + type: Mine Launcher , Sensors , Detailed Surface Scanner , Torpedo Pylon , Missile Rack , Frame Shift Wake Scanner , Kill Warrant Scanner , Manifest Scanner
Short-cut to reputation: Handing in combat bonds at Pater's Memorial station.

Lei Cheung

Laksak Laksak A1 Trader's rest
Learn about: reach level 3 and 33% reputation with The Dweller.
Gain access: when you have bought or sold goods at fifty different stations.
Initial contract: 200T of gold, which can be bought in system from Laumer City or West City stations.
Modules max. grade + type: Shield Generator , Sensors , Detailed Surface Scanner , Shield Booster
Short-cut to reputation: Sell goods at Trader's Rest station.

Liz Ryder

Eurybia  Makalu Demolition unlimited
Learn about: revealed by default.
Gain access:
take missions for or trade with Eurybia Blue Mafia in the Eurybia system until you reach a Cordial state with the faction.
Initial contract: 200T of Landmines, which can only be bought at planet bases (such as Leonov Depot in Alpha Caeli, Eckford Survey in LHS 1651 or Dedekind Bastion in Njojujil).
Modules max. grade + type: Missile Rack , Torpedo Pylon , Mine Launcher , Hull Reinforcement Package , Armour
Short-cut to reputation: Sell goods at Demolition Unlimited base.

Lori Jameson

Shinrarta Dezhra   Shinrarta Dezhra A 1   Jameson Base
Learn about: reach level 3 and 33% reputation with Marco Qwent.
Gain access: Gain combat rank Dangerous or higher.
Initial contract: 25 units of Kongga Ale.
Modules max. grade + type: Sensors , Detailed Surface Scanner , Refinery , Fuel Scoop , Auto Field-Maintenance Unit , Life Support , Frame Shift Wake Scanner , Kill Warrant Scanner , Manifest Scanner , Shield Cell Bank
Short-cut to reputation: Sell exploration data at Jameson Base.

NOTE: Shinrarta Dezhra requires a founders world as it is a permit-only star system so you will only be able to obtain this by reaching at least one Elite rank.

Marco Qwent

Sirius Lucifer Qwent research base
Learn about: reach level 3 and 33% with Elvira Martuuk.
Gain access: by invitation from Sirius Corporation - this is obtained by taking mission for the faction at Sirius until you reach Allied status with Sirius Corporation.
Initial contract: 25T of Modular Terminals - obtain these from missions for Sirius Corporation at Efremov Plant planetary base, close to Qwent Research base.
Modules max. grade + type: Power Plant , Power Distributor
Short-cut to reputation: Sell goods at Qwent Research Base.

NOTE: The Sirius system is a permit-only system and can only be accessed by completing missions for Sirius Corporation until you reach Allied status with the faction. Procyon is a system where your can find Sirius Corporation missions.

Professor Palin

Maia  Maia A 3A Palin research centre
Learn about: reach level 3 at 33% reputation with Marco Qwent.
Gain access: when you have visited a system at least 5,000Lyr from your original start system.
Initial contract: 25T of Unknown Fragments - these are found by visiting HIP 14479 and looking for Signal Sources called "Anomaly Detected [Threat 4]". In these you will find an Unknown Artifact floating in space. You need to carefully shoot this object so it shatters and collect the fragments. Each bit you collect contains 3 Unknown Fragments.
Modules max. grade + type: Thrusters , Frame Shift Drive
Short-cut to reputation: Sell him exploration data.

Ram Tah

Meene  Meene AB 5 D  Phoenix Base
Learn about: reach level 3 and 33% reputation with Lei Cheung.
Gain access: Gain exploration rank Surveyor or higher.
Initial contract: 50 units of Classified Scan Databanks.
Modules max. grade + type: Electronic Countermeasure , Point Defence , Heat Sink Launcher , Chaff Launcher , Collector Limpet Controller , Fuel Transfer Limpet Controller , Prospector Limpet Controller , Hatch Breaker Limpet Controller
Short-cut to reputation: Sell exploration data at Phoenix Base.

Selene Jean

Kuk Kuk 3B Prospector's rest
Learn about: reach level 3 and 33% with Tod McQuinn.
Gain access: when you have mined 500T or more.
Initial contract: 10T of Painite - this can only be obtain from mining.
Modules max. grade + type: Hull Reinforcement Package , Armour
Short-cut to reputation: Sell her exploration data and sell goods at Prospector's Rest station.

The Dweller

Wyrd  Wyrd A2 Black hide
Learn about: revealed by default.
Gain access: You must do business at at least five black markets before he will see you.
Initial contract: 500,000 CR donation.
Modules max. grade + type: Power Distributor , Pulse Laser , Burst Laser , Beam Laser
Short-cut to reputation: Sell goods at Black hide base.

The Sarge

Beta-3 Tucani   Beta-3 Tucani   The Beach
Learn about: reach level 3 and 33% reputation with Juri Ishmaak.
Gain access: Gain rank Midshipman or higher with the Federal Navy.
Initial contract: 50 units of Aberrant Shield Pattern Analysis.
Modules max. grade + type: Collector Limpet Controller , Fuel Transfer Limpet Controller , Hatch Breaker Limpet Controller , Prospector Limpet Controller , Cannon , Rail Gun
Short-cut to reputation: Sell exploration data and hand in bounty vouchers to The Beach.

Tiana Fortune

Achenar   Achenar 4A   Fortune's Loss
Learn about: reach level 3 and 33% reputation with Hera Tani.
Gain access: Become Friendly with the Empire.
Initial contract: 50 units of Decoded Emission Data. 
Modules max. grade + type: Frame Shift Wake Scanner , Kill Warrant Scanner , Manifest Scanner , Collector Limpet Controller , Fuel Transfer Limpet Controller , Hatch Breaker Limpet Controller , Prospector Limpet Controller , Sensors , Frame Shift Drive Interdictor , Detailed Surface Scanner
Short-cut to reputation: Sell commodities to Fortune's Loss.

Note: Achenar is another permit-locked system. To gain the access, you must reach the rank of Squire in the Imperial Navy, which comes with the Achenar permit.

Tod "The Blaster" McQuinn

Wolf 397 Trus Madi Trophy camp
Learn about: revealed by default.
Gain access: hand in fifteen or more bounties.
Initial contract: Bring him 100,000CR worth of bounty.
Modules max. grade + type: Multi-cannon , Rail Gun , Fragment Cannon , Cannon
Short-cut to reputation: Hand in bounty for Alliance systems at Trophy Camp station.

Zachariah Nemo

Yoru  Yoru 4 Nemo cyber party base
Learn about: reach level 3 and 33% reputation with Elivira Martuuk.
Gain access: You must then do missions for Party of Yoru in the Yoru system. Once allied with the faction, you will receive an invitation to the Engineer.
Initial contract: Zachariah requires a donation of 25T of Xihe Biomorphic Companions - get these from Xihe at Zhen Dock.
Modules max. grade + type: Fragment Cannon , Multi-cannon , Plasma Accelerator
Short-cut to reputation: Sell goods at Nemo Cyber Party base.

Comments (6) -

  • Graham Lukaschek

    3/16/2018 9:17:56 AM | Reply

    Thank you for this, it has been most helpful

  • Andrew

    6/22/2018 11:57:24 PM | Reply

    I got a question: when you haven't finished the full circle at lower grade you can generate the higher grade mod. If you do so, the previous grade becomes marked as "complete". No extra resources are spent. Is there any difference in module stats if you manually complete the previous circle and start the next one or just start the next one?

    • CMDR Arithon

      6/26/2018 3:40:21 PM | Reply

      As soon as the next grade is unlocked, you can move up.

      Applying further upgrades at the lower level is just cheaper on materials, so for the small difference you could get a few percent improvement at a lower material cost.

    • CMDR lyonhaert

      8/14/2018 3:27:19 PM | Reply

      I don't think CMDR Arithon answered your question accurately. Every grade's parameters (the bonuses and penalties) start from the same place regardless of how far you went on the previous grade.

      So, there is NO difference in stats between completing the lower grade (which uses mats unnecessarily) or moving on as soon as you're able.

  • CMDR Len Slock

    8/7/2018 10:29:59 PM | Reply

    Great Info, thanks for this. The bit I'm missing, sorry if it's here, is what the best approach is. Suppose I am interested in FSD range and know the experimental effects to add to that. Do you fly a bunch of different ships to the same engineer to level up that engineer? Do the experimental effects first? Do you just keep applying the same upgrade to the same ship until the next level is available? Presumably at the engineers base? Maybe it doesn't matter but it's bothers me that I don't know if there is a sensible method.

    • CMDR Arithon

      1/24/2019 4:05:19 PM | Reply

      You can either take one (big) ship and pull multiple FSD drives out of storage and engineer them, or just do one to Grade 5 and then use Remote Workshop. The downside of RW is you can't use experimental effects. You can do a Grade 1 with experimental effect and then upgrade it later with Remote Workshop up to grade 5 without losing the effect. If you have the mats for experimental effects, but not higher Grade engineering that is one way to go.

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