Elite: Dangerous Blog

News and events from the Elite Dangerous galaxy

Ship Personalisation

It’s been a while since I wrote my article on outfitting your ship. While the majority of the detail holds true, it is missing anything about ships skins or decals and a lot of recently added personalisation features.

There are now a number of things you can do to customise your ship to change its weapon and engine colours, exterior appearance, interior decor and even the ships Cockpit Voice Activated System (COVAS).

Another element that can be personalised for players with Horizons is the Holo-Me. This sets your in-cockpit player model and avatar that's visible to other players.

Note: Most of the cosmetic items in Elite: Dangerous are purchased DLC. In order to keep the game a level playing field and avoid any chance of “pay to win” Frontier chose to make all their DLC cosmetic and therefore have zero effect on the game-play.

It neither makes you better or tougher, it’s just darn sexy to look at.

But, unless you’ve bought one of the Editions of Elite that included decals and paint packs, then most of the items in this article would need to be purchased in the Frontier Store or whatever purchase vehicle is used for your platform, before you can use them.

You can live a happy life in the Elite: Dangerous universe without ever buying a single cosmetic. But if you have some pennies spare and want to pimp your ride, then read on...

Livery

Ship customisation is done through the Livery option on either the Station Services menu or the Livery option in the Ship Outfitting screen. Both choices take you to a “select vehicle menu” this will be for your main ship and up to two ship launched fighters and two Surface Recon Vehicles (as both can have a double bay).

Picking the primary ship will take you to a menu which allows you to view and choose a number of items, the first being the ships’ voice.

Vessel Voice (two free)

There are three ships voices which are available currently in Elite, “Verity” (the original female ship voice) and “Victor” both of which are free. The third is a female voice called “Celeste” which must be purchased. These can be selected for ships, fighters and SRVs. It’s quite nice to jump between a ship and the fighter with a difference computer voice.

These can be bought once and applied to all your ships.

Paint Job

When you buy your ship, even the free Sidewinder, it is possible to change it’s appearance to use a new ship exterior paint, so all those “ship in front of..” screenshots look all the more special.

All the paints available can be previewed, but only those you own can be selected. Your currently selected paint job is indicated with a tick.

A word of caution - only buy paint jobs for ships you plan to use a lot or hold on to for a while.

 These can only be applied to one ship.

Ship Name (free)

Ship name can be set and will be visible to other players that scan you as well as being shown in the Ship panel. The first three letters or numbers can be used as your callsign.

Each time you choose to set the name, a dialogue box opens blank, so you have to re-enter the name; it can’t be edited.

Ship ID (free)

The ship ID is a six-character alpha-numeric tag for your ship. It can be displayed on the hull with a purchased decal or used as your callsign by traffic control.

To set your name, ship name or ship ID as call sign, go to Options for Audio settings and choose which to use.

Name Plate 1 & 2

The name plates are decals which can be purchased that will display your chosen ship name on the outer hull. This is visible to you in the external camera and to other players that see your ship. These decals (unlike paint jobs) are usable on ALL your ships, so any nameplate purchased can be used for all of your fleet.

These can be bought once and applied to all your ships.

Ship ID 1 & 2

You can choose to have your ship ID displayed on the hull using a purchased ID plate.

Currently there's only one ID plate in the Frontier store, so choice is limited.

These can be bought once and applied to all your ships.

Front, Right & Left Decal

These allow decals to be applied over your paint job on the front, left & right of the ships hull. There are a number of community decals that are given away free and you unlock rank decals for combat, exploration and trade as you progress, which are also free. Any other decals must be purchased from the store, on their own or as part of a ship paint job (for example "Onionhead" which comes with skins & decals).

Currently the "Powerplay" decal pack (seen below) is free in the store.

These can be bought once and applied to all your ships.

Spoiler, Wings, Tail & Bumper – The Ship Kit

Ship kits are a purchased cosmetic and come in the form of four elements that can be added to the ship. Each kit contains four variants of each element, so you can have 16 different applications of each kit. Not all ships have ship kits available. So far there are two types. The wings & bumpers kits which allow you to give that "boy racer" look to your ship. The second kind is the "Raider" kits, which also have four elements, but these consist of spikes and wire and are accompanied by four rusty and corroded paint jobs, the applied effect of which is a "Max Max" look to your ship (or "Reaver" if you're a FireFly fan). Still no skeletons on the spikes though...
Once purchased the elements of the kit can be applied to the Spoiler, Wings, Tail and Bumper sections (where the kit contains these).

It tends to change the profile of your ship making it less "factory bought" in appearance. The bolt-on wings and spoilers do not change your "hit box" (the area where weaponry hits are detected on your ship) so these additions do not make you a bigger target.

These can only be applied to one ship.

Weapon Detailing

Whether you're Mace Windu, Darth Vader or Yoda, everyone knows the colour of your light sabre and with weapon detailing you can pick your colour (for a price).

There is a downside to this. While your lasers and bullets will now all flash green (or whatever colour you chose) they can only be set to one colour across the board. No red lasers with green rails and blue plasma! Also, where beforehand your Engineering special effects changed some weapon colours green or red and your point defence ammo was white, now everything will be green. Mono-colour once chosen.

Maybe at some point in the future Frontier will allow per hard-point colours, but for now it's "one shade fits all".

These can be bought once and applied to all your ships.

Engine Detailing

Engine colour is another purchased cosmetic that will change the colour of your thrusters and engines. It also colours your engine vapour trail - which is far more noticeable than normal.

Obviously all the cool kids co-ordinate their paint jobs with lasers and engines to create a distinct look!

These can be bought once and applied to all your ships.

Dashboard 1-10

Your ships dashboard can be covered in bobble-heads. These can be purchased and added to the ten available "dashboard" slots. I purchased the alphabet bobble-head kit back before ship name plates were in the game and put my ship names on the dash. This is something I still do now.

What do they do? They wobble about on your cockpit dashboard and nod along while you talk to them in the grip of space-madness! Also, they react to g-forces when your ship accelerates, pitches, rolls and jumps to super-cruise.

These can be bought once and applied to all your ships.

String Lights

A recent addition at Christmas 2017, the string lights are a set of fairy lights draped on the cockpit of your ship. The coloured "Christmas" version was a seasonal item, but the plain white string lights are still available.

These can be bought once and applied to all your ships.

Surface Recon Vehicles and Ship Launcher Fighters

The other vehicles from the livery menu offer a smaller subset of customisation options, so you can bling your SRV or colour co-ordinate your ship launched fighter with your main ship.

Holo Me

The Holo-Me is accessed from the Ship Panel and allows you to design your commander's appearance. I'm not going to do a full-blown Holo-Me tutorial here as I'm not very good at it. Mine looks like "Mr Potato Head", so as you can see you can achieve a pretty lifelike facsimile.

The Holo-Me is accessed from the ship panel.

It takes you into the Holo-Me editor. There are seven sections for the customisation of your avatar. Body, Complexion, Hair, Face, Head, Accessories & Cosmetics. The Body suits & outfits are DLC and the Accessories and Cosmetics are also DLC, but the other options are native with Horizons and free.

Since it's release in version 2.3 the editor has been updated and now allows you to save multiple avatars and clone existing avatars, so you can experiment with your current Holo-Me without losing the original.

When you've made your Holo-Me the game takes a "passport photo" of it, which is used as an avatar when other commanders scan your ship. The Holo-Me is also used when you join another commander in multi-crew, so your commander appears on their ship as your avatar design.

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