Elite: Dangerous - Design Decision Forum

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Re: Elite: Dangerous - Design Decision Forum

Post by Commander McLane » Sun Jun 23, 2013 7:11 pm

Cody wrote:The Pi-troll has been inducing some heated discussion in the plebs forum - how does it fare in the PBF/DDF?
Is it entertaining enough that I should go and check it out? Or can you give a short version?

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Re: Elite: Dangerous - Design Decision Forum

Post by Cody » Sun Jun 23, 2013 7:24 pm

Commander McLane wrote:
Cody wrote:The Pi-troll has been inducing some heated discussion in the plebs forum - how does it fare in the PBF/DDF?
Is it entertaining enough that I should go and check it out? Or can you give a short version?
I wouldn't know where to begin.
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Re: Elite: Dangerous - Design Decision Forum

Post by Commander McLane » Sun Jun 23, 2013 7:41 pm

Cody wrote:The Pi-troll …
:idea: I'm getting it now. You're talking about the infamous tri-poll, aren't you?

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Re: Elite: Dangerous - Design Decision Forum

Post by Cody » Sun Jun 23, 2013 7:44 pm

Aye... the infamous Tri-poll. <chortles>
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Re: Elite: Dangerous - Design Decision Forum

Post by Tricky » Sun Jun 23, 2013 10:29 pm

I hope you don't mind me posting this Gimi.

New topic for discussion in the DDF.

"I crossed an imaginary line with a bunch of plants" Smugglers in Elite: Dangerous
Sandro Sammarco, Lead Designer- Elite: Dangerous wrote:Hello you lovely backers!

Time for another topic, and I confess, it’s one I have a soft spot for (so I really want to make it work!) Smugglers! The Han Solos’ of the galaxy, a heady mix of subterfuge, bravado and quick thinking, whether running the blockade or hiding in a pile of space waste!

Well, that’s the romance, now the crunch – how do we make it happen?

So, here’s our early pass on smuggling. Have a gander, and see if it stimulates your grey matter into forming pure gaming gold:

Key Characteristics of a Smuggler
  • Smugglers trade illegal or stolen goods to black markets, fences and criminal faction bases without being caught by the authorities
  • The smuggler's key aim is to stay off radars and under noses, whether hiding in plain sight, or just plain hiding
  • Smuggler ships tend to be in smaller ships as such vessels are usually less interesting to the authorites, which means smuggler's favour high value cargo to keep the profit margins high
  • Smugglers tend to plot unusual routes accross the galaxy, often crossing between very safe and very dangerous systems (though ironically for the smuggler the threat is often reversed)
  • They often prefer the inconspicuous, even ubiquitous ships, to avoid the interests of the authorities - this is one profession where being the best often means flying the worst
    • The lack of bling may be skin deep - smugglers will likely soup up every possible ship part that can be concealed; deception is the keyword at all times
    • A certain type of smuggler relies on overt overkill with regards to speed and defence; these bravuras live for the thrill of the ride and infamy that comes with it
Smuggler Progression
  • The basic progression for smugglers is to trade in higher and higher value ilegal commodities
    • Distance is often factored in to risk and reward; the longer the journey, the more value many illegal commodities gain, like rare legal goods
    • Higher rewards can also be accrued by looking for trade runs that are espectially risky due to the nature of the authorities present
  • The smuggler willing to trade anything, anywhere, anytime is more likely to accumulate a growing list of "contact" NPCs who can offer specific missions of increasing risk and reward - smuggling reputation is a key component for progression
    • A high smuggling reputation will open more of these missions up to the player
    • If successful and notorious enough, a smuggler can expect to be petitioned into working directly for criminal factions, where the rewards are greatest but the danger never more deadly as these factions vie for supremacy
  • Ship progression for the smuggler is often less about better ships and more about better equipment; of which there is an abundance, often specialised to minimise size, power and heat parameters
The Authorities
  • There will be a variety of obstacles in the smugglers in the form of the authorities
    • In the more secure systems the authorities will conduct random stop and searches on ships that are docking
      • Certain ships are more likely to be searched
      • Ship appearance will affect likelihood of being searched
      • Certain reputations will affect likelihood of being searched - Criminality for example
      • Being caught will result in fines and often confiscations
      • There will be options available for greasing the authorities for those with the right reputations
    • There will be meta game injected blockades on certain systems by military ships, these will provide obstacles for Smugglers to navigate in real space
    • Rival crime factions can pose just as big a threat to smugglers if they start to trade/work for such organisations
    • It's up to the smuggler to decide whether their trades are worth the fines/crimes/threat they might incur
That's our first stab, but I'll give it to you straight - I want moar! What kind of tactics have we missed out from the smuggler's arsenal, and what treacherous plots await them? What crazy interaction/missions/events are they likey to get jammed in? Are we missing cool multiplayer smuggler interactions or equipment, and if so, what are they?

Have a think, and have a lovely weekend!

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Re: Elite: Dangerous - Design Decision Forum

Post by Cody » Sun Jun 23, 2013 10:31 pm

<grins happily> My line of business... thanks, Tricky!
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Re: Elite: Dangerous - Design Decision Forum

Post by Tricky » Sun Jun 23, 2013 10:34 pm

Cody wrote:<grins happily> My line of business... thanks, Tricky!
NP. Thought it would be down your street. 8)

As for the "Pi-troll" in DDF - old money for old rope is all I can say. It is a lot less heated than the other forums. Gonna be civilised amongst us in game. Whatever style of play we like. 8)

This is the current state of affairs in the DDF. Looks like us DDF'ers are rabid sandbox freaks. :twisted:

Code: Select all

I can attack anyone at any time, just like everyone else                                 106  58.24%
There are some areas of the galaxy where I cannot be attacked by other players            34   8.68%
I can move between one of two groups: a PvE group or a PVP group                          36   9.78%
I must pick and stay in one of two groups: a PvE group or a PVP group                      3   1.65%
I cannot attack anyone else, and they can't attack me                                      3   1.65%

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Re: Elite: Dangerous - Design Decision Forum

Post by Cody » Sun Jun 23, 2013 11:00 pm

Tricky wrote:This is the current state of affairs in the DDF. Looks like us DDF'ers are rabid sandbox freaks.

Code: Select all

I can attack anyone at any time, just like everyone else                                 106  58.24%
There are some areas of the galaxy where I cannot be attacked by other players            34   8.68%
I can move between one of two groups: a PvE group or a PVP group                          36   9.78%
I must pick and stay in one of two groups: a PvE group or a PVP group                      3   1.65%
I cannot attack anyone else, and they can't attack me                                      3   1.65%
Good! Although I'm an old-school single-player type, if I did venture into multi-player (highly unlikely, but you never know), I'd want it full-on too.

The smuggler willing to trade anything, anywhere, anytime is more likely to accumulate a growing list of "contact" NPCs who can offer specific missions of increasing risk and reward...
This is very interesting - music to my ears, in fact!
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Re: Elite: Dangerous - Design Decision Forum

Post by Gimi » Mon Jun 24, 2013 7:29 am

Tricky wrote:I hope you don't mind me posting this Gimi.
Absolutely not. I have been busy redecorating over the week end, so haven't read up on the forums.
I think it's a good idea that others post from the DDF as well. Even though FD has stated that it's ok for us to do so, I sometimes feel that I'm operating in a light grey zone. Good to share the blame. :mrgreen:
I have imposed a rule on myself to wait for two or three before I post new topics here. That will also allow FD to correct any obvious mistakes pointed out in the DDF. Revised and finalized proposals I more or less post the day after they appear in the DDF, if I'm around that is.
Happy for anyone to do this, but it would be nice if they stay with the de facto format that has emerged. Makes this thread easier to navigate.

Maybe I should go back and colour code the titles based on initial, revised and final proposal?
Initial proposal
Revised Proposal
Final proposal
Edit: Done.
"A brilliant game of blasting and trading... Truly a mega-game... The game of a lifetime."
(Gold Medal Award, Zzap!64 May 1985).

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Re: Elite: Dangerous - Design Decision Forum

Post by Disembodied » Mon Jun 24, 2013 10:02 am

What kind of tactics have we missed out from the smuggler's arsenal, and what treacherous plots await them? What crazy interaction/missions/events are they likey to get jammed in? Are we missing cool multiplayer smuggler interactions or equipment, and if so, what are they?
There are different possible reasons for smuggling: one is to bring in goods which are illegal, but the other is simply to avoid paying import duty on certain types of (usually high-value) goods. This second type might make a good entry point for beginner smugglers: it's less serious, and you don't need too many out-and-out criminal contacts to get in (although there will be organised crime behind it, almost certainly).
Adam Smith wrote:The smuggler is a person who, though no doubt blameable for violating the laws of his country, is frequently incapable of violating those of natural justice, and would have been in every respect an excellent citizen had not the laws of his country made that a crime which nature never meant to be so.
However, this would require a class of otherwise legal cargo, which would incur import duty in at least some systems - often as part of a more-or-less active trade war: the classic historical example would be the smuggling in of French brandy into Britain in the 18th century.

Thinking of tactics, there's always the "but I found this floating around" defence. It seems to me that it might be unfair to prosecute someone who scoops up salvage, only to find out that it's illegal (I'm assuming that cargo canisters of illegal goods won't necessarily be packaged truthfully: narcotics might be labelled - or hidden inside - pungent foodstuffs, firearms could be split up into "machine parts", etc.). How will the game incorporate this kind of disguise?

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Re: Elite: Dangerous - Design Decision Forum

Post by Cody » Mon Jun 24, 2013 12:21 pm

... to be smaller ships as such vessels are usually less interesting to the authorites, which means smugglers favour high value cargo to keep the profit margins high
I agree with small, innocuous-looking ships - in an ideal Ooniverse, I'd use an iron-assed Adder for high value/low mass contraband.
I'd think that type of cargo would not be too time-critical - contrabandistas would be perfectly happy taking the long way round.
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Re: Elite: Dangerous - Design Decision Forum

Post by JazHaz » Mon Jun 24, 2013 5:43 pm

I think that the rumoured Hypercargo hack :wink: would be very useful to smugglers, IF it could be made more reliable!
JazHaz

Gimi wrote:
drew wrote:£4,500 though! :shock: <Faints>
Cheers,
Drew.
Maybe you could start a Kickstarter Campaign to found your £4500 pledge. 8)
Thanks to Gimi, I got an eBook in my inbox tonight (31st May 2014 - Release of Elite Reclamation)!

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Re: Elite: Dangerous - Design Decision Forum

Post by Gimi » Sun Jun 30, 2013 6:26 pm

Updated explorers proposal for Elite: Dangerous.

"Where we're going... we don't need eyes to see!" Revised Explorers in Elite
Dan Davies, Designer- Elite: Dangerous wrote:Hello all!
I've given Explorers a quick run through to add in some extra detail and clarifications, we're happy this one is going so well and please continue discussion!

In Elite: Dangerous explorers are players who travel out into undiscovered areas of the galaxy, hoping to find previously undiscovered systems and locations. Explorers scan and record data wherever they go, and can sell that data on to various interested authorities. Explorers can also sell on data they have discovered to other players, allowing them to sell the co-ordinates of a valuable find to the highest bidder, or keep their discoveries to exploit for themselves.

Explorer players must discover different points of interest using different methods
  • Explorer players’ main method of making money is through selling details of points of interest they discover
    • Points of interest players can discover include:
      • Star Systems
      • Dark Systems (systems without a star, but other features)
      • Stars
      • Planets
      • Asteroids, comets
      • Moons
      • Structures
      • Other Phenomena
    • These Discovered locations may include:
      • Secret Locations
      • Resources
      • Events/Missions (time limited and permenant)
      • Beauty spots (usually attached to other entities)
      • Messages/Beacons
  • Players explore to build up the details on their galaxy map
    • When starting a new commander the player will have some details on their galaxy map
      • This will allow the player to travel to any locations they have map data to, without having to explore
    • Players can buy map data from authorities to expand their ships computers library of maps
      • New map data will allow the player to travel to new locations without needing to explore
      • Map data that is bought from authorities is not to the highest level of detail and can be improved with player gathered data
      • Map data includes hyperspace routes to systems and major points of interest in that system
  • Players can use scanning equipment and probes to detect systems and record new hyperspace routes
    • Scanners are used to detect any nearby systems that are within the players jump range
      • Scanners will give the player a vague indication of the direction of a system
      • High end scanners can give the player a better details of the system they have detected (is it a star, an asteroid field etc.)
    • Players can then launch hyperspace probes that will give the player more information on the part of space they are looking at
      • Probes will give the player heat-map style data to help guide the player to the correct co-ordinates for a jump
      • Heatmap data might be ambiguous, creating skill based gameplay where the player learns to interpret the readings they recieve
      • Different equipment can determine the quality of heatmap data
      • Different probe ammo can provide different information, or react based on objects in the target system
    • Using the data they have gathered the player must align their ship as best they can with the target system and activate the hyperdrive to jump to the system
      • The player’s ship records data of any successful jumps the player makes
      • The pilots federation will always pay players for the first successful jump they make using the exploration method (If the player bought the map data for the jump they cannot sell the data), even if the player is not the first person ever to make the jump (the pilots federation use the data to improve their telemetry and keep maps up to date)
      • If the player is the first person to ever make the journey they receive a bonus for discovering the hyperspace route
      • The closer the player lines up their jump to the target system, the higher quality the data the players ship will gather on the jump. Higher quality data is worth more money when sold to authorities
    • If a player’s jump is not accurate enough they may suffer a miss jump
      • Longer distance jumps require a higher level of accuracy
      • A systems contents may also affect how accurate a players jump must be to avoid mis-jumping
  • Players use scanners to detect points of interest within systems
    • The player’s scanners detect various points of interest around the player
      • It takes time for players scanners to detect points of interest
      • Player’s proximity to a point of interest can affect the time it takes to detect
      • Proximity may often have risks associated with it - Solar Radiation for example
      • Players ship facing can affect the time it takes to detect a point of interest (e.g. pointing my ship at a undiscovered point of interest will allow me to scan it faster)
    • Different types of points of interest can require different player actions to detect
      • For example to detect a mineral rich formation of asteroids the player must launch probes around an asteroid field
      • The probes provide a cross section from their perspective of the asteroid field they’re launched at
        • Each additional probe the player uses provides more details on the target asteroid field
      • The player uses their scanner to view the data from the probes, and must tag the areas with the highest concentration of minerals in the field
      • Once this process is complete the point of interest is completed
        • The quality of the players scan of the area affects the value of the data
        • The quality of the player’s scan can affect the amount and type of materials found in the asteroids
  • Players can sell the information that they discover through these methods
    • Players will have to travel back to sell the data they acquire while exploring
    • The first player to sell/discover the information recieves a greater reward
    • Information by become redundant from time to time as the galaxy moves and it can then be resold
Players can sell information they have gathered to other players as well as authorities. This is done through a trade interface similar to the trade goods trading interface. Players can sell hyperspace routes from their location to any single system they have explored to. The purchasing player then offers a price (this can be 0 if it is a gift), and if both players are satisfied they agree to the trade. Players can also trade in system data including locations of points of interest using the same method.
  • Players can take photographs (essentially screenshots) from their view ports (with and without cockpit and GUI etc)
    • Player photographs can be submitted to a regular photography contest
      • Players can only submit one photograph each
    • Players can vote on a selection of the best photographs
    • The player(s) who get the most votes wins the competition
      • The winner gets a (in game) cash prize (plus prizes for 2nd 3rd most weird etc.)
      • The photograph (and other user submissions) will be used in appropriate places in the game (billboards, news papers, etc.)
Players who decide to go exploring are jumping into the unknown, and without high end kit, often with little to no knowledge of the dangers they are jumping in to. Alongside the risk of encountering hostility when jumping to an unknown system, explorers scanners attract a lot of attention, generating lots of heat. Explorer ships will need to be prepared to face hostile activity when exploring, and players need to be ready to fight for their claims or run for their lives.[/color]
Last edited by Gimi on Sun Jun 30, 2013 6:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Elite: Dangerous - Design Decision Forum

Post by Gimi » Sun Jun 30, 2013 6:32 pm

Expanded version of the smuggling proposal.

"I'm looking for Mr. Bribe. Wink. Wink." Smuggling part 2 in Elite: Dangerous
Tom Kewell, Designer- Elite: Dangerous wrote:Hi All,

This is an expansion on the smuggling topic including some of your feedback from the previous thread. Keep it coming, it's much appreciated.

Smugglers make their profits by dealing in grey areas in the law. Smugglers earn money by maximizing their profits by trading in illegal and frowned upon goods, and must try to always stay one step ahead of a system’s authorities. Smuggler’s ships differ from trader ships, as they are often built for speed and toughness, allowing them to outrun pursuers, and survive in hostile environments. Smuggler ships are also often less conspicuous than trader and other ships, in the hopes that their ship will be overlooked in any encounter with a systems authorities.

KEY CHARACTERISTICS OF A SMUGGLER
  • Smugglers trade illegal or stolen goods to black markets, fences and criminal faction bases without being caught by the authorities
    The smuggler's key aim is to stay off radars and under noses, whether hiding in plain sight, or just plain hiding
  • Smuggler ships tend to be in smaller ships as such vessels are usually less interesting to the authorites, which means smuggler's favour high value cargo to keep the profit margins high
  • Smugglers tend to plot unusual routes accross the galaxy, often crossing between very safe and very dangerous systems (though ironically for the smuggler the threat is often reversed)
  • They often prefer the inconspicuous, even ubiquitous ships, to avoid the interests of the authorities - this is one profession where being the best often means flying the worst
    • The lack of bling may be skin deep - smugglers will likely soup up every possible ship part that can be concealed; deception is the keyword at all times
    • A certain type of smuggler relies on overt overkill with regards to speed and defence; these bravuras live for the thrill of the ride and infamy that comes with it
SMUGGLER PROGRESSION
  • The basic progression for smugglers is to trade in higher and higher value ilegal commodities
    • Distance is often factored in to risk and reward; the longer the journey, the more value many illegal commodities gain, like rare legal goods
    • Higher rewards can also be accrued by looking for trade runs that are espectially risky due to the nature of the authorities present
  • The smuggler willing to trade anything, anywhere, anytime is more likely to accumulate a growing list of "contact" NPCs who can offer specific missions of increasing risk and reward - smuggling reputation is a key component for progression
    • A high smuggling reputation will open more of these missions up to the player
    • If successful and notorious enough, a smuggler can expect to be petitioned into working directly for criminal factions, where the rewards are greatest but the danger never more deadly as these factions vie for supremacy
  • Ship progression for the smuggler is often less about better ships and more about better equipment; of which there is an abundance, often specialised to minimise size, power and heat parameters
BUYING AND SELLING ILLEGAL GOODS
Players cannot trade in illegal goods on the open market (although some illegal goods can be legal in more tolerant systems). There are a number of lawless systems and hidden smuggler bases where black market trade is welcome, but if the player needs to trade at a normal space station they must tread with care. When buying and selling illegal goods on the normal market smugglers must trade through contacts and business partners. Finding a reliable trading partner is a key part of a successful smuggling operation, and there are numerous ways to do so.
  • Many stations/settlements will have contacts that are interested in black market trading
    • The statistics and simulation for a system will affect and dictate the likelihood of a black market trader being present on a station/other settlement
      • A systems lawfulness, government type etc. can affect contacts
      • There can be multiple contacts to trade with, with varying prices for different commodities
  • Players must discover contact details for black market traders before they can instigate illegal trade
    • There are a number of methods in which details can be found
      • Bulletin board posts such as personal ads and notifications can have contact details hidden in them
        • These will be suggestive towards being a black market trader (e.g. Looking for a partner, must be well stocked etc.)
        • Many bulletins will be from non black market traders, who may not understand why the player is calling, and may even alert the authorities if the player raises black market trade with them. Players must use their wits and experience to gather if a post is from a black market dealer or not
      • Ships marked with a recognizable smuggler’s mark can be communicated with and interrogated for details
        • Ships may require payment or proof of a players intent (based on reputation
      • Details can be hidden on nav buoys in space
      • Etc.
    • The player may have to follow a chain of clues to establish a contacts details
      • These steps may include authorities ‘sting’ operations
    • Contact details can be bought and sold to other players
      • Player can sell details to authorities, increasing the chance of a contact being discovered
  • Players can communicate with their contacts present on a station/settlement once they have docked
    • Contacts will offer players trade in any items they are interested in buying and selling
      • This is a separate market from the main economy
      • This will mostly be goods considered illegal in that location
      • Profit margins will be much higher than in the main markets
    • Contacts could be police agents looking to catch smugglers
      • Confirming a contacts details with multiple sources is a good way to confirm a black market trader is a legitimate contact
  • Smuggler contacts may change over time
    • Black market traders may be caught or change to legitimate traders
    • The player may earn the confidence of a traders superiors, and be introduced to a new contact etc.
    • Systems may become more/less hostile towards smugglers, forcing traders to move/quit
  • Smuggler contacts may give players specific missions from time to time that can earn the player rewards and reputation
THE AUTHORITIES
  • There will be a variety of obstacles in the smugglers in the form of the authorities
    • In the more secure systems the authorities will conduct random stop and searches on ships that are docking
      • Certain ships are more likely to be searched
      • Ship appearance will affect likelihood of being searched
      • Certain reputations will affect likelihood of being searched - Criminality for example
      • Distance from authority ships can help players avoid being searched
    • Being caught will result in fines and often confiscations
      • There will be options available for greasing the authorities for those with the right reputations
      • Different types of authorities may have a higher or lower chance of detecting any illicit cargo
  • E.g. a patrol police ship has a 20% chance of detecting illegal cargo, a police border patrol special unit has an 80% chance
    • There will be meta game injected blockades on certain systems by military ships, these will provide obstacles for Smugglers to navigate in real space
    • Rival crime factions can pose just as big a threat to smugglers if they start to trade/work for such organizations
    • Authorities may use check points on borders where illegal goods are often brought into the system, or on commonly used smuggler routes
      • These can be temporary or permanent
  • Players can use special (and often illegal) equipment to hide illegal cargo better from searches
    • Equipment like this may further reduce the players cargo space
  • It's up to the smuggler to decide whether their trades are worth the fines/crimes/threat they might incur
  • Authorities or rivals may decide to pay bounty hunters to quietly take you out if you are indiscreet enough to be linked to too much black market trade
QUESTIONS
What kind of missions can we give to smugglers?
What other clues can we give players about contacts?
How should other players interact with smugglers that makes both their games fun?[/color]
"A brilliant game of blasting and trading... Truly a mega-game... The game of a lifetime."
(Gold Medal Award, Zzap!64 May 1985).

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Re: Elite: Dangerous - Design Decision Forum

Post by Gimi » Sun Jun 30, 2013 6:37 pm

New topic for discussion in the DDF

"This time the mission IS the man" Missions in Elite: Dangerous
Sandro Sammarco, Lead Designer- Elite: Dangerous wrote:Hello you lovely backers!

Another DDF topic arises from the depths, roaring and beating its chest in wrath. Perhaps you can help us make the music to soothe the savage beast?

The topic up for discussion: Missions! And as you will see, the format is a little bit different.

For this thread, I'd like to focus on actual missions (as opposed to events) that you can volunteer for that would be military/corporate in nature (other themes will be explored in later topics).

They can be single events or multipart, as well as partial (we don't want you to do our job for us, what we want from you guys is some more fun ideas). It's fine to have multiple outcomes, too, though it's worth considering how the game might measure results. Feel free to talk about mission rewards as well, as well as what kind of information (true or false) the player might receive.

Obviously the simpler the ideas are the better, but the primary purpose of this thread is to try and generate interesting avenues for us to explore, expand on and codify whether it's a description about an NPC reaction or a subtext to a briefing), so really, the most important thing is imagination and entertainment potential!

Feel free to be as precise or woolly as you want, and don't feel locked in by whatever you know (or don't) about Elite cannon or lore. The fact is, if we see something we thing could be really cool, we can always work out how to use it!

For the purposes of clarity, if might want to give a one line title like: "deep space smuggler offer" but don't worry if nothing comes to mind.

But enough prattle from me: have at it, and have a great weekend!
"A brilliant game of blasting and trading... Truly a mega-game... The game of a lifetime."
(Gold Medal Award, Zzap!64 May 1985).

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