Elite: Dangerous just came to Steam, and it's getting all sorts of new players... who are discovering that piloting a spaceship is kind of a bitch. If you keep crashing and burning and screaming, "whyyyyyy" at the space gods, this guide will help.
The Hitchhiker's Guide to Elite: Dangerous is tailor-made to help players wrap their heads around the space sim's Skittles rainbow of buttons and knobs and internal engine-y bits that will make you suspect your ship is made entirely of defective grills because it overheats so much. Elite's tutorial is a bit... lacking, you see. This means you pretty much have to seek outside aid.
To make things slightly easier on your creaky old terrestrial brain, The Hitchhiker's Guide contains nuggets of wisdom like this one about your center UI:
"The big circle in the middle is telling you where the other ships are on a flat plane in relation to you. The lines/tails under them tell you how above/below you they are. So if there's a square in front of you and has a short line under it, that means that there's a ship/asteroid/celestial body in front of you and is slightly above you."
And also this one:
"On the the left, there's another bar. This bar represents your heat. If it goes above 100%, your ship modules start taking damage. If it goes above 150%, your hull starts taking damage. You should avoid both of those. Damage is bad."
Damage is, indeed, bad.
Beyond that, the guide includes some handy video walkthroughs for things like docking, and it also gives a quick overview of each of the game's main roles. There are even graphs, which is how you know they're not fucking around. People who use graphs do not ever fuck around.
Here's their bit on exploring, which is what I like doing in Elite:
"Exploring is extremely hit or miss. Either you love it, or you hate it. Exploring is a fairly lonely and time-consuming job. The profit you make depends largely on how much data you have to sell, and how unknown the data is. If you have data on an undiscovered system, you can make a very large amount of money. The game will display a tag with the commander's name alongside an astronomical object to show you first discovered and sold this exploration data."
Pretty spot-on, I think.
Anyway, if you're just getting started in Elite and feel totally lost, give this guide a shot. It won't necessarily solve all your problems, but it'll help you get off the ground. One small step, if you will. You know what else took one small step? Walking on the goddamn moon. Also, me getting out of bed this morning. Feel free to use either as your inspiration and role model (and eventual first name in the "special thanks to" section of your uplifting autobiographical novel) during this trying time.
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