There are three types of contracts available: cargo, parcel and passenger. These contracts are accessed through the F4 Interfaces screen, via the "Cargo contract deliveries", "Parcel contract deliveries" and "Passenger contract deliveries" items. The quantity and quality of any contracts is variable and dependant on a number of factors (position of the planet in the galactic sector, experience of the pilot, available space on the ship, etc).
Contracts are automatically completed when you dock at the destination station. Depending on the result, a message will be added to your arrival report, informing you of the result and the amount of any payment made to you (if applicable).
You must dock at the main station to complete contracts. Docking at a Rock Hermit or an OXP station will not complete contracts.
It is rumoured that if one build up a good and reliable reputation that these contracts can eventually become incredibly lucrative. Good reputations are easily lost though!
Cargo contracts involve taking a prescribed amount of a certain commodity to another system within a given timeframe. Bonuses may be paid if the delivery is completed ahead of time. Arriving late, or with less than the contracted amount of cargo, could result in a reduced payment, or no payment at all. As contracts are completed successfully, your reputation as a cargo pilot will increase and better contracts may be offered.
You must have sufficient cargo space to take the full delivery amount in order to accept the contract.
If you lose part of your cargo on route to the destination, you can buy any shortfall amounts wherever you can. As long as you arrive with the full cargo amount before the deadline, the contract will be completed successfully.
- To view all the available cargo contracts, open the "Cargo contract deliveries" F4 interface.
- Items displayed with a gray color are not available for the player for various reasons (insufficient resources, insufficient cargo space, and low reputation are the most common reasons). Items displayed in yellow are available to the player. If only one contract is available, the details of the contract will be displayed immediately. Otherwise, select a contract and press "Enter" to view the details.
- The destination will be displayed on the system map, and if the ANA is installed, the route will also be shown, and menu options will allow the route mode to be switched from "quickest" to "shortest". Details about the contract will be shown here, including estimates on how long the voyage will likely take, how much must be paid in advance, and how much will be paid on completion.
Parcel contracts involve taking a small item, like some legal documents or sporting videos, to another system within a given timeframe. Because these parcels do not take up cargo space, you can accept as many of them as you believe you can deliver. Bonuses may be paid if the delivery is completed ahead of time. Arriving late will result in no payment at all. As contracts are completed successfully, your reputation as a courier will increase and better contracts may be offered.
Parcels will be taken with you if you are forced to use an escape pod.
Care must be taken when accepting parcel contracts. Some contracts have a higher degree of risk and could attract the attention of assassins.
- To view all the available parcel contracts, open the "Parcel contract deliveries" F4 interface.
- Items displayed with a gray color are not available for the player for various reasons (low reputation is the most common reason). Items displayed in yellow are available to the player. If only one contract is available, the details of the contract will be displayed immediately. Otherwise, select a contract and press "Enter" to view the details.
- The destination will be displayed on the system map, and if the ANA is installed, the route will also be shown, and menu options will allow the route mode to be switched from "quickest" to "shortest". Details about the contract will be shown here, including estimates on how long the voyage will likely take, and how much will be paid on completion.
Passenger contracts involved ferrying passengers from one system to another within a given timeframe. You must have passenger berths installed in your ship in order to accept contracts, and you can only accept one contract per passenger berth. Bonuses may be paid if the delivery is completed ahead of time. Arriving late will result in no payment at all. As contracts are completed successfully, your reputation as a passenger transporter will increase and better contracts may be offered.
Passengers will be taken with you if you are forced to use an escape pod.
Care must be taken when accepting passenger contracts. Some passengers have a higher degree of risk and could attract the attention of assassins.
- To view all the available passenger contracts, open the "Passenger contract deliveries" F4 interface.
- Items displayed with a gray color are not available for the player for various reasons (insufficient passenger berths, and low reputation are the most common reasons). Items displayed in yellow are available to the player. If only one contract is available, the details of the contract will be displayed immediately. Otherwise, select a contract and press "Enter" to view the details.
- The destination will be displayed on the system map, and if the ANA is installed, the route will also be shown, and menu options will allow the route mode to be switched from "quickest" to "shortest". Details about the contract will be shown here, including estimates on how long the voyage will likely take, how much will be paid in advance, and how much will be paid on completion.
See Career Options for more verbiage
- For older Oolite versions: Equipment Aide OXP underlays a chart telling roughly how much time it takes to install new equipment from the F3 screen (the newer Oolite versions give exact times automatically)
- Cargo Contract Mod OXP makes cargo contracts a little more profitable
- Display Current Course adds the current plotted course to all new contract detail pages, enabling one to see if a new contract is on a similar path to what is presently plotted.
Several OXP's offer additional types of contracts to the player. 'Contracts' in this context are understood to be repeatable, variable, optional missions that aren't part of a single-play, once-only mission. These are:
- Enhanced Passenger Contracts - more picky passengers who want to avoid fights, anarchies and feline worlds! And change their minds half-way through!
- GalCop Missions
- Escort Contracts
- Rescue Stations
- Random Hits
- In-System Taxi
- Mining Contracts
- Smugglers - The Galactic Underworld
- Taxi Galactica
Bulletin Board System
The Bulletin Board System can be used to combine all the standard contracts, and most of the OXP contracts, into one view, rather than having a different F4 interface screen for each one, by using the Bulletin Board Contracts OXP.
- The 127 Limit 2006-9; moves on to discussing cargo contracts and then to passenger contracts
Tales from the spacelanes...
Man oh man.. what a day. I'm still shaking.
Things all started smoothly enough. I'd taken delivery of my brand new, built-to-order Yellowbelly Racer, in lovely red & yellow livery. It had Naval Shield Boosters, a Naval Energy Unit & Grid, fore & aft Shield Capacitors, shield-balancing circuitry, fully integrated Anti Missile Systems, as well as all the normal running gear, and 6 passenger berths. I tell you, she was one smokin' lil' honey..
She's still smoking now.. although thankfully the dock hangar crew got the fires under control pretty quickly.
And all that expensive gear? Worth every Credit. Without it, I mightn't be here.. or at least, I might be, but not the 6 passengers I had aboard, for sure.
I'd heard word of a group of people in some out of the way spot in G1 called Legees, who were having trouble getting a lift out of system, so I cruised on down to see if I could help.. for a price, of course. Sure enough, they were still there.. 5 assorted characters, all humanoid, who just wanted to get home.. "home" being a string of planets scattered most of the way across the chart. After less than the usual amount of dickering over the fares (hey, they were getting desperate) we were off. A couple of pit-stops later, I found an occupant for the empty berth, and after that, every time I dropped somebody off, I had no problem finding another occupant for the newly-vacated cabin.
All was going well, despite the occasional deep-space pirate who insisted on proving he was better at dying than I was. And then came passenger-drop #3. Zadies. A nice enough place, despite the solar flares. But a multi-government world. Always squabbling over something. In retrospect, I should have expected trouble. Not that I see where I could have done things much differently than I did.
We had a nice comfortable cruise in from the witch-point beacon. I wasn't sweating things because I was a good 60 hours ahead of schedule. When the Station Aegis light came up on the control panel, I fired up the comms unit and called Zadies Traffic Control to request a docking slot. No problemo, the operator assured me.. there were a few ships about to depart, but once they'd cleared, I could come right on in.
I was about to go inform the passenger, one Esth Ilit, that he'd be home very shortly, when something on the scanner got my attention. The first ship out of the dock, a small fighter, was an offender. (Being the trusting sort that I am, I'd had a Police-band IFF scanner installed. I like to know who I'm sharing space with) Nothing terribly unusual about that, to be sure, but the next fighter to emerge was also an offender. The pair of Vipers loafing about the area didn't seem concerned, however, so I figured maybe they just had a couple of outstanding tickets or something.
Just as I shrug it off as a case of nerves, out pops a Griff Boa Prototype! I'd heard of these babies, but never thought I'd see one. There can't be more than a couple of dozen of them in the entire Eight. And he's a fugitive! The two fighters form up around him, as does the next ship out of the station, a Fer-de-Lance, also offender status.
Despite the apparent disinterest the Vipers were displaying, and the non-aggressive motions of the four ships, a chill ran down my spine. There was nothing I could put my finger on, but I had the feeling things were about to get unpleasant.
For maybe another 10-15 seconds I watched, as the other ships in the Aegis, maybe half a dozen or so, all went about their normal business. Everything looked so normal. If you can call a hulking great battle-wagon bristling with turrets, and a bad rep to boot, normal...
And then he opened up on me..
"Why me?", part of my mind was screaming.. we'd never met, and of all the ships in the area, perhaps 10 at least, he opens fire on me? WTF?!? I could hear the lasers hitting the shields, see the blue flares on the view-screen, and I hurriedly cancel the docking program I'd set up on the nav-puter. The emergency siren is howling, and I hope the passengers haven't left their cabins yet, otherwise they're gonna be bouncing off the walls very soon. With one hand I strap myself back into my seat, as the other shoves the throttle all the way to the 'emergency acceleration' stop.
I glance up at the screen again, and Oh sweet Giles be good, plasma balls are erupting from the Boa! Wrenching the stick over, I throw us into a spiralling path away from the destruction heading at us. What direction? I have no idea. Had I had more presence of mind, I might have tried to put the Station between my ship and that homicidal maniac, but I was still in shock. I seem to recall slapping the Comms button and yelling at the controller, but I doubt I was making much sense to her, either.
Where in Hades are the *@!$# COPS?!?!? Isn't it their job to stop this kind of thing? Thanks be to Lord Giles, I never 'safe' my weapons before docking.. the first laser strike on the shields was enough for my fancy targeting computer to put a missile lock on the Boa, so I thumb the missile button on my stick, and a hardhead goes streaking away. With luck, it'll provide some diversion, at least. I fight the urge to call up Esth Ilit on the Comms, and inform him that the Station has decided to throw a little war, to celebrate his return. Oh man.. maybe that's it.. what if he's the real target here?
By now the Boa's friends are getting into the act as well.. my shields are taking a hammering. I fire a long burst from the forward mil-laser into the Ferdy, and red-line it. I twist and weave, playing the stick and throttle for all I'm worth, and remind myself to watch my fire carefully. The last thing I want to do is hit the Station and piss off the Vipers as well.
The shield capacitors are drained, and the shields are dropping alarmingly.. Geez how I hate being close to plasma turrets! What do I do? This has really thrown me for a loop. The fog in my brain begins to clear a little.. INJECTORS! I have INJECTORS!
This stroke of genius is accompanied by a wild, crazy idea.. one which I have no time to assess for actual value. If I just bug out, those sons-of-b*****s are gonna chase me, sure as sure.. and how fast is a Griff Boa? No idea, but I'll bet it can keep up with me.. and he'll have full tanks, whereas I only have a couple of lights left.
No time to think about it. I point the Racer straight at Zadies, and mash the injectors hard. Atmosphere, baby!!! Here we come! Lets see them follow me through the soup!
For what seems like long seconds, the planet below seems to be drawing no nearer. Shields are dropping below 15% under the pounding from the turrets, and lasers are flying past us on all sides. At last I can see the ground getting closer, and it's not just the altimeter telling me so. We hit atmosphere, and the cabin temp starts to climb. Screaming straight down at 2.5 kilometres per second, the ground comes up fast... temp and altitude are both flashing red as I haul back on the stick and pray we pull out before cratering in. For anyone watching from the ground, the plummeting fireball must have been spectacular..
A glance at the scanner tells me I still have one ship on my tail. A laser-bolt hits me, and that's all I need to have a missile-lock. I thumb a hardhead at him and pull up. Being down here in the thick stuff is no place for a space ship. I become aware of the shouting in my headset. Seems Mr Ilit has had enough excitement for one day. If he's not aboard the Station in TWO minutes, I can forget about the balance of his fare!
Laughing maniacally, I briefly contemplate shoving him out the airlock, sans-parachute. He'd be home before he knew it.. The blue sky fades to black.. opportunity lost. Then, with a loud "f*** it", something snaps in my head. I line up on the Station, and hit the injectors. Death or glory, do or die time.
The shields are back at full strength again. The NEU is one nice bit of gear, I'll give it that. As we get near the Station, I check the clock. 65 seconds. I try to line up on the beacon, but there's too much clutter on the scanner. There must be a dozen Vipers and as many or more other ships whirling around. Things have turned into a regular furball, by the looks. Guesstimating where the beacon probably is, I head for that spot. I'm going to dock under injectors, under fire.. something I've never done before, and I want to be aligned as best I can.
Going by the noise and the rate the shields are dropping, everyone dropped whatever they were doing to concentrate their fire on me. In the unlikely event that I live through this, I plan on having a very frank discussion with that Esth Ilit character.
25 seconds. Lined up or not, I've got to make the turn. Shields 50%. The shields are flaring so badly I can barely see the docking port. Halfway to the slot, I can see I'm at far too much of an angle to get inside. I let go of the injectors and angle away to get a better position. I can't afford to overshoot. Swinging the nose back towards the dock, I take a deep breath, punch the injectors and try, very unsteadily, to match rotation.
To my utter amazement, we don't even touch the deck or walls once before the never-so-welcome break-pattern appears.
I don't know how long I sat there, alternately giggling to myself and laughing hysterically, but by the time I trusted my rubbery legs to carry me down from the bridge, Esth Ilit was long gone. The money, and a polite note thanking me for an "interesting" ride, was on the table in his cabin.
Feeling a sudden need to get completely and utterly obliterated, I went in search of a bar.