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First played Elite back on the old BBC Model B, though never got further than Dangerous. Played Frontier and First Encounters when they came out, and enjoyed them despite the bugs. Again, didn't get past Dangerous. Discovered Oolite accidentally in late 2011 and thoroughly approve. Oolite was the first one where I made it to Elite ranking - probably because there's always something new to do!

Cim took up the baton of Lead Designer and his v1.80 debuted in June 2014. This introduced the Expansions Manager and the .oxz format - which on the one hand made life much easier for newcomers wishing to add expansions - but deterred the less adept from learning how to modify them! Earlier sustained debate about the feebleness of pirates led to the Great AI Revolution where the pirates were greatly 'beefed-up'. A lot of the core of today's Oolite is cim's work, including the Expansions Manager, the Tutorial, the new Javascript-based AI, the incorporation of the new ship models by Griff / Captain Solo, the OpenAL sound support, the multiple lasers, lots of the scripting one finds today and more.

Verson 1.82 came out in May 2015 with slightly dumber pirates due to the continuance of the sustained debate. Around this time cim developed another game using the Oolite mechanics - Song of the Labyrinth.

Cim faded away from being lead maintainer back into the joys of real life around 2015, leaving Another_commander, getafix & Phkb as the surviving designers.

Cim's new map (SOTL Altmap)
The AT systems are uncolonised
Politics, economics, species etc are all different.

Not just OXPS

  • Rewrote the Game code:
Scenario support has been significantly upgraded to let expansion authors make full use of it as their imaginations permit.

Expansion packs can now be restricted to only load in their own Scenarios, which means you can make much bigger changes than before without needing to worry about compatibility with other packs, and do things which just wouldn't have worked before.
 •Make a mini-series of mission OXPs which wouldn't work if the player could bring their own ship and experience, or wander off mid-mission to go and trade for a bit.
 •Set the player in the middle of a major war between powers with definite front lines, regions, and battles - can they still make a living as a trader, pirate or bounty hunter when there's a full-scale Thargoid invasion on, and hundreds of systems have already completely fallen to them.
 •Completely rewrite the galaxies, ships, equipment and rules to make your own new space game with the Oolite engine (see "A New Game" below).
  • Wrote Extracts from the Tre Clan: Oofaction which is available here and is also downloadable as an Equipment OXP in the Expansions Pack Manager for your on-board Ship library (5 introductory lectures about the realities of life as a pilot).
  • Wrote a new History for the Ooniverse which is not dependent on that of the Frontier games.
  • Also analysed the Oolite/Elite universe and how it could have come into being.
  • If you trawl the bulletin board you will find a number of his discussions concerning the future direction of Oolite (some are in links below).

Ideas for making Oolite II a more immersive game - and better for beginners

 El Viejo (Cody) wrote: I reckon Oolite is accessible to new players - it's just that sometimes, the dice roll goes against you. As a_c says, there should always be an element of risk.

Cim replied: I think risk is only fun if there's a way to mitigate it, though. A new player really doesn't have many options for that, at the moment, and a single Cobra I or Moray can be deadly if it fires its missile (which it always does, if the player starts winning). Conversely, for an Elite pilot in a well-equipped ship, there's barely any risk at all, and that's also a problem.

What I'm thinking about at the moment as possibilities is a fairly large set of (semi-independent) changes (and this is semi-stream-of-consciousness first thoughts and talking points, nothing more). Here goes:


(if you think these are wrong, you'll really hate the next section...)

Corporate States (and Democracies, almost as much) should be safe enough for Jamesons to explore and trade up a bit. Safe does not mean "no combat" as in the Diso-Leesti run in Elite, or the Sol-Barnards run in FE2. It just means you need better ways out of a fight than "die" or "kill them all", and routes to use them that are easiest in core systems.
Conversely, Anarchies (and somewhat Feudals) should be very challenging, even to an experienced commander. In BBC Elite, these were "you get one jump drive use, and then it's a running battle the rest of the way to the station". The station is somewhat further away in Oolite, so that's perhaps a little much, but it should never be "easy".
Going off-lane should never be necessary in the core game. Off-lane should be more dangerous than on-lane, not less, at least for plausible routes to the planet. Get way out into deep space and that's perhaps a bit different.


(Some more like the original Elite than we have now, some less like it; probably all controversial)

Adjust system population. At the moment, the populator only changes the number of pirate groups between governments. If it also adjusted the size of the groups and the sorts of ships in them, this would allow greater differentiation between governments. (differentiate to role=pirate-weak, role=pirate-medium, role=pirate-strong, role=pirate-freighter or similar?)
Adjust pirate behaviour. At the moment, all pirates are generated on system entry, sit on the spacelane until they're killed or full, and once they're gone, they're gone. If, instead, they came in to the spacelane from bases outside it (off-lane pirate coves/hermits, witchspacing from nearby systems, suitable OXP stations) the running battle feel might be there in dangerous systems It also gives more space for off-lane to be the dangerous bit with the pirates raiding into it. Make pirates reassess the odds mid-fight, too - if you kill half a pack, the rest might try to retreat, or they might go after you personally for revenge and ignore their original trader targets. Dice...
Adjust trader behaviour. Allow trader groups to help out each other against pirate attack sometimes. In a safe system, if you get attacked by a pirate, maybe a nearby trader will help you out. (Or even more sophisticated: let the player somehow negotiate escort or mutual protection deals as they go along? let traders do the same with each other and passing bounty hunters?)
Improve group cooperation: If someone fires a missile at a friendly, and they don't have ECM but you do, ECM it for them! Needs the player to be made a honorary member of a trader group, but this can give a way out of "Oh, they launched a missile. Sorry, you're dead." provided they can keep up their end of the deal and keep the Boa alive.
Widen the spacelane, at least in safe systems. Put multiple Coriolis's in orbit, and let inbound traders pick one. Some work needed to make them all be the main station (so you can't go to one, buy 10TC, go to the next, buy 10TC, etc.) This makes the spacelane wider, which both reduces mass-locking on the way in, and also makes you safer if you stick to the middle (which is where police and bounty hunters will patrol) because pirates have more patrolled space to get through to see you. In dangerous systems, probably everyone will stick to the narrower bit until they reach the planet, and then split up.
Estimate the player's role: At the moment the game engine (approximately) treats the player as having role=trader. Even if they're a hardened pirate, or a famous bounty hunter, or flying a ship with no cargo hold. It should be possible to watch their actions and assign them the role that best fits their reputation. (So one very easy way to avoid being killed by pirates: join them). This can go back to trader behaviour above - if you get a reputation for helping out fellow traders in a fix, maybe they'll help you out too.
Give NPCs shields: ...but to even the odds, also give them systems damage, same as the player (or the Griff Krait). Once they start taking systems damage, there's a good chance that they'll be very combat averse and just try to reach a friendly port, or perhaps even jump straight out of the system, so scaring off a pirate by blowing chunks out of its hull doesn't just buy you a few minutes until it comes back. This might actually make quite a few ships easier - a basic shield is weaker than most NPC energy reserves, so you can probably scare it off with fewer shots, even if finishing it off is trickier ... and they might start retreating before firing missiles, so Jamesons without ECM could let them go. Conversely a proper pirate pack or a freighter's escort wing can cover each other to let shields recharge ... but you'd usually have to be looking for trouble to fight those

Extra core features needed

(Some of these you might recognise from elsewhere, and there are obviously more general uses)

More flexible, probably JS-based, system populator.
Much higher-level AI language. (JS, yes, but probably a nice AI library on top of that so that it doesn't require fifty lines of code just to fly from A to B, reacting sensibly to things on the way)
Internal damage model for NPCs (and ideas about what damaging an NPC's Multi-Targeting System might actually achieve)
Allegiance model beyond ship groups and roles; more flexibility on player's perceived role 

The above was taken from Split: Difficulty for new players (Jan 2013)

Some of this was addressed in his revisions of v.1.80 & v.1.82, such as the piratical demand for booty which if addressed prevents a fight.

Catalyst OXPs

Cim wrote several OXPs with the hope that they might be taken up by others and expanded upon.

  • New Cargoes: New Cargoes is designed to allow other OXPs to add cargoes, traders, and events to the universe as a framework, in addition to the cargoes and opportunities including in New Cargoes itself.
  • Communications Pack A: Communications Pack A is licensed very freely, and extensively commented inside. It is intended for adaptation and copying of the framework for other authors to make Communications Packs B, C, D, etc. with different personalities and speech patterns.
  • Galactic Misjump OXP: reach intergalactic space, if you dare. (Needs someone with more time to make something more interesting of it - it's just a proof-of-concept at the moment)
  • Camera Drones Camera Drones allows the definition of extra drone cameras by other OXPs. Read the readme file in the OXP download for more information.


I have far more ideas for OXPs than I have time to implement, but here's what I've released so far. Ones with a  have been released in OXZ format for automatic download in Oolite 1.79 or later. All of them require Oolite 1.76 (or at least are untested in earlier versions) - where a later version is required this is noted in brackets.
New Cargoes
(RRS Group) Rescue Station
System Features: Rings
Hyperspace travel in SOTL Exploration
Spectroscopic scanner in SOTL Exploration
Fitting new engines in SOTL Altmap
New Markets in SOTL Altmap

Missions and activities

  • New Cargoes† - over 100 new cargoes to trade in, and a variety of additional cargo contracts.
  • Curse of the Black Sunspot† - a mission OXP set in G3 (1.77).
  • Rescue Stations† - a new organisation and station for stable systems, with a variety of missions available there (now maintained with graphics updates and more by Spara).
  • Combat Simulator† - try out your ship in simulated dogfights.
  • Galactic Misjump OXP - If you can get to interstellar space by misjumping between two systems, then you should be able to get to intergalactic space by misjumping between two galaxies...

Variety and visual interest

Difficulty increases

  • Skilled NPCs† - make the NPC opponents fight more effectively (1.77)
  • Risk Based Economy - makes trade prices depend on government as well as economy (1.77)
  • Fair Cobra III - upgrade the NPC Cobra IIIs to match the player ship specification

Equipment items

  • Camera Drones† - some animated external views for your ship (1.77)
  • Energy Bomb† - an implementation of the old superweapon (1.77)


Retired OXPs

These are OXPs I wrote once but no longer maintain. Feel free to take over any of them if you want!

  • Talkative Space Compass - an upgrade to the Advanced Space Compass (Oolite v.1.79 has a HUD component which does the same thing better)
  • Enhanced Misjumps - an extra graphical effect for misjumps. (Other OXPs do misjump visual effects much better, and I'm not even sure if this one still works in v.1.79)
  • Galactic Misjumps - reach intergalactic space, if you dare. (Needs someone with more time to make something more interesting of it - it's just a proof-of-concept at the moment)

2 New Games: Song of the Labyrinth

  • SOTL Exploration - a totally different universe to explore from Oolite's standard 8 charts. These are not just rewrites of the gaming mechanism with a different look like Strangers World, but different games with different goals and equipment.
SOTL Exploration - Save your dying human colony by prospecting for the resources needed to reach and settle new worlds!
SOTL Altmap - Explore a new galaxy with different species, different commodities and differently equipped ships!

Testing OXPs

I also have a few OXPs for testing new features in Oolite. OXP writers and testers may find these OXPs useful for quick access to the features and example code, but they're probably of no interest for actual gameplay.

Oolite 1.77


  • See discussion in Lore