The Complete TEST Squadron Mining Guide - V3.3.6

Black Sunder

Rock Raiders
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Jun 19, 2014
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Black_Sunder
#1
The TEST Squadron Mining Guide (Thanks to @Printimus for editing this)

Getting Started with Mining - The Prospector



The Prospector is the starting ship for the Mining Industry. It is a small but rugged ship capable of mining small boulders or small asteroids. It is meant for the solo miner. For defense, it comes with a small shield generator and a pair of S1 distortion repeaters, but it is not meant for combat. For extracting precious ore, it carries a variable energy mining laser and has 32 SCU of storage. Later on, additional functionality will be added such as detachable saddlebags and an on board filter system.

The General Scanner



The scanning system is commonly accessed, like any other ship, using the ‘Tab’ Key while using a mouse and keyboard. Upon entering Scan mode, the flight interface completely disappears, so be cautious of your surroundings. Press and hold down the left mouse button to charge the scanner and upon getting to 100%, release the button. A blue wave effect(a ping) will originate from the ship and spread outwards, looking for radar contacts. Any mineable materials within(10Km) will show up in large blue boxes and in the center have a distance to the material. Upon closer examination (within 700m), a rock icon will appear on the HUD. This effect is short lived and may require more than one ping to narrow the location down. The scanner can be tuned to scan sharper angles and scan further by pressing the Modifier Key(usually Left Alt if using the advanced keyboard & mouse configuration settings) and then scrolling the mouse wheel up or down to set the angle. This is most useful on the surface where you only need to scan in front and to the side.


The scanner also has another function. (1)Upon getting close enough to an asteroid or rock that can be mined, the scanner will tell you an approximate composition of the materials inside. This is not perfect and should be treated with some skepticism. Generally the lowest number is what the rock contains overall while the high number is what a fragment could contain. Precise measurements are best taken with the ship’s mining scanner which is detailed further below. For a quick look estimate though, the general scanner works fine and will let you make a good decision about whether or not the materials inside are worth mining.

There are some drawbacks of the general scanner, however. First of all, it does consume power and charging it increases your signature. Secondly, charging to less than 100% can lead to shortened scan range. Lastly, a ping will also dramatically increases ship signature on radar to anyone nearby, which may attract unwanted attention.

Finding The Goods

General Locations to Mine
Mineable asteroids can be found anywhere in the ‘Verse where asteroid fields are present, particularly around large asteroids or old mining sites. On the surface of moons and planets look for valleys, canyons, and hills to have the best chance of discovery. There is no easy way to find a high value rock, it just takes a lot of searching.

Determining Value and General Compositions
Always extract only the highest concentrations of the rarest elements possible that you can find. Depending on how much time you have to play, mining extremely high concentrations of lower value minerals may be more profitable in the long run than searching a long time for the more rare elements if the sell location is close by.

To determine yield values it is best to have a resource available that tracks those values. At this time VerseMate seems to do the best job of keeping up with these numbers both for ore and other marketable items.

Fracturing & Extraction

The Mining Interface: What does it Mean?

Pulling up the Mining Interface using the ‘M’ key while mouse & keyboard(‘/’ for advanced controls) presents and entirely new UI to the user and extends the Mining Laser forward. It also shifts the flight mode of the ship into Precision Mode which means your speed and maneuverability are the same as if you had landing gear down.

The first thing to note is that the interface is divided into three areas from left to right. Starting from the left:


  1. The Energy Transfer Graph has very little value except to show visually how the rock is reacting the input energy.
  2. Instability is how volatile the rock can be. High instability will mean you need to frequently and carefully adjust your Laser Throttle to prevent overload. Resistance is a % of how much input energy the rock can immediately absorb without it reacting at all.
  3. Laser Throttle is the energy you’re inputting into the rock. This is adjusted in 1/10 increments increments via the scroll wheel on the mouse.
  4. Rock Energy Level shows how the rock is reacting to the input energy in order to fracture it. The Blue Zone means it is not reacting at all. The Green Zone is the sweet spot and will allow for fracturing. This is where the rock is reacting and fracturing safely. The Red Zone is the danger zone and the rock will explode violently if the energy level is kept here too long.
  5. Rock Type. This classification varies between asteroids and surface rocks.
  6. Your cursor.
  7. Mode: Fracture or Extraction. The cursor will outline mineable rocks. Gold/Orange means the rock needs to be fractured. A purple outline means that the rock is ready for extraction.
  8. Mass of the rock and composition.
  9. Cargo Capacity and how full it is.
  10. The Fracturing Sensor tells you how close the rock is to splitting apart. When it reaches 100% it will fracture apart into individual rocks which can either be fractured further or extracted. It is important that you keep your Rock Energy level in the Green Zone to accomplish this. If your Rock Energy Level deviates into the Blue or Red Zone then the Fracturing Sensor’s level will decrease quickly.
  11. The Overcharge Sensor indicates how much excess energy is being dumped into the rock and is leading toward an explosive reaction. If this sensor reaches 100% the rock will explode and depending on the distance away from your ship may severely damage or destroy it. The Overcharge Sensor in contrast to the Fracturing Sensor bleeds off energy very slowly. This means that if you do manage to fracture the rock but have acquired any overcharge then the fragments will be more inclined to fly away from each other rather than stay close together. If the rock is Overcharged then you will lose that % of the ore even if you manage to eventually get a successful fracture. Repeated hitting of this red zone may lose you all of the valuable elements or minerals you were originally going for.
Mining Laser Power Factors

There are four major factors that can impede or augment a laser’s energy input into the chosen rock:
  1. Laser Throttle% - The throttle is the most important factor which allows the most control over the entire sequence of mining. The more energy dumped in, the more likely the rock will fracture, assuming the fracture meter was kept in the Green Zone. This is the easiest factor to judge because there is immediate feedback to the user when looking at the Rock Energy Level. Rocks generally require a lot of input from the laser to begin the fracturing process, however, once the Rock Energy Level is in the Green Zone, much less input energy is required to maintain the optimal levels. Monitor and adjust the input depending on how the rock reacts for a successful fracture.
  2. Distance - Distance from the rock is the second most important factor and the second easiest to adjust. The further away from the rock the ship is, the more energy the laser dissipates and is unable to transfer to the targeted rock. When the ship is close enough to the rock to physically bump into it, minimum energy is lost through dissipation. Judge distance wisely, for if the ship is too close the rock may cause damage upon fracture, too far away and the laser will struggle to make any impact. The correct distance can usually be attained by making sure the targeted rock fills up the circular display on the HUD in mining mode.
  3. Rock Resistance - The resistance of the rock to be mined, is relative to the amount of energy it can absorb. More power is needed on high Resistance rocks and vice versa on lower resistances. High resistance rocks may require two or more Prospectors to break apart. As an example, if the energy input at point of impact was 100 units, and the rock’s resistance was 50% it would only be getting 50 units to work with. Resistance can also be a good factor in judging what distance is necessary in order to mine the rock.
  4. Rock Mass - Rocks vary in mass, from the large to the small which can immediately be extracted. The greater the mass, the more energy will be needed to begin a reaction for a fracture. This also means that rocks with a high mass, see their Rock Energy levels rise very slowly unless they have a high Instability factor. Fractured rocks can be found with low mass that require much less power to fracture for a second time, once initially split from the original rock, even if the resistance is high.
Fracturing The Rock

First, find a good distance, generally where the ship has a view of the entire rock and then turn the laser on. For keyboard and mouse this will be the left mouse button. Clicking it again will immediately turn the laser off. Keep this in mind. Start increasing power to the Laser Throttle via the scroll wheel on the mouse until the Rock Energy level meter is able to move into the Green Zone. On larger rocks, one can usually go max power and then adjust down from there, but on smaller fractures, start slow. During fracturing, distance adjustment may be necessary to mitigate laser energy loss or possible damage to the ship.

Once the Green Zone has been attained, start dialing the Laser Throttle back to maintain the Rock Energy Level inside that Zone. If the Red Zone is breached, immediately decrease power, turn the laser away from the asteroid, or cut power all-together completely and restart again. Keep in mind that going into the Red Zone not only destroys the contents of the asteroid but also increases the explosive potential of the rock if and when it finally does fracture. Destruction of a rock’s contents is cumulative. While in the Red Zone, the asteroid will act similar to nuclear reaction, building potential energy, and building it very quickly until an explosive end. At a high enough level, cutting power will do nothing and the reaction will be self sustaining causing an explosion.

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The X Factor: Instability


The instability of the rock varies depending on elemental and mineral content and the percentage concentration of each type present in the rock. Instability determines the severity of fluctuation in the Rock Energy Level meter. It will cause Rock Energy Levels to move sporadically, and not always in the direction intended, which will require fast and careful adjustment to the Laser Throttle and/or Distance. Instability can go up, down, and even stay stable for a short time. High Instability means greatly increased difficulty. Low instability means the rock will be predictable and relatively easy to fracture.
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Once mastery of staying inside the Green Zone is attained, the only thing left to do is wait until the Fracturing Sensor fills up and the rock breaks apart the first time. This fracturing process will need to be repeated on any rock that has a mass above ~300(outlined in gold/yellow) to finally break it down enough for extraction(outlined in purple). Please note that rocks small enough for extraction can not be broken down further and attempting to do so will cause them to be destroyed in the process.

Extraction & Selling

To change Modes right click the mouse to enter Extraction Mode, from Fracturing Mode. In Extraction Mode, the Mining Scanner is still available to get precise measurements of rock composition.To activate the Extraction Laser and Tractor Beam, left click the mouse. The Extraction Laser and Tractor Beam will power off automatically after a rock fragment has been completely extracted. Any rock can be extracted into the cargo hold so long as its Mass is under ~300. These rocks will also be outlined in purple. Hover the cursor over each rock and inspect them for desired elements. Fractured rocks have a variable percentage composition of what original rock contained. It is possible that fracturing will yield a 100% pure rock. Generally, the more pure a rock is, the less mass it will have. High concentrations and uncommon elements in unrefined ore sell better in order to reward efforts put forth. It is up to the miner to decide personal thresholds and how much time one is willing to commit to the hunt.



After finishing the last extraction and a cargo hold full of valuable ores is acquired it is time to sell. All of the major landing zones currently purchase extracted ores, these include Grim Hex, Levski, Port Olisar, and Lorville. The terminals for them vary but are always near an Admin desk. Go up to the terminal and select the ship with a full cargo-hold and sell the ore. A listing of what percentage of each mineral and element make up the entire cargo will be shown. Inert Materials bring next to no money while the other entries bring various amounts as determined by their sell price and % in the cargo-hold.

Continued below.
 
Last edited:

Black Sunder

Rock Raiders
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Jun 19, 2014
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Black_Sunder
#2
Strategies for Hard to Crack Rocks

The vast majority of small, common rocks will be easy enough for a new person to fracture and extract. Other, more difficult rocks, will require additional strategy or possibly a second person to help.

Case 1: Very High Instability Rocks:



Strategy 1 - Single Person

In this scenario, get close to the rock for more control over the energy input. Keep the Laser Throttle at a level in the middle or low end of the Green Zone. Constant adjustment to the Laser Throttle to stay ahead of the fluctuations will be necessary. When Rock Energy level goes down, increase power. When it jumps up, decrease power and so forth. This will take a lot of practice to get a feel for it. The only 2 sensors to be watching are Laser Throttle and Rock Energy level. Keep at it until it breaks. If the rock goes into the Red Zone and begins to Overload, it is ok as long as it only blips the sensor. If it starts overloading significantly, then cut power and immediately back the ship away from the rock. This rock likely won’t have anything significantly worth mining in it afterwards. Cut losses and move on.

Strategy 2 - Double Team

In this scenario a second Prospector is needed. One person will put their laser Throttle up to a point where the Rock Energy level stays in the Blue Zone just below the green. The second person will then turn their laser on and slowly increase the throttle. They are adding a very small amount of power in order to make the Rock Energy Level hit the Green Zone. Because they are dealing with such a small power set, it will be easy to maintain a certain level for fracture with little chance of going into the Red Zone. At worst, the second person cuts power completely to stop energy from reaching the Red Zone causing Rock Power Level to decrease and maintain at a lower level allowing for another try. This strategy will need good communication between both miners to work effectively, but is much safer than Strategy 1.

Strategy 3 - The Start and Stop

This scenario involves pushing the Rock Energy Level into the Green Zone as quickly as possible and then completely shutting the mining laser off to prevent it from going into the Red Zone. Then, just as quickly, the mining laser is turned back on and the Laser Throttle is ramped back up to a level that keeps the Rock Energy level in the Green Zone before deactivating it again, starting the process over. The point of this is an attempt to prevent the rock’s high instability from becoming too much of a factor since the rock will not have time to react to the energy input while keeping the rock in the Green Zone. This method is not foolproof, but through some surveying, this strategy works more often than not, even with an instability of 5+.

Case 2: Rock with High Resistance and High Mass

In this scenario rocks are found to have extremely high Resistance and Mass. Simply put: have patience. Get as close to the rock as possible turn the laser on full power. Overclocking the laser might even be necessary. The rock should slowly begin to show a change in its Rock Energy level. Keep at it until the Green Zone is hit and then keep the energy at the desired level for fracturing. When it gets close to fracturing, back off to avoid damage. If this does not work, then the rock requires more power than a single Prospector can give. See the Double Team strategy above.

Case 3: Surface Rocks cling together upon fracture

In this scenario, a rock is on the surface of a moon or planet and has been fractured but stubbornly refuses to come apart after initial fracture, making it very difficult to inspect each fragment. Solution: purposefully overload one of the fragments to explode it. To do so, first find the lowest concentration fragment that is not wanted, secondly, before turning the laser on, increase the throttle to 100%, then aim it at the unwanted rock and turn it on. Once it begins to overload, immediately back the ship off in reverse at full speed to a safe distance while keeping the laser pointed at the fragment before turning the laser off. Wait for the fragment to explode before going back. This explosion should have spread the other fragments around a bit allowing further inspection and fracture with ease. If a piece has flown too far away, use the General Scanner to passively check for anything within 700 meters or so and back the ship up to a higher altitude. Be aware that gravity on different surfaces affects the distance the fragments may travel upon explosion.

Other Tips & Tricks

Good Mining Locations - Look for large clustered asteroids that have nebula-like dust clouds inside them such as those around Grim Hex to find a significant number of asteroids to mine. On the surface of moons/planets check around any Mining Outposts or canyons and crevices as well.

Getting back to Lorville fast - When entering the atmosphere above Lorville cut your engine power and freefall until you're about 30km from the surface before flying normally to the landing zone. This is approximately 4 times faster than flying down under power.

Saving Fuel while Surface Mining - To save fuel while skimming the surface of a moon or planet simply put your landing gear down. This engages your VTOL which uses far less fuel than your main engines.

If you have questions, comments, tips, tricks, please post them and they may be integrated into the Guide.
 
Last edited:

CosmicTrader

Grand Admiral
Officer
Oct 30, 2015
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CosmicTrader
#6
Great Guide
Laid out in an Easy-to Follow manner with excellent infomation.
Although I have done lots of mining (testing of course), I found this guide to be quite helpful.
Thanks for taking the time to share with us TESTies.

Rock Raiders --- well ROCKS. 😍
*** This needs to be PINNED for Future use *** @SeungRyul
 

VFV

Rear Admiral
Nov 29, 2017
277
1,115
300
RSI Handle
Vfv
#13
Strategies for Hard to Crack Rocks

The vast majority of small, common rocks will be easy enough for a new person to fracture and extract. Other, more difficult rocks, will require additional strategy or possibly a second person to help.

Case 1: Very High Instability Rocks:



Strategy 1 - Single Person

In this scenario, get close to the rock for more control over the energy input. Keep the Laser Throttle at a level in the middle or low end of the Green Zone. Constant adjustment to the Laser Throttle to stay ahead of the fluctuations will be necessary. When Rock Energy level goes down, increase power. When it jumps up, decrease power and so forth. This will take a lot of practice to get a feel for it. The only 2 sensors to be watching are Laser Throttle and Rock Energy level. Keep at it until it breaks. If the rock goes into the Red Zone and begins to Overload, it is ok as long as it only blips the sensor. If it starts overloading significantly, then cut power and immediately back the ship away from the rock. This rock likely won’t have anything significantly worth mining in it afterwards. Cut losses and move on.

Strategy 2 - Double Team

In this scenario a second Prospector is needed. One person will put their laser Throttle up to a point where the Rock Energy level stays in the Blue Zone just below the green. The second person will then turn their laser on and slowly increase the throttle. They are adding a very small amount of power in order to make the Rock Energy Level hit the Green Zone. Because they are dealing with such a small power set, it will be easy to maintain a certain level for fracture with little chance of going into the Red Zone. At worst, the second person cuts power completely to stop energy from reaching the Red Zone causing Rock Power Level to decrease and maintain at a lower level allowing for another try. This strategy will need good communication between both miners to work effectively, but is much safer than Strategy 1.

Strategy 3 - The Start and Stop

This scenario involves pushing the Rock Energy Level into the Green Zone as quickly as possible and then completely shutting the mining laser off to prevent it from going into the Red Zone. Then, just as quickly, the mining laser is turned back on and the Laser Throttle is ramped back up to a level that keeps the Rock Energy level in the Green Zone before deactivating it again, starting the process over. The point of this is an attempt to prevent the rock’s high instability from becoming too much of a factor since the rock will not have time to react to the energy input while keeping the rock in the Green Zone. This method is not foolproof, but through some surveying, this strategy works more often than not, even with an instability of 5+.

Case 2: Rock with High Resistance and High Mass

In this scenario rocks are found to have extremely high Resistance and Mass. Simply put: have patience. Get as close to the rock as possible turn the laser on full power. Overclocking the laser might even be necessary. The rock should slowly begin to show a change in its Rock Energy level. Keep at it until the Green Zone is hit and then keep the energy at the desired level for fracturing. When it gets close to fracturing, back off to avoid damage. If this does not work, then the rock requires more power than a single Prospector can give. See the Double Team strategy above.

Case 3: Surface Rocks cling together upon fracture

In this scenario, a rock is on the surface of a moon or planet and has been fractured but stubbornly refuses to come apart after initial fracture, making it very difficult to inspect each fragment. Solution: purposefully overload one of the fragments to explode it. To do so, first find the lowest concentration fragment that is not wanted, secondly, before turning the laser on, increase the throttle to 100%, then aim it at the unwanted rock and turn it on. Once it begins to overload, immediately back the ship off in reverse at full speed to a safe distance while keeping the laser pointed at the fragment before turning the laser off. Wait for the fragment to explode before going back. This explosion should have spread the other fragments around a bit allowing further inspection and fracture with ease. If a piece has flown too far away, use the General Scanner to passively check for anything within 700 meters or so and back the ship up to a higher altitude. Be aware that gravity on different surfaces affects the distance the fragments may travel upon explosion.

Other Tips & Tricks

Good Mining Locations - Look for large clustered asteroids that have nebula-like dust clouds inside them such as those around Grim Hex to find a significant number of asteroids to mine. On the surface of moons/planets check around any Mining Outposts or canyons and crevices as well.

Getting back to Lorville fast - When entering the atmosphere above Lorville cut your engine power and freefall until you're about 30km from the surface before flying normally to the landing zone. This is approximately 4 times faster than flying down under power.

If you have questions, comments, tips, tricks, please post them and they may be integrated into the Guide.
Yessssss thank you.
 
Nov 2, 2018
21
70
100
RSI Handle
Max Caliber
#16
Man I would love to play with this mechanic some day soon. I don't have the funds to drop on a prospector right now. If anyone has one they don't use often they wouldn't mind loaning out please let me know!
 
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Cump

Rear Admiral
Feb 22, 2016
10
19
375
RSI Handle
SCUBER
#20
Ok so managed to fill the bloody mining Ship again got too Port Olisar can't sell it W.T.F ??? Tried Levski same result 😖
Try Storing the ship by calling up another in your fleet. Then reload the prospector and should be able to sell the items. I was encountering this yesterday as well.