Q&A: Drake Vulture

Q&A: Drake Vulture

Q&A: Drake Vulture

Following the launch of the Vulture from Drake Interplanetary, we took your community-voted questions to our designers to give you more information on the recently unveiled light industrial salvage vessel.

If you haven’t watched our recent Ship Shape on the Vulture, you can do so here. Then, on Reverse the Verse, John Crewe, and Paul Jones answered questions about the Vulture live on Twitch.

Special thanks to John Crewe for answering the top-voted questions.

Does the Vulture have any special synergy with other Drake ships like the Caterpillar? For example, the rear of the Vulture looks like it could easily back up to the Caterpillar‘s front air-shield door for easy offloading of salvage. (fan image example) that @angelarch put together which, in my opinion, illustrates the potential.)

There are no particular plans to have any synergy with other Drake ships as suggested in the image, however the idea is interesting and should work in theory with the Caterpillar and other ships of a similar arrangement.

The Vulture has 12 SCU however, the similar entry level miner MISC Prospector has 128 SCU. With that significant difference of cargo how will profit differ between the ships?

The Prospector has its 128 SCU capacity spread across its multiple saddlebag containers, but cannot hold the full 128 SCU at a single time and must detach these containers to keep collecting material. Each container currently holds 8 SCU so without detaching them the Prospector can naturally only hold 32 SCU at a single time, the current value in 3.2.

Is a scant 12 SCU of scrap material going to be economically viable, considering that scrap usually isn’t worth much as a commodity, plus the cost fuel burn, cost of demolition charges, and risk of operating a relatively undefended ship in potentially hazardous environments?

As with all things economy based, we will be reviewing the profit/hour balance and making adjustments where needed. People should not speculate on the viability of the Vulture based on the current ingame scrap metal prices, as these are not the same as what the Vulture will produce. Internally we have discussed the size of the cargo bay during concept and made sure that if we need to increase the size of it, it can be done during production without requiring significant rework, to bring it inline with other profession starter ships. Likewise if we feel the Prospector containers skew the comparison they can be brought down in capacity.

Since the Prospector can scan to locate mineable nodes, will the Vulture have similar scanning tech onboard to tell its pilot what components are still salvageable (salable/usable) and what are not instead of having to EVA out to check manually?

Absolutely, all ships will have scanning ability and certain ships such as the Vulture have enhanced scanners specifically suited to that role.

Does the 12 SCU of cargo space include the space for storing cubes of salvage, or is there a different hold specifically for that?

The 12 SCU cargo space is the cargo grid for both cubes and scavenged items which you wish to legitimately store, of course like in all ships you can place items outside the cargo grids but these have downsides such as not being secure and risking being damaged as well as not being recognized or detected by the kiosk or sales interfaces as legitimate goods for sale.

If intact components will typically be more valuable for low-volume salvaging versus compressed scrap, and the Vulture can only secure those items by pilot EVA, why would players find the Vulture more desirable to use for light salvage instead of better defended and/or cheaper fighter craft/light hauler like the Hornet, Cutlass, Freelancer, or Aurora CL?

Component salvaging is only part of the salvage career, and whilst any ship could technically do this the Vulture is equipped for the whole process (scraping, processing, and ship breaking) which will maximize profit from your trips versus just grabbing components alone. The Vulture (and other salvage ships such as the Reclaimer) come equipped with dedicated salvage scanners which allow you to identify components and their state much easier than non dedicated ships so whilst you could strip every item out of an abandoned ship into a Cutlass, 90% of them could be such low value such that the Vulture owner would return essentially the same end profit with only grabbing the 10% identified as worthwhile.

An example to use would be Mining in 3.2, players can just fracture and extract every rock in sight but without scanning and reviewing their composition and carefully fracturing, returns will be low versus a player who specifically targets the high value assets.

Given the initial implementation of salvage is currently slated for version 3.3, how soon could we expect to see this ship added to the game?

The Vulture is on our long term production schedule so the Salvage career will be introduced on the Reclaimer first.

Given that the initial Vulture concept that the community voted for emphasized a ship oriented towards salvaging valuable components over processing large volumes of low-value scrap material, what prompted the shift towards making the Vulture a low-volume, low-value raw material reclamation ship?

During the concept phase we started out with just the component salvaging process as its key aim, but as we progressed through the concepts it became clear that this wasn’t a particularly interesting or fulfilling role for the ship and as such we decided to make the Vulture a more rounded introduction to Salvage covering all the basic principles.

Considering the Vulture can only carry roughly a snub-fighter worth of compressed scrap, why were live-aboard features prioritized as a feature versus just making it a daytripper with increased storage space for cargo and/or better tools for harvesting intact components?

Player accommodation and live aboard features will have a role in the future and as such we decided that ships which are entry level should have these basic features to support solo players being able to spend long amounts of time away from base rather than requiring daytripper style planning.

Will there be any risks associated to salvage akin in to mining? I.e. rupturing a fuel line, tractoring in a live wire or causing a structural collapse?

Definitely, like Mining we don’t want it simple to be a click and leave mechanic, but to require some level of skill to control the return on investment for salvaged materials.

What advantage does the Vulture have over another ship that simply removes profitable/intact components and not stay to melt the hull of a wrecked ship?

Please see our answer to question six above.

Since the Vulture requires some manual cutting of scrap, will it come with the requisite hand tools, or will those have to be purchased separately?

Every Vulture comes equipped with the Multitool which can be used for welding and cutting of objects, alongside a full complement of salvage charges.

12 SCU of cargo … okay let´s try some math. The Cargo area must be at least 2 SCU wide and 2 SCU in height. So 2 × 2 x L = 12 SCU ; L = 3. So the cargo area should be about 3 SCU long. For comparison: 1 mid sized power plant (Terrapin for example) is about the size of 1 SCU. Conclusion: The most profitable job in salvage is to find used components that are still working so cutting them in smaller parts is no option. So the pilot of the Vulture can store up to 12 mid sized components. Isn´t that a little bit small? Or did I forget an important aspect of salvage?

As mentioned earlier, we’ll be making sure the return is appropriate from an economy point of view and that one method of salvaging is not vastly superior to the other. Components salvaged from a ship are extremely unlikely to be in a pristine condition and their value will drop appropriately, presuming you can find a buyer willing to accept the items in that condition. On the flip side processed and compacted raw materials from salvage will be readily bought by most manufacturing and refineries.

Are there VTOL thrusters on the ship? The RTV section mentioned the Vulture had VTOL thrusters instead of a grav-lev system, but the ship description only has main, retro, and maneuvering thrusters.

This is just an oversight on the ship matrix and will be updated soon, the ship has 2 dedicated VTOL thrusters in the front nacelles rear of the landing gear plus the rear two main engines will have VTOL capabilities if required. An early concept had them doing thrust vectoring but was left off later images. We may just use an additional integral thruster depending on what can be implemented at the time of production and whether it is required based on the other thrusters on the ship and their capacities.

About Author