First and foremost, a ship needs to be equipped with a mining drill. Drills of varying qualities and prices are sold in space stations throughout the galaxy. When selecting and comparing drills, pay attention to the following statistics on their info pages: A handling percentage describes the accuracy of the movement of the drill, or alternatively, how well it responds to your movements. Higher percentages mean more precise control and less slipping. A yield percentage tells how much ore can be mined from an asteroid. The highest amount of ore that can be mined at a time is 62t plus 1t core from a class-A asteroid.
A scanner will help select which asteroids are worth mining. Like the drills, there are different scanners with different features and prices. Any scanner will inform the player what class the asteroid is in and what kind of ore is contained, but only the Hiroto Ultrascan will tell which specific asteroids are class-A simply without fully scanning it.
Although not necessary in most cases, a cloak will ensure safety when mining in hostile spaces. It can buy some critical time to extract as much ore as possible before enemy ships open fire.
Simply running into an asteroid will destroy it. Sometimes it may leave behind a piece that can be collected by a tractor beam, but the amount collected is not worth the inflicted hull damage.
To properly approach the asteroid to be mined, center the targeting reticule on it. When the scanner relays information about the asteroid on the top of the screen, the primary fire button shows a stylized arrow that will let the ship dock onto the asteroid without smashing through it. Pressing the button puts the ship on autopilot, and it will rotate about 90 degrees backwards when it closes in on the asteroid unless you use your booster shortlybefore then. If you do so, your ship will not rotate, and it would appear to attempt to ram the asteroid but gets stuck on impact. You will still drill normally, though.
Successfully docking on an asteroid will bring up a GUI showing the drill and the asteroid: the drill as a small circle with a clockwise-rotating crosshair and the asteroid as a series of concentric circles, with higher-classes packing more circles. A yellow bar will appear underneath the information of the asteroid, representing the stability of the asteroid. A class-A asteroid will show an image of its precious core in the middle of the concentric circles.
The mining drill can be controlled with the same controls for controlling the ship, and is important so that as much ore can be extracted as possible. To prevent damage to the asteroid, it is suggested that the drill be centered as much as possible. As more and more ore is extracted, "layers" of the concentric circles begin disappearing and the rate of which ore is gained increases. After extracting all of the ore possible, the asteroid will collapse and the ore will be safe in the ship's cargo bay.
Should the ship not have enough room for the ore, and a core is successfully extracted, the core will take precedence and replace 1t of the ore that was mined.
- Scanning an asteroid without a drill installed will not bring up any information about it, but will instead bring up the message "No drill installed" at the top of the screen.
- If the drill is allowed to move uncontrolled, it will move off the inner asteroid layers and damage it, represented by the yellow bar depleting. Enough damage dealt to the asteroid will collapse it without gaining any ore.
- Mining in hostile space is not recommended for two important reasons.
- First, and obvious, mining leaves the player's ship as a stationary target that can be easily shot at.
- Second, and less obvious, hostile ships can detect and shoot the ship through an asteroid. Any computer-controlled ship can break asteroids with their weapons just like the player, and can easily disrupt mining because of it. Therefore, it is critical to defeat any hostile ships before performing non-combat tasks like this and plasma harvesting.
- Sometimes, asteroids appear close to a space station, but the station's hitbox will not allow docking. Trial-and-error maneuvers around the station will sometimes allow the asteroid to be docked, although rather humorously, but often times it is not worth the effort as many other asteroids of a particular class are out there.
Aborting the Operation
Should you feel as if you damaged the asteroid so much that you aren't confident that you can extract any more ore without destroying the asteroid, you can abort the operation by pressing the fire button, which will cause the asteroid to collapse early. It is also a good idea to abort the operation if you find yourself low on hull energy and under fire by hostiles.
Aborting will yield the amount of ore specified on the drill in all difficulties except on Extreme. On Extreme difficulty, the yield will only be half of what is specified. In all cases, only abort when you feel like your hull or your drill can't last much longer.