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Ship Buyer’s Guide – Drake Caterpillar

Welcome to the Star Citizen Ship Buyer’s Guide for the Drake Caterpillar,

The Dragonfly is on Concept Sale at time of Recording until the 27th of June.

But the Caterpillar is available in a Multi-Ship Pack and as a Standalone Ship.

  • 2x Dragonflies & a Caterpillar – $300 (The Caterpillar also has LTI in this package)
  • Caterpillar Standalone $245 (this only has 6 months insurance)

I suggest you grab a LTI Dragonfly and then upgrade it to a Caterpillar

The Caterpillar’s come with the VFG Industrial Hangar.

You can See all the Sale Details & Get Yourself one on the RSI Website Here

About The Caterpillar

The Old Caterpillar

So the Original Concept for the Caterpillar was for a much smaller ship

Comparable to the Freelancer but more for boarding and Piracy. But with solid options for being an armoured Cargo Carrier too. Even then it was more comparable to a modular Constellation. But this was back when the Caterpillar was planned to be 62.5m Long.

The Evolution of the Caterpillar

It’s now the Big Evil Brother of 2 Conjoined Constellation Taurus Stuck together with the Front of an Endeavor stuck on the side.

It Got BIG, it’s at least 100m in size now and may go as large as 120m.

I think it’s expected closer to the 100m mark. So that’s now at least the length of the Starfarer.

“Like all Drake ships, the Caterpillar has versatility in its DNA. With multiple cargo bays available to be re-purposed for a multitude of functions, the Caterpillar’s modular design allows it to be perfect for everything from armored cargo hauls to effective search and rescues. And, when paired with the new 2947 Dragonfly, the Caterpillar can add one more role to its already impressive roster: a mini carrier. That’s right, the Cat can launch Dragonflies directly from the cargo hold as protection fighters or as agile scouts!”

It’s Drake which means function over comfort, utility, lots of hard-points, easy access to components, cheap to maintain, simple.

It might not have the best systems in the way of power-plants, coolers, avionics & shields, think old but reliable tech.

Vital Statistics

We don’t know much about the Caterpillar anymore Statistic, Items & Hardpoints wise other than:

  • It has 4 large body modules
  • 1 front module
  • An Engine Section
  • And the Side Command Module

The Command Module

The main Bridge and control is on an Asymmetrical Detachable Module, it’s a Freelancer (excluding the wings) sized ship in it’s own right.

  • Has 2 Floors
  • Living Area, Engineering, Command & Bridge
  • And it is it’s own ship / Escape Pod
  • It can detach and reattach to the main body of the Caterpillar in Space
  • I expect you might want to do that for a variety of reasons.
  • You might go exploring planetside or dense asteroid field(Hopefully you can store at least 1 Dragonfly there)
  • If the main body is used in a boarding action (again this is an assumption on my part), then you might want to detach the command module for saftey or for some other reason.
  • It’s a perfect escape pod, in fact it looks like it’s pretty similar to the Endeavours Front Section in function. Exploration, Safety, Escape, Utility & Command.

The Main Body

  • The Caterpillars main body has the main Engine Room
  • The 4 Body Modules
  • And The Front Module

These modules are what gives the Caterpillar it’s name but also are it’s strength, the ship is going to be incredibly modular & outfittable for sooo many roles and situations.

We know that there are Cargo Modules, in fact all Caterpillars that have been on sale so far come with “cargo” modules but I expect we will get a huge range of other modules:

We saw in the Caterpillar Whiteboxing from awhile ago and the more recent internal re-whiteboxing some possibilities:

Possible Modules

  • Cargo
  • Habitation
  • Armoury
  • Personnel / Crew & Barracks
  • Medical Bay – Search & Rescue
  • Workshop – Outfitting & Shop
  • Chop Shop – Salvage
  • What looks like a EVA / Quick Troop Launcher, I would expect this to allow easy jettison of Marines for Boarding & Assaults.
  • Multiple Ship Docking Collar
  • Tractor Beam
  • Modules all open up
  • Weapons Modules / Torpedoes / Turrets & Guns
  • EWAR / Tracking / Mapping

Front Module

  • Swappable but it’s own thing
  • The Most obvious thing is probably for boarding maybe ramming & boarding
  • Mining
  • Salvage
  • Repair

Roles & Strengths

  • Piracy / Pirate Base
  • Pocket Carrier
  • Cargo

  • Combat

  • Command (Maybe Not C&C)
  • Search & Rescue

  • Salvage

  • Boarding / Assault

  • In-fact this is probably the most moddable ship around

  • There is likely to be loads of roles it can do

Weaknesses

  • It’s Not a Dog-fighter, it’s going to be vulnerable to Fighters, Bombers and Torpedo Bombers unless it has a suitable escort.
  • You need to buy the modules & fit them
  • The Stigma and Reputation that Drake and the Caterpillar has, people will assume pirate.
  • Needs manpower to be effective
  • The Command pod is a large obvious target to aim for
  • The length of the ship is going to hamper speed
  • When fully laden with cargo the ship is going to suffer with mass

Thoughts & Notes

I am always pretty hyped about ships, I like 99% of them… I think the only ones I don’t like are the ones that are TOTALLY pointless ships like the Aurora ES, LX & CL. Possibly even the Hull A annoys me as it’s such a low tier transport… but it may have lots of uses I haven’t foreseen… I was trying to make a point but started talking about ships I don’t personally see the point in…Oh yeah;

I am a big fan of Drake and was upset when the Polaris was being manufactured by RSI.

But The Caterpillar it’s as close to a Drake Corvette as we are going to get.

It’s likely it’s the last time it’s going to be on sale before it’s hangar ready & be aware ships normally go up in price once they are moved to the Ready Phase. The Starfarer saw a jump from $195 to $300.

Being able to launch lots of Dragonflies being the pocket carrier I have desired for a long time.

It’s the perfect large ship for my needs. 4 Giant interchangeable modules. The Caterpillars we are currently purchasing are the “cargo” variants and come with 4 cargo modules but they will add more modules for us to purchase in the future. And expect these Cargo Modules are perfect for Dragonflies and Cargo in unison.

“Imagine loading up a Caterpillar with a trio of Dragonflies, flying close support and retrieval for a Cutlass Red ambulance or strafing a massive cargo ship. It’s all possible with the 2947 Drake lineup.”

Jump Points… It’s not small jump point capable that’s for sure.

I’m not sure what the constraints will be on Medium and Large Jump Points after they have been balanced a bit.

One cargo pod alone is bigger than the Constellation’s cargo and the command module is about as big as the bridge-living quarters of the connie. Not to mention it’s suppose to hold at least twice as much as the Taurus and four times as much as the other two.

I believe the loaner for the Caterpillar is the Constellation Andromeda.

Alternatives

Constellations are similar price wise at the moment BUT I think you are getting everything and more with the Caterpillar, that said the Constellations are pre-fit for a specific role & with the Caterpillar we should more fairly compare it to the Taurus as they are both basically the stripped down cargo variants. At the $150 / $245 the Taurus does certainly have it;s merits in value.

BUT the Caterpillar is huge now, it’s going to be more versatile possibly more than any other ship and maybe quite good at the roles it’s sensibly fitted for.

The Polaris Corvette is another alternative, maybe I mean we don’t know much about it other than it’s chunky but also sleek and made by RSI.

The Caterpillar is both great choices for captains that know what they want the Caterpillar for but also for Captains that want a large multi-crew ship but don’t know what mechanics interests them, that modularity lending itself to really specific tasks but also players that want to do a bit of everything.

It’s going to be a lot easier to run than an Idris too & ticks a lot of the same boxes.

Remember you can Grab a LTI Dragonfly and upgrade it to the Caterpillar, that will get you some hangar flair & the LTI insurance tho you will get a Selfland Hangar rather than the VFG Industrial doing that.

WHAT’S ALL THIS VOICE ATTACK STUFF?

With the interest in Voice Packs seemingly on the rise, while Cloud Imperium Games is continuing to refine Star Citizen’s control schemes, I thought it would be a good time to discuss Voice Attack in general and why some players have elected to use it.

If you’re like me, a HOTAS user, I simply don’t have enough buttons on my device to support even the minimum set of commands I want at the ready. My current setup also doesn’t support having the keyboard within a reach that’s effective to be used during combat. So I was elated to come across the idea of using a program to carry out a few basic commands.  This article will help you differentiate between VoiceAttack, Profiles and Voice Packs, and where to find additional information if interested.

WHAT IS VOICE ATTACK

As an ability, voice attack is a method of using your voice to initiate keystrokes.  The name is a bit of a misnomer. The capabilities are not tied to attacking / damage. It’s any set of keystrokes. You can launch a game. Establish your starting setup in an application. I use it to start and stop Fraps recordings so I can stay in the thick of combat and capture video using my voice.

VoiceAttack (VA) the program,  is a popular software application used to execute by voice, commands that would normally be a series of keystrokes and/or mouse interactions. Therefore, if you’re interested in playing around with using voice initiated commands, your first step is to acquire the software.  You can purchase VA from here. The object that VA uses to know what to DO when you SAY certain words or phrases is a Profile.

WHAT IS A VOICE ATTACK PROFILE

The Profile is a separate file with a .VAP extension.  The profile itself contains a series of commands you want executed, mapped to what you’ll say, when you want those commands to be carried out. Oftentimes, people want the successful execution of command followed to be up by an auditory confirmation.  This is achieved by using your computer’s operating system to turn text into speech. This allows your PC to say, “Done.” when a task is completed.

Using the Text-to-Speech engine is achieved by using the Say command in a profile, followed by the word or phrase to be spoken. Your operating system’s Text-to-Speech engine interprets the text into an auditory response using its default voice. If you don’t like your computer’s default voice, you can purchase additional ones from companies such as Ivona. However, auditory responses are not required for a Profile to work. And you shouldn’t invest in one until you’ve determined you like using voice attack commands in the first place.

Simply having a profile of commands that match the keybinds in the target game, is all you need, after installing voice attack software. You can download Profiles for free! There are members of the community who have shared their profiles.  Of course, mileage will vary on how well they work or suit your tastes.  Search the official RSI Forums, Star Citizen section on Reddit and the internet in general.

WHAT IS A VOICE PACK

A Voice Pack is a Profile that enhances the execution of commands by adding a significant amount of voice over / audio work. This is often done using professional voice actors or celebrities and may include additional narration that is not directly tied to executing commands, such as role-play conversations. HCS offers multiple Voice Packs for Star Citizen, as well as other games.  Many players enjoy having this more elaborate version of a Profile.  It’s fun and can be more immersive. However, it’s not a required component. You don’t have to own or purchase a Voice Pack in order to use voice attack commands.

CREATING AND EDITING A VOICE ATTACK PROFILE IS EASY

To be perfectly honest, Star Citizen has more keyboard commands and uses modifier keys more than any other game I’ve played. I can barely fly in Star Citizen without using VoiceAttack.  My HOTAS doesn’t have nearly enough buttons to accommodate the bare minimum of what’s needed. Trying to reach over to a keyboard in the middle of combat isn’t something I want to juggle.  Therefore, it’s essential for me to keep my profile updated with changes CIG makes to control schemes, as they’ve done in patch 2.4.  This type of large scale change is another reason why I’ve opted for a small profile during alpha.

The steps for creating and/or editing a Profile is very straight forward. You must have Voice Attack and you must know your current keybind settings in the game, in order to tie them to a voice command.  With those two in hand, you can create a basic profile from scratch or edit one you download for free or may have purchased. I wrote an article last year detailing the steps and they  haven’t changed since that time.

I hope this helps clarify voice attack as an ability vs. VoiceAttack the software vs. Voice Packs. I use VA religiously and own a Voice Pack from HCS. During the SC Alpha however, I’m sticking to a small one I created myself that’s easy to manage and only contains the dozen or so commands I can’t live without during combat.

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