The Hutton Orbital Truckers are one of the most dedicated community groups out there. One of their representatives, and founding members, CMDR Vingtetun, told us all about what makes 'HOT' so special.
So when did the Hutton Truckers first start up?
Hutton Orbital Truckers were set up after the Hutton Mug CG as an antidote to the "v" in the PvP and PvE acronyms. Our ambition at the outset was to create an environment for people to enjoy PwP gameplay - literally "player with player".
So many games these days are about who it is against - rather than who you are playing with. Elite: Dangerous gives us a great opportunity to craft a co-operative environment for fun gaming.
In terms of "who" we are - the team behind our events - yes, they DO take a lot of planning:
David Pearson (Vingtetun)
Snos & Alvin (Alvin is our leader)
Above: Members of the Hutton team joined us to present a Hutton Mug trophy and meet some of the Frontier team
Plus a cast of extras and helpers including Alien (who does our paperwork), Teldja (who organises combat support) and a whole voice recording crew.
In terms of "who" the group are - a bunch of people who are happy to fly the 1.5 hours to Hutton with a cargo hold of scrap. Or take a tonne of mugs to Sag A* and photograph themselves dropping it in. Or help with someone else's CG "just because we can".
What we do? Originally, we had a beer or two and by accident came up with the idea for the Hutton Mug. Then the voting went live for a new rare item and we submitted it - and won. After that, we set up the website, the Facebook group, the 24 hour a day radio station, recorded over 60 parody adverts and songs and were "persuaded" by the 3200+ people who took part in the community goal to do more.
Since then, we have crafted in game events for players regardless of whether they like combat, trading, exploration, playing solo, in open or in private groups. Effectively, we are a hub for other groups to organise fun in game.
We had nearly 200 real Hutton Mugs made up as prizes, a stack of stickers, some team t-shirts, flight suit patches and even a spectacular trophy donated to Frontier last week. Many of the Truckers donate prizes and their generosity to the community is staggering.
The whole thing is tinted with the humour from the original 1984 Elite. We may not have blue slimy frogs, or fat black felines, but there is space in the year 3300 for humour and parody, and there's no reason to suggest that people in the far future wouldn't be as ridiculous as those we have around now.
Why do we do it? For fun and because we can. The buzz of running a 300 ship convoy... the endless stream of photographs and messages from people who have never been to Sag A*, played in a wing, used limpets to load up a type-9 with rares and the myriad other in game activities and whose eyes have been opened to "having a laugh" with other gamers.
Above - David (Vingtetun) relaxes in his armchair, thinking of ways to make the HOT team work harder!
What are our thoughts on the ED Community?
Assuming you mean the wider community rather than the EDC themselves (who are a cracking player group of over 6000 players), it's wonderful to see people who aren't just "playstation generation" gamers, but 1st generation gamers - from our oldest trucker well into their 60's flying with their children and grandchildren, through to those of us in our late 30's and early 40's, and now being joined by the younger player.
The vast majority of those we talk to and play with on a daily basis are wonderful, fun people. The game, and our activities, takes effort - that means that the players we work with are passionate, dedicated and prepared to put effort in where it is needed. I'm always impressed by the number of genuinely articulate and fiercely intelligent players of the game - it seems to attract a large number of very creative people.
The community won't let Frontier trip up - if something is bad, they will say so, and often with really well given reasons. Similarly, they're hungry for more.... as Frontier adds "furniture" to this room that they've built, the players really want an input into how comfy it is, what it looks like and what it will be used for.
The Acronym 'HOT'
Well - Russell and Andrew form HOPIT (the Hutton Orbital Political Information Team), we recently did the Galactic Intrepid Mug Proliferation Project... We drew the line at the acronym for Hutton Orbital Radio as admitting to our wives that we were spending our evenings with a .... well, you can fill in the blank. So - draw your own conclusions about the names!
In terms of how we act around one another? We often catch up in person for a drink or two, despite distances involved. My work takes me throughout the world and I use that to try and catch up with fellow gamers. We recently met CMDR Elenar at a pub in St Albans... he does look just like his portrait. We all form part of the back-room team from events like Lavecon, Fantasticon and EliteMeet and yes, once the doors shut, it does all get a little silly.
As for what I do? As the other guys say - "It's all David's fault". A recent post on the facebook group summed it up:
"There's this squid guy and his crew. The squid guy, that's David. He has spent his life ferrying sailors' souls to the afterlife. He gives us stuff to do. We, his crew, are dedicated to the transport of the mug to the furthest reaches of the galaxy.... FOR ALL ETERNITY."
I come up with the ideas, write scripts, run the Facebook side of things and broadcast with Psykokow on the radio (and am a beacon of sheer enthusiasm). Everyone else does the hard work.
Activities? It's a big list
We trucked scrap to Hutton for a week as part of a CG with 3200 others
We organised a fight against the CODE in beta with hundreds of vipers and cobras locked in combat
We had a mammoth CQC session broadcast live to celebrate the launch of that update
We had a convoy of 300 ships travel 21 jumps with mugs on board, using a 2 minute "Battlestar Galactica" style timer - all under fire from pirates and with the aid of groups like the Fuel Rats
We started a mission to take mugs to every powerplay HQ, then on to a couple of special destinations and then via a particular nebula and on to Saggitarius A*
We're taking Ed Lewis on as an Intern for his own convoy of hundreds of ships, bringing glue to Mapor to stick all the smashed mugs back together again.
We helped at the Nebula CG, with many of our Truckers in the top 5% (and the Sothis gold one)
We run Thursday training sessions for anyone wanting to know how to survive a pirate attack
On top of that, we're taking over Alpha Centauri
As for what's on the Horizon?
The G.I.M.P.P. challenge is ongoing until January (for anyone wanting to earn a flight suit patch), we are in planning for a special Christmas event with Frontier and work has started on the Horizons Grand Prix series starting early next year - racing for the Hutton Cup (Bit like a mug, but shinier).
Where can you join?
We have a Facebook group - the Hutton Orbital Radio Truckers. There are regular forum posts. We have a private group - "Hutton Truckers" or just e-mail email@example.com to bother Snos and Alvin. Hashtag #forthemug on twitter with any trucking tales.
Many of the people who join us are in "formal" in game groups and they join in as and when something suits them. From the EDC, to the Fuel Rats, Dark Echo, Canonn Interstellar Research, the FGE and even a pirate or two, as long as you have a sense of humour and enjoy having a laugh, feel free to join in.
We can be found most evenings on the Lave Radio (our sister station) teamspeak server (laveradio.teamspeak3.com)
Other than that?
"We are the very model of some Modern Hutton Truckers....."