Not sure where this should go, and I tried searching first but got no results.
Anyway, I just reached the point in the campaign where you have to race this Hovis dude. After a few attempts it became clear luck was involved - sometimes Hovis would hit the side of a checkpoint ring, thus spinning out and giving you some time to catch up then pull ahead. But I noticed I was always screwing up the final approach, specifically the second last checkpoint. From a distance it looks perfectly doable, but when I'm about to reach it I find myself coming at it from the side, making it impossible to go through.
Now, I could've raced like a few dozen times to find a sweet spot for that last ring. But I'm done with this crap. Worse since the game doesn't have an autosave at the countdown but instead only from before you launched, forcing you to sit through Hovis' introduction every single time.
Being an enterprising Freelancer, my solution was to open up the game files and give that smug prick Hovis a shitty ass ship. Like a gunboat. All you need is a save file on the battleship Hood, just before launching to the race.
1. Navigate to "C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Games\Freelancer\DATA\MISSIONS\M06", and open up "npcships.ini" in notepad.
2. The top two "[NPCShipArch]" entries are conveniently the ones you need to edit. We'll be changing values in rows 4, 6, and 7.
3. Change them:
row 4: ship_archetype = rh_gunboat
row 6: state_graph = GUNBOAT
row 7: npc_class = lawful, GUNBOAT
4. Save, then load up the game again. Enjoy the "race".
In a gunboat Hovis still isn't that slow, but it flies like a brick so he won't be making those sharp turns any time soon. Feel free to point and laugh.