Braben’s Space Head Talks About Elite Multiplayer

By Craig Pearson on January 28th, 2014 at 4:00 pm.


Uncy Dave is back, floating in space. A new Elite: Dangerous dev diary usually gives me a giddy thrill, but ever since I had that brief taste of the alpha, all I can see is a game that I touched and now don’t have. It’s torture. Watching the new video has only made it worse: there’s a small look at the next alpha update, and when it lands it’ll bring the first moments of multiplayer. Playing Elite with friends… I have never been this close to spending £200 on a game in all my life.

There’s not a lot here, really: just a few shots of the game running side-by-side on monitor at Frontier, but it excites me. It exists! I’ll be in there with friends, spacing it up.

*breathes*

Given that there’s nothing but combat currently in the game, what’s coming will probably be focused on PvP, so it’ll be interesting to compare the AI against player capabilities. I was pretty impressed with the evasive movement when I tugged at the joystick. Aside from that, the alpha roadmap is made a little bit clearer, with travel and trading coming after the multiplayer update, then outfitting, and after then that the beta.

I promise if I snap and buy into the multiplayer alpha that I’ll pester RPS to let me record some videos for you guys.

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46 Comments »

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  1. Premium User Badge

    amateurviking says:

    Woooarrrrgh

    etc.

  2. Premium User Badge

    Fitzmogwai says:

    I remember back in about 1998, sitting in a pub with some friends, all talking about how Elite 4 would allow us to play online at the same time.

    15 years isn’t a very long time to wait really, is it?

    • ChromeBallz says:

      A long time, but i think it might be worth it :)

      Rift, multiplayer and all that together…

  3. Alien.Nated says:

    Star Citizien still looks more interesting to me. On the other hand after the draught of last decade anything is welcome and it doens’t look half bad.

    • razgon says:

      Looks as in on paper? Because we haven’t SEEN much of Star Citizen yet and while I would LOVE to play the game Roberts is talking about, I also by now, after being in the gaming business for 15 years, know enough to temper my expectations and not expect the white paper to transfer directly to my computer.

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        DrollRemark says:

        Have you ever considered buying a scanner?

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          tomeoftom says:

          Logged in just to commend this, and logging in on RPS is a pain in the arse

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      Nick Savage says:

      I’m just happy that if one of these games turns out to be disappointing, there’s another that might work out.

    • derbefrier says:

      Star Citizen is the more ambitious of the two but. Elite will have its place. It will probablly be more popular among those that hate multiplayer or MMOs but want the big open universe to explore while star citizen will be there for those who want to play a space MMO oh and don’t forget squadron 42 which will give us the wing commander expirience.

      • dreamscape says:

        Elite: Dangerous is more ambitious than Star Citizen and is an MMO too, see FAQ in my other comments.

        Elite: Dangerous will have a 1:1 scale seamless galaxy and seamless freeform atmospheric flight and planetary exploration on foot on full 1:1 scale planets with living cities and wildlife, something Star Citizen will never have.

        Elite also has planet orbits, rotations and seasons another thing that Star Citizen won’t have, so all this actually questions the notion whether Star Citizen qualifies as a space-sim.

        • blacksun_redux says:

          Space sim or not, it comes down to what’s fun to play. Chris Roberts has said that Star Citizen won’t be getting full scale procedural planets simply because flying over hundreds of miles of terrain with just procedural trees and rocks is not too fun, and they want to focus players into where the action is. Makes sense. On the other hand, there are games in dev now that are going to deliver just that, perhaps with procedural gameplay as well. I’d like to see both really. And I’ll be playing both of these games.

          • dreamscape says:

            Elite: Dangerous will have full scale planets with living cities and wildlife, not just rocks, so CIG is just using a baseless excuse and should just admit that they don’t have the expertise to do proper procedural content.

          • vlonk says:

            2 games, 2 very different approaches to adventure.

            I remember playing Elite 2 Frontier and while starting my tiny little spacecraft accidently shooting a laser inside the atmosphere near a city. It hit nothing. Anyway I got a fine for that and a nice talk with a police officer.

            THAT is an accurate simulation. I am not seeing Star Citizen aim for that.

            I remember ejecting out of my cockpit in wing commander to avoid certain death and, after being rescued, having a nasty and bitter talk with the CAG about the result of my failed mission.

            THAT was a dramatic event. I am not seeing Elite:Dangerous aim for that.

          • dreamscape says:

            Elite: Dangerous will have a lot of that stuff in the walking around expansion.

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            Chaz says:

            All these game devs etc that keep saying travelling for miles isn’t fun etc are just missing the point in my opinion. I love that kind of thing as it makes me feel more a part of a real place with a sense of scale. It’s really all down to how you manage the what you do when you get to where you’re going. Too many games make the mistake that they have to make their players explore the game world by giving them a quest right the other side of the map and then make them come all the way back once they’ve achieved their objective. The classic fetch quest for example just doesn’t fit in these big open world games.

            I love Skyrim and it’s huge open sand box world but its use of that space is often not very well managed. An NPC says “Hey I’ve lost one of my slippers, can you find it for me?” You say “Sure I can” and a map marker appears on the other side of the world from where you are in some dungeon. Well for starters that kind of kills off any sense of exploration. Here’s the map of the world and this is where you’ve got to go. I’d love to start with a blank map and then slowly fill it in, and perhaps have to ask people how to get to places or if they know and where I can find certain NPC’s. Then maybe have them draw the locations on my map and fill bits of it in.

            Once you find what you’re looking for in most games of course, you then have make your way all the way back to your starting point. If you have multiple of these quests, then it is a drag to be sure. So to alleviate that, in comes the fast travel mechanism. I think if you’re sending your players back and forth so much that you need a fast travel mechanic, then you are probably doing it wrong.

            Another problem is overcrowding of the game world. Again Skyrim, guilty. Lovely big world but still manages to feel cramped due to the fact it seems they feel the need to shoe horn in dungeons and encounters at every 50 paces. So that on the way to get those slipper on the other side of the map, you go past about 30 other places of interest and numerous encounters and quest opportunities. Then that long journey becomes wearisome due to the overload of content being put before you.

            Some games do get the travel bit right though. Take Euro Trucker 2 for instance. OK, it’s all about the journey, so it needs to get that right, but never the less. It’s long distance travel with a slight difference. Yes you are either going to fetch a load or take one somewhere, but you are always going off somewhere different afterwards. If you take a load from Birmingham to Munich, you don’t then drive straight back to Birmingham to pick up your reward. You might end up going on to Poland, France or Italy with various different loads. You’re not bombarded with stuff to deal with on route, so the journey’s are often pleasant and relaxing. I can spend hours at a time driving about in ETS2. There’s just enough to lend a sense of purpose and keep you occupied but not so much as to tire you.

            I think large spaces and long distance traveling, when done right can be very rewarding. I don’t see why everything has to always be about instant gratification. Why bother building a huge universe if all you’re doing is trying to facilitate people to the fighty bits as quickly as possible. Spending a couple of hours in an evening flying through the cosmos sounds pretty good to me.

          • SanguineAngel says:

            Hi Chaz. YES. Good words

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        Andy_Panthro says:

        For a Wing Commander experience, you might want to take a look at this: http://wingsofstnazaire.com/index.html

      • worrytron says:

        If they manage to pull off a true 1:1 galaxy, then that will be seriously impressive. I know one of the greatest challenges EVE had to overcome was movement precision over such a huge scale. How is that overcome in Elite? Are most dogfights limited to a relatively high-precision volume, and the only time the distances are taken into account is while hyperspace travelling?

        I also raise my eyebrows at the “practically limitless” size. That’s surprising wording. I would think the practical limit would be in storage space, but that it would be “theoretically limitless.” I’m gonna chalk that one up to my being horribly pedantic.

        • dreamscape says:

          Precision issues are a solved problem, Frontier: Elite 2 from 1993 had whole full-scale star systems in a single spherical bubble.

          Space-Engine has a whole seamless universe.

          In E:D they probably use fixed-point numbers and multiple reference frames to deal with the precision issues for a whole seamless galaxy, (floating point just doesn’t cut it)

          There will be 2 modes of freeform travel in Elite.

          Regular mode as you see in the current alpha and supercruise mode that has a speed up-to a significant fraction of light, but has a constant accelaration to aid in network predictability.
          In the latter mode you can freefrom travel between planets, but it’s most practical for traveling between moons and stations, you will still manually steer and interact with other ships, but will only have long range weapons to your disposal.

          Then there is also the hyperspace mode which is most practical for long range interplanetary and interstellar flight.

          Anyway all these modes even the slowest one shown in current alpha allow you to travel seamlessly freeform without borders to other stars, even if it would take centuries.

          • nojan says:

            logged in just to comment on this, I dont want to start a this VS that thread but …. the 1:1 scale you are talking about is not that interesting , and as you know 99% is empty so.. we will be flying for ours and see nothing, and remember handcrafted places always trump procedural ( star citizen will have both) , star citizen will have over 150 system with their own planets and suns and each of those planets will have their own landing sites and some more that 4 ! each of those landing sites will have living cities with bars, shops , apartments ,landing apds, hangars…. ( some will have more , some less) that you can walk to and see and talk to all the people you see ,also in the future they are going to add planetside FPS and also atmospheric flight, elite has none of those at launch, I know that there still no alpha for SC , but if i think there is only one person that can pull this off , it’s chris roberts , I’m sure both of these games will be great , but its better to compare these in 2015 when SC comes out!:)

          • dreamscape says:

            1:1 scale makes Elite’s spaceflight much more believable and immersive and it doesn’t take hours to get anywhere, the only reason Star Citizen isn’t doing this is because they lack the expertise to do such a thing and they chose the easy route with CryEngine and it’s giving them all kinds of trouble.

            Full scale atmospheric flight for Star Citizen is wishful thinking, especially with their choice of CryEngine, which isn’t suited for this kind of stuff.

            The previous Elite titles back in 1993 and 1995 had 1:1 scale planets with 5+ starports, with full-scale seamless freeform atmospheric flight, while Star Citizen will still have cut-scene landings to those space ports which are just tiny limited CryEngine levels with borders, also SC won’t have living cities, it will just have a few bars just like Privateer and Freelancer.

            Elite: Dangerous will use a mix of procedural and handcrafted and no handcrafted doesn’t always trump procedural, since I don’t see Star Citizen do dynamic seasonal modeling, which Elite: Dangerous will.

            Star Citizen won’t come out anytime soon and by the time it’s out Elite: Dangerous will already have full scale planets with living cities and wildlife that you can walk around.

          • nojan says:

            um… okey you seem only want to bash star citizen , i dont know what you have against the most crowdfunded project in history .. but as i said both are gonna be great in different ways … but SC seem more interesting to me .. we will see in 2015!

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            FriendlyFire says:

            “the only reason Star Citizen isn’t doing this is because they lack the expertise to do such a thing and they chose the easy route with CryEngine and it’s giving them all kinds of trouble.”

            Troll detected, send fighter wing on interception course!

  4. TheTingler says:

    As someone who’s not been paying attention, can anyone briefly tell me the differences between Elite Dangerous, Star Citizen and No Man’s Sky based on what’s known?

    • dreamscape says:

      See this FAQ entry for the differences between Elite: Dangerous and Star Citizen

      As for the differences between No-Man’s sky and Elite: Dangerous, well Elite: Dangerous is set in a scientifically accurate 1:1 scale galaxy as opposed to a fantasy galaxy like No-Man’s sky, also there will be direct Multiplayer interaction in Elite: Dangerous whereas in No Man’s Sky you may be in the same galaxy but you won’t ever directly interact with each other.

      • The Random One says:

        No Man’s Sky will have combat? Dang.

      • Taidan says:

        To be fair, that FAQ isn’t particularly accurate or interesting, it’s just a list of a few things that somebody somewhere has assumed are advantages that Elite has over Star Citizen.

        As best as I can tell, the main differences in terms of scale are that Star Citizen is going for a smaller hand-crafted environment, and Elite and No-Man’s Sky are going for a vastly larger but mostly procedurally generated universes. Star Citizen initially won’t do atmospheric flight, you’ll probably just get a cut-scene of your ship auto-piloting to it’s berth.

        Star Citizen is being built from the ground up with the emphasis that you’re controlling a character, who can get out of the pilot’s seat and move around inside the ship or any of the stations/spaceports available to dock at, complete with FPS killage and toilets. (Great for immersion and co-op multi-crewing of the larger ships.) On the flipside, Elite has you initially locked into your seat. (With the promise of a later expansion that will add the walky-bits, which will possibly end up being much larger areas than Star Citizen’s locked-off spaceports/stations/FPS battlegrounds, judging from dev-speak.) No-Man’s sky is more like Star Citizen in its approach, but without the co-op stuff, being a mostly solo experience.

        Apart from that, Star Citizen comes with a quiet long single-player/co-op Wing-Commander-esq campaign, and the rest is mostly a list of bullet-points that are subject to change as development goes on. (Oh and that Star Citizen grants access to its alpha/beta with a purchase of £25 or up, and Braben wants £200 to get in early, so skin-flints like me will be playing Star Citizen much, much sooner.)

        A smarter, more patient gamer would probably play wait-and-see, but I’ve hedged my bets and backed both for a reasonable fee. I’m probably a little more interested in Star Citizen’s ambition though, mainly due to things like the Capital Ship Systems, as discussed on https://robertsspaceindustries.com/comm-link/transmission/13358-Letter-From-The-Chairman-26-Million

        • Geebs says:

          I’m amazed that X-rebirth hasn’t put everybody off the idea of having walky bits in their space games. I kind of think the old Privateer station-as-menu system still sounds better.

        • dreamscape says:

          First of all, the FAQ I linked is pretty accurate.

          Second, there is no Star Citizen flyable alpha right now and by the time there is, you will already be able to play Elite: Dangerous extended Beta with the £35 package.

          Also the Star Citizen $35 Alpha doesn’t include the future Squadron 42 expansions, which you will have to buy seperately as opposed to the Elite: Dangerous Alpha, Premium beta (£100), or standard preorder plus expansion pass (£35 + £35) which all give you lifetime Elite: Dangerous expansions.

          And make no mistake, there is at least as much handcrafting going on in Elite as Star Citizen.

    • Chris D says:

      Elite:Dangerous – A game about space combat, exploration and trading
      No Man’s Sky – A game about space combat, exploration and trading where you can also visit planets and be eaten by sharks
      Star Citizen – Looks like a game about space combat, exploration and trading but is actually about trying to make a profit by speculating on virtual spaceships.with real money.

      • dreamscape says:

        Elite: Dangerous will be expanded with seamless freeform planetary landings and walking around soon after the initial release, which you will get if you got the Alpha, Premium Beta or Expansion pass package.

      • Sharlie Shaplin says:

        No Man’s Sky? It’s getting hard to keep up with all these space games. We go through a drought were genre fans pretty much write off any more games ever, and then spacegamesplosion! Also, Limit Theory!

  5. Themadcow says:

    Go team Elite! Braben all the way. Goooooooo DAVE!!!!!

    *de-friends Star Citizen on Facebook*

    • SanguineAngel says:

      STEVE HOLT! er… wait

      I’m pretty stoked for so many delicious and diverse space sims!

  6. SuicideKing says:

    I like the looks of the combat, however the FS2 pilot in me doesn’t approve of what appear to be beam turrets on fighters/bombers.

    • Werthead says:

      You can rationalise that FS2 is only set 200 years in the future and ELITE 4 is almost 1,400 years in the future, so obviously the answer is better technology (not that they’re set in the same universe or anything remotely like it, but still) :)

      Also, in ELITE 2 you could put beam weapons on, IIRC, all of the ships as well. Turrets only went on the largest vessels though.

      • SuicideKing says:

        True! Though i didn’t mean from a “is it possible” point of view, just that it felt wrong. I’ve only played the FreeSpace games and X-Wing vs. Tie Fighter (Strike Suit too but it’s not really in the same league in my mind) as far as space games go, so it doesn’t seem “pure” or “traditional” to me, if you know what i mean.

        But heck, the game looks solid, i think i can adjust to mini beams on fighters!

    • Sharlie Shaplin says:

      It wouldn’t be Elite without beam laser equipped ships, I always went with a 1MW beam laser.

  7. jonfitt says:

    Read these two posts just on the drive systems and dream of the potential:
    http://forums.frontier.co.uk/showthread.php?t=7892

  8. Hunchback says:

    I wish i had those joysticks so i can pwn noobs even MOAR on warthunder… :P

    On a side note, i am quite happy that so many space sims are coming out now. Hope they don’t all go the way of the X, if you know what i mean…

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    tomeoftom says:

    Yo RPS, any chance of getting an Enemy Starfighter interview? Hyper-stylish Freespace-esque space combat, with incredible sound design and mood

  10. tomimt says:

    This does look very nice. I never was a huge Elite man myself, but this new incarnation does looks like something I’d might even buy at some point.

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    caff says:

    Frontier – please give the RPS writers alpha access! I demand to hear more on this lovely looking game.