Elite: Dangerous Enters Alpha 2.0 – Unleashes Multiplayer

By John Walker on February 6th, 2014 at 9:00 am.

It still seems a little bit impossible that there’s a new Elite game actually happening. I keep expecting to hear that it was all a big hoax, and was just Braben holding a torch behind a black sheet with lots of little holes cut in it. I also remain resolutely disappointed that apparently Elite: Dangerous won’t be under 32kb. I thought technology was supposed to get better? Anyhow, my brain aside, the alpha for the game has now entered phase 2.0, allowing backers access to multiplayer.

This means the game will update to include, ooh, off the top of my head [pastes]

· Free-for-all melee

· Pick your side in a two-team melee

· Co-operative defense of a crippled Federal battlecruiser

· A more sophisticated ‘Pirates and Bounty Hunters’ mode which hints at the fluid choices and roles players will experience on a much greater scale in the final game

You can see all of those things happening here:

To be a backer, you’ll need to add to the £2.3m they’ve already raised in pre-purchases, and pick up a copy for a princely £35 or more.

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66 Comments »

  1. azrd79 says:

    How do bobbleheads work when there’s no gravity in space?

  2. WrenBoy says:

    It looks amazing, as does the entire project from what Ive seen.

    I wonder if anyone whos tried it could say what kind of a machine is needed to run this? Is the rift supported in this release?

    • Premium User Badge

      Craig Pearson says:

      I don’t have the specs, but it’s apparently pretty tolerant of mid-range machines and even laptops.

      The Rift should work, yes.

      • WrenBoy says:

        I know RPS have looked at this with Braben and co already but will you guys also be doing an Impressions on the Alpha, ie over the Internet with randomers?

  3. TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

    I hope with Melee you mean that all weapons are disabled and the point is for everyone to ram themselves to death.

  4. Premium User Badge

    melnificent says:

    Alpha, but they promised Beta for January. With Second Beta this month.

    • WrenBoy says:

      Thats a bit harsh, I think. Software projects are notoriously hard to deliver on time.

      Im not a backer by the way but I am watching with interest. They have certainly surpassed my expectations so far, even with the slipped schedules.

    • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

      If i got that right, the beta will likely include a lot more stuff and it’ll be very close to the final game, i wouldn’t worry about some probably sensible delay, as long as there’s transparent communication about it.

      Star Citizen is in the same boat, especially because you have to add boarding mechanics, walking, multicrewing and a lot of other stuff they’re adamant on doing in a “physical” form, whereas here for example you get auto compensation for kills and autobounties, straightforward scanning mechanics and so on.

      Elite made some easier to implement choices as far as development is concerned, but it’s still one hell of a project and it’s in everyone’s best interest to take some time.

      • Premium User Badge

        melnificent says:

        Star Citizen and Elite Dangerous were both on kickstarter around the same time November 2012.

        Elite Dangerous said December for Alpha (which happened on time), Jan 2014 For Beta 1, Feb for Beta 2 and March 2014 for final release. So we’re a little over a month from final release according to their kickstarter. Elite took an absolute age to show anything beyond concept art and the original elite, communication was lacking and it was a fight to get any information. I’m really glad it improved.

        Star Citizen promised Alpha 12 months after the kickstarter ended (which started early with the hangar module in August), then Beta 20-22 months after the kickstarter (so July-September 2014) and the release for November 2014. Star Citizen also seems to have had better communication with the backers from the start.

        One of these appears to be on target, the other is slipping.

        • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

          Aye, SC is definitely slipping more, but i guess it’s not a huge surprise.

          • derbefrier says:

            If alpha access wasn’t so expensive I probably would have bought it. It seems to be on track to beat Star Citizen out the gate so I”ll probably pick it up once the price for entry is a bit more reasonable.

        • dreamscape says:

          Star Citizen is delayed until 2015 and reality shows and excuses isn’t better communication

      • dreamscape says:

        Elite: Dangerous didn’t make easy choices wrt development. as it has a fully seamless 1:1 scale Milky Way galaxy, with full freeform fast interplanetary flight built on their own custom engine and not this cut-scene autopilot busness with tiny levels build on CryEngine that Star Citizen is doing.

        Elite also has proper distances and full celestial mechanics as opposed to static planets that just sit there.

        Elite will also have boarding. and walking on full 1:1 scale planets, not just a few cut-scenes to tiny CryEngine landing spots.

        I suggest you to do some research next time. Google: “Elite Dangerous FAQ”

        • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

          Dude… Just let go. Every thread about Elite has to contain your little FAQ in every reply and your fanboy rants.

          Both games have huge potential, both are most likely going to be great and make some toybox user jealous, both have their difference. But most importantly, both have pro and cons.

          Yes, i was wrong about the boarding, but so what? each game still has different features.

          I still stand by the idea that CR made some choices that will prolong the development time, but this doesn’t mean that i think Elite took cheap shortcuts, it simply has a different focus with easier to streamline features ( more procedural stuff, for example ) and i’m pretty sure it’s going to release faster because of it and not because CR is a dirty scammer and Braben instead is our holy savior.

          • WrenBoy says:

            Actually its debatable whether or not you were wrong. Boarding, along with many other features, are planned as expansions to the base game. As far as I can tell this is not the case with SC. So the current development for Elite is more focussed, again at least as far as I can tell.

          • dreamscape says:

            Procedural content is actually much harder to do and it’s not the only content Elite has.

          • dreamscape says:

            They are confirmed expansions, that will be done within a year of the initial release and is already paid for, also right now SC has only a hangar module.

          • WrenBoy says:

            @dreamscape

            So how far advanced are they with the boarding or does it seem that they will be completely focussed on the base game until release?

            Also what is it with fanboys? Why does it have to be a competition between E:D and SC all the time? Would you be happier if both games were great or if E:D was far far better?

          • dreamscape says:

            Development of walking around stuff is explained in Newsletter 14 also I wasn’t the one that started the Star Citizen comparisons.

        • alantwelve says:

          “Elite: Dangerous…has a fully seamless 1:1 scale Milky Way galaxy”

          It’s also got noises in space and that’s rubbish.

          • Caiman says:

            No it doesn’t, it has simulated sound generated by the ship’s cockpit to provide useful feedback, and sound a lot more interesting than complete silence. If you prefer complete silence, I believe they’re talking about options to turn the audio feedback off.

          • Sharlie Shaplin says:

            Just mute the game volume, and voilà! Pure realism!

    • Shadowcat says:

      They’re certainly foolish if they used the word “promise” in respect to planned release dates. But even if someone does do that, you should never take it as anything other than an extremely-rough estimate that they’re hoping to achieve, but in all probability will miss by a wide margin.

  5. Sheng-ji says:

    Oh god damn it… I was certain I had backed this – I check kickstarter to see the level and it turns out I didn’t – how the heck did that happen! I also did this with star citizen as well!

    • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

      I’m sorry, i think i used your bank account for myself. I’ll pay back, i promise!

    • LordDamien says:

      Is there a single rps reader that didn’t backed Star Citizen? Yet on retrospective, I’ll rather vouch for this, looks like it has a clearer direction.

      • Stardreamer says:

        Is there a single rps reader that didn’t backed Star Citizen?

        Yes? Hello? You called?

      • frightlever says:

        Me neither, and I’m sure plenty of other people who’re too cheap or just not interested in the genre. If it turns out to be a good game I’ll pick it up when it’s done. Same with Elite.

      • Felixader says:

        I am really interested in this, but i did not back it for a mixture of reasons.

      • BillyBantam says:

        I didn’t back either project as I wanted to see how they panned out. I was leaning towards Star Citizen then, however at this point for me Elite looks a better product so I am glad I held off.

      • Premium User Badge

        melnificent says:

        Yup, I’ve done one kickstarter and it’s 6 months late at the moment.
        Wouldn’t ever back another.

      • WrenBoy says:

        I havent backed it either, or Elite for that matter. Elites progress is a little easier to follow as SC seems to have a huge scope so Im a bit more optimistic for Elite as this stage despite the smaller budget. Would buy both if they both turn out well though.

      • Themadcow says:

        …and another one. As someone who grew up in the 80′s with Elite I always thought that Wing Commander games looked like a flashier series, but lacked the freedom and depth of it’s older inspiration. The name Chris Roberts might have meant a lot to kids growing up in the 90′s, especially with the marketing and proliferation of gaming hardware that swept WC along, but the name Braben (and Bell!) was a much bigger selling point for me. Elite was a 2 man job of coding brilliance whereas Roberts was part of a bigger team for most of the series.

      • Lemming says:

        Me. I did back it initially, but when it became obvious they didn’t need my money any more I pulled out. I wasn’t entirely confident they’d pull off what they were promising, so I figured I’d rather wait for retail.

      • Premium User Badge

        Martel says:

        I didn’t back it either, but I’m married so I’m not sure I meet your qualifications.

      • Premium User Badge

        Thurgret says:

        I backed Star Citizen, and I’m heartily regretting it. They don’t appear to have progressed from their original tech demo, beyond adding some 3D models – certainly not $38 million worth of 3D models – and doing a lot of PR stuff.

        Braben appeared to have less going for him, starting out, but in hindsight, he’s been an awful lot more honest (from what I’ve seen so far) about the direction of his game and what it would include. Also, Elite’s microtransaction system isn’t as utterly in-your-face as Star Citizen (which continues to assert this absurd claim that it’s not pay-to-win, and that expensive ships are merely ‘different’, not better).

        • Arglebargle says:

          Star Citizen can bring in about a million a month with their hack Hollywood PR schtick. The sooner they actually deliver something, the sooner they’ll have to chance breaking the fantasy. I expect a very late, buggy delivery. No chance I’ll invest even a penny early, as I have talked to a number of folks who worked with Roberts, and the tales are not pretty.

          The Elite Dangerous crew seems to be working hard at producing a game instead of an Empire.

      • Godly12 says:

        I havent backed either game but Im following them closely. I will support and back the game by buying the final release of the products. Im against all this early access crap while I do see the pros and cons of it.

  6. Finstern says:

    You can be a backer if you pay 50 now but you wont get access to the alpha, it actually costs 200 to get alpha access as a non backer. =(

  7. Screamer says:

    £50? They can just fuck right off.

    • WrenBoy says:

      And 200 to play the alpha apparently. Since 50 was apparently enough for them to fuck right off, I impatiently await your rolling out of the big guns.

      • bstard says:

        So the 200 is to fuck right on? Or is that without the wig?

        • WrenBoy says:

          Every time I see a Braben video I google his name and the word, ‘wig’ but Im always disappointed. At the same time Ive seen people who wear wigs and I wast able to tell. I wonder if hes just got really bad hair and we are making a foolish assumption?

        • The Random One says:

          For £200 they can fuck right through.

    • Eggman says:

      Did you expect it to be priced like DayZ? The production values are a bit higher here.

      • Screamer says:

        I’d say most games have better production values than DayZ.

  8. jingies says:

    Back this at a lowly budget tier, but it’s becoming more evident that it’s going to cost me a hefty new computer to be able to run this at anything like what the videos show. Oh well.

    • Stardreamer says:

      I wouldn’t be so sure. I don’t think I’ve seen anything that looks particularly onerous to hardware? Also, it just doesn’t make sense to pitch games exclusively at high-end machines, not in the modern marketplace.

      • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

        And it’s set in space, which helps. It definitely can be played with some decent hardware, it’s no pushover but nothing impossible either.

        SC is a different beast and it’s actually aimed at meaty hardware, most of the detail is made by the huge polycount as opposed to the usual techniques. It’s not like they’re avoiding normal mapping but they’re still pushing for far more “meat” than what’s sensible today. It’s also worth nothing that this method scales perfectly with resolution increases, as 1440p becomes more popular and sooner or later 4k.

        Then again SC will launch very late, plus their high end approach actually helped gathering interest as opposed to scaring people away, they’ve handled it the right way and their project is already incredibly profitable, so why not? One of the elements that make the PC a great platform is that it’s constant evolution will give you to ability to cope with everything sooner or later, and you’ll have a future proofed ( graphically speaking ) game always waiting for you.

        • Arglebargle says:

          SC aiming for more than is sensible seems par for the course….

    • Zenicetus says:

      Space games have less to render than say, a jungle in Crysis. So unless a developer drapes gratuitous nebulae and space junk everywhere, the hardware gets a break.

      Also, the aerodynamic modeling in a flight sim eats up big chunks of CPU cycles. No aerodynamics here, and most space sims don’t even bother with basic Newtonian physics. It’s just a window you steer around the scenery (and I hope this new Elite will go at least a little beyond that).

  9. Hypnotron says:

    Graphics aside, the gameplay looks not unlike any random space fighter sim from pre 1995. Tie-Fighter actually looks more fun than this. So I’m just not particularly impressed.

    • frightlever says:

      Arguably any game play that doesn’t look like 1970s Star Wars, or indeed 1970s “Aces High”, isn’t going to “fly” with most people. So ruling out an actual physics based flight model aside, what else are you meant to do with the dog-fighting?

      Actually, can I take back “Aces High” and substitute the 1960s “The Blue Max”?

    • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

      It’s like saying that cars in GTA drive like some other racing game, which is a great way to ignore all the other elements that make the game.

      Games like this and SC are supposed to be a space experience, with trading, pirating, exploring, conflict either for luls or driven by economy/rivalry/guild wars and so on and so forth. And this is before even mentioning the actual “world” size and the freedom of it.

      Or it’s like saying that some games have better tree models than ArmA, while that game is supposed to give you kilometers of actually useful/usable draw distance.

      • CookPassBabtridge says:

        Mild snark: Whilst being primarily a draw distance demonstration tool, I am fairly sure Arma has some guns in it. And some military stuff. They’re there if you look really hard.

    • DatonKallandor says:

      Please tell us which pre-95 space sim had a stealth system that ties into both heat and energy management.

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  11. CookPassBabtridge says:

    I managed to miss that this is a multiplayer game and now am sad. Why must everything include other humans in it? Grumble grumble fecking PEOPLE