Elite Dangerous Premium Beta 2 Out, Adds Stations, Ships

By Ben Barrett on June 25th, 2014 at 3:00 pm.

Corrrrrr, spaaaaace.

I’ve actually been dodging as much Elite: Dangerous knowledge as possible. The foolish, now semi-abandoned plan was to experience it at the same time as my first go on an Oculus Rift. The problem is those pesky folks over at Frontier Developments keep teasing all the beautiful things they’re putting into the game. Even if I can’t afford that hefty beta price tag, I’m spoiling myself with patch notes from the newest update containing phrases like “first flyable Zorgon Peterson” and “complex 8km diameter structures.” If that weren’t enough, they’ve put out a three minute video that’s literally just things slowly rotating space and it’s still one of the best trailers of the year.

Mmm, giant spinny space things set to classical music.

Have a gander at the highlights from the patch itself:

Three new star systems are available to explore and trade within, Aulin, LHS 3006 and Styx.

Giant Orbis class starports have been added, which are complex 8km diameter structures, larger and more luxurious than Coriolis star ports.

A new space ship type, the Hauler, is the first flyable Zorgon Peterson ship to be added. It’s an entry-level trading ship, to follow on from the Sidewinder. It has four times the cargo capacity of the Eagle, the entry-level combat ship.

Additional language support has been added, with German as the first such language to be added to English.

A high resolution screen capture facility has been added (capturing at four times the current screen resolution)

Improved functionality in the installer, giving incremental updates going forwards.

Improved performance.

There’s also a whole two forum posts of tweaks, fixes and additions including options for pilot gender and that station rear beacons are now on. That’s your “amusingly out of context patch note” for the day, please check back tomorrow. If you want it to make a bit more sense, you can get access to the beta yourself for (snort) £100 here.

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100 Comments »

  1. mononoaware says:

    I approve of the use of the word ‘gander’.

  2. BobbyDylan says:

    Only 1 ship.

  3. Bull0 says:

    That’s the first E:D trailer I’ve seen that really resonates deep within my nostalgia bladder so far.

  4. Premium User Badge DarkLiberator says:

    150 bucks for the beta? I guess I’ll wait till release. I’m patient.

    Backed Limited Theory (20USD) and Star Citizen (30USD) already, awesome to see more space ship games. Been playing around in the Star Citizen Arena multiplayer and honestly it makes the waiting for the main release even more painful since its in 2016. Wish I could hibernate.

    • Geebs says:

      According to the store page, if you don’t want to pay $150 for the beta, you still have an exclusive opportunity to pay $300 for the alpha! Bargain, I say.

  5. AshRolls says:

    That music. Nostalgia overload. It takes me right back to my Amiga 500 and Frontier Elite 2… oh god, my lost youth *sobs uncontrollably*

    • Niko says:

      Hey, let’s nominate Strauss for the best video game composer or something.

    • Zafman says:

      This trailer literally strikes a chord. Must be the music, but my eyes are getting all watery. This game is going to own me!

  6. Shadowcat says:

    Every time I watch a trailer for the new Elite, I feel like Mark from Peep Show enthusing “She’s The One!” (I spent a while failing to find a suitable captioned picture, so you’ll have to make do).

    Unless Frontier are spending their money on the most amazing marketing con of all time, they seem to be hitting this for six, continually. When I saw the original pitch video, I didn’t dream that it could be this good. (Did anyone?!)

    I’m following some other space games as well, and I’m excited to see how they all turn out, but this… yes, I’m pretty sure that this is The One.

    • Neutrino says:

      I have to admit that trailer gave me a bit of a chubby too. Really looking forward to playing this.

    • melnificent says:

      I was a rather loud detractor. Thought those videos were complete rubbish and Braben was going to disappear into the night after taking the cash and shuttering Frontier. Their financials weren’t in the best of shape. Then the kickstarter money flooded in and kept them afloat to actually do the work.

      I’m still not 100% confident, but I think they’ll at least go the distance now.

      • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

        The game is there, the bugs are utterly atrocious, but it’s there.

        Still a little mad that i lost 1.1 million before and 2.3 millions afterward for stupid things ( to give some perspective, farming 100k for a Cobra is already considered a struggle by some ), then endless loading screens, endless supercruise exits, general wonkyness everywhere and the list goes on.

        BUT!

        It’s still true that i’m still playing regardless of all of this crap, this ought to mean something aswell! Really, if they squash all this trash polluting an otherwise incredibly great experience, then it’s a no brainer. Yes, some people rage quitted, but meh, it’s a beta i guess and we’re going to be reset anyway.

        • Premium User Badge Harlander says:

          Elite games being buggy as all hell is in keeping with the spirit of.. well, First Encounters at least.

        • BobbyDylan says:

          I mean no offence, but being annoyed that a beta is buggy is like being annoyed that water is wet. I too get frustrated with the beta at times, and I’m actually taking a beak from it right now (haven;t even played Beta 2 yet). But I’m under no illusions, the game is very much a WIP.

          • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

            You’re right, you’re right, it’s just that something about that game struck my compulsiveness!

  7. Loque says:

    Is the $150 beta price… a way to try to keep out possible trolls/haters?

    • Cockie says:

      No, that’s simply what people had to pay for it in the kickstarter and they thought it would be unfair for them to lower the price afterwards.

      • Shadowcat says:

        Also it keeps out possible trolls/haters.

        • Cockie says:

          Dunno, there seem to be quite a lot of rather angry people on the frontier forums…
          But I won’t deny that it’s an excessive amount of money. :/

          • BobbyDylan says:

            There are? I’m a regular on those forums, and they seem perfectly happy to me. Sure, there’s some discussion about Beta 2 changes, but the game’s in development, and we’re beta testers. We’re meant to be discussing these things.

            As for the high price, I think it’s got to do with limited capacity at FD to deal with the issues that 500, 000 backers in 6 systems would bring. I think the high price is meant to keep the current ingame population low enough to handle.

          • bfoster68 says:

            what angry users….seriously go back and look at the forums. There are people that are not happy with the resets but that is the name of the game in software testing. I worked for Westwood Studios in the early 90′s as a tester so trust me I know….

      • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

        It still means it wasn’t much of a flexible model right from the very start, with the Kickstarter. Surely a reason why they don’t have some extra millions by now, you can bet on it.

        Eitherway, it’s also true that Braben was quite honest about it, he simply didn’t want too many people in the testing phase.

  8. Lion Heart says:

    domo arigato mr roboto!, has to be a reference in that system

  9. Premium User Badge Wisq says:

    Can’t tell if that was meant to read “rotating in space”, or if you’re using the relativistic notion of ships rotating the entire universe around them. Which is cool too.

  10. Koozer says:

    Bah, they could at least go with the Planet Suite.

    • Simes says:

      They could, but then it wouldn’t be a reference to either of the two things it’s a reference to.

    • Antsy says:

      Bah, they could at least go with The Birdie Song.

    • Mr.Snowy says:

      Heathen!

      Clearly a young ‘un, us ancients remember the Blue Danube waltz being the docking music from the original way back in the day.

      And before anyone chimes in, yes I know that the CBM64 version that I played wasn’t the ORIGINAL original, but still, there was no other piece of music for this video for me :)

  11. josch says:

    a three minute video that’s literally just things slowly rotating space and it’s still one of the best trailers of the year

    Then you should check out “2001: A Space Odyssey”, where the same waltz (“An der schönen blauen Donau” by Johann Strauss) is played during a very similar scene of a space ship docking at a very similar looking space station.

    • Ben Barrett says:

      Believe it or not I have managed to check out that particular cult classic.

      • Neutrino says:

        2001 A Space Odyssey is not a ‘cult’ classic. It’s just a classic full stop!

    • Antsy says:

      I just feel so…old.

      • Piratepete says:

        me too. I remember when the year 2001 was far enough in the future anything could happen. We got selfies and the internet and not robot butlers and flying cars :)

  12. CookPassBabtridge says:

    Anyone played this with a Warthog stick? I’m thinking of getting one for DCS Warthog for a possible future Warthog Warthog Rift Super Combo and it would be good if it works well with this too.

    • Jiblet says:

      Yep, I play it with a Warthog and i’s most excellent.
      There’s a built in config, so it will recognise that you have a warthog natively (no need for TARGET), though to be honest I rebound a lot of the control scheme to make sense for me – which was was easy enough.

      The really nice thing though is that certain controls can be set to “toggle” or ” hold” in the game. So for example, “Silent Running” (which buttons up your ship to stop you showing on radar, but makes you slowly melt) can be set to one of the chunky toggle switches on the base of the throttle and set to “hold”. That way the switch has to be thrown one way for it to activate and the other for it to deactivate. In short – it lets you use the damned things properly and it’s excellent. Now if only it worked for things like the landing gear….

      • CookPassBabtridge says:

        Thanks for the info. It sounds like playing this with a rift could be hard what with not being able to see the many buttons. Hmm. Playing this with a 360 pad would feel wrong. Anyone know if they’re working VR in?

        • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

          It’s wrong and totally heretic, etc etc etc

          Then again, it works flawlessly as you have 2 sticks, perfect for 6DoF flight, and again perfect for free view mode which is used for a lot of menus and things without having to reach for your mouse.

          For now it’s saving me a lot of money, since while i’m surely going to buy a joystick sooner or later, i already know i wouldn’t be able to resist the temptation to go BIG.

    • Niko says:

      I don’t know what a warthog stick is but it sounds funny. He he. Warthog stick.

  13. Fitzmogwai says:

    Damn it. I’m all twitchy. What with seeing the Braben-signed BBC B at the Eurogamer Expo last year and now this nostalgiagasm trailer, I’m SO tempted to throw £100 that I absolutely cannot afford at Frontier.

  14. derbefrier says:

    As soon as I can but this for the price of a regular game I will be very happy.

    • Zenicetus says:

      Same here. Isn’t the “normal” price Beta coming up soon, like next month or something? What’s the latest on that, if anyone knows?

      • Cockie says:

        No official date, but the availability of the premium beta ends july 15, which makes it very plausible that standard beta will arrive early august.

      • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

        One thing is waiting for launch and the cheapest price, but standard beta is possibly the worst bang for buck considering it still costs a lot and it doesn’t offer the life time expansion pack.

    • Mr.Snowy says:

      The premium beta gets the backer all game updates included in the price, where the regular one will mean DLC content/expansions further down the road. All things being equal and the game making the money to continue anyway.

      That was sufficient for me to take the plunge though, and I am enjoying myself immensely

  15. Imbecile says:

    Aw. I think the trailer might have been improved had it ended with a pilot trying to crash while docking at the end of all the elegant waltzing around in space.

    • Klatu says:

      I was thinking that too. Always happens to me.

      Was wondering why the dock has to revolve with the space station at all. Surely a zero-G dock and an easier to navigate space would be preferable.

      • Grovester says:

        That’s what I never understood in the Elite universe.

        Huge space stations? Check.
        Faster than light travel? Check
        Huge spaceship battles with lasers and everything? Check
        Cheap docking computers? Computer says no.

        Drives me mental. How complicated can it be to implement a docking computer in that universe? It’s crazy – a stupid omission just to make a fake challenge for a player.

        • UncleLou says:

          You have space dogfights at close distance like in WWI. That’s so far removed from anything that would most likely ever happen even if we traveled space in lorry-sized spaceships and so clearly a concession to, well, gameplay, that I find docking computers should be the least of your worries.

          Also, I am sure Han Solo never used a docking computer. And Elite always was about being Han Solo, basically*. At least in 1984. :)

          *until you could afford a docking computer, of course

          • Grovester says:

            After I posted this I thought “Oh, and the fighting too, that’s pretty ridiculous”. But I kind of get that, it’s a game after all. It’s just that the docking scenario was so arbitrary and didn’t make sense in the context of the rest of the game.

            To Antsy – my key word was “cheap”. You’d think a docking computer would be standard equipment. And that the space stations might rather want them to be mandatory.

            Anyway, I did play the original. Got to Dangerous, and then I discovered cider. Mmmm cider.

        • Piratepete says:

          please put the original game in context. Look at what they did with bugger all processing and even less memory, it was a good extra challenge to a player for minimal programming.

        • UpsilonCrux says:

          “a stupid omission just to make a fake challenge for a player”.

          Yup. They’re called games.
          Man I’m real fed up of the “surely in the future…” arguments.

        • Antsy says:

          But Elite did have a docking computer, and so did Frontier. The docking computer will be featured in Elite: Dangerous too in some form.

          Also, a Zero-G dock would just start spinning too, eventually. It would need to counter rotate :P

          • Klatu says:

            Yeah the need for the locked centre section to contra-rotate had occurred to me too, but I’m sure some sort of thruster system could be used.
            Another thought: how fast would the centre rotate if a station say a few kilometres diameter has a workable ‘gravity’?

          • Zenicetus says:

            If these stations ever see combat (do they?), a fixed hub would be more robust than a complex counter-rotating hub with a bearing of some kind. Cheaper to build, too.

            With a counter-rotating hub, you also have to figure out how to transfer people and cargo between the hub and the tubes or elevators connecting to the outer ring, without slicing someone in half in the process. Easy if you can teleport, but if not, the mechanics would be tricky. I think that’s the main justification for the design.

            Building a system to make that transition inside the station would be more complicated than just aligning the incoming ships before they move in. That’s easy, 20th Century tech, unless a computer game makes it intentionally difficult (cough).

          • Premium User Badge phuzz says:

            Ok, after a few minutes of remembering some maths, I’ve worked it out:
            t : the time for the station to make one rotation
            r : the length of the space stations spokes, mentioned above as 8km
            a : the acceleration at the end of the spokes, ie the ‘gravity’ you would feel, 1g~10 m/s^2
            t=sqrt((4xπ^2xr)/a)=178s
            So it would take almost three minutes for one rotation of an 8km station.
            You could have a smaller station and rotate it faster to achieve 1g, and a larger station would have to rotate slower to avoid crushing people. Or you could decide that Mars gravity (~0.4g) would be nice and bouncy and spin your station slower.

  16. Premium User Badge Stellar Duck says:

    Now I want to play Startopia again. Damn it!

  17. unc0nnected says:

    “Mmm, giant spinny space things set to classical music.” This line and no reference to what this video is paying direct homage to leads me to believe that you haven’t seen 2001: The Space Odyssey, let alone the 15 times required to be an official space geek. In which case RPS should have you flogged until you do watch it so you can appreciate the video for what it is. If not then nevermind me :)

    For the rest of you too young to know what I’m talking about:

    • Ben Barrett says:

      I have, though it’s been a while, and I, uh, didn’t rate it. To put it mildly.

      • Zenicetus says:

        It’s meant to be watched in a state of chemical enhancement. Also probably helps if you’re my age (old fart) and can handle the slow pacing.

        • Ben Barrett says:

          Now that I’m old enough for slower paces and chemical enhancement, I should perhaps try again.

          • Scurra says:

            I would note that 2001 is also one of that small group of films that, basically, needs to be seen in a cinema, preferably on the largest screen there is. No, I don’t care how big your home tv set is, it’s not the same thing at all. People who have only seen it on the small screen tend not to appreciate it in the same way.

          • Ben Barrett says:

            The only screen I have seen it on was a very small 4:3 TV, so again, you might be right.

    • schlusenbach says:

      It also is an even directererer homage to the old elite: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L-VJeVPeawk

    • UpsilonCrux says:

      I presumed it didn’t even need to be said! :D

      It really is the best.
      For anyone who hasn’t read the book I’d highly recommend it too.
      Lots more depth to the “Dawn of Man” section.

    • Premium User Badge phuzz says:

      I assumed it was so obvious they didn’t need to mention it. It’s also a homage to Elite 2 which featured the same music in the same manner.

  18. oyog says:

    I’m confused. Why are those planets so close to each other?

    • drakmaniso says:

      Ever heard of “moons”?

      Speaking of which, one of my favorite lines of the patch notes is:

      - Moons can now have moons of their own

      I think one of the strongest aspect of Elite is that the game tries really hard to make us experience the beauty of space itself. Realism is often put aside in favor of gameplay for all the techy stuff, but for the rendering of our universe, the developers really are dedicated to be as close to the real thing as they can.

    • Slawkenbergius says:

      It’s a camera effect. Zoom lenses flatten images, so it seems like they’ve used a really strong zoom effect on the shots where the planets look close together. They don’t look like that in-game.

  19. dagnamit says:

    Let’s just says that the $75 beta will be my breaking point. I don’t care if it’s just an “early release” premium fun time. WANT. SO BADLY.

  20. Cei says:

    My problem with E:D is the current playerbase. Hear me out…

    There’s no penalty for being a colossal ass right now. People know that the server data is being wiped on a regular basis, so they can just be mean to everybody with no comeuppance. Throw in the fact that there’s way more money to be earned from combat than trading and you just end up with dogfights of underpowered newbie ships vs vets with stacked out high tier Cobras.

    I started E:D and went trading, as you do. I made about 2k in profit in a few hours. I then got wiped out in about 30 seconds by a Cobra when I was approaching a station. Boom, lost all my money and cargo – the only solution was to restart my save and get the 1k starting money back again.

    I’m excited for the full launch, but Frontier need to somehow shift the focus away from combat to trading and exploration (with some pew pew on the side). Maybe by reducing the profit made from kills or making it far more high risk.

    • Wulfram says:

      I’d have thought it should depend on sector – you should be able to do pretty safe low-profit milk runs between Sol and Alpha Centauri, while another world might be under virtual siege and offer fantastic profits to anyone who can get through safely.

      And peaceful exploration should be possible when you’ve got millions of star systems. I mean, what are the odds you’ll run into someone?

    • UpsilonCrux says:

      Why didn’t you just take the free sidewinder and keep your balance?
      Sure, you’ll have lost that cargo, but you would still have had 2k or 3k or whatever.

      I wonder if I’ve just been lucky, I’ve only had two….unsavoury player encounters in the past month or so. Mostly everyone has behaved like a complete space-gent, I even saw a Lakon with a top hat.

      • Cei says:

        I should have clarified that when I was blown up I had a full cargo hold (of four units, woo), which was where my profits had been invested. I had about 120 credits in the bank.

    • Antsy says:

      You should also consider keeping enough credits to pay the replacement ship cost, which is much cheaper than buying the same ship new.

      There will at least be a single player option for those who don’t find space big enough for the lot of us :P

    • Distec says:

      First rule of Elite: Don’t fly what you can’t afford to lo-

      Fuck, wrong space game.

      • Premium User Badge phuzz says:

        The Eve model of having powerful NPC space police to crack down on griefers in some hisec systems might become necessary.

        • Distec says:

          We’ll just bump ‘em.

          (I don’t bump in actuality, and I’m guessing it’s not possible here)

        • Premium User Badge Harlander says:

          Hopefully, they’ll be better than the Elite 2 space cops, who’d quite often blow themselves up by crashing into eachother before even getting out of the station bay.

          The Kops of Keystone Station.

    • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

      As you grind to a Cobra you can start serious pirating. Blow the federal Anacondas and/or the pack of 5 eagles to get a lot of scoopables to finally reach one million.

      Then buy a Lakon, see the transaction fail and lose 1.1 million, get a refund from support, rebuy the Lakon and start doing like 60-300k profits per run, then buy a full 440 tons cargo worth around 2.3 millions and lose it because of server/saving issues.

      Now you can punch things around your room and join my club.

      Eitherway, trading and exploring as a fresh start-up can only be handled in the full game or in a far more chunckier beta. You really need to buckle up for now, this testing phase is ( probably intentionally ) all about few systems, crashing the economy, and a lot of fighting for networking tests.

      • Cei says:

        I think you’re right, it’s a problem with the beta right now, rather than the potential of the full game. I just hope it isn’t a sign of what will happen.

  21. Chorltonwheelie says:

    Looks hoopy! Can not wait.

  22. JamesTheNumberless says:

    Come dock with me, the space station seemed to say. Don’t worry, it’s easy. Just relax and let nature take its course. It’ll go in, I promise.

    ::sobs uncontrollably::

    What’s wrong with me? Am I not a real spaceship?

    • Premium User Badge Harlander says:

      Well, no, at most you’re a real spaceship pilot.

      Being a sentient vessel, Lexx-esque, is surprisingly underexplored in games.

      • JamesTheNumberless says:

        Lexx the ship was a bit disappointing. In terms of both sentient spaceships, and giant spacefaring organic things, Iain Banks used to think up better stuff before breakfast. Lexx the show is, of course, full of sexual metaphors which are even less subtle that the one in my last post.

        • JamesTheNumberless says:

          I don’t actually know what Iain Banks had for breakfast but I suspect it was whisky based.

          • Premium User Badge Harlander says:

            I know what you mean, but I was always a bit amused by the way that the Lexx, this sentient spaceship miracle of far-future biotech, is actually a complete moron

  23. plsdeleteme says:

    Cant wait to get my hands on this. Already having lots of fun in the Star Citizen Arena Commander but sadly the (financial) entry level of ED is too high for me :(

    Well, waiting for something good is part of the fun. At least that’s what I keep telling myself ^^

  24. JamesTheNumberless says:

    I’m pleasantly surprised by the design, it looks as though they’re resisting being over-the-top just because they can. One of the things I always loved about the Elite games was the realism in ship design. Sure you can buy something that looks like an x-wing or whatever, but it’s little more than a rich kid’s toy, and almost completely impractical even for a professional assassin. If you’re a budding trader then you want the space equivalent of a transit van, and should expect it to look like it too!

  25. Grovester says:

    Yeah, but did it come with a docking computer?

  26. Pockets says:

    They look pretty great to me. I like the fact they kept the geometric-shapeyness of the originals, it’s something a bit different these days.

  27. UncleLou says:

    Look great to me as well – and I mean, really great, second only to EVE as far as these games go, and EVE is in a league of its own in that respect.

  28. BobbyDylan says:

    Lol. What? Why the hate?

  29. Premium User Badge Harlander says:

    Forget it, man, it’s johncage. Town.

  30. Maxheadroom says:

    I actually search for johncage posts now. Well known hilariously obvious RPS troll

  31. CookPassBabtridge says:

    You… don’t already have him/her on permanent block? I suppose you could see it as light entertainment.