Holiday Space Japes – Elite: Dangerous Smuggling Video

By Graham Smith on August 25th, 2014 at 10:00 am.

Yes, I've seen that article about how there's no stealth in space.

It’s a bank holiday Monday in the UK, which means that the Rock, Paper, Shotgun crew is still writing news and articles about videogames, but instead of posting them here we’re printing them off, feeding them directly into a shredder, and then deleting the source files. It’s a cruel shame, but that’s the world we live in.

Perhaps you still want some entertainment to get you through the day wherever you are, in which case here’s a video of someone smuggling illegal goods into an Elite: Dangerous space station. It’s nine minutes of interstellar stealth and pleasant space ship noises, with on-screen text to describe the tactics used at each stage, and it’s brilliant. Space!

I wrote this post on Friday, which is why I’ve not fed it directly into a bin.

Elite: Dangerous’s space police detect nearby vessels not only with their eyes, but by scanning for heat signatures. That means you can mask your ship by killing your engines and power and relying on inertia to drift past certain security measures, and leads to the thrilling moment above where the player, YouTube user Isinona, thrusts their engines hard, turns everything off, and drifts without control for a full ten kilometers in order to dock with the space station.

After a lengthy-but-efficient alpha process, Dangerous has now entered into beta and access is available for a chunky £50. It’s definitely unfinished, so you should read about the game carefully before deciding to commit to buying it at this stage.

Space!

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144 Comments »

  1. zaphod42 says:

    I just stopped playing Elite: Dangerous and here’s a new post about it! :) Playing with an Oculus DK2, and I do have to say that Elite is absolutely incredible. Its the space game you’ve always wanted. The beta is still very bare-bones, but even with what little there is, I’m finding hours of unbelievable entertainment. This is the best Virtual Reality videogame made yet, even though its not done being made. Also the best space game ever made, Star Citizen be damned.

  2. wondermoth says:

    My main complaint with E:D is that docking is far too easy (although that hasn’t stopped me ramming my ship into the wall on several occasions). Of course, if you decide to dock by pointing your ship at the Coriolis from 8 clicks out, slamming the engines on full, then turning everything off and drifting through the portal, it gets a lot trickier.

    • SuicideKing says:

      Something like docking shouldn’t be hard, you know.

      • wondermoth says:

        I fear change. Elite had it perfect; docking was nigh-on impossible until you bought a docking computer, and then it was a joyful, Straussy delight. In E:D, trading is less satisfying.

        This hasn’t stopped backers on the forums griping that it’s too difficult because you don’t have constant access to live market information in all systems, of course. It seems the majority of people want trading to be a secondary pursuit, something that happens in the background as you move between systems. I want trading to be *hard*. YMMV.

      • Zenicetus says:

        Why shouldn’t it be hard? Ever dock a large boat? That’s hard until you learn how. Landing an airplane without artificial help is the most challenging parts of the flight. I think they’ve got it just right. It’s maybe a little too easy for those of us with a lifetime playing flight sims, but not too hard for people completely new to this type of thing.

        The way the game gives you unlimited free Sidewinder ships when you first start out, means you can screw up as many times as you want, while learning.

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          tigerfort says:

          Did you know that people are now using these new-fangled computer things to make previously hard tasks easier?

          Given that the Elite universe canonically does contain docking computers, I don’t see any reason why they wouldn’t be a required for all ships wanting to use any major trade hub. People crashing into your space station costs money, so why would you risk having it happen? Docking computers aren’t exactly expensive relative to even pretty small ships, never mind stations.

          I can sort-of understand making them an optional extra from a gameplay point of view (especially since it’s in accordance with tradition:), but in terms of actual economics, it makes no sense whatever.

        • SuicideKing says:

          These are future space craft, not airplanes or boats.

          Had you said “like docking a space shuttle to the ISS”, then okay, I’d kinda agree, except that Elite isn’t set in 2014.

          And no, I’ve not docked a boat, but I’ve parked a car. Do I want a space “sim” to be more complicated than parking a car in real life? No.

      • ulix says:

        I’m getting a particular enjoyment from correctly parking my large truck in ETS2 to deliver Cargo, something the game allows you to skip (however, you get Bonus money and XP for doing it). So yeah, docking should be hard.

        • SuicideKing says:

          I don’t get the comparison. ETS is a TRUCK SIMULATOR.

          Elite isn’t a “simulator” in the true sense.

          In ETS, parking a truck is a major part of the game, in Elite, it’s simply a way to get to more things. I don’t know why you’d want more stress.

          Make it “realistic”, in the sense that it’s not as simple as “press Alt-J to return to base”, but I’d definitely not want to get frustrated over something as mundane and repetitive as docking.

    • Sandepande says:

      Pssh, docking is just perfect, meaning it’s like parking a car – not hard, if you bother to concentrate a bit. It is enough of a chore to make me want to buy the docking computer, but it doesn’t cause me to lose my ship every other time I try to land.

    • shaydeeadi says:

      I keep mindlessly boosting in stations when I am leaving, normally killing myself, sometimes with a full cargo.

      Please help.

      • Dephen says:

        *Clicks launch…*
        *Gains height, switches engines to a haphazard figure usually over %50*

        “Hmmm, for some reason I’m still not going fast enough to exit the station like a complete badass and thus earn respect and admiration from any pilots docking at their mundane speeds… Oh look my undercarriage is still down”

        *puts undercarriage up*

        “FUUUUUUUC-BOOOOM”

      • Dr Wookie says:

        You can rebind your keys for docking in the controls menu… This works as long as the landing gear down, I think. For example, I use a 360 pad and I bind yaw to left and right triggers during docking. I also rebind the boost key to something else which depends on the ship I’m in… For lakons I rebind the thrusters to A B X Y, so that I can thrust while looking through the floor when landing

        • shaydeeadi says:

          It’s more suicidal impulses than not being able to dock. I’ve almost got swooping straight into the bay from entry down to an art now. But sometimes i just gotta put my foot to the floor and it’s always fun/funny, just a bit costly and I’ll never get out the sidewinder at this rate.

    • Stuart Walton says:

      Docking computers should come as standard, but the stock units should be so poor in quality that their tracking resolution is low and approach speeds must be very slow. More expensive units will allow faster approaches and will interface with station controllers to automatically get docking clearance.

      Manual approaches however will always be quicker, as long as the pilot is skilled enough.

      The docking bay entrance should also have proximity lights that change from green to red when a craft is near to help prevent ships colliding.

  3. LionsPhil says:

    Man, those gentle cracking sounds while frozen.

    The audio work in this game is amazing.

    Also the bright-red F-keys starting from zero on that left keyboard seem to be a nod to the mighty BBC Micro. Neat.

  4. Ulaxes says:

    Being a backer from the kickstarter days, I had to restrain myself so hard not to buy the damn beta access (and I’m still tempted). I bought Star Citizen instead, but the state of progress is nowhere near ED, so I’m still hungry for more space! (Still, SC looks very cool and I’m looking forward to the upcoming update which doubles the speed of spaceships)

    Space!

    • Cei says:

      E:D was a lot further in to development than SC when they Kickstarted, hence the difference you’re seeing. SC seems to be picking up pace a bit though with the FPS module coming out shortly and big changes to Arena Commander. Regardless, I’m excited for both games.

      • derbefrier says:

        yuuuuup the next SC patch is a big one. We will finally be able to customize out controls without wading through XML files which is a huge pain in the ass.

        While I think in the long run SC will be the game i play more I do own both E:D and SC. I likes SC’s style a bit more but E:D is a damn fine space sim and lots of fun.

        now to save up money for a new monitor and some trackIR so i can get the best of both worlds.
        also smuggling looks pretty cool, as does everything with this game.

      • Dr Wookie says:

        Actually, the vast majority of the work on ED was done after the kickstarter finished, I.e. About the same time as SC; you only have to look at the kickstarter videos of the two projects to see that SC was at least as far, if not further along.

        However, ED has focused on one type of gameplay- the in cockpit experience- while SC has been working on many fronts simultaneously: first and third person ship combat, a story mode, a FPS mode, ship commercials and a separate arena mode.

        I’ve backed and fully support both games, but ED is much more my thing than SC; my main interest in SC is the story mode like a new Wing Commander :).

        • Cei says:

          Beg to differ actually.

          At the time of Kickstarter, SC had a single ‘slice’ of gameplay with three ships (Bengal, Hornet & Scythe) and a tiny team of people. E:D had a complete engine (with already signed off netcode, see the Risks & Challenges of the KS page), an already running development studio and far more than a gameplay slice ready to go in terms of concept assets/ship models and so forth.

          Since the SC Kickstarter, CIG have had to build a new studio with new hires and actually build the game. They’ve also totally thrown out the initial CryEngine backend they were using and started from scratch, and have had to go through the entire networking problem in public. Yes, CIG have also been more ambitious from day one, with the FPS/Planetside etc all forming part of the initial release, rather than the Frontier approach of making them post-launch additions, but it’s pretty clear if you actually look at the games that Frontier were much much further down the development pipeline.

          Finally, look at the dates. E:D was down for a March 2014 launch, which is 1 year and 2 months after the Kickstarter closed. SC’s page states a MP alpha at 1 year, persistent universe beta at 20-22 months with the final release coming at some point after that (assume 6+ months). So they were looking at a minimum of 2 years post Kickstarter before launch. It’s pretty obvious that Frontier were further along from this information – developing a game from scratch in a year and a bit isn’t going to happen. As it stands, both teams have slipped quite a lot in terms of dates…

          • derbefrier says:

            yup was going to say something similar but you pretty much nailed it. Of course this isn’t a race so it doesn’t really matter whos farther along or who started first but people seem to like to use that as a way of measuring success between the two games.

          • Taidan says:

            So much misinformation. They’ve both been in development for roughly the same amount of time. Elite was based on an existing engine. Star Citizen is also based on an existing engine. David Braben has made a few attempts to get Elite 4 off the ground over the last 10-15 years, but didn’t get much further than an early model of a female avatar and vague promises of a dog

            Star Citizen had some basic assets done before the Kickstarter, which they have since almost completely re-done to a higher quality. Elite had pretty much nothing for their Kickstarter except for some early “skunkworks” pre-development. (Hence the Pro-Star Citizen camp’s claims of “Vapourware” at the time.) Braben has stated that almost all current in-game content was built post-Kickstarter.

            The Main differences are:

            A) As pointed out, Frontier already had most of their team and facilities ready to go, whereas CIG have had to build their team almost from scratch and had some issues finding a suitable facility for one of their main teams.

            B) As mentioned above, the in-house engine that Frontier chose to use was much better suited for their project than the off-the-shelf option CIG chose, which required a lot of re-tooling on CIG’s behalf. (Specifically the netcode, and the move to “double-precision”, allowing for much larger playable areas.)

            C) CIG are building their Star Citizen assets with a level of complexity way above what the Frontier guys are currently doing with Elite, and that includes very complex interiors for the Star Citizen ships. Frontier has some interior work done, but is planning on going back later to flesh out their ships.

            D) Frontier have focused purely on their “Persistent Universe” and space travel within it, placing their version of planned on-foot action for a later, paid expansion. Star Citizen’s on-foot sections are an integral part of the game, and as such are being included “At launch”. Also, Star Citizen will contain a fairly lengthy story-based single-player campaign with lots of voice-acting and (very expensive) motion capture required.

            Seriously, there’s no better or worse when it comes to the development of the two games, and no need to make excuses for either. Both projects were pipe-dreams in the minds of their creators long before we, the public, ever got wind of them, and both projects will probably end up being “Feature Complete” in terms of what they’re ultimately promising at roughly the same time, if the current schedules are anything to go by.

          • Cei says:

            Taidan, you literally just went over exactly the same points. What?

            A) Yes, said that.

            B) Yep, exactly what I said. Frontier had the engine in place, with all the netcode and whatnot sorted.

            C) SC assets are more complex, and they only had three of them vaguely “done” for the Kickstarter. Since then they’ve actually gone back and totally redone these three ships. Frontier had more concept and basic asset work completed.

            D) Said that as well.

            So, err, where was the misinformation you’re claiming?
            E:D will go feature complete by the end of 2014, with DLC comprising of things like planetside/FPS and so forth. SC is likely to not see launch until mid to late 2015, hardly the same time, but will have more features in place at launch.

  5. CookPassBabtridge says:

    This is cool, but why would they grant docking permission to a ship they can’t see and which they haven’t scanned (8:24)? “I’m hiding from you but please let me in, I’m a lovely bloke”. At the very least they should scan once the request was made. An airforce base ATC wouldn’t grant landing permission to an unidentified stealthed aircraft and stand down air defences just because the anonymous pilot asked nicely.

    I know, suspension of disbelief and all that, and I am being a bit obsessive, but it sort of broke the illusion a bit. Like Hollywood films where otherwise intelligent people act totally daft to make the plot move forward *COUGH* prometheus *COUGH*

    • Sleepy Will says:

      Heh, on whale island, Portsmouth UK – one of the nerve centres of the British Navy, during rush hour, the people in the cars hold up their badge and file under the barrier which is held permanently up. You just know, from the speed that they go in that the minimum wage security guard who checks them hasn’t checked all of them properly!

      P.S. don’t try to break in by holding up a credit card, like one gentleman did, they run after you shouting while the marines on duty ignore them and do nothing, meanwhile the gate is left unattended for 5 minutes or so, allowing the stream of traffic to continue to flood in. And when they caught him, his punishment was having to prove who he was by showing them pictures on his phone of him with other people who did have their ID with them.

      The mind quite literally boggles!

      Caveat, this was before 9/11

      • Niko says:

        We can just assume that E:D takes place in some messed up universe with ineffectual institutions, corrupt officials and unreliable technologies.

        • TechnicalBen says:

          I’d assume it’s the usual.
          Lots and lots of traffic. Once your “in” the station, it’s like being in most places. Oh, they might check your records on the way out, and figure they never granted entry… but now they’d have to admit 2 mistakes, if they let you leave quietly, no one knows they messed up. ;)

          Or they need proof to engage weapons. If you sell the stuff, then ask to leave, your scott free?

      • whorhay says:

        I had a friend that used one of those giant plastic wrapped muffins to pass a security checkpoint guarded by some scruffy looking guys with AK’s. The wrapper had a large patch of blue on it and the ID’s we were supposed to show were a similar shade of blue.

    • LionsPhil says:

      Yeah, breaking radio silence there was a bit odd. I was at least expecting him to get scanned slightly too late and go “haha suckers, now I’m inside…where…there are still guns, I didn’t really think this through, did I?”

      But then it would also be odd of the station allowed floating debris in through its gate, which is what it’d be doing if it thought he was just frozen wreckage.

      It’s cool, but it’s sorta internally inconsistent.

      • shaydeeadi says:

        It’s not that inconsistent as you can get docking permission even if you are wanted within the system (how else can you pay the fines) and the security craft are mostly scanning for contraband. The requesting of docking credentials is more about allocating the finite bays on offer, sometimes you can be waiting up to 5 minutes to get a parking space and the traffic builds up in those starports.

    • 0positivo says:

      I like to think that while the Feds are definitively anti-smuggling, the guys working day by day on the station maybe rely on that poor ol’ black market for a little pick-me-upper every once in a while. Hence, poor Joe working at traffic control might be very willing to let a few smugglers

      • Smoky_the_Bear says:

        Exactly, in a notorious Black Market hub, the people benefiting most from illegal activity (i.e. the organised crime higher ups) would have all sorts of people paid off to look the other way. Traffic controllers, dock workers, even some of the authorities themselves would be receiving backhanders to allow business to continue.

        This happens IRL, no reason it wouldn’t happen in some isolated space station where it would be much easier to control people (do as I say and you and your family will be handsomely rewarded, say anything to the authorities about this and……..*finger across the throat gesture*).

    • staberas says:

      Yep, also wouldn’t be easier to contact someone on the security section and try to bribe him ? Turning off the scanners for a specific amount of time or ignoring the illegal cargo?

    • SuicideKing says:

      Yeah it’s weird.

      “Sir, we’ve got a very fast, unidentified piece of metal asking for docking. Should I allow it?”

      “Of course! I never understood these tiny spacecraft, what’s the difference between them and small rocks, anyway? Let’m in!”

      EDIT: Though I suppose granting clearance could be a simple IFF type thing handled automatically, without manual supervision. Or at least, that’s what I’ll have to believe for now.

    • PopeRatzo says:

      This is cool, but why would they grant docking permission to a ship they can’t see and which they haven’t scanned (8:24)?

      As long as we’re asking questions, why would a civilization with technology that advanced have pilots manually docking? I’m pretty sure they would have developed at least the same technology as google’s self-parking cars. If you had a space station would you risk your structural integrity to a pilot that may have space madness?

      http://cdn.comicartfans.com/Images/Category_3230/subcat_136201/10-30-2010_001.JPG

        • PopeRatzo says:

          Not exactly.

          Note: Docking computers are generally significantly less efficient than a pilot with some experience.

          So, this is an alternative universe of star-faring civilizations whose auto-pilot technology has not advanced beyond that of 2009?

          OK, I can work with that.

          • Janichsan says:

            Since the moving through the ship’s UI menus is accompanied by rather antiquated hard-drive noises, that’s quite possible. :P

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            Thermal Ions says:

            I guess it’s a bit analogous to having a manual transmission gearbox. Some people will have them because they’re cheaper than an automatic and others just like the control and feel.

      • Trotar says:

        real reason: It would make for a boring game.
        in game reason: Advanced AI is illegal in most systems.

        • TechnicalBen says:

          There are countless “explain away” game/plot reasons that could be given.
          Risks of hacking/viruses.
          Anti-competition laws.
          Pro AI freedom laws. (That would make it very interesting)
          Plain old illogical fear of things.
          Cost cutting on ship production. :P

    • Reapy says:

      I think the perfect solution is an alternative dock that is super tiny and off on another section of the station, only available once you radio the black market guys to open it up for you, then you have to sneak past the vipers into that landing facility.

      • TechnicalBen says:

        I was actually expecting a service craft dock or similar on the opposite side to be used. Or a “drop off” location, where no docking is needed.

      • Smoky_the_Bear says:

        They all sound good solutions actually. I’m sure they can implement more than one way of doing it, dependant on the station in question, over time.

    • Zenicetus says:

      Think of it this way: Air Traffic control and Customs are two separate agencies, like they are in our present-day airports.

      When you approach the station and ask for docking permission, your ship has a transponder that sends a data packet with the model and size of your ship (the landing pads are different sizes, so ATC has to know this in advance). ATC isn’t scanning you, it’s transponder based. You get a data packet back with a voice confirmation that your pad is assigned and reserved (it’s possible to get permission denied when the station is full). It’s a totally separate system from the Fed ships scanning incoming ships near the entrance for illegal cargo.

      What impressed me in that video was how fast he worked the menu and asked for docking permission while concentrating on other things. I need to practice that.

  6. Armante says:

    That was fun. Can’t wait to try Elite:Dangerous when it’s out.

    Got my Saitek X52 Pro, saving up for Oculus Rift. Goodbye real world, welcome virtual reality.

  7. Gog Magog says:

    Stupid space-kids. Of course smuggling is all just fun and games to them ’til you throw someone out the airlock.

  8. Alto says:

    Looks like it will be a great game, I hope I will be able to suspend my disbelief enough to actually enjoy it.

    Hull temperature drops rapidly in the near-vacuum of space? OK, whatever.

    A station with security concerns so high that they kill anyone who attempts to smuggle in contraband doesn’t even have a camera to visually spot people flying towards the docking bay? Uhh…

    The aforementioned station being OK with a ship entering at 300km/h without having been scanned? Err…

    • Niko says:

      Hey, I know, right. But if space games will try to stick to science, there will be no dogfighting, no stealth, no maneuvering, probably no space warfare whatsoever.

    • Janichsan says:

      Hull temperature drops rapidly in the near-vacuum of space? OK, whatever.

      The ships in Elite have an active cooling system. The heat is stored in a heat sink, that can be dumped into space.

      But if space games will try to stick to science, there will be no dogfighting, no stealth, no maneuvering, probably no space warfare whatsoever.

      Why no maneuvering? Actual spacecraft maneuver just fine. Besides, the flight physics in E:D are fully newtonian, this is just not obvious because there is a flight assist system active by default, that enables “classic” dogfighting to a certain extent. You can disable that with a single press of a button and enjoy tumbling wildly through space…

      • Niko says:

        Well, those are maneuvers on a different scale: http://www.rocketpunk-manifesto.com/2009/07/space-warfare-iv-mobility.html

        I’m totally fine with it, though, because fun is more important than realism.

      • RecklessPrudence says:

        I haven’t got the hang of fully Newtonian manoeuvring yet, but as for losing temperature quickly – this is a spacecraft that is expected to be able to quickly and efficiently radiate the heat from 1) highly energetic thrusters 2) coherent beam weapons and 3) energy shields capable of resisting same.

        When Apollo 13 had to shut down almost everything, they had a real problem with keeping the compartments at a temperature capable of sustaining human life – and that was only designed to radiate the comparatively tiny amount of heat a Command Service Module generated.

        If you shut down all the high heat-generating systems – including the reactor – but don’t shut down the radiators and heat sinks and run yourself off capacitors, you’re going to get real cold, real fast – granted, not as quickly as in the video, but still quite rapidly. And you can shut down the radiators and such too – that’s what happened whenever the pilot in the video switched to Silent Running mode, and even with everything off, the ship started heating quite quickly just from the life support and stuff.

        So yeah, not entirely 100% realistic, but neither is the System Drive, Hyperdrive, or the amount of reaction mass that a ship that small carries. So… acceptable breaks from reality?

        • rittenhaus says:

          Totally acceptable. There is an extremely fun game here for those who are not yet so jaded that they won’t be able to enjoy the same kinds of space shenanigans that made the original Star Wars films so much fun to watch.

      • Zenicetus says:

        The flight physics are not “fully Newtonian” and I wish people would stop saying that. :)

        They’re sorta-Newtonian up to a point, but every ship has a speed cap. You’ll go no faster even with Flight Assist off and thrusting (or Boosting) because it’s a gameplay decision to cap the speeds.

        The flight model seems to be based on the conventions for flying aerodynamic fighters. The yaw axis is intentionally damped, like the limited rudder authority in jet fighters. So in a combat turn, you roll and “pull G’s” by pitching up to turn, just like a jet fighter. Even more ridiculous, there is a sweet spot in your throttle range right in the middle of the range, where you have the fastest turn speed. Yet more ridiculous, applying Boost (afterburner) increases your turn rate! There are a few additions like lateral and vertical thrusters that are a bit like the way an F-22 can work with vectored thrust, but that’s basically it — an aerodynamic flight model translated to Outer Space. At least it won’t feel any different when they add planet landings and we’re flying (and fighting) through atmospheres.

        I’m capable of just enough suspension of disbelief to enjoy flying the ships in Elite regardless of the flight model. But I have to say, a big part of that is how nice the art direction is, the cockpit instrumentation, the HOTAS support, and how smoothly the game is working in spite of occasional bugs. If all of that wasn’t so slick and professionally done, the flight model might keep me from playing the game. Because at the core, it’s another George-Lucas inspired WW2 fighters in space game, instead of following the lead of more creative games like the I-War series.

        • Janichsan says:

          Nope. Except for the speed limit (I guess there is an in-game justification for that, but I have yet to read that up), all of the things you describe are due to the flight assist that makes your craft control like a jet fighter despite the underlying newtonian flight physics.

          That newtonian flight physics is for example exactly the reason why there is a optimal speed for fast turning: the faster your ship is, the slower it changes its flight direction due to the ship’s momentum. (Play some Elite II – Frontier for comparison: note how long it takes there until your flight direction has changed when you are speeding along with a couple of hundred km per second.) When you fly slow on the other hand, you ship turns slowly due to the small amount of thrust your engines provide at that speed.

          When you turn of the flight assist, you can roll, pitch and yaw your ship much faster, but the time to actually change the direction of flight will be exactly the same. You just will notice that your ship will “skid” around, like in the previous games with a less rigid flight assist.

          The flight assist in E:D is programmed so that the nose of your ship always points in the direction of your flight vector and vice versa. The physics are fully newtonian (speed limit aside), it’s just that the flight assist successfully hides that.

          • Zenicetus says:

            Uh huh…. please explain how using Boost (afterburner) tightens the turn radius, if using normal full thrust doesn’t also work that way? It’s nonsensical.

            It’s like the way adding pips to engine power also tightens your turn radius. I understand why it’s designed this way. It’s to extend the usefulness of power management in combat, so you have some more things to balance. It’s a gameplay thing. But it makes no sense if you’re trying to explain it in terms of a “Newtonian” flight model.

          • Janichsan says:

            Uh huh…. please explain how using Boost (afterburner) tightens the turn radius, if using normal full thrust doesn’t also work that way? It’s nonsensical.

            It’s like the way adding pips to engine power also tightens your turn radius.

            Simple: both increase the amount of thrust and hence increase the force applied by the thrusters to overcome the ship’s momentum.

            Science, bitch. :P

          • Zenicetus says:

            So, cutting your throttle halfway so you slow down is something that tightens your turn radius, and at the same time, Boosting your main engine — which makes you go much faster in a straight line — counters that, and makes you turn tighter?

            Well, I’m glad this makes sense to someone, because it makes zero sense to me.

          • Janichsan says:

            That’s because you apparently still haven’t grasped the difference between speed and thrust, as in the accelerating force.

        • Werthead says:

          FRONTIER: ELITE II had a fully Newtonian flight model and it was cool for flying around planets and navigation and stuff, but it was a complete pain in the arse for combat. Combat was pretty terrible in that game and FIRST ENCOUNTERS because of it (seriously, far worse than the original, much older game), so for the new game they’ve gone for more of a hybrid between X-WING style space combat and a Newtonian system. By all accounts it seems to have gone down very well, especially with those who remember how awful it was in the previous two games in the series.

    • Zenicetus says:

      If those things bother you, you’re really not going to like the flight model. ;)

  9. Balaks says:

    Looks amazing….. currently saving like crazy to upgrade my system just to play this – haven’t done that for a game for at least 8 years. I feel like a small child.

  10. SuicideKing says:

    Elite: Dangerous’s space police detect nearby vessels not only with their eyes, but by scanning for heat signatures.

    Is the police NPC only? I’d want to be the police too! Or in the navy.

    EDIT:
    Solid idea – say you’re a part of a player-controlled police unit. You have to monitor other players, keep a track of who may be doing shady stuff. Observe, track for hours, go through transaction records, etc. Once you’ve found enough information to believe that the person you’re tracking is guilty, you can try to arrest them and confiscate their ship. Or, if they run, you’re cleared to engage and destroy/disable the ship.

    Stuff like that would be so much more fun than limited police AI that fails to recognise that a ship that entered like in the video is obviously carrying illegal goods.

    • Niko says:

      Or you can just engage in joyful police brutality.

      • SuicideKing says:

        No. :|

        I actually wanted to join the police as a kid, didn’t find it worth it in my country, though.

        • Niko says:

          Well, that part you described sounds interesting actually, reminds me of The Wire. Not sure how interesting is going through transaction records is for the majority of players, though.

      • Vacuity729 says:

        Will there be an outer-space equivalent to pepper spray so I can gently spray anyone I deem to be “resisting arrest” by drawing to a full stop and dropping their shields on command but looking at me funny?

    • sharks.don't.sleep says:

      Looks like player-driven police is already in the making.

      Quoting the E:D newsletter #37:

      “Occasionally police forces get overwhelmed by smugglers getting through like this and will put out contracts for people to help them – so in the future that may be you out there hunting for Isinona. This will work through our mission structure – but of course the police pay by results, not time spent…”

    • Premium User Badge

      PikaBot says:

      I would actually be all about this. Like, I would do n

  11. Bull0 says:

    I mean, it’s an impressive video, but that whole mechanism of smuggling through avoiding being scanned by keeping your temperature down – but also REQUESTING DOCKING CLEARANCE – is fucking weird and counterintuitive. If you’re running security at one of those stations, you just only grant clearance to ships that have been scanned, and blow up anyone who doesn’t have docking clearance. Simples.

  12. SuicideKing says:

    I wonder if they could add another layer in terms of “reputation” in the eyes of the feds. If you’ve always been scanned with legal cargo, then your chances of being scanned should drop, and if you’re caught red handed and avoid getting destroyed, then you should be blacklisted or something.

    Then there should be some way to clear reputation, like paying a fine or something.

  13. Jimbo says:

    That entire sequence made no sense whatsoever.

  14. Sian says:

    While this looks amazing, there is one thing stopping me from wanting this game: it’s an MMO. Now that in and of itself isn’t a bad thing, but I know there will be people online dedicating their time to make others lives miserable. If I’m playing as a peaceful trader, I do like some risk, but I don’t want to constantly have to watch my back for other players, making it impossible to take two steps out of a station without risking death. Are there systems in place to prevent stuff like that?

    And no, I don’t mean relatively ineffectual security like in EVE Online, where you can suicide bomb another player in Highsec.

    • Janichsan says:

      Good news for you: you can select the level of MMOness in E:D.

      You can play in an open online environment, only with selected friends, online but solo and (though not in the current beta) solo offline.

      And even if you play it as MMO, there are plans to punish griefing. For instance, it is planned griefers will pretty quickly have a huge bullseye painted on their backs by accruing huge bounties.

      • ukpanik says:

        “griefers will pretty quickly have a huge bullseye painted on their backs by accruing huge bounties.”

        And what’s to stop people exploiting this? Acquire huge bounty with second account, kill second account with first, collect money.

        • Janichsan says:

          And what’s to stop people exploiting this? Acquire huge bounty with second account, kill second account with first, collect money.

          Probably the same that stops people from using two War Thunder accounts, two BattleNet accounts, two EVE accounts or whatever MMO game you’d prefer for exploiting: you could get banned and you’d have to have two computers and some good coordination skills to pull that off.

          • Premium User Badge

            Stellar Duck says:

            Never played much EVE, have you?

            The amount of people running several accounts and clients at once is staggering. Hell, I even consider it at times so I can run recon for myself when entering and exiting low sec and having a scanning frig so I can jump my destroyer in at once to kill some guy exploring all on his lonesome.

            Anyways, the way bounties in EVE work is different (mostly broken many will say, but I don’t know about that).

            If some guy has a bounty on him for 100 mil ISK whoever kills him will only get as much of that bounty as the ship his currently in is worth. So, in order for someone to collect the 100 mil ISK on an alt he’d need to fly his main in a ship worth the same 100 mil ISK. At least as far as I understand it.

            But then, I don’t really use bounties save to throw them on racists and jerks in chat. It’s quite fun at times.

          • Atrocious says:

            It’s not forbidden to have multiple EVE accounts and many, many people have them for various reasons. It’s even supported by the developer who runs discounts for multiple accounts from time to time.

            The bounty system in EVE has been changed to avoid this “farming” of bounties. It’s true that you only get the bounty payment if the ship you destroyed was actually worth it. However you don’t get 100% of the ships value but only around 20% of the value. So it’s no longer viable to kill your own characters in any way.

        • Bull0 says:

          I imagine it just isn’t that practical to do this – you run up a big bounty and then switch to your other account to hunt yourself down, hoping nobody else beats you to the punch?

          People certainly do exploit systems like this – eg the insurance system for transport jobs in EVE? but it’s generally just considered part of the game.

          • Sian says:

            Well, if you’re working alone, sure. But have a friend kill you and share the bounty and it’s no problem at all. You’ll need a trustworthy friend, sure, but I don’t think it’ll be that much of a hassle.

          • Bull0 says:

            But at that point, would you and your friend earn more money on a different enterprise instead of proxy hunting eachother? My gut says probably. And if it is worth it, well, your friend has turned on you for profit – that’s interesting in itself, and the kind of thing that conceivably happens in the criminal underworld.

        • Geebs says:

          Easy fix – make the largest bounty valuable but less than the value of the player’s ship. Problem solved.

      • Sian says:

        That IS good news. Thank you very much!

    • Ieolus says:

      What about NPC suicide bombers? Are those acceptable?

      • Sian says:

        I’m not against suicide bombers in games per se, I’m against ineffective security. If you don’t know much about EVE, here’s what happened:

        In high security sectors, attacking a craft would summon very strong NPC ships that would destroy the attacker, no matter where in the system this took place. With a strong enough ship, griefers could still destroy their target. They’d lose their ship, but that wasn’t a big loss, and the targetted player couldn’t do anything against that tactic unless they had a pretty strong ship themselves – which excluded freighters and other non-combat ships.

        Why have supposedly safe sectors at all if it’s so easy to get killed anyway?

        • WiggumEsquilax says:

          In EVE, most of the combat is RNG. In Elite, you’re in direct control of your craft.

          If a griefer is trying to kill you within range of a station, all that will result is a dead griefer. While the customs agents and station guns try to kill him, you’re dodging so most of his shots miss. He’s focusing on the attack, so most shots aimed at him will hit. Look at how much firepower is being directed at those smugglers.

          This could be taken a step further, and I hope that it is. With larger, better defended, and more reputable stations being basically pirate-proof. But all that security costs money, in taxes, and in competition from the legions of other reputable traders that will flood the safe areas with goods. Less secure areas being a gamble, swimming with hostiles, but far more profitable if you can run the gauntlet.

          REALLY looking forward to this game.

        • Ieolus says:

          I played EVE for many years, so I know what you are referring to. I’m just wondering if its the players doing the killing that is the issue.

          But it seems it is the tactic. So, you want 100% safe areas of space?

        • Premium User Badge

          Stellar Duck says:

          “They’d lose their ship, but that wasn’t a big loss, and the targetted player couldn’t do anything against that tactic unless they had a pretty strong ship themselves – which excluded freighters and other non-combat ships.”

          Well, if the miners would start putting a bit of tank on their ships instead of cargo bay expansions they might not get blapped so easily. Sure, some would in any case, but they really don’t help themselves by sitting about in card board hulls. Same goes to industrials.

          But putting on some tank cuts into their profits.

    • K_Sezegedin says:

      There is a system in place to help prevent griefing Sian, its called 100 billion star systems. Encountering another player unexpectedly will be a rare and special event in Dangerous.

      • Sian says:

        We’ll see. By now I’m convinced to at least give it a try. Maybe wait for it to be released first, though, as there is so much to play right now.

        • Dr Wookie says:

          Pretty much everyone should wait for retail unless they are really keen, or want to pay a bit extra to help find development. What we have at the moment is a collection of game mechanics that are individually pretty great but lack the main driving force of factions, reputations and an evolving galaxy that give you more motivation than just earning money. As a result, Beta 1 stops being engaging pretty quickly (20 hours or so). I’ve been testing since alpha 1.0 last December, and just stop if there’s any danger of me burning out.

          Ado there’s little official guidance other than basics of flight… There’s a pretty cool beta guide on the forums though

      • Ieolus says:

        That sounds like security through obscurity. :)

      • Janichsan says:

        Well, not really: the colonised space is much smaller (a couple of hundreds star systems) and depending on the amount of concurrent players on the game’s server, you can expect to meet other players on a regular basis, especially in core systems.

    • Zenicetus says:

      I was worried about it being too MMO-focused too, but after a little time in the game, I think it’ll be okay for those of us who want to do more of a lone-wolf explorer or smuggler thing, while still having some access to the larger group of players.

      The big (and somewhat controversial) decision they’ve made, is to allow players to seamlessly move between Solo and “All” play modes with the same character. If a station has a rep for griefers hanging out there, you can just slip into Solo mode while visiting that station, then switch back to “All” in places where you might want to interact with other players. All the main events in the game’s economy and politics that are influenced by players in the “All” mode will also be reflected in Solo play. So for example, if players in the “All” mode are making a run on certain commodities, you’ll see that when trading in Solo mode too.

      You can also join up with friends in a Private Group mode so it’s just you and your friends. There is also a completely offline mode planned too, I think, for people without good Net connections, or if you just want to play the game on vacation somewhere.

      In theory, this should allow people like me who want *some* MMO interaction, on my own terms, to have fun. And options to avoid it where it’s just not fun.

  15. zer0sum says:

    I played the shit out of the premium beta and I’m looking forward to getting back into it. Gotta drop StarDrive 2 this year though so very little game time until we’re done!

  16. Synesthesia says:

    I see the ingame joystick layout looks a lot like the x52. Is it like this on all ships, or does it change to match the one you own? That would be awesome.

  17. geldonyetich says:

    That video reminds me a lot of the original Elite, in many ways, particularly the docking sequence and the Vipers. They seem to have kept the core gameplay, but brought it to the present. I look forward to snapping it up in its finished state.

  18. Chuckleluck says:

    Say what you want about Star Citizen, but at least it doesn’t have the dumbest name ever conceived by mankind.

    • Geebs says:

      The name isn’t the problem, it’s the acronym. Try walking around in public after release talking about how you’re so happy to have ED, and see how many funny looks you get…

      (Star citizen is a dumb name too.)

    • Zenicetus says:

      It’s a stupid name, yes. Anywhere outside the forums where you won’t get giggles saying you “have ED” I just call it Elite D. It’s the fourth title in the series, so version D in an alphanumeric sequence makes at least a little sense.

      • HothMonster says:

        Yeah you like that elite D don’t you? You paid good money for the elite D? Hey wanna co-op some elite D? When I get home I’m going to ready up my joystick and go to town on elite D.

        Yup, seems fine.

      • Themadcow says:

        I’d imagine most people will eventually just call it ‘Elite’. It’s not as if anyone you’d have talk to about it would get confused with the original 80′s game.

        Having played a bit of the beta I don’t think it’s a huge stretch to see the game as an updated version of the original anyway – the core gameplay is still very much intact.

        • Shadowcat says:

          It’s not as if anyone you’d have talk to about it would get confused with the original 80′s game.

          Except for, you know, everyone who played it in the 80s.

          There have been a bunch of “let’s just give it the exact same name as the old game” releases in recent years, and I cannot tell you how much I hate the people responsible.

          (Not that I imagine Braben ever seriously considered doing that to his own games.)

          If you need to abbreviate it, surely it’s just “Elite 4″.

    • grimdanfango says:

      It is a little bit pants, but it’s grown on me as a title.

      It’s certainly no worse than poncey sounding “Star Citizen”! Flows about as well as “Star Taxpayer” or “Star Householder”

      At least Elite: Dangerous has some distantly-tenuous Douglas Adams connection, given that it’s higher up the same scale that contains “Mostly Harmless” :-P

      • Chuckleluck says:

        Yeah, Star Citizen has a pretty funny name. I just can’t shake the image in my mind that Elite: Dangerous sounds more like the stage name of an Evel Knievel copy that has Confederate Flag pants and a handlebar mustache than a video game.

        Remember back when space franchises didn’t have to think up silly names and were content with things like “Star Wars”?

    • sf says:

      Nothing wrong with the name Elite: Dangerous. It’s just you that’s weird.

  19. zentropy says:

    So I didn’t think I could get more hyped for E:D….

    Was wrong :/

  20. racccoon says:

    I don’t really have any cred &; if I do, have cred, I really do not care about it, people slam you no matter what you say.
    In the Elite vs Star Citizen theme.
    Elite has rolled out a good running space game so far for little cred.
    Star Citizen has rolled out a closed in a gage load of no cred
    Elite has no peer pressures, Star Citizen has enormous peer pressures.
    I was a very early founder of Star Citizen, so I do not consider myself as a peer follower, I went & invested there on merit of words, + the stunning visuals of the hangar they showed,

    Elite is the winner as its not the sinner. & Star Citizen isn’t anyway a winner, because its going end in the bins for it sins.

  21. green frog says:

    I haven’t been following this game that closely, but damn does that video make me wish I was in that cockpit by means of an Oculus Rift.

  22. Shadowcat says:

    Ummm….. they were travelling at 300 kilometres per second when they entered the docking bay??

    HOW BIG IS THAT STATION?!?!

    • Werthead says:

      If you see how slowly the distance closes, it’s clearly not 300kps. Maybe 300kph when he enters the pay and then slams on the retros?

      As for size, in the original ELITE the Coriolis space stations were supposed to be eight miles across on the face with the docking port. Obviously the stations were not to scale in the original game. They are a bit smaller than that in the new one.

    • Janichsan says:

      It’s actually 300 metres per second. It’s a typo. The uploader of the video mentions that in the original YouTube description.

  23. zhivik says:

    The more I read about this game, the more I want to play it. The last time I’ve played a more complex flying simulator was back in the early 1990s, it was F-19 Stealth Fighter (the 16-bit remake from 1990). I even consider buying a joystick to play it, though I will probably wait for the final version, as I’ve never been a useful beta tester. Anyways, I love the degree of freedom that this gives you, and that you can make stunts like these.

    A small gripe, though. It sounds somewhat unrealistic that the cops are not paying attention what you do after you have landed with your engines off – it should be at least a little bit suspicious. It would be funnier if you could enter the station through a back door, an illegal docking bay of sorts, which wouldn’t draw so much attention. Of course, there would be no automatic docking and you would be always in danger of being detected outside the station – but I guess this can always be added later.

  24. WiggumEsquilax says:

    Did you not see the video? Those customs agents will literally murder you.

    It’s just not worth it for $73 an hour.

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