Make your own space face in Elite Dangerous

Elite Dangerous [official site] has excellent hands. See how the fingers twitch, watch how they waggle a flightstick – just hanging around in a cockpit is oddly mesmerising. And by God I’m worried about how much inadvertent innuendo crept into those last couple of lines. Anyway: Frontier’s spaceship demi-MMO is gearing up to progress far beyond hands and into bodies and faces. They’ve just shown off their seemingly highly configurable ‘Commander’ creation tool. Whole lotta faces going on here.

Puts me in mind of the Mass Effect face-tweaker quite a bit, but seems to be both far more customisable and better looking. More haircut and beard options too, plus age, which is always welcome. You’re not doomed to be a beefcake here.

Of course, you won’t generally be ogling your custom-made boatrace, as ED is very much a first-person-perspective affair, but the upcoming 2.3 update will also introduce a new in-flight camera option so you can check yourself out as you trek across the stars.

A beta for the 2.3 update, which also includes the much-anticipated multiplayer shared crew option, is due on February 26.


  1. Pich says:


  2. Head Bob says:

    54:32: “PLACEHOLDER SHIP NAME” – ship names are coming! (I mean, we knew that, but it’s nice to see.)

  3. Mungrul says:

    The only part that left a bitter taste in my mouth was where they announced that some outfits and other cosmetics would be paid for. I increasingly resent this from full price games, especially when others open up customisation to the community for free through things like the Steam Workshop.

    I think it’s one of the major reasons Frontier backed out on their promise to release a standalone version of the game, something I see as increasingly damaging the game as Frontier release more and more non-gameplay things for the game.
    With Steam Workshop support, we’d see all manner of wonders and weirdness, filling a lot of the gaps that Frontier continually fail to fill.

    • Roobarb says:

      They have to pay for the running costs of their servers somehow. I’d rather have the option to buy cosmetic add-ons for the game than a shitty monthly subscription. At the end of the day, nobody’s forcing you to buy them, so what’s the problem?

      • Anti-Skub says:

        The problem is when you pay full price for the game and you don’t get the full game. Customisation and cosmetics are an intrinsic part of what I enjoy about video games. I enjoy collecting stuff, I like it when you get a new outfit as a reward for doing something challenging, I like it when your ship or character gets progressively more bad ass looking as you get more powerful.

        Unfortunately this is an aspect of video games that seems to have been decided will be stripped out and sold for parts. Instead of getting cool outfits or vehicles for being good at the game or progressing through it, you now just get them for cash…which not only could I not give a fuck about but has removed something I enjoyed for the game.

        It is particularly irksome in games like Elite Dangerous where the base £40 felt so thin and lacking in features, for them then to turn around and say “Oh and we’ve taken this stuff out so we can sell it to chumps”.

        • guy15s says:

          It was a necessary sacrifice they had to make and voted on during the kickstarter. It was either paying for cosmetics or paying a monthly subscription in order to keep the servers running. If it helps, I think Frontier really did just want to make cosmetics free, but they had to figure a way to keep the lights on somehow.

          That being said, we’ve seen some improvement in that “starter” colors will be available for players, something we didn’t have for ships. With the success Frontier is seeing with its other games and the more diversified stability they are enjoying, we might start to see more cost-free options going forward.

      • J.C. says:

        Then they should have also added some sort of Dedicated Server support for player bases to form their own servers if the cost of keeping Frontier’s up is an issue. It doesn’t bode well for longevity either if they don’t have something in place should it happen one day where Frontier can’t keep their own servers up.

    • Bone says:

      I see this update as a logical step towards players becoming able to run around on stations or going EVA. It might be a cosmetic feature for now, but I don’t mind.

    • xyzzy frobozz says:

      Yeah, I’m not so sure.

      I’ve been happily paying for CKII “DLC” for years.

      Whereas with some games I really resent it.

      I guess the difference is that I feel that, with some games, the developers are continuing to expand the game in meaningful ways.

      I see CKII as being developed in a way that respects me as a consumer. I can choose to buy the expansions, or I can opt out and still receive many of the new gameplay implementations for free. I only have to buy the expansions (DLC) if I really want to engage with that particular mechanic.

      So I have chosen to buy all of the expansions excluding “Sunset Invasion, as the concept of a Meso-American invasion on medieval Europe wasn’t something that I was interested in exploring from an immersion perspective.

      Now we get to Elite Dangerous…

      Whilst I am sympathetic to people who arhue that the game is pretty shallow mechanically, I can also see that the deveolper seems pretty interested in expanding the gameplay experience. This has to be funded. Charging for cosmetic in game items seems like a pretty reasonable way to go about it, particularly if a portion of the money made goes to that continuing development.

      I also think that it’s reasonable to charge for major gameplay expansions. The problem is tbat I suspect that a large proportion of the E:D playerbase has already subscribed to these expansions through their initial “pay once, get everything” subscription to the game.

      Therefore, selling cosmetic items to fund continued development seems eminently reasonable if you have an intetest in the game continuing to expand.

      It’s not like you really miss out on anything by choosing to not buy the items.

    • DuncUK says:

      Attitudes like yours make me genuinely angry.

      The developers add new content to the game all the time, as well as run community events and, of course, servers 24/7 to support the multiplayer. Now they do charge a sizeable fee for each ‘season’ of content, but with the second one comfortably inside it’s second year they’re not out out price gouge – and I say this as someone that chose not to buy it.

      I really have no problem with developers charging for cosmetics, especially if it means playable content is not micro-transactioned. If I were a regular player I can imagine very occasionally paying a few quid to look a bit unique in game. Having an ongoing revenue stream is what keeps ED alive, I can’t understand why anyone would begrudge them charging small amounts for purely cosmetic items. There’s no pay to win here, you can’t buy Elite Bucks or anything like that. They’re not charging a monthly fee.

      Why do you resent them doing this? If nothing else, I see paid-for cosmetic items as a sort of rich-person / idiot tax. I really don’t understand attitudes like yours and gamers need to stop seeing optional charges for cosmetic extras in the same light as freemium pay-to-win shovelware. Hats off to them for making a sustainable MMO game without an MMO monthly fee.

      • Anti-Skub says:

        You don’t care about cosmetics, so you don’t mind them being microtransactioned…however some of us do. Who are you to tell us that it’s fine that parts of the game we care about are behind a pay wall because the parts you care about are free?

        I don’t give a shit about exploration…is it cool if that was microtransactioned?

        • DuncUK says:

          It’s not about what I care about – like I said, I can imagine paying for cosmetic stuff, though in general I don’t.

          They already charge for seasons of content, of which so far there have only been two. To start charging for other gameplay features would completely fracture the player base which they already risk with the release of each season. In my case I didn’t buy Horizons and haven’t touched the game since it released, although I do plan to jump back in as soon as I can buy season 3.

          Additionally, charging for other gameplay features would be a huge betrayal to everyone that bought Horizons as they’ve alwasy said the season pass was a guarantee for all gameplay content over 3 major updates.

          None of this is a problem with cosmetic stuff. If you agree with me that charging for additional gameplay features is not an option and understand that they may need to increase revenue to keep the game alive, what would your solution be? End Horizons early and ask everyone for £40 for season 3? Revoke their commitment to not charge for gameplay content? Cut planned features to meet their Horizons commitments by the path of least effort?

        • Asurmen says:

          Exploration and cosmetics are not equivalent Anti-Skub.

          • DuncUK says:

            >Exploration and cosmetics are not equivalent Anti-Skub.

            Indeed. I don’t give a shit about exploration or mining (ignoring that fact I’m not currently a player anyway) but I would never advocate paywalling either, nor any other new gameplay mechanic introduced outside of major season releases, whether or not I was interested in it.

      • Mungrul says:

        Cool, but what about the second paragraph?
        That’s the real criticism, yet you don’t address it. The game was originally intended to be released with an offline component, and if Frontier had followed the same model they have with Planet Coaster, just imagine the wealth of content we’d be swimming in now.

        • Asurmen says:

          Nothing to really address though. It would be a different game. This was the one they wanted to make.

          • DuncUK says:

            Absolutely right. The offline component, had it ever existed, would have just been the same game minus the multiplayer element. You’re saying they should sell content to offline only players that for reasons I’ve already outlined couldn’t be used in multiplayer without breaking it.

            ED was a multiplayer game from the very first kickstarter pitch. Why on earth would they release offline exclusive content and in doing so pull people away from multiplayer? Again, it splits the player base and the focus of development and is an obviously bad idea.

  4. kael13 says:

    The faces look very good. Some of the most realistic I’ve seen.
    But does the game actually have a story yet? No? Still won’t be interested in playing longer than a couple of hours.

    • Asurmen says:

      It’s an online sandbox game, although there is a story sort of evolving from some mysteries.

    • PoulWrist says:

      There’s a ton of story in the game, it’s just not structured in a traditional narrative.
      Could be interesting to have a SP/coop campaign existing seperately from the MP universe, though.

    • Roobarb says:

      Er, there’s been a storyline narrative in the game since one of the first major updates. People who moan about Elite not having direction or a storyline clearly don’t understand the fundamental concept of Elite… You make the story.

      • CidL says:

        Are you the guy who defends this game all over the internet? I mean, someone has to.

        • Roobarb says:

          Are you the guy who shits on everything they see on the Internet? I mean, someone has to…

          • CidL says:

            Brilliant. No in fairness I really want to like this game, but it hates me, I’m bad at it and I die a lot. I simply wish they wouldn’t spend time on cosmetic nonsense like this at the expense of gameplay, and frankly anyone who defends it is part of the problem.

            I mean, what do you want, a different ship or new paint for the old one? Because given the pace of Frontier’s development you ain’t getting both.

          • Roobarb says:

            It’s a good way for them to support their servers. As I mentioned in another comment, I’d prefer cosmetic items to a monthly subscription. You don’t have to buy them to improve your gameplay, so I really don’t see the problem.

            Also, you know they’re releasing new ships, narrative, gameplay AND cosmetics in 2.3, right?

            People who are too quick to shit on a game are part of the problem, not the people who actually enjoy and support the game.

          • DuncUK says:

            >I mean, what do you want, a different ship or new paint for the old one? Because given the pace of Frontier’s development you ain’t getting both.

            You’re presenting a false dichotomy that you really haven’t thought through. Your attitude is the worst.

            They’re charging for the cosmetic items to increase their revenue stream. Revenue is what keeps this game alive and what pays for developers to create new content. It might be that by buying paint jobs or in-game trousers, you are increasing the likelyhood of them building a new ship.

            You sure as hell don’t want them charging for the new ships, because that shit is pay-to-win and would break ED irreparably. Or maybe you’re expecting people to pay twice for new ships, in real life and then again in-game. I hope you can see why this is a bad idea. Or perhaps you think they should just make less money overall.. in which case good luck waiting for your new ship.

            Charging for cosmetic items is by far the least worst option for increasing revenue. This is a multi-player game with a competitive element, comparisons with single player game DLC simply don’t apply. The imbalance between effort on their part and what you pay is entirely intentional. Keeping people engaged with new content and finding ways to get ongoing payments from players is a delicate balance, but if they’re able to fund their game going forward then I say they’ve nailed it in the least intrusive way. If it stops membership fees or more frequent season payments away, more power to them. I’m all for it.

          • DudeshootMankill says:

            No, thats me.

      • Anti-Skub says:

        “You make the story”

        Do people ever buy that as reasoning? Man I’m going to become a novelist and sell blank books for £15. You make the story!!!

        • Asurmen says:

          Another non-equivalent from you. It’s more like a choose your own adventure book, not a blank one.

        • Roobarb says:

          I guess you don’t understand the concept of a sandbox then. Good luck with your book.

  5. CidL says:

    Yeah I would have deleted all that as well if I were you.

  6. Premium User Badge

    Iamblichos says:

    Wouldn’t the correct title be “Elite Dangerous Becomes Even More Like EvE Online”?

  7. Premium User Badge

    ooshp says:

    I don’t remember ever selecting a gender for my pilot in Elite, but the first time I looked down with my Vive and discovered I had breasts was quite the shock. It took a second for my brain to remember it wasn’t my real body.

    I totally didn’t try to grab them, I swear.

  8. Jane Doe says:

    It feels like 95% of the NPC faces I see are ugly as hell. I fear for the worst, thousands of fugly trolls, making player interaction even less interesting than it already is.

    The space graphics are still superb, expect for a few close-ups of planets/moons where you can land, but the facial engine seems to be like 10 years old. Compared to EVE Online, and yes, you can compare this feature, especially considering that EVE’s character editor has been out for years and is also equally “useful” as ED’s faces will be, Elite Dangerous’s space faces are a huge disappointment.