Craig is a vagabond journalist, a nomad who cannot be contained, and he wanders the land like Caine from Kung Fu, writing posts about videogames wherever he pleases. He's the Snufkin of RPS, is what I'm saying, which is why we don't always get to enjoy his company, and why we're sometimes slow to post space sim news when he's not around. News like the Elite: Dangerous alpha now has space station docking, there's a video of it below, and my it looks beautiful.
The previous alpha builds of Elite: Dangerous had a series of individual combat scenarios and a little touch of multiplayer, but this newest version starts to piece together a more congruent universe with points you can warp between.
Most of my memories of Frontier: Elite II focus upon the docking procedure. I'm not sure I ever once accomplished it successfully - I was wee and rubbish, instead of big and rubbish like now - but I did like the graceful spinning of my intended target. I liked the precision required. I liked the way the complexity of it fixed the universe in your head as a real place.
I think I'll like it this time even more, especially given the vastly expanded scale of space stations, and the fact one of them looks like a big digital watch.
I want to slide in there like interstellar bread into an orbital toaster. I want to float snugly inside like Snufkin into his sleeping bag. I'll hopefully get a chance to do that - with the Rift! the virtual reality Rift! - shortly after GDC, but for now it's only available to those top tier backers of Elite: Dangerous' crowdfunding campaign.
You know that Elite: Dangerous is Frontier Developments' and David Braben's crowdfunded successor to the famed space sim, right? That it has a dynamic galaxy of realistically modelled planets to explore, that it's both single- and multiplayer, and that it'll grow towards more public releases over the course of 2014? Sorry, I'd normally put more context in the first paragraph, but it's almost the end of the week and I can already see Craig packing up his bindle...
Here is another video of a player having a go at the hyperspace and the docking. What is it with us Scots and space simulators?