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Into The Vasty Deep: Elite Dangerous

Exploration and scale

I spent most of the weekend playing the magnificent Distant Worlds: Universe (many words on that tomorrow) and it's left me feeling like a claustrophobic sardine - craving more space. Thankfully, Elite: Dangerous is on-hand with a new development diary in the form of Captain Braben talking to camera while the cosmos occurs in the background. Elite is already an exciting game and most of the features that I associate with the series haven't even been integrated yet. Hot laser dogfights are peachy keen though. The new video shows interstellar exploration and the devilish details that mark the enormity of the game world.

The last forty seconds or so get the message across without a single word. A hyperspace jump is worth a thousand dictionaries. They should have sent a photojournalist, I guess, or a highly efficient camera crew.

I'm reassured that Braben is as excited by the backdrop as I am because I don't think the importance of scale can be overexaggerated. If the distance between one point and another is measured in the time it takes to arrive, the journey is an excuse for a coffee break or a prolonged ale-tasting session.

The distance should be marked by visible cosmic milestones and a sense of approaching unimaginable enormity. Space is full of wonder (at least in the few places that it isn't entirely empty) and I'd hope Dangerous will be a place for tourists as well as traders.

Gargantuan ships handling like space whales with a spur in their flank are appealing as well. The sense of weight is vital even when piloting a small craft and I can't wait to steer an enormous cargo ship into a docking bay. Even Braben admits it's tricky. Now is perhaps not the time to admit that I use automatic parking when I play Euro Truck Simulator 2 because I end up scraping off more than my paint job when I try to reverse into a space manually.

I am doomed.

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