Welcome to my AMA session. I'm here to talk about the next instalment of the Elite series - Elite: Dangerous, but if you want to try me on other subjects feel free to ask.

You can learn more about the game we are making at the Kickstarter page:

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1461411552/elite-dangerous/

Or at our web site:

http://elite.frontier.co.uk

I look forward to your questions!

Comments: 872 • Responses: 53  • Date: 

MichaelBrookes30 karma

Hi, I'm Michael Brookes, an executive producer at Frontier. This AMA was supposed to go live on Jan 3rd so David could take part. In the meantime I will try to field any questions you might have and lets get a good number of questions ready to keep him busy!

EvilMonkeySlayer5 karma

Over the years we've heard lots about Elite 4, I'm guessing a lot of those were Frontier Developments getting some publisher interest (hence periods where you guys were being a bit more public about it) and then vacuum. Where I'm guessing the publisher interest died off.

How much did that affect you guys on a when you're gearing up to make a game you evidently really want to make and then the disappointment and heartache of knowing it isn't to be?

Also, because of the high profile popularity of things like Elite Dangerous and Star Citizen are you guys being approached by publishers again? (in regards to Elite Dangerous)

DavidBraben15 karma

There has been publisher interest in E4 but early discussions suggested they would want significant input on the game design. You are right in that there is heartache over this sort of thing, but I have already gone through a dreadful publisher relationship with Gametek, and never want to do that again.

And yes, The Kickstarter campaign has attracted a lot of helpful interest, which may lead to Elite: Dangerous appearing on more platforms.

Stone-D22 karma

Hi, thank you for doing this AMA. I think will be appreciated by your long time fans, myself included - I am a decades-long fan of both you and the Elite series, and have pledged £300 to the project.

Although my first experience was with the original Elite, it is Frontier and First Encounters that fill my memories. Combined, I played those two for nearly a year and a half... pretty much daily. I still have my original Frontier box, together with a save game (now inaccessible due to being on an Amiga floppy) where I had parked my Imperial Courier somewhere near the galactic core, almost out of fuel. I think.

  1. One of the greatest joys in Frontier was the physics. Slingshotting, manual landing, manual docking... this was the core experience for me. Will these continue to be part of the game mechanic? For those that you plan to release later, such as planetary landings, might they be some of the expansions (DLC) mentioned on the Kickstarter page?
  2. After numerous mishaps and false starts, I have grown extremely averse to multiplayer as a whole, outside of a private LAN. In my current situation, such LAN parties are out of the question, unless it's Starcraft... which I detest. I realize that Multiplayer is a big financial incentive, but do you intend to apply the same amount of effort and energy into the Singleplayer experience?
  3. After my Amiga days, I became loyal to the Microsoft camp starting with Windows 95. Now, however, I am on the verge of jumping ship to Apple. Many games are released on OSX via a Wine wrapper - it works, but not an ideal solution - rather than as native apps. What are your plans for OSX?
  4. I love modding games, despite rarely releasing anything. I particularly enjoy tweaking game mechanics, and writing custom scripts which I did for Civ4 and Egosoft's X-Tension game. What modding support do you plan on providing? If you are, will they be cosmetic (textures, models, et al) or more in-depth with scripting and parameter modifications? If you are NOT, would you at least provide easy access to the game's data files?
  5. In most open world games I like to occasionally sit back and go wild, by antagonizing the police just to see how long I would last. Games like GTA will magically teleport fresh troops and send them in with no sense of self preservation. How realistic will the police presence be? Will they be finite, and can a system run out of military might?
  6. Crime rarely pays in games because the moment you do something wrong, everyone knows about it. How will notoriety and crime be handled? Will each system have their own records? Will there be a galactic record, which might take time to access after you enter a system?

I think 6 is already over the limit. Again, thank you very much for doing this. I wish you much, much success!

EDIT
Tweaked last sentence, expanded Q1 to cover DLC, expanded Q4 to the cover accessiblity of data files.

DavidBraben11 karma

Yikes! Quite a few questions!

  1. Overall - yes, but slingshotting was always a little hit and miss, and without FFwding of time will be hard to achieve in ED, I'm afraid, so probably will not feature.
  2. A hard one to answer. Almost all of the game world work applies to both single and multiplayer. Exploration is very nearly a single player experience, though much of the fun comes from the fact of the multiplayer world. We do not see these as separate experiences.
  3. We plan to support OSX natively, as a stretch goal.
  4. I want us to provide modding support, but it will not be there at day 1
  5. Police presence is also there to ensure people behave, so I suspect it will be infinite
  6. Police records will largely be system by system.

c64glen15 karma

I'll ask it. What was the deal with you and Ian Bell?

DavidBraben24 karma

We're on friendly terms now, but we had some pretty major differences...

CommanderHalley12 karma

Would you consider restarting the physical 'Elite badge' reward (using the original 80's mould design!), so when we reach Elite we could email in a system generated code and order it, for say, 15 GBP?

DavidBraben4 karma

Nice idea - having to get to 'Elite' first! It is certainly something we will think about, but I'm afraid we no longer have the original moulds.

escribblings10 karma

Are you considering multiple in game currency - or the ubiquitous all encompassing Credits?

DavidBraben9 karma

Yes. It also has interesting gameplay opportunities when it comes to rigging stock markets, though having too many currencies will be annoying for the player. So we are considering it, but have not decided how many to have (if any other than credits).

specchum9 karma

Will our Solar System be in Elite: Dangerous? If so, will there be a "proper" Earth, instead of the orange cloud-covered planet that was in First Encounters? Cheers :)

DavidBraben15 karma

Yes - though we haven't decided on the exaclt level of detail. We will discuss in the design forums.

andrejg9 karma

Hi Michael and David. A question about exploration: will there be any interesting sights to discover - ringworlds, dyson spheres, remnants of ancient civilizations, that sort of thing? Not set into a storyline or quest line like the Thargoid stations in First Encounters, that would defeat the purpose, in my opinion - but real discoveries; you warp into a system that wasn't visited by anyone and discover something truly unique. And perhaps have the discovery reported by newspapers (if you live to tell the tale :)). I'm asking because exploration for the sake of planting a flag or just to gather more resources gets boring after a while.

Shindiggery4 karma

I love this idea. They don't have to be part of a major storyline, but I'd much prefer an interesting and fantastic galaxy to explore than going down the "No alien life / evidence of alien civilizations is so rare that you might never see it." route.

DavidBraben6 karma

Yes. I hope that there will be things to discover here and there.

gingerpembers9 karma

Hi David, many congrats on the kickstarter, it's kept me glued for weeks!

Quick question, will I be able to still ship computers to barnards star, and robotics to ross 154, over and over and over and over and over again, just like I did when I was 14, as it's all I knew how to do?

Happy Birthday!

DavidBraben5 karma

Yes, I imagine you could do something similar!

defsdoor9 karma

Is Elite:Dangerous OpenGL based or DirectX ?

DavidBraben14 karma

It runs on our own engine, which supports both DirectX and OpenGL. The demos you have seen are all DirectX.

synchro629 karma

Why is Jameson so important ? Who thought up the name and why ? Will David be Jameson ingame ?

DavidBraben15 karma

Jameson wasn't all that important at the start, but has become so as he has become part of the Elite lore. The initial reason was I wanted a 7 letter commander name that would work as a filename on both the BBC micro and Acorn Atom. Ian an I discussed a few possible names. I liked Jameson as it is one of the best blended whiskys!

I plan to be pretty anonymous, as otherwise people won't be able to resist killing me! (though I may try going as Commander Braben in the Betas)

d_a_stapleton8 karma

Any chance of Elite Dangerous supporting the Oculus rift VR headset?

DavidBraben9 karma

Yes. It is a possibility down the line.

davidholdgate8 karma

David / Michael. Good evening. I had to back you as I was the fifth person to get Elite status on my BBC B. I lived in Trumpington and cycled into the Acornsoft office on Market Square, nearly causing a traffic accident on the way in! I just walked into the office and handed in my details. I am sorry to admit that I lost the badge years ago.

I wish you all well and hope you get this done so I can share a memory with my 12 year old son.

What I would like to know us if you will allow any community modding? It would be fantastic to have the ability to low communities to develop their own visions in different sectors / universes. What do you think?

DavidBraben4 karma

i would hope to do so down the line, but supporting modding is a complex thing.

alsomahler8 karma

Frontier: Elite II made a huge impression on me. A galaxy with 500 million different star systems each detailed up to the level of individual planets which you can land on with your spaceship. Like you said somewhere before: It seems like magic, even after programming it yourself.

It has been mentioned that flying down to planets in Elite Dangerous is going to be implemented later. To be honest, the part of flying down to these planet in higher detail was the main reason for me to pledge money for a remake. So my question is about that.

Planet rendering has become quite impressive over the past few years and there are quite a few interesting demos out there showcasing this. Are you planning to develop this technology indoor or license existing technology?

Thanks for answering and good luck with the funding. Keep up the good work. I'm looking forward to seeing more of it.

DavidBraben5 karma

Thank you.

We could indeed do planetary landings, but they would be bereft of interest. I want us to do it properly. The hard bit is not the planetary landing, but the things you see when you get to the surface.

sp33dco7 karma

An oddball question to David. In the mid 80's (I figure it could have been mid 85 or 86). My father had to visit and speak to the house at the house's of parliament (I said this was an odd one); due to the first buy out of a publicly owned bus company of all things. I remember waiting in the corridors as a kid and looking through a door that had glass panes. I distinctively remember there being several machines (can't remember if BBC or C64) playing Elite. I knew as soon as I saw them, that it was Elite. Can you confirm whether all our government were playing the game or did you have some presentation or something more sinister go on?? I do recall there were some disputes/problems with getting the game onto other systems. I've always been curious as to what I had seen that day (or am I just making it up)?? I'd love to know if this jogs your memory and whether you knew what I refer to???

DavidBraben14 karma

I don't think it was particularly sinister (though the C64 version was published by a public company - British Telecom - just before it was privatised so in effect it WAS published by the government). It may have been a demonstration of British games at the time.

Alternatively it was simply that a great deal of computing in the early 1980s was done on BBC Micros and they were being used to play Elite in their down time. People may not realise but the BBC was the only machine at that time that supported networked data.

Ian and I appeared on ITN news in the UK in November 1984 because John Taplin, the the editor, was amazed that all his journalists in the newsroom were playing Elite, so decided to make a story of it!

HeatSurge7 karma

Will you have true newtonian physics like elite? I.e. will there at least be an option to have ships maintain their velocity completely (as they would in real life) without having an engine on, and having to turn around and go forward for example to stop?

You've said on the kickstarted that the "drift" will be "tweaked carefully" or something like that. Can you elaborate? What does that mean? I'd rather have full realism in the physics model... arcade controls where your ship slows down to 0 vectors automatically if you're not pressing a movement button aren't as cool.

DavidBraben8 karma

We need to balance the controls carefully. The controls will go via a fly by woe approach, overlaid on a Newtonian model.

Stone-D9 karma

The controls will go via a fly by woe approach

So I take it slavery will in the game, with the tears of the chained peasants in the cargo hold allowing for greater control over spacecraft? Slaves as fuel; I like it!

</sarcasm>

DavidBraben11 karma

;-). Yes, slavery, narcotics, firearms will all be there. Slavery will even be legal in some places.

Fnaph7 karma

Hi Michael / David.

I was a fan of Elite (Speccy / Amiga) and even more so of Frontier (Amiga / PC) and I've been looking forward to Elite 4 for over a decade, so I was very happy to pledge £20, which I increased to £150 when the "including all future updates" option came along - although I still don't know what being a founding member of "The Elite" entails!). As you say - this game MUST be made!

I had a few questions, but the more I thought about it, the more questions I had (sorry!):

Q1: Kickstarter backers vs traditional consumers:

Are you expecting the 20,000 or so Kickstarter backers to be a significant percentage of the players when the game is finally finished, or do you think many more will join in once it's released?

Will the Kickstarter pledges continue to be available once the goal is met, or will you be selling the completed game by more traditional methods by then?

Q2: Non Player / Computer Generated Characters:

Will the NPCs develop (like human players) as individuals / groups and be involved in shaping the universe?

Will the NPCs be consistent, playing while we all sleep (not that I'll get any sleep once the game's released!) Would that give them an unfair advantage?

Will NPCs also have "Harmless" to "Elite" levels like human players, and if so, will that already vary from NPC to NPC from the start, as if we're all joining a long established Universe, or will there be a "Big Bang" start where NPCs and human players alike have to build up their reputations, skills and credits from scratch?

Q3: Space is big:

Due to the size of the Elite: Dangerous Universe, isn't there a danger of playing for weeks and not seeing another soul (except for NPCs)? Perhaps that's not necessarily a bad thing?

Q4: Persistent Universe:

With a game that can be shaped so much by the players, if you haven't played for a while, might things be very different when you return ("go to sleep" in a space station in a friendly system and "wake up" in an anarchy!)?

Q5: Music:

Can we have a full blown orchestral version of The Blue Danube for docking? Or perhaps we can rename our own MP3 to "docking-music.mp3" (bypassing royalty issues!)

The old (perhaps remixed or even orchestral) version of the Frontier music might be good for fight scenes?

Q6: Thargoid / Witch Space:

Can we expect something similar in Elite: Dangerous? There's nothing that sets the heart racing more (in the Elite Universe) than being thrown in at the deep end when you least expect it!

Cheers :o)

DavidBraben10 karma

Q1 - I hope we will have very many more than 20,000 players. All Frontier's released games from the last few years have exceeded 2M players (Coaster Crazy has had over 500,000 users on our servers at the same time).

During development we may continue to offer pledges towards the stretch goals, but haven't decided on the details.

Q2 - NPCs will be inferior and not members of the pilots federation. This means the game will not react so strongly to the killing of such a non-member. Jury is out as to whether they will have ratings. Probably not.

Q3 - you will tend to see other players in the central systems. If you go out exploring, I suspect it will indeed be pretty rare - but the lack of law will also bring a frisson of danger!

Q4 - Galaxy will only change slowly, and the changes will tend to be additive. But yes, it can change under your feet.

Q5 - Yes - I would hope for the former. The music for the Blue Danube is out of copyright, so it is only the performance that is an issue. I would hope to get it re-performed, budgets permitting.

Q6 - Yes. It is what I want too.

zexpe7 karma

Will Elite: Dangerous have ground-based spaceports like in Frontier?

DavidBraben12 karma

Yes, with time, but not on the first release. I discuss this further in the "Development Plan" Dev Diary (this can be seen on our Kickstarter site)

AlienND6 karma

Hi David, I am planning to organise an unofficial launch party for those who can't go to the official one. Can I hold it in the same room at the same time as the official launch party?

DavidBraben6 karma

Nice question! Probably not...

mxp278246 karma

To what extent have you modelled how the ongoing cost of maintaining servers to run the game? I only ask because I know a few people have raised this on the Kickstarter comments thread. Is it possible that five years down the line we'll be asked to start paying subscriptions?

DavidBraben6 karma

The server usage should be quite light, and should be sustained by revenue from the ability to buy game money with real money via in-game transactions.

simonharrison6 karma

Hi David!

Playing Frontier Elite II in my teens was one of the inspirations for me to study astrophysics at university and go on to have a career in the UK space industry. I remember one of the most engaging things for me was to see the universe you so accurately created in motion using Frontier's time advance control. Seeing the planets and suns rise and set was thrilling and contributed greatly to the immersion. It was also educational as it served as a very 3D demonstration of celestial mechanics! Obviously time advancement won't be possible in multiplayer mode but I would so love to see it back.

So my question is, would you consider supporting time advancement in single player? If not, since I believe you are going to the trouble of modelling celestial bodies accurately (including their motion presumably), how would this be visible to the player, since with time running at normal speed orbital motion would be almost imperceptible?

DavidBraben9 karma

We have been thinking about this. We don't have a solid answer yet, but having an in-game orrery via the map may be possible.

zexpe6 karma

Will permits be required to enter certain systems, like Van Maanen's star, in Elite: Dangerous? I seem to recall you could obtain these by carrying certain parcels or passengers. Presumably this taxi-driver profession will still be a viable option in Elite: Dangerous?

DavidBraben5 karma

Yes, we will have something similar. We will also reserve areas for future elements.

fross6 karma

Hi David,

thanks for doing this AMA. I used to sneak Elite onto the BBC Bs at school and play whenever I could, and later Frontier on my Amiga, so thank you for all the good times. I'm glad I got to see the source code as well, (for anyone who is interested, it's absolutely stunning what they pushed into a 32K machine, you can get the files yourself at http://www.iancgbell.clara.net/elite/bbc/index.htm#src )

I have two questions for you:

1) I remember reading back in old computer magazines that both you and Ian Bell co-designed and co-coded the original Elite. Was the split of duties pretty much 50/50, or did one of you take more of one side than the other?

2) One of the astonishing things in Elite for the time was how it pushed the technology. Do you still feel that's an envelope you need to push with Elite: Dangerous, or has the technology moved on enough that it's all about the game/design now, and you don't need to push as hard to get it to do whatever you want?

Thanks and good luck with the kickstarter - nearly there!

DavidBraben5 karma

Thanks!

I always like to try to push technology, but with all the different hardware, it is much harder.

naffer5 karma

I can't think of a question (the hivemind does the asking for me), so I'll just say thank you for your work.

DavidBraben9 karma

You're welcome!

sunkzero5 karma

What features are you most looking forward to that perhaps haven't had the airtime yet? Also, what aspects of the two Frontier games were you most disappointed with and how will these be overcome in E:D?

DavidBraben7 karma

I was most disappointed by the loss of immediacy in the combat - it just wasn't much fun (effectively jousting).

I am most looking forward to the social aspects of the game, and ways people find to 'game' some of the systems. I find that sort of thing intriguing.

GraemeFryer5 karma

Hi David - can you confirm/make happen two things for me please ONE: If we can own more than one ship at a time in E D? This relates purely to ownership and not flying more than one ship at a time

TWO. Please can you add some concept ship pictures to the pledge tiers on the KS campaign screen. I really think that will help with the pledgers!

Many thanks (G. Fryer - Founder!)

DavidBraben4 karma

Yes - owning multiple ships should be possible, though details need firming up.

I'm afraid we cannot change the pledge tiers on KS.

ChazGELF5 karma

David, what do you think of the fan-made comics, stories, art, games etc that have been inspired by Elite? Although I never got a chance to play the original game, I played the fan remake Oolite, and was inspired by both it and the original to create a comedy sci-fi webcomic, which has been going on for over two years now!

DavidBraben6 karma

Some are great!

CommanderRegel5 karma

A few questions regarding non-player ships:

1) How much interaction will players be able to have with NPC ships? Will we be able to hail them, ask where they're going, what they're carrying?

2) Will NPC ships have their own purposes? Will we be able to follow NPC ships to their destinations? Will their cargo and destinations "make sense" (i.e., carrying cargo that would make a profit)?

3) Will NPC ships fight among themselves (as in ArcElite)?

Thanks David and team. Really looking forward to this game!

DavidBraben4 karma

Q1. We will have some way of doing this as NPC ships should feel like they blend in - but details need to be decided. Q2. At a simplistic level, yes. Q3. Yes - we will have encounters between NPCs that you may come across (and of course NPC vs player) and you can choose to get involved (or not) however you like.

Slawkenbergius_5 karma

Will you be using procedural generation in any interesting ways not yet discussed?

For instance, I seem to remember reading somewhere that you might be using procedurally generated textures. Do envisage using tech like this (link shows procedural textures aging over time)? I'm thinking it could be used on ships and space stations - paint flaking to reveal the bare metal underneath, shiny & new vs. grubby & old, etc.

DavidBraben12 karma

Yes. We are already using procedurally generated textures. Aging and dirtying up of surfaces will also help make a new ship look shiny and an older ship look travel-worn. I like the idea of being able to get an idea by looking at a landed ship how much experience the pilot is likely to have. I love the idea that a battered ship is a sort of 'badge of office'.

Ribaam5 karma

It may sound obvious but what are the benefits of being a "design decision forum member" and how long will it last, just till the game is released ? :)

DavidBraben3 karma

It should last until significantly after the first release of the game, as we add new elements, and as the galaxy evolves.

fuzzyillogic5 karma

Hello, first of all again congratulations for the successfull funding. I'm very excited by the idea of at last being able to play Elite 4... :)

My question is if you plan to have the star systems and all other distances and bodies and starship represented at full/realistic scale or if you plan to scale them down.

DavidBraben7 karma

Realistic scale, but with the ability to travel at unrealistic speeds (via hyperspace).

StockportJambo5 karma

When you did your trading Dev Diary, you mentioned Jontyworld and Jontybass - a thinly veiled reference to a well-known KS backer, and the "jonty" phrase that has been coined. Will you be including other in-jokes from the Kickstarter campaign within the game?

DavidBraben8 karma

Absolutely. The great thing about a game, and the world around it, is the way it develops its own vocabulary.

simonharrison4 karma

Astrophysics question. We know you are modelling various star types, planets, moons, asteroid belts and rings. Will you also be modelling any of the following?

Comets

Kuiper belt

Oort cloud

Quasars

Black holes

Protoplanets and protosystems (i.e. star/planet systems in mid-formation with accretion disc of coalescing dust and gas)

Active binary star systems where one star is pulling hot gasses of the other into an accretion disc?

Maybe some of the exotic systems e.g pulsar systems, could interfere with onboard systems e.g. the scanner?

Thanks, Simon

DavidBraben8 karma

Comets - yes

Kuiper belt - yes, to some extent ( though a bit far out to be compelling)

Oort cloud (just an extension of the Kuiper Belt, really)

Quasars - no. These are almost certainly (yes, I know what Harlton Aarp said...) very much extra-galactic bodies, so modelling them within our galaxy would not make sense.

Black holes - yes

Protoplanets and protosystems - yes, ideally.

Active binary star systems where one star is pulling hot gasses of the other into an accretion disc? - yes, as it is a graphical spectacular. I think the nearest is Beta Lyrae (wanted to include this in Frontier, but time ran away with me...)

Pulsars - yes - I hope so as these can affect gameplay too, but there is not one terribly nearby...

With all of these, some may or may not make first release, but I want to see most at some stage...

j6wbs4 karma

Hi David, I wrote a Java port of Elite: The New Kind, back in 2003 at http://javanicus.org It was written to honour the memory of Elite on a platform that could easily be kept for future generations. What is your feeling on direct ports like TNK and my own, I never want to disrespect your work, and how influential Elite is. Wishing you lots of luck with the last few days of the kickstarter, it's going to be a great time :-)

DavidBraben4 karma

It is great to see so much love for the original elite game!

TheJedi054 karma

David touched on the probability that we will see planetary landing like in the original games. Personally I think this is why Elite was so successful. Is there a time frame for when this will be possible? Within the year, more than???

Thanks again,

SteveW

DavidBraben5 karma

Not decided yet. The ordering of events will be down to discussions in the Design Decision Forum (DDF). I would hope this would be within the year, though.

Liqua2 karma

Elite didn't have planetary landings and was hugely popular that spawned all the current space sims you see today - you're thinking of Frontier (Elite II)

DavidBraben3 karma

Indeed.

Fozza1014 karma

Hi David Happy Birthday and Congratulations. It looks like your 50th birthday will be exciting! We could hold a special don't shoot David day in the Alpha/Beta Test :)

My Questions:

1- I've always thought the Elite logo was a Phoenix but have since been informed its a Griffin. Is that the case and can you tell us why that design?

2- What part of E:D are you personally most looking forward to creating/playing? (Suggest you don't say planetary landings:-)

3 - Could you give us some examples of how you would like to see the Design decision Forum working during development.

Thank you for your original games and for making Elite:Dangerous a reality.

DavidBraben6 karma

Yes - hadn't thought of that. I was hoping to take my 50th birthday off... ;-)

  1. The Elite logo took a while to get right. The inspiration was a mix of pilot's wings and logo. The Griffin thing was Philip Castle's idea.
  2. The emergent social aspects that will come out of multiplayer. I am really not sure what to expect - but that is why it is exciting.
  3. We will openly discuss design issues we need to address, and the options of how to do so. DDF members may well suggest other options. This will continue beyond the release of the game, as design issues will continue to come up. Pre-release examples might include how we deal with ships in dock. Can they use their guns on other ships while landed? Should there be an automatic interlock, or do we rely on penalties to discourage? Post release examples might include how we change a system through time.

EliteC643 karma

Hi, been elite fan for very long time & holds fond memories. Im currently studying to work in the industry with games like elite driving my initial interest in games as a child of the 80s my question is a general gameplay one.

Youve stated that at some point in elite dangerous lifetime you'll implement the ability to move around the ship. With that in mind Ive always envisioned a modern day elite over the year's with a few idears like the ability to busy yourself around the ship with minor repairs, mini games you could buy with your credits, co-pilots (ai robot or otherwise) to interact with within the ship to name but a few.

Would any of this be possible within the system framework? Itd be nice to fill the gap between space jumps from planet to planet with the little things to do in first person view rather then remove the "in between" aspect of the game. Sorry a little long winded I know but I have been waiting like over 25 odd years to ask ;]

DavidBraben3 karma

Yes. All possible, but I wouldn't want it to be a chore to keep your ship running. Interiors are more for stowing away, and ship-ship boarding.

renesisxx3 karma

David -

I think most who play games don't remotely know how tough the industry is. Late nights, publishers being life-sucking worms, endless QA. All I wanted to do as a kid was write video games. The reality was horrid and I quit.

So - are you still in love with the games industry? Did you ever think of throwing in the towel?

DavidBraben5 karma

Yes I still love it. That's not to say that what you say is not true... It is. Just the positives outweigh the negatives for me overall.

CommanderRegel3 karma

David, any thoughts on combining Elite:Dangerous with your other project, the Raspberry Pi? Presumably this would be pretty straightforward in terms of porting as it would be to a single device, with defined hardware?

You could even run it on a slimmed down, custom Linux distribution: insert SD, boot into Elite:Dangerous...

DavidBraben4 karma

Maybe...!

thoughtboxed3 karma

Do you remember Karma (Periscope Software)? What did you think of their ambition? Too lofty? Too low? Or on par with yours, considering the tech of yesteryear?

PS: if you don't reach your stretch goal, some PC put-togetherer will be taking my money; will you include "tried and tested" hw specs closer to release?

DavidBraben2 karma

Yes. Remember Karma. Not sure how far it actually got though?

thoughtboxed2 karma

Not far, sadly. One half of the dev team sadly died in a motorcycle accident before the game got anywhere beyond the "trainer" (teaser, basically, which I suppose was a way to fund their baby). Here's a glass to Periscope and hope you folks have enough people developing...

DavidBraben3 karma

Sorry to hear that. Didn't know. Very sad.

captain_hippo3 karma

Hi David. Will the docking computer/Blue Danube be making a reappearance in Dangerous? Will we get the original BBC laser sounds?

DavidBraben7 karma

Yes. The Blue Danube has already made a very minor appearance, at the end of the teaser-trailer...

I like the idea of the laser sounds sounding like the BBC Micro version... I'm sure our sound guys will not though.. Hmmm....

specchum3 karma

Will you need to service your ship and drive in Elite: Dangerous? In Frontier/FFE this somewhat limited how far you could travel into the Galaxy, as your ship/drive would break down before too long if unserviced.

DavidBraben5 karma

Details are not yet fixed, but there will be this sort of effect here too. Exploration should be a challenge, requiring planning and extra kit to go that extra range, and reach unexplored space.

PUSH_AX3 karma

As a long time fan i've pledged to the kickstarter and can't wait to play the new Elite! A few questions..

What happens if you don't reach the funding goal, will Elite still be developed?

Will development on The Outsider ever be picked up again?

I'm currently doing a game development degree in the UK, any advice for graduates applying for positions in the game industry and what do you like to see in an application?

Are you open to doing talks at Uni's?

DavidBraben13 karma

David here now - yes, if we don't reach the funding goal I would hope it would still be developed, but we would have to find another route so it would by no means be certain.

Outsider may be picked up again in time, but currently we have no plans to do so.

A good Computer Science degree from a reputable University for a programmer would be the best. For a game development degree, we'd like to see something that shows what you've managed to do - I'm assuming this is something specialising in game design, so we'd like to see something that is well designed (!) and substantially your own work.

I give talks regularly at universities and schools and colleges - often in relation to Raspberry Pi, but in practice I cannot do all of them, so concentrate on those that are nearer to Cambridge.

j6wbs3 karma

I still play the original Elite on my laptop on the way to work. Will I be able to play 'Elite: Dangerous' in a single player mode without any connection to the net? Thanks.

DavidBraben8 karma

Yes, though you will lose the richness of multiplayer.

mobiuspc3 karma

in making Elite a more social game do you have plans on making an in game style social site "Elitebook" , i think that comming accross players and being able to add them to your elitebook page so you can follow their exploits would be intresting.

DavidBraben2 karma

The social aspects are important, and I he they will evolve over time. It would be great to do sophisticated friends list functions like facebook.

v85rawdeal3 karma

Hi David.

What is the possibility of either Elite or Frontier: E2 being released on either iOS or Android platforms in the future? Also, would you consider either of them being released on the Ouya in the future?

DavidBraben8 karma

Very likely. And on Raspberry Pi!

madmak3 karma

Hi David. I swear to have seen a rock hermit (station carved into a huge asteroid) in one of the videos. Am I correct or just imagining things?

DavidBraben8 karma

Not a rock hermit, but another kind of (cheaper) station.

I_work_in_marketing2 karma

Where on the hype cycle do you think Kickstarter is at?

Do you think that Elite: Dangerous might have launched just as the site approached a trough of disillusionment?

DavidBraben10 karma

Kickstarter is a fantastic, democratising approach to getting creative projects made. I think there was a wave of negativity that coincided with the early part of the project, but that seems to have decreased a little now.

Combiseries2 karma

Hi, I`ve been a fan of Elite since the ZX Spectrum version. I loved Frontier and First Encounters and have been watching the net for Elite IV ever since the first rumor. What with the plethora of eliteish games out there e.g. Freelancer, X2 & X3, Eve Online, etc, etc. What can we expect from Elite : Dangerous that will make this game stand out from the more successful eliteish games like Eve, and Freelancer. I ask this question because these games still have a large following through mods etc. In my opinion the best part of elite would be to fly through the atmosphere of a planet and land there, plus walk out of the craft to explore the land.

There is a game in production called Pioneer here : http://pioneerspacesim.net/

This game already has landable planets and is quite good looking. Would you be looking to use similar technology, would it be better?

Thanks, lifelong fan. Clayton Pring......

DavidBraben5 karma

There are quite a few programs out there that do coloured height maps with atmospheric effects. That is no problem to do procedurally, but very quickly they all feel much the same, and feel dull once you are below 5,000 ft. So I'd go for 'better'...

davedubya2 karma

Do you still own an Amiga 600 upon which to play Frontier Elite 2?

DavidBraben11 karma

No, but I do still have an Amiga 1000 and 3000 and various other machines (including one of the first ARM prototypes).

rockpopper2 karma

Would you ever be willing to do a book explaining how something like Frontier Elite works?

It looks like a magnificent work of art how an entire galaxy is modled from something that fits onto a single diskette!...

I know it was written in 68000 ASM then translated into 286 ASM but it'd still be interesting to see what processes when into designing the Universe!

DavidBraben8 karma

Yes - I have explained elements of it from time to time (and there s mention in one of the Kickstarter dev diaries), but would be happy to do so in full at some time.