Adventure and a silent death await in Elite: Dangerous

Polygon's Charlie Hall invited Ben Kuchera to join him for a few sorties in Frontier Development's Elite: Dangerous. It's a hardcore space sim that will allow players to plot their own course through a realistic Milky Way galaxy. This split-screen video shows how a flight stick, throttle and Track IR helps maneuver in 3D space. Now in formal beta, Elite: Dangerous is the crowdfunded successor to the classic Elite, published for the first time in 1984. David Braben, one of the original designers, is leading the effort and has met some criticism from the broader gaming public for charging $150 for access to the alpha, a maneuver Braben says was intended to create a smaller, more manageable and more dedicated player base to build the game with. Beta access is available now for $75....


The Oculus Rift DK2 is a hot mess (and that's OK)

The hardware itself is a vast improvement from the original. The fit and finish is better, the screen offers a higher resolution, it uses fewer cables when connecting to your PC. The new IR webcam tracks the lights inside the headset to allow you to move your view freely as you play. You can now lean forward to take a closer look at something in your games, or even straighten up to see over obstacles. By leaning forward and looking left or right you can peek out of windows, or stick your head into a chimney to look up the flue. This greatly adds to the illusion of being inside the game, much more than the improved screen. Which, we now know, was taken off a phone. The hardware is amazing, and my evenings have been spent blissed out in virtual reality. It’s the software that’s holding...


Elite: Dangerous could come to PS4 and Xbox One after PC

Elite: Dangerous, the massively multiplayer online space simulator from Frontier Developments, may eventually be released on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, said studio head David Braben in an interview with Eurogamer. Frontier raised more than £1.57 million ($2.69 million) on Kickstarter at the start of 2013 to fund the development of Mac and Windows PC versions of Elite: Dangerous. Currently, the studio is "very focused on delivering a great PC game," said Braben, adding, "We will then do the game on Mac and during that time we will be looking at other platforms as well." Braben pointed out that Frontier has experience making games on Sony and Microsoft consoles — Elite: Dangerous is being made in the same engine that the studio used for the Xbox 360 and Xbox One title Zoo Tycoon — and...


Why Elite: Dangerous nestled the Earth in a cloud of space dust

David Braben knew that Earth is surrounded by space dust, but it wasn't until he tried to recreate our view of the Milky Way in Elite: Dangerous that he realized just how much debris is floating in the vacuum of space. The space simulation game's visible universe is based on astronomical models of the real night sky, but recreating a believable version of our corner of the galaxy in Elite: Dangerous required some tweaks. "Our night sky is based on real data — it is not a hand-drawn backdrop as you might expect," Braben told The New Yorker. "But the Milky Way and many of the stars around it are simply too bright and too uniform when compared to the real observable night sky." Must Read Elite: Dangerous and the curious case of the $150 beta Some tweaking was in order,...


Meet the Kickstarter whales, the people who spend $10,000, $100,000 to launch dreams

This is the place where the $10,000 backer level lives, for those with the wealth and the commitment to drop that sort of cash. If you're an average American, $10,000 is about three months worth of post-tax household income, but if you're a Kickstarter whale, it's a top-level treat tied to the project or producer you really care about. By the time most of us have scrolled through the $50 product-and-poster levels, the $500 limited edition statuettes, the $2,000 in-game avatar, we're wondering what else could possibly tickle the wallets of wealthy fanboys and fangirls. The answer is often a Big Day Out with the producers; an exclusive party or a dinner. For rich backers, the real treats are not so much tchotchkes, as memorable experiences. So who are the Kickstarter whales, and why do...

E3 2014

Elite: Dangerous trailer, E3 2014

Elite: Dangerous is a space combat simulator for PC that is being funded through a unique model that charges a hefty premium for alpha, and now beta, access. It's a sandbox filled with 400,000 star systems and aims to be the spiritual successor to the 1980s classic Elite. To see the rest of our E3 trailers, check out the StoryStream.


Elite: Dangerous and the curious case of the $150 beta

The idea of paying for early access to a developmental build is a relatively new concept in modern gaming. Most of the break out hits that have used the model, such as Minecraft and Kerbal Space Program, began by selling access low and then slowly raised the cost over time. David Braben, CEO of Frontier Developments, has done exactly the opposite. When he launched his Kickstarter for Elite in late 2012 access to the alpha build of the game cost roughly $300. By the time his Kickstarter closed in January of 2013 he had earned more than $2.5 million from more than 25,000 backers. Among them was a core team of slightly more than 900 alpha testers. That small group of highly invested players has been a boon for his team. "The alpha backers have been absolutely brilliant," Braben said....


E3 2014 marks the return of the flight sim genre

But in many ways the era of the flight sim ended in January 2009 when Microsoft announced the closure of the Aces Studio. After 29 years the people behind the Microsoft Flight Simulator series were out of work. For the last five years flight sims have struggled to remain relevant, spiraling off into niche titles like the X-Plane and the DCS series that, while they push the limits of modern computing power, strain the patience of most gamers. That’s about the change. The flight sim genre is coming back in a big way. This year’s E3 marks an inflection point where developers, publishers and hardware manufacturers are coming together to create new kinds of flight sim experiences. It’s a confluence that will push flight sims to the forefront of gaming for the next several years. World...


Elite: Dangerous opens up 'premium beta' to 10,000 more players

A $150 "premium beta" will offer access to Elite: Dangerous for 10,000 more people, studio Frontier Developments announced. The premium beta phase began on Friday with all of the major features that were added to Elite: Dangerous in its four preceding alpha phases. Participation in the premium beta is available, and it costs $150. Buying in will give a player a lifetime expansion pack as well. There are more details at this link.The immediate focus is on testing the systems and servers with a step change in numbers using a re-balanced game based on feedback and information from the recent Alpha 4 build," Frontier Developments said in a news release. The 10,000 new players will be trading, pirating and bounty hunting in five different star systems covering 200 cubic light years of...


Naughty Dog lead character artist Michael Knowland leaves studio

Naughty Dog lead character artist Michael Knowland has left the studio following his work on last year's The Last of Us, Superannuation reports. Knowland worked with Naughty Dog for more than three years, with over two years dedicated to the critical and commercial hit The Last of Us. Knowland worked previously at Elite: Dangerous studio Frontier Developments. He joins the likes of previous Naughty Dog alumni including Uncharted 4 game director Justin Richmond and series creative director Amy Hennig, both of whom recently left the company. Richmond has since gone on to join League of Legends studio Riot Games, while Hennig has moved on to Visceral Games to aid in the development of its upcoming Star Wars game. Knowland has yet to reveal his future plans. We've reached out to Naughty...

Elite: Dangerous Releases
North America
  • Windows
    • Developer Frontier Developments
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