back to article Classic game 'Elite' returns … on Kickstarter

Elite, the classic BBC Micro game immortalised as winner of Reg Hardware's Antique Code Show All-time Classic Award, has returned as a Kickstarter project. David Braben, one of the developers of the original game and founder of Frontier Developments, writes on the game's Kickstarter page that the next instalment of the game, “ …

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  1. SoaG

    Multiplayer game based on Elite?

    I believe it's called Eve Online...

    Not saying there isn't room for both, just that it's somewhat of a niche market and there needs to be a clearer differentiation.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      im guessing you are far younger than my 39 years...

      Eve online, like Warcraft, are essentially definitive MMORPGs. The backdrop-space, piracy and/or trading may have been influenced and coded by those who once played Elite but it is NOT Elite. The fact you said this says, to me, you were not around for it first time and, therefore, most likely haven't played it.

      I became rather excited when I read that headline. Multi player Elite, I have been banging on about this for ages. Indeed , I have mentioned this in a previous post!

      I really hope this works out....Cobra mk III, military laser, fuel scoop and a sleepless nights.

      1. Suricou Raven

        Re: im guessing you are far younger than my 39 years...

        "“In the game, you will of course begin with a spacecraft* and a small sum of Credits*. You will be able to trade*, pirate*, bounty-hunt*, explore*, and salvage* your way to wealth and fame, building on those key elements of the previous games, and with sumptuous graphics* only now possible with the performance of today’s machines. Only this time some of the ships out there will be other players like yourself"

        * Also found in EVE.

        1. janimal
          Go

          Re: im guessing you are far younger than my 39 years...

          The problem with Eve is the point & click flight interface and the rock - paper - scissors combat system.

          I started playing Eve in 2003 purely because I thought it might give me that Elite hit I was after - it didn't, even after playing for years. CCP are now more corporate & less focused than they used to be and Eve is suffering. I am no longer subbed

          The other problem with Eve is once you have a large player base with long established assets you can't make any radical changes without upsetting pretty much everyone, no matter how necessary it is.

          I would love to play a modern version of Elite, but I wouldn't be interested in an MMO aspect. Although I wouldn't mind being able to invite a few friends to my universe for a bit of co-op or head to head play.

          1. badvok71

            Vendetta Online

            If you want a more Elite-like game that is Mutliplayer, it might be worth checking out Vendetta Online.

            It's far more interesting than the barely-interactive screen-saver that is Eve Online.

        2. This post has been deleted by its author

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Facepalm

          @Suricou Raven

          Dammit! You are so right...

          Braben is Dooomed, Doomed I tell you. Why, I have wasted my life dreaming of an Elite Multiplayer Mecca, and here it was, under my very nose! It is the new Star Wars horror all over again...*sob*

          1. SoaG

            Re: @Suricou Raven

            Suricou Raven caught my meaning I think. The founders of CCP (the company behind Eve) have made no secret that elite was their inspiration, right down to the logo being designed to have a resemblance.

            Yes, ship control is different, but there's lots of single player flight sims, including in space. There's even another Kickstarter for one from another guy who did one of the old ones. The bandwidth and server load for such control in a real-time MMO environment would be more than a little impractical, especially on the single game universe/massive fleet battle model of Eve. I'm sure the Eve devs would have liked to include that aspect as well.

            I haven't played Eve in a few years, but I know it's still growing. They're both niche games though as I said and I don't think there's market room for a 2nd Elite based MMO even if they could solve the lag. Single player definitely, so hopefully they meant that with a co-op, or small-server/LAN multiplayer, mode added on. That would likely do well.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: im guessing you are far younger than my 39 years...

        Only one military laser? After playing Elite for a couple of days we just hacked a saved game and gave ourselves a zillion credits. Still never discovered the ninth universe, but had a lot of fun. (it's mentioned in the source code)

        Somewhere I still have a saved game in which I'm trapped in witchspace with the entire Thargoid fleet.. I never managed to escape from that

        1. Danny 14

          Re: im guessing you are far younger than my 39 years...

          yeah, what WERE you supposed to do with a misjump into witchspace?

          I can see this being a good idea in principle but horrible in practice. In Elite if you screwed up docking (I started humming blue danube when sat in my mates "self parking" focus and he got the reference :) ) then you reloaded the save. Not so here.

          I also doubt the supposed safe havens of zaonce (the white dwarf high tech star - cant quite remember) will be full of military laser toting loonies shooting into the docking station as you launch.

          1. Ministry of Truth
            Alien

            Re: im guessing you are far younger than my 39 years...

            In witchspace you had to kill the Thargoid motherships, then scoop up the tharglets and sell them as alien artefacts for significant profit. If you survived long enough. And if you had a fuel scoop. And if you didn't have a cargo hold full of luxuries, which were worth more.

            Once the big ships were dead (sometimes more than one wave of them) you could jump out again (if you had enough fuel!!)

            In fact, witchspace became a welcome diversion for me. But only if it didn't happen on that "just one last jump" before you went to bed... ;)

          2. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

            Re: im guessing you are far younger than my 39 years...

            you could only get out of witchspace if you had enough hyperspace fuel left to jump to a nearby system, or have a galactic hyperjump - which meant all your missions were screwed

            Elite.The hard way.

          3. stucs201

            Witchspace was easy once you had the cloaking device

            Jump into witchspace (usually deliberately, ALT+W before a jump broke the hyperdrive on the PC version).

            Engage cloak and fly past thargoids.

            All much easier once their formation breaks up and they're not all firing at some.

            The cloaking device also made picking up the small Thargoid ships much easier.

            Made it to Elite with all missions completed twice. Once for the first CGA PC version, then again for the Elite+ remake with VGA graphics and more missions.

    2. dz-015

      Re: Multiplayer game based on Elite?

      "I believe it's called Eve Online"

      Don't be silly. One of the compelling things about Elite was that you piloted the ship yourself in real time. When I first encountered Eve I got very excited, assuming it would be the same. But as soon as I discovered that it was all just point-and-click autopilot stuff I immediately lost interest. Without requiring the skill of flying the ship yourself it all seems very dull.

      I very much hope this new version of Elite comes into existence.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Thumb Up

        @dz-015 - Re: Multiplayer game based on Elite?

        I quite agree about piloting yourself in real-time.

        The (sometimes) long flight to the space station, waiting to be jumped by pirates, was fundamental to the experience.

        And the "Omigod omigod I'm gonna die!' aspect of the combat takes a lot of beating.

        1. Silverburn

          Re: @dz-015 - Multiplayer game based on Elite?

          And the "Omigod omigod I'm gonna die!' aspect of the combat takes a lot of beating.

          Or docking, come to think of it. Then there was the "c'mon...c'mon...c'mon" nailbiting as you raced for the safety of the "S" zone in an anarchy system, with all your shields and missiles gone. Only to crash into a *stupid* python emerging from the gate while you are on finals. Lets hope the new version has some sort of flight controller employed at the space stations...

          1. Mark 65

            Re: @dz-015 - Multiplayer game based on Elite?

            Isn't that the reason you just hacked it and, with the previously mentioned credits and military lasers, gave yourself a docking computer.

            1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

              Re: @dz-015 - Multiplayer game based on Elite?

              @Mark 65

              Even though when I started playing Elite I would BUY (no cheating here, except to make a copy of the disk - not a trivial task until sector-by-sector disk copiers for the BEEB came along) a docking computer, once I found the Bitstick worked as a controller (or indeed any other high precision joystick, I could do the same with one of the BBC analogue joysticks with an extension on the shaft made of a ball-point pen body), I completely ignored the DC.

              At computer club events, I would quite often wow everyone who was watching by accurately lining up with the dock at a significant distance, matching rotation, and accelerating all the way in. There did not seem to be a maximum speed for docking. I could dock much, much faster than the DC, which often looked worse than a learner driver doing a reverse turn around a corner for the first time in a car with a faulty clutch. The only thing I found the it useful for was as a break to go and make a cup of tea.

              I suspect that anybody who had any pretensions of becoming Elite would probably do the same.

              1. Dave 126 Silver badge

                Re: @dz-015 - Multiplayer game based on Elite?

                http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/0x10c

                From the creator if Minecraft, it is claimed that this as yet unreleased game 0x10c was inspired by Elite. 0x10c is the game in which the player's ship is controlled by a fully-functioning virtualised 16 bit CPU that they can program- this I find especially interesting after reading some of the comments below about Elite's Docking Computer being a bit slow. The game is set to feature combat, trading, engineering and mining, amongst other things.

                I'm not saying that it is Elite, but only that it seems based on the same spirit, and may have the potential to compete for some of the same players.

                Disclosure: I haven't played Elite, I tried to play Frontier but couldn't get it working on my 286. Can't remember why.

              2. Vic

                Re: @dz-015 - Multiplayer game based on Elite?

                > accurately lining up with the dock at a significant distance, matching rotation

                I used to do that as a matter of course.

                I once had a DC try to take me in through the back wall of the station. Vast amounts of damage...

                Vic.

      2. Suricou Raven

        Re: Multiplayer game based on Elite?

        "One of the compelling things about Elite was that you piloted the ship yourself in real time."

        It's not obvious, but you can set a manual heading via doubleclicking on space. Very important for tactical combat manouvers. You don't get to aim the guns yourself, but that would be silly.

    3. The BigYin
      FAIL

      Re: Multiplayer game based on Elite?

      @SoaG - Do you even have the most vague clue what you are talking about?

      Didn't think so.

    4. annodomini2
      Stop

      Re: Multiplayer game based on Elite?

      Having played Eve, on and off over the years, I gave up on it for good last year.

      The fundamental problem with Eve, it's boring.

      Yes there is a lot of strategy to it, but the bulk of this is on the corporate level, as an individual user, you are a mere pawn.

      Once you have achieved a certain level, effectively you need to be a part of whoever the latest corp to be dominant in 0.0 to do anything interesting. The rest are left doing menial tasks in high security space.

      Secondly, unless you're an unemployed dole dosser, with 18hours a day to play the game, it's nearly impossible to get anywhere.

      Eve becomes a job you pay the company to do.

      1. ravenviz
        Happy

        Re: Multiplayer game based on Elite?

        @ annodomini2

        I play Eve for most on average 1 hour a day (some days none, some days lots), I get a lot out of it, I've had an account for 4 years and I can't say I have "got anywhere", for me it's escapism. There are so many facets to Eve to get boring, it's just a matter of exploring them. But then Eve is not meant to be a shoot-em-up, it's meant to be a role play. It's like anything you get used to though, there are lots of versions of first-person shoot-em-ups, civilisation builders, platform games. Anyway we're way off topic. :)

    5. Samuel Penn

      Re: Multiplayer game based on Elite?

      Actually, it's called Vendetta Online. VO is a twitch based first person shooter just like Elite was, whereas Eve is more point and click.

    6. David Webb

      Re: Multiplayer game based on Elite?

      The only game I've played which I can compare to Elite really is the X series. In that series you can be whatever you want, a super trader, owner of huge fleets of ships which go and buy/sell stuff for you, a pirate who forces people to eject (who you then capture to sell as slaves) and steal their ships, a pirate hunter, salvager, can't remember if you can be a miner, but the combat is Elite style and isn't a bad game.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Big disappointment

    Why does it have to be multiplayer, I loved the original because it was SP, not despite.

    1. Alphabet Soup 1
      Happy

      Re: Big disappointment

      If you want a Single Player version, check out Oolite.

      As for me - this might just provide the impetus I need for me to make the jump to multi-player games.

      (Still waiting for the Antique Code Show on Elite ...)

      1. JetSetJim Silver badge

        Re: Big disappointment

        Elite is in the Android marketplace:

        https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=elite.app (this link works with me logged in, but fails if I paste it into IE!)

        Although Google now report it as incompatible with my device (Galaxy Nexus) despite it being installed. The controls are a pig, though...

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Big disappointment

        Oolite is also interesting because of the vast array of community made add-ons that are available for it.

        Extra ships, extra stations, extra everything. It even has an add-on which plays Blue Danube when you are using the docking computer....

    2. Alan Dougherty
      Stop

      Re: Big disappointment

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-20187897

      Straight from the horses mouth, that it is single player, with multiplayer, if you so wish.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Big disappointment

        They could save a few quid and some time if they teamed up with the Oolite guys. Just need to patch in the multiplayer part.

        1. Haku

          Re: Big disappointment

          I get the feeling that teaming up would be a massive compromise.

          From reading the Kickstarter page it appears David Braben has been working on this for many years, even if some of the time it was just thinking about how his new multiverse game would pan out. Teaming up with someone else who has already running software would mean compromises and re-working the game, that would possibly mean altering it in ways you didn't want to do.

          1. Hairy Spod

            Re: Big disappointment

            There's also the issue of Oolite being open source. I'm assuming that David wants to make a few quid out of this..

  3. A Non e-mouse Silver badge

    "sumptuous graphics"

    I hope they don't throw the baby out with the bathwater and just have fancy graphics and no gameplay. Even with wireframe graphics, Elite is awsome.

    1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

      Re: "sumptuous graphics"

      3D hidden line graphics on a 2MHz 8 bit micro was eye-poping back in the early '80s. I remember someone bringing in the first copy seen at the BBC micro users club I used to frequent, and it drew a huge crowd.

      I had been playing around with wire-frame graphics myself at the time and I quickly realised that they were using a very quick-and-dirty algorithm to draw the lines, but I never did figure out how they managed to work out whether a line was visible or not at the speed that it ran at.

      1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

        Re: "sumptuous graphics"

        The algorithm isn't line based, it's a fairly simple winding polygon algorithm check. It's for this reason that there were no concave polygon structures - i.e. no sticky out bits or engine nodules on separate spars of the model.

        The smart in the code then decides which polygons (given shared vertices) are visible due to the winding, normalises the vertice list (to ensure a single line between polygons isn't drawn multiple times) and then draws the lines between the visible vertices. The polygon filling and this algorithm was beyond the processing capabilities of many of the 8bit systems...

  4. Joe Pineapples
    Thumb Up

    It is our duty to donate :-)

    Loved the original, died so many times trying to dock with that wire frame icosahedron I had nightmares! But perseeverd, & got the nack. Got the later games, Frontier Elite etc and enjoyed them all, docking computers made it boring hehe. If I had £1.25 million spare, Braben would get my backing, but as a poor engineer, I have £1.25 goiong his way.

    1. Allan George Dyer Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: It is our duty to donate :-)

      Spacestation docking is easy with non-self-centring analog joystick, but remember to hum the Blue Danube.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: It is our duty to donate :-)

        Ah, I always wondered what the 'limp and floppy' mode of my joystick was for! No sniggering at the back, it's a Gravis Analogue.

      2. Nick Ryan Silver badge

        Re: It is our duty to donate :-)

        Analogue stick docking? Pah! Unless you could dock at full speed using a digital joystick then you were nothing more than Mostly Harmless.

        Hard experience showed that it was often safer to dock manually than wait for the docking computer to scrape every face of the space station or attempt to dock with the rear opposite face of the station... where there was no docking bay. The grinding noise (well, naff shield damage noise) as it tried to shove the ship in at 90 degrees to the orientation of the docking bay slot was also a far too familiar noise.

        1. Allan George Dyer Silver badge
          Paris Hilton

          Re: It is our duty to donate :-)

          There's a word for someone who insists on using the wrong tool for the job. It only begins with E when said with a fake Mexican accent.

    2. The Indomitable Gall

      Re: It is our duty to donate :-)

      By the time you could afford the docking computer, you had to have learned the manual way anyway.

      After weeks of struggling with the tap-tap-tap method on the C64 (no analogue stick), I reread the manual and spotted a little mention or "inertial dampers" or somesuch, eh voila! Nice, easy, controlled rotation.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Go

    Very happy to see flight dynamics cited

    Of "Frontier" (first sequel to Elite) Braben says: with the benefit of hindsight I think the way the ships flew detracted from the joyous immediacy of those in “Elite”.

    Damn right - although purer Newtonian mechanics make for a solider sci-fi world I found them ludicrously hard to use, trying to judge closure rate in three dimensions and apply sensible braking thrusts so as not whizz right past. It was somewhat like trying to dock with a manoeuvering ISS, by eye, under fire. The AI had a rather easier task of just solving the related vector equations.

    Something closer to "aerial dogfight" model of the original Elite will make it a game to be returned to, not a space sim to be admired as a thing of distant beauty except by a few (who were actually born on the wrong planet...)

    1. Richard Wharram

      Re: Very happy to see flight dynamics cited

      Noooo. I'm old enough to have put many happy hours into the original Elite on both the Beeb and Speccy but Elite II blew my mind. A whole galaxy of realistic solar systems and proper(ish) physics. A stunning achievement and also bloody good fun. Going back to Elite after Frontier just felt like picking up a toy.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      WTF?

      Re: Very happy to see flight dynamics cited

      I for one had zero difficulty with the flight dynamics. Learn to pilot a Cobra is my advice!

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Very happy to see flight dynamics cited

      I loved the real newtonian flight dynamics.....

      maybe have a 'flight computer' to help with it, make it feel more like an aerial dogfight.. but allow those of use who like more manual control to have it...

  6. Paul 139

    Right on, Commander!

  7. Loki23
    Headmaster

    There might be an issue with their target audience...

    I loved Elite - I played and saw it all without even cheating which is rare for me. The sequels weren't enough of a dogfighter - something that found it's spiritual home in the wonderful Freespace and Freespace 2 games, dogfighting past capital ships. Or the amazing setting of Tie Fighter (now *that* I would fund a remake of! Join the Empire in their fight against Terrorists!) that now looks dated but was so fun!

    However my age and responsibilities now mean that I can't enjoy multiplayer games anymore - I've tried WoW and Eve - but with an actual female living with me (distractions I didn't have when I was 12!) and a kid to look after then I can only really enjoy games with pause buttons that can save anywhere. While I still get an awful lot of gaming in, considering, I just need the ability to pause without being ganked while I pick up my clumsy child or not let my girlfriend feel like I'm ignoring her (this pays off many more times than my 12 year old self would have expected too).

    I also just don't have the time or inclination to be regularly beaten by 12 year old American's calling me "fag" over voicecoms because I haven't obsessively levelled into a PVP killer.

    I have joined groups of older players - I can recommend "The Older Gamers" who have groups in most multiplayer games and who will understand if you can't raid due to your kids birthday or having to go into work on a weekend. However in the end I want my games to be fun and on my terms. Where is the old codger icon?

    1. flearider
      Thumb Up

      Re: There might be an issue with their target audience...

      well my kids are into there 20's ..lol so i'm back to being a 12 yr old myself .. when i need to ..still do my 50 hr week at the slave farm ..

      as for elite and releasing it through kickstarter .. well that in itself tells a bad story if a big software company wont pick it up ..hmmm

      the game in its day was awsome sleepless nights taking turns with your m8's ..great fun ..

      and yes eve has a lot of elite in it but like has been said they have sold out even more so there combining the uni with dust and the console market ..

      i really do hope he pulls it off .. but where still looking at 2-4ys of coding and tears ...

  8. AdamAitch
    Stop

    This is going to be a disaster

    Reeks of ill-advised vanity project.

  9. Robert Grant Silver badge

    You know what would make a cool setting for a game like this?

    The Foundation series. A bit like Frontier's real Milky Way, but further into the future and with an awesome history to it. Probably wouldn't change the gameplay much, but would be awesome :)

    I just mailed them with that idea even before I finished this. I want a Foundation game.

    P.s. I got to Deadly before my savegame collapsed. Good, then sad, times.

    1. Silverburn

      Re: You know what would make a cool setting for a game like this?

      Mostly, I agree...apart from the battles are all done in slipspace, barely last more than a second or two, and done over vast (3 dimensional) distances and well beyond visible to the naked eye, and invariably end in a simple massive explosion.

      A good dogfighting experience it would not be, I'm afraid.

  10. LPF

    Love this, but I second getting rid of the newtonian physics, thats what spoiled Elite 2 for me, I wanted the old style flight model back!

  11. Anonymous Custard Silver badge
    Alien

    Whilst you're waiting - Oolite

    Both for this and for the Antique Code Show to actually cover the original, definitely check out Oolite.

    Single player, but free, open source and with a very active and friendly crowd behind it, both in terms of developers and mod'ers. It is set up to allow add-ons (OXPs) of which there are literally hundreds (and more being written all the time), so you can tailor the experience to the gameplay you want. New missions, new ships, new weaponry and all sorts of great eye candy are all available, many of them of professional quality.

    Plus if you have problems, questions, suggestions or just want some interaction with other players (and the dev's and mod writers) there's a very active and friendly BB as well - indeed the friendliest one this side of Riedquat...

    But for the Elite:Dangerous - right on commander, although as with the mythical Elite IV (which this may be redefined as), breath shall not be held...

  12. frank ly

    Will you be able to take on assassination contracts?

    You never forget your first assassination :)

    (Note: I only accepted contracts on politicians and Mafia bosses; I have principles.)

    1. Silverburn

      Re: Will you be able to take on assassination contracts?

      And that was the great thing about this - you could choose.

      I'd like to see the a "consequences engine" in the new one...pick up too many mafia hit contracts, and *you* become the target in a contract. How cool would that be...being chased across the galaxy by the mafia and other player assassins, trying to stay "off the radar" as much as possible.

      1. Danny 14

        Re: Will you be able to take on assassination contracts?

        until your fuel scoop gets mashed :(

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Kickstater should change its name to "beggingWithNoDignity".

  14. Don Jefe
    Happy

    Elite

    My first PC was an IBM Aptiva & my first PC (non Commodore) game & joystick was for Elite on that machine. I wasted my college years playing this game (instead of getting laid) and I loved it: Elite I mean, didn't care much for not getting laid :)

    I tried Eve & a few other space based flight sims & nothing has been as much fun as Elite. I really don't think it is 'just' nostalgia, the game was a lot of fun even with wireframe graphics. I'm not sure of my gaming history but Elite may have been one of the first "open" gaming worlds where you could just shoot shit because you wanted to. It was great! I gave $75 to the project to try & have as much fun again.

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: Elite

      I had an IBM Ambra in the early 90s - 386 running Windows 3.1. I just found my copy of Elite from it in a box, last night. The only bit of software I kept from it. Although it was better on the Amstrad CPC464 in the mid 80s.

      However, although Elite was brilliant, I think I played the original Tie Fighter more - and I'd say that was my favourite game ever. Very similar in the way you had to fly, but with more systems to manage. Balancing shields/weapons/engines for different ship combinations was brilliant.

      I also spent a lot of time on EVE. Which isn't really Elite, but is great fun. I loved EVE, but never really felt it was a game you could play alone, the thing that makes it great is the co-operation aspect, but that's also the thing that makes it much more time-consuming and more hassle. As you need a decent size of Corporation to do certain things.

  15. Alexander Hanff 1
    Go

    Finally...

    I loved the original I still rank it as the best game ever written. I know someone who works for Frontier and they have mentioned Braben has been "working" on a sequel in the background, a number of times.

    I was even lucky enough to acquire a very limited edition anniversary t-shirt from 2009 which Braben had made for his staff at Frontier (there were a couple spare).

    Mine is the one with the golden Elite logo printed on the front...

  16. Crisp

    I think I speak for everyone when I say

    David Braben,

    It's about damn time!

  17. GrumpyJoe
    Go

    Saw title of article

    and within 20 seconds had pledged £20. I don't see the downside personally - £20 in year and a bit for a full game with some nice personalised extras? What's not to like?

    Additionally, if it all goes titstup.com the most I've lost is £20.

    No brainer.

    (Was anybody else stupefied when the realised there was an entire galaxy modeled on a single density floppy (AmigA)? I STILL am!)

    1. Monty Burns

      Re: Saw title of article

      It's formula based and is, iirc, also customised and used in Eve-Online.

      Stuff a 8/9 galaxies on Amiga, it was on Commodore 64 and BBC/Electrons!!

    2. graeme leggett

      Re: Saw title of article

      The genius in Elite is the folding of all the universe data into such a compact space.

      The story of Elite is written up in an informative and entertaining wya in one chapter of "Backroom Boys: The Secret Return of the British Boffin"

      http://www.amazon.co.uk/Backroom-Boys-Secret-Return-British/dp/0571214975

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Love Elite

    Loved elite all the versions up to that horrible broken mess which was fronteir elite.

    Played jumpgate online and then eve.

    Wont be joining this kick starter. Will never forgive realistic physics in a space sim.

    1. Silverburn

      Re: Love Elite

      Will never forgive realistic physics in a space sim

      So...it's still to be a sim, but without the realism part? Yes, that makes perfect sense...

      Fair enough, the newtonian physics detracted from the dogfighting, but I think you're being a bit harsh. I was more annoyed that the autopilot would sometimes not work out the physics correctly either, and smash you into a planet.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Risky kickstarter

    This looks like one of the more risky Kickstarters I've seen.

    "I’ll be frank - we have had a couple of false starts on this over the years, where progress wasn’t as good as I wanted."

    Says it all, really. He's had 20 years to make progress on this within his successful 235-strong game development company. Why doesn't he want to risk £1.25m of his own company's money?

    I doubt the Dragons would invest in this. AdamAitch says it better than me, above.

    1. Studley

      Re: Risky kickstarter

      It's touch-and-go for me, too, particularly given that Braben's last major project (The Outsider, itself heralded by the BBC) seems to now be firmly filed under vapourware. They're welcome to fritter away their own time/money, but I'd rather they were more productive when working on my dollar (pound).

      Still, I'm excited at the prospect - however my donation is likely to be a significant percentage smaller than if I thought it had a cat in hell's chance of being delivered.

  20. Silverburn

    Newtonian physics

    I actually massively respected the achievement made with this, and if you were simply in the mood, it made a really interesting gaming/simulator concept - even if aiming for an human-controlled orbital insertion from vast distances impossible. Especially in system like Apha Centauri where the jump point was "months" out when using a big cruiser.

    If anything, it underlined the fact that humans simply don't have the mental capacity or concept of scale for realtime space flight.

  21. The BigYin
    Mushroom

    I predict failure

    Just about every incarnation of "Elite" after the first few originals has been dreadful. "Frontier" was barely acceptable and "First Encounters" was an utter abhorrence.

    It's a shame this is going to over-shadow the likes of the excellent Oolite and I wonder if the gameplay will be any better than Diaspora? Probably not given Braben's past form.

    And Elite is nothing like EVE. FFS people...

    1. Florcz
      Happy

      Re: I predict failure

      Eve is more like submarines than spaceships. I liked the physics in Frontier.

      Once it got patches, first encounters wasn't quite so bad. The thargoid story and ending up with the Thargoid battleship after saving them from INRA was great! As well as the Argent's Quest stuff - I hope the new one is more like this!

  22. Qwelak
    Go

    Not much to lose really

    Chucked some cash their way. If it works wonderful if not it not a huge loss. We LOVE to see it though, I lost a great deal of my youth to that game.

  23. Torben Mogensen

    Suggestions

    An updated Elite! would be very interesting. I have tried Oolite, but I found that (apart from visuals), too little was added. Yes, that made the feel very close to the original Elite!, but, frankly, that is a bit dated. I haven't played Frontier or any of the official sequels, so I can't really comment on these.

    Things I would like to see are:

    - More realistic economy. In the original Elite!, prices fluctuated with every jump, so by jumping back and forth between close systems, you could select your prices. Fluctuations should be slower and prices should depend more on distance. Also, you very quickly found out what to trade: Computers from high-tech to low-tech and food, liquor and furs the other way. I would prefer all goods to be viable and some systems to specialize in certain goods. And alien artefacts should be REALLY worthwhile to grab, unlike in the original where the price is just average.

    - A 3D star map. The original galaxies are flat and rectangular. A 3D local map and spiral-galaxy global map would be nice. One galaxy should be enough, though, if it is large enough.

    - Worm holes: A few connections that allow you to travel long distances to specific destinations.

    - No "ultimate" weapons like energy bombs.

    - More choice of player ships and upgrades.

    - Possibility to buy or hire escort ships.

    - Exploration: Earn income by surveying unexplored systems.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Suggestions

      At least half of what you want there is in Oolite, although in some cases via the expansion OXP modules.

      More realistic economics, choice of player ships and upgrades (including many OXP ones designed by players and mod'ers themselves, of which I am one) and hiring of escort ships are all there. And in the upcoming version (1.77) the energy bomb is gone. There are other powerful missile and mines there, but balanced as NPCs can have them too.

      Maybe have a look again at it and its OXP range and see if things are currently more tailorable to your desired game?

  24. Justice
    Thumb Up

    I read the headline and thought...

    SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY!!!

    1. K

      Re: I read the headline and thought...

      HOLY SHIT YEAH!!

      Also while your at it, time jump me to 2014 :D

      I'm already drooling.

  25. Ally 1

    I'd love this to happen.

    Played Elite, Frontier and EVE and love the genre. I understand the criticism of Eve here, but I had a great time for about 4 years. Made some great friends from round the world and had some brilliant experiences. I think the best was the corps first PVP kill against a wartarget. There were 5 of us literally screaming like little girls on voice and when the ship went down it was pandemonium. After that I could barely speak for an hour as my jaw had locked through the stress of it. No other game has made me feel like that.

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      That reminds me. I think EVE is the biggest (maybe only) adrenaline rush any computer game has ever given me. After not playing for a year, I re-subbed. The first time I got into combat I could barely control the mouse, my hands were shaking so much. When I survived, and was chatting to people over the headset and was as high as a kite, and my hands still shaking 10 minutes later. Never had a reaction like it, except to genuine danger - or the time I had a reaction to the adrenaline in a local anaesthetic (which was extremely odd).

      The fact that losing ships in EVE matters (in terms of cost of time), and that you don't want to let your mates down gives it a different feeling to single player, or shooting mates in multi-player. I guess it's the long build-up of working towards a goal, all condensed into a battle (that might only last seconds/minutes), but seems to last for ages.

      1. ravenviz
        Mushroom

        Wholehearted agreement! As a self-confessed carebear, PVP is a big deal for me (very rare though). A corp mate said it's not whether people panic in Eve, it's how quickly they get back into control. Agree about time spent getting resources that can then be destroyed in seconds. Indeed it is a rush!

  26. Lunatik

    I must be in the minority that actually preferred the Newtonian physics in Frontier/First Encounters.

    If they just updated FE with modern graphics, fixed the numerous bugs, enhanced the mission types and added some online element I'd probably buy it.

    Oh well, it's only £20...what have I got to lose?

    1. Robinson
      Thumb Down

      Ugh

      I hated the flight model in Frontier. I discovered the easiest way to do combat was to set the autopilot to the thing I was wanting to fight and to simply smash into it, provided you have enough shields it's always a win.

      1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

        Re: Ugh

        Robinson,

        That was the easy way to kill unshielded Tie Fighters in an X-Wing too. Although once you could afford a bigger ship in Frontier, you just flew straight past your enemies and shot them with your turrets and missiles. Much easier when you don't have to be pointing the direction you're firing.

        I did like the physics, but it wasn't as easy, or fun, to play around at. There was satisfaction in flying past an enemy, turning your ship and shooting them as you passed, while still travelling in the original direction though. And doing gravity-assisted slingshots round planets.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Who needs a new Elite?

    Cue a million downloads of BeebEm...

  28. JimmyPage

    Copy protection ?

    Good lord ... Elite. Does anyone remember that weird viewer thing you had to put up to the TV to read the CAPTCHA-style graphic (ZX Spectrum version). All very well, until other games started using it, at which point they were easy to *coughs* remotely backup.

    When the Atari version (IIRC) came out they changed tactic, and you had to enter a word from the manual. A couple of friends spent all weekend loading the game, and compiled an A4 sheet of paper with the most common words in it. You were unlucky if you needed more than 2 goes to load it ...

    1. NoOnions
      Happy

      Re: Copy protection ?

      ...and people moan about DRM these days! Red plastic with a lens that was supposed to allow you to see the code on the screen. Get it wrong and reload the whole damn game from tape!

      Top tips for the ZX Spectrum version here:

      http://www.worldofspectrum.org/showmag.cgi?mag=YourSinclair/Issue10/Pages/YourSinclair1000040.jpg

      Hmm.., that face looks familiar...

  29. Robinson

    Vapourware

    Every now and then when Braben wants a bit of publicity for Frontier, he comes out with an interview on how they're working on the next version of Elite. I guarantee you 10 years down the line it still won't have shipped!

  30. Chelseascum

    I'm guessing the success of Chris Roberts' Star Citizen crowdsourcing has encouraged Braben to get off his arse and do something.

    www.robertsspaceindustries.com

  31. sillmacka
    Unhappy

    Loved the original Elite, played it like mad on my Ataris ST.

    A return of the old soloplayer would have gotten my investment but I'm not interested in multiplayer so I'll skip this.

  32. Ministry of Truth

    The spectrum autopilot cheat...

    Anyone else remember the cheat on the Spectrum? Undock, set course to hugely risky anarchy system with cargo hold full of expensive stuff, initiate hyperspace, wait til the count down comes up, and then press the docking computer?

    Queue docking graphic, and you're in the station of that lovely anarchy system without having to actually fly there. Make a packet, then get your homicidal on... ;)

    1. Crisp

      Re: The spectrum autopilot cheat...

      I always prefered dropping out of hyperspace halfway through a jump and entering witch space.

      Thargoids a plenty to destroy and a full cargo hold of alien artifacts to sell afterwards.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    With this, and the on-going work on Lords Of Midnight (started by the sad death of Mike Singleton - but continued in his memory) - two great classics will be around for new players.

    Btw - no proper memorial here for Mike Singleton? Why?

    1. JaimieV

      There was indeed

      http://www.reghardware.com/2012/10/16/mike_singleton_dies/

      Gollop's remaking Chaos as well, to add another classic.

  34. Dave Gomm

    Played original Elite on 5.25" floppy on the BBC Model B, worked my way up to Deadly after chasing a Fer De Lance for ages (and across universes IIRC).

    Never again found the same experience in terms of richness and approachability despite trying all the various sequels as well as Privateer, X3 etc.

    would love to see this done really well and don't really understand why no-one wants to back it !

  35. Petr0lhead

    I really want to like this

    I loved, the original on my speccy.

    I loved Elite+ on the Archimedes

    I even loved the bugtastic Frontier Elite (does this make me odd?)

    I also definitely prefer newtonian physics - I think with a bit of computer support it could make an incredibly playable flight and combat engine - it just required a different way of thinking- not too much of a jump for anyone that know a bit about physics.

    Like a few others, I don' t think i'd get that hung up on multiplayer- yes it can add a random and interactive element, but the flip side to that is the quantity of idiots on the interwebs these days.

    But in all reality, I'm not sure if that particular boat has sailed - computer games are a different world than they were 20+ years ago, I think David will have to come up with something particularly special to make a success here, not just marrying a once original and innovative idea with modern technology.

  36. Ben Holmes
    Meh

    Egosoft

    I always thought that the appropriate spiritual successor to the Elite games was Egosoft's 'X' Universe series of games. Fully immersive sandbox epics- Trade, Fight, Build, Think was the tagline - or something similar anyway.

    Ahh, happy days, when I had time to spend playing games...

  37. Graham Marsden

    Ok, great, but...

    ... please make sure there's plenty of things to do after you've done all the trading and taxi runs to get your "Iron Ass", photographed enemy bases (or blown them up) and done the assassination missions etc.

    What Elite always lacked was long-term goals apart from getting to Elite, there should be more extended missions like the original Constrictor and Thargoid ones, otherwise boredom will set in again...

  38. ColonelClaw
    Mushroom

    The POWER of The Reg

    Ok, it may not be just reg readers, but since this article was published they're already above £125,000 aka a tenth of the required budget. Not too shabby

    Did anyone here genuinely make it all the way to Elite? I got as far as Deadly on my Amstrad CPC464 but never quite saw out the final grind.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The POWER of The Reg

      Yup, I made it to Elite, and was disappointed there were no generation ships after all.

      Played on a BBC micro B - that I still own.

    2. Graham Marsden

      Re: The POWER of The Reg

      "Did anyone here genuinely make it all the way to Elite?"

      Yes, but only because of the bug in the original BBC Micro version where you would get ranking for shooting up Police ships!

      So I'd sit outside a space station, give it a zap with my military laser, then blast loads of Vipers as they came out :-)

  39. Gordon Pryra
    Mushroom

    To me Braben is pure childhood nostalger

    Many people think of Sinclair when they think of the 80's, for me is Sid Meiers and David Braben

    And David Braben is English !!

    Only 5 grand to have some pie n mash with the icon?

    Just got to work out how to divert 5k from the joint account without the wife divorcing me.

  40. myarse
    Alien

    Oolite

    I'd actually like them to team up with the Ooite people who have done a fantastic job with just the time on their hands.

    One of the big requests is to make it MMO like which they say they can't because of engine limitations. So let Braben work on the engine and use the Oolite assets.

    Agree with the comments about the longer game, I loved Oolite until I got the ship I wanted then just lost interest. Not so much cudous in being deadly anymore - I never got to Elite in the specy version - and far to many other things it fill my time.

    And docking computers are for Tribbles.

  41. Youngdog

    Two pages of posts...

    ...and no IOSers have mentioned GoF2? What is the world coming to!

    1. Richard Wharram

      Re: Two pages of posts...

      I've commented on this article before but didn't mention GoF2 because it's not really the same game. It's a BIT like Elite 1 but with a smaller universe and a main story with lots of missions.

      It's still a decent enough game to play on the train but it's not Elite.

  42. Timly
    Happy

    Nostalgia Attack!

    Ah! Many a happy hour/weeks/months spent playing the 'Executive Elite' version on my much loved BBC Master with 65C102 Co-Pro.

    Oh hell. I'll have to dig it out and fire it up again now!

  43. Imsimil Berati-Lahn
    Go

    Count me in!

    I'm chucking in a tuppence if they keep random hyper-whoopsies into Thargoid witch-space... Bring it on!

  44. James Hughes 1

    Elite on the BBC, then played Freelancer to completion on the PC - here's hoping the new Elite is like a combination of the two.

    I'd base it all on the 'Culture' universe, rather than 'Foundation' - or perhaps the 'Commonwealth' from Peter F Hamilton.

  45. Robinson
    Thumb Up

    Ah

    It's crowd-sourced funding. I kicked in £20, so I can reserve my commander name in-game. No idea if it will be a success but I'm curious to see it. I see all of the £3000 + donation slots were filled (dinner with the Dev team).

    So thumbs up to this now. Although I'll probably be in my mid-40's by the time it's released.

  46. PlacidCasual
    Thumb Up

    Jumpgate - The Reconstruction Initiative

    If David is looking for a flight model for his new Elite I hope he got the chance to play Jumpgate. That had possibly the most satisfying skill based twitch flight mechanics I have ever come across. They were semi Newtonian, so not Elite and not Frontier but a happy marriage somewhere inbetween.

    I bought my first PC just to play Jumpgate and never regretted the purchase, I just wish it had had the procedural mission process that Davis is planning for his new Elite. Mission repeition and grind in games is a real problem and only mega budget games like the Elder Scrolls with hundreds designers to produce content seem to avoid the issue.

  47. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
    Windows

    well this should be fun

    lets hope they get the crowd sourcing cash they need and come out with a version of elite worthy of the name elite

    PS time for the misty eyed memories....

    Of doing contracts, but only in imperial space.... fly to space port.. wait for target to take off, blow him up then shoot down as many police as possible before making your escape... get out of imperial space and claim your winnings...

    old geezer..... because thats what I am

  48. b166er

    wow, when I checked that Kickstarter page this morning, it was at £45,000

    Now, because of this article and presumably the one on /. it's up at £250,000.

    Not bad for a days work!

  49. Astarte

    Vivat Elite

    I do hope the new version will be as much fun as the original and not be bloated to the extent that playability is sacrificed to just a demonstration of graphics programmers' skills. Sadly, a lot of modern games concentrate on excellent and jazzy graphics while managing to create a very impressive but ultimately boring game with little or no satisfaction.

    I still have my ‘Beeb’ model B in storage complete with second processor and dual floppies (5¼ and 3½-inch) plus my library of discs – I’m going to open it up, dust it down and cross my fingers.

  50. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge
    WTF?

    Ummm.... Reserved..?

    I see that if you donate a certain sum of money a 'digital copy is reserved for you'.

    Does anyone know what this means? It might be interpreted to suggest that you get a copy of the game - but equally, it could just mean that a copy is 'reserved' for you to buy if you feel like it...

    It would be nice to know...

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