back to article Multiplayer Elite to debut on May 30th

Elite:Dangerous, the multiplayer revival of eighties classic space trading game Elite is on track for beta release on May 30th. The game's resurrection has come about thanks to a 2012 Kickstarter campaign that saw over 25,000 folks stump up at least £5 apiece and £1.57m in total to revive the game. The development process has …

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  1. TonyJ Silver badge

    Worth adding...

    ...although I'm sure the fans will already know - Frontier Developments is headed up by David Brabham, co-author of the original BBC Elite.

    1. Valeyard

      Re: Worth adding...

      Yeah, I was never sold on him though, After reading Ian Bell's interviews

      http://www.iancgbell.clara.net/elite/archive/b5081501.htm

      I'll judge the game on its merits though

      1. Tony Paulazzo

        Re: Worth adding...

        Ian Bell

        I research the Occult and technoshamanism. I enjoy raving and UV body painting, DJing electronic music, juggling, massage, martial arts. I love programming as a creative activity but hate having to use crap tools and software. Take C for example. The entire industry uses a one pass compiler! Is it any wonder so much software sucks?

        Tells me everything I need to know. As for Braben selling F:FE as a new game I got the impression it was the software house (Gametek?) as much as anything that caused him to do this - and it was such a clusterfuck of bugs (release day update (because the game wouldn't actually start) sent out to customers through the post), I doubt anyone made any money off it in the end.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Worth adding...

          Tells me everything I need to know about Braben too. Seems Bell is to Braben as Wozniak is to Jobs, and I know which type of human I prefer. Keep on dancing and having fun Ian! Perhaps we'll cross paths at a psy party some day. I'll draw a Cobra Mk III on ya ;D

          1. ThomH Silver badge

            Re: Worth adding...

            Didn't Braben turn up to Cambridge with the ship plotting already written on his Atom? Kind of kills the Jobs/Wozniak comparison — this wasn't a shrewd businessman lucky enough to meet an above-average engineer and an above-average engineer lucky enough to meet a shrewd businessman.

            In any case is it really fair to judge one half of a working partnership that had a falling out based solely on the account of the other?

    2. Jedit

      "David Brabham, co-author of the original BBC Elite"

      Fans will know that it's David Braben, not Brabham.

      On a related note (though not related to Elite): RIP Sir Jack Brabham.

      1. TonyJ Silver badge

        Re: "David Brabham, co-author of the original BBC Elite"

        Thanks for that correction. I'd love to blame autocorrect etc but it was a simple case of fingers and brain not working in concert :)

  2. Valeyard

    you approach a station..

    ...There's a swarm of pirates like hornets around a nest. you see one man try to dart through them with his narcotics. he splats on the side of the station.

    And there went the last trader in a multiplayer elite

    That's my worry anyway, I'll have to give the game a look, played the original on the Amiga a few weeks back for old time's sake :D

    1. ThomH Silver badge

      Re: you approach a station..

      In Elite isn't it illegal to fire on another craft within the vicinity of the space station? I thought such things resulted in a swarm of police Vipers launching and promptly attacking whomever opened fire?

    2. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
      Mushroom

      Re: you approach a station..

      Sadly Captain Boris, interstellar pirate hunter and odd jobber , noticed the ID number of the pirates and put out some fake info about another foolhardy trader willing to risk the hordes of gun happy gits....

      And made himself some cash by shooting a bunch of them down

      Boris :seemingly harmless ;)

    3. Splodger

      Re: you approach a station..

      The game is currently still in Alpha, and there will certainly be robust in game measures to stop all that: griefers will be *severely* punished.

      Would just like to correct the main article: multiplayer has been in the game for months, it's just the next (Beta) phase that's landing on the 30th May.

      With a 100 billion star systems, it's already looking epic, it's the first game I've been even remotely anticipating for a decade or more.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VE8B4KptyVI

    4. P. Lee Silver badge
      Mushroom

      Re: you approach a station..

      Haha!

      Hex editor... Military Lasers!

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    but i still want to play in monochrome wireframe

    this is all very nice but when I became elite on my BBC Master 128 and gave up at around 700,000 credits on Galaxy 7 the wireframe just kicked ass! (just for old times sake of course....

    1. Jim 59

      Re: but i still want to play in monochrome wireframe

      @AC with BBC master I want to play original Elite on BBC. What is the best option ? Emulator ? Ebay ?

      1. msknight

        Re: but i still want to play in monochrome wireframe

        Best option is to buy a refurbed and vamped up BBC B and 6502 co-pro cheese wedge from somewhere like RetroClinic ... like I've got ... then you get to play the executive edition :-) - http://www.retroclinic.com/

        If you hit flea bay, then be prepared for a BBC which has an unknown series of components and needs repair. I've documented my journey here - http://msknight.com/bbc/ - hope that helps. Get the soldering iron out! - comparison here - http://msknight.com/bbc/buying.html

        Oh, and there are alternatives to the standard cheese wedge, but somewhere like the stardot forums are the best place to ask about those - http://stardot.org.uk/forums

        1. ThomH Silver badge

          Re: but i still want to play in monochrome wireframe

          ... or you could use your Google-fu to find 2001's Elite: The New Kind* and play a direct C translation of the original 6502 code on your Windows PC. In wireframe or with the filled polygons of the future.

          * I forget whether this was converted from Bell's publishing of the original source code or by disassembling the commercial release; legal action ensured that it was withdrawn.

  4. Pypes

    I'm Sorry

    But any project that started selling DLC before they even had an alpha release ready is not something I'm prepared to back, at any point, for any sum of money.

    I supposed I'd better go dust off the old A500's and hope the disks still read.

    1. Adam T

      Re: I'm Sorry

      If you mean the Expansions Pass, that's no different to Season Passes sold for almost every major game now - and slightly better than kickstarter funding as you know by now that the game is actually real, and not just a pipe dream.

      Even £30 on top to get into the Beta is reasonable if you consider it's probably going to be more fun than most finished games, and assuming you really love this sort of thing. 2 months sub worth of Eve Online.

      If you want to choke over paying for things that don't exist, you should go have a laugh at Star Citizen, which is still peddling $15,000 'ship packs' (oh it says they're out of stock, but you can email them and they're happy to accommodate you). This for a game that so far has only has one hilariously wonky video shown at PAX as proof of goods.

      Smoke and mirrors. That game is going to have a lot of shortcomings, with it's 300,000 poly ships. Try imagining you video card crumbling under the weight of a hundred players trying to squeeze into a small space with that lot. We invented normal mapping and cage baking for a good reason...

  5. fLaMePrOoF

    For those who simply can't wait I highly recommend the little known but excellent unofficial Elite clone; DarkStar One.

    It doesn't, however, have multi-player, for that we'll just have to wait for the real thing...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Or track down the faithful recreation from a few years back. Some guy reverse engineered it by decompiling the version that ran on the BBC home micro and working from there. Braben threw his toys out of the pram and got the author to take it down, despite Ian Bell having given it his blessing. I still have a copy of the source code, and have patched it to run on modern versions of the libraries it uses on Linux.

      1. The BigYin

        There's Oolite, Pioneer and even a BBC emulator in ajavscript (which can run Elite).

        1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge

          There's Oolite, Pioneer and even a BBC emulator in ajavscript (which can run Elite).

          And to continue the literary parallel, there's the Oolite Saga mirroring Oolite, plus of course Drew's Elite: Reclamation novel itself which is due out in a couple of weeks time from his website.

          http://www.drewwagar.com

  6. Dan 55 Silver badge

    Blast from the past

    The original Elites, including the Arch one, are available here to load into your emulator of choice...

    http://www.iancgbell.clara.net/elite/game.htm

    1. fLaMePrOoF

      Re: Blast from the past

      Or you can play it in your browser here... http://bbc.godbolt.org/?disc=elite.ssd&autoboot

      1. LaeMing

        Re: Blast from the past

        Oolite -- www.oolite.org -- is pretty good too. You can play it in a raw close-approximation-of-the-8bit mode or add (or create) mods to your heart's content. Explicitly single player (Elite's IP-holders have historically let them release it on condition that they don't monetise it or do anything that might step on their own plans for reviving the franchise).

    2. launcap Silver badge
      Stop

      Re: Blast from the past

      > http://www.iancgbell.clara.net/elite/game.htm

      Arrrgh! My eyes!

  7. WonkoTheSane

    Also available...

    Chris (Wing Commander) Roberts' latest offering "Star Citizen" goes multiplayer beta starting May 29th, and starts at $35 to jump in (choose a starship from $30 plus $5 "Arena Commander pass").

    Star Citizen is a wholly crowdfunded MMO Space Sim with FPS capabilities (Current funding is approx $43.8million and counting).

    Unlike Eve Online or Elite, you are not the ship, you are the pilot and can get up & walk around your ship.You can land on a planet, get out of your ship and go to the trading outpost, weapons boutique, ship dealership, police station or pub.

    Arena Commander is a space sim within the main Star Citizen game.

    See http://www.robertsspaceindustries.com

    1. Kaltern
      FAIL

      Re: Also available...

      If it works... millions of $ and pretty much nothing to show for it - unless you're a CIG forum regular, in which case you're already convinced this is the game to end all games, and it will actually improve your overall Quality of Life. And it makes a mean sandwich.

    2. Irongut

      Re: Also available...

      "Unlike Eve Online or Elite, you are not the ship, you are the pilot and can get up & walk around your ship.You can land on a planet, get out of your ship and go to the trading outpost, weapons boutique, ship dealership, police station or pub."

      Technically in EVE you are actually a person and have been able to get out of your ship for several years now. You can't go any further than your quarters though because they canned development of that part of the game due to lack of interest from the players. And, all the things you mention are planned for Elite: Dangerous.

    3. Rob

      Re: Also available...

      Nothing new so to speak, Above and Beyond had this, but unfortunately it was the early days of this genre and it was competing with EVE as they both launched at similar times. Unfortunately EVE had better graphics which means Above and Beyond had to shut down due to lack of players, I think everyone got a free transfer to EVE if they wanted it.

      Shame really Above and Beyond had a lot of potential and given time could have been really good.

    4. Joerg

      Re: Also available...

      Star Citizen.. this new Elite Dangerous...

      ..all the crowdfunding scams and frauds going on.

      All thanks to people sheep enough to pay even a lot of bucks to do the beta-testing job for free.

      These software houses can get millions ripping people off so easily now.. due to so many sheep willing to pay for flawed, unfinished products.

      Until a few years ago software houses were hiring people to do beta-testing. Beta-testing was an even well paid job.

      Now people are so dumb that they pay to do the job for free.

      1. Adam T

        @joerg

        I won't argue that there aren't scam artists; you get them in every walk of life. But you can't tar everyone with the same brush - kickstarter and early access programmes make me a little uncomfortable, but in all honesty I'm glad they exist - I'm enjoying games that might not have been able to exist without them.

        There's no shortage of idiots in the world, and they'll always outnumber you. Hang you head lopsided, drool, make moaning sounds and walk with a limp... Blend in to survive.

    5. Adam T

      Re: Also available...

      Sorry but the Star Citizen forums are full of people who seem to be completely gullible and happy to believe anything that they're told. Read a Chris Roberts interview... It's always Me and I ... Never, ever We. He gives zero credit to his team. He even named the company after himself.

      What a tosser.

  8. teapot9999

    £100!

    £100 - they have got to be kidding! I love Elite on my Commodore 64, but there is now way I would spend £100 on the new version.

    1. Sartori

      Re: £100!

      And you won't have to...... as stated in the article that's for "Premium" Beta access for super keen people who absolutely *must* get in there early.

      For the rest of us, we'll just wait until it's released, wait for some reviews and if it seems any good, buy it for a more normal price.

    2. Tony Paulazzo

      Re: £100!

      £20 gets you the digital download on release.

    3. Irongut

      Re: £100!

      The hundred quid also gets you future digital expansions for free.

      1. SearleCom

        Re: £100!

        Quite correct, many people miss this when reporting the £100 price tag for the Premium Beta, with Premium Beta you get the following:

        • Immediate access to download a Single Player Combat build to develop your Sidewinder skills before the first Premium Beta build is released

        • Automatic access all the Beta development stages

        • Automatic access to all major downloadable expansion packs as they are released

        • A download copy of the released game

        So what would/could be in the expansions?

        The ability to get up and walk around your ship and space stations

        Planetary Landings

        To name but a few

        1. Joerg

          Re: £100!

          Sheep! That's what you people are!

          You deserve to be ripped off, obviously..

          Until a few years ago software houses were hiring beta-testers, they were paying people good bucks to test every new game during alpha and beta stages.

          Now they got plenty of sheep willing to waste money buying scam products, unfinished products and doing the beta-testing job for free !

          1. Adam T

            @Joerg

            Lol seriously, you had to post the same thing twice?

            Have you ever gone for a haircut and asked to see what it's going to look like before agreeing to pay?

            No? Baah.

            1. P. Lee Silver badge

              Re: @Joerg

              Maybe he used to be a game beta- tester?

              1. Valeyard

                Re: @Joerg

                Maybe he used to be a game beta- tester?

                unlikely; he said games testing pays well

                compulsory 60 hour weeks for a year with no paid overtime and redundancy looming for 70% of the test team at the end of project?

                I got out of dodge fast

  9. IHateWearingATie

    Fingers crossed...

    .... that it's even half as good as the stupendous original.

    Anyone remember the novella that came with the boxed BBC version of Elite? I've lost it now, but seem to remember that it was a very passable bit of si-fi fiction.

    1. John 110

      Re: Fingers crossed...

      The booklet was written by Famed british SF author (sadly no longer with us), Rob Holdstock.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Holdstock

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Fingers crossed...

      A quick google brings up:

      http://www.abandonia.com/files/extras/29369_the%20Dark%20Wheel.pdf

    3. Simon Westerby 1

      Re: Fingers crossed...

      The Dark Wheel... Its all I have left of my original copy.... *sob*

      I have never forgotten the term "Cirag Orbit Space" ....

  10. Bottle_Cap

    Heh I remember all the bad puns in the manual - Command Monty being a famous python pilot!

  11. Chozo

    Multiplayer....mmmm

    Much as I adore the simple lines of the Cobra Mk III it would be nice to see a 'Gunstar' fighter

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I still have the original 5.25 inch Elite disk from BBC days

    but no drive or BBC computer any more - just could not bring myself to get rid of it....

  13. Bladeforce

    Wow

    How the hell did they fit this game in 32k? Genius and today's games could learn a lot about the list art of gameplay...

    1. Norman Hartnell

      Re: Wow

      IIRC the whole environment - the galaxy, the names, the prices, everything - was generated procedurally, so there was no need to store a mass of data.

  14. Anonymous Custard Silver badge
    Alien

    Elite: Reclamation

    There's also another official book due out imminently, Elite: Reclamation by Drew Wagar (writer of the Oolite Saga and several other worthy tomes).

    Due out at the end of the month, and with the distinction of itself being funded by a Kickstarter.

    Details are available from his website

    1. nexsphil

      Drew Wagar

      This is the man to watch for the fanfiction

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Elite:Dangerous

    A bit harder than Elite:Harmless, later updated to Elite:Mostly Harmless.

  16. RainbowTrout

    I gave £30 through Kickstarter. When the game is officially released I hope it plays on my ancient Dell laptop.......

    1. Ashton Black

      Mr Trout, I very much doubt it.

      Minimum system specs for the Alpha build (only a guide, may change on release)

      Direct X 11

      Quad Core CPU (4 x 2Ghz is a reasonable minimum)

      2 GB System RAM (more is always better)

      DX 10 hardware GPU with 1GB video ram

      Internet connection

      You may get away with the CPU but unless it's got a dedicated GPU I can't see it running on an "ancient" Laptop very well.

  17. fwibbler

    Not even 32k

    Out of the 32k you lost 3-3.5k to the OS then about 10k I think, was taken by the screen mode, leaving you with, well, not a hell of a lot left to play with.

    Also, EliteA (an unofficial version) also played on unexpanded BBC B and had extra tasks to complete and allowed you to purchase and fly the other ships. Rock hard to play though.

  18. Vociferous

    Seriously amped for this release.

    More so than Star Citizen, actually. Gotta go find myself a good joystick!

  19. Gordon 10 Silver badge

    Gavin Smith

    Tempted to get the Gavin Smith novel - his stuffs the best from a new British author since since Richard "Altered Carbon" Morgan IMHO.

  20. Joerg

    Another scam like Star Citizen...

    With people dumb enough to pay big bucks for alpha/beta games and virtual objects in a game that will never get fully completed and will work online only with plenty of DRM stuff....

    These are just frauds!

    Until a few years ago software houses were paying people to do alpha and beta-testing of their games ... Now people are so dumb and on drugs to pay even a lot of money for flawed and unfinished products with no real guarantee.

    This is madness!

  21. Leeroy

    docking is very difficult

    Near impossible on my old Amiga 500 with 2 floppy drives and the huge 1meg ram upgrade. ..

    I remember the auto pilot would always crash into the station unless I hit the x3 speed up :)

  22. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Unhappy

    There is only one Elite

    Nuff Sed?

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: There is only one Elite

      Not really, every port had its own peculiarities.

  23. B-D

    "Until a few years ago software houses were paying people to do alpha and beta-testing of their games ... Now people are so dumb and on drugs to pay even a lot of money for flawed and unfinished products with no real guarantee."

    Until a few years ago a game house would have to court its investors to get a greenlight on it, now they can go to the gamers and offer early bird incentives for dropping cash on it, the return for doing so depends on the product so a knick knack would have a limited edition run of colours whereas a game would have early access.

    Alpha testing usually costs a lot of money in the hopes of finding that rich fan who can offer a damned good idea.

    So, early access isn't exclusive to games and it isn't going anywhere.

    1. Joerg

      sheep or employee?

      @B-D: what are you? Just a sheep or some software house employee? Defending frauds like that it's really naive. These are just scams. Period.

      What you wrote there is just nonsense trying to justify criminal actions that these people do.

      1. B-D

        Re: sheep or employee?

        I'm not even going to grace your first insult with a reply, and I am not an employee of a software house.

        Whomever it was that pissed in your wheat-O-s it certainly wasn't me so maybe you should try and direct your anger to the people who scammed you.

        Elite: Dangerous and other such projects (Tesla Effect: A Tex Murphy Adventure is another that springs to mind) are very real (Tesla Effect has made it to retail and you can play the premium Beta of E:F right now.) and are not scams, and if you had actually spent any time learning how crowdfunding works you would have found out that if the funding goal is not reached then no money is taken and the project is abandoned.

        I mean... really, insults and name calling are the first port of call of those unable to accept they are wrong or who cannot construct a solid argument.

        *resists the urge to ask whether you are capable of dealing with solids yet.* ;-)

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Blakes 7 vs. Elite D.

    Has anyone been lucky enough to get early access? I've been following the gameplay clips and they're ok but the game is missing something IMHO. But before you hit fire and downvote, let me air a couple of legitimate concerns, and state that I am a passionate fan of the series

    The main problem is there's a lot more big-name more competition now. DB has mentioned that Elite sticks with the trader / combat role, whereas Star citizen is heavy on story, and Eve is all about MMOG strategy. But DB is also competing with Indie developers such as the AFF Universe guys, and there's a heap of other very nice looking UDK / UE4 / Unity Indie sims online. If more people saw these, they'd be less blow away by Elite D. So I worry a little that this game is out of its time, and needs more magic to discern itself from the crowd.

    I wrote to Frontier and suggested they cut a deal with b7media to merge Blake's 7 content into the game, but I never heard back. Its a reasonable idea considering the failed launch of the B7 game itself, and now the failed launch of the TV series after MS Xbox TV meddling.

    If no one does a B7 game, I'd like to give it a shot as an Indie .... But would anyone care about Blake's 7 as a video game today that's the question... Maybe its a good idea but maybe its also out of its time...

  25. Stuart Maher

    There is also elite: Lave revolution, a book by Allen Stroud. https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/allenstroud/elite-lave-revolution

  26. Joerg

    Software house employees here, clearly...

    Promoting their frauds and scams and downvoting me.

    Then the sheep follow...

    1. Swarthy
      Unhappy

      Re: Software house employees here, clearly...

      ..Or people who abhor redundancy and senseless name calling.

      Your posts also conjure memories (trigger flashbacks) to Eadon's rants with their cries of "Sheeple!" and hollow, repetitive abuse.

      In short: 3/10, Must troll harder.

      1. Joerg

        Re: Software house employees here, clearly...

        @ Swarthy: nonsense babbling .. and the kindergarten magic "troll" word...

    2. Simulacra75
      FAIL

      Re: Software house employees here, clearly...

      @Joerg To paraphrase another twat (Microsoft lover/Linux hater), "Troll FAIL"

      1. Joerg

        Re: Software house employees here, clearly...

        @Simulacra75: another sheep that should go back to kindergarten .. that's what you are. Writing "troll" is not going to make scams and frauds into good things. At all.

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