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Elite: Dangerous FAQ

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General FAQEdit

What is "Elite: Dangerous"?Edit

Elite is the genre defining open world space / trading / combat simulator first released in 1984.
It spawned 2 sequels Frontier: Elite 2 (1993) and Frontier: First Encounters (1995), which already attempted to simulate a realistic Milky Way galaxy with seamless freeform interplanetary and atmospheric flight and landing on moving planets.
Elite: Dangerous is the 4th installment of the game, which includes mass-multiplayer as an integral part, while still allowing singleplayer.
Dangerous refers to the 3rd best Elite Rating you could achieve during combat in the Elite games.
In the new game it has been expanded to include more than combat.

What are the main features of "Elite: Dangerous"?Edit

  • Free-form interplanetary flight - fly freely through star systems in realistic scale, or use in-system hyperjumps to get to your destination. Travel to vista points to see Earth rise on the moon, or sun appearing behind of Mars. Explore the vast expanse of space and discover new points of interest in star systems.

On what platforms will "Elite: Dangerous" be released?Edit

Elite: Dangerous is planned to be released for:
  • Microsoft Windows in 2014
  • Apple Mac OS X in 2014

Where can I buy "Elite: Dangerous"?Edit

Elite: Dangerous will be available on both Windows PC and three months later on Apple Macintosh computers.
The Alpha build is available only on Windows. You will be able to download the released game on Windows and/or Macintosh computers once it is available, at no extra charge.
Development of the game is ongoing, and so recommended specifications are currently only available for the Alpha builds.
Below is the current early access release schedule for the PC:
Alpha is now live, this will continue until Frontier decides that the game is ready to goto Premium Beta (1st stage), this is scheduled for early 2014 at the moment, but Frontier will announce details when they are ready to proceed.
  • Pre-order (£35)
    • Gamma Phase (extended beta) to start after Standard Beta has finished, followed by a commercial release at the end part of 2014.
  • Standard Beta (£50)
    • Beta Phase (formally 2nd beta) to start after Premium Beta has finished.
  • Premium Beta (£100) includes expansion pass
    • Beta Phase (formally 1st beta) to start after Alpha has finished in the spring of 2014.
  • Alpha (£200) includes expansion pass
    • Alpha Phase 1.0 started December 2013 and 3.0 to started in the 1st half of March 2014.
Please note: These dates are estimates and can change.

What are the minimal system requirements to run "Elite: Dangerous"?Edit

Elite: Dangerous will be available on both Windows PC and three months later on Apple Macintosh computers.
The Alpha build is available only on Windows. You will be able to download the released game on Windows and/or Macintosh computers once it is available, at no extra charge.
Development of the game is ongoing, and so recommended specifications are currently only available for the Alpha builds.
Minimum recommended hardware specification:
  • 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
Supported Operating Systems:
  • Windows 7.x
  • Windows 8.x
For the final game the minimum hardware specifications may be lower as further code optimisations are completed.

Are there plans for other platforms to be supported?Edit

There are no concrete promises, but both creator David Braben and executive producer Michael Brookes have confirmed that they are interested in evaluating support for next gen console platforms XBox One and Playstation 4, and also Linux desktop; but they plan to complete development for Windows and Mac OS X first.

Does Elite: Dangerous support Physically Based Rendering (PBR)?Edit

Yes according to an interview with a graphics programmer dated August-29-2013.
My specialism for this project has mostly been full-scene things, like updating our lighting model to a “physically based” system.

How are players going to meet each other in such a huge galaxy?Edit

Most of the action will take place within the core systems and the way hyperspace travel works, will ensure that you will get grouped with other ships that could also be players near a point of interest or a large mass.
There will also be ways to follow each other's hyperspace trail.

Will there be an extensive dynamic economy?Edit

Yes

Will there be any roleplaying elements?Edit

Just like in all the previous Elite games, you are not fixed to a specific role like in a traditional roleplaying game, there are also no skillpoints that directly affect the way your avatar performs. Instead you will always be directly in control of your avatar so your own skill will determine the outcome of your interactions.
That said there will be extensive ratings and reputation systems that affect how NPC's and players perceive you, even going so far as taking ship appearence (age/damage) into consideration.
There will also be extensive customization options for the ships.

I have heard that the "Elite" series have no actual storyline. Is that true?Edit

No. While classic Elite and Frontier: Elite 2 didn't have an in-game story, the 3rd Elite game,
Frontier: First Encounters had an in-game storyline that you could follow if you chose to do so.
The story wasn't explicitly told with traditional cut-scenes but unfolded from a first person perspective with the help of news events and corresponding missions.
Elite: Dangerous will continue from where Frontier: First Encounters left off and start in the year 3300 and will feature dynamic news events with more dynamic procedural stories and missions.
Elite: Dangerous will also have more than 7 official books to tell different stories about Elite universe, with lots of places, events and even persons referenced in the game.
In addition to this the Elite universe does have an extensive background history which is covered in many different sources, like In the official novellas - The Dark Wheel from Elite, Stories of Life on the Frontier Life On The Frontier  and The Gazetteer from Frontier: Elite 2, and Further Stories of Life on the Frontier from Frontier: First Encounters which can all be found in the following links [1] [2] [3] .
In addition to this there is also Fan Fiction.

Will there be detailed ship managment and avionics?Edit

Yes, see the following links:

Will I be able to hire crew for my ship?Edit

Yes, as with previous Elite games you will be able to hire NPC crews for the larger multi-crew ships in the initial release.
Player crews however will be in future updates.

Will I be able to hire wingmen?Edit

Yes, you can hire wingmen and escorts, but you won't be able to own or remote control them directly.
The exact details of this are still to be announced.

Will it be possible to manually land on planets?Edit

Yes, just like the last two Elite games you will be able to seamlessly freeform enter and fly through full 1:1 scale planet atmospheres and land on their surface full with living cities and wildlife in an expansion within the first year post-release.

Will landing and docking be seamless in "Elite: Dangerous"?Edit

Yes, just like in all the previous Elite games you will be able to manually dock with space stations seamlessly.
Future expansions will also add the posibility to seamlessly freeform land on planets. Landing and docking will be doable either using auto pilot, or manually. Additionally to simply flying into a station's door, in E:D you'll have to fly and land your ship onto the landing pad within the station.

Will gas giants be realistically represented?Edit

Yes, they will be gassy and cloudy

Can I walk around the ship, planets and space stations?Edit

Yes, you will be able to walk around ship interiors, board ships and walk in space stations and on populated planets with living cities, forests and big game hunt wildlife in an expansion.
The content for Elite is huge, so a sensible strategy is used to add to the game in stages.
See this Zoo Tycoon - Dev Diary for a glimpse of the technology that Frontier Developments have for this.

How big will planets and star systems be?Edit

Elite: Dangerous will have a scientifically accurate 1:1 scale, fully seamless Milky Way galaxy where stars and planets will be accurately positioned relative to your view.
And just like last two Elite games the planets will be realistically sized with vast distances between them.

Will planets rotate and orbit around stars?Edit

Yes, just like in the last two Elite games planets and moons will orbit and rotate in real time and tilt will affect their seasons, you will also be able to view them at a faster rate in the Orrery view.
Correction to what is said in the video above:
According to the latest in-system travel proposal, this will affect gameplay, since planned routes may become invalid for celestial bodies with short orbital periods and gravity will also distort the direction of travel during free-form flight.

Will there be alien life forms?Edit

Alien life is common, but sentient alien life is rare. From these the major alien race are insectoids called The Thargoids, which appeared in the original Elite and had an extensive story arc in Frontier: First Encounters (Elite 3) and they will make a return in Elite: Dangerous

Does the "Elite: Dangerous" developer Frontier Developments have enough expertise to pull off such an ambitious project?Edit

It's very hard to measure "success" or "pulling off" a project objectively, because in the end the game will be judged not only by it's technical merits, but also subjectivity by the player. So we can really only talk about technical expertise. As the game conceptually is almost a technical marvel, it will be easy to measure.
First of all, leader of Elite: Dangerous is David Braben, who was co-author of the original Elite, and sole creator of the first sequel and lead developer of the second sequel. While sequels have been given mixed reviews, the majority of people who have played them agreed that both titles succeeded to give the immersion of space travel and succesfully emulated all the issues associated with that.
While trying to make Elite: Dangerous (previously refered to as Elite 4) he and his company have also produced a lot of high class games, like RollerCoaster Tycoon 3 and Coaster Crazy, the Lostwind series, Kinectimals, and most recently the 1st party XBox One title, Zoo Tycoon, which can give you the impression of craftmanship of the FD developers and technical capablities of in-house software tools.They have also done considerable work on an unpublished open world FPS known as The Outsider using COBRA, which is likely to influence planets/cityscapes etc.
FD uses their in-house COBRA engine for game development, and now they have started to license it to other development houses.
The game uses a mix of procedural generation with artist direction. So you don't need to hand create all your star systems, you just need to be sure that all special overrides, the event system, etc. works in one place and therefore it will work in the rest of galaxy. As David has already worked with this concept for all previous Elite games, FD as company has the knowhow to deliver such product, even when using all modern technologies available in today's PC.

How many ships will be flyable by player in "Elite: Dangerous"?Edit

There will be 25 flyable ships, both new, modified, and improved models from the previous Elite games, at initial release.

Can I own multiple ships?Edit

Yes, there is no limit to the amount of ships you can own, but you can only fly one at a time.

Can I own and control capital ships?Edit

There will be capital ships in the game, but you won't be able to control or own them.
Although you can't fly capital ships, you will still be able to own and fly large multi-crew executive ships like the Anaconda and Panther LX

Will I be able to build an empire and own space stations and fleets?Edit

You will be able to own small space/pirate/asteroid stations in an update, but you won't be able to own large sations, build empires or own fleets, since that would change the nature of the game.
For example, why would you pilot space ships yourself, when the most efficient way to make money and progress in a game is to sit back in an office and hand out commands?
It's also problematic from a lore and immersion standpoint, since the game is simulating realistic societies, social structures and time scales, so building an empire would involve a lot of resources and politics that only big nations can afford and would stretch over months or years, even building a large space station can take a month or more.
So as an Elite federation pilot, you will only be able to aid in building empires and large space stations, by taking missions to transport resources and defend them etc, but you are too low on the social ladder (not important enough) to be able to command or own these kind of things.
That said, you will be able to hire wingmen and escorts, but you won't be able to own or remote control them directly.
The exact details of this are still to be announced.

Why are the ships simpler in design compared to other games?Edit

Because Elite: Dangerous is set in a realistic galaxy, for example, there is no artificial gravity and the distances between planets and stars are to scale.
Atmospheric capable ships are engineered to be aerodynamic, therefore carry their weapons inboard within a bay to be able to enter and freely fly through planet atmospheres at hypersonic speeds.
The ships in Elite: Dangerous are designed with airlocks, proper mass distributionand modular escape capsules integrated as cockpits in mind. They also have separate tessellated cargo holds.
However, every different ship design is unique and each of them can be equipped using numerous configurations.

Will I be able to create multiple pilot characters for my account?Edit

Yes, you will be able to do so.

What are the general differences between "Elite: Dangerous" and "Star Citizen"?Edit

Differences are predominantly in issues surrounding size, complexity of background simulations and adherence to recognised science of the universe.

The ships in Elite: Dangerous are designed with airlocks, proper mass distributionand modular escape capsules integrated as cockpits in mind. They also have separate tessellated cargo holds.
Atmospheric capable ships are engineered to be aerodynamic, therefore carry their weapons within a bay. This provides ships with hulls that are able to enter and freely fly through planet atmospheres at hypersonic speeds.
Elite: Dangerous will have dynamic colonies birthing in every corner of the galaxies, space stations building in real time, along with human population migration, and of course, some disappearing due to epidemics and wars.
Star Citizen will only have predetermined locations where humanity can live and will have to be expanded by the developers manually.
Elite: Dangerous has lightspeed pulse and beam lasers on all ships fitted with energy weapons, as opposed to
Star Citizen which has slow moving beam weapons only on capital ships. The remainder of the SC fleet will have slow moving laser bolts like you would see in Star Wars.
Elite: Dangerous has freeform interplanetary super-cruise , a form of fast travel. Pilots will be able to seamlessly enter hyperspace from anywhere to a point of interest or near large mass.
Star Citizen will not have freeform interplanetary travel, so you will not have the ability to specify an exact random location in space. You can navigate to known locations or tag a ship they want to track or ambush. Also you must fly to a jump point to enter another star system.
In Elite: Dangerous, the galaxy will include around 100 billion star systems. The E:D Universe is modelled on current galactic charts. Ships will be affected by gravity and planets and moons will rotate and orbit, therefore constantly changing a system's map.
Star Citizen's galaxy will be 115 star systems at launch, with hand-crafted system names. SC's Planets do not follow scientifically accepted norms regards planetary size and distance between them. Planets and moons won't  have orbit nor will they rotate. Landing on planets will use scripted in-game cinematics and will be limited to several star ports.
In Elite: Dangerous there is no artificial gravity, so space stations are designed to rotate.
PVP between SC and E:D also has some differences which are explained here.

What are the general differences between "Elite: Dangerous" and "Eve Online"?Edit

Elite: Dangerous is pay once and play, therefore does not have a periodic subscription like Eve Online.
Another major difference is that in EVE everybody within a star system is in one big instance and when there are too many people within it they slow down the update rate of the game.
Elite: Dangerous features dynamically created free moving multiplayer instances that are decoupled from the star system itself (but you can also play solo).
The galaxy is totally seamless for the case of Elite: Dangerous and the sessions within it can move around, only bubble range and interest determine the players you will see during flight.
Due to a lot less network traffic, this allows Elite: Dangerous to have twitch based action instead of classic MMO click 'n' roll (where actual world updates are comparitively slow depending on server load and all attacks are caculated on servers using modified D&D system) which is used in EVE.
That means that Elite: Dangerous combat is more skill based.
The Elite: Dangerous galaxy is based on the real Milky Way and planets will rotate and orbit their stars, thus constantly changing a system's landscape and adding lot of depth - and it has around 100 billion star systems, as opposed to EVE where the planets are static and don't move.
Elite: Dangerous has freeform interplanetary super-cruise fast travel and you will be able to seamlessly enter hyperspace from anywhere to a point of interest or near a large mass.
EVE on the other hand has point & click travel and you must fly to a jump gate to enter another star system.
A major feature that Elite: Dangerous will have is freeform atmospheric flight and seamless landing on planets and walking on living planets with cities and wildlife in expansions soon after the initial release.
Another important difference is that EVE has a lot of empire building and RTS elements, while Elite is what it would be like to be a spacefarer in a galaxy from a first person’s perspective.
Another important difference is that EVE's economy is totally player driven - so to have ships and weapons in the game have to be manifactured by players themselves, by collecting resources and providing them to factories. Elite: Dangerous uses a carefully tuned statistic model to simulate the flow of products, which also have all player trades as input to emulate a shared universe. This allows for more casual game play and a much bigger galaxy.
PVP also has some differences which are explained here.

Where I can follow development news about "Elite: Dangerous"?Edit

Will there be newtonian physics?Edit

The flight physics are newtonian with thruster forces fed to a proper rigid body.
There is a flight control computer keeps the ship within flight parameters with a flight assist mode that is on by default, that helps you to maintain your turns and dampen the angular momentum when rolling, pitching and yawing by automatically calculating the thruster forces needed to stabalize the ship and control the skidding.
You can turn flight assist off, so you will have have to manually adjust the thruster forces to control the skidding and counteract the angular momentum, the flight control computer however is still active to keep you within safety parameters.
Cargo mass will also affect the maneuverability of your ship.

Will I be able to manually fire thrusters in every direction?Edit

Yes the game allows for full 6DOF motion.

Is "Elite: Dangerous" an MMOG?Edit

Elite: Dangerous is an MMOG, but with the important addition, that you can choose if you want to meet other players or not and there is even a mode to play fully offline.
The game features a shared persistent galaxy server, where macro effects and events such as economy, society and war status etc are recorded.
The are no mulitplayer lobbies.
The server transparently creates sessions (instances) when meeting other players and NPCswithin that galaxy based on a bubble size around you that is defined by your scanner/visual range and the effects of that are stored on the server and shared by everybody.
Because the game features very high speed twitch combat and very detailed damage models, this is the most reliable way to do it, also keep in mind there can be many sessions within a star system and those sessions can dynamically move around, also because this game uses a 1:1 scale Milky Way galaxy, sessions will typically be spread out much farther away (although most of the action will be within the core systems) and it wouldn't be immersion breaking as opposed to a space game in a smaller area.

How will single player work? Will I need to connect to a server to play?Edit

No, it will be possible to have a single player game without connecting to the galaxy server. You won't get the developer injected events and you probably won't be able to sync between server and non-server (again they'll investigate).
The online galaxy of Elite: Dangerous is a shared universe maintained by a central server. All of the meta data for the galaxy is shared between players. This includes the galaxy itself as well as transient information like economies. The aim here is that a player's actions will influence the development of the galaxy, without necessarily having to play multiplayer.
The other important aspect for the developers is that they can seed the galaxy with events, often these events will be triggered by player actions. With a living breathing galaxy players can discover new and interesting things long after they have started playing.

Will "Elite: Dangerous" have a monthly subscription fee?Edit

No. Elite: Dangerous has a fixed a box price, without hidden costs. However, you will pay one-time fees for big additional expansions.

What is the expansion pass?Edit

The Expansion Pass includes automatic access to all major Elite: Dangerous expansion packs, such as seamless freeform landings on full 1:1 scale populated living planets and walking around and boarding ships, walking in stations and on full 1:1 scale populated living planets.

Will "Elite: Dangerous" support Oculus Rift?Edit

Yes, Elite: Dangerous will officially support OR at initial release. It's already supported in "Elite: Dangerous" Alpha Combat Test 1.1, released 20.12.2012.
See Elite: Dangerous will support Oculus Rift

Where does the Elite: Dangerous community hang out?Edit

Kickstarter FAQEdit

Elite: Dangerous Kickstarter's crowdfunding project were held from 5th November 2012 till 4th January 2013. You can find FAQ last edited version in "Elite: Dangerous" Kickstarter project page.

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