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Geek Culture / Elite: Dangerous. Sequal to the daddy of all space trader games

Daniel TGC
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Posted: 17th Feb 2013 23:30 Edited at: 17th Feb 2013 23:31
Elite, first released in the 80's on low powered computer equipment was able to create thousands of unique planetary systems and a whole stock market system in just 16k of RAM. Back in the days when processors were still measured in megahertz.

I've been a fan of the Elite series since around 1989 when my father brought home a copy. The idea of being able to fly off into space and do whatever I want without rules or restrictions was amazing for the time. Today, more and more games are adopting this philosophy. The Mass effect series, elder scrolls, far cry 3, and even the latest tomb raider game are all deploying open sandbox worlds where you get to do whatever pleases you.

I don't think it's unfair to say that it largely started with Elite. The ability to become a trader, bounty hunter, pirate, and even asteroid miner and scavenger gave you a unique freedom that had never appeared on microcomputers before.

Classic Elite even had a storyline built in, when thargoids started to invade the galaxy you were given a number of quests.

Along came Elite II: Frontier, a game that remains arguably one of the most accurate physics based games ever produced. With the removal of jump drives, and the addition of realistic distances, speeds and time compression I've never seen a game like it since. Your didn't only have total freedom within that world, but you also had responsibility. You had to maintain your crafts systems, you had to repair damage, and ensure you had enough fuel. You had to be aware of distances, and ensure you had the right equipment. You could purchase a vast range of different ships, and install the best equipment you could afford. You even had to hire crew with the option to negotiate their salary.

With Elite II: Frontier you had all the old choices, bounty hunter, trader, pirate, miner, and a whole bunch of new choices.

Elite II: Frontier was the first game I ever saw that allowed you to land directly on planets. Each planet was procedurally generated, and each planet featured unique resources. Not only that you had consequences to your actions. If you decided to make a quite living mining but decided to do it in an owned system then the police would turn up and blow you to hell. You had to be selective, often going into uninhabited systems where you ran the risk of pirate attacks.

On top of that you had even more choices, you could carry out assassination missions, become taxi driver, sell items in high demand. I could go on and on.

Then came Elite III: First encounters. It promised the one thing Elite II was lacking, a storyline and plot. However GameTek, the publisher for elite decided to stop waiting for Frontier developments to finish the game, and released it anyway.

Elite III became known as one of the biggest blocks of BETA code ever installed on users machines. It was never intended for release, and the company had to start sending out floppy disk after floppy disk of patches. The first version was so bad you couldn't buy a new ship without it crashing.

Legal battles between Frontier Development and GameTek started and both companies were bogged down in so much legal rubbish that any hope for Elite IV was doomed to vapourware.

Until now. Frontier Developments decently started a kickstarter campaign, they raised over 1.5 Million to fund Elite: Dangerous, a staggering amount.

With the games release date aimed for 2014, teasers and news has already hit their website by the bucketload.

I've been waiting for this game since 1996, so for me expectations can't be high enough.
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Posted: 17th Feb 2013 23:42 Edited at: 23rd Feb 2013 12:46
Nice write up daniel.
I've also been following this project with great interest, but unfortunately I didn't have any free cash to throw at the Kickstarter. I'm so glad that we'll get a proper game that isn't sullied by corporate idiots who don't know what they're doing.

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Posted: 18th Feb 2013 13:02
Quote: "Classic Elite even had a storyline built in"
It came with a book. Not a bad read for a young Sci-fi fan (I think I was a young teen at the time).

I remember getting it and it was the most expensive game I ever bought till that point. Was £15 from WH Smiths in Bangor. I remember it well as it was my birthday money I believe and I really wanted to spend it wiself. I was almost in tears trying to get the stupid Lenslok thingy to work on my 48k Spectrum with B&W TV Considering the load time was like 5+ minutes, and 3 errors and you have to load it in again, I was like well gutted. I can remember my mother demanding I come to dinner while I was mucking around with the thing

Biggest regret was not taking all my old games and computers with me when I left home. Parents gave the lot to charity without even asking me. Considering I'm a programmer as a living, and had my own loft to plonk stuff, I was well peeved lets say...

Good times...


Current fave quote : Cause you like musicians and I like people with boobs.
Van B
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Posted: 18th Feb 2013 13:17
I remember my cousin showing up with it for the Spectrum, spending ages trying to get the lenslock thing working, then spending the whole weekend mesmerized by it .

I'm looking forward to it - even though I didn't get very far with Frontier. There's lots of things that I hope for, like being able to be part of a crew on a ship, defend space stations etc etc.

I got a fever, and the only prescription, is more memes.
Matty H
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Posted: 18th Feb 2013 13:50
Backed this when it had a couple of days to go, I got worried it was not going to get funded.

I used to play Elite 2, can't wait for this.

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Posted: 23rd Feb 2013 11:07

easter bunny
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Playing: Dota 2
Posted: 25th Feb 2013 06:02
This sounds a bit like Escape Velocity, has anyone else played it?
It was heaps of fun, though Nova was a step backwards, Override was the best in my opinion.

There are 10 types of people, those who understand binary and those who don't
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Posted: 25th Feb 2013 19:17 Edited at: 25th Feb 2013 19:18
There's a pretty good fan-made version of the original Elite with shiny graphics: Oolite it's open source too.

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