Guy Who Made Elite Wants to Make Elite: Dangerous

Guy Who Made Elite Wants to Make Elite: Dangerous

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David Braben set up a Kickstarter campaign to make the game he 's always wanted to play.

Taking inspiration from the rash of videogaming crowdfunding begun by Tim Schafer, and the recent opening of a native Kickstarter website in the UK, prominent UK developer David Braben began a campaign last night to raise money to produce a true sequel to one of the most beloved and inspirational videogames ever created. The project is called Elite: Dangerous and the drive's goal is a modest 1.25 million pounds, and in less than 24 hours Elite: Dangerous has already raised 193,850 from more than 4,000 backers.

The space combat and trade simulation Elite was a lot of the gaming industry's "firsts". In the era of chasing high scores and extra lives of the 1980s, Elite was the first truly open world where you could pursue riches however you wanted, be it bounty-hunting, piracy or trade. David Braben wrote the code for Elite along with Ian Bell so it used 22k of memory, but despite those restrictions Braben claims it was the first true 3D videogame. The 1994 follow-up Frontier updated the gameplay and procedural galaxy-building but Braben admits the ship combat was supplanted by other games like X-Wing and Wing Commander. Braben formed a relatively large studio in the UK that's been making games like Kinectimals and RollerCoaster Tycoon 3 but he's always wanted to update Elite.

"Imagine what is now possible, squeezing the last drop of performance from modern computers in the way Elite and Frontier did in their days," Braben wrote on the campaign's description page. "It is not just a question of raw performance, but we can push the way the networking works too."

Braben's concept neatly bridges the gap between MMO, multiplayer and single-player. In Elite: Dangerous, you'll be able to take your spaceship and explore, trade and fight throughout a huge galaxy, but you'll also meet other players' from time to time. Do you fight them? Or let them go on their way? Through the network connectivity that's already been worked out, you'll be able to open or restrict your game to as many people you want. "You will be able to control who else you might encounter in your game - perhaps limit it to just your friends," Braben said. "Cooperate on adventures or chase your friends down to get that booty. The game will work in a seamless, lobby-less way, with the ability to rendezvous with friends as you choose."

Perhaps the most refreshing part of Braben's appeal to raise funds for this kind of game is an honest appraisal of the risk involved in Kickstarting anything. "All projects, whether building a bridge, making a film, studying for an exam or whatever, carry risk," Braben said. "Projects can run out of time or money, people can leave, assumptions that were made at the start may prove to be mistaken, or the results may simply not be as good as expected. Games development is no different.

"Right at the start, Ian and I took that risk when making the first Elite amidst cries that it needed three lives and a score - but we took the risk that others wanted [the game] we wanted - and the result was a great success. If Elite: Dangerous is something you also want, then let's all take that risk together."

For years, those of us who fondly remember the days when space combat sims were a common sight on game store shelves have been lamenting the lack of high-profile releases in the genre. There's been whispers of a comeback from indie releases on Steam like SOL: Exodus to the Star Citizen Kickstarter, but now the grandfather of the space combat simulation has climbed into the pilot seat. It's a good time to be a fan of flying through space.

You know, with the Star Wars franchise renewed and Lucasfilm in Disney's hands, we might even see a Tie Fighter remake. Please?

Source: Kickstarter

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Before it was only nice, now it's better than nice ;)

For a moment, I thought that the guy who thought of the idea of Call of Duty: Elite was suggesting the idea of another tier called "Call of Duty: Elite: Dangerous"

That being said, I'm honestly not familiar with Elite, but it's good to see more spacefaring games being worked on. Space "sims" are a lost genre.

As someone who remembers playing the original on Atari ST and it blowing me away I think this is great news.

As long as you start the game without autodocking and have to keep crashing into space stations to land I'm in! Oh and your starting ship is the Cobra MkIII!

Seriously though, I always loved space sims and Elite being the first I played I'll definately have a mosey on over to Kickstarter to have a look.

GAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

*Spins in seat and faints*

Why do this during Star Citizen's funding period? That's only going to hurt you when you're asking for that much money.

I'm suspicious. Tim Schafer's proposal was gutsy, but also modest and plausible. Obsidian's Project Eternity is similarly well within that company's capabilities. Star Citizen is pretty ambitious, but Chris Roberts already had a year's worth of development to show off when he made his presentation.

What has Braben created since Elite that should inspire confidence? Roller Coaster Tycoon 3? Kinectimals? Did he even work on those personally, or is he just taking credit because he has part ownership of the company? I notice that he doesn't mention The Outsider, a game that has stopped development but totally isn't cancelled because that might hurt his credibility.

Combine the lack of current credibility, the ambitiousness of the project, the timing (Star Citizen's Kickstarter hasn't even concluded yet), and the lack of anything to actually show, and I'm declaring that this kickstarter is pure nostalgia bait. I'd love to be wrong, but I won't be pledging.

Scars Unseen:

What has Braben created since Elite that should inspire confidence? Roller Coaster Tycoon 3? Kinectimals?

He is one of the founders of the Raspberry Pi Foundation.

Compared to the amount of effort Chris Roberts put into making the Star Citizen campaign presentable, Elite:Dangerous looks extremely lackluster.

I'm a fan of Elite and I would love a sequel in the spirit of the originals, but the Kickstarter page looks like it was scraped together in 5 minutes.

The funny thing is, the original Elite had a flight model that was really similar to X-Wing and Wing Commander. The biggest difference was that turning the joystick left and right rotated the ship, instead of banking it. It was the sequels that David Braben made after his falling out with Ian Bell[1] that had the wonky (if real world acccurate) Newtonian physics.

[1] by the way, what is he doing these days? He at least used to have a great website with every version of the original Elite up for free download, including cool things like the (mostly?) complete but unreleased Gameboy and Sega Genesis ports.

Blaster395:

Scars Unseen:

What has Braben created since Elite that should inspire confidence? Roller Coaster Tycoon 3? Kinectimals?

He is one of the founders of the Raspberry Pi Foundation.

So he's a suit. Great. That qualifies him to develop a modern space sim how?

And another point against him: trying to cannibalize potential funding from another project is a dick move. You can't convince me that this poorly presented cash grab was put forward in the middle of Star Citizen's fundraising by accident.

Greg Tito:
"Imagine what is now possible, squeezing the last drop of performance from modern computers in the way Elite and Frontier did in their days,"

Braben is asking us to do a lot of imagining. Considering he has absolutely nothing to show for his pitch and only a vague outline of the game he wants to make. C'mon, don't we at least get a pitch video where we can see the people who're asking us for money? Some WIP, some concept art at least? No? How about a proof of concept of the code you've been writing for the last year or so?

Actually Greg, there has been a great deal of activity on the space game front on Kickstarter in the last 8 months. Star Citizen is just the most recent. There've been 4x strategy games; tactical space battle games; combat sims of diverse shapes and sizes; ship building, sandboxes; and yeah, even open-world space-trading games.

Some have fared better than others of course; and some of the best-looking ones are even still running.

What every single one of those projects has in common though: A distinct and realizable vision of what they wanted the game to be, and an impressive amount of work to show their commitment.

I'm not seeing any of that here.

oldtaku:
Why do this during Star Citizen's funding period? That's only going to hurt you when you're asking for that much money.

you really think people won't be willing to fork out some cash for a game they have been waiting for since 2000?

Roelof Wesselius:

oldtaku:
Why do this during Star Citizen's funding period? That's only going to hurt you when you're asking for that much money.

you really think people won't be willing to fork out some cash for a game they have been waiting for since 2000?

Why not? It worked for Duke Nukem...

Please...oh PLEEEEEEEEASE tell me, gaming lords and lordettes...

Roelof Wesselius:

oldtaku:
Why do this during Star Citizen's funding period? That's only going to hurt you when you're asking for that much money.

you really think people won't be willing to fork out some cash for a game they have been waiting for since 2000?

I think:
- People have a limited amount of discretionary money (most of them).
- The audience for Elite: Dangerous and Star Citizen overlap a lot.
- It's only one of the Elite guys.
- It's a really horrible Kickstarter page.

All these are going to lessen the amount of money you get. It could still very well hit the target, but they could potentially have gotten a lot more just by waiting a couple weeks. Use the time to make your pitch decent for people who aren't that old.

Is it just me or does this Kickstarter suffer an utter lack of pitch video? Is this pitch seriously nothing but a wall-o-text and a logo pic? I expect footage of... something. This thing doesn't have so much as an alpha screenshot, let alone a concept video.

 

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