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Elite Dangerous Newsletter #86 - From Frontier Developments
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Hello, Commander,
 
Welcome to Elite Dangerous Newsletter #86.

This week we're back from Gamescom and already preparing for PAX Prime. Read about Gamescom and our announcement of Elite Dangerous: Horizons below, and check out Mike Brookes' Developer Update about update 1.4: CQC.


Elite Dangerous: Horizons is a new season of gameplay expansions for Elite Dangerous, beginning this Holiday season and continuing into 2016, and we have details below in a letter we're republishing from Frontier CEO and founder David Braben.

We'll be talking about Elite Dangerous: Horizons lots in coming weeks and months as we develop the game in preparation for our first gameplay reveal, beta and eventual release. For now, Elite Dangerous: Horizons is 
available for pre-order, and existing players get a £10 discount and access to the exclusive Cobra Mk IV in-game. Buying Horizons will unlock the full season of content, extending into 2016. Beta access is also available for the entire season of Elite Dangerous: Horizons expansions. and we're also making the Lifetime Expansion Pass available again, granting access to all current and future seasons of Elite Dangerous and all beta tests.

And still to come this season are the upcoming CQC and Ships updates, dropping later this year. We'll have more on both soon.

As always, you can hear the latest news and updates directly from the development team on our Forums, TwitterFacebook, Community homepage and right here in the newsletter every week, and we're always eager to hear your feedback. 

Contents This Week

Announcing Elite Dangerous: Horizons


From the desk of Frontier CEO and Founder, David Braben...

Hello, Commanders

Last week, we announced Elite Dangerous: Horizons – another full season of major gameplay expansions for Elite Dangerous, beginning later this year with ‘Planetary Landings’.
 
I’ve been fascinated by the exploration of space since I was young, and especially with the almost unimaginable scales involved. Going down to the surfaces of planets was a key part of my dreams of exploration, and soon we'll realise that dream in Elite Dangerous.
We're beginning with airless, rocky worlds – places where a great deal of new gameplay can take place. These are planet-sized sandbox environments, with all sorts of things to discover hidden on them. You'll find surface starports, crashed ships, mineral deposits, hidden bases and more. 

These worlds are gigantic, and - like the open galaxy - you'll be able to go anywhere. You'll be able to fly over the surface in low orbit and choose your spot to land, you'll be able to venture out in your Surface Recon Vehicle and hurtle across the surface at high speed. You'll be able to sneak around or go in all guns blazing. The nimble SRV is tiny compared to your ship, and is virtually invisible on a long range scanner – ship-based weapons will find it very hard to hold a lock on them, but airborne and ground-based players can explore the same worlds together, so watch the skies!

As I’ve said already, I’ve wanted to do surface landings in Elite Dangerous for quite a while now – and we have been planning how best to do it since the Kickstarter. Elite Dangerous: Horizons is the first stage and a huge step. The quality people expect is, as always, very high, and the team have done a great job hitting that benchmark. These worlds will feel real and meaningfully unique.
Planetary Landings is just the start. Elite Dangerous: Horizons is a full season of content extending into 2016, introducing new features and gameplay in each major expansion. As with Season One, this season of expansions is not just about planet surfaces, but other major features are coming too.

Of course support will continue for Elite Dangerous even outside of Elite Dangerous: Horizons, and we’re keeping the community together. All Elite Dangerous and Elite Dangerous: Horizons players will share the same galaxy together and you’ll retain all your progress whenever you choose to join our new season of expansions.

We’re committed to seeing Elite Dangerous grow the right way, and we hope you’ll join us planetside as we embark upon the exploration of our galaxy’s undiscovered worlds together. We have a great team, and I believe Elite Dangerous: Horizons will bring players closer than ever to the dream of touching other worlds.

Thank you for playing, and Right On, Commander!

David Braben

Elite Dangerous @ Gamescom


350,000 people flocked to the city of Cologne in Germany for the biggest videogames show in the world, and Frontier were in attendance on the public and industry floors showcasing Elite Dangerous CQC on Xbox One, 4K on PC and - behind closed doors - Elite Dangerous: Horizons.
In our press room, David Braben and Elite Dangerous' Lead Designer Sandro Sammarco met with the media to discuss Elite Dangerous. Press were shown Elite Dangerous: Horizons concept art and in-game models during their conversations with David and Sandy, and we're showcasing some of that wallpaper-worthy artwork in this week's Peek Of The Week.
Gamescom 2015 was our biggest and best show yet, with 24 demo stations, a replica Cobra Mk III, daily livestreams, 18 ambassadors and thousands of new commanders lining up to try Elite Dangerous. The response was overwhelming, with hundreds of hopefuls returning at the end of the day to see if they’d won a prize in our closing draw.  

On our livestream we gave away exclusive Gamescom 2015 paint jobs, offered players the chance to name their own planet in the Elite Dangerous galaxy, interviewed our developers and hosted the first ever live CQC competition.


The Elite Dangerous fans who came to mingle, chat, put questions to the developers and drink Kölsch at our Elite Meet in Cologne's Gir Keller bar made the experience even more memorable.

The show wouldn’t have been a success without our Ambassadors joining us on the streams and looking after the new recruits trying out the game. A huge thank you to CMDR MaxUrsa, Elan Solo, Aidan Abacus, Sinal, Badben, Friedrich Nix, Bonkil Oakenbow, Sindoras, "Chi" Raxe, caliban55, CMDR Pallam, Kerrash, Timothy Belesal, Grondane, Chris Fovulonkiin, Reighdar, smintilli, Jan and Georg, who we're sure have only just recovered from the gruelling (but rewarding) Gamescom 2015 experience.
And now we need Ambassadors for EGX, this September in the UK, and you could join us.
 
EGX is one of the largest video games events and it’s taking place in Birmingham from the 24 – 27 of September.
 Ambassadors play a vital role in promoting all the best and most fun elements of Elite Dangerous to players, and we’re on the lookout for more!

If you’re passionate about Elite Dangerous and would love to help new players get into the game then get in touch. To apply send an email to community@elitedangerous.com and put 'EGX Ambassador' in your subject line. We hope we'll see you in Birmingham!

Peek Of The Week

Elite Dangerous: Horizons concept art from our amazing art team, seen exclusively behind closed doors at last week's Gamescom event.
From the desk of Executive Producer Michael Brookes.

Hi everyone,

The team is back from Gamescom and it’s good to see so many new players giving the game a try. Naturally it was also exciting to tease what’s coming in Elite Dangerous: Horizons with the first release – landing on airless planets and moons. We have the CQC (1.4) release before then so that is the focus for this week’s dev update.

We’re currently aiming to start the PC/Mac beta within the next couple of weeks, there’s a few things we need to finalise before that happens and we’ll let you know when that’s firmed up. As we’ve already announced we are aiming for a simultaneous release for both the CQC update and Xbox One retail release. To support this how we approach the betas is changing slightly. For the beta period we will focus on stability and major fixes rather than try to tweak everything in one go – this provides a path to a more stable 1.4 release. Throughout the beta period we’ll compile less severe feedback as well and see what needs to be included in a future minor release. The aim here is to avoid the flurry of minor releases after a major release.

As with any major update this will be built from our latest trunk which means that it will sweep up a host of fixes and tweaks that weren’t in the minor releases as well as the extra features and content we’ve already disclosed. The full list of changes will be posted in the change log as always, but here are some of the highlights:

There have been a range of network optimisations as well as some functionality issues such as islands not merging correctly coming out of supercruise. Some connection issues have also been resolved.

If the refinery is idle and has material in its hopper then it will try and allocate the materials to the bins.

We’ve added an option to the graphics option so you can disable the shader cache warming on start up.

There’s a change of changes for NPCs including fixing fighters not spawning from capital ships. Pirates will no longer scan a target if they’ve pirated it. Some other causes for unnecessary NPC chatter identified and removed – the variation on chatter has been increased as well. NPCs can now interdict other NPCs while in supercruise. NPC police responses have been rebalanced so you shouldn’t only get low value ships responding to crimes.

For Mac players wanting to know why Elite Dangerous: Horizons is delayed beyond the PC release it’s down to a single issue. For the new planet rendering we make extensive use of compute shaders to maintain good performance. Currently compute shaders aren’t supported in the OSX version of OpenGL. 

And to conclude this week’s update, Oculus are about to release of SDK 0.7 for the Oculus Rift which removes the ability to roll back to 0.5, so we wanted to make you all aware of some important information.

Players using Oculus Dev Kits should continue to use the 0.5. Oculus Runtime for Elite Dangerous. Upgrading to the upcoming 0.7 release will not be compatible with our game

As long-time supporters of VR and early adopters of Oculus, we remain in close communication with them as they work towards a production version of their SDK, but want to be open that without that SDK in hand, we cannot guarantee future compatibility. We will keep you posted.

Comms Chatter


YouTube user, ObsidianAnt details the history of the Empire in the Elite Universe. This is the first video to his series on the lore of Elite.
Did you miss any of the live stream from Gamescom last week? Check out the past broadcasts at twitch.tv/elitedangerous.
/r/EliteDangerous redditor ThereIs0nly0ne found a time capsule including Elite and other assorted items in fantastic condition.
Elements of the lower-level Imperial political scene have challenged Senator Denton Patreus to explain his connection to Brendan Paul Darius, the assassin responsible for the murder of the Emperor during the wedding ceremony with Florence Lavigny. Since the revelation of the assassin’s identity the senator has steadfastly refused to comment, but responded angrily to accusations from a vocal minority in the crowd outside the senate.

The Imperial Herald today released an article about the man allegedly responsible for the regicide of Emperor Hengist Duval. The article detailed Brendan Paul Darius’ upbringing in Eotienses, the home system for the bulk of Patreus’ activities. His parents were a relatively wealthy client family under Senator Patreus known for their observation of traditional values. They worked on one of his many estates in the system. After completing his formal education in history and ethics he served as an officer on one of the Senator’s Majestic class Interdictors, eventually rising to the rank of Captain. Following two decades of distinguished military service he joined one of Senator Patreus’ liaison teams responsible for maintaining relationships with colony governors, planetary leaders and starport officials throughout the Senator’s region of controlled space. His dedication and talents saw him rise above his parents’ station to become patron. In the end the puzzle remains – why would such a loyal man kill his Emperor?

Last month, Archon Delaine’s aggressive advance toward Imperial territory was halted. Defensive lines along the Imperial border held strong as the expeditionary forces of Operation Davy Jones were joined by detachments of the Imperial Fleet. Many in the Empire are now referring to the escalating conflict as the ‘Pegasi Pirate War’. Tens of thousands of ships throughout the Pegasi Sector have been impounded or destroyed in an attempt to weed the pirates out of hundreds of systems. Sieges of certain systems, such as Ngam, have been repeatedly broken by the Empire and re-laid by the Kumo Crew. Tacticians on either side have yet to produce an advantage in this war of attrition.

The government of the Apalar system has invited independent pilots to help them elevate their system’s economy. According to Omar Jordan, governor of Svavarsson Terminal, the system is strategically positioned between the territories of several major powers, and is therefore ideally placed to provide these powers with services. Governor Jordan did not directly address the threat posed by Archon Delaine’s forces, which are closer to the Apalar system than those of any other power, but it seems safe to assume that one of the factors behind the appeal is a desire to counter this danger. Apalar Labour is offering rewards to independent pilots who assist with this effort by delivering industrial materials to Svavarsson Terminal in the Apalar system.

Some of the more sordid elements of Imperial media have continued their campaign against Senator Patreus about his connection with Emperor Hengist Duval’s killer. Over the past week Senator Patreus and his followers staying on Capitol have endured abuse from their accusers whenever they appear in public. After the incident Senator Zemina Torval was the first to condemn the behaviour in a statement to guests and press at an event with Mastopolos Mining: “This kind of insolent behaviour does not reflect well upon these groups or our beloved Empire itself. The Emperor has been dead for only a few days and these rebels descend into near-barbarism. They should be cast out of the Empire. Denton represents what is strong within the Empire. His loyalty to the Emperor is unquestioned and anyone suggesting otherwise is a fool.”
That’s it for Newsletter #86. As always, if there's anything in particular that you’d like to hear more about, or if you'd like to ask a question, then please contact us at elite-newsletter@frontier.co.uk.

Click for the latest Game Manual, Quickstart Guide and Pilot Training Videos. Visit our Support team here and read our previous newsletters here.

Until next time, fly safe and Right On, Commander.

The Frontier Team
Jobs at Frontier
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Copyright © 2015 Frontier Developments plc, All rights reserved.


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