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Elite: Dangerous Newsletter #63 - From Frontier Developments
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Greetings, Commander,
 
Welcome to Newsletter #63.

This week we’re talking Wings, HIP 101110’s new community-built starport and our visit to Britain’s RAF Benson where members of the Elite: Dangerous development team put their flying skills to the test at the controls of a state-of-the-art Merlin helicopter simulator. Spoilers: they crashed it.

As always, check out our Forums, Twitter and Facebook for the latest updates from Elite: Dangerous’ galaxy, and stick with us for what’s new this week.

Contents This Week

Frontier Gives You Wings

On Wednesday PC Gamer broke the news about Elite: Dangerous’ second major update. 1.2 brings all-new cooperative and collaborative systems to Elite: Dangerous that will let players team up as a multiplayer group and share data and communications anywhere in the galaxy.

Codenamed “Wings,” 1.2 will let players form a four-player wing using the comms panel in your ship UI in the Open Play or Private Groups modes. Players flying with wingmen share ship data with the whole group, including hull and shield statuses, locations and current targets. All wingmen participating in a successful attack on a Wanted NPC or player will share in the bounty, and players can even lock-on to their wingmen to slave their Frame Shift Drive, automatically following friends when they engage faster-than-light travel.

But the galaxy is prepared for the increased threat presented by coordinated wings. New signal sources will present players with larger, deadlier encounters against overwhelming forces, encouraging close cooperation and teamwork to share in the high-priced bounties on offer. Oh, and don’t forget: AI-piloted ships can form up in flights of their own.
The team settled on the four-person cap for wings to make certain there can always be more players in a given system than just a single wing. “But at the same time,” Lead Designer Sandro Sammarco says, “a wing of four still represents a significant increase of capability over a lone vessel provided players cooperate effectively.”

“A single wing can always be outnumbered,” Executive Producer Michael Brookes says. “But it’s equally important wings integrated well with the HUD.”

With new HUD elements detailing your wing’s current hull and shield status, the team had to ensure the layout wouldn’t compromise canopy visibility and that players could effectively coordinate and work together, even when spread out in distant systems. We think you’ll be pleased with the results when Wings launches in early March, free for all Elite: Dangerous players.

Newsletter Peek Of The Week

Take a seat in Core Dynamics’ new Vulture, available in Elite: Dangerous 1.2.

Frontier Visits RAF Benson

Late last week a team of Frontier developers were invited to visit the Medium Support Helicopter Aircrew Training Facility at RAF Benson by Elite: Dangerous Ambassador and RAF Flight Lieutenant, Robin Crosse.

The facility is responsible for training UK Military pilots on the three UK Support Helicopter types – Merlin , Puma, and Chinook – as well as foreign pilots from as far away as Japan and Canada. The facility boasts a Tactical Control Centre that allows all six of its helicopter simulators to be brought together into a single 'multiplayer' environment with all the networked simulators from around the world.

Six members of the Frontier team started the day with a safety briefing before putting their piloting skills, honed by hundreds of hours in Elite: Dangerous, to the test at the controls of the Merlin Mk3 Simulator. “The simulator was incredible,” Producer Adam Woods says. “Full flight controls, instruments, hydraulic movement and realistic sound made us feel we were in control of a real chopper! Lucky we weren’t because we had two crashes.”

 
After twenty minutes flight time around RAF Benson and its surrounding villages, the group experienced a simulated triple engine failure. Flt Lt Robin Crosse took the controls and, from 3,000 feet, brought the Merlin down to a safe landing.

“Considering that trainee military pilots wouldn’t normally get their hands on the Merlin Mk3 simulator without first training for at least 60 hours on light aircraft, 75 hours on single-engined helicopters, and 90 hours on multi-engined helicopters with hundreds of hours of ground tuition, the Frontier team did very well indeed,” Robin says. “Thrown in at the deep end, they were handed control of a helicopter weighing over 10 tonnes and guided through the process of hovering, getting airborne, and landing again. Despite a couple of mishaps, every pilot managed to bring the aircraft back to earth in a manner that everyone aboard would have survived, though the aircraft repairers might have been claiming some overtime!”
After lunch in the Officers Mess, the team learned the basics of marksmanship on an indoor range using modified service rifles. “We faced simulated combat situations: a large open field, a desert with tanks and a forest scene, and we had to watch for enemy targets,” Adam says. “(Senior Artist) John Kelly went full Schwarzenegger, unleashing 80 rounds in a couple of minutes.”
 
The team at Frontier would like to say a huge thank you to Flight Lieutenant Robin Crosse, and to everyone who took the time to show us round RAF Benson.

Name New Yembo's Starport

One of the first Community Goals introduced in Elite: Dangerous 1.1 was the ‘Starport Supplies Test.’ Thanks to nearly 5,000 commanders who shipped 8,150,000 tonnes of materials to the nearby Yembo system, the construction of a brand new starport has begun in HIP 101110 "New Yembo", where it can be found in its unfinished state right now.

But Elite: Dangerous’ first ever community-generated starport deserves a community-generated name meant to stand the test of time. We’re turning to you for suggestions, and putting them to our panel of judges. We’ll pick our favourite, and the judges’ decision will be final.

It’s another chance to leave a permanent mark on Elite: Dangerous’ Milky Way. Hit our entry page here and add your suggestion and email address. Entries close at 10:00 AM GMT on March 2 and we’ll announce the winning name in a future newsletter.

Comms Chatter

FunnyKid000 on YouTube uploaded a video of Sagittarius A* at the centre of the Milky Way.
Elite: Dangerous – A Distant Rendezvous (43,000 LYs from home) by Erimus One has an amazing backstory involving an unlikely meeting between two explorers, both of whom were documenting their epic journeys from one side of the galaxy to the other.

Alec Turner sums up the full story in this forum post, which is worth reading before watching the video.
'The Wonders of the Galaxy' series from Titus Balls is beautiful and relaxing. Episode 8 takes a look at the galaxy in Elite: Dangerous 1.1.
Finally, Elite: Dangerous will be featured on the GameBlast stream this weekend, in aid of gaming charity SpecialEffect who work to improve accessibility to videogames for disabled players.

BBC tech reporter and Elite: Dangerous novelist Kate Russell will play for 12 hours at the official Gameblast event, with Elite: Dangerous-themed giveaways throughout the night. You can see Kate's page and donate to SpecialEffect here.

It's a cause we believe in, so we're also asking for our community of players to stream the game and raise money for SpecialEffect. Perhaps you could hold your own Elite: Dangerous marathon this weekend?
Thanks to the combined efforts of entrepreneurs, small business owners and corporate sponsors, preparations for the launch of the new EAUC Exploration Ocellus began. 4871 commanders contributed over 8154177 tons of metal to the project, which in turn allowed the EAUC coalition to outfit the station to a level far beyond their original specifications.

The number of petty thefts and burglaries being reported on Emerald in the Cemiess system has risen by over 300% compared with the same period in 3300, resulting in local social sites being flooded with complaints from long term residents who claim they fear for their families’ safety. Commissioner Chamberlain of Emerald Security issued a statement saying they were cracking down on crime in the system.

In a formal ceremony in the Congress building on Mars, the Congressman for Siren,
Ethan Naylor, was formally signed in as the Federal Vice President. The decision was seen as controversial as this is the first time a member of the Federal Leadership has been a Congressman from a frontier world.

The management team in charge of Durius were able to offer debt relief retraining to 12070 newly minted citizens. As a result, 12070 Imperial Slaves found themselves exported from Durius to other parts of the Empire over the last week. The move was partly facilitated through a newly formed business arrangement between Senators Patreus and Torval.

Residents of Toolfa Large were left in shock this weekend after local security services found a small fortune in raw gold sitting aboard what they presumed to be an abandoned Sidewinder in one of the station’s lower hangars. The ship’s records indicate that its owner, Mr Hank Stone, had spent the last month alone in the LAWD 26 system where he had found a previously untapped source of precious metals. Mr Stone was believed to have died from liver failure. He was found at his bunker near the Toolfa Large Short Stay Inn
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That’s it for Newsletter #63. As always if there is anything in particular that you’d like to hear more about, or 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 all 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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