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Elite: Dangerous Newsletter #75 - From Frontier Developments
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Hello, Commander,
 
Welcome to Elite: Dangerous Newsletter #75.

This week we launched Elite: Dangerous for Mac. PC and Mac players can now play side-by-side in the shared galaxy, and you can load up your Commander on either platform and play. If you already own Elite: Dangerous for PC, then you now own Elite: Dangerous for Mac as part of your original purchase, too. 

This week we also made the difficult decision to move the Powerplay beta we had planned for May 19 back by up to a week, which will also push back the full release. It's an important update for us and for all of you, and we want it to be great. That's going to take a little extra time, and we really appreciate your understanding while we put the finishing touches on our biggest Elite: Dangerous update yet. There's not much longer to wait, we promise!

In this week's newsletter you'll find Producer Richard Benton interviewed about the unique challenges of bringing Elite: Dangerous to Mac. We also have an exclusive peek at the Imperial Courier, our film competition shortlist, all-new Pirate T-shirts on the store and our regular Developer Update from Michael Brookes.

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

Contents This Week

Frontier Q&A: Richard Benton


Elite: Dangerous for Mac launched this week, so we sat down with Mac Producer Richard Benton to discuss the challenges his team faced bringing Elite: Dangerous to the new platform, and how their work will make the game even better wherever you play.

//When the team first began work on Mac, what were the immediate challenges?//

Well, Mac OS X has a whole different way of talking to the hardware. OpenGL is a very different environment to Windows' DirectX and all the systems in a game like Elite: Dangerous are treated differently. All the things you take for granted in Windows need to be reengineered for Mac OS X; even something as simple as using a microphone for chat.

//And what about Mac hardware?//

Mac hardware is almost everything you'd want as a developer, because it tends to have huge amounts of RAM, fast processors and high-resolution screens. The one challenge is the graphics processor. Some Mac hardware uses lower power small form-factor GPUs which can’t match the level of performance you’d get in a larger full sized graphics card. They're still great GPUs, but it's something you have to consider as a developer.

//So how did you make Elite: Dangerous for Mac match the PC version?//

Well when you port to OpenGL, there are some things you can predict. The lighting and shadows don’t generally behave, so we targeted those immediately. Then we looked at anywhere performance took a hit on PC. You don't really notice if it takes half a second to load a texture, but on Mac it was two or three seconds before optimisation and it was really obvious. We went to work on optimisation across the board.

Best of all, much of what we did to optimise Elite: Dangerous for Mac is going back into the PC version with the Powerplay update, along with all the new features and content. We are continuing to optimise the game all the time, and some of the re-factoring we are doing alongside the Xbox One will also benefit other platforms too.

//What's next for the team?//

We’ll continue to support the game on every platform. Elite: Dangerous is a living game and the optimisations we go on to make for Xbox One will come over to Mac and PC, too. And of course we're aiming to update Mac day and date with the PC version, because we have them running on the same server.


//And do you have a message to the players who offered feedback during the Mac beta process?//

Their help has been invaluable. They've helped us identify challenges and get almost instant feedback on changes we made. Today people tell us Elite: Dangerous runs better natively on their Mac hardware in Mac OS than it did on the same machine running bootcamp. That’s testament to the team’s hard work and the great feedback we received. It meant a lot to us to get Mac right, and I’m excited to meet all the new Mac Commanders out in our galaxy!

Newsletter Peek Of The Week

The Imperial Courier - coming with the Elite: Dangerous Powerplay update
In his weekly Developer Update, Executive Producer Michael Brookes discussed another of the smaller features you'll find in next week's Powerplay beta alongside the game-changing Powerplay mode.

After Powerplay launches, you'll gain more control over your ship's turrets. Turrets will interact with fire groups and turrets not in the currently active fire group will not track targets or attack. Turrets set to Fire At Will will now check if their target is legitimate before firing, so they'll no longer accidentally commit crimes. Other changes will make them more accurate at range but possible to outmaneuver up close. 

The team is asking for feedback on how collisions are handled in no-fire zones and for the community's support with our plans to localise Elite: Dangerous into many new languages. For full details and to comment or help, check Mike's full Developer Update.

Finally in his update Mike mentioned the addition of pilots to ship cockpits. It's a small detail we've wanted to address for a while, and we can give you an exclusive peek below.

Ctrl+Alt+Space Film Shortlist


We received so many amazing entries for our Ctrl+Alt+Space film competition we had to extend the internal judging date by a week just to see them all.

So, one week later than planned, the Frontier team has assembled a shortlist and we're turning to you for the final say on the best entry.

Click here to watch the shortlisted films and cast your vote for your favourite.

New In Store


By popular demand, this week we launched the Elite: Dangerous Pirate T-shirt. 100% cotton, 100% evil and available in sizes from small to XXXL.
And why not pair it with a Pirate Paint Job to fly the flag for lawlessness in both the 21st and 34th centuries?

Comms Chatter


With this creative bit of anti-Empire propaganda, GlyphGryph on Reddit asks: ‘is someone pulling Arissa’s strings?’
Elite: Dangerous – Mercenary Commander, is a stylish fan-comic made by Rahn Kavall with some strong language.
Reddit user, EngiN33R, published a report on an Earth-like planet he discovered. His findings on Flame Sector CQ-YD1 ABC 5 are fascinating and dense.
The crowds were out in force on Mars as residents gathered to watch the president's ship, Starship One, depart for President Halsey’s tour of Federal frontier systems, including Hip 53688, Tinia, Aleumoxii, 78 Ursae Majoris, Dietri, Su, Furuhjelm I-645, Saga, Delphin, Nanomam, Coriccha and Ross 860.

Two days ago, Senator Denton Patreus officially declared war on the impoverished system of Quivira. Thousands of vessels loyal to Patreus have been pouring into Quivira ever since, bringing death and destruction to any non-Imperial ships that they find. Most of Quivira’s residents had already been successfully evacuated to nearby systems. This is in no small part thanks to the efforts of Commanders working to thwart Senator Patreus’s plans for Quivira.
 
Senator Kahina Tijani Loren took part in a reception following her arrival in the Achenar system. Kahina was ambushed by reporters as she emerged from her transport and asked whether she was intending to challenge for the leadership of the Empire. She responded that she had “absolutely no ambitions in that direction whatsoever.”

On Friday the Green Party of Diso announced their plans to rejuvenate the failing financial fortunes of Birmingham. In total 5187 Commanders signed up to assist with the rejuvenation project, and together they managed to deliver a staggering 15,010,547 tonnes of Machinery to Diso over the course of just 65 hours. In particular, the Green Party of Diso would like to thank Broker Mrozak, Broker HawX, Tycoon Ace Rimzy, Tycoon Thalios Abraxas and Broker Del Boy for their outstanding efforts to stimulate Birmingham’s economy.

The office of President Jasmina Halsey has today issued a statement refusing Shadow President Hudson’s demand to meet him for a live presidential debate on ‘Face the People’. James Speakes, the President’s Press Secretary, said: “The President is of course happy to debate the Shadow President on policy. President Halsey welcomes any opportunity to talk about the many programmes she’s instigated since taking office. Sadly in this instance, prior engagements keep her from being able to attend such a debate.”

 
That’s it for Newsletter #75. 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 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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