Elite: Dangerous Newsletter #1- From Frontier Developments
Hi Commander,

Welcome to the first Elite: Dangerous newsletter. With these newsletters we want to bring you all a bit closer to the game’s development. So rather than just seeing the shiny finished, or near finished renderings  you’ll get see work-in-progress and processes for how we get to a finished item. We hope you’ll enjoy this closer view of what we’re doing and we’ll have lots of good stuff to share with you over the coming months.

Table of Contents (click to jump forward):

Capital Ships

Something we didn’t show during the Kickstarter campaign was the very large, non-player controlled ships. Most of these will be civilian heavy lifter type vessels, but it also includes the large warships that the major factions use for major naval deployments.

We started the process by identifying the type of ship we wanted. For the initial release we plan on just including a few of these titans, so we wanted ships that were general purpose, in naval parlance this usually means cruisers. Traditionally cruisers are ships that are designed to operate independently. In the Elite universe this means that they are capable of going toe to toe against each other as well as acting as fleets or assault carriers.

As well as identifying the type of vessel we are in the middle of establishing the style of the ships operated by the major factions. For these first ships we decided to go with a Federation and an Imperial warship. We next had to determine the overall shape for the new ships. Our concept artists put together some quick sketches of different outlines and forms. See the image above and the one below.

From the sketches we picked ship 10 as a Federal warship.There were some questions about the lower part of the ship, so a profile was drawn:

It looks mean. It looks cool. So we painted a version of the ship in situ:

We’re now happy with the result, so the 3D artists have started modelling the ship and I’m hoping we can show you the WIP model in the next newsletter. Once we have it in 3D we’ll tweak it further.
And for the Imperial warship we picked ship 25, you have already seen the painted concept for this in the latest dev diary and Kickstarter update. I’ve copied it again in all its glory below:

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Sidewinder Cockpit

The Sidewinder is the basic starting ship for the game. It is an all rounder ship, able to act as a small fighter as well as a small trader. On the smaller ships in particular the cockpit is one of the key defining elements for the look of the ship. In the concept below you can see the basic Sidewinder airframe along with a variety of cockpit styles:

Here’s some more Sidewinder concept:

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Fighter Sketches

As seen in the capital ship section, the first stage of the art process for ships are thumbnail sketches.  Here are some for various fighter type ships:

Design Topics

Over the past two weeks the Design Decisions Forum has been busy discussing the first two topics. The first topic, concerning how death and related consequences should be handled in the game. This sparked lively debate and the thoughts and opinions for this topic, which in turn has provided useful feedback for our designers. The next step will be to put this into an updated design which will be debated internally and agreed for the design. Naturally as with a lot of design it will change when we start implementation, but we will have a more considered approach thanks the input from the DDF.
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Thanks to the help of the authors we are making good progress with the game’s fiction. We’re looking into starting a fiction video diary to keep you up to date on fiction related developments in the next few weeks.
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Thanks for reading and I’ll see you all again in two weeks.

Our mailing address is:
Frontier Developments plc
306 Science Park
Milton Road
Cambridge, England CB4 0WG
United Kingdom

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