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Elite: Dangerous Newsletter #33 - From Frontier Developments
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Hello Commander,

Welcome to Elite: Dangerous Newsletter #33!

With only four days of hard work to go before we release Elite: Dangerous Beta 1, there are also only four more days left to take advantage of the Lifetime Expansion pass so don’t forget to grab it before we withdraw it forever.

Also, don’t forget that you can upgrade from the full game to get Beta 1 access and start playing today for just £15 – when you checkout with Standard Beta in your basket, the correct discount is automatically applied.

This week we are taking a look at how we are representing the trade routes in Elite: Dangerous and have a gorgeous peek of what this will look like in-game.

We also give you some insight into how we plan to future-proof Elite: Dangerous, and give you a gratuitous 16K screenshot.

We have hinted in previous newsletters that you will be able to re-configure your ships and with Beta 1 you will be able to buy your very first paint job for Sidewinder and Eagle ships!

Finally, as with the release of Premium Beta, the major changes for Beta 1 mean we will be resetting the servers again, so everyone starts from the same point.

 

Table of Contents (click subject to jump forward):


Peek of the Week
Paint Jobs
Plan Your Route to Riches
Future-proofing Elite: Dangerous
Comms Chatter
Mostly Harmless Questions
Community Events
GalNet News Transmission 25th July 3300

Newsletter Peek of the Week

First look at a new addition to the Lakon product line – the Type 6.
And its cockpit...
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Paint Jobs

In Beta 1, you will be able to buy a number of lovingly crafted paint jobs both for your Sidewinder and your Eagle ships.  Different paint jobs will become available over time for each ship in the game that you can own.
 
On 29th July you will be able to buy any (or all) of a selection of paint jobs from the Elite: Dangerous online store. Then the next time you visit a star port the station services will allow you to apply any of the applicable paint jobs you have bought to your ship.  The ability to change paint job will be available at all star ports, whenever you dock.

Paint jobs are specific to each ship type, and do NOT alter the performance parameters of your ship.  If your ship is destroyed, you will be able to re-apply any of the applicable paint jobs you have bought to your new ship in the star ports.

 
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Plan Your Route to Riches

A useful - and beautiful - new feature of Beta 1 is the ability to see a graphical representation of the active trade routes between systems in the galactic map.  Here’s a video of a work-in-progress version in action.
 
The broad categories of goods are colour coded, so you can see at a glance the types of goods being imported and exported. Individual goods can be selected and deselected so you can plan your trades.

The trade route information is intended to give a quick guide to the type of goods that are being traded between systems. It helps to give a ‘broad brush’ overview of where to trade, and augments the more detailed data and real-time galactic market information available in each star port
.
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Future-proofing Elite: Dangerous

The write up of David Braben’s interview with Eurogamer at the recent Develop conference was posted recently.

In it he discussed the philosophy that we have followed on previous PC titles, of making sure the game has the capability of very high end features whilst making sure this can be ‘dialed back’ by people to suit their particular hardware set up.

This was widely picked up but the headlines tended to be of the ‘Elite: Dangerous won’t run on today’s PCs’ type, so we want to clarify in case you are concerned.

A good example to illustrate what we mean is the 4K screenshot that we highlighted last week.
Gratuitous 4K screenshot.
In fact it is quite easy to produce 8K images, using ALT-F10 when running at 1080p (ie 1920 x 1080) like this one below:
Gratuitous 8K screenshot.
These are created by the game switching to a 4X higher resolution for single frame when you press Alt-F10 whilst the image is rendered (which will likely cause a small stutter).  The game is already capable of running at very high resolutions which, as evidenced by the ‘stutter’ when Alt-F10 is pressed, the vast majority of PC’s today won’t be able to run at an acceptable frame rate for gameplay purposes – it would be ‘laggy’. It also needs a lot more video RAM. In ‘normal’ operation the game settings are tuned so that the performance on your current PC should be smooth. If you are already running at 4K, then using ALT-F10 will produce a screenshot at a wopping 16K or 15,360 x 8,640 or 130 megapixels:
 
Gratuitous 16K screenshot.
The release of Premium Beta 2 brought in a lot of very good performance optimisations, and we will continue to optimise throughout development so what we have in the game today will run faster and faster over time.

On the other hand, as we continue to develop the game throughout Beta an increasing number of sophisticated graphical techniques will be added which will consume CPU and GPU cycles and therefore take performance in the opposite direction.

The end result of this ‘arms race’ will be a set of features enabled by default that gives great performance and a good looking game on your PC.  We will auto-detect your settings and suggest some defaults.  There will also be a menu of options that will allow you to enable or disable individual features so you can tune the overall experience to your taste, as depending on the bottlenecks on an individual system, not all features are equally expensive. For example laptops do some things as quickly as desktop computers, and other things more slowly.

Over time, we will supply tuning files for the more popular PC setups..

We hope this approach will make Elite: Dangerous pretty ‘future resistant’ and mean it will still look great in many year’s time.  The rise of online distribution also means we will be able to incorporate new advances in rendering technology as we adopt them in our 64 bit COBRA multi-threaded engine.

Currently our recommended PC* specification for the game is:
Direct X 11
2GHz Quad Core CPU
2 GB System RAM (more is always better)
DX 10 hardware GPU with 1GB video ram e.g. Nvidia GTX 260, ATI 4870HD

We hope to be able to lower this in due course as further optimisations are included in the game.

* Mac fans you are not forgotten, don’t worry – development of the MacOS version continues!  We will let you know our recommended system spec as soon as we are able.

You can see the full text of David’s original Eurogamer interview.

In future issues of this newsletter, we plan to offer a guide to building your own PC to run Elite: Dangerous which will give further insight into selecting the different system components.
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Comms Chatter

 

We were amazed by the incredible piloting required to grab the shots in this video created by And Roid - we especially love the 'wall of death' at 2.45!
Lave Radio have released their #33 podcast, in which they discuss Lavecon 2014 with Lisa Voo and take a read of this fantastic blog post 'Elite: Dangerous Education by Simon Griffee.
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Mostly Harmless Questions

Arn: Will the gravity of planets and suns affect the ship like in FFE?
 
  • Elite: Dangerous doesn’t have the time speeding up options as FFE did, but we are still not finished with how Supercruise will work, so this will be factored in.
 
Mysturji: What mechanisms/procedures will there be for avoiding & reversing offender/fugitive status?
 
  • Yes. Clearly ‘avoiding’ is something that is possible already! Offender and Fugitive statuses will wear off with time, but it will also be possible to ‘buy out’ such statuses.
 
_Jael: What happens if you log out, in space?
 
  • Currently your location is kept, but your ship is no longer visible to other players in the game. Since it stores the position relative to any nearby body, you don’t have to worry about planetary orbits leaving you far from a station or planet or whatever. We are thinking of more elegant ways of handling this – but fundamentally for explorers heading out into the unknown, we cannot restrict saving to just inside starports.
Ferraro: What ideas are there for some kind of Mobile phone app, so players would be able to browse in-game stock markets, fix ships, even chat with ingame buddies and so on?
  • Interesting question...watch this space!
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Community Events

FantastiCon is a new sci-fi convention bringing together Elite fans from around the world. It will feature Elite: Dangerous on the Oculus Rift, book signings by the glamorous Allen Stroud, Drew Wagar and Kate Russell, interviews with official Elite writers and Frontier staff, and a chance to meet many of the Commanders who you have blown up in the game. It is being held in Hull on Saturday 16th August, and includes free soft drinks, cake, and a 24 hour bar.

> Web-site  > Buy tickets
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Galnet News Transmission 25th July 3300


All information ©3300 Elite Pilots Federation. Copyright violation is a crime in all jurisdictions.
 
::Elite Pilots Federation Alert::
In four days time star ports will begin to offer a paint job service for Sidewinder and Eagle ships.  Whilst these paint jobs don’t affect the performance of the vessels, we expect them to be popular and the galaxy to become a more colourful place.

Black market profits have fallen this week to 33.7M credits, after the prohibition on Progenitor Cells was lifted.
 
Most Profitable Black Market Goods:
    • Liquor
    • Personal weapons
    • Gold
 
::Market Information::
Ship Sales (by number)
Faulcon DeLacey’s bestselling Cobra Mk III held its market share this week with 41% of the total.
 
The Core Dynamics Eagle continued its improvement with a 9% rise to 33% market share.
 
The woes of Zorgon Peterson, which earlier this week laid off its entire marketing department in a bid to cut costs, continue with the Hauler. Now under threat from Lakon’s Type 9 for 3rd spot, the Hauler market share dropped a further 30% this week to 13.5%.
 
GalNet Trade Aggregation Service Reports
Weekly Pilot Federation Member Profits:
669,226,041 credits profit generated from 2,511,325 units of cargo traded.
 
Most Profitable Goods
    • Resonant Separators
    • Performance Enhancers
    • Combat Stabilisers
 
Most Traded Goods
    • Performance Enhancers
• Bertrandite
    • Resonant Separators
    • Fish
 
Top Imports per System, Ranked by Quantity
i Boötis:         Robotics, Agricultural Medicines
Aulin:            Bertrandite, Fish
Eranin:           Crop Harvesters, Terrain Enrichment Systems
LP 98-132:        Bio Reducing Lichen, Explosives
Dahan:            Indite, Bertrandite
LHS 3006:         Bio-Reducing Lichen, Explosives
Asellus Primus    Tantalum, Tea
 
Top Exports per System, Ranked by Quantity
Aulin:            Performance Enhancers, Combat Stabilisers
i Bootis:         Fish, Crop Harvesters
Eranin:           Grain, Tea
LP 98-132:        Bertrandite, Gold
Dahan:            Tantalum, Explosives
Asellus Primus:   Resonant Separators, Basic Medicines
LHS 3006:         Bertrandite, Indite
 
Trade Tips & Hidden Gems
Aulin:            Tea
LP 98-132:        Narcotics
Dahan:            Gallite
I bootis:         Robotics
LHS 3006:         Bio Reducing Lichen
Eranin:           Agricultural Medicines
 
Detailed market information feeds are available via an upgraded subscription to GalNet services.
 
::GeoPolitical Analysis::
Eranin Tension Continues
Skirmishes between the Eranin Defence Force and the Federation show no sign of abating.
 
Piracy
Abnormally high levels of piracy continue to be reported in LP98-132.
 
::And Finally::
Progenitor Cells
The ban on the trading of Progenitor Cells was lifted after new batches were given the ‘all clear’ everywhere except Eranin.  This depressed the black market, but Progenitor Cells have so far failed to regain their previous dominance of the trade markets as lingering public concern suppresses demand.
 
Conflicting reports on social media include a statement attributed to a ‘Freedom Freda’ – believed to be a self-appointed spokesman for the rebels on Eranin, where she claims Progenitor Cells are used by “blood-sucking capitalist scum, unnaturally extending their lives to keep underpaid hard-working proletarians in their places”.

Progenitor Cell manufacturers are rumoured to be preparing legal action against the beleaguered Federal government in Eranin for lost profits, citing failure to control the Eranian left wing militants (‘terrorists’, as they are described in the draft claim we have seen) widely believed to be behind the initial contamination.

Fishy Goings On?
Market experts are left open-mouthed by this week’s fall in the popularity of fish.  Top of the traded goods pile last week, this week fish have sunk to 4th place.

Sports Results, Entertainment News and Celebrity Gossip are available via an upgraded subscription.
 
This GalNet News Transmission is sponsored in part by the Bank of Zaonce. Trust the Bank of Zaonce with your hard-earned credits.
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That’s it for newsletter #33 - thank you for reading and supporting the development of Elite: Dangerous.

If you are new to the newsletters you can read all our previous newsletters
here.

As always if there is anything in particular that you’d like to hear more about, or ask a question, then please contact us at elite-newsletter@frontier.co.uk.

The Frontier Team

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