Elite: Dangerous Newsletter #12- From Frontier Developments
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Hi Maalak,

Welcome to newsletter number 12, the latest communication from the Elite: Dangerous team!

In which we talk more about audio aspects of the ‘Damocles’ recently released capital ship battle video, and get tooled up as we take a first look at some of the weapon options you’ll have available to you.  And we have an important announcement about the final call for Reward Add-ons.

Table of Contents (click subject to jump forward):

Dev Diary #6 Released

In our sixth dev diary video, which has just been released and can be found here, David Braben provides his commentary on the development process for the recently released ‘Damocles’ capital ship battle video.  The video was used as the test piece for selecting the game’s composer, and Erasmus Talbot’s ‘winning’ score is front & centre in the audio mix! If you haven't watched the ‘Damocles’ video yet, i) you are in for a treat and ii) you can do so here.

Further detail, about the art process behind that video, will be the subject of a future  dev diary video that’s coming soon - make sure to catch it!

Until then, there have been some ‘frequently asked questions’ on audio aspects of the ‘Damocles’ capital ship battle video so here is some further insight:

Interactive Music?
The video was put together intentionally to prompt a cinematic approach to the score from all the composers who participated, to allow us to best gauge each composers’ range in a variety of on-screen situations in as short a time as possible whilst still supporting a coherent visual narrative. In game battle will use a very different musical treatment, allowing for a degree of interactivity while at the same time allowing in cockpit audio to cut through the mix.  More on this topic can be found in the excellent interview between Erasmus Talbot and Jim Croft here.

Music Heavy Mix?
As we were trying to showcase Erasmus' excellent score, the audio mix in the video was deliberately 'music heavy'.  The sound effects design is simply in there to support and inform, and intentionally takes something of a back seat in the mix.  This will not be the case in the game itself.

Non-Player Dialog?
We used non-player character dialog as a mechanism with which to convey the video’s 'mercenary' scenario.  When you are playing the game you’ll be absorbed in the flow of your game and so will implicitly understand exactly what you are doing and why.  For a short, sharp ‘snap-shot’ of a possible game scenario like this we used dialog to provide context for what was unfolding on screen.  We do NOT have plans for NPC dialog such as this in the game itself, but you will be able to communicate with other players via voice chat if you want, so maybe this will have a similar flavour. Communication with game characters will be text-based via the messaging system.

Sounds in Space?!
No sound is transmitted through a vacuum, and this is something we have been thinking long and hard about. We will be talking more about this in the future, but we have a solution that we think works well, and fits well with this. We wanted to convey the audio difference when entering an atmosphere or docking at a station, and were thinking how this would work.

What we have come up with is a solution where audio is used to augment your sense while flying.  Your ship's systems however, are capable of synthesizing and conveying sound from external data gathered via sensor clusters, heightening your intuitive awareness of your tactical situation. You will, as you would expect, be able to customize and filter the scope and detail of such supplementary auditory input you receive. This is mixed in with real sounds, like debris hitting your ship, the sound of your engines and other internal systems (which you can hear as your ship is pressurized – or at least is pressurized for most of the time…).

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Weapons: Lock and Load

It’s dog-eat-dog in the vast Elite: Dangerous galaxy, so you will soon develop a particular affinity for your weapons systems! Weapons in Elite: Dangerous are attached to standard hard-point mountings on your ship’s hull, and you have a great variety of choice as you get tooled up in the shipyards.

Shipyards and weapons manufacturers are spread throughout human space and prices are dependent on which shipyard you are at, shipping costs from the manufacturer and so on.  Of course there are some pretty-well standard universal options, but we think as soon as you’ve completed that first profitable trade run you’ll be shopping for some of the more specialist weapons tune-up services and exotic weapons types to maintain your combat advantage.  And maybe will be motivated to seek out the more specialist manufacturers directly for a better deal on their latest wares.

Initially kinetic weapons will be cost effective, like this rail gun.

And you can customise the type of projectiles you’re using to suit particular purposes.

Here is the beam laser:

Some weapons can be gimbal mounted to aid tracking and targeting (generally you will have to fit a size smaller if you want a gimbal mount, for a given hard-point size):

As well as weapons, defensive measures are of course important. Hard-points can also be used to improve defensive capabilities – in fact the smallest hard-points are best used this way.  You’ll also notice that thermal management is an issue – the more you burn your engines and fire your weapons, the more heat you will need to vent.  But of course this makes you shine like a supernova to those who are looking for your heat signature.  Help is at hand, though – on both fronts.  There are many ways of dumping heat - attach a heat-sink launcher like the one below, and when things get too hot (!) you can jettison a red-hot pellet that also acts as a great decoy for heat-targeted munitions as well as lowering your ship’s thermal signature.

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Man in the Moon

Work continues apace expanding the range of planetary archetypes.  On this in-game screenshot of a rocky world with no atmosphere. The cratering is obvious, and evidence of early outflows are much like the maria on Earth’s moon:

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Private Backers: Peek of the Week

We also wanted to let you know about a feature we have started in the Private Backers forum. Every week we’re posting a new image from the game.

Here is last weeks as a teaser, along with David’s comment.

"Here is a view of a profoundly cold, volcanic world, with the odd active volcano, surrounded by yellow, sulphurous deposits at the balmy temperature of -40 C. Maybe rare gems have formed in the areas of volcanism, if they haven't already been mined out?"

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Fiction: Crossing the Line

Congratulations to those who have completed their first drafts – T James, Drew Wagar and Allen Stroud, as well as a few stories from the anthology crew.

On the writer’s forums there’s some discussion about mysteries that are sprinkled throughout the galaxy.

Internally we’re working through the various weapons and modules manufacturers as well as continuing to develop the galaxy layout.

Next fiction diary will be a couple of weeks after the art breakdown video.

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Comms Chatter:  Written in the Stars

Community member Marko Susimetsä has recently started writing a series of interviews over on that may be of interest to not only those who backed the Elite: Dangerous Kickstarter, but also those who helped fund any of the various fiction projects that were born out of it.

Each week Marko will be talking with a different Elite fiction author, to ask them about their respective fiction projects and, of course, their history with Elite. So far interviews with Darren Grey and John Harper have been released and we look forward to reading the other interviews that will follow them.

Elsewhere, several members of our community have been trying to drum up additional signatures to support the long-running BBC show ‘The Sky at Night’, which the BBC have recently suggested may be taken off-air. The Sky at Night is a show that inspired many people across multiple generations to take an interest in astronomy. If you would like to add your support to the thousands already petitioning to keep the show on-air, then you can do so by adding your signature to the following online petition.

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Reward Add-Ons: Last Orders

We are about to complete the final round of physical funding reward add-ons (t-shirts, mugs and prints). Please place your final orders by October 31st.  After this date, they will be removed from the available rewards packages.  We will be announcing a new retail channel for merchandise in due course.

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Once again we thank you for your continued support and enthusiasm for Elite: Dangerous!

Until next time..

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

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