Friday, 14 March 2014

ELITE: DANGEROUS shows off docking tutorial

Frontier Developments, the makers of Elite: Dangerous, have released a gameplay video showing how docking with space stations will work in the new game.



Veterans of the 30-year-old space trading series will know that docking has always been a tricky proposition in the series. The original Elite required careful lining up of the spacecraft with the docking port, matching rotation and slowly moving towards the station until the ship either successfully docked (about 20% of the time) or smashed into the docking bay walls at the last moment and exploded (the other 80%). It's rather notable that the sequels, Frontier and First Encounters, both made docking an automated affair to avoid the problem.

Elite: Dangerous returns to a manual docking approach and is easier, but requires the pilot to steer the ship to the correct docking bay inside the space station. You'll be able to buy docking computers later on to speed the process up, but they seem to have hit the right balance between making the game fun to play but not giving you everything on a plate.

Elite: Dangerous is tentatively scheduled for release later in the year, although don't be too surprised if there is a delay into 2015. The game's coming together impressively with each alpha iteration and trailer, but they've still got a little way to go.

3 comments:

Alex Walsh said...

This baffles me slightly as I would definitely want automatic docking if I ran a huge space station- logistically there would be no other sensible way of doing it. Human error would see space stations blowing up at regular intervals.

Adam Whitehead said...

The scale of the original game (which wasn't accurately represented in the game) was that the space stations were 8 miles along one hexagonal face and protected by powerful shields. A fully-laden freighter crashing into the station and blowing up wouldn't trouble it one iota.

But yeah, the sequels giving you the automatic pilot made more sense. It was just a bit more boring :)

Alex Walsh said...

Yeah I played the original on the Atari ST quite a lot (never made it passed "Dangerous" though). It would be irritating to have defeated a load of pirates only to crash into the sodding space station ten minutes later :-/