NeilF: Is David able to give us a hint if external views will be offered to fully enjoy the Elite universe? And what limitations they will have to ensure they do not give any game play (combat) advantage?
David Braben: External views can be quite distancing from the experience of being in a cockpit – it also begs the question as to where to display key ship information. It is something we have been looking at, though.
billyboblee: My brother and I are having loads of fun with premium beta, how long will it be until we can choose the same serve and go hunting together?
David Braben: You are all on the same servers now, but the players get arbitrarily split into islands. Matchmaking and friends lists are coming in the summer.
Commander Brix: Will there be pirate hideout stations in Elite Dangerous that are built from remains of old ships (like Anacondas), maybe even anchored to asteroids?
David Braben: We do plan a 'bottom of the range' station that is made from a melted-then-inflated asteroid (as featured on the recent cover of EDGE magazine).
David Jones: For a multi-player game I find it a bit odd there are so many reported ways the game will offer to hide players from one another. Are you concerned the multi-player side of the game is going to end up feeling like a singleplayer one?
David Braben: It is important that players enjoy the experience. We are writing this game for ourselves, and the fun of the game is the most important thing. Player-player encounters should be interesting, and part of this is the ability to hide – whether from other players or AIs.
Most of the ships you encounter will be AIs – and in many cases you will kill them – which is why we want the majority to be AIs. Generally speaking we expect players, even beginners, to be more of a challenge than an AI ship, and something that players will tend not to attack, but more cooperate with, and we are designing the bounty system (and others) to discourage PvP and encourage player cooperation.
Matt F: Given the success of the elite kickstarter would you consider something similar to allow you to complete "The Outsider" or another crowd funded game? (please finish elite first ;)
David Braben: We will of course finish Elite: Dangerous first, but crowd funding is something we would consider doing again.
Slawkenbergius: Has being situated in 'Silicon Fen' made any impact on Frontier as a games company, or on your career in general?
David Braben: Yes. Cambridge is a great place to both live and work. There is a thriving games community here, and of course the University. Frontier is hiring if you want to see what living and working in Cambridge is like ;-)
Chris: If so, My question is... How many of the features discussed in the original kickstarter videos will be present / achievable in Elite:dangerous. And which feature(s) are you and the team most looking forward to?
David Braben: I haven't gone through them again recently, but I think just about all of them will be present at release, with the exception of the elements we have called out for post release – like walking around ship interiors, landing on planet surfaces, big-game hunting etc, which we do intend to do, in time. I am most looking forwards to exploration, and encountering another player a thousand light years from Earth.
Toby: Will there be a Mac beta of Elite:Dangerous at all and thanks for the original Elite t-shirts, mine arrived today!
David Braben: There will be a beta at some point, but it will be after the PC beta, probably after the PC release.
Colonel Kenney: David thank you for rekindling our passion! Has your team come up with any sort of method to integrate the skybox into the galaxy map so that we can maybe put our hud into a type of "exploration mode" (Similar to supercruise)? SO we could point at a star from our cockpit have a context menu come up that will link us to the galaxy map data? Then maybe an option if within range to set as the current target?
David Braben: I'm not quite sure what you're asking for, but you will be able to select stars to jump to directly from the night sky.
Alexis: Any Information about the next patch? Thanks and you and your team keep your good work!
David Braben: Yes. The date for the next update will be announced announced shortly... ;-)
Guest: Congrats on the OBE, well deserverd!
David Braben: Thanks! Though it is really for everyone here at Frontier.
MikeSnos: Will the Sol System be in any of the Betas or will it be one of the last to be implemented?
David Braben: It will be late on, but it should be in there. (It is in now, just you cannot go there...)
Guest: Are the current planets placeholder in some way, the gas giants seem very bumpy.. is this because they only have one LOD implemented right now or is this meant to be like this?
David Braben: Planets (and other elements) have been getting better continuously. LODs are getting better too – though the gas giants ARE supposed to be bumpy. Those towering clouds are moving (slowly), much as we think they do in real life.
Guest: How has choosing kickstarter as a fundraiser altered the project and development?
David Braben: Developing in the public eye has been interesting, but in many ways a helpful experience. It helps us concentrate on the things that really matter to people.
Frank Leonhardt: Raspberry PI – why so complicated? Something with embedded BASIC (like a PET, Atom, Superboard, ZX-80 or… BBC Micro) would have been great for teaching the real fundamentals of programmer and controlling IO.
David Braben: True. If that's what you want you can boot into RiscOS, and run the excellent BBC BASIC.
John: Will the Thargoids make an appearance for the comercial release of the game, or before.
David Braben: They will be in there. Whether anyone finds them is another matter... ;-)
MikeSnos: Is Summer another word for 'soon' ;)
David Braben: ;-)
LevP: Hi David, will we have possibility to fine-tune ships? For example, maybe I want to sacrifice some speed for more cargo space.
David Braben: Yes. That's coming. You can swap out your drive for a smaller, less powerful, less capable one, increasing cargo space, or perhaps a more expensive more compact one of similar power – or sacrifice cargo and go for range and performance.
James Dean: What are the biggest changes you've made so far due to player feedback?
David Braben: Supercruise is probably the biggest change
Cmdr Wires: In the premium beta I have found smuggling of illegal goods surprisingly enjoyable, When can I expect to see a wider range of illegal products?
David Braben: Early in the beta, probably Beta 2.
Peteris Krisjanis: We have rainy clouds out here – so question is this – will systems have some kind of space weather? Some freak solar storm which can damage systems? Some unpredicted move from universe you can't really prepare for? :) Also we will see weather changes from space on planets (and later on landings)? Thunder storms, ciclons? :) And thanks David for making ED so amazing expierence.
David Braben: On planets (ie down the line) – yes, but not space weather (though who knows what happens in hyperspace...) ;-)
Alexis: Are there going to be an assist system to avoid kill-stealing?
David Braben: There is the concept of player alliances that should help with this.
David Jones: Notwithstanding REAL griefing why does the game design philosophy seem to biased against any kind of PvP? I enjoy co-op like you but I also love spontaneous sandbox PvP. Will this game be for me?
David Braben: Yes – you can PvP – you can even excel at it and become a notorious pirate, but bear in mind everyone wants to be the person to kill (and get the bounty for killing) a notorious pirate. Your location will be reported from time to time in the news feeds...
Alex Hamilton: Having seen my father play the original Elite and having played the original a fair amount now, how do you feel that players of the original versions will translate onto Dangerous? Aspects such as docking with the station and fuel scoops were quite an art, and this may put off new players, I'm relatively curious as to where the medium is set, thanks.
David Braben: There is plenty in there for players of Elite (or Frontier or First Encounters) to get their teeth into. Docking and Fuel Scoops are already in, and are an acquired skill.
Martin Jenkins: Hello, no console war wanted! Original Elite was eventually ported to all platforms. I am really hoping that Elite: Dangerous will eventually make it to PS4 etc. – and if that happens I would like to use my kickstarter £90 level to buy PS4 version (next year, or year after, whatever) rather than needing to buy a windows PC on which to play it. Is it possible to provide some feedback?
David Braben: Frontier has our own tools and technology that covers PC, Mac, consoles and mobile, so we would be foolish not to look at other platforms. We haven't announced specific platforms yet, but it is clearly something we will plan to do.
Steve T: Will the "matchmaking" process also put people of similar internet speeds in the same instances to avoid the current rubber banding issues?
David Braben: We are working to address those issues already, and you should see improvements throughout the beta. Matchmaking would be our last line of defence, so we are considering it – but we want to make sure we do our best for those with low bandwidth too – and they will still want to play with their friends.
James Dean: Several third-party tools have appeared to help with trading in Elite Dangerous; are Frontier happy for these to exist past release? Will the market information be available via an API?
David Braben: A public API is something we have considered for post release, but we need to balance this with the potential exploits.
Commander Sam: Will you be putting OBE on the end of your commander name, in game? (Congratulations BTW)
David Braben: No!
Cmdr. Kerrash: Hi David, I am really interested in what you may be able to inject into the game in the future to keep the procedurally generated content fresh and varied?
David Braben: We will keep most such things secret, but things like famines, rebellions, and general progress (building new stations etc) will be there.
Colonel Kenney: A similar shorter version of the question would be – I've always dreamed of being able to look up at a star and instantly have all the data available about it instantly. Will we have such a feature in our HUD eventually?
David Braben: For the adjacent stars, you can get most of the info from the galactic map. It will become cumbersome to do it on the night sky (though we will think about it), but the other important thing is that many of those systems are unexplored, so the data (ie details on planets etc) will only available if an explorer has first gone there, scanned the system, and returned safely to register it.
Photosensitive: There have been a number of people on the forums recently looking for the difficulty of elite to be tones down, and obviously a number of people who like it exactly they way it is; how as a developer do you go about balancing these 2 view points? PS: i like the almost dark souls in space aspect to the game.
David Braben: There are some elements to the difficulty we will address. For example if you mess up docking the damage is especially cruel as the station slowly rotates back into your ship, doing further damage. This is coming soon. Trading is also slowly being balanced to make it more cash generative.
Other elements are because of the choices you might make – so travelling through a busy anarchic system will always be hard and dangerous. Core systems will be a lot safer, and easier. Fitting your ship with great shields and powerful weapons will give you a major edge too.
Tapout: Is the net code one of the largest challenges facing the dev team?
David Braben: The network code is indeed a big challenge, probably the largest, but that's not to say the other challenges aren't pretty big!
Frank Leonhardt: Third try: Why was the Raspberry PI so complicated, with Linux and X-Window? Something with embedded BASIC would have been great for teaching the real fundamentals of programming and interfacing to external devices.
David Braben: Yes, but you can boot the Raspberry Pi into a special version of RiscOS and BBC BASIC.
Colonel Kenney: This doesn't need to be answered. My point about information on stars in the hud is that we would only be able to pull up data on stars that are within an acceptable range and pull up info. It sort of randomizes the "exploration spirit" of the game. Such as I have a cargo full of food, I'm looking at the night sky click on a star that is industrial lets go there. It is an adventurer's spirit to just explore a random nearby star. Or to just spend time in the hud alone looking at the different stars. Trying to see where Earth is right now is difficult to find except from galaxy map. Thanks for your time !Never mind Star Citizen, Destiny and Eve, there's a million space shooters all vying for our attention in 2014 / 2015. Was there some kind of zeitgeist, where everyone got singularly sick and tired of COD / GTA sequels? So how will DB ensure his latest offering stays float in this space barrage?
David Braben: Elite: Dangerous will, and I think does already, stand out from those other games. It is an open world space game. It is what we all want, and I look forwards to playing them, but they are very different. Notionally Mass Effect, Dead Space, Halo etc etc could all be space shooters, but they are very different.
James Dean: We've heard the 400 billion systems figure a lot – but how many populated systems will there be in the initial release?
David Braben: Human space is around 100,000 systems – with a larger halo of relatively uninhabited frontier systems around them – and many of the systems in human space without anything particularly remarkable there. The 400 billion number is for the immense galaxy.
Commander Brix: I had a lot of problems configuring the game with all the buttons (hard to remember them all) I even bought a HOTAS Joystick for it (still having problems to map them all). In flight the game seems to be heavily on the simulation side – Will there be simplifications for the more casual gamer?
David Braben: Yes – many of the sub-systems are only there for those who want that level of control (like the power distribution) and work fine if you don't use them.
Paul B: Hi David, SLI and Cross-Fire are mostly non-functional in ED at present, when could we realistically expect to see this kind of code optimisation?
David Braben: You're correct. We are just starting to look at optimisations now, and SLI will come too, but once we have the big performance wins first. For performance increases 'soon', for SLI, 'later'... Sorry to be vague.
CMDR Yan: When time for walking around comes, have you a solution to the age old problem of the boring conversation tree?
David Braben: Yes, but we're not talking about it yet.
Commander Sam: Do you think you'll be able to optimise the game to run faster with an Oculus Rift? You mentioned that at E3 that you were using a titan with a DK2, which is a pretty expensive bit of kit. Or is VR just so demanding we're all going to need to upgrade.
David Braben: The Titan gets 75 fps on a dual 1080p display on a DK2. Further optimisations will come, so yes that will help a good deal.
Athanasius: David, did you ever hear about some research done at The University of Birmingham in the early 90s to do with military cockpit layout/seating that used the BBC Model B version of Elite? I took part in it!
David Braben: Interesting. No. I did hear of a cockpit study NASA did, where the controls were activated by looking at them (VR style). Apparently it was very stressful as pilots tried very hard not to look at controls that might have nasty consequences – like the ejector seat!
Paul B: Is there a concern that the multiple ways of experiencing ED (Single player, group play and all-in MP) is going to fracture the player base, diluting the MP experience?
David Braben: I hope not. I'd like it if everyone played all-in.
Ben: Will there be area's such as low security star systems to where you cannot hide from players at will, and thus will be more "Dangerous" and rewarding?
David Braben: Those with no governments. We have an anarchic system in the Premium Beta already...
Philip: David, have you been surprised at the strength and creativity of the Elite community? I'm thinking in particular of things like Lavecon, Lave radio and all the other stuff that has sprung up since the kickstarter finished.
David Braben: Yes. It is great!
Eric Doyle: How involved are you now with Raspberry Pi and how important is it to get schools involved with coding? What value does it bring beyond being a skill
David Braben: I am still regularly involved. I go to board meetings every month, and communicate daily via email.
In my opinion it is important to 'put something back'. I was very lucky when I was a teenager that the Acorn Atom, then BBC Micro were available. Without them, learning to program would have been much harder (and more expensive) and I doubt I would have done it so early.
Pryrios: When you say we will walk inside ships and stations, are you thinking in first person view or third person view over the shoulder? If it's third person view, are you planning on doing some character creator to make different characters for players?
David Braben: First person.
Springy: Hi David, I was wondering if the game will work with TrackIR whilst we await consumer models of the Oculus Rift?
David Braben: Yes. It already (since Alpha 1.2) works with Oculus Rift, and Track IR.