Elite: Dangerous – The most important sci-fi game no one is paying attention to

Let me paint a picture for you. You’re getting on a bit. Closer to death than you’d like to be, and you want to re-capture your youth. There are a few ways to do this, but the mid-life crisis has already passed you by. So what do you do?

Your youth was so long ago it feels like you were a part of the industrial revolution. You weren’t of course but as a kid you’d often find yourself down the arcade, throwing silver into giant joyous machines in the hope that your name was one day atop the leaderboard. When you got home, you’d greet your very own console as if it was a Ferrari. It wasn’t, it had less processing power than the average hipster’s fart.

The highlight of your youth was one game, and one game only. It was Elite. A space trading game that had you crossing the galaxy in graphics way ahead of its time. Please don’t look at it now, it looks completely shit, but this was the ’80s – 3D was out of this world.

You’re about to revisit your youth right now, because Elite: Dangerous is happening. David Braben, one of the original co-creators of the game is involved. He’s also one of the main people behind the Raspberry Pi Foundation. Responsible for a tiny computer that changed the way the world views computing, coding, etc. This guy is legit.

So what’s changed in 30 years? Well apart from the whole silicon boom, fashion, music, etc. 
You start off in a spaceship, with some money and decide what sort of person you want to be in a completely open galaxy. You can trade, partake in piracy (selling knock off DVDs), assassinate, bounty hunt, all the usual hijinx that you’d expect in a modern game, with an atypical good/bad balance at its helm. 

The galaxy is nothing special, just a 1:1 scale version of the Milky Way as accurately produced as possible with 400 billion star systems (150,000 of which are from real-world astronomical data). All the planets reacting as they should, in realtime with their own procedural generation determining day/night cycle, weather, moons location in relation to the planet, etc. according to well, science. NOTHING SPECIAL AT ALL. 

The game isn’t all space though. You can explore planets, hunt wildlife, and well other Elite players in this wild MMORPG. Now it’s no secret that Elite and Star Citizen bare a striking resemblence, and that’s likely because Star Citizen is a homage to Elite. Let the battle commence.

Elite: Dangerous is expected this year for whopping specced PCs, with updates to follow to the core game. There’s also talks of next gen ports.
Most importantly though the old amongst us can finally sit and play something that will recapture their youth without having to crawl into the loft to dig out a ZX Spectrum, only to be ridiculed by their horrible venomous family.

Published on October 26, 2014 at 4:23 pm
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