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Elite Looks Set To Make a Comeback

timothy posted about a year ago | from the kicking-and-alive dept.

Games 113

realxmp writes "After many years in the wilderness, the BBC is reporting that the next sequel to Elite is in the works. After a long Kickstarter campaign, which squeaked through to its target in the last two days, the project was funded and soon many old gamers will be able to relive the joys of exploring the galaxy in what was one of the earliest space trading games."

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113 comments

$2.2 million to develop a modern PC/Console game? (0)

crazyjj (2598719) | about a year ago | (#42461675)

I presume that's just the startup costs. Otherwise, it seems a little low to me. I mean, if they're going to stay among the elite in the genre today, they're going to have to compete with EVE Online and X3.

Re:$2.2 million to develop a modern PC/Console gam (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42461803)

You do not understand. You probably never played Elite. It's *nothing* like any "modern" space sim. Anyway, you could have a team of 20 people working full time for a year and buy some equipment to work on (which is all you need if you already have a company) and have no problems paying everything. Sounds enough to develop this game.

Re:$2.2 million to develop a modern PC/Console gam (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42463669)

Is Vendetta Online not pretty close to a modern version of Elite (and it runs on a ton of OS's.)

Re:$2.2 million to develop a modern PC/Console gam (1)

zlives (2009072) | about a year ago | (#42463919)

Elite servers are free after the initial buy in, game can be played without ever going online, online multiplay is an option with rules you can setup,
plus a plethora of other differences and...
the biggest reason is the team building the product

Re:$2.2 million to develop a modern PC/Console gam (5, Informative)

Pecisk (688001) | about a year ago | (#42461855)

Eve Online is click and point rolling dice game. In Elite and Elite: Dangerous you have actually to fly ship. There's actual collitions, you can damage many parts of the ship and it changes accordingly. Planets are real physical objects. In extenstions there's planned walking on planets and around space stations.

Also there won't be lot of hand crafted things (thus costs will be smaller than imagined for scope of the game) - most of stuff will be proceduralrly generated. And as Elite first did use this concept to keep game's universe big in small memory, I trust David will pull this off again. See this update http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1461411552/elite-dangerous/posts/349783 [kickstarter.com] for more information.

As for money - yes, it's just nominal startup costs for core game. Lot of stuff will be in updates (free for game owners) and extentions (those will be longer in development and will cost accordingly more).

Still, it's biggest game Kickstarter for now, in goal and soon in total (for now it's still SC).

Re:$2.2 million to develop a modern PC/Console gam (2)

lazarus (2879) | about a year ago | (#42464047)

Eve Online is click and point rolling dice game. In Elite and Elite: Dangerous you have actually to fly ship.

Wow. Two comments about this.

1. If you are saying they are two different games so they will appeal to different audiences I'm afraid you may be mistaken. Eve is very much based on the work that came before it (Elite, and Homeworld) and that particular genre of game is going to (and does) appeal to a very specific audience. Elite is going to be competing with Eve. If it can't, then it will die, and no amount of hoping it's something different will change that.

2. Eve (if the developers are to be believed) has the rolling dice mechanic you sited for practical network bandwidth, latency, and rendering reasons. The idea is that the client knows the parameters of every ship in the game and knows what commands are given to every ship and only transmits those commands to all of the other clients on-grid which subsequently renders them correctly. What Elite wants to do is allow you to fly the ship free-form. Fine, but that is a lot more information to transmit to each and every client on-grid (because you end up transmitting real-time coordinates). Good luck. Once Elite has 1000+ ship space battles with the mechanic you site as superior you may come back here and gloat. I suspect what you are able to do in-game will end up having to be artificially limited out of necessity and probably sold to you as a feature or design element.

I used to play Elite. I used to play Homeworld. I play Eve. And I sincerely hope to play Elite: Dangerous. But Elite will be competing with Eve for my monthly dollars, and they have some serious architectural challenges ahead of them.

Re:$2.2 million to develop a modern PC/Console gam (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | about a year ago | (#42464363)

Eve is very much based on the work that came before it (Elite, and Homeworld) and that particular genre of game is going to (and does) appeal to a very specific audience. Elite is going to be competing with Eve.

That's not true. Having looked at Eve previously I have no desire to play it. I'm very keen to play Elite though. They are not the same audience.

What Elite wants to do is allow you to fly the ship free-form. Fine, but that is a lot more information to transmit to each and every client on-grid (because you end up transmitting real-time coordinates). Good luck. Once Elite has 1000+ ship space battles

None of the realtime MMORPGs are stopped by this challenge.

Re:$2.2 million to develop a modern PC/Console gam (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42465161)

None of the realtime MMORPGs are stopped by this challenge.

Perhaps I'm out of the loop, but can you tell me which MMO has 1k v 1k combat, or anything even remotely similar?

WoW does not. GW2 does not (go into WvW with a small force and you have magically disappearing friends and enemies). DAOC never did (just a few animists and everyone was lagged to shit). I suppose you can rate Planetside an MMO; it does not.

Re:$2.2 million to develop a modern PC/Console gam (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42468379)

Ever play [darkspace.net] Darkspace [slashdot.org]? It's been a while since I played it, I didn't like the 2 dimentional space battle in simulated 3D space (All movement was restricted to x,y movements, eliminating the z plane), but they have the Metaverse option of play which essentially had thousands of players online at a time and could interact in real time, all a player had to do was perform an in-game FTL jump from one Solar System(server) to another to meet up with Allies or intercept Enemies in that system.

Simple point is that there are ways of providing supermassive simultaneous gameplay and a Metaverse setup is only one of those ways.

Re:$2.2 million to develop a modern PC/Console gam (1)

horza (87255) | about a year ago | (#42468339)

That's not true. Having looked at Eve previously I have no desire to play it. I'm very keen to play Elite though. They are not the same audience.

I briefly tried Eve but also found it uninteresting. However Vendetta Online looks fantastic. If I actually had time to play games, this is the one I would be sinking hours into. It looks remarkably similar to the proposed Elite. I cannot understand why no comparisons to Vendetta are being made?

Phillip.

Re:$2.2 million to develop a modern PC/Console gam (1)

KZigurs (638781) | about a year ago | (#42466019)

The whole concept of 1k v 1k battles is just one of the things that put me off eve outright. Sure, there will be gaming addicts happy to pay for subscription in exchange of grinding for 5 hours every night, but I guess I'm not the dollars these games will ever hope to get.

Re:$2.2 million to develop a modern PC/Console gam (2)

lazarus (2879) | about a year ago | (#42466637)

So, I am not a big Eve fanboy (even though I do play), and I have criticized it publicly here on slashdot before (as SimCity in space (which has limited appeal)). And I would love to have good competition in the genre. But (and not to try to be an asshole here), your description of Eve misses the mark of what it is and if the concept you describe has put you off it may be you've misunderstood it from the outset.

You've probably heard it described as a sandbox. That is what it is. I've never seen a 1k x 1k battle, and frankly I've never seen more than a half dozen ships duking it out at a time, and I have never participated in any such battles of any size. What you do and what you see is your choice (that is the point). Elite (the original) had the concept of the sandbox insomuch as there were markets and systems and what you did in the universe was entirely up to you. I hope the games are similar in that way. The point I was making about the OP's remarks was where that sandbox breaks down, and my supposition is that Elite will put limits on the sandbox out of necessity because of the game mechanic the OP was espousing.

You do not ever have to grind in Eve (unlike most MMORPGs which require it to progress). In terms of ability Eve progression is done in real-time (the longer you are a subscriber the more you can progress), but again, in what skills you progress is a decision you can make for yourself. There is no "dps/tank/support" tracks and you should really choose just one or you're going to be lame, etc. There are hundreds if not thousands of skills and they affect how you perform in whichever of the hundreds of ships you choose to pilot, or industries you choose to get into or occupations you try to excel at.

It's not a grind, but it *IS* another job... :)

Is Elite going to excel at gameplay and also at the sandbox? I hope so, but I fear the challenges are huge. I agree with everyone here who has said that it is not enough money (or time). Eve is still working at getting the balance just right and they've been doing it for 10 years.

Re:$2.2 million to develop a modern PC/Console gam (1)

PhilHibbs (4537) | about a year ago | (#42467705)

... And I sincerely hope to play Elite: Dangerous. But Elite will be competing with Eve for my monthly dollars, and they have some serious architectural challenges ahead of them.

No it won't. There won't be any monthly fees for Elite: Dangerous.

Re:$2.2 million to develop a modern PC/Console gam (1)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | about a year ago | (#42468171)

But Elite will be competing with Eve for my monthly dollars, and they have some serious architectural challenges ahead of them.
It wont compete for me. Ofc I will play Elite. And after a time I will see if it is worth it or not and perhaps switch back to Eve.

Eve is unfortunately in its game mechanics just like WoW. Everything you do is covered by some "magic". None of the attributes your ships or your weapons have make any sense (in terms of physic laws). I personally find it incredible hard to play, I can not switch of my "natural feeling for physics" and commit myself to the game mechanics. I died like 2 dozens of times trying to go through a jump gate, until I realized there is some "agression timer" which does not allow you to use the gate, how retarded is that? (Yeah, the game says so, with a small text box, which is gone after a tenth of a second, so you never can read it under stress) ... There are dozens more of such retarded game mechanics you only realize when you die and complain in corp chat and everyone tells you: you are a moron (because they expect you to know that bullshit).

Frankly, a new Elite, especially if it will be multi player or even MMO like, will be 'just the game' we old geeks look for ...

Re:$2.2 million to develop a modern PC/Console gam (1)

zlives (2009072) | about a year ago | (#42464089)

Star citizen i think made it to over 7million dollars...
i funded both
go games :)

Braben & Science (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42468527)

It was a little disturbing to hear David Braben on Ubuntu Podcast as a Guest - Answer a light speed question completly wrong.
One would have though - of all people - he would be knowledgable about such things......

After all these years - It seems all he has is a few ideas that have been kicking around - that he has decided to try and wedge into a rushed kickstarter project.
No years of pollish. No dynamic cities like we were expecting from the Hitman failed project. Perhaps a few factions as staple fair but nothing new to the table.

Sorry - I don't have much faith in the quality of this kickstarter - Or even DB now.

Re:$2.2 million to develop a modern PC/Console gam (3, Informative)

clark0r (925569) | about a year ago | (#42461861)

If you read the BBC article you will see that development has already started. The funding is to complete the development.
"Although some early work on the multiplayer title had been done at Mr Braben's game studio Frontier Developments, but needed the cash to turn the code into a finished playable product. If the game did not hit its funding target then development work would stop."

Re:$2.2 million to develop a modern PC/Console gam (2)

slim (1652) | about a year ago | (#42462417)

£1.3M is what they've got in Kickstarter pledges. I'm sure that won't be their only source of investment.

Now they can go to a publisher, an angel investor, or a business bank and say '22,500 people were excited enough to back us on Kickstarter, to the tune of almost £60/head on average . Give us an advance and you can be our publisher. Invest some money and you can be a shareholder. Lend us some money and you can have some confidence we'll be good for it."

Elite: Dangerous kickstarter is still open (4, Informative)

InspectorGadget (149784) | about a year ago | (#42461773)

So you can still jump on board if you want to.
There are (as of right now) 33 hours left to go.
And I wouldn't say squeaked through - people are still funding the project, and there is a healthy overshoot of the funding goal.

Can't wait (1)

clark0r (925569) | about a year ago | (#42461783)

I played the original Elite on the BBC Micro and the Amstrad CPC 464/6128. I absolutely loved it. The only thing that was missing for me was an online mode where you could do battle against your friends, or team up and kick some Thargoid ass in witch space. I can't wait.

early effective DMR (1)

radiumsoup (741987) | about a year ago | (#42461823)

as long as I don't have to break out that little red prism thing you held up to the screen to unlock the game (C64 version, dunno if the others had something similar), I'm all in. I lost that thing about 3 months after I had the game, and I only ever got to jump galaxies once.

Re:early effective DMR (1)

clark0r (925569) | about a year ago | (#42461839)

Didn't exist on the BBC or Amstrad platforms, thank god. I did have to use those to play Total Eclipse though, and some days I gave up before getting into the damn game!

Re:early effective DMR (1)

91degrees (207121) | about a year ago | (#42462035)

Wasn't on my copy of the C64 game. Maybe they stopped including it because it was so annoying.

Re:early effective DMR (1)

mrbester (200927) | about a year ago | (#42463553)

The PC version had you type in a word from the manual. I got a cracked version so it always passed no matter what you typed.

FYI: David's "Elite: Dangerous" reddit AMA (3, Informative)

Pecisk (688001) | about a year ago | (#42461877)

For people with lot of questions and doubts about this game, check out reddit AMA, he is already there and gives answers http://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/15od2s/i_am_david_braben_cocreator_of_elite_creator_of/ [reddit.com]

Also check out updates section on Kickstarter which has lots of videos, dev diaries, concept arts, renders http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1461411552/elite-dangerous/posts [kickstarter.com]

X3: Terran Conflict vs Elite: Dangerous (1)

7bit (1031746) | about a year ago | (#42463263)

I just have to ask; How is the new Elite going to be significantly different from a game like X3 Terran Conflict? It might be easier and faster for him to just license and reskin the X3 engine.

http://www.egosoft.com/games/x3tc/screenshots_en.php [egosoft.com]

Re:X3: Terran Conflict vs Elite: Dangerous (1)

Lonewolf666 (259450) | about a year ago | (#42463591)

X3 player here. I think the X series is great but has its own engine limits. For instance, no procedural generation and weak AI. Also, some people on the modding forums claim that the architecture is a bit convoluted ;-)

Egosoft (the development studio behind X3) has spent much of the time since X3 Terran Conflict on building a new engine for the successor to X3. Maybe that would be an interesting starting point - after the game is released and works well.

For those who can't wait... (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42461931)

You can play the FOSS version right now OOLITE [oolite.org]
Have fun, it is an awesome game.

Re:For those who can't wait... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42462433)

VegaStrike (vegastrike.sourceforge.net) is better, in fact it is my favorite.

Re:For those who can't wait... (1)

PhilHibbs (4537) | about a year ago | (#42468351)

I just tried it. I didn't get on well with it. Clunky user interface, cartoony animation, not my cup of tea.

Procedural Magick (4, Informative)

dryriver (1010635) | about a year ago | (#42461943)

The brilliant thing about Braben's original ELITE was that he managed to squeeze a huge, open, varied, explorable 3D universe into 32/48/64 Kb of RAM on early 8-bit computers. He also had to publish the game himself - the big game publishers of the time wanted ELITE to have "waves of enemies, short levels, collectable powerups, 3 player lives", because that was the formula popular side-scrolling space games like R-TYPE used. Braben refused to do that - it flew in the face of the 3D space sim he was building - and thus ELITE became the first space game to feature realtime 3D wireframe graphics and break the "R-TYPE" space-game formula. Many people consider David Braben to be something of a gamedesign pioneer and genius. If Braben hasn't lost his touch, the new ELITE: DANGEROUS should wind up being a seriously impressive Space Trading/Exploration/Combat game. ---- For those who prefer action to trading and exploration, there is always "Star Citizen", a Wing Commander sequel made by Chris Roberts. That game will feature high-end CryEngine 3 graphics, and will be all about space combat.

Re:Procedural Magick (4, Insightful)

Sockatume (732728) | about a year ago | (#42462021)

To be fair, a decent number of the "big game publishers of the time" were just guys like him who had been sufficiently successful selling their own games to publish those of others. It wasn't a David-and-Goliath scenario: the world of mainstream gaming at that time had more in common with today's indie gaming.

Which is, of course, the great thing about indie gaming today.

Re:Procedural Magick (1)

slim (1652) | about a year ago | (#42462789)

He didn't publish it himself. Acornsoft licensed the original BBC Micro version, and after that was successful, Firebird picked up the ports to other platforms.

The procedural map generation is a cool hack to get over the lack of memory, but far from the most technically difficult thing they did. It'd make a somewhat interesting homework project for a beginner programmer -- write a small, fast PRNG and massage the output into pronounceable planet names and attributes.

The 3D wireframe graphics were the more impressive aspect - with a more impressive framerate than many 2D games.

I think the absence of hardware sprite rendering on the BBC might be part of the reason for this. On the C64, for example, sprite based games were the natural option because the hardware lent itself to it.

Re:Procedural Magick (3, Insightful)

Joehonkie (665142) | about a year ago | (#42462801)

Are you trying to say R-Type, which came out in 1987 in the arcade, was the model that Elite, which came out in 1984 for a home computer, had to compete with?

Re:Procedural Magick (1)

Rogerborg (306625) | about a year ago | (#42463703)

Now now, it's rather churlish to insist on remembering history the way it actually happened, rather than the way that it should have happened.

Re:Procedural Magick (1)

BeaverCleaver (673164) | about a year ago | (#42469443)

To be fair, the OP said "games _like_ R-TYPE," probably because this might be a more familiar title to a broader audience, which makes it easier and faster to explain the OP's point. If you prefer, you can mentally substitute Acornsoft's Rocket Raid, which came out in about 1982, and ran on the BBC32, just like Elite.

Re:Procedural Magick (2)

Simon Brooke (45012) | about a year ago | (#42463119)

The brilliant thing about Braben's original ELITE was that he managed to squeeze a huge, open, varied, explorable 3D universe into 32/48/64 Kb of RAM on early 8-bit computers. He also had to publish the game himself - the big game publishers of the time wanted ELITE to have "waves of enemies, short levels, collectable powerups, 3 player lives", because that was the formula popular side-scrolling space games like R-TYPE used. Braben refused to do that - it flew in the face of the 3D space sim he was building - and thus ELITE became the first space game to feature realtime 3D wireframe graphics and break the "R-TYPE" space-game formula.

Remember that on the BBC at any rate that 32K included the screen memory. There were some beautifully subtle tricks played with the BBC video system to get the game to run. The original BBC 6502 version of Elite must be about the tightest and most elegant piece of code out there anywhere, and it is in thankful memory of the months of enjoyment I got out of that game that I contributed to the Kickstarter. If the new version is no better than the original, it will still be an exceptionally good game.

Re:Procedural Magick (1)

Dr_Barnowl (709838) | about a year ago | (#42464247)

The original game is no longer compelling and doesn't really stand up well against games from systems with more capacity.

It was groundbreaking and amazing at the time, from a 9 year old child's eyes. But even then the combat became laughably simple after you upgraded your ship.

Re:Procedural Magick (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | about a year ago | (#42464535)

It was groundbreaking and amazing at the time, from a 9 year old child's eyes.

I was 19 at the time, and it was groundbreaking and amazing to my eyes too. And the eyes of every computer geek at the time that saw it. No need to limit it to 9 year olds.

But yes, it's no longer rewarding to play today, with eyes that have seen more modern games.

Re:Procedural Magick (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | about a year ago | (#42464667)

Yes, they changed screen more 3/4 way down the screen, from monochrome square pixels for the wireframe, to oblong pixels with 4 colours for the dashboard.

They hung a routine off the VSync interrupt, that changed the screen to mode 4, and set up a timer in the 6522 VIA chip. When the timer expired, it kicked off another interrupt service routine that changed the screen mode to mode 5.

Clever stuff for the time. I wonder if Acorn helped them with that, as no one had done it before.

Re:Procedural Magick (1)

PhilHibbs (4537) | about a year ago | (#42468449)

They hung a routine off the VSync interrupt, that changed the screen to mode 4, and set up a timer in the 6522 VIA chip. When the timer expired, it kicked off another interrupt service routine that changed the screen mode to mode 5.

Clever stuff for the time. I wonder if Acorn helped them with that, as no one had done it before.

Revs did a very similar thing, but I don't know which was released first, they were both in 1984. Revs stored some data in the top quarter of the screen buffer and did a timer interrupt to redefine all the colours to blue in the top quarter and then back to their proper colours in the remainder so that you wouldn't see the data as pixels.

Re:Procedural Magick (1)

Rary (566291) | about a year ago | (#42464795)

As I understand it, the way he got the huge universe into such a small space was by not actually storing it at all. The universe was randomly generated, but it used a hardcoded seed value so that it always generated the same universe. Pretty cool if you ask me.

It's still open and they will do a Mac/Linux port (1)

Omnifarious (11933) | about a year ago | (#42461963)

They will do a Mac/Linux port if they reach £1,400,000. I never played the original Elite, and I'm really curious as to how the procedurally generated stuff mixes with the ability of players to affect the game universe.

Re:It's still open and they will do a Mac/Linux po (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42462393)

Yeah, will be interesting to see if they get a sudden burst of new funding as they get near the £1.4mill mark, as all the Linux players who jump on board. I for one wouldn't bother to contribute until there was a guarantee of a Linux port.

Re:It's still open and they will do a Mac/Linux po (1)

slim (1652) | about a year ago | (#42462907)

I never played the original Elite, and I'm really curious as to how the procedurally generated stuff mixes with the ability of players to affect the game universe.

I did play it, a lot. My guess is that the procedural generation produced the starting state, and it stored a delta. The only thing you could affect was your own status (criminal/clean, and number of kills, your cargo and your armoury) and market prices on the planets where you traded. It definitely felt as if you could skew a market by buying or selling in quantity, repeatedly.

Everything else is happens dynamically based on that. If you're a criminal, you'll get cops and bounty hunters coming for you. If you go to lawless planets with a valuable cargo, you'll get pirates, and so on.

Elite: Dangerous will be a lot more sophisticated, of course.

Re:It's still open and they will do a Mac/Linux po (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | about a year ago | (#42464719)

It definitely felt as if you could skew a market by buying or selling in quantity, repeatedly.

Wishful thinking is all. Once you hyperspaced on, all market prices were forgotten. There wasn't memory available to remember them.

Best space game (1)

Noctis-Kaban (2758815) | about a year ago | (#42461989)

It was the best space game, particularly for its time. I just wish it wasn't so dated, If they do even a half decent job at capturing the original and maybe putting in a half-decent story then I'll be more than happy to throw my money at them. I firmly believe though, that they should shun multiplayer until they have at least developed the graphics engine. I would much prefer to see an GREAT single player space game like freelancer than something that turns out more like Eve (says the guy with two eve accounts).

Re:Best space game (1)

Lonewolf666 (259450) | about a year ago | (#42463777)

The graphics engine seems to be done, as there are some demo videos on the website of Frontier Development (http://elite.frontier.co.uk/ [frontier.co.uk]). My impression is that the graphics quality does not quite reach that of an AAA game, but is good enough.

Re:Best space game (1)

PhilHibbs (4537) | about a year ago | (#42468541)

If they do even a half decent job at capturing the original and maybe putting in a half-decent story then I'll be more than happy to throw my money at them.

Why does it need a story?

I played it back in the day.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42462081)

I would hope they would update it considerably, as I have no desire to shoot polygons in space...

I made the pledge which took them over 1.25m :-) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42462201)

As subject :-)

I tried to get a screengrab, but the counter auto-updates and did so before I grabbed.

Lather, rinse, repeat (2)

DerekLyons (302214) | about a year ago | (#42462441)

soon many old gamers will be able to relive the joys of exploring the galaxy in what was one of the earliest space trading games

And people wonder why Hollywood sticks with sequels, prequels, re-makes, and re-imaginings. They shouldn't - it's where the money is.

Re:Lather, rinse, repeat (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42464137)

It's a reimagining - Braben and Bell had envisioned a much richer, larger, lively experience in 1984 but there were lots of limitations. Now Braben can make a lot more of their original idea happen.

Re:Lather, rinse, repeat (1)

MrNiceguy_KS (800771) | about a year ago | (#42468341)

It's a reimagining - Braben and Bell had envisioned a much richer, larger, lively experience in 1984 but there were lots of limitations. Now Braben can make a lot more of their original idea happen.

Not to scare anyone, but hasn't George Lucas said this about a hundred times?

Re:Lather, rinse, repeat (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42464475)

the remake has to be a better retelling other wise it should not happen.
Elite is not being remade for money reasons alone as HW and certain game publishers tend to do.

Re:Lather, rinse, repeat (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42464841)

To me remakes and sequals are forgivable or even to be encouraged in either of the following cases:

1. Significant time has passed so a remake will appeal to new players who never experienced the original while rekindling nostalgia in the older ones.
2. Technology has improved, enabling a better game than the original. (more depth, simulation, AI etc... Eye-candy does NOT count)

What kind of game is it? (1)

Daetrin (576516) | about a year ago | (#42462489)

For those of us who aren't familiar with the original Elite (and can't check it out on Kickstarter because we're lazy or at work) what kind of game is it exactly?

Is it a turn based game like Tradewars 2002? Or is it a real time flight sim like Wing Commander or X-Wing with economics and upgradeable ships?

If it's the former i'll definitely jump in at the last minute. I loved TW2002 in high school. If it's the later... well i liked X-Wing, but i'm not convinced about the marriage of that type of game to an economic sim. (I've tried out the X series and some similar games on Steam, but the controls kind of sucked and i never got into them at all.)

Re:What kind of game is it? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42462689)

Turn in your geek card RIGHT NOW

Re:What kind of game is it? (1, Insightful)

Daetrin (576516) | about a year ago | (#42463309)

"Turn in your geek card RIGHT NOW"

Ahh yes, it's not enough to have played Tradewars 2002, SRE, BRE, Legend of the Red Dragon, Star Control 2, SimCity, Civilization, MoO, MoM, X-Wing, Ultima, Bard's Tale, Might and Magic, Final Fantasy, Chrono Trigger, Seiken Densetsu, and more other series than i care to list at this point (or can even really remember.) The fact that i haven't played this one single 20+ year old game means that i have irretrievably lost all geek credibility. And having publicly admitted to the lack, instead of encouraging me to make up for that gap in my experience clearly the only possible course of action is to tell me to get the hell out of the club. And one wonders why geeks have a less than sterling reputation in some circles?

Re:What kind of game is it? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42463849)

I would suggest you turn in your geek card for your inability to not be dumb. Instead of listing a bunch of old games you have played you could have looked up what kind of game Elite was.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elite_(video_game)

You are on the internet.

Also: if you're trying to impress people with your game knowledge don't put stuff like SimCity, Civ or three different Square series. Those were all immensely popular titles and having played them doesn't make you a geek. My grandma has played Civ 2: Call to Power.

Re:What kind of game is it? (3, Insightful)

Daetrin (576516) | about a year ago | (#42470343)

First of all, i actually started out loading up the wikipedia article on Elite. I spent about 30 seconds skimming it without seeing anything that obviously said "real time sim" vs "turn based sim" before deciding i could instead, i dunno, start a discussion about it with the other people on slashdot. I'm sure i would have found what i was looking for if i'd spent longer at it, but aside from the first AC and yourself everyone else here has been polite and informative and i (and anyone else who had the same question and came across the thread after me) have learned far more from them than i would have learned from just reading the full wikipedia page.

As for the rest, really? You think there's some different set of games that _is_ especially impressive? If i'd played more obscure things and less popular stuff i would have more geek cred in your eyes? That's... rather sad actually.

What i've played isn't impressive, and i'm sure isn't really any more or less geeky than what anyone else here has likely played. All my list "proves" is that i've played a number of games, so by any reasonable standard whether any one particular game is in the list or not ought to be entirely irrelevant.

The whole "turn in your geek card" thing was kind of amusing back at the beginning, when people just used it for things like Star Wars and Star Trek. But the idea has become much more insidious since then. People are actually grading people on their geekiness in real life on a pass/fail basis. Most recently a lot of males have been trying to eject female geeks from geekdom because they supposedly don't measure up. The geeky things they do aren't geeky enough because of... reasons.

You yourself are aptly demonstrating the trait. Have you considered the possibility that maybe your grandma _is_ a geek? I don't know her so i can't say, but just from what you've said she already sounds a lot geekier than a lot of the other grandmas i've heard about. But on the other hand even if she clearly isn't a geek, how does her having played a game in the Civilization genre make that genre less geeky? Did it get grandma-cooties when she touched it? Despite your claims Civilization is pretty damn geeky. Take a look at Sullla's pages about Civilization [garath.net] and the incredibly complex succession and internet games he's participated in, and his rants about the failings of Civilization 5 [garath.net] and just try to claim that he and the other people like him aren't geeks.

Or is the problem less with your grandma and more with it being "immensely popular"? But you know what? The Avengers movie was pretty immensely popular too. Has that made the Avengers, or comics in general, less geeky than they were before? Or are you just cherry-picking attributes so you can deny geekdom to whoever you happen to disagree with? Are you viewing geekdom, whether consciously or not, as some kind of private club whose value only increases the smaller the membership is, necessitating you do your best to keep all the "noobs" out?

Maybe it's not a conscious process, but i've seen the same thing happening to a lot of geeky conventions. Many of the old SF conventions are starting to die out. In at least one of those cases i know for a fact that it's because a decade ago or so a decision was made to purposefully demphasize anime, ie "that new fangled stuff those damn young whippersnappers watch." So those "damn kids" went and started their own con (with anime, and hookers, and blackjack! Okay, maybe just the anime) which has gotten bigger every year, while the original con has gotten smaller, and the demographics noticeably older, every year since.

Being elitist and alienating new fans (whether intentional or not) only just hurts the group in the long run. Other conventions (ComicCon and DragonCon being pretty prominent examples) have said "you kids have some new thing you are geeeky about? Why don't you show us, and we'll show you the things that we find geeky and then we can be geeky together!" Those cons have grown to a ridiculous extent, and i at least feel the result has been good for everyone. (Except for the damn crowds and all the rooms and tickets selling out of course. But far better that than a long, slow, drawn-out death.) For that matter, look at PAX, arguably one of the geekiest conventions out there, founded on something that a lot of the "older" conventions pretty much ignore.

This post probably seems like an overreaction, and you can go ahead and mod me down if you want, but someone started with "you don't meet the credentials to be a geek", maybe in jest and maybe not, and when i made a short post refuting it someone responded arguing "no, you're still not a geek." Maybe it's just the same person intentionally being a troll (rather than unintentionally being a troll, because they're definitely displaying troll-like behaviour) but perhaps everyone else should consider what the long term effects will be when those trolls manage to attack young and new-fledged geeks who're uncertain of themselves instead of someone old and confident in their geekdom. There's no way to stop the trolls from shooting their mouths off, but i'm not just going to sit silently and imply it's perfectly acceptable to tell other people they they're not "real" geeks.

Re:What kind of game is it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42463869)

The fact that i haven't played this one single 20+ year old game means that i have irretrievably lost all geek credibility. And having publicly admitted to the lack, instead of encouraging me to make up for that gap in my experience clearly the only possible course of action is to tell me to get the hell out of the club.

See? You even admit it yourself. Now get the hell out of our club you big, fat phony!

/s

I jest.

There were so many different games back in the Apple/Atari/Commodore/early PC days there's no way in hell that anyone could have played them all. Out of those you listed I've played SimCity, X-Wing, Ultima, Bard's Tale. Five if we toss in Elite.

I liked each one of them. Didn't get to play the others but I'm sure other people found them to be every bit as much fun as the ones I played.

Re:What kind of game is it? (1)

zlives (2009072) | about a year ago | (#42464523)

there should be a geek card qualification process, list games, check ones played get geek card if enough geek factor is achieved :)

Re:What kind of game is it? (2)

91degrees (207121) | about a year ago | (#42462735)

It's a flight sim type game. Trading is an aspect and the most effective way to make money and buy upgrades but there's also plenty of space combat, and the option to go into piracy.

Re:What kind of game is it? (1)

johnjaydk (584895) | about a year ago | (#42462987)

For those of us who aren't familiar with the original Elite (and can't check it out on Kickstarter because we're lazy or at work) what kind of game is it exactly?

Have a look at oolite.org [oolite.org] for an updated, open-source version of the original. Works for Mac, Linux and Windoze.

Re:What kind of game is it? (3, Interesting)

slim (1652) | about a year ago | (#42463085)

The original Elite is a trading game in which you run goods between planets. Buy low, sell high. The journey between planets involves realtime 3D space flight and, potentially, realtime space combat. Going to planets with unstable governments, dealing in illegal goods, bounty hunting, are all ways to make more money, while attracting more badass enemies.

Ostensibly the aim of the game is to achieve 'Elite' ranking, which involves shooting lots of enemy ships -- and looking for fights is necessary if you want to do that. But, you could if you wanted, shuttle back and forth between peaceful planets making money.

The disk version included missions.

Elite: Dangerous, of course, adds loads of intricacies. Braben says things like: there's abandoned wrecks floating around in space ripe to be scavenged for cargo. Of course they might not be as abandoned as they appear... Or you might take payment to carry a valuable cargo - but you can't hope to get through without an escort, so you'll pay some other players for their services.

Re:What kind of game is it? (5, Informative)

Simon Brooke (45012) | about a year ago | (#42463485)

For those of us who aren't familiar with the original Elite (and can't check it out on Kickstarter because we're lazy or at work) what kind of game is it exactly?

Is it a turn based game like Tradewars 2002? Or is it a real time flight sim like Wing Commander or X-Wing with economics and upgradeable ships?

If it's the former i'll definitely jump in at the last minute. I loved TW2002 in high school. If it's the later... well i liked X-Wing, but i'm not convinced about the marriage of that type of game to an economic sim. (I've tried out the X series and some similar games on Steam, but the controls kind of sucked and i never got into them at all.)

You fly a space ship in mostly-real-time (you can do 'hyperspace jumps' which cover distance more or less instantly) through a very large galaxy. There are many (~2000 on the original 6502 version) civilised planets, with different levels of technical sophistication and different levels of government control. Some are safe and wealthy, some very dangerous, and a haven to pirates and other criminals. In your travels you encounter many different types of space ships, each of which have different appearance and properties, from fast manoeuvrable fighting ships to big lumbering freighters.

You start with a minimally equipped ship and a small account of credits. You proceed through the game initially by trading between planets to build up your credits, but sooner or later you're going to be attacked by pirates and will have to learn to fight. As you get richer you can equip your ship with extra weapons, engine enhancements, a docking computer (of which more later). You can choose to become a bounty hunter, hunting down pirates for reward; to become an asteroid miner, mining asteroids for minerals; to become a pirate yourself; or continue to trade and explore. You can also take on special missions. In trading, you can manipulate markets. You can sell your initial, general purpose ship and buy a ship more suitable to your needs.

Docking with space stations is almost a mini-game in itself. They rotate - obviously, to generate simulated gravity. To dock successfully you must approach on the axis, slowly, and exactly match the roll. One of the ship enhancements you could buy was a docking computer, but the docking computer wasn't completely reliable (don't know whether this was deliberate or a bug) so it paid to learn to dock manually. Also, of course, if you got badly mauled by pirates your docking computer might be one of the things destroyed.

For sheer playability Elite was, in my opinion, the best video game of all time.

Re:What kind of game is it? (1)

jeff4747 (256583) | about a year ago | (#42466657)

It's a little like the games in the Privateer series, without the over-arching story and far more options in how to play the game.

Re:What kind of game is it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42470503)

Ok...to assist in the tl&dr version, I'm making an assumption that you've watched Firefly.

You're in a space flight sim playing a combination role of Mal, Walsh, and Kaylee, deciding on with who what and where you're going to be trading/transporting, piloting various craft to complete the missions you accept, and managing ship systems to get the best performance for the situation at hand (More power to shields, engines, weapons, heat management... damage assesment...etc). And you can choose either legal or illegal trades etc.

and the captcha I just got: serenity

Am I a killjoy? (1)

quietwalker (969769) | about a year ago | (#42462553)

I look at the production history of the company and I wonder if they can pull of an A game of significant scope after having so many previous false starts, and a history of producing buggy games, only a few popular titles and failing to complete products.

To make a comparison, 3D Realms/Apogee put out more than three times the number of games Frontier Developments was working on in the same time period, and many of them enjoyed impressive sales and popularity, even compared to reasonably popular Frontier Development projects like the xbox port of Roller Coaster Tycoon and an expansion pack. Elite 4 (now Elite: Dangerous) was announced in 1998, so it's been in development in one form or another for 14 years.

Don't get me wrong, false starts and a limited number of original A-class titles for the last 2 decades doesn't detract from the fact that David Braben was a pioneer of the space sim genre, nor does it affect his ability to produce innovative ideas or the potential for astounding games. It just makes me question if the necessary business acumen is there to push reality out of the way for long enough to make an innovative, astounding game, with enough safety net to allow the risk of failure that is so necessary when pushing boundaries, and a realistic schedule that allows enough new/neat along with the established fun gameplay to really set it apart from other titles and it's own direct predecessors.

If I were to continue the 3D Realms/Apogee comparison, I'd note that they had a successful game they made several sequels for as well. The last started development in April 1997 and continued in one form or another till 2011, when Duke Nukem Forever was finally released. This from a company that was several times more successful, with a greater wealth of experience both in game design and publishing.

I'd be overjoyed if this project lived up to even a reasonable number of the expectations we've heaped on it over the years, but at this point, I doubt that it'll even produce an average quality game: I'm expecting to be disappointed. For now at least, I'm going to pin my hopes for a space-sim on Star Citizen.

Re:Am I a killjoy? (1)

Bieeanda (961632) | about a year ago | (#42462889)

I'm glad someone said it before I did, because while I love the idea behind crowdfunding and would certainly like to see a new Elite, Braben and his company have had serious, serious trouble producing anything worthwhile in the last decade. A million bucks isn't going to magically make that malaise go away.

I wouldn't hold my breath about Star Citizen, either: Roberts has been out of the business for a while, and most of his promises have ranged from the bizarre to the truly unlikely.

Re:Am I a killjoy? (2)

quietwalker (969769) | about a year ago | (#42463203)

Perhaps I'm an optimist, but I think Roberts has demonstrated that he has the know-how and ability to produce this game. The information available about the game, the time table, the apparent openness and speed at which questions have been tackled make me believe that the game is being well thought out. Not just the design and gameplay, but the entire lifecycle. The hefty 7.2 million war fund helps too.

I've got doubts and questions, but they're mostly about the multiplayer experience. If they can deliver on the single-player game alone, I'll feel well satisfied.

I'm just going to put this here, ok? (1)

argStyopa (232550) | about a year ago | (#42462725)

Let's just be clear, there's a teensy little step between "getting Kickstarter funding target" and "people playing Elite again".

Just sayin'.

Re:I'm just going to put this here, ok? (1)

slim (1652) | about a year ago | (#42463299)

I've seen videos of "people playing Elite again".

Admittedly it's pre-alpha code, and the "people" were developers. But nonetheless, it was a group of blokes engaging in a cool looking space battle.

Re:I'm just going to put this here, ok? (1)

zlives (2009072) | about a year ago | (#42464569)

ditto, its always a good sign if they are actually playing an alpha build so you know its not all smoke and mirrors.

Sadly.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42462779)

Judging from the combat in the video they have abandoned Newtonian physics, and in doing so probably thrown the baby out with the bathwater. If I wanted "fighter jets in space" I can play X3.

Re:Sadly.... (1)

itsdapead (734413) | about a year ago | (#42463335)

Judging from the combat in the video they have abandoned Newtonian physics, and in doing so probably thrown the baby out with the bathwater. If I wanted "fighter jets in space" I can play X3.

Since the original Elite didn't use Newtonian physics I don't think "thrown out" is the right phrase. There's a place in the world for Newtonian (or even relativistic) 'games' for simulation fans, but Elite has always been 'arcade' physics (and, IMHO, the more playable for it).

You're right though - there have been a number of (probably Elite-inspired) games that offer arcade shoot-ups and trading (I quite liked Freelancer) including the aforementioned OOlite which is a fairly faithful, lightly modernised and expanded recreation of Elite which scratches those nostalgic itches.

Re:Sadly.... (1)

Simon Brooke (45012) | about a year ago | (#42463559)

Judging from the combat in the video they have abandoned Newtonian physics, and in doing so probably thrown the baby out with the bathwater. If I wanted "fighter jets in space" I can play X3.

The original didn't have Newtonian physics, it was fighter jets in space. The later game Frontier did have Newtonian physics, and was mostly unplayable because Newtonian physics just don't work in a way that people are used to, and consequently didn't sell nearly as well as the original. I think Braben has made the right decision in abandoning them.

Re:Sadly.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42464327)

Frontier combat wasn't unplayable, just boring. You just ended up making multiple fast passes until one ship was destroyed.

Frontier: First Encounters was unplayable, but that was due to the bugs, not the physics.

Re:Sadly.... (1)

zlives (2009072) | about a year ago | (#42464629)

i agree,
for me it also kinda made sense that if you are always under power during combat ( which you would be just to keep away from the guy following you), and limited to the g's of a human body, using massdrivers/cannons as weapons...
the combat would be similar to "jets in space"

yeah maybe i am justifying it a bit :)

Re:Sadly.... (1)

j-turkey (187775) | about a year ago | (#42466353)

Judging from the combat in the video they have abandoned Newtonian physics, and in doing so probably thrown the baby out with the bathwater. If I wanted "fighter jets in space" I can play X3.

The original didn't have Newtonian physics, it was fighter jets in space. The later game Frontier did have Newtonian physics, and was mostly unplayable because Newtonian physics just don't work in a way that people are used to, and consequently didn't sell nearly as well as the original. I think Braben has made the right decision in abandoning them.

FWIW, I *loved* the Newtonian physics in Frontier. Sure, it was tricky, and less arcade-like than other games, but this was one of the things that set Frontier apart for me. It was difficult, it was dark, it was cold, and it made me feel like I was flying a ship in space. There are plenty of space combat games with jets-in-space combat...further, there is room for both, since there is potential gameplay in atmo. Perhaps some ships can have aerodynamic lifting bodies. Of course, this is just my $0.02.

Elite was Joy then, hope will be again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42463219)

I grew up playing the Elite games, the original, Frontier, not other ones. I hope this is also evolution for the genre. Trading can be boring. Sequel maybe, but if its success and fun...who cares its a repeat?

I wish this well, but... (1)

itsdapead (734413) | about a year ago | (#42463885)

I think Elite was "of its time" - and if you want a nostalgia trip there is always Oolite. I'm not sure that even a good modernised version will re-capture the magic.

There were several grounddbreaking aspects of the original Elite:

(1) the 3D graphics. They look so rubbish now, and even Oolite is nothing to write home about by modern graphical standards, its hard to convey how amazingly jaw-droppingly good they looked back in the 80s. On the original BBC Micro version they'd even done s hack to switch display mode 3/4 of the way down the screen so that the space view was in 320-pixel-wide monochrome (the retina display of its day*) and the control panel was in low-res colour. I'm sure that the new version will have good graphics, but will it stand out?

(2) the vast, generative universe - although it didn't take a genius to work out how it was done this gave the impression of a huge space that nobody could ever explore fully, and its something that the otherwise more modern successors like the 'X' series and 'Freelancer' failed to recreate. Now, if Braben can take that and run with it to the extent of creating a massive universe with distinctive graphics in each system, maybe even generative ship designs, he might have something.

(3) Imagination (and the manual) - I'm sure Elite didn't invent the idea of the almost totally 'in universe' manual, but Elite was a classic example of that art, seeded with red herrings such as rock hermits and generation ships (which may have cropped up in later versions or in Oolite but certainly didn't exist in the original version). You actually felt as if there might be strange things out there to discover... and the graphics (while good for the day) were sparse enough to leave a lot to your imagination (in the same way that novels have better special effects than films, 2GB of texture memory and 512 parallel shader units can't compete with a healthy imagination).

(4) The self-directed play concept: you decide what your mission is.

The only modern game that I can think of that has come close to the appeal of Elite is actually Minecraft. In fact, it has a lot in common in that it combines a massive generative world with free exploration and self-imposed objectives. Actually, I think Notch's upcoming space game sounds as/more interesting than Elite.

IMHO (1)

zlives (2009072) | about a year ago | (#42469043)

1. Graphics wise it will have good competition and because of budget it probably won't stand out.
2. The details and the rhetoric seem to indicate that expansive universe with unique locals will be a design goal.
3. this part is actually the driving force for most. For me having faith in the designer to keep true to the original ideology, which made the game as enjoyable, is the primary reason to take a risk in funding a project that may fizzle out.
4. This seems to be part of the game design as well.

This is a British game. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42464521)

So it will have bad teeth, obnoxious accents, and long boring waits while you drink warm beer.

No sane American should buy it...

Re:This is a British game. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42467733)

Good thing there arent any then

Re:This is a British game. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42468973)

That's very original.

Right on, Commander! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42465793)

I never made it to Elite status, only Deadly.
We've waited for this for 25 years...Right on, Commander!

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