frontier developments

The studio famous for building Elite: Dangerous.

Watch the winning video from Elite Dangerous’ CTRL+ALT+SPACE 2017 short film competition

Last night, Elite Dangerous studio Frontier announced the winner of its second CTRL+ALT+SPACE short film competition. Participants were tasked with creating a video under four minutes using Elite’s camera suite; whether the entry was a trailer or film, the devs were “looking to be dazzled” and were judging on “creativity, originality, ingenuity, […] editing, narrative, and scene composition.”

And now they’ve got a winner: Turjan Starstone and his video dubbed Stardust, created as a tribute to his mother.

“I wrote this to honour the memory of my mother who passed away in March 2015,” he says. “Sadly my mother never got to see the misadventures of Cmdr Turjan. I know she would have been proud of them though. She would have been proud of ‘Stardust’ too, though I suspect she might have tutted at me for being sentimental, because like I say in the video, my mother was indeed a formidable lady.”

He’ll take home in-game rewards along with a video capture card, headset, keyboard, and gaming mousepad. Beautiful work, Turjan. Enjoy it, everyone.

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Elite Dangerous launches for PS4 on June 27

We’ve known since last year that Elite Dangerous was going to set up camp on the PlayStation 4 in Q2 of this year. As of this morning, we know exactly when: June 27th.

“Frontier Developments, a leading independent creator of video games, is pleased to announce that Elite Dangerous will make its debut on the PlayStation 4 computer entertainment system on 27 June 2017. Digital pre-orders are available from today in Europe and will be available later this month in the United States. In addition to a worldwide digital launch there will be simultaneous availability in leading physical retail stores in major territories of the Elite Dangerous Legendary Edition boxed disc for both PlayStation 4 and Microsoft’s Xbox One.”

Frontier notes that players shouldn’t expect crossplay: You’ll “share the same background simulation, but you won’t be able to cross play directly with Commanders on other platforms.”

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Perfect Ten: Exploring MMORPGs from the far corners of the world

Have you ever noticed that while there’s an entire world out there, most all of the MMORPGs we discuss and play tend to either be ones crafted in the USA or imports from China or Korea? We even have a shorthand for this: “western” and “eastern” MMOs. We’re usually not talking about entire hemispheres with these references, but rather about categorizing three countries that are big into the MMORPG business.

But what about the rest of the world? Are all of these other countries so uncaring about this genre that they’ve never tried their hand at making an MMO? Of course not; as I’m about to show you, there are plenty of online RPGs that have been made in countries other than China, the USA, and South Korea. It’s just that for various reasons, those three countries ended up fostering concentrations of video game developers who knew how to create these types of games.

So let’s take a tour around the world and see if we can’t give some credit to other countries for their contributions to the MMORPG genre past, present, and future. Before you click the link, see how many you can name off the top of your head!

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Elite Dangerous’ novel-concluding Salomé event was wrecked by long-con griefers

Last week, we reported on an impending roleplaying event in Elite Dangerous that was set to influence the outcome of Premonition, a game-based novel by author Drew Wagar. What players did during the event to hunt down or defend accused assassin Salomé was expected to be incorporated into the book, including NPCs being killed off permanently.

I’m sad to report that while many players did rush to Salomé’s (as played by Wagar himself) defense, the event was predictably run off the rails by players. First, a multi-guild faction calling itself Premonition Allied Coalition (PAC), which was sanctioned by Wagar and ostensibly there to protect the NPC, allegedly began threatening and attacking non-PAC players who arrived in the event locations, causing extreme uproar across the Elite subreddit.

And that, according to Ars Technica, is when the chaos really began, as amid the pandemonium, Salomé’s ship was actually destroyed by a PAC member who was in fact a mole named Harry Potter (sigh) from gleeful and notorious Elite griefer group Smiling Dog Crew, who had convinced PAC it could be trusted this time, and MMO players for some reason believed them.

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Elite Dangerous’ community tool developers have gone on strike

Update: The strike has ended — see the end of the post for details.

Move over, voice actors guild: Elite Dangerous gamers are going on strike today. Specifically, it’s developers of a large number of Elite Dangerous third-party tools and websites, who have taken their services offline beginning today through Sunday, striking to attempt to force Frontier to better support them.

“Our third-party websites and tools are used on a daily basis by many tens of thousands of players, and they generate millions of pageviews every month. We believe that our tools greatly enhance the game playing experience, and yet we often feel that Frontier does not actively encourage the effort that goes into supporting their game with these tools. We believe they can and should improve on this situation by maintaining clear and open communication with the third-party developer community. There is currently no easy way for us to request features and support that will benefit the community as a whole, and there is often no warning from Frontier when a game update will alter or break existing APIs that we rely on. This places a significant extra burden on third-party tool makers to work around these issues and to fix our tools. Repeated requests for support and bug fixes are made, but there is frustration caused by an apparent lack of progress on those.”

The strikers have apologized for the inconvenience, but the timing couldn’t be worse for the players affected by the outages in light of the massive event planned this weekend, during which players will be participating in a roleplaying event whose outcome will affect the game’s upcoming novel.

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This in-game Elite Dangerous event will affect the game’s novelization

Cancel your plans for Saturday, folks: You’re gonna want to be in Elite Dangerous. That’s because Frontier has a big event planned that day that ties into the upcoming Premonition novel. In fact, what players do during the event to hunt down (or defend!) accused assassin Salomé will actually affect the book — and the “NPCs” could be killed off permanently.

“I am inviting all of you to take part in an in-game event, the outcome of which will decide how this chapter in the Elite Dangerous storyline concludes,” writes author Drew Wagar. “The book will be written by your combined actions, for good, or for ill…”

In other Elite news, Frontier has recently announced it’ll release Elite as a boxed console-oriented “legendary edition” at brick-and-mortar stores.

In still other Elite news, players have finally discovered one of the original 70,000 Generation sub-light ships that are part of the game’s foundational lore. It’s floating near the Alaunus system, but I’m sad to report that it doesn’t look like any of the colonists escaped the epidemic that ravaged the ship all those years ago — but it’s still pretty cool.

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One Shots: Lights, camera, frogs!

Just because you happen to be a humanoid frog doesn’t mean that you’ve lost at the lottery of life. On the contrary, you have all sorts of advantages, such as being able to install and replace light fixtures very high in your underground cavern. Also, you can eat flies.

Reader Finyar starts us out this week with a stunning interior location from a fan-favorite MMO: “I’m currently playing Guild Wars 2 again and I’m always impressed with how beautifully crafted the game world is.”

Art matters, people. Also, why can’t we play more frogs in online games?

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Elite Dangerous promises bug-squashing patch by early May

Update: The devs have shifted the ETA to April 25th; we’ve updated below.

While Elite Dangerous’ community should be celebrating over the addition of player-created avatars and multi-crew ships with Horizons Update 2.3, instead they’re dealing with one of the buggiest updates to date for the space sim. Even following a rollback last week of the background sim data that manages political factions, there are still numerous issues that have yet to be resolved.

The good news is that there’s a patch coming to take care of much of this. The bad news is that players are going to have to wait until next month to see fixes for the login bugs, stability issues, weird errors, and frame rate drops.

“We’ve seen your feedback with regards to a number of bugs in the latest update,” Frontier reported on the forums, “and the development team have been busy working on a release that focuses on fixing a large number of the common complaints. The release is currently scheduled for early May.”

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Elite Dangerous kicks off second short film competition, CTRL+ALT+SPACE 2017

The launch of Commanders 2.3 earlier this week must seem like the perfect time for Frontier to reprise its CTRL+ALT+SPACE competition because that’s exactly what the Elite Dangerous team is up to. The 2015 event asked players to create short films revolving around the game, to be judged by a panel from the studio based on “creativity, originality, ingenuity and we will be paying close attention to editing, narrative, and scene composition.” So will this one.

“Create a short film (no more than 4 minutes) in a theme of your choosing using the Camera Suite. This theme could be a short story, a trailer, or anything else you wish,” says Frontier. “We’re looking to be dazzled so whether you decide to create a trailer or a short film, the idea should be clear in your head and conveyed through your video.”

You have until May 9th (changed from the original plan for May 2nd) to get your submissions in. The top 10 submitters walk away with a bunch of nice prizes, though the best are reserved for #1; the top pick will take home in-game rewards along with a video capture card, headset, keyboard, and gaming mousepad.

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Elite Dangerous rolls back background sim data due to errors

Keeping with the tradition that politics doesn’t tend to make one’s life better, Elite Dangerous has had to rollback its background sim data to a pre-patch state.

“We’ve had a number of reports of some significant errors with the background sim data since the 2.3 update went live,” Frontier reported. “The dev teams have been hard at work and believe they have a fix identified which they are aiming to deploy tomorrow. However, this will involve rolling back BGS data to a pre 2.3 state.”

The good news is that this isn’t a full game rollback, which would certainly stink. The background sim data is the part of Elite Dangerous that handles the complex system politics and allows the galaxy’s borders and faction territory to be reshaped on the fly.

Elite Dangerous released its The Commanders update earlier this week that allowed players to create their own avatars for the first time.

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Elite Dangerous’ The Commanders update today adds player avatars

Call it “Sitting in Cockpits.”

No longer will your in-game representation in Elite Dangerous be a mere hunk of space metal with a flaking coat of paint. With Horizons Update 2.3: The Commanders today, all players will be able to create their own avatars to counter the loneliness of space exploration with a humanizing touch.

The avatar will be used extensively in the game, as players will be able to see their creation in the cockpit and have their likeness show up on-screen when chatting with others. If that’s not enough to make you feel chummy, then hook yourself up with one of the new multi-crew ships that allow several friends to join you in your adventures.

Other patch changes include ship names, ID plates, vanity cameras, and asteroid bases. Frontier CEO David Braben fielded a lot of questions about the update and the future of Elite Dangerous in a recent Reddit AMA, just in case you wanted to glean more information. For the rest of us, check out the commander creator feature after the jump!

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Destiny 2 launches on PC and console September 8, ‘and there will be a ton of loot’

As teased and prodded and hinted at all week, Destiny 2 is official, and we’ve finally got a trailer to go with it. Expect the game to launch on September 8th on Xbox One, PS4, and yes — PC — retailing for $59.99 on up into the stratosphere for collector editions. Beta arrives this summer.

“In Destiny 2, the last safe city on Earth has fallen and lay in ruins, occupied by a powerful new enemy and his elite army, the Red Legion. Every player creates their own character called a Guardian, humanity’s chosen protectors. As a Guardian in Destiny 2, players must master new abilities and weapons to reunite the city’s forces, stand together and fight back to reclaim their home. The official Destiny 2 reveal trailer, Rally the Troops, shows two of the Vanguard, leaders of the Guardians, inspiring the people of the last city in an impassioned (and occasionally sarcastic) call to arms. In Destiny 2, players will answer this call, embarking on a fresh story filled with new destinations around our solar system to explore, and an expansive amount of activities to discover. There is something for almost every type of gamer in Destiny 2, including gameplay for solo, cooperative and competitive players set within a vast, evolving and exciting universe.”

I feel as if Bungie is hitting a nice chord here between “Forth Eorlingas!” and Guardians of the Galaxy in the new trailer, while also getting right to the point of what video games (and for that matter, war) are really about. Check it out!

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Elder Scrolls Online posts a Morrowind province primer

So let’s assume that you’re a regular MMORPG player who’s never really been into Elder Scrolls series, wasn’t around for TES III: Morrowind, never picked up Skyrim’s Dragonborn DLC, or didn’t side with the Ebonheart Pact in The Elder Scrolls Online. Or maybe you just have nothing but antipathy for dark elves in fantasy. If you’re in those groups but are still interested in The Elder Scrolls Online as just a solid themepark MMORPG rather than fanservice, you might be wondering just why the heck everyone is freaking out in anticipation of the Morrowind expansion.

That’s exactly what ZeniMax’s new lore piece out today tries to explain, giving newbies some backstory on the island of Vvardenfell during the time period of the MMORPG, from the politics to the ecology of the region.

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