Elite Dangerous’ David Braben has a big spread in Rolling Stone’s Glixel blog this week, and it’s a fun read as he zips around discussing Trappist-1, Roman slavery, Star Wars, ant society, Shakespeare, Ursula Le Guin, computer science jobs, and the future of humanity. It’s a whirlwind, but he does eventually get around to talking about Elite itself, admitting that while the game will never achieve “perfection,” it’s “definitely approaching” his ideal space game, as “accurate as we can possibly make it.”
“When we first greenlit Elite: Dangerous, there were no other major space games since Freelancer,” he says. “Now, there are dozens. So, I think we’ve succeeded. We’ve brought the genre back to life. And we’ve proven there’s quite a lot of demand for this sort of game. Yes, it’s niche, but it’s quite a big niche. And we’ve got [Star Citizen’s] Chris Roberts coming along now, and so many other games that look interesting. No Man’s Sky, even.”
He also argues that free-to-play is a “challenge” to online communities and instancing in MMOs.
“I’ve always been obsessed with the social aspects of communities working together. I think the challenges chiefly come from not having a subscription. Otherwise, when you have a central server, there are very significant costs, which means it’s very hard not to be subscription-based. I was convinced that we could have a hybrid server/peer-to-peer architecture. We had to do quite a lot of research on that. Most people don’t realize this, but a lot of MMOs are instanced. They just don’t call it instancing. I think there’s a lot of talk about that implying that a genuine MMO has no instancing, but we spent a lot of time getting that tech to work, because it’s way more complicated than a central server.”
The whole piece is over on Rolling Stone.