Elite preparing to make a return with Kickstarter’s help

Elite Dangerous LogoIt would be fair to say that Elite was one of the defining games of my childhood. We had it on the Commodore 64, and it was hugely different to anything else at the time. The wireframe 3D graphics were amazing, the fact that you could fly to any system you chose gave a real sense of freedom, and the basic economics of trading was actually quite interesting.

I remember the frustrations, too – like the police always showing up when I was carrying narcotics, or facing off against a powerful pirate with just the most basic of weapons installed. Most frustrating was trying to match the rotation of the space stations… I crashed more often than landed safely, having to get my dad to land the ship until I could afford a docking computer that would do it for me.

Of course, technology and games have moved on tremendously since those days, and David Braben, one of the creators of the original game, is looking to revive it in modern form with the help of Kickstarter.

According to the Kickstarter listing, work has been proceeding on Elite for a while, but always as a background or “sunk-works” project. With funding, however, it would become a priority. Interestingly, the content of the game will be procedurally generated: rules are laid down for what the universe should look like, but the game generates the actual layout on the fly. That means the universe you encounter will be different from that of a friend, or even from what you’ll find if you start a new game.

That does two things: reduces the cost of producing the game and, I think, makes it more interesting as the experience moves towards being unique to you.

The basics of the game will remain the same… start off small, trade to get money, become a pirate, or even a bounty hunter, but will include multiplayer this time. Those other ships won’t just be computer controlled… they may be your friends (or even your enemies).

Check out Kickstarter for full details, and information about the support levels you can sign up to if you want to help out.

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