Elite: Dangerous Blog

News and events from the Elite Dangerous galaxy

What has Elite Dangerous ever done for me?

Back in 2012 I heard through the internet press that there was a Kickstarter for a new Elite game. Elite was the most influential game of my teens on the BBC Micro, a computer that shaped my childhood and indirectly changed the world. No? Every iPhone, DVD player and smart TV uses ARM chips, the great grandchildren of Acorn’s BBC Micro (Acorn later became ARM).
How do I described to someone who grew up with consoles and amazing PC graphics what the first Elite was like? Have you seen Frogger, Pac-man and Space Invaders? Well, along comes a game with 3D for the first time ever in hi-res AND colour (not possible on the BBC Micro before) which was a space combat game like Star Wars and BattleStar Galactica (new and on TV at the time) and also a trade game with actual progression instead of a high score sheet. It was like going from playing noughts and crosses on paper, to being given a full set of Warhammer!
Having put £30 to the Kickstarter project in 2012 - what I would have paid for a new game at the time - I promptly forgot all about it for year and a half. Then at the beginning of 2014, the Frontier newsletters started talking about a Beta release – not news to me in itself, but they announced that I could “upgrade” my Kickstarter pledge to obtain Beta access, for just £15. Take my money!!!
I started playing the game in July and found it amazing, way beyond my expectations and graphically it looked exactly as everything I had imagined when I was 15.

In August of 2014 Frontier put out a request on the forums for volunteers to be Ambassadors for the game at the September EuroGamer Exhibition at Earls Court in London, so I applied. I was selected along with 15 others and for five days we demonstrated Elite: Dangerous to the public. I met some amazing people, not least of which were the other Ambassadors; many visitors had never heard of Elite, while others were backers or lifelong fans including a few household names like Jason Bradbury. I also had the chance to meet David Braben, who gave me a few minutes of his time and chatted about the BBC micro days and the influence of Elite on games since. He was a very down to earth man, quiet spoken but full of enthusiasm, for Elite and gaming in general.
I had the chance to demonstrate and use the Oculus Rift DK2 for the first time and play Elite on a set of X52 joysticks. Ah, once tried you can’t go back! Luckily my birthday was in October, so guess what I got for my birthday? Yep. X52’s!
After five days of fun and long hours, I thought that was it, but Frontier had other ideas. As a big thank you to the Elite Ambassadors for our hard work, Frontier invited us to the Premiere Event at RAF Duxford in December. I took my youngest son with me and we had an amazing time. William (my son) had the chance to talk to David Braben about the game (children are ruthless interrogators) and quizzed him about EVA, ship capture and piracy. Mr Braben – much in demand at the event – gave William his time and answered all his questions in some detail. It was a real experience. The last time I’d been to an event like that was the Channel Tunnel Breakthrough party at Dover Castle in 1991. elite_ambassador_avatar
Fast forward to 2015 and after months of listening to Lave Radio, I decided to attend this year’s LaveCon and as a number of my fellow Ambassadors (Kerrash, El Tel, Surreth) were going to be there, I was looking forward to it in June.
A weekend of Elite, cos-play, sci-fi authors and role play games, LaveCon was my first convention and a really great to see so many friendly people, even random locals dressed as Doctor Who that just turned up on spec! I took my PC and Oculus with me and operated a Virtual Reality shipyard where everyone could have a go in the cockpit of their favourite ship. I will definitely attend next year’s event.
This year I once again took up the Ambassador’s mantle at the relocated EuroGamer at the Birmingham NEC and with some new and old faces, demonstrated Elite to the public on both the PC and XBOX, with more than a little time spent showing off the newest VR technology, the HTC Vive.
Three years after my initial Kickstarter donation, Elite has had a major impact; expanding my social life and pretty much taking over my gaming time – with what must be well in excess of 1,000 hours spent playing – not giving other games much of a look-in. I’m the member of two Elite game groups as well as a long standing member of Dead Men Walking gaming community and, of course, an Elite Ambassador.
Currently I am working on my Imperial Rank to make Duke this week, so I can purchase an Imperial Cutter once 1.5 / 2.0 is released. Not there yet, but the fun is in the journey, not the destination. Evenings spent helping out new commanders or trading banter with Mobius pilots on TeamSpeak. Rescuing dMw Wingmates from pirates or Wing trading with four Anacondas to make that extra million or two. So much to do, so little time.
Best money I ever spent.

It came from EGX 2015

egx_thumbWell, this year’s EuroGamer exhibition is over and I sound, well quite sinister! Vocal cords are shot and I have a voice like two miles of rough gravel.

It was four long, but excellent days. We had the show itself, and afterwards a few nice meals out around Birmingham with the other Elite Ambassadors and a few guys and girls from Frontier.

At the show the stand was set up with two long tables with four Xbox One’s per side on one (8 in all) and ten PC’s on the second table – eight for players and two for streaming. All running CQCC.


I’m not a console fan. At all. I don’t get on with the controllers. I use the X52Pro joystick at home and I’d never played anything on an Xbox One, so when I was picked to operate the Xbox stations, I thought “this’ll be a challenge”. But after playing a few rounds of CQCC I got the hang of it and while nothing beats the X52, I found the Xbox conversion of Elite to be very good. Visually, it’s almost identical and plays very smoothly.

We had a separate queue for the Steam VR PC running an HTC Vive and this was always busy. The ambassadors showed players the controls and described the HUD functions and we kept the queues moving in batches of eight players for each match on both platforms. I have to say though, the PC was the most requested platform. The XBOXs weren’t idle by any means, the queue was just shorter. The Vive was amazing. I have a DK2 and while the resolution isn't that much higher on the SteamVR, it makes a big difference. No "screen door" at all.

On Friday we got to hear about the Q&A panel announcements a while after they happened and I will write another article on what came out about “season 2”. Exciting stuff.

Bobble. Heads. Confirmed. (I've pre-ordered my DB bobblehead)

Yogscast crashed James Vigor's livestream (see photos here) and LaveRadio's Ben was around the stand at different times interviewing the crowd (and having a few games of CQCC).

There was a prize raffle, which everyone that played entered. On Friday it was one lad who had been dragged along reluctantly by his friends. He liked the game so much, he kept coming back, then bought the game and won the Victors raffle going home with an XBOX One. The winner on Saturday had initially put his raffle entry into the wrong bucket, but someone spotted his mistake and he won an XBOX as well. The best one for me, was on Sunday, a young man who’d never played Elite on the XBOX had a try and won his first round, so he came back again and won his second game. On the third game, a few Elite Ambassadors had joined as well as Adam Woods, Elite Dangerous producer from Frontier. These guys are competitive. He beat Adam by 50 points! (Not that Adam would have gone in the raffle anyway) and an hour later his was name drawn from the Victors Raffle and went home with an XBOX one.

How can you top that? Elite at number 1 on the Steam charts of course!

Thanks to Zac, Rob, Aaron, Jess, Alison, Kenny, Rob and Robin from Frontier for taking care of us Ambassadors an keeping us fed and watered over the four days. A great bunch of people.

EGX Sunday

Today was the home stretch. My feet were used to the abuse. The Frontier guys and girls were taking really good care of us with lots of water, vitamin C tablets, food and breaks through the whole event. Nobody got burned out. Poor Alex was starting to suffer with cold though.

One visitor kept coming back (third or fourth time) and chatting with him for at least the second time, it transpired that it was a member of Dead Men Walking gaming community. Small world!

On the way in on Sunday morning I met a Dad with two young sons (9 & 11) and they were chatting with me about Elite on the tube to Earls Court. They came straight to our stand when the doors opened and the elder boy got to knock “Play with Oculus Rift DK2” off his show bucket list first thing. He kept telling his Dad “This is awesome Dad, we have to get this!” the whole time he was playing.

So many people were coming in saying “my friend dragged me here to see this, he wouldn’t shut up about the game!” and left saying “I’m going to pre-order now!”.

Doors closed at 7pm and I managed a go on one of the new tutorial missions where you attack a guarded convoy, then it was time to do battle with tube closures and make my way back home to Kent.

The Elite: Dangerous stand won "Best Booth" and "Best PC Game" awards.

EGX Saturday

Today was the first “Schools out” day and was insanely busy. Many, many Dads with young children, where the dad had fond memories of the original Elite and were eager to see the new game. By this point we were starting to see people coming back for multiple plays on the game.

The BETA 2 looks so good and with the X52’s, even without the DK2, the game is very immersive.

David Braben popped by in the afternoon (having made a flying visit on Friday) and I got a chance to chat with him (and get a photo) – he was a really nice guy, down to earth and enthusiastic.

On Thursday most of the players had been male; not stereotype gamers, but only a handful of ladies. By late Saturday I was seeing a much larger number of female players, of all ages. Many were there with their boyfriends, but were as interested in the game (not just tagging along), quite a few were in cosplay getup. Some really funny characters.

EGX Friday

Today I was getting into the swing of things. Word was getting around the show that Elite was the game to see and we were getting a lot of “Elite Newbies” who’d never heard of the game or the series but were blown away by the gameplay and graphics. Also more than a few stand staff from around the show came around early on, who were keen to see the game and have a play.

As each person came in we would chat to them find out what they knew about Elite: Dangerous and the series and then explain the concepts of the game, the history of the series and the Kickstarter and the imminent release of the game (Q4). Most people would play the basic combat tutorial and a few struggled to complete the mission, but most passed with ease and really enjoyed the game.

It was a pleasure to be demonstrating software that other people got excited about.

EGX Thursday

Today was a much earlier start. We had to be there by 8.30am. By this point the centre of the ring of desks was covered with a giant circular post of the “Azeban City” Coriolis space station. We had four of the twelve workstations set up with Oculus Rift DK2, one had a 4K screen and they all had X52Pro flight joysticks and top-end Turtle Beach headsets.

Our stand filled up pretty rapidly and by managing the post-chat flight time for each commander, we kept the queue to less than an hour the whole day. The highlight of the day was Jason Bradbury from The Gadget Show sat down at the Occulus station next to mine while Kerash (John) talked him through the game. He had a go and loved it. When Jason took the headset off, he was so excited he high-fived me! He was so taken when I pointed out the BBC Micro keyboard in the cockpit, he had to snap a photo with his phone.

After the 7pm close, we went for a much deserved beer. I only had a half because of the long train journey with no loo!

EGX Setup day

Spent the afternoon at Earls Court today. They were setting up the stand and PCs for playing the game. New builds hot off the compiler!

Frontier has twelve PC rigs with 32" screens, X52 joysticks and headsets all set up in a circle running Elite: Dangerous. Four of the rigs are running Occulus Rift DK2, so come see me and I will make sure you get a go!

The other Elite Ambassadors are a nice crowd. One even mentioned he'd visited dMw forums searching Google for info on Elite (I knew Google was good for something!).

The stand was really impressive - I will post a photo or two tomorrow.

We didn’t need to arrive until 2pm, so most of the guys who were acting as Elite: Dangerous ambassadors met up at a restaurant near to Earls Court for lunch beforehand. Terry who was clearly very quick, brought a box of Ferrero Roche for the “Ambassador’s Party” – he shouldn’t have, he spoiled us! LOL

We then went over to the exhibition halls and met the Frontier staff Mike and Ed the sales/PR guys and Ali & Jess the marketing/events management girls who had been our contacts via email up to that point – they were a really nice bunch.

The stand was in an unfinished stage at that point, but they had put a lot of thought into the setup. Wandering around it was clear most of the game stands were dark, windowless and boxed in with queuing outside. The Elite stand was an open circle with twelve workstations with recessed 32” screens and the queue had been set up around the perimeter with a “selfie” photo booth at the end of the queue. This meant people waiting could see the game being played the whole time.

Elite at EGX London 2014 in Earls Court 24th-28th Sep

Well instead of going as a vistor this year. I will now be going on all five days.

Got the time off work and I will be on the Frontier stand as an ambassador for Elite: Dangerous.

I will do my best to promote the Dead Men Walking gaming community while I'm there.

Any details of Elite I come away with I will forward to you all (provided there's no NDA - although I can't see that likely with a game already in open BETA).


Hello Commander!

Congratulations! You have been chosen to be one of our Elite: Dangerous Brand Ambassadors for EGX 2014 in London!
EGX 2014: Earls Court

Time: Wednesday 24th September - Sunday 28th September

The show will be open to the public from Thursday to Sunday. You will be needed on the Wednesday from 1pm at the event for a run through of the demo and stand – and also to meet us!
Before the event we will be sending you an Ambassador Briefing document along with contact information.
You will be given Ambassador t-shirts for the event, if you could please specify your size by the end of today. If we don’t get the t-shirt size we shall order XL T-shirts for you.

Travel and Accommodation

You will need to book your own travel to and from the event, please notify us of the cost prior to booking, keep all your receipts or note your mileage as we will reimburse these to you. If you are coming from outside London and require accommodation over the four days please let us know by Friday afternoon.
If you have any further questions do not hesitate to email us.

We are really looking forward to meeting you all and growing our Ambassador team!

The Frontier Team

Alison Chapman
Events Manager
Frontier Developments Plc