Elite: Dangerous Blog

News and events from the Elite Dangerous galaxy

Fleet Carriers announcement

Frontier have made an announcement surrounding Fleet Carriers

Greetings Commanders,

We're thrilled to announce that the first look at the upcoming Fleet Carrier update will be coming to your screens on Thursday, 2 April! Lead Server Developer, Dav Stott, and Game Designer, Luke Betterton, will join us on a special video to talk us through what these vast vessels are and how they'll be shaking up the galaxy!

Since the initial reveal of Fleet Carriers, we've examined the concept of predefined load-outs and decided to invest additional time to ensure that fleet carriers offer the same level of flexibility and customisation as other ships within Elite Dangerous. We've done this by adding more load-out options to make your carrier unique, and allow for player-to-player interaction like you've never seen before in Elite Dangerous!

Squirming in your cockpit chair wanting to know more details? Here is some key information on Fleet Carriers - but for the entire content reveal, tune in to our Pre-Recorded Stream on YouTubeon 2 April at 18:00 (UTC)Although we won't be live, our team will be there in the chat to answer any questions that you may have.

  • One of your most frequent questions about Fleet Carriers was: How much do they cost? Fleet Carriers will be a lucrative investment, costing 5,000,000,000cr at launch.​
  • Fleet Carriers are individually owned and feature 16 landing pads (of varying sizes) for other players to dock at.​
  • Fleet Carriers use a new fuel, Tritium, to jump from system to system.​
  • Fleet Carriers have a max jump range of 500LY at one time, with the ability to jump whenever the owner wants, however, they will have a build up and cool down period between jumps.​
  • You can manage your carrier's finances by setting tariffs and adjusting the buying and selling prices for commodities traded in it's market.​

As it currently stands, we're aiming to launch the Fleet Carriers update in June and will be calling all commanders to experience Fleet Carriers (as both visitors and owners) in two upcoming public betas before the update is live! The first beta will begin on 7 April for PC only, and the second beta which will be launched on PC, Xbox and PlayStation, will take place in May. Please note that there is a chance that these time frames may change slightly in the coming weeks, but we'll keep you up to date on the specific times, dates and instructions.

See you there, Commanders.

Using my blueprints for your own purposes

I am writing this for a number of reasons but first and foremost because someone was offering to sell a t-shirt with my design on.

 

I have always been very clear any that anything made using my designs were for personal use only

What can you do with them?

As long as you credit my blog and don’t modify my designs, you can use them as wallpapers, print posters, mug mouse mats, get a tattoo; it doesn’t matter as long as you are not doing it for money. No commercial use. Ever. 

Why not?

Because it’s all my hard work (of years) and I don’t get a penny, nor do I want to charge for them. I certainly don’t want someone else simply selling my work on for profit or  promotion. These are for the Elite Dangerous community.

I have in the past looked to produce posters at cost for attendees at LaveCon, or enable charities like Special Effect be able to sell my designs as merchandise to raise money as exceptions to this rule.

But this cannot happen without Frontier’s agreement as the Intellectual Property (IP) is solely theirs.

I spoke to Frontier about this last June, Sally Morgan-Moore (then Elite: Dangerous Product Manager) replied:

As for printing and selling…I’d have to do a check on that I’m afraid. This wouldn’t be til next week though. There’s so much red tape when money and sales become involved, and it’s frustrating how I can’t be more straight forward about it. Let me try and dig for you. Giving one away though for the raffle is perfectly awesome though as it’s linked to charity.

And in July I chased her just prior to LaveCon and good as gold, she came back to me very quickly:

I’m so sorry but I haven’t had David B in, or many of the legal team so I really am struggling to get anyone to prioritise this.

There you have it, as spoken direct from Frontier Towers – no selling of items connected to their IP. Understandably having other people sell their IP without any gain is not a priority for them. They are after all, a business and doing legal paperwork out of their own pocket is probably a big ask.

I’m not being a grumpy old Scrooge, refusing to share – I give my blueprints away for free to make content for my blog in the absence of game content to report upon - I’ve even done illustration work for EDRPG again, for free

If they give me some kind of green light to produce my blueprints as posters or mugs etc. at cost, believe me, you’d be the first to know!

But trust me when I say it would be me selling the merchandise through Frontier, or direct from this blog at cost. Don’t ever buy my designs from ANYONE; they do not have the right (legal or otherwise) to sell my work.

I’ll happily give you a bitmap, as you can see in my email above, you can get printed on a t-shirt for yourself for personal use only.

ECM 2020 Blueprints - update

This morning's post contained a nice little bundle. I had "put a rush" on five designs specifically; The Anaconda, Asp Explorer, Imperial Cutter, Federal Corvette & Python. These are, according to Inara's galaxy statistics the most popular main ships among players. I took the five designs with a slightly different set of proportions so they would print as a mouse mat. Here's what turned up. 

The mats all have that "new rubber" smell! They have a satin finish and look really nice. Those people attending Elite Community Meet 2020 in April will be able to enter the raffle and win themselves one of these beauties. So if you can't make it, see if you can beg, bribe or otherwise coerce someone who is going to buy some raffle tickets for you. All proceeds go to charity (Special Effect).

There are 59 vehicles in my blueprint collection and I've got to redraw all of them, so I'm trying for 3 per day if possible (although house-hunting has impacted my time a fair bit).

UPDATE: 12/03/2020 - I have now only 19 vehicle blueprints left to re-draw. WIP below.

 

Current Project for ECM 2020

After my fundraiser I did a number of custom blueprints for my supporters, but I have now undertaken another project.

This one will take me into March to complete as I have to do some considerable drawing work on all my existing blueprints. This involves drawing outlines for each of the five views. 5 x 59 = 295 outlines to draw. Each takes around 6-7 minutes - a lot of work, but worth it.

The original blueprints are all hand-drawn vectors which are transparent wire frames (very 1984). They can be any colour and overlaid on any background.

What I am now doing is drawing an outline for each that is not part of the original vector object.

Once I have the outline, I can alter its thickness or change it to a solid fill. In this case I make two copies, one solid with a partial transparent fill and the second hollow with a thick border to emphasise the edges.

Once I have this I can get creative. The end result looks something like this.

The plan is to have a full set of my blueprints in this style, printed as a colour bound booklet in the Elite Community Event charity raffle. We did similar in 2018. Back then there were 50 booklets printed, so I suspect we'll do the same this year. There are however 59 vehicles, compared to the 47 back in 2018. 


If you can't make ECM due to other commitments, geography or because the tickets sold out, try and bribe someone who is going to grab you a few raffle tickets!

 

 

"Keep the ship charts coming" fundraiser

UPDATE

My fundraiser started on Thursday and ended in success on Sunday.

I cannot express how thankful and blow away I am by the generosity of the Elite: Dangerous community. Over £500 in three days! Things happened fast. The donations rose quickly from a tenner to £100 to £280 then suddenly, over £500. Meantime I got an email from Corel with a 20% off voucher for the weekend! Providence? 

So with the funds raised already enough, I ended the fundraiser and put in my order in.

I have sent all my supporters a download link from my SynologyDrive (NAS storage) with a Readme.txt. 

A special and huge thank you to the following people. Please message me via the comments or Facebook to arrange your custom blueprints.

Dan Grubb, David Campbell, Psykokow P Madkow, Shaun Pond, John Virgo, Spencer Cook, Peter Wotherspoon, Jason Lessard, Leroy Squire, Ann Sheffield,Richard Clark, Dave Irfan, Jim Bee donated, Trev Moss, Phil Ellis, Richard Hudson, Jerry Pringle, Andy Hollings, Simon Knowles Winnard, David Pearson, Jakob Andreassohn-Schmidt, Ben Draper, Mike Snoswell & Steve Giller.

To crowdfund or not to crowdfund, that is the question

This is something I thought I would never do, but I am going to ask my followers for money.

Why? Put simply, the illustrations I make for my blog are drawn using a program called CorelDRAW. I’ve used this software since the early 1990s and it is very good. However, I have the Home/Student edition my parents gave me in 2014.

The 2019 Home edition costs £80-90 and in a good month, I can probably manage that. Although anyone that knows me is aware of my financial situation due to a drawn-out divorce. I’m not trying to lay on a sob-story, I just want to be clear I’m not broke because I’ve been drinking & gambling whilst on a shopping spree. 

The problem is the Home edition of CorelDraw is 32bit ONLY and some of my more complex illustrations, like the ship chart, are exceeding what this edition can run (basically it crashes a lot and work is lost). I tried the trial of the “pro” version (which is 64-bit) and the problem went away. The software ran way faster. Having been shown paradise, I looked for the ticket price and it is £599. Not something I can afford in a month of Sundays. I was resigned to the fact I will just have to stop doing the complex charts and stick to individual blueprints. However, a couple of people asked me why I didn’t crowd-fund the purchase? Not something I had previously considered.


It's on sale right now, but the normal price is £599 and I won't pirate it or buy a grey copy.

Now my blog gets 950 unique visitors per week now (3,800 per month), when there’s not been much to post about for some time and when I’ve released new blueprints the visitor numbers are up to 12,000 in a day! I only need the first 600 visitors in a week to donate a pound and I’d have the money in a week. I can’t offer any kind of physical rewards, but I can give the donors PDFs of all the existing blueprints in the language of their choice. For any larger donations, I could easily make some customised blueprints with ship/commander names added.

I want to ask you, my followers/readers, are my charts worth £1 to you? Should I do this? Is this a realistic prospect? Thoughts & suggestions if, and how, I should go about this in the comments please. Having never asked for money or done any crowd-funding, I have no idea how or where to start.

5th Anniversary Ship Chart

I created a poster for LaveCon, which was A0 (it had to be to fit all the ship data on it). 



For the fifth anniversary of Elite: Dangerous' release, I thought I would release an updated copy with the more recently drawn Thargoid Hydra Interceptor. I've had to remove the ship stats to make the poster A3 sized otherwise the text is unreadable scratches, but in addition to the bitmap below, you can also download a PDF here : ship-chart-5th-anniversary.pdf (2.73 mb)

Enjoy!

Are Carriers Your Bag

Fleet Carriers: Are they your bag?

Fleet Carriers are coming in December. Last week at GamesCom, Frontier released more information following their brief announcement at LaveCon in June.

What have they said?

December Update - The FLEET CARRIER Update

The news you've been waiting for... Fleet Carriers.

Take a peek below at the initial details about Fleet Carriers, coming as the December Update.

Ownership
Purchasable with a large amount of credits.
One Fleet Carrier per Commander. Available for base game and Horizons players.

Capacity
Fleet Carriers have a total of 16 Landing Pads, composed of:

  • 8 Large
  • 4 Medium
  • 4 Small

Set permissions to allow others to dock at your Fleet Carrier.

Operations
All Fleet Carriers feature rearm, refuel and repair services.
Commanders can choose a number of loadouts for their Fleet Carrier, governing services/module and ship availability to support a number of different activities, such as:

  • Bounty Hunter
  • Mercenary
  • Pirate
  • Trader
  • Smuggler
  • Miner
  • Explorer
  • Search and Rescue

Travel
500 LY jump range (per jump)
Schedule jumps from the Galaxy Map when you want and from wherever you are in the galaxy.
Commanders require a unique resource to fuel the Fleet Carrier in order for it to jump.

What does that tells us that we didn't know?

Any commander can buy their own carrier (just one). It's going to cost Billions of credits in all probability. This makes them an end-game goal. They're going to be available in the base game - not just Horizons, so EVERYONE gets a shot at owning their own BattleStar! 

They are persistent (if other players can dock, they have to be). So once parked, they stay put. They are indestructible and only one can be in an instance, so no mega-battles. But also no ganking the most expensive ship you'll ever own. Which is nice.

Persistence means you won't just be able to chart a course and jump, you'll have to fuel up, set destination and wait for a server tick (Thursday AM). This means with a 500LY maximum jump range, it would take 2.5 years in real time to get one to Beagle point - not sure how useful an exploration support ship would be under those limitations. They run on an as-yet-unannounced type of Jumponium 2.0 and probably will require some effort to refuel. It may be that they WILL be able to jump at any time rather than the server tick, based on the refuelling requirement. Hopefully Frontier will provide more details of this soon - after the September update. Until then we can only speculate.

If you've lots of credits and a few friends to help you with refuelling, then the Galaxy will be your oyster come December. 

And did I mention, they look damn sexy too. 


In other news, a new Thargoid Interceptor variant was discovered over the weekend; the "Orthrus". It can be identified by distinct yellow plating around the central core of the ship and yellow markings. There are more details and some screenshots here.

 

Hail Hydra!

I have made some updates to the ship codex site today. I have added the new class 1 optional module slots to all ships (x2 for small, x1 for the rest). Also added is the Thargoid Hydra Interceptor. All the known stats are in place and I have added the ship blueprint for download in all four languages in HD and 4k. See it on the codex here.

The Hydra is the largest Thargoid vessel encountered to date.

It came from LaveCon 2019

I made it to LaveCon again this year with my two sons. Like going to a reunion party of strangers you've known for years, LaveCon is an event like no other.

Please accept my sincere apologies if I forgot your name or didn't post your photo. So much happend Saturday, that it's a whirlwind. I didn't take nearly enough photos or talk to nearly enough people. 

Docking permission granted

We drove up to Northampton on Friday afternoon and rolled up at the hotel in the early evening. After check-in and a bit of unpacking we went to the bar lounge, which is the social hub of LaveCon and got some food!

In the bar, John Stabler (Lave Radio presenter retired) was setting up a projector, so my son Alistair and his friend Sam helped get the projection going with the miniature SNES, while John put up the screen. We then had a few games of Street Fighter (which I lost) and then the boys played Mario Kart - to test things were all working you understand.

My sons dispersed to the LAN room and bar, respectively, so I sat down with Colin Ford & Grant Wilcott of Lave Radio and a group of half a dozen others in the bar lounge and joined in a bonkers card game of something (not sure if this is correct) named "We didn't play-test this game". It made no sense even after a few vodkas! Anyway it was a lot of laughs and I turned in around 1am.

No loitering!

I had set an alarm for 8am on Friday night. But after taking off my glasses (and possibly the drinks my son insisted I have) I managed to see a "Weekday" alarm. So I woke up to sound of housekeeping checking rooms! Eeek! Time? 9am! Damn. Washed & dressed as fast as possible and headed for the restaurant, luckily breakfast was served until 9.30 at least, so I got myself a full English. The three boys William, Alistair & finally Sam, joined me before the restaurant closed and all were fed.

Docking is dangerous

After breakfast we went for a walk in the hotel grounds and just enjoyed the air for a bit, before trying some "Hutton Orbital Docking Darts". This is a game some of us had played before. You have three coloured darts a "small", "medium" and "large" dart. The idea is a small dart can "land" on any pad, a medium can use a medium or large pad, and the large dart can only "land" on a large "pad". Hitting the wrong pad gets a penalty, the correct pad a score and a miss gets nothing (sorry if I've got any of the rules wrong).

Will didn't score too well, neither did I, but Alistair scored 1300 points, which was the days best score at that early point.

Just inside from the darts was the games room. Inside (which I stupidly didn't take any photos of) people were playing board games and miniatures. William was rather taken with a Fallout based game as this is a subject he is really interested in. 
Colin Ford from Lave Radio had his Elite miniatures game out and the tiny painted scale models of Elite: Dangerous ships were a sight in themselves.

Because we were only staying the one night, we had to check out of our rooms, putting everything back in the car, except I had a couple of things for the charity raffle. One was a ship scale chart (A0) and an A2 blueprint poster. I dropped off the poster with Karen Fishwick (the awesome lady who organises the LaveCon event every year) and attempted to put the large poster on display - unfortunately the hotel didn't have any string and I'd not been able to bring any - in the end we improvised a hanger from three lanyards and put the poster on display in the bar's conservatory for all to see.

My raffle contribution wasn't the only community effort hanging on the walls. CMDR BeetleJude (Jude Walker) had an amazing array of hand-painted illustrations on display. Below is a photo of just a few of them. 

Jude donated her works to charity and they were auctioned off over the weekend raising over £750 for the Special Effect charity. 

During the morning we had the LaveCon welcome from Lave Radio in the hall and after that had finished the Frontier team started to arrive. Paige, Sally, Zac & Will from the community team as well as a contingent of "behind the scenes" staff.

The hotel was laid out as below (from memory):

Going old school

Our next stop was the retro gaming room, run by the most excellent Stephen Usher. We had a crack at getting high scores on Arcadians as there was a competition to win a space invader plushy and I had a go at Asteroids while the boys tried out some Acorn Archimedes games & Atari titles.

Not bad getting 3rd after 35 years without practice!

The morning was going fast and with an Artemis session booked for 1pm, we headed to the restaurant for lunch.

We come in peace, shoot to kill!

Artemis. How do you describe it? It's a PC game for up to six players. A captain who gives all the orders, but has no control. Then five computer stations: helm, engineering, communications, science & tactical. The various stations report to the captain & do what he says (mostly) but cannot see what any of the other stations see. Only the captain has the whole picture.

The result? Star Trek: Incompetent Pure comedy and tremendous fun. On our 10 minute test run our ship was attacked, dragged away by and destroyed by a space dragon! A space dragon for Kirk's sake!

Our live attempt ended when we (after a successful run of combat) finally took the "mission" from DS3 to collect a message from a ship in far flung sector, however planted on the the ship with the message was a booby trap, which exploded as we approached, taking our ship out in the process. BOOM! Game over man, game over!

The LAN room & VR

Not very visible in my plan and at the end of the hotel complex, was the LAN room. There was supposed to be a VR room (near the panel room) but to be honest there was such a large VR headset contingent in the LAN room, the VR room was somewhat redundant this year.

Alistair scared the snot out of himself playing a haunted mine train VR game (girly squeals of fright!), while Will sat down with the Tenth Doctor to discuss their shared interest in Cities Skylines.
A number of commanders had their - fairly awesome looking - PC's set up around the LAN room and more of them seemed to have Virtual Reality setups than didn't. In the corner a CMDR from Canonn research, wearing a burn-spotted lab coat (whose name I should have written down *kicks self*) was running a 3D printer making Canonn Research key-rings and demonstrating VR on a headset not available in the UK - he'd imported it from the USA.



The CMDR also showed me a two part Asp Explorer model around 25cm long assembled, which tool 40 hours to print! One day my blueprints will be 3D prints!!

He is the one who knocks writes..

Drew Wegar was set up with a small bookstore in the conservatory below the lounge bar and was signing and selling his books Elite: Reclamation, Elite: Premonition & The Shadeward Saga. My personal favourite is Reclamation because the opening chapter is pure cinema in your mind. Drew told me that he found Reclamation the easiest to write. I sat down with Drew and had a nice chat. I've met him at a number of Elite events over the years and he is a really nice guy.

The Frontier Panel

In past years Frontier has mostly presented some new feature of the game, but this year was slightly unusual in that the first presentation was a special edition of "Discovery Scanner" from Dav Stott which delved into the details of the changes made to the game last year in the Beyond update. What Frontier were trying to achieve in changing the BGS to use six factors of influence instead of three while retaining a similar end result, what came out of the changes and the modifications they had to make in order to get the desired results in a live environment, which included new factors added in the Q4 update. It was a fascinating peek behind the curtain of Frontier into Elite's ongoing evolution.

September update (Q3)

Frontier outlined the content of the next minor update in September which will contain a voiced tutorial (guided missions) for new players in the game, including flight course, navigating & using super-cruise (faster than light travel), some combat tutorials at a derelict mega-ship and finally a tutorial on interstellar travel in hyperspace.

Frontier then announced that the PC version of the game would be getting a new way of purchasing in-game cosmetics. The console platforms will also be changed to come into line with the same thing. The game will have an in-game currency called "Arx" which can be purchased in the Frontier store or, critically different, earned in game. This Arx credit can then be used to buy skins, decals, bobble heads etc. in the game within the cockpit UI. Whats more, the appearance of your ship will be possible to modify when in flight, so explorers won't have to return to a station to change that dull old skin, but instead can buy and apply the newest paints at Beagle Point!

The currency was named "Arcs" at concept, but then it was discovered Star Trek online already used "Arc Points", so there was a long discussion with many different names examined and discard before returning to the original name, with a different spelling. Arx is not an acronym and doesn't stand for anything. I did ask, but apparently "Space Wonga" wasn't considered. Maybe next time. Also worth noting is that I believe Frontier said the Arx points in the screenshot were not necessarily what the items featured will cost when it all goes live in September.

December update (Q4)

Frontier ended their presentation with "before we go, here's a little something from our December update" and showed this video.

"Massive frame shift disturbance detected!"

It features a short teaser of the squadron fleet carriers delayed from last year's Q4 Beyond update showing them in game. Frontier gave no more details than this. 

All details of Frontier's announcement have been posted on the Frontier forums here.

Group photo

After the Frontier panel finished their Q&A session a little after 3.30pm, everyone filed outside for the annual attendee photo. This year I was better prepared and was outside and ready with my drone in the air waiting when everyone came out into the hotel gardens.

The photo from my drone here is full size, so you can download it. Feel free to spot the top of my shiny head or see what facial expression of your I managed to capture if you were in the photo.

My favourite picture was the one I took to include our "official" LaveCon photographer, Oliver - who never gets to be in the photo at these events - and even Chris "Fozza" Forrester's Mavic Pro drone is seen flying though the picture. We had a pre-agreed height restriction so there was no danger of mid air incidents, so the UK drone air-safety record remains spotless! (suck on that BBC/Horizon)

William went back to the LAN room, as Alistair & Sam had taken advantage of the rush to the Frontier Panel to get another cheeky game of Artemis in at 3pm, so they were still busy doing their own thing.

Cards on the table

William had brought his "Cards Against Humanity" game with us and I had promised Adam Woods a game, so getting on for 5.30pm we started a game with my three reprobates, Adam, a chap from the LAN room William had made friends with (and his son) and a young lady also from the LAN room. 
Cards Against Humanity is a game where you have 7 white cards filled with bizarre and sometimes highly inappropriate statements. Each turn a new player draws a black card from the deck and reads aloud the question or statement on the card - a bit like Blankety-blank - "My father has a smile when he returns from the shed with *blank*" Answers could then range from "Tomato sauce" to "The perfect plan for child murder". You get the idea. The player whose turn it is to deal, judges the winner on which answer (no matter how morally wrong or weird) made them laugh or caused the most outrage.
Adam Woods was not there in an official capacity and if anyone asks, he wasn't there. You didn't see him, right? Sally? Zac? You saw NOTHING. 'kay?