Today Frontier released (to the backers that were promised a copy) their Digital Art book. This has been a long time coming, but was well worth the wait. It features some superb artwork stretching back into early development, right up to some art for future additions to the game. You can download the document here, with a couple of images below.
The Guardians 2.2 was released on Tuesday, 25th October for PC & Xbox One. All of the the quality of life features will be available to 1.7 players, along with Passenger missions (not including the Beluga liner). The main headline content will be available to Horizons players only.
> SHIP LAUNCHED FIGHTERS >
Frontier initially released a short Ship Launched Fighters (SLF) teaser video that can be seen here.
You can see videos of SLF in action below and here:
There are 3 SLF available to players. The F63-Condor, the Imperial Fighter and the Independent Taipan fighter. This is the new Alliance fighter, which is said to be the most powerful of the three.
Taipan – The most robust of the three, faster recharge for it’s shields but is the slowest and has the worst manoeuvrability.
F63 Condor – The most lightly armoured, has medium manoeuvrability, but is the fastest of the three.
Imperial Fighter – The most fragile of the three, not the fastest or slowest, but the most manoeuvrable of any ship in the game.
Basic ethos is that SLF are ‘glass cannons’ – fragile, cheap, somewhat disposable but powerful.
They are available to the larger ships, giving teeth, or extra teeth to some of them, especially non-combat based trading ships.
Confirmed ships able to carry SLF: Anaconda, Beluga Liner, Federal Corvette, Federal Gunship, Imperial Cutter, Keelback, Type-9.
SLF can be fitted via outfitting screen. They will have 3 or 4 fixed load outs and utilities – heat sink, chaff and point defence. They will also have gimballed and fixed weapons.
Buying a fighter bay, will enable players to construct fighters whilst in flight. You will require ‘ammunition’ to rebuild them.
At the moment there is no destruction of the fighter bay by an enemy ship. This might change, but it’s thought possibly not due to the large punishment of doing so.
Pilots can give commands to SLF and tell them to either ‘follow, stay put or attack targets’.
Initial outlay will not be ‘trivial’. The fighter hangar will take up room as with any addition to the ship in outfitting.
Up to 16 SLF can be carried, depending on your ship. It’s possible to carry different SLF on the same ship.
They can be flown remotely by the Commander, or by a hired crew member. When flown by the Commander the ship will fly itself and will automatically use any turreted weapons.
SLF in the game will differ from those in CQC by virtue of the fact they will have different equipment and flight controls.
Some NPC ships will have Ship Launched Fighters.
You can’t dock your SLF in someone else’s ship.
At present SLF are not able to be upgraded via The Engineers.
You can’t land a SLF, but you can fly them to attack planetary bases.
Point-defence will not attack ship-launched fighters.
The SLF has a limit to how far it can fly away from the mothership, but this is still a considerable distance.
Switching to a SLF whilst it is launched, and then switching back to your ship will leave your SLF floating in space, unless you have an NPC pilot to control it.
Frontier are still looking at the speed at which SLF are launched once you request it.
> NPC CREW >
Up to 3 NPC Crew can be hired from the crew lounge to fly both your own ship or any SLF (via AI). However, only one can fly with you at any one time. The others will be on ‘shore leave’ until you need them.
Crew can be bought to match your own combat rank. They have a backstory and individual avatars. Over time they will rank up based on the number of kills they achieve making it possible to take your NPC pilot to Elite status.
Players can issue orders to the NPC crew member via an in game menu. These are: Defensive, Aggressive, Hold Fire, Stay Put, Focus.
Issuing the orders above causes them to be given out in audio over the ships radio.
You can hot swap with your NPC crew member to enable them to fly your ship, whilst you fly the SLF.
Destruction of your ship causes the death of your NPC pilot.
> PASSENGERS >
Passengers can be expected to include “Thrill seekers, refugees and soldiers”. This will include bulk carrying missions and the transportation of VIP’s to tourist destinations.
Contracts will be offered by faction members, but on drilling down for further details the player will be greeted by an NPC avatar of the lead passenger in the group.
Passengers need to be taken care of. Time limits need to be take into account or they can leave your ship. This leads to payment failure. They can use the escape pods to leave the ship. This will also lead to refurbishment/rebuying of passenger cabin before taking any more passengers on.
The timings for some passenger missions may we as long as three weeks.
Ferrying some of these people about can lead to chained missions with various objectives such as being taken to see combat zones, or places of beauty.
If VIP’s are not happy with your performance they might eject via a rescue capsule with the result being a failure of payment and negative impact to the player’s reputation.
Mission ‘wrinkles’ can be given out by passengers for extra credits – as currently happens with non-passenger missions.
Tourist beacons can be scanned upon reaching a destination. This will result in the player being given a variety of information including the lore behind it. In places of outstanding beauty the players who submitted the location will get their name in the message. All destinations are persistent.
Exploration rewards will be given for finding these spots, there may be a reason to find all of them.
There are a range of cabins available, but no cabin crew.
The passenger ships can be taken to the Engineers are per any other ship.
Videos of these can been seen here for VIP transportation and here for bulk passenger transportation.
A video showing the new Beluga Liner (Horizons only) can be seen below. Only this and the Ocra can be fitted with luxury cabins. The Beluga is larger than a T-9 and has 5 medium hard points, poor handling, a Class 7 FSD and a huge fuel tank.
> ENGINEERS & NEW POWER >
Four new Engineers have been added to 2.2.
A new power has also been added, Yori Grom.
> THARGOIDS/ALIENS >
Frontier initially showed a “massive, green Cylon Basestar, floating about near the wreckage of a batch of human ships it had just taken out” via PCGamesN. [Link]
Then on the evening of the the 5th January 2017 Cmdr. DP Sayre became the first pilot to be pulled out of witch space by an unknown alien species, thought to be a Thargoid. You can read about it here or get the full lowdown on the Official Forum or on Reddit. Additionally, find out more about Thargoid lore via Elite author Drew Wagner, here.
> QUALITY OF LIFE FEATURES
> Module Storage & Transfer
Modules can now be stored for free. You can also transport them to your current location for a fee based on the cost of a module and how far away it is from your current location.
Ships can be transferred from anywhere you left them to your current location, with a time delay. There will be a cost based on the value of your ship and the distance required to transport it.
Remote Sale of Ships
It will now be possible to sell any of your ships from anywhere in the galaxy!
Commanders Log/Player Journal
The 2.2 Update will see the introduction of a player journal into the game. Information will be written to a local file enabling 3rd party apps access to the data. Some of the developers of these apps have already been contacted in regard to developing this feature.
Graphical improvements to Avatars
Some graphical improvements have been made to the in-game faction avatars giving them a better appearance.
Space Station Upgrades
There are now more variations on the inside of space stations and hangars. System types and population sizes will dictates differences in ports. For example: Refinery & Extraction economies will get a more rundown and industrial type feel to them. Agricultural systems will see certain bays taken up by food supplies etc. A look at these can be seen in the videos below.
This CQC station below will make it into the main game as promised some time ago by Frontier.
Capital Ship Dockyard
This too will be in 2.2 and a video can be seen below, and an image can be seen here.
“Get ready to encounter new structures in space – installations. These buildings cover a range of facilities, from comms arrays to unauthorised hideouts to prisons, and more.
As well as making for great backdrops to meet up with other Commanders, expect appropriate traffic, from traders, to pirates to military vessels, as well as the chance to locate and collect tasty materials and cargo.”
Viewing planets in the system map will now show a rendered image of the actual planet you select, right down to its actual surface details.
It’s now possible in 2.2 to plan your route via multiple destinations.
The route plotter is dynamic and will alter its path depending upon which filters are checked by the player.
Changes to Star Port Services Menu
This main menu has been given a re-working to make it more accessible and bring to the front some details that were previously hidden inside other menus.
Fines & Bounties
At low security systems you will now be able to pay off your fines, collect bounties and hand in combat bonds via a so called, “SIN Broker”. They will charge a percentage for the service.
Visual changes to hyperspace
There will be some visual changes to leaving hyperspace with the detination sun being shown during the jump. If you’re on mobile jump to 2m 42s.
Security System Jump Warning
Before jumping to a new system you will be given information about its security system level.
New Geological Structures on planets
Some planets will now have new harvestable geological structures on them in the shape of fumeroles and geysers. Full size images of the below here and here.
Geysers on some planets surfaces will be active, allowing the SRV to be lifted up into the air. [Sandro Sammarco via Lave Radio]
Planetary surfaces have also been reworked to significantly increase quality.
Planetary & Star Additions
There will be better graphical representation of white dwarf/neutron stars and ejection of material from them.
Additionally this will provide a gameplay opportunity for players in that whilst in super-cruise you will be able to fly close to these stars and gain the ability to supercharge the FSD allowing increased ‘one shot’ jumps.
The distance of these jumps is expected to be greater than the top end FSD Engineer modifications.
The trade off is risk of damage to your FSD and in-flight buffeting of the ship. Image below shows an in game screenshot of how they look.
Tectonic simulation is improving for when some volcanism arrives in 2.2. Fissures and geysers, more rares to be discovered.
Dimming of the universe via galactic dust.
A larger variety of advertising holograms both inside and outside stations.
Paint jobs will be available for the SLF can be seen below and here, and here.
Paint Jobs – SRV
Paint jobs will be available on the Frontier Store to buy in a variety of colours.
More ship kits will be available for the Python and Vulture.
David Braben Interview #1
David Braben Interview #2
In this interview David talks about culture in Elite Dangerous, the structures in society and in particular those of the Empire. He then goes on to talk about life on a space station. The rich living on their stepped terraces, and the rabbit warrens underneath them where the masses live and sometimes revolt.
David Braben – Interview #3
In this video David largely talks about story and player narratives in the game.