Focused Feedback: The Engineers

On the 30th November Sandro Sammarco outlined some likely but not confirmed changes to the way Engineering works in the game. These can be seen below and in the Beyond: Core Gameplay Improvements thread. A feedback thread on the forum can be found here.


Issues with the current system

“There are a few of areas that we’d like to improve, in no small way influenced by player feedback”

  • Potential for Failure – Whilst it’s cool to have pros and cons in an upgrade system, the statistical level of variety in many blueprints ends up meaning that there is a chance of an upgrade being wrecked entirely, and basically not an upgrade, which undermines the whole process
  • Too much Random – There are multiple points where the player is left at the mercy of chance. Whilst some amount of randomness is not a bad thing, and can lead to interesting variety, in our crafting process we have three: the likelihood of correct materials being generated during associated activities, the range of known statistical options, and a final hidden set of statistical options. It can been argued that this is simply too much and makes everything unnecessarily complicated
  • Too Long – Elite Dangerous is a game where scale is very important, and very cool. It also means that processes tend to take longer. This includes the engineering loop. The grand scale acts to exacerbate when the results aren’t great and even when they are it can be argued that it’s just too slow a process.

Suggested Improvements to Engineering

“With this in mind, we’re looking to overhaul the system to try to achieve the following goals”

  • Guaranteed improvement – We want to make sure that when you upgrade a module the end result is always better. There’s a significant time/resource investment in engineering so we want to make sure that you feel it’s worthwhile before you even begin, so you can make informed decisions on whether to take part or not.
  • Increase efficiency – There’s always going to be a significant time cost to upgrading your ship, but we want to look at ways of sometimes mitigating where we think it’s appropriate.

These are the changes that we’re currently investigating.

  • We are removing all hidden statistical variables from the upgrade process. Whilst there is still a range of success when you craft, you will be able to see the range before you commit
  • One cool thing that secondary hidden statistical pros and cons did was ensure variety. Because we are losing this, we will try to ensure that each module has a set of experimental effects that allow you to tweak your module in a variety of ways, hopefully ensuring that there are a number of different options to aim for
  • We are removing any potential for the crafting process to result in an upgrade that is worse than what is currently fitted. Every time you pay for an upgrade, an upgrade is what you will get
  • All penalties in blueprints are fixed and only applied once per rank
  • You will need to maximize benefits from an upgrade before you can start applying higher rank versions to a module. We still want to reward the process of upgrading modules
  • You will be able to craft pinned blueprints at any starport that has outfitting. You won’t be able to gain reputation with the Engineer for doing this, and you won’t be able to fit experimental effects at this point, but it can considerably reduce the upgrading crafting loop
  • Experimental effects will no longer have a chance to occur during the upgrade process. Instead, each experimental effect will simply have a materials cost that you can pay to have it fitted to an appropriate module
  • This means that there is no way you can lose reputation ranks with an Engineer
  • We will institute a materials trader at specific starports. These contacts will allow you to trade (at loss) materials within the same class, allowing you to convert unwanted materials into useful ones
  • We will introduce a per material storage cap, probably around the 100 mark, to remove inventory shuffling
  • We’ll add quality and quantity indicators for materials in the game world, so you’ll be able to see at a glance how much you have of a material without having to check your inventory
  • We’ll add an ignore function for materials (and commodities, incidentally), allowing you to mine and collect more efficiently by preventing collector limpets from picking up ignored items and auto-venting refineries.

Grandfathering

“A lot of you will already have engineered items. We will “grandfather” these. This means you can still use them, their statistics and effects won’t be changed.

“However, if you want to apply further upgrades to them, they will have to be converted. Conversion will place them at the top of the previous rank (so a rank 4 upgrade would become maxed rank 3 upgrade) and would change all statistics and effects to represent the new blueprint.”

“In general, we will try to make sure that the new blueprints can max out slightly better than the old system (we want to encourage conversion).”

Live stream – Discovery Scanner 1

As mentioned on the 3rd November, Frontier will be beginning a new series of live streams. Tonight’s stream can be seen live from 7pm and will essentially be the same talk Dr. Ant Ross gave at the Frontier Expo, but with some more in-game examples and description. You can read more about Dr Ross, here.

“Discovery Scanner is a new Elite Dangerous livestream series where we take deep dives in to the creation of some of Elite Dangerous’s most exciting features and aspects.

“For episode 1 of Discovery Scanner, we’re joined by Programmer Dr Anthony Ross, who will talk us through the creation of the Elite Dangerous galaxy – including how the stellar forge was created. Let’s go behind the scenes like never before.”

Elite: Dangerous 1.0 – An Overview

As this blog was initially started as a response from players wanting to know what would be in the Horizons series of releases, details on the original 1.0 – 1.4 releases were not included. I’ve had the time to go back and add a 1.0 Overview section. In time details will be added for each part of 1.1 – 1.4, mirroring the way the Horizons information is organised. You can find the first part, here. Alternatively select it from the menu at the top of the page.

2.4: The Return – Release Date

The release date for 2.4: The Return will be the 26th September 2017. The official cinematic release trailer, ‘Commander Chronicles: Retaliation’ can be seen below.

You can read the preview here. You can watch Frontier’s Thargoid Lore stream containing this video, some Thargoid history and some brief details about what to expect for 2.5 and onwards, here.

Horizons: 1.9 & 2.4 – Closed Beta Patch Notes

Updated: 22nd August, 3:23pm

Introduction

At 11:09am on the 16th August Frontier released the beta patch notes for Horizons: 2.4 – The Return.

  • You can read the patch notes below or here
  • See the preview of The Return here.
  • You can read about how this Beta will work here.
  • Additionally there are comments relating to changes to Holo-Me which can be read here:

Frontier Threads Feedback:

Please note:

“This is the closed beta portion, and as mentioned it is not the complete change log for release. Also remember that at release, the change log wouldn’t include anything that would spoil the narrative flow of The Return.”


New Content & Features (Horizons)

  • Holo-Me Save Slots – We have added save slots for different Commander appearances in the Holo-Me system
  • Holo-Me: Added 12 new hairstyles
  • Holo-Me: Added slots for Eyewear and Outfits
  • Synthesis can now create heat sinks, chaff, limpets and top up life support
  • Additional planetary bases added to the Colonia region for migration winners

New Content & Features (Non-Horizons)

  • Ship Rebuy Penalty – When a player commits the crime of murder (PvP only), an additional cost is added if they swap to a less expensive ship before paying legal costs during the rebuy flow
  • Pilot’s Federation Bounty – When a player commits the crime of murder (PvP only), they receive an additional Pilot’s Federation Bounty. This bounty is valid in every jurisdiction except anarchies
  • Inbox Revamp – Various quality of life improvements and a new look
  • New Chained Missions – Which can be longer than two steps
  • Hull/Canopy Repair Limpet controllers are now available
  • Preview game extras in outfitting – You will now be able to preview paint jobs and other game extras available for purchase
  • Stored ships can now be sold from the rebuy screen to cover the rebuy cost
  • Updated route plotting system:
    • maximum route plotting range is now 20Kly
    • route plotting is much faster
    • there is now an option to make use of neutron star boost when plotting routes
    • an icon is displayed on the route to show the last scoopable star before running out of fuel
  • Additional NPC stations added to support infrastructure and trade routes in Colonia region
  • Star systems renamed based on Colonia based on migration winners and new NPC locations
  • Additional space stations added to Pleiades region to support civilian expansion narrative
  • Mysterious locations added that we’re not going to tell you about
  • Added search and rescue contacts to stations across the galaxy
  • New and improved salvage scenarios added to support search and rescue gameplay
  • Made salvage commodities legal to pick up from wreck sites (will still appear illegal if dropped by ships as that is not salvage)

Fixes and Improvements

Audio System Updates

  • Audio Collision Re-factor – the way we trigger audio on collisions is different now. Should sound the same as before
  • Music system – is completely replaced! Existing music should behave exactly as before. It is now much more maintainable and enjoyable to use
  • Radio chatter – The radio chatter system works differently under the hood now, enabling us to do cool magic chatter based things in the future. Existing chatter lines should function the same as before (around star ports and planet ports)
  • Flight controllers – This system also works differently now to be far more flexible and pave the way for future ‘awesomes’. Again the player experience should be the same as before for now

Controls

  • Fixed a responsiveness issue that could occur when using the D-Pad of a controller on the galaxy map
  • Fixed an issue where the driving mode switches were not bound in the Classic Context controls preset

Factions

  • Encourage factions to not expand into starsystems that require permits

Fighters/Crew

  • Restored the missing descriptions for the GU-97 and Taipan Fighter when viewing their details via the Roles panel

Galaxy/System Map

  • Updated some textures in the System Map to reduce memory usage (without reducing the quality)
  • Fixed an issue whereby you would not get a failed message when plotting an economical route
  • Fixed an issue with how the Gemini Constellation was being drawn on the Galaxy Map
  • Corrected an issue whereby the completed mission indicators were not updating correctly on the System Map
  • Fixed an issue where ships that have been transferred were not displayed at the correct location on the Galaxy Map after logging out

General Fixes & Tweaks

  • Fixed datestamps on inbox messages
  • Various text fixes
  • Various localisation fixes

Holo-Me Creator

  • The Escape key will no longer exit the Holo-Me syste
  • Fixed a rendering issue that could occur when a Commander’s hair overlaid certain environmental fog effects

Missions

  • Add distance from star system entry to mission destinations
  • Ship kills, and actions to complete planetary hack and disable missions will now only contribute to a single mission, this will be the earliest mission accepted
  • Refactored mission selection to promote a wider selection of missions on a single board.
  • Refactored mission selection to promote a better spread of missions across factions
  • Refactored mission selection to heavily promote selection of conflict missions for both sides involved
  • Refactored mission selection to more reliably generate permit, engineer, and rank missions at eligible stations.
  • Slightly rebalanced micro resource reward selection probabilities
  • Added an inbox message when passengers alight from the ship
  • Follow-on missions can include more data about previous missions in the chain
  • Added support for missions allocating additional rewards based on station distance from the jump-in point
  • Optimisations to how system data caching for secondary sites is stored and requested
  • Significantly improve mission board loading, especially for those on high-latency networks
  • Fixed message text when trying to accept missions past the mission limit (No longer says “… of this type” when it means total missions)
  • Fixed passengers on tourism missions not realising the player hadn’t gone to the right beacon when on multiple-site trips
  • Fixed localisation text for certain parts of Ram Tah’s ruins mission in languages other than English

NPCs

  • Fixed an issue whereby forgetful Military NPCs could sometimes have left their weapons at home
  • Shooting a capital ship in a scenario where they are the bad guys no longer lands you with a bounty on your head
  • Trigger-happy NPCs will now only shoot missiles once the target’s shields have dropped
  • Fixed the falling skimmer issue that could occur on planet surfaces

Outfitting

  • Fixed an issue that sometimes prevented players from selecting stored modules in Outfitting
  • Fixed an issue where livery items would not appear the first time they are clicked upon
  • Various outfitting items have had their descriptions fixed

Player Journal

  • Added “Luminosity” property to “Scan” event for a Star
  • Added “MissionRedirected” event
  • Added “SearchAndRescue” event
  • Added “SellShipOnRebuy” event
  • Include Latitude and Longitude info in Screenshot event if appropriate
  • Include transfer time to FetchRemoteModule
  • Include info about online friends at startup
  • The ‘Scan” event is generated for all bodies in a system, when scanning a navigation Beacon
  • Added “RepairDrone” event
  • Added “Music” event

Render

  • Fixed an OSX specific issue with asteroid decals having bright textures when mining
  • Fixed an OSX specific issue that saw station lights rendering through your ship’s geometry
  • Made some tweaks to prevent certain landing pads from being visible when using the vanity camera when docked in a hangar on a planet
  • Fixed an issue that could lead to other Commanders mysteriously floating around the screen when inspecting a fighter or SRV
  • We have made some improvements to the planetary surface textures to prevent it from ‘jumping’ when driving an SRV
  • Improvements made to station LOD (level of detail) when in a Wing

Server

  • Fix a cause of stored ships shown on the galaxy map, but were inaccessible from the shipyard
  • Fix a transaction server error when transferring stolen cargo between SRVs and Ships
  • Fix displaying the wrong language labels for Community Goal reward tiers
  • Fix displaying the wrong language in multi-crew session reports
  • Fix some incorrect faction superpower allegiance and government types used for the galaxy map, system map, commodities and outfitting services
  • Stop displaying ‘main menu’ as a last location in top bounty local news reports
  • Fix some occurrences of Cmdr Validating when displaying xbox commander names
  • Fix a transaction server error when passengers leave ship cabins
  • Fix a transaction server error in outfitting
  • Various reliability and performance improvements

Ships

Anaconda

  • Fixed error that could occur when attempting to change the Anaconda’s livery when an Engineer’s modified shield generator is equipped
  • Fixed a LOD issue with Anaconda Paintjobs
  • Tidied up some textures

Diamondback

  • Fixed some LOD issues

Diamondback Explorer

  • Fixed some lighting issues

Dolphin

  • Fixed some texture issues with the Excursion Paint Job
  • Flipped some text on the cockpit fire extinguisher
  • The Dolphin now casts a shadow correctly when in the hanger

Eagle

Fixed some texture issues

F63 Condor

  • Adjusted lighting in the livery screen

Federal Corvette

  • Made adjustments so that the bumper Ship Kit works better with Paintjobs
  • Fixed some clipping that could occur with a Class 1 Cannon in the small size 1 hardpoint

Federal Dropship

  • Patched a hole in the geometry

Imperial Courier

  • Made adjustments to the decals to prevent clipping
  • Adjusted decal 1’s camera angle to prevent clipping when using VR

Imperial Eagle

  • Removed some stray geometry that was in the cargobay area
  • Fixed some stretched textures that could be seen when your canopy ices up
  • Minor texture and geometry fixes

Lakon Type 6

  • Added new hanger cameras for the Lakon Type 6 for the rear Ship Kits and the wings

Lakon Type 7

  • Fixed a LOD shadowing issue on the top of the Lakon Type 7
  • Fixed some missing cockpit textures when viewed using the Vanity Camera

Lakon Type 9

  • Added lights to the wings of the Lakon Type 9 so that nameplates can be seen

Python

  • Corrected several vanity camera orientations

Viper MkIII

  • Fixed some clipping that could occur when equipping a spoiler Ship Kit

Viper MkIV

  • Changed the hanger cameras with rear facing cameras for the spoiler and tail Ship Kits

SRV

  • Fixed a text overlay issue with the Surface and System map buttons in the Navigation Panel when driving an SRV
  • Fixed an issue that caused the mouse direction cursor to not appear when driving an SRV

Stability Fixes

  • Fixed a crash that could occur when a nearby NPC ship was docking in a station
  • Fixed a crash that could occur when saving and exiting back to the main menu
  • Fixed a crash that could occur when reviewing Multicannon hardpoints in Outfitting
  • Fixed a memory crash that could occur in various situations while playing
  • Fixed a memory leak
  • Fixed a crash that could occur when entering an Unidentified Signal Source
  • Fixed a crash that could occur when dropping in to a Civilian Installation
  • Fixed a crash that could occur when entering Supercruise

Stations and Outposts

  • Outpost weapons platform has been completely updated with new art
  • All Outposts have had an art pass to fix minor issues and improve visuals
  • Outpost schematic rendering is now fixed to show all the extra modules, not just the core outpost
  • Modular Stations have had an art pass to fix minor issues and improve visuals in some areas
  • Various station schematic models have been updated to improve quality and fix orientation issues
  • Physics mesh optimisation in the newer station interiors to improve framerate
  • Various updates to station interiors to fix minor art issues and improve LODs

UI

  • Fixed an issue where the fuel scooping UI element would overlap with the jump charging element
  • Fixed an issue that could cause your inbox to become garbled when deleting messages
  • Fixed an issue where gunsights were not rendering correctly
  • Fixed some icons that were missing in the Multi-crew role switch panel
  • Fixed an issue where the Multi-crew session report could overlay incorrectly and not be closed when opened in the Gunner Cam mode
  • The Insurance screen will now show the last ship you were flying by default
  • Livery items you own will now be indicated with a tick
  • Removed a mysterious invisible button to nowhere from the Station Services menu
  • Corrected the Commander portraits appearing at a lower resolution in the Station menu
  • We have made some cosmetic improvements to the layout of the Insurance screen
  • Fixed an issue where a Wingman’s target marker could disappear when they target a subsystem

VR

  • We have made some adjustments to mouse behaviour when viewing the Holo-Me menu in VR so that it matches other UI screens
  • We have disabled the bloom effect when using the VR graphical presets by default, as it could be a bit hard on the eyes

Weapons

  • We have made some improvements to the animations on railgun