3.0 – Beyond: Beta Patch Notes

At 10.54am on the 25th January 2018 Frontier released the patch notes to Beyond: Chapter 1. You can find them below, or here on the official website. The headline features and changes can be found in the Elite: Dangerous – Current Features section of this blog along with all other patch notes from the game.

If you’re looking for more information on what Beyond: Chapter 1 includes, you can find the details here.


New Features

Crime

  • Crime & Counter Crime system overhaul, including Advance Tactical Response (ATR)
  • When the player is destroyed they are not necessarily returned to the last port they docked at, based on a prioritised list of rules
  • If players are destroyed when a fine/bounty has been detected they will respawn at a detention centre
  • Players that join a Multi-crew session in someone else’s ship, and commit a crime, have a corresponding fine/bounty added to their own most valuable ship
  • Players can store hot modules (modules applied to a ship at the time a crime is committed)
  • Players can clean ships (and any hot modules applied at the time) through an Interstellar Factor contact by paying the bounty/fine
  • Players can sell hot ships from the shipyard for a markdown
  • Access to port services including ship transferring/storage/retrieval/selling are limited if the player docks in a ‘wanted’ ship (bounties and fines) applicable in that jurisdiction, and where transfer is possible, the cost is increased
  • Power bounties are issued instead of normal bounties for criminal acts to do with valid Powerplay interactions
  • Players can see details on fines and bounties in the wanted ships cockpit, the shipyard and the ship transfer screens
  • New crime recognised: “reckless weapons discharge”
  • Bounties and fines incurred by players are applied to the ship that the crime was committed in and never go dormant
  • Interstellar bounties are created when the combined fines and bounties for factions aligned with the same superpower breach a threshold

Missions

  • Added new Wing Missions that can be shared across a Wing and completed as a group
  • Mission Depot added where players can accept an applicable mission and deliver the target commodity piece by piece to complete the mission
  • Mission reward choice
  • New USS scenarios added

Ships

  • Added new alien attack craft
  • Added the Chieftain. More maneuverable than ships of similar size and weight, the Alliance Chieftain from Lakon Spaceways has been designed not only to dish out punishment, but to avoid it. – Horizons only
  • Added second seat to the Keelback to support Multicrew

Trade Data & Galaxy Map

  • Galaxy map now indicates its mode when any tab is active
  • Galaxy Map: Filter by station services
  • Galaxy Map: Filters added for Thargoid & Guardian sites
  • More player factions have had a description added in their home system on the galaxy map
  • Filter for the new ‘detention centre’ government type (for new detention centre spawning areas)
  • Galaxy Map: Players can view trade data that they own, by commodity, represented on the galaxy map by colour coded icons
  • Galaxy Map: Players can view trending trade routes, and filter by AI or Human players
  • Galaxy Map: Players can view import and export prices, in a roll out screen, including the ability to select different markets and filter
  • Commodity Market: Players can search trade data they own, to compare it to the current market

Engineers

  • Material Trader contacts, which allow the player to convert materials – Horizons only
  • Engineering a module or weapon results in progressively better improvements within a range
  • Players can convert and modify their older modules/weapons engineered before this update
  • Players can modify modules/weapons at selected ports (ports with access to outfitting) outside Engineer ports
  • Players can select which experimental effect they want to apply to their module, at a material cost
  • Players are presented with a screen where they can choose the module/weapon to modify, the Blueprint to apply or pin, see the material cost, and preview the outcome

Weapons and modules

  • Added Technology Broker contacts, which allows the player to unlock new weapons and modules in return for specific materials and commodities – Horizons only
  • Medium Shock Cannon (Fixed, gimbal & turret)
  • Medium Remote Flechette Launcher (Fixed & Turret)
  • Medium Enzyme Missile (Fixed)
  • Size 4 Meta Alloy Hull Reinforcement Package
  • Recon Limpet Controller

Galnet Audio

  • Players can now listen to the news in their own language while they play!
  • News headlines can be accessed via the status menu
  • Galnet can now be accessed via the status menu and articles with audio can be played or queued into a playlist
  • Galnet Audio playback options added to controller bindings
  • Galnet Audio section added to audio options

Installation and Megaship Interactions

  • Data link scanner upgraded to allow scanning megaships and installations to reveal targets the player can interact with
  • Players can scan certain revealed targets to uncover sub-targets. These can be interacted with in different ways depending on the type
  • Players can damage generators to disable turrets
  • Players can use recon limpets to activate data terminals and comms arrays
  • Players can use hatchbreaker limpets to open a cargo bay

Surface material system

  • Overhauled the surface material system for the rocky, high metal content and metal rich planets
  • Improved contrast and colour variation across and between bodies
  • The colouration of the surfaces now more clearly telegraphs the chemical make up and volcanic activity of the worlds

Quality of Life

  • Added synthesis for new Technology Broker modules and weapons
  • Added synthesis for AX weapons
  • New cockpit voice assistant – Victor added as an alternative to Verity
  • Increased manoeuvrability benefits when boosting based on the ENG pips
  • Option added so players can choose how flight controllers address them (Commander Name, Ship Name or Ship ID) when approaching a station
  • ’Target Ignore’ feature added for material and commodity collectables and refining
  • Ability to see at a glance the quality and inventory quantity of materials targeted
  • Per material storage caps
  • Increased rewards at Search and Rescue contact
  • New High Value supercruise targets for pirates to raid

Misc Features

  • Large number of Commander Journal updates

Consoles

  • Portuguese language support added for consoles
  • 11 new Achievements for XB1 worth 200G

Bug fixes and Improvements

This update includes well over 1000 fixes for various issues that have been discovered and investigated during the development process.

For the sake of clarity, we have primarily listed below fixes for issues that have been reported to us by the community or other important changes.

Audio

  • Fixed some audio issues with the Federal Gunship
  • Fixed some audio distortion that could occur when passing through a Starport’s airlock
  • Fixed issue where Elite NPC crew members would use voice responses meant for Elite targets with targets of all ranks

Camera Suite

  • Removed a dark background that would appear when opening the main menu while in the Camera Suite

Controls

  • Fixed issue of more recent PS4 controllers not being recognised as such when used on PC
  • Fixed some instances of changes to keybindings not being saved after restarting the game
  • Fixed a throttle issue that occurred when using the Camera Suite

Engineers

  • Fixed an issue where engineer bases would not always occupy the top position of your Contacts Panel by default

Fighters/Crew

  • Fixed an issue where hired crew could crash their ships when recalled at crater settlement

Galaxy Map/System Map

  • Fixed some inconsistent system data for Pekoe
  • Fixed the missing ‘State’ field for systems with damaged stations
  • Fixed the argument of periapsis appearing incorrectly on the System Map
  • Fixed two systems with duplicate names
  • Fixed visual issue with planets that could occur after selling restored exploration data
  • The Galaxy Map can now be freely spun with the mouse in both directions, instead of just to the right
  • Fixed some texture pop for the stars on the System Map
  • Fixed inconsistencies between the jump range calculated by the hyperdrive and what’s used in outfitting/galaxy map. Should no longer be cases where the route plotter avoids jumps just on the edge of your range that you could technically make

General Fixes & Tweaks

  • Various text tweaks
  • Fixed a texture issue in the Teqia QI-T E3-3167 nebula
  • Fixed a tiling issue with high resolution screenshots
  • Fixed Onionhead decals that were appearing white
  • Fixed an issue where incoming calls still came through when voice channels were set to ‘off’
  • Fixed cases where hyperspacing to a system where the most massive star is part of a close binary would result in incorrect arrival positions
  • Commander stats: Highest Single Reward now updates based upon the greatest total bounty per ship destroyed after this release

Holo-Me Creator

  • Fixed Holo-Me creator always saying ‘Mixed Eyes’ even when they match
  • Adjusted the height of the wraparound visor eyewear
  • Fixed an issue where ‘Asymmetry 01’ was set by default even when ‘None Selected’ was set

Hyperspace/Super cruise

  • Addressed issue of jumping to a binary star system and dropping too far away from the main star

Installations/POIs/USSs

  • Patched a hole in the geometry of the Shrogea MH-V e2-1763 Tourist Installation
  • Moved some shipping containers at the Torno 3 Maclaurin Reach surface base to prevent SRVs from becoming stuck
  • Fixed players sometimes not receiving Engineering data from scanning data points
  • Fixed instances of capital ships being aligned to the wrong side of Conflict Zones
  • Fixed a missing Uplink at Dav’s Hope
  • Fixed some floating buildings at Conflux Settlements
  • Added docked capital ship to the Carthage system
  • Made some adjustments to the drop out distance to prevent players from dropping out of Supercruise inside the structure of a Megaship
  • Grounded a floating communications antenna at Dixon Dock

Launcher – PC Only

  • Fixed an issue where the launcher would not minimise when clicking the taskbar icon

Missions

  • Passengers will no longer request to visit damaged stations
  • Fixed an issue that could lead to single planetary scan missions not completing correctly
  • Fixed some massacre mission distribution issues
  • Fixed some systems only spawning VIP passenger missions
  • Fixed issue where only one ship in a wing would count towards pirate kill missions
  • Fixed an issue whereby duplicate named mission targets could spawn during missions

NPCs

  • Addressed reports of reckless flying by NPCs around Stations
  • Addressed an issue where Pirate NPCs would attack the player when in the same instance as a Thargoid
  • Dropping mines inside stations no longer confuses the station’s turrets
  • Fixed issue where Pirate NPCs could demand more cargo than you are able to drop
  • Fixed Black Flight ships being incorrectly flagged as allied with Aegis Research
  • Fixed the Beckett Class Science Vessel being incorrectly named when targeted
  • Addressed mission target NPCs sometimes dropping out of Supercruise too close to stars
  • Fixed issue where a Search and Rescue ship would continue to repair a distress call victim even after they are fully repaired
  • Addressed NPC crew members responding with an affirmative to an order when their thrusters have been destroyed

Render

  • Fixed an issue whereby a station’s interior could appear at a low LOD when in a Wing
  • Improved shadows on planet surfaces for some setting configurations
  • Fixed a LOD popping issue on Asteroid Base landing pads
  • Thargoid Probe shutdown now correctly removes the HUD, rather than turning it black after entering the Camera Suite during a shutdown
  • Reduced texture generation time for non-landable planets on consoles Consoles only
  • Fixed an issue where the ship’s hull could render over weapons (Type 7 and Type 9)
  • Prevent crashes when unable to immediately create planet ring texture
  • Video memory savings in the handling of the background
  • CPU optimisations in the Galaxy Map
  • Reduce cases of texture mip level drops on PS4 PS4
  • Fix cases of nebulae missing from background
  • Adjusted the starlight colour effect on planetary bodies
  • Fix for some settlements not being correctly aligned to terrain
  • Fix for fog not picking up the star light colour in some cases
  • Supercruise motion lines are now frame-rate independent
  • Prevent the fluorescent blue line appearing when in headlook mode and exiting the camera suite
  • Tweak dust, tyre track and rock colour calculations to better match the surface
  • Fix galaxy map icons flickering into and out of existence
  • Non-volumetric light cones now fade in instead of clipping
  • Prevent some gas giants from blooming out due to dividing their colour by 0

Consoles

  • Scale the loading squares for 4K so that they’re not tiny – XB1X
  • Fixed an issue where the game would revert back to 4K mode instead of 1080p after a few days (XB1) – XB1X only
  • Fixed an issue where the pre-order gold Sidewinder paintjob would go missing (PS4)
  • Earth now has better defined land masses as on other platforms (PS4)
  • Menu audio no longer continues to play when viewing Training Videos (PS4)
  • Fixed an issue where you’re unable to reply to messages from friends due to them appearing offline erroneously (PS4)
  • Fixed descriptions for various Trophies in languages other than English (PS4)
  • Various audio fixes to help reduce “pops & crackles” (PS4)

Ships

General Ship Fixes and Improvements

  • Fixed an issue where the Festive String Lights could disappear when swapping vehicles until your next jump
  • Fixed ship paint work always showing as scratched even when at 100%
  • Thargoid EMPs no longer scrub your ship’s Nameplate and ID from your hull
  • Fixed some laser aim jittering that was occurring when switching between a Ship Launched Fighter and your Mothership
  • Fixed utility mounts disappearing while in Hyperspace
  • Corrected spelling of DeLacy in several ship cockpit textures

Anaconda

  • Fixed some clipping on the Raider Ship Kit
  • Fixed the ship not rolling correctly on its centre of mass axis
  • Fixed the engine trails rendering incorrectly

Asp Explorer

  • Fixed the bumper Ship Kit covering the Ship ID
  • Fixed an alignment issue with the Ship ID
  • Fixed an issue with the front decal disappearing and reappearing when dropping from Orbital Cruise

Cobra MkIII

  • Fixed an animation issue with the landing gear

Diamondback Explorer

  • Patched a hole in the geometry
  • Fixed a texture LOD popping issue

Federal Gunship

  • Fixed an issue with the heat coils being inverted

Imperial Courier

  • Fixed the facing of a decal

Imperial Clipper

  • Fixed the XB1 controller vibration not working – XB1 only

Imperial Cutter

  • Adjusted some of the outfitting cameras
  • Fixed a missing texture under the landing ramp

Lakon Type 7

  • Fixed some inverted decals
  • Fixed the incorrect orientation of the Camera Suite external angles

Lakon Type 9

  • Fixed a cockpit texture issue

Lakon Type 10 Defender

  • Fixed an issue where certain hardpoints were not firing correctly
  • Fixed a cockpit texture issue
  • Adjusted the camera angle for the 6th utility mount when in Outfitting
  • Increased the power distributor slot to size 7

Orca

  • Fixed some LOD issues with the Pathfinder Paintjob

Python

  • Fixed a section of the Tail Kit 4 that could not be recoloured
  • Raised the position of the fuel scoop message as it was appearing too low

SRV

  • Fixed an issue whereby your ship could take off while deploying your SRV, causing it to possibly take damage
  • Fixed an issue where SRV cargo was retained when the SRV was destroyed
  • Fixed issue whereby your ship could be dismissed while deploying the SRV, causing the turret not to deploy correctly
  • Fixed SRV handling inconsistencies while airborne at some framerates
  • Fixed issue whereby a player driving an SRV would receive a bounty for returning fire on a hostile NPC ship
  • Fixed an issue with the fuel gauge displaying an incorrect value

Stability Fixes

  • Fixed an issue that prevented players who logged out near ‘Downed Civilian Ships’ in the California Nebula from logging back in
  • Fixed a crash that could occur when switching back to your ship from a Ship Launched Fighter
  • Various crash fixes for all platforms
  • Fixed a common connection error that could occur
  • Prevent crash at planetary bases that could occur from rapidly loading in and exiting to main menu repeatedly

Station Services

  • Fixed an issue where the Restock All menu could get stuck loading
  • Fixed an issue whereby modules were not being correctly categorised in the Stored Ships panel of the Shipyard

Stations/Ports

  • Various fixes and optimised for stations and outposts

UI

  • Engineering effects on Modules can now been seen in the modules tab
  • Fixed an issue with bracketed Commander names not displaying as intended
  • Insurance screen ‘Rebuy All’ toggle has been changed to ‘Select All’ for clarity
  • Fixed incorrect ‘Killed By’ message that appeared when a player destroyed your Ship Launched Fighter in PvP
  • Fixed an incorrect thumbnail displaying in the Role panel
  • ‘Total Hyperspace Distance’ and ‘Maximum Distance from Start’ stats on the Stats Panel now display as whole numbers
  • Corrected some display errors on the Insurance Screen
  • Fixed issue where some Blueprints mod descriptions were not matching the results
  • Fixed some text layout issues for Inbox, mission text and Info tab of the Multi-Crew sub menu
  • Fixed issue with the System Map scroll bar resetting when a map pop-up is closed
  • Fixed the switch tabs buttons appearing incorrectly in the French client in the Holo-me creator
  • Read messages in your inbox will now display an open envelope icon

VR – PC only

  • Adjusted the pilot illumination so it proves less distracting when using VR
  • Fixed a rendering issue with some Sidewinder cockpit panels rendering as transparent when using VR

Weapons & Modules

  • Fixed an issue where engineered Pack Hound Missiles could not always be restocked correctly
  • Fixed an issue where some engineered torpedoes were not damaging internal modules correctly
  • Fixed an issue where guided missiles could remain stationary in space after a conflict
  • Small adjustments to the position of the penetration sphere (and making it smaller) to better balance High Yield Shell, Deep Cut Payload and Penetrator Munitions specials – these should all be slightly less effective at their best, better on average, and overall show much more consistent results.
  • Fixed an issue where heat sinks could not be activated when in Supercruise
  • Fixed an issue where jumping to Supercruise reset the charge provided by a Shield Cell Bank if the charge had not completed before the jump
  • Updated the description text for the Turreted Flak Launcher for clarity
  • Fixed an issue where Collector Limpets could explode on the cargo hatch when the vessel was moving
  • Adjusted the Hatch Breaker Limpet Controller’s in-game description
  • Adjustments made to the Docking Computer to prevent damage during landings
  • Fixed issue of power priorities in the module tab not listing all priorities

Modifications to existing specials

  • Autoloader rate increased 25%
  • Force Shell no longer scatters
  • Plasma Slug damage penalty reduced from 20% to 10%
  • Radiant Canister no longer reduces ammo capacity (was 25% penalty)
  • Shiftlock Canister no longer reduces damage (was 20% Penalty)
  • Thermal Conduit no longer includes a base damage penalty, but the damage bonuses from the firing ship’s heat have been reduced to offset this
  • Thermal Vent effectiveness doubled, and no longer increases weapon’s baseline heat (was 25% penalty)
  • Thermal Shock damage penalty reduced from 20% to 10%

 

Beyond: Chapter 1 – Blog Updates

Following the first two live streams the Beyond: Chapter 1 page has been updated to reflect the information released so far. If you’re a returning visitor and want just the latest news, then check out the Latest: Blog Updates. The page has a brief summary of sections that have been updated and will save you time reading through the entire main page to look for new information.

Beyond: Live stream Update

Frontier have announced some details and changes to their live streams for Beyond. The details will be updated on this website on the evening of the stream.

Hi everyone,

We’re beginning the Elite Dangerous: Beyond – Chapter One content reveal livestreams tonight, with Sandro Sammarco, Adam Bourke-Waite… and me. Join us on the official Elite Dangerous YouTube channel at 7PM GMT.

After much discussion, we have decided to split the content reveals in to three livestreams. One tonight (16/01/18), one on Thursday (18/01/18) and one on the following Tuesday (23/01/18). There’s a lot of content to get through, so we wanted to make sure that we can have the right people talking about the content, and with enough time to give each feature the attention it deserves.

Remember, the beta is released on Thursday 25 to all PC players, as detailed in the forum post here.

We’ll also be posting a summary of what was shown on the livestream on the forums. Look out for a post in News and Bulletins updates later tonight.

Here’s what we’re going to be covering in the streams (please note this is subject to change):

Live Stream – Tuesday, 16th January 2018
– Changes to Crime and Punishment
– Wing Missions
– …and more!

Live Stream – Thursday, 18th January 2018
– The Chieftain
– Planetary visual improvements
– Trade data improvements
– The Tech Broker
– more!

Live Stream – Tuesday, 23rd January 2018
– Engineers
– Material Trader
– GalNet Audio
– EVEN MORE!!!

Looking forward to seeing you all in the streams!

Thanks,

Ed

Welcome to the new Commanders.

There’s been an influx of at least 100k new players to the game since the Steam sale of Elite Dangerous/Horizons in the Christmas/Holiday period, so a big welcome to all the new players.

If you’re visiting this blog for the first time then you’ll find a selection of news about the games development both past and present from the menu in the top corner of the screen. You can also visit the update page to find the latest additions to to specific pages here.

If you’ve just bought the base game in the sale and you’re thinking about buying the Horizons expansion, then you can read the overview with links to each point release here.

You can find a brief rundown of all the games features, including links to the official patch notes here.

You can read about all the currently known features coming in the Beyond series of free updates, here. (Note: Frontier have said these are Horizons only).

And The Future? Well it’s probably On The List….

Enjoy, and see you in the black!

 

Live stream – Discovery Scanner 1: Update

Following the live stream, Dr Ant Ross answered some questions. You can see them below, on the official forum here, or on Reddit, here.


1) Is “The Bulge” what is referred to in game as The Bubble?

The galactic bulge, or galactic core, is the blob shaped region of stars in the centre of the Milky Way. It is a separate thing from The Bubble, which is the region of human inhabited space around Sol.

2) Why did Elite Dangerous decide to use light-years and not parsecs in-game?

I don’t believe there was a specific reason why. The original Elite and its sequels also used light years for interstellar distances, and it is nice to be consistent.

3) Does the game allow for any catastrophes? Novae, rogue-planet ejection or capture, system collision?

During the generation stage, rogue-planet events and collisions are taken into account. However, these are historical and not visual effects. When you arrive in the system, you only see the results of those effects on the resulting stable system.

4) When do we get to hear about what is coming next for Stellar Forge? Like comets, flyable gas giants, etc.

Oh, yeah, that’s scheduled for MMPPPPPPH ( Ant gets dragged away by Zac ). Ahem, hm, apologies, but I can’t really talk about that at the moment.

5) Why does Elite Dangerous only use circular orbits? Are elliptical orbits too complicated?

Elite Dangerous does use elliptical orbits. The inclination, periapsis, longitude of ascending node, semi major axis and eccentricity information is all tracked.

6) There are some planets in the game that look like they would be torn apart by tidal forces. Did you say you actually simulate this? What means those close planets are actually possible?

There are some bodies which may be near the mathematical limit of that collection of matter being clumped together. However, we don’t currently have the rendering feature to display what the surfaces of those look like or how you would interact with them. In reality, you may see a distorted molten mess.

7) The in-system barycentre-orbital distribution in the game is quite vast, given the limited observed bodies (just Pluto/Charon). Is that likely true to life?

The distant orbits which are created should follow Kepler’s laws of planetary motion and classical (non-relativistic) orbital calculations. The resulting hierarchies of orbits should be feasible, but it will be very interesting to see what comes from the future of orbital mechanics analyses and exo-planet searches.

8) Is there anything orbiting within Lagrange Points at all in Elite?

There is a section of code running capture interactions in the virtual protoplanetary disk which can place bodies into the L4 and L5 Lagrange points. I believe this ends up being mostly asteroid clusters, but I have not had a look at them in a while.

9) Have you ever forgot the location of a special feature, that could be found by a player?

If I did, I have forgotten what it was. Sorry I did once make the galaxy produce Mr. Braben’s face in stars as a test for being able to inject very bright O class stars, but that was removed pre-pre-pre Alpha.

10) How close is this identifier system to any existing official naming or identifier protocols currently used by scientists? Like, could we input future data we collect in real life into Elite?

Each generated body needs a unique identifier, but also any “authored” body, say from the stellar catalogues. Authored bodies, however, have their information pre-calculated, so only do partial proc-gen at most. The system is sensitive to adding new authored bodies to the system, as it could displace the identifier of other proc-gen bodies, changing the galaxy. It is possible to make changes, but we must be careful about it.

11) Why aren’t there dark regions on the other side of the galaxy?

Do you mean lower density regions between the spiral arms? If you could please forward on an X,Y,Z sector location (as seen from the Galaxy Map grid lines) I could have a closer look and confirm. Depending on where exactly you are on that side, there are still under-dense regions, but there may also be some bleed through from the galactic bulge data placing more matter in that region that immediately appears from the image in the Galaxy Map.

12) Will Nebulas one day resemble the Hubble painted shot?

One of the common discussions on the dev floor is about the level of visual exaggeration we portray to the players. For example, most nebula images you can see are false colour ones of non-visible EM wavelengths. Do we make radiowaves visible in-game to reflect these beautiful photographs? Do we go the realistic route of showing these hydrogen clouds as greyish, slightly greenish diffuse blobs? No promises, no guarantees, nothing to announce at this time, but I am always interested in potential improvements to the rendering of stellar bodies and phenomena.

13) Does the planet surface rendering use adaptive subdivision when making the hills and craters of the planets?

Currently, the subdivisions are in smaller patches with the same amount of points in the same square arrangement. This is used, rather than non-uniform dynamic tessellation, because in our system it allows a much faster and economical generation of both render and physics meshes. We blend between detail levels of patches though, to smoothly transition from low to high vertex density.

14) Have you thought about creating permanent, full textures for popular planets that get loaded frequently?

Such large texture collections would take up a lot of graphics memory. I understand and sympathize with some of the popping that users have been experiencing, but using up that available memory would mean that other textures in the game would pop quite a bit worse.

15) How come some stars are older than the Universe in Elite Dangerous?

The oldest stars in the real Milky Way can tend towards 13,800,000,000 years. The sectors themselves have a maximum average age of 12,810,000,000 years. Unfortunately, though, there is a small, rare, bug in resolving the range of ages across a few sectors, and there have been a few cases of the stated age if a star being around 18 billion years. Yup, that’s an oopsie. Bluntly fixing this will upset some generation and alter the galaxy, so a careful approach is needed for fixing this one up. It’s my list of work to address, apologies for the delay.

16) Does ED generate hidden geometry?

The word “patch” in this answer refers to a square of terrain. For planets? The base patches on the faces of those cubes that become the planets are always there, as the data might be needed at any moment if one is traveling fast enough. The finer detailed patches are only generated when it’s reasonable for the game to expect you to need that information, depending on your altitude and speed. There might be patch information which would be beyond the horizon and so not needed for rendering in this frame. In this case, the patch is culled from the list of things to render, reducing the work on the GPU.

17) Why are there regions of stars near the core where there are defined lines of difference… i.e. one side dense star fieldother side hardly any stars at all?

A good question; I do see the reddit posts about this one fairly frequently. There are some sectors which have a large density gradient between them. One sector is over a threshold for generating stars of the size that its layer looks after. The neighboring sector may be just underneath this threshold. As this neighbor doesn’t create any systems, it donates its mass to all its child sectors and so creates many bodies. The first sector has made some heavier stars, so donates a lesser amount of leftover mass. The result is that there is an overpopulated sector and an underpopulated sector. Not all cases of this happening were smoothed out before the initial release of Elite: Dangerous, and making any alterations now would upset the proc-gen of the entire Galaxy.

We are aware of it and are still mulling over which direction to take this in.

18) Do you have anything to say on the real life discovery of Trappist-1, with it being so close to the system which the Forge created?

“Well done StellarForge!”? Also, “Well done astrophysics and astronomy researchers! You rock!”

19) I’d love to know how you integrate the catalogued star systems (stuff we see from earth)!

We created a compiler that analyzed the contents of the Hipparcos and Gleise stellar catalogs of the time and created stellar forge system entries from the details. Some entries had the full details of the star, others only the brightness, colour and direction of the star, and others somewhere in between. This compiler would take the available data and fill in the gaps using the same calculations that would be used for proc-gen systems. It would also assign BodyAddress identifiers based on the sector they would be found in. When creating a sector in StellarForge, these “authored” systems are loaded in first, their pre-compiled data taking place of generated results. The authored system also take away the mass designated to the sector, like a generated system would.

The proc-gen systems are created later with the leftover mass. The game then treats the authored and the proc-gen systems identically. As for the contents of the star systems, we have other game data resources which Mike Brookes organised which link to a system for full or partially pre-made system layouts.

20) Will we be getting those high mountains and deep ravines back at some point?

The crazy ravines and mountains (mostly on “Rocky Ice” planets) were quite striking, yes. Unfortunately, they were also causing issues in the creation and handling of the physics mesh that you would drive on (or fly into if distracted). The errors that would be encountered were severe enough to cause a crash (this was seen in public as us pre-emptively kicking you to the main menu on approach to the planet). Removing the crazy examples of ravines/ridges was necessary to:

  • allow the creation of physics patches
  • not be entirely scientifically inaccurate
  • avoid terrain which was sharp enough to look really unpleasantly jagged on VR setting.

There also used to be a few cases of a bug in the noise graph allowing the occasional mountain taller than a planet sustain, taking into account material properties and gravitation. These were just reduced to the maximally supported mountain height for the planet. We want to keep working on the planets and deliver improvements. Official people will say official things when the official time is upon us. For now, the short term work involves revisiting the planet colouration, as per the keynote from FX2017

21) How close was the old Elite 2/3 system generation compared to Stellar Forge? Are there any notable changes compared to David Braben’s original take on it or was he pretty close?

Mr. Braben worked very closely with the team to help ensure the approach was consistent but building upon his systems and that StellarForge covered any additions that were wished for at the time of Frontier and First Encounters. The maths behind the coarse level details of the models of stellar and planetary formation have not changed drastically since the 1990s, and so many calculations would be similar. What has changed is the understanding of things like how common binary pairs are and other statistical particulars.

22) Where does the initial mass component to a galactic sector come from? Real life observation, procedural generation or guess work?

Real life observations give us the approximate mass of the entire galaxy. There are various papers out there, some looking at the orbital velocities of globular clusters in the galactic halo, some trying to count types of stars in a region and extrapolate that across whole arms, some measuring the speed of stars at different orbital radii away from the core. The value we used was taken as an average from available research papers at the time. Observations of our and other spiral galaxies gives us a good idea of the distributions of that mass in 3d space.

23) How does star system naming work?

The unique identifier is transformed into a name. The sector address is encoded into a proc-gen “stellar catalog” name. The sector layer can be encoded in a single letter. Some of the numbers refer to the system within the sector at that layer.

 

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.”

Beyond : Focused Feedback

On the 7th November Sandro Sammarco made a series of posts pertaining to the discussion of some forthcoming ideas for the Beyond series of free updates. The first of these will be in relation to Crime & Punishment. He commented,

“We love your feedback! It’s allowed us to improve Elite Dangerous time and again. We’re very excited to be running this area of the forum!

“The main goal of the Beyond Series: Focused Feedback forum is to gather opinion on features early in the development process, so we can ensure we have the best-rounded view when making decisions.

“In addition, we hope you enjoy the sneak peek into some of our work in progress. Whilst we won’t discuss every feature or nuance – we want to focus on areas where we feel feedback can have the biggest impact – hopefully you’ll be able to see what kind of end result we’re trying to achieve. It’s important to stress that these are early ideas, concepts and ramblings from the minds of the design team and none of the things discussed in this forum are confirmed or promised features. Often, when developing ideas they can change for a load of reasons so please understand that anything in this forum is purely early discussion and we will talk about the exact details of new features and content as they get further along the development process and closer to release.”

If you’d rather use Reddit, a thread can be found here.