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Epic, near-EVE-worthy troll sabotages Elite: Dangerous community event

Enlarge / Protect and advance the plot, or kill for the lulz? We know which one the community picked.

In the vast simulated galaxy of Elite: Dangerous, a years-old mystery concerning an unknown region of space called the Formidine Rift was poised to take a dramatic leap forward on Saturday. An NPC going by the name of Salomé was preparing for a frantic, fast return to the main inhabited core worlds with information that would advance the mystery’s plot. Elite players could choose to try to escort Salomé to safety, or could try to gun her down.

The event was organized in part by science fiction author Drew Wagar, who has written one of the official Elite: Dangerous tie-in novels. Wagar—with some assistance from Frontier Developments to make the magic happen—would be controlling Salomé's ship as she made her mad dash back to the core worlds; the result of the run would be featured in Wagar’s upcoming Elite novel. If Salomé lived and delivered her message, that’s what he’d write in the book. If she died, the book would be written to reflect that, immortalizing the player character who did the killing.

The stage seemed set for an exciting afternoon of hunting Salomé online, tracking her whereabouts, and participating in some fun player vs. player combat. There were some other “VIPs” flying with Salomé with their own messages to deliver, but Salomé herself was where all the player interest lay.

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Elite: Dangerous 2.3 expansion adds camera, multicrew—and a certain 7 exoplanets

Enlarge / Looking up at the TRAPPIST-1 system's M8 star. (credit: Frontier Developments)

More than two years after its official release back in December 2014, spaceship simulator Elite: Dangerous continues to grow and add content. The latest update is called “The Commanders,” and it bumps the game’s version number to 2.3 (or 1.8, if you’re not running the “Horizons” expansion). There are plenty of new features in 2.3, including a vastly updated camera system for taking in-game images or movies; a “commander creator” feature for players to create and customize their avatars; and the ability to join friends on their ships and fly as a single crew.

But one feature will be showing up as a last-minute addition: the newly discovered TRAPPIST-1 star system, complete with its seven exoplanets, will become part of the game’s simulated galaxy.

NASA broke the news about the discovery only days before the 2.3 update was set to enter semi-open (pay wall) beta testing among the Elite: Dangerous player base. Between that announcement and some last-minute bugs, publisher and developer Frontier decided to slip the beta date from February 23 to February 27 to try to add bug fixes and the TRAPPIST-1 system to the game. The bad news is that the newly discovered exoplanets won’t make it into Monday’s beta release; the good news is that TRAPPIST-1 will be in the second beta release, which will come some days or weeks after the initial beta.

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Elite: Dangerous pen-and-paper RPG stymied by intellectual property dispute

Enlarge / Time for a saving throw. (credit: Spidermind Games)

Late Friday evenings, backers of the Elite: Dangerous tabletop role playing game received a cryptic e-mail from Kickstarter explaining that the almost-complete crowdfunding campaign had been suspended, pending the resolution of an intellectual property dispute. The message read:

Hello,
This is a message from Kickstarter’s Integrity team. We're writing to inform you that a project you backed, Elite: Dangerous Role Playing Game (ED RPG), is the subject of an intellectual property dispute.

The project has been removed from public view until the dispute is resolved, which can take up to 30 days. The project’s funding and the countdown to its deadline have been stopped. If the project becomes available again, the countdown will continue and the new deadline will extend past the original deadline for as much time as the project was unavailable. You can find out more by reading our Copyright Policy and our Trademark Policy.

Original deadline
Wed, Feb 15 2017 6:46 am EST

Time remaining if project becomes available
4 days

Your pledge is currently still active. If you’d like to manage your pledge or reach out to the creator directly, you can still do so through the project page.

We reached out to designer Spidermind Games for comment. Spidermind informed Ars that the complaint was lodged by Chris Jordan, acting for Ian Bell. Bell is the co-creator of the original 1984 Elite.

Ars obtained a copy of a statement issued by Jordan to Spidermind Games, which reads as follows:

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Confirmed: Elite: Dangerous will have official, native Oculus Rift support

Enlarge / Landing on a planet in Elite: Dangerous.

In a Skype interview with Ars Technica, Frontier Developments founder and CEO David Braben was finally able to make the formal announcement he’s been waiting to make. "We’re going to be on the Oculus store," he confirmed. "We’re supporting [the Oculus Rift runtime] one point naught and the consumer release at launch, which is March 28."

There has been quite a lot of discontent brewing in the Elite: Dangerous fan community when it comes to VR support. Though Elite was one of the first big titles to fully support the developer kit versions of the Oculus Rift, that support has gotten muddy in the last year—Frontier Developments hasn’t kept Elite directly compatible with the fast-evolving prerelease Oculus Rift SDK, forcing Rift DK1 and DK2 owners to go through some contortions to play the game in VR.

The company has added SteamVR support, and it’s currently possible to play Elite via SteamVR with Rift DK2 and Vive/Vive Pre headsets. Until today, however, Frontier hasn’t issued any formal, clear statements on exactly what is and is not going to work as of the March 28 launch day for the Oculus Rift.

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Don’t worry, Elite: Dangerous is still coming to the Oculus Rift

Those following virtual reality developments woke up to some surprising news this morning, with headlines blaring that Frontier's high-profile space sim Elite: Dangerous was dropping Oculus Rift support in favor of the SteamVR-powered HTC Vive. Those headlines were especially surprising considering that Elite: Dangerous had been one of the best showcases for the Oculus Rift development kits so far (just ask our own Lee Hutchinson).

It turns out that those initial headlines were wrong—or at the very least misleading. Elite: Dangerous is still planned for the Oculus Rift, as it has been all along. "This is not true. I wish people would check their facts," Elite CEO David Braben tweeted in response to one of those early headlines.

The source of the confusion seems to be a statement Frontier gave to Eurogamer, saying that "right now, we've chosen to focus on SteamVR. We haven't cut an exclusivity deal with any VR manufacturer, and we're still working with Oculus on Rift support."

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