Alpha, Beta, Gamma… Delta?

Nov 1, 2013

Silly. Very silly, indeed. But a worthwhile cause.

A short update today as I’ve been charging about this week. We had a dangerous tree on Monday and a conference yesterday, so time has been a bit short!The cockpit has been cleared of the Trumble infestation and work continues. I’ve been tied up this week with some additions to the Mobra Mk3 Campaign. I’m penning a tongue-in-cheek story to catalogue the adventures of the Mobra crew. Keep an eye on the forum for that!

Work on the third draft continues. There’s been quite a lot of progress here, but the main omissions remain. No starmap yet, and it’s looking like that may well be a while yet. Clearly it’s been rather a more complex job than anticipated. I’m awaiting reader feedback from Fantastic Books, so I’ve not started on reacting to that yet either. So, much has been done, but there isn’t much to show for it.

It arrived in a surprisingly large box.

On a positive note, I’ve now got a new PC. For the techies out there it’s a a virtually silent box sporting an Intel i7 4770k processor, an Asus z87 motherboard, 16 GB of Ram, an SSD for the OS and a fast 7200rpm disk for everything else, along with an NVidia 760 graphics card. It looks the part, and it’s plugged into my ‘spare’ 40″ LED TV, along with a Thrustmaster T1600M joystick and some midi clobbers for music work. Inside the box were 4 packets of Haribo sweets too, which I thought was a fun touch.

It’s most impressive. Astonishingly quick in fact. Switch on to being able to do something is about 5 seconds. The only downside was Windows 8 (64 bit of course), which is odd, ugly and a bit different to what I’m used to. Fortunately a utility called ‘StartIsBack’ put paid to most of the problems and it’s all rather Windows 7-ish again.

Right on, Commander – the next generation.

So far I’ve tried Oolite on it and it works rather well. My boys stepped up for a spot of testing duty as you can see. I haven’t had a proper go myself yet, as it was almost impossible to wrestle them away from the controls. Oolite doesn’t need too much in the form of graphical horsepower, so it’s not a real test yet, but atleast I know everything works.

Having said that, I did run the Unigine ‘Valley’ Benchmark. I haven’t got the scores yet, but it looked jaw-droppingly good on the TV. Graphics have come a long way in the the last few years. FPS never dropped below 50, so I think I’m in pretty good shape for whatever Frontier throws at us. The Valley engine features a lot of procedural generation from the mountains, the clouds and even down to individual flower petals. Bottom line? If you can run that well, I’d say you were ready for Elite Dangerous.

I have an old skool 2.1 Amp (50 watts RMS per channel) to drive the bookshelf speakers (2x 45 watts at 6 ohms) you can see flanking the TV. The setup should last me a good few years. That’s the plan anyway. I think I’m ready for the Alpha!

So my study looks like this (sorry for the space warp, it’s difficult to take a picture in a room and get the whole thing in!). My ‘writing side’ is on the right, which is also where I film my ‘fireside chats’ from. The other side has an electronic piano (young Josh uses it for music practise and composing) and my bookcase of beloved books.

Having some trouble with the warp drive, Mr Sulu!

Fantastic Books is also very busy working in the background. There is some phenomenal stuff coming down the wire, but I can’t spill the beans yet. Dan and I are hooking up on Skype first thing tomorrow to discuss the whys and wherefores though – should be a lot of fun and I’ll let you know the outcome when it’s finalised.

Still some discussion going on as to what the Alpha, Beta and thus Gamma dates for the game are. This still isn’t completely clear, but I hope it will be resolved before too long. Currently I’m still planning to provide the books (ebook versions and special kickstarter reward pledges) to kickstarter and paypal backers as per the March timetable, but it may be there is a second ‘retail’ style release at a later date. It’s all to be confirmed as we’re not sure at this stage when Frontier is planning their marketing drive and launch party.

Delta is a word that can be interpreted as ‘change’ so it’s pretty apt at the moment. It’s also almost the anniversary of the kickstarter process for Elite Dangerous and Elite Reclamation, so watch out for a special article there!

Right on, Commanders!


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