Elite: Dangerous Blog

News and events from the Elite Dangerous galaxy

What's in a name (plate) ?

UPDATED 11:36am

There is another BETA related controversy brewing. In the March 21st LiveStream, Frontier mentioned that the nameplates for ship hulls would be a purchased item.

What’s it all about?

In the next major release of Elite: Dangerous, a new feature will be ship naming. You will be able (in station outfitting) be able to set a name for each of your ships, which will appear on your HUD. You can also set a ship registry ID, which is your station traffic control call-sign. This name will also appear on other CMDRs HUDs when they scan your ship. This name will only appear on other players HUDs if you pay for a nameplate! The controversy is that most players assumed (right or wrong) that the ship name would appear on the outer hull of the ship by default, at no charge.

On yesterday’s LiveStream, Frontier instead said that the exterior nameplate would cost extra!

Now does that mean space credits or real-world wonga? It would appear to be the latter and that has got more than a few commanders hot under the visor!

CMDR Zeeman: I'm normally happy to support the FD store, but I'll be boycotting this, sadly.

 

CMDR BongoBaggins: Other CMDRs cannot see the name of your ship on their scanner unless you've bought a nameplate. That's not cosmetic DLC, its locking game features behind a paywall. It's opportunistic, mean-spirited and churlish, and I won't be naming my ships.

Back in the Design Discussion Forum (where ideas were spit-balled during the design phase of Elite) the agreed details on ship names were:

Ship Naming

  • A ship can be given a name by a commander
  • A ship name can only be registered at a reputable space dock
  • There is a fee to register the name
  • Names are not unique
  • Although ships have unique registration numbers that can be shown
  • Ship names can be changed using the same procedure
  • By default a profanity filter is applied to all ship names (separate from chat filters) “starring” swear words out

The impression at that time was that the naming would cost credits in-game, but now Frontier have said it will be a cosmetic DLC purchase from the Frontier Store.

The most common reaction is disbelief:

CMDR Oryana: I wouldn't mind just a free basic name plate with generic font and no bells and whistles. I'd then probably pay for cooler fonts, or other colors or symbols next to it. The fact that I have to pay to essentially stencil on some letters on my ship is a joke.

Well respected streamer and member of the Elite community Obsidian Ant had this question:

If I buy a paint job for my Asp, I can use it on all my Asps. If I buy a name plate for my Asp, can I use it on all my Asp's? And if not, what happens to the nameplate when I sell that specific Asp?

Personally, I feel that a basic nameplate should be free and that more elaborate stencils should come with a charge, much as each ship has a free basic paint-job and further cosmetic customisation is paid DLC. As for not showing your ship name on other players HUDs unless you've bought a name-plate, well if that is correct, then it's an exceedingly poor and short-sighted decision.

Frontier have not responded on the thread. Frontier responded today at 11:03 (around an hour after I published this article!)

Edward Lewis posted this statement
Hi everyone,

There’s been a number of questions from Commanders regarding ship naming and how ship name plates will work so we wanted to give you a little more information about how these features will work when they’re released.

In-game ship naming

When you have named your ship in-game, your ship name will appear in multicrew grouping and in your HUD. In addition to this, in beta 5, when other people scan you, or target you in space they will be able to see your ship name in their UI. This feature will be available for all players of Elite Dangerous (both base game and Horizons players) including Xbox One, upcoming PS4 release and PC Commanders.

Cosmetic Ship Name Plates

The ship name plates will offer an added layer of cosmetic personalisation for Commanders wanting to wear their name with pride, much like paint jobs and other cosmetics currently available in the store.

Name plates will be made available in themed packs. These packs will contain three designs, each of which will be available in three colours: black, white, and grey. This makes a total of 9 nameplates per pack. After purchase, each pack will be available for use across all of your ships (Ship launched fighters and SRVs don’t have name plates) and each pack of 9 variant plates will be coming into store at just £2/€2.5/$3. This means that purchasing one pack of name plates will allow you to use that style across all of your current and future ships, at the same time and rename each individual ship as many times as you like. We believe this flexibility offers Commanders great value and is a great way to help support the continued development of Elite Dangerous.

Thanks!

So what do you think? Is this a micro-transaction too far? Or have Frontier made the right call?

EDIT: In light of the updated information provided by Ed, I would say that while the lack of a free basic name-plate is a shame, the low cost point for having name-plates across all ships answers most of the complaints. That and the clarification that the ships names WILL be visible to other players on their HUDs.

I just played 2.3 BETA and my head is spinning

No really.

Holo-me seems like one of the most comprehensive avatar creators I've ever seen on a PC game.

I also appreciated the fact while designing my new "look" I was sat in a new chair on the Anaconda bridge, giving me totally new perspectives on the cabin layout.

I will have to try out a few different ships!

The Oculus makes the experience, shall we say somewhat novel, as I can look around my "head".

I haven't quite captured my pure "Mr Potato Head" look, but it's pretty good for a first try.

Sorry for the lack of posts

I know there hasn't been much activity on my blog of late. This is due to some personal issues.

The site isn't dead. It's just resting. It'll be fine in a moment.

I hope to be posting again by the time the 2.3 BETA ships.

Thanks to all.

Ship Backbone - Jump range

Looking at the ship backbone by jump range, it becomes obvious which ships are the "explorers".

In the chart I am comparing stock maximum jump range (without any engineering).

Comparing jump range

The thing that stands out here is that there are three gaps of almost three light years in range between the top-end ships; a gap between the herd and the basic explorers, then a gap between the basic and top-end explorers and then another huge gap to the king of jump range, the Anaconda!

Personally I think those gaps need filling, probably with Passenger ships and medium traders..

The Ship Backbone

Frontier have often referenced something they call the "Ship Backbone" a mythical construct where the ships from the game are placed. This backbone is supposed to have a complete and reasonably well distributed range of ships from least to best in all the various categories. But what does this backbone look like? Are there gaps? Does the game have a slight hunch?

I thought I would lay out the backbone to see. By rating the ships on various scales (max speed, best FSD range, max armour, max cargo) I would see the backbone visualised.

So here is the backbone of ships (2.2) by maximum speed (not boost and without any engineering).

Comparing max speed

What we see with max speed is a number of gaps and clusters. The max boost speed chart changes the layout a lot, with the Cobra Mk 3 jumping to top place. Interesting that the Clipper and Orca are the fastest of the large vessels.

Comparing max speed

In my next post, I'll look at jump range and cargo capacity.

Bringing back extinct ships

Being a fan (and Patron) of Chris Jarvis' amazing radio drama "Escape Velocity", I thought I would have a go at drawing a blueprint of some ships from Elite's earlier incarnations that have not made it into the latest game. Ships like the Krait, Moray Starboat, Osprey and from Frontier 2 and featured in the series, the Merlin fighter.

The thing is, the Merlin was very simplistic and there hasn't been much in the way of updated screen shots of late.

 The first thing I need to do is draw some basic elevations. A rough and ready update on the design.

From there, get started on a 3D model. Here we go.

Put the wings on more to match original ship configuration and added thrusters and heat vents. Drives and hardpoints next.

 

UPDATE

I have now completed both the model and the blueprint.

Where would the Merlin fit into Elite: Dangerous? Well, it would be a comparable ship to the Imperial Courier. Probably an Alliance ship. Not massive cargo space, but a good turn of speed and low radar image. A good light trader/fighter with excellent range and agility. The perfect smuggling ship.

What the PlayStation 4 Trailer let slip

Yesterday's trailer for the PlayStation 4 version of Elite: Dangerous was very cinematic, but hidden away in the folds of the advertising are gems of information on the next major Elite release.

E.V.A.

Now the first scene here, show a CMDR standing behind the pilot's chair. The ship looks to be a Cobra. While the scene looks more CG than game rendered, it depicts a pilot moving around the ship. Is this poetic licence, or a hint of what's to come in season 3? Walking around our ships and stations maybe?  Personally it might just be fluff for the trailer - a bit of scene setting. BUT... it could be an element of multi-crew. Instead of a fade-to-black screen when moving between each other's ships and chairs, we might see our avatar walk to the cockpit and sit down.

Asteroid bases

Since the Kickstarter in 2012, we've been tantalised with concept art of asteroid space stations. Either pirate bases or mining bases, built into larger asteroids. These have been high on players request list and the image at 18 seconds clearly shows "Boweens Hollow" an asteroid base. Awesome sauce!

More furniture in the room

At 49 seconds, the trailer shows a new space structure, similar to the civilian outposts we've seen added since 2.1. Not earth shattering, but nice to see more life in the galaxy.

It's not a station, but damn it's big!

With a drive section as large as Jacques stations, the ship depicted at 50 seconds is too "primitive" to be a Capital ship and it sure doesn't look Thargoid. So what is it?

Well, for those unfamiliar with Elite lore, there were, hundreds of years ago in game-time, generational ships that launched into deep space from Sol without the benefit of FSD drives. These ships would take centuries to arrive at their destination, with the great grandchildren of the original crew at the helm. In the time between, human technology progressed and ships could fly such vast distances in minutes, so present-day ships have caught up with those early pioneers.

The ship shown here is almost certainly one of the fabled generational ships. Who's going to be the one to tell their crew they could take a modern ship and be back on Earth by tea-time?

Crew-mates

Toward the end of the trailer we see a Cobra Mk III with a co-pilot. The real question here, is whether the person in the next seat is NPC crew or Human crew. We know 2.3 is multi-crew and we are going to have a commander avatar creator. Since the Cobra doesn't have a ship-launched-fighter, the other seat isn't occupied by the NPC drone pilot, so I'm fairly certain they are depicting human multi-crew.

Something fishy sneaked past at the end

Finally, in the last few seconds of the trailer, a little ship sneaks past (bottom left). It's not the Orca, even though it looks a lot like it. It's the Dolphin passenger craft. I would say that pretty much confirms the ship for version 2.3.

 

Empty blog means full game

Why no updates?

For the last few weeks I've been working on the ship blueprints to the exclusion of all else (pretty much). Corrections to the French editions today and finishing the German versions now I have more translations is keeping me busy and I may also have corrections to do to the Spanish editions as well, so the task is ongoing.

I bought CorelDRAW X8 with some birthday money, so the documents are being merged into single files with language layers.

What else?

In game, I made the trip out to the Formidine Rift and carried out some exploration towards the Community Goal. When I got back to the bubble last week, I took my Corvette out bounty hunting and let of some steam with my ship launched fighter using matching ship skins and weapon colours!

This week I have been running missions for the various factions at Jameson Memorial in Shinrarta Dezhra to raise my reputation to "allied" across the board, the reason being you only get the juicy passenger missions from factions your allied with. Since my ships are mostly parked at Jameson, it made sense to get all popular at my home base, so I can set out with my Beluga (it has blue paint, so does that make it a Blue-luga?) and get a few high-paying trips under my belt.

In other news...

Ah yes, also Frontier have just announced Elite: Dangerous for the PlayStation 4. So welcome to the Galaxy PlayStation gamers, we look forward to seeing you out there!

CMDR Cosmo on the Frontier Forums pointed out the following items of interest in the trailer:

- 0:08 the player character stands in the ship at 0:08. Spacelegs confirmed?
- 0:15 Asteroid base
- 0:46 New Capital Ship, maybe a Generation Ship
- 1:27 multi-crew with faces and rank customization on the spacesuit.

Full set of Elite:Dangerous ship blueprints

I started this in October and maybe I bit of more than I could chew, but the work has been worth the effort. I have spent countless lunch-hours and many an evening working on these, updating them and getting them translated. I hope you enjoy them.

Thanks to CMDR Aidan Abacus & the CMDRs of www.elitedangerous.de for German translations.

Thanks to CMDR Nicou, CMDR Aymerix & CMDR Duita Rider of www.elite-dangerous.fr for French translations.

Thanks to CMDR Nyra, with the help of CMDR Kimanuel and CMDR XPi2, from Corsarios de Heimdal for Spanish translations.

Craft Manufacturer 1920x1080 4096x2305
Scarab SRV Vodel
F63 Condor Federal Fighter Core Dynamics
GU-97 Imperial fighter Gutamaya
Taipan Independent Fighter Lakon Spaceways
Sidewinder Faulcon DeLacy
Eagle Mk II Core Dynamics
Hauler Zorgon Peterson
Adder Zorgon Peterson
Imperial Eagle Gutamaya
Viper MK III Faulcon DeLacy
Cobra Mk III Faulcon DeLacy
Viper Mk IV Faulcon DeLacy
Diamondback Scout Lakon Spaceways
Cobra Mk IV Faulcon DeLacy
Type 6 Transporter Lakon Spaceways
Diamondback Explorer Lakon Spaceways
Imperial Courier Gutamaya
Keelback Lakon Spaceways
Asp Scout Lakon Spaceways
Vulture Core Dynamics
Asp Explorer Lakon Spaceways
Federal Dropship Core Dynamics
Type 7 Transporter Lakon Spaceways
Federal Assault Ship Core Dynamics
Imperial Clipper Gutamaya
Federal Gunship Core Dynamics
Orca Saud Kruger
Fer De Lance Zorgon Peterson
Python Faulcon DeLacy
Type 9 Heavy Lakon Spaceways
Beluga Liner Saud Kruger
Anaconda Faulcon DeLacy
Federal Corvette Core Dynamics
Imperial Cutter Gutamaya
Majestic Class Interdictor Gutamaya
Farragut Battle Cruiser Core Dynamics