Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Elite IV

I'm excited in... an angry sort of way... I've just read the report that David Braben is out on the interwebs looking for funding to finish the latest Elite game...

The fact that they admit there is an Elite game, that they are testing the multi-player and there will be a single player is very intriguing... This is the first solid news about the game released in a long time.

For you see we've had announcements of games and teasers of Elite IV development since 1999

That makes me excited, what makes me angry is that he's out here seeking funding?... If he was so sure of his game it'd be funded, some publisher would take him on, but then maybe they'd not because Braben has been the proverbial elite game snake oil salesman for much longer than he's been actually developing and releasing games.

You see the original Elite happened by accident, Graham Bell and David Braben came up with some very clever ways to get the low powered MOS 6502 processor to calculate its way to powering 3D graphics, wire frame on the BBC, but other machines (like my ST) ran rastered solid polygons when we got the game.

And there's the anger... When we got the game... I've already handed over my cash to the franchise for Elite, and Elite II Frontier... I even bought First Encounters...  I still have my packaged, near mint, copy of Frontier in my desk next to me at home!

As a gamer I've played space games since Elite, I've played Eve Online and the ilk, I've seen the news of Notch's up coming game.  But, to be asked to fund Elite IV, now seemingly called "Elite Dangerous" before we've any concrete proof of its existence is... Not going to wash with me.

If they offered an alpha, to help test it, if they offered those who funded it more than ethereal promises to shape the game, then I'd perhaps listen, but they just offer this snake-oil Springfield monorail-esq comment and leave it there.

Then you look at the crowd funding site itself... £100 to participate in the beta test... erm... Why should we pay you to do work for you...

Its going to get funded, I know now all the fans; like I actually am; will fund it... but they may not be thinking as I am that this is just another round of bull.

I'd like to see more of the game first, more proof there's a product.  For instance I'm sure if you walked into the Dragons Den with the published information about Elite Dangerous, just that video of Braben on the BBC site with what might be the game running behind him on several screens and the press releases and the history of the court settlements and asked the Dragons for funding, they'd be out.

That's where I sit right now, I sit out...

Because as I see it, I've already funded the Franchise to the tune of jus shy of £130 (inflation adjusted for 2012 prices) and I've seen little return.

Frontier £30 in 1993... is worth £47.70 today.
Encounters £35 in 1995... is worth £52.50 today.
Elite in (I think I got it in 1989 for my ST) £15... is worth £29.10.

That's a hell of a lot of my cash, £129.30 to be exact... I don't see the appeal for any normal mortal to want to have dinner with him for £5000... I can see game developers, or wannabe developers, wanting to do that... Perhaps he thinks EA or Ubisoft might spring for several such seats at a dinner... But to be honest, to have to go to Cambridge to have Dinner, I'd like to be paid, not paying.

Some of the other funding items are also just gimmicks, "Reserve your name in game"... I'll tell you now, I hate that.  "Reserve a digital copy of the game"... digital copies are NOT number limited, there is no limit to the number of digital copies you can make of software this is the very fabric of software, "Holy shit we can only ship 1,045,727 copies cus we're out of disk space!"... No, that's not going to happen, they can stamp out hundreds and thousands of copies per hour in digital form you don't need to pay to reserve a copy, this is madness.

"Get a decal on your ship"... What the fuck is this?  Crystal Tigers and Murloc pets from Blizzard and now "Digital Grafiti" from Frontier Developments...

(My figures for the Inflation Adjusted Pounds came from http://www.measuringworth.com/ppoweruk/ where I related to the "Retail Price Index" - the lower of the two values given).

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