Elite Dangerous, the interstellar space trading, fighting, and exploration simulator, has been teasing support for co-piloted ships for some time. Today the Commanders 2.3 update launches with the Multi-Crew feature, allowing up to four friends to fly together in VR.
Update (4/11/17, 9:51AM): Following a series of beta releases, Elite Dangerous: The Commanders (2.3) launches today on PC, bringing the Multi-Crew co-pilot feature along with other major improvements. A trailer showing off the new update heads this article.
According to developer Frontier Developments, the Elite Dangerous servers will be unavailable from around 9.30am BST until the new updates are live (expected around 6PM BST). The studio highlights some of the major new features:
- Multi-Crew has been added with three new roles: Gunner, Fighter, or Helm. Matchmaking has been added for different session types and there are also separate stats included.
- Commander Creator: with the new in-game Holo-Me feature lets you create your own commander using a variety of customisation options!
- Welcome the new passenger ship called the Dolphin.
- With the all-new Camera Suite you can view your commander and ship from a variety of interior and exterior angles, using a range of new camera controls. Perfect for all the videomakers out there… can’t wait to see what you make with the new tools!
- Aside from bug and stability fixes, we’ve also added a host of new mysterious things, asteroid bases, 100 new tourist beacons, and more!
And a few VR fixes:
- Made the schematics render in stereo
- Added dithering support to tackle banding in VR
- Fixes to some of the cockpit VR cameras
- Fixed some incorrect scale assumptions when fitting the left eye image to the monitor window. The view should feel a little less stretched. In addition there will be a significant memory saving moving from 2160×1200 to 1280×768
- Added Python ship kit VR hangar cameras
And of course there’s far more changes; you can check out the full 2.3 patch notes here.
Original Article (1/28/17): Elite Dangerous is not a VR-only title, but with support for both the Vive and Rift, and its focus on simulator-like mechanics, it does an impressive job of making you feel like a lone pilot somewhere out in a vast and lonely galaxy.
But that feeling of lonely awe isn’t quite as fun when you look around your single-pilot ship and have only glowing instruments and flight controls to share it with.
Thankfully, the Elite Dangerous: The Commanders (2.3) update, due to launch in beta by February 26th, will bring what’s being called the Multi-crew feature, allowing multiple players (in or out of VR) to cooperatively pilot ships across different roles. Everyone with access to the Horizon Beta will be able to access the 2.3 beta.
Zac Antonaci, the game’s Head of Community, said in an update on the official forums, that the studio would be sharing more details about how the feature will work, including the new ‘Commander Creator’, which promises to allow players to customize their avatar.
Ahead of those official details, some bits about the Multicrew feature are known, according to Reddit user ChristianM who has been compiling information about the forthcoming feature:
• Players will work together to control the different functions of a ship. One player could fly the ship whilst others would handle the sub-systems and weapons. Or a Multicrew ship landing on a planet’s surface could have one player stay with the main vessel, another patrol in a ship-launched fighter, and another explore in their SRV.
• Multicrew uses the Wing system and has four roles:
• Helm (piloting)
• Fire control (turrets/weapons + limpet control)
• Tactical (sensors, shields, countermeasures)
• Engineer (power distribution, repairs)
• Roles are balanced so that a fully-crewed ship is on par with four commanders in a Wing.
• The crew limit of four may be increased in a future Season. We don’t know how high we would go. Current instancing issues likely make more than 4 unfeasible for the immediate future.
• Enormous range of faces and features available using the Commander Creation “slider tool”. This option will be selected via the game’s interface. In combination with Multicrew players will at last be able to see each other, in game. Although dev-demo shows baldness, hair is confirmed.
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While it’s very exciting that players will soon be able to co-pilot ships together with friends, we’ve yet to see if there will be any issues with nausea if you’re using a VR headset while inside a ship flown by another player. Presently, the cockpit-nature of Elite Dangerous is an effective way of mitigating nausea in VR despite lots of movement, but when the movement of the vehicle isn’t under your direct control, it may not provide the same protection. We’ll have to wait and see once the Commanders 2.3 update launches.