Dev Update (13/08/2015)

Hi everyone,

The team is back from the Gamescom and it’s good to see so many new players giving the game a try. Naturally it was also exciting to tease what’s coming in Elite Dangerous: Horizons with the first release for that being landing on airless planets and moons. We do have the CQC (1.4) release before then so that is the focus for this week’s dev update.

We’re currently aiming to start the PC/Mac beta within the next couple of weeks, there’s a few things we need to finalise before that happens and we’ll let you know when that’s firmed up. As we’ve already announced we are aiming for a simultaneous release for both the CQC update and Xbox One retail release. To support this how we approach the betas is changing slightly. For the beta period we will focus on stability and major fixes rather than try to tweak everything in one go – this provides a path to a more stable 1.4 release. Throughout the beta period we’ll compile less severe feedback as well and see what needs to be included in a future minor release. The aim here is to avoid the flurry of minor releases after a major release.

As with any major update this will be built from our latest trunk which means that it will sweep up a host of fixes and tweaks that weren’t in the minor releases as well as the extra features and content we’ve already disclosed. The full list of changes will be posted in the change log as always, but here are some of the highlights:

There have been a range of network optimisations as well as some functionality issues such as islands not merging correctly coming out of supercruise. Some connection issues have also been resolved.

If the refinery is idle and has material in its hopper then it will try and allocate the materials to the bins.

We’ve added an option to the graphics option so you can disable the shader cache warming on start up.

There’s a change of changes for NPCs including fixing fighters not spawning from capital ships. Pirates will no longer scan a target if they’ve pirated it. Some other causes for unnecessary NPC chatter identified and removed – the variation on chatter has been increased as well. NPCs can now interdict other NPCs while in supercruise. NPC police responses have been rebalanced so you shouldn’t only get low value ships responding to crimes.

For Mac players wanting to know why Elite Dangerous Horizons is delayed beyond the PC release it’s down to a single issue, for the new planet rendering we make extensive use of compute shaders to maintain good performance. Currently compute shaders aren’t supported in the OSX version of OpenGL. 

And to conclude this week’s update, Oculus are about to release of SDK 0.7 for the Oculus Rift which removes the ability to roll back to 0.5, so we wanted to make you all aware of some important information.

Players using Oculus Dev Kits should continue to use the 0.5. Oculus Runtime for Elite Dangerous. Upgrading to the upcoming 0.7 release will not be compatible with our game

As long-time supporters of VR and early adopters of Oculus, we remain in close communication with them as they work towards a production version of their SDK, but want to be open that without that SDK in hand, we cannot guarantee future compatibility.

We will keep you posted.

Discuss the update here.