Space sim

Elite: Dangerous release price revealed

Phil Savage at

We still don't know when Elite: Dangerous will be released, but we now know how much it will cost. The sprawling space sim—currently available in beta for £50/$75—will, for its release version, set players back a slightly more reasonable £40, €50 or $60. The announcement came as part of Frontier's latest newsletter, which also outlined the "Mercenary Edition" pre-order bonuses.

Rodina review (Early Access)

Ian Birnbaum at

Alpha and Early Access reviews offer our preliminary verdicts on in-development games. We may follow up this unscored review with a final, scored review in the future. Read our full review policy for details.

Open-world games fixate on the size of their worlds. Fallout 3, GTA IV, and Watch Dogs all brag about the square kilometers you’ll have to explore in search of an actual plot. Enter Rodina, an open-solar system RPG. One star, four planets, and 45,000 asteroids wrapped in the soft blackness of space for you to explore. Square kilometers, meet cubic light years.

Star Citizen interview with Chris Roberts at PAX

Tyler Wilde at

What a surprise: On my way to find an iron for my shirt, I just happened to run into Star Citizen director Chris Roberts outside of PAX Prime in Seattle, and we were both wearing microphones and standing in front of cameras. Weird, that, but awfully convenient!

A little before Seattle, Roberts was in Germany showing his massively-crowdfunded space sim at Gamescom, where he announced some upcoming releases. We talked about the next Arena Commander update and beyond, the challenges of releasing a game as you go, and how much things have changed since the crowdfunding campaign started two years ago.

Pixel Boost: Tachyon: The Fringe at 2560x1440

Wes Fenlon at

Twice a month, Pixel Boost guides you through the hacks, tricks, and mods you'll need to run a classic PC game on Windows 7/8. Each guide comes with a free side of hi-res screenshots from the LPC celebrating the graphics of PC gaming's past. This week: Cracking wise on the outskirts of space.

Elite Dangerous, Star Citizen. While space sim diehards are fighting over which modern sim is the one true king, Pixel Boost turns its eyes back to one of the greats of the past: Novalogic’s Tachyon: The Fringe. Bruce Campbell stars as sassy pilot Jake Logan, hanging out on the fringes of space and getting in all kinds of interstellar dogfights. Tachyon showed up on PC in 2000, right as the space sim genre peaked and started drifting into a black hole of obscurity, with a branching storyline and multiplayer that still lives today. The game is also easy to play at high resolutions on modern Windows. If you bought a flight stick for modern space sims, time to put it to use with a classic.

Star Citizen FPS, exploration and racing modules shown off at Gamescom

Shaun Prescott at

Roberts Space Industries has teased Star Citizen racing and first-person shooting during its Gamescom livestream on Saturday. Embedded below, the racing video is generous enough, providing a pretty solid idea of where the team is headed. Meanwhile the first-person shooting module remains a bit of a mystery, with the fairly unhelpful video below revealing little except that more will be shown at PAX Australia in November.

Elite: Dangerous enters "standard" beta, is still quite pricey

Tom Sykes at

If you have $75/£50 burning a hole in your pocket, and you're longing to try the belated sequel to a space simulation classic, today is the day your weirdly specific dream comes true. Elite: Dangerous has just entered its "standard beta" phase, which sees the price of entry lowered from an eye-watering $150 to a slightly less moist $75. This first standard phase comes with a clutch of updates and fixes, including "docking computer added" and "Gas giant features dervived from stellar forge data" and "I have no idea what any of this means". The patch list is below.

Kerbal Space Program's next update to add contracts, budget and reputation systems

Phil Savage at

There's something about Kerbal Space Program's current update path that I find extremely charming. They've already added the ship-building, space exploring, physics simulation stuff; now they're slowly adding the admin. The next update for SQUAD's space program, titled First Contract, will further expand the career mode with a mission system that ties into new Funds and Reputation systems.

Star Citizen's Arena Commander module now available for backers

Phil Savage at

It's been a long time coming, but after multiple delays, Star Citizen's dogfighting module—titled Arena Commander v0.8—has been released to backers. Expected last week (and at many other points over the last few months), the module was held back these few extra days due to critical bugs. With the repairs now finished, players have been told they're okay for launch.

Star Citizen's dogfighting module delayed due to critical bugs

Phil Savage at

The Kickstarter-funded space games are in an interesting place at the moment. On the one hand, there's Elite: Dangerous, which is fast approaching its beta. On the other, heavier, bulkier hand, there's Star Citizen. As a crowdfunding campaign, it's unstoppable—nearing $45 million. As a game, it's yet to leave the hanger. That was set to change with the release of a dogfighting module, due to be sent out to backers today. Project director Chris Roberts has instead announced that the current build is too unstable for release and has been delayed. Again.

X Rebirth sees huge feature overhaul in 2.0 update

Patrick Carlson at

Troubled space sim X Rebirth is plotting a course for a star system where second chances might be possible. A buggy game at its fall launch, the latest entry in the X universe didn't impress when we reviewed it in February. But with the release of a massive, 2.0 feature update this week, Egosoft's space adventure might have found a better heading for itself.

Elite: Dangerous reaches final alpha phase, adding impossibly cool hyperspace jumps

Phil Savage at

Okay, look, I've got a confession to make. We will get to all the newsy stuff about how Elite: Dangerous is entering a new alpha phase, thus bridging another of the many gaps between its inception and public release. But that's not really why I'm writing this. I'm writing this because of an excellent video that's surfaced showing the game's new hyperspace jumps. Let's ditch this paragraph of boring text, and get to the exciting space stuff...

Elite Dangerous' final alpha phase landing May 15th, contains "over 400 billion star systems"

Tom Sykes at

I'm no expert on numbers, like the guy out of Numb-three-ers, but even I know that 400 billion is a really big number. Like, really big. In addition to being the number of The Beast's second cousin, Alan, 400bn is also the number of star systems that will feature in Elite Dangerous' final alpha phase. Alpha 4 "genuinely contains over 400 billion star systems,” Frontier Developments state in the most recent newsletter, star systems that will “[move] correctly; spinning, orbiting each other in an incredible astronomical ballet.” Alpha 4 will go live on May 15th, if Frontier can stop waxing poetic about the wonders of space in the meantime.

Elite: Dangerous's trading systems detailed by Frontier

Phil Savage at

Andy's got you covered if you want to know about Elite: Dangerous's more exciting elements, like ship combat or Oculus implementation. But stick with me if you want juicy details about the real hot action. In a recent newsletter for the upcoming space sim, the development team have detailed the intricacies of trading. I'm breaking out into sweats just thinking about it.

Star Citizen's expanded PAX East video shows off spacewalking and stealth

Tom Sykes at

Star Citizen's recent blast of gameplay footage is what happens when you give the Once and Future King of space games $41 million to make his dream space game a reality: ie much whooping and unbridled excitement over one admittedly pretty stonking video. But what if you could watch the same video again, with added interview bits and extra footage, including stealth manoeuvers (in the dark) and a moderately terrifying Gravity-style spacewalk? If your answer contains hollering and/or whooping, you may join me after the break.

Elite: Dangerous leaves alpha May 30, gets shipped to Premium Beta backers

Phil Savage at

Elite: Dangerous is an exciting prospect. It consumed Andy, who—since first experiencing its VR potential—has almost entirely abandoned reality. He was last spotted attempting a direct connection with Frontier's space sim, using a jury-rigged USB brain-jack and multiple tubes of pain relief cream.

Previously, the game was only available to those crowdfunding backers who'd parted with £200. Now things get a little more complicated. As of today, the Pre-Premium Beta has started, providing £100 backers access to a single player combat build. That runs until May 30th, when the game leaves alpha, and the full Premium Beta is shipped.

Enemy Starfighter trailer shows deep-space dogfighting

Patrick Carlson at

It's been a while since we've had a proper Enemy Starfighter video and the latest trailer doesn't disappoint. The new footage puts you behind the stick of the game's interceptor starship for a series of hostile encounters in deep space.

Cosmonautica mixes trading, life sims and funky music in space

Phil Savage at

On a platform where Euro Truck Simulator 2 can be celebrated as a compelling mix of trade and A-roads, you don't need the romanticism of space to sell your economic simulation. Still, it doesn't hurt - especially when you're also simulating the close-quarters claustrophobia of your spaceship's crew. That's Cosmonautica's aim: a mixture of space management, trading and combat, that, if this trailer is anything to go by, is all backed up by some cheery tunes.

Star Citizen tops $40 million in funding, opens up two new star systems

Patrick Carlson at

Star Citizen—the in-progress space sim and dream generator—has surpassed $40 million in funding, according to the latest update from game lead Chris Roberts. While the new monies are set to boost the scale of its universe with the addition of two new star systems, the new update also reveals the level of fresh support Star Citizen has achieved in terms of its community population. Roberts writes that more than 10,000 people have joined its community since the end of February.

Elite: Dangerous with the Oculus Rift - video impressions

PC Gamer at

We've managed to sneak into the £200 Elite: Dangerous alpha, which supports flight sticks and the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset, both of which we have in our office. We took it in turns to stick our heads into the virtual reality cockpit, ooh-ing and ah-ing and occasionally swearing as we collided with a space rock and span off into the void. Andy has played it the most out of all of us. You wouldn't believe the things he's seen. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. C-beams glittering at the Tanhauser Ga-LOOK OUT ANDY A SPACE ROCK.

Here is a video of Andy giving his thoughts on Elite Dangerous and how well it works in virtual reality. Warning: the video contains lasers, dramatic music, and dangerous levels of cool space biz.

X: Rebirth review

Andy Kelly at

When I was first set loose in X: Rebirth’s vast universe, I was convinced it was going to be amazing. That ‘34’ on Metacritic couldn’t possibly be accurate. I’m in space! In a spaceship! But I quickly realised that this is, in fact, a colossal missed opportunity. A supernova of bugs and baffling game design that refuses to let you have any fun, no matter how hard you try – and I really tried.