Are you the type of person who, on first starting a game, immediately heads to the options to max out every graphical setting? Do you get physically excited by the knowledge that your rig can smoothly run the latest games at their highest settings? Well that's a shame because, with Elite: Dangerous, David Braben would like to target its most advanced graphical effects at PCs that don't even exist yet.
"We're going through some wonderful effects internally that look truly beautiful, and we're saying, that slows the frame-rate a bit, doesn't it?" said Braben in an interview with Eurogamer . "And we say yes, but we don't mind, because it looks so beautiful. But what we're going to do is attach it to this part of the detail slider. Or we'll call it out as a tick box."
Essentially, his plan is to 'future-proof' the game (you know, as much as is possible given the eventual death of the Sun). The benefit is that, as PC hardware gets increasingly more advanced, Elite can continue to stay relevant—potentially even becoming a Crysis-like benchmark that future PCs are measured against.
"All our models are so detailed," Braben said. "We've got 4K coming now. It pushes today's graphics card to do 4K. I'm not pretending we're there yet. There's 8K in the wings. You can't buy 8K TVs yet, but you can buy 8K cameras. 8K TVs can't be that far away. It's just thinking, actually, that's going to traumatise today's PCs, even the top end workstations with things like Titan Blacks in them. But, that hardware will go on getting better and cheaper.
"And so I love the idea of being pretty future proofed."
To see what can already be achieved by the Elite: Dangerous beta, check out Ben's 4K Screenshot Showcase , or our Andy's gallery of 6720x4200 resolution shots.