Elite: Dangerous alpha launches for crowdfunding supporters

Elite: Dangerous , the in-progress space sim from Frontier Developments, has released an alpha build to a group of especially-committed supporters of its Kickstarter project . The buy-in for participation in this phase of the alpha process was about $325, but that hasn't stopped the developer from releasing some new and intriguing footage to perhaps rustle up a few more potential pilots.

As we hear from Frontier founder David Braben in the video below, managing the heat produced by your craft will be a significant tactical component of life in Elite's universe of trading, bounty-hunting, and general space mischief. For me it's enough that the heat system would give me some story-specific justification for mounting a heat-efficient Gatling gun onto the front of a starship. Backers with access to the alpha will be testing the way various weapons express Elite's heat mechanics system, according to Braben.

"You can button-up your ship, go cold, go stealthy, because in space the thing you can see is heat," Braben said. "And you can shut down systems, like your shields that generate heat, so that people can't see you."

With all the space sims now in development and with the kind of immersion that a fully realized Oculus Rift system promises, it feels like a special time for the genre. And from the new Elite footage below, I think there's a lot to be hopeful for. If you want to skip the talk of heat systems and alpha builds, go straight to 1:45 in the video for some nicely rendered combat footage showing off the current state of the game.

Thanks, CVG .