Elite: Dangerous developer is running a speed docking contest

Elite: Dangerous

As anyone who's ever taken a driver's test knows, parallel parking sucks. But parallel parking in space? That's awesome, especially when it's done at ludicrous speed, with no regard for the safety of yourself or those around you. And if you happen to have a talent for that sort of intergalactic hotdogging, you might be able to score some free Elite: Dangerous loot with it.

Inspiration for the "Frontier Competition" speed docking contest goes back to July, when Elite: Dangerous forum user EidLeWeise, aka Ben Mos-Woodward, posted the rules and some videos from a competition held during Lavecon 2014. Naturally, it didn't take long for other pilots to try to best his mark, and earlier today Frontier Developments decided to make it an official contest.

"At the end of the working week (Friday 4PM BST) we'll be putting the top ten times in to a prize draw—the winner will get an Elite: Dangerous goodie bag," Community Relations Manager Edward Lewis wrote. He initially said that different classes of ships could be used in the contest, but the studio eventually decided to keep the challenge as it was originally laid out: An unmodified Sidewinder starting from 5 km out, facing away from the station.

At last check, the top gun was Kerrash, who went from the start position to landed in a ridiculous 39 seconds. Watching him hit the spot in the video above, it becomes clear that this is going to be a tough time to beat; the only place I can see other pilots shaving a second or two off is during the landing sequence, although since I've never played Elite: Dangerous myself I don't know how quickly you can actually get these things turned around and on the ground. This might be as good as it gets.

It's not quite as exciting (or dangerous) as Isinona's famous and thoroughly crazy unpowered smuggling run, but standing on it through such a tiny slot, and then getting on the brakes hard enough and fast enough to land without turning yourself into a smear, is still a risky business—risky enough for Frontier to warn on Twitter that you pays your dime, you takes your chances.

Full contest rules (although there's really no more to it than what's mentioned above), entry links, and other relevant information can be found on the Elite: Dangerous Fan Creations forum.

[Update: The report originally stated that the contest "began" with EidLeWeise's July forum post. We've edited for clarity.]

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.