In the Elite: Dangerous alpha, loitering in the docking bay is a killable offence

Docking at space stations is the spaceship equivalent of parallel parking, which is another way of saying that it fills me with terror, and I generally end up gouging my ship a little as a result. Despite that, I much prefer the ludicrous tension and precision of manual docking - a tension that appears to be alive and well in Elite: Dangerous. Alpha 3.0 has just been released to backers, accompanied by a fancy docking tutorial video in which a classy robot lady tells you how to insert your spaceship. It's a surprisingly elegant process, at least when I'm not behind the space-wheel. See it for yourself after the break.

OK, so it's not quite as exciting to watch as the laser-strewn video for Alpha 2.0, but docking is an important skill to learn in the Elite universe, even if does appear to be a much less complicated process here than in the original Elite.

Here's what you can expect from this third stage of the alpha, as noted on the video's YouTube page :

"After successfully proving out the moment to moment combat gameplay, and multiplayer technology in Alpha phases one and two respectively, phase three starts to move towards building out the game by adding docking, an early version of hyperspace jumps between multiple locations and ship outfitting within an iconic Coriolis space station.

"Once successfully docked in the station -- a notoriously difficult skill to master in the original Elite -- Elite: Dangerous Alpha phase three offers progression where players can use their honest profit or ill-gotten gains from their in-game actions to improve their ship.

"Ship upgrades include modules such as heat sinks and cargo scanners, a variety of weapons, and extend to the repair of any damage sustained in combat. They can also clear bounties and, once they have earned enough credits, even purchase a firm favourite from the Falcon de Lacy shipyards, and one of the most notorious ships in the galaxy -- the Cobra Mk III."

If you want to buy your way into the ongoing Elite alpha, you're going to need a wallet-saddening £200 spare . (Thanks, Blue's News .)

Tom Sykes

Tom loves exploring in games, whether it’s going the wrong way in a platformer or burgling an apartment in Deus Ex. His favourite game worlds—Stalker, Dark Souls, Thief—have an atmosphere you could wallop with a blackjack. He enjoys horror, adventure, puzzle games and RPGs, and played the Japanese version of Final Fantasy VIII with a translated script he printed off from the internet. Tom has been writing about free games for PC Gamer since 2012. If he were packing for a desert island, he’d take his giant Columbo boxset and a laptop stuffed with PuzzleScript games.