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Elite-Dangerous-Odyssey Key-Art

Elite Dangerous: Odyssey key art depicting Commanders standing on a terrestrial world

"Space Legs" is the conjectural name for the player having the ability to take direct control of their in-game avatar and explore the game without needing to pilot a ship, Ship-Launched Fighter, or Surface Recon Vehicle. A feature that has been long anticipated by the Elite Dangerous community, it has been speculated that Space Legs would allow players to undertake extravehicular activities (EVAs) on the surfaces of Terrestrial Planets, as well as move within their own ships and even explore stations. The expansion Elite Dangerous: Odyssey will include Space Legs when it releases in Q1 2021.[1]

Overview

One June 3, 2020, Frontier Developments announced the game's second expansion, Elite Dangerous: Odyssey, would release in Q1 2021. Among other key features, Odyssey will include some form of Space Legs. The pre-alpha trailer for Odyssey showed three Commanders in armoured space suits with weapons walking on foot across an arid terrestrial world with a presumably non-breathable atmosphere. The Commanders arrive at a small surface structure just as an Anaconda touches down in an adjacent landing zone. Based on the trailer, it is currently unknown if Odyssey will allow players to control their avatars within their ships or aboard stations.[1]

Development

Elite Dangerous Atmospheric Escape

EVA atmospheric escape

Since the 2012 Kickstarter campaign there has been concept art of extravehicular activities. This ranges from people walking in a station to first person combat and ship repairs. There is a 3D blockout of a station with a 3D character holding a weapon. Docked ships are loaded with cargo and flying drones carry cargo containers.

The The Future of Elite: Dangerous video (November 7, 2014) has 9 out of 10 people looking most forward to walking around in ships, space stations, planets etc.[2]

It has always been a core vision of David Braben that the player is a person in a real futuristic setting, not just a ship.[3] In the Elite Dangerous Development Plan video (December 14, 2012), Braben talks about walking on planets, in ships, other people's ships, stations, vehicles and being a big game hunter with animals. The ships have been designed with interiors in mind.[4] Multicrew and Holo-Me are the foundation for space legs.

Roadmap

Anaconda-Walking-Pilot-Scale

A walking pilot in a hangar with an Anaconda

Frontier has a roadmap with small, free updates in addition to expansions with significant new features and content which they intend to release. It mentions EVA in no particular order:[5]

  • Walking around interiors and combative boarding of other ships
  • Combat and other interactions with other players and AIs in the internal areas of star ports

Newsletter #32 confirms the following: "We plan to continue to significantly enhance the game via further expansions after the launch date, using the same incremental development philosophy that we’ve used so far. Major new features will include planetary landings and even walking around inside ships, stations, and planet surfaces with time."[6]

"We also plan to allow you to get up out of your seat and walk around your ship. You can see the level of attention and thought that has already been given to the ship interiors."[6]

"Of course walking round your ship will be nice, but it is the just springboard for a very significant expansion of gameplay – you will be able to experience the inside of starports and interact with other players and AI characters, and even board other people’s ships in space and take them by force, as shown in this concept piece. Of course this will be further expanded to include walking around on the surfaces of planets too."[6]

An interview on 13 June 2014: "Pryrios: When you say we will walk inside ships and stations, are you thinking in first person view or third person view over the shoulder? If it's third person view, are you planning on doing some character creator to make different characters for players?"[7]

"David Braben: First person."[7]

Development plan on the Kickstarter page (December 2014): "You will be able to walk around the spaceport, you will be able to see gold being loaded into someone else's ship, you will be able to sneak in and hide in amongst the cargo. All of those things are phenomenal game play opportunities where that ship might actually be the ship of another player, so just think where that all ends."[8]

On 12 March 2015, David Braben said "as you can walk around inside your ships, things like leather upholstery are also things that we can do. It’s not a pay-to-win thing but actually makes your ship more shiny."[9]

On March 20, 2015 Braben was asked about the long roadmap ahead and he said (at 5:20): "Well I'm very excited. I've said over a long time I'm very excited about some features that we will do down the road including things like landing on planets, walking around inside your spaceship, getting out of your spaceship, all of those things I think are very very exciting and obviously those are in the long-term roadmap."[10]

On May 26, 2016 during an AMA with David Braben, this question was asked "Is there a small team doing any preliminary work on atmosphere landings / walking (in stations etc) currently being looked at? As it is almost there for walking in station..." Braben said "Yes. We have ongoing work on planets, including atmospheres, planetary life, walking about and lots of other very exciting things for the future."[11]

On 08 April 2016, Braben reiterated that walking around will be a future update. He said: “There was a lot of discussion prior to and during the Kickstarter project as to whether you should be able to walk around in your ship. We looked at that in great detail. Ultimately we decided the arbiter has to be, ‘Does it make the game more fun?’ Because it’s a lot of extra work and it brings in more constraints. It’s something we will do, but it’ll be in a future update because we need so many things on a human scale for that to be additive and enjoyable.”[12]

Elite-Dangerous-Station-Space-Legs-Blockout-Concept

Space legs blockout concept

On March 10, 2017 during a Q&A at PAX East, lead designer Sandro Sammarco said Space Legs is way off in the future: "How will Telepresence and Multicrew work in the future with Space Legs and EVA gameplay? 'Just to set the record straight, Space Legs and EVA gameplay, that's way off in the future. That's a goal. I've talked to David and it's always been part of his core vision for what Elite really is, even from way back in the day, it's always been about you're a person in a real futuristic setting, not just a ship. However, I think it's also fair to say Space Legs is effectively dovetailing a whole new game into Elite. We take steps towards it, it's our end vision, but we're not there yet, we're... it's a long way off. And when it does, by the time, if we get there, if we manage it, I'm sure we'll have the time to sort out any consistencies that need to be sorted out."[3]

On April 11, 2017 during the The Commanders Release Livestream (at 10:10), Braben confirmed that space legs is coming and is planned, but it's not imminent. A person in the chat asked "Will we get space legs at some point? If yes don't say when, but answer with long, medium or short." Braben said: "It's coming, but obviously it's not imminent, but it is coming and it is planned."[13]

On 11 April 2017, Braben's closing statement of a Reddit AMA: "The future for Elite Dangerous is very exciting, including a whole raft of incredible features, yes including 'space legs' but so many more things too. We have such a great community, and we're really glad that you guys share our passion and support us."[14][15]

Flightsuit combatsketch01

Flight suit combat sketch

On October 4, 2017 Zac Antonaci said "Spacelegs (as the community are dubbing them) is something that David B and the development team are very excited by and it’s certainly high on the list of features they would like to make. However, as we’ve mentioned before, “Spacelegs” is something further down the line. After 2.4 we’ll be focusing on the core gameplay experience so it’s not something that we will be announcing at Frontier Expo. I do have to say though, I truly hope that the community are excited by the content being revealed at FX."[16]

On January 27, 2018 Sandro Sammarco said "The team and I all see Space Legs as the feature we will love to add and are at the top of our specification, but it's something that will not happen in the Beyond season. We will talk more about it later."[17][18]

On August 31, 2018 Zac Antonaci posted an important community update with relevant information: "A while ago, our development went from pre-production into full production on our next major milestone of Elite development. What that means in the simplest terms is that the team are actively working on the next major landmark which takes us into our next era for Elite. We aren’t going to be ready to talk about or announce any details for quite a while yet, it is early in the development and there is still a long way to go, but I can say that this is something that will be scheduled to release a considerable time after the final update in the Beyond series. We will have more details on exactly what this means and how the era will roll out after the release of Beyond – Chapter Four, but this does mark some exciting next steps and a continued commitment to the long term vision for the game and our community."[19]

When Wolvie said "Thanks for the update Zac, it's good to hear some honest comments as things have been quiet for several months on the Focused Feedback. I'm a Beta Backer with Lifetime Expansion Pass and have always seen Elites development as a journey not a race, I'm looking forward to what comes next."[20]

Antonaci responded:"Thanks Wolvie, I hope you enjoy the next leg of the journey."[21]

Commander Chronicles: Lift-Off

On June 26, 2018, Frontier released the cinematic video Commander Chronicles: Lift-Off. This was the first demonstration of pilot walking animations using the Elite Dangerous engine. A Commander is shown walking across a station Landing Pad, then using a lift to enter a Krait MkII. He enters the cockpit, where two other Commanders are waiting, sits in the primary pilot seat, and then controls the ship as it lifts off, departs the station, and jumps into hyperspace.[22]

Mission Pack leak

In October 2018, a few mission pack videos with standing and talking NPCs were discovered in the public test server movies folder.[23]

There is one video with sound, which has an apparent mission-giver swaying back and forth, offering you an assignment you may be interested in, saying you should make your way to their command ship. There are also several silent videos of the same mission-giver seated talking to a camera briefly.[23]

See also

Videos

Gallery

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Frontier Forums: Elite Dangerous: Odyssey Announcement
  2. The Future of Elite: Dangerous
  3. 3.0 3.1 Elite Dangerous LIVE from PAX East part 2! (at 68:04)
  4. Elite: Dangerous Development Plan
  5. Elite: Dangerous Newsletter #29
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Elite: Dangerous Newsletter #32
  7. 7.0 7.1 Live Chat David Braben - No Such Webpage.com (2014-06-13)
  8. Elite: Dangerous Development Plan (hosted on Kickstarter page - Dec 2014)
  9. Interview: David Braben On Fan Anger And Expectations
  10. Elite: Dangerous - David Braben Interview, Gamereactor, 5:20
  11. Ask Him Anything: David Braben, co-creator of Elite, co-founder of the Raspberry Pi Foundation, and Frontier's head honcho
  12. The Making of Elite: Dangerous - Kotaku (8 April 2016)
  13. Elite Dangerous 2.3 - The Commanders Release Livestream at 10:10
  14. Ask Him Anything: David Braben OBE, FDev CEO
  15. Master Brabens' closing statement from the Reddit AMA today. 11/4/17
  16. Frontier Expo ED Speculation (October 4 2017)
  17. Elite Dangerous Beyond – Chapter One : Notre interview de Sandro Sammarco, Lead Designer (27 January 2018)
  18. Elite Dangerous 2018 Roadmap [Regularly Updated]
  19. 31 August 2018 Forum Post Zac Antonaci
  20. Wolvie Forum Post 31 August 2018
  21. Zac Antonaci Forum Post 31 August 2018
  22. Commander Chronicles: Lift-Off (26 June 2018)
  23. 23.0 23.1 Videos in the Beta Files - October 2018
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