Release Date & Prices
- Release date will be somewhere around or between Thanksgiving/Christmas 2015.
- The price of Horizons and what package you are eligible for can be seen by looking at this handy flowchart.
- The Frontier trailer for Horizons can be seen here.
- Horizons is a 'season' expansion to the original Elite: Dangerous release.
- A season can be seen as roughly 8-12 months long.
- The price includes the content you will get when you purchase Horizons, plus all other content released in the Horizons season.
- Beta access has previously been a couple of weeks to a month in length. At present there is no confirmation if and when a Horizons Beta might be available.
- Landing will be on airless planets and moons.
- Four planet and moon types in the release to land on: Ice, Rock, Rock and Ice, and Metallic.
- Some current moons and planets will change in appearance due to new information added via the Stellar Forge (which is responsible for generating the Elite Dangerous universe). This injection of data already exists on the system but is not currently in the game.
- You can watch a David Braben TedTalk on procedural generation here.
- Game play extends seamlessly from space to the surface - taken from Dev Update.
- Planetary Landing will follow process: Orbital Cruise (like Supercruise) > choose anywhere (surface allowing) to land on the planet/moon > Deploy SRV (Surface Reconnaissance Vehicle)
- Trying to land on a planet without Horizons or the correct equipment will result in an emergency drop.
- While flying above the surface in Orbital Cruise you can discover points of interest like landed ships and surface installations.
- Ships will handle re-entry in different ways. Smaller ships will be easier to handle in orbital supercruise than larger ones.
- You can't land on every airless moon/planet - some are closed off and require a permit. Any other in the universe is available.
- All scenery is procedurally generated. No tiling of structures. The artists 'scultp' the code to avoid there being unlikely scenery that would look really out of place.
- Planetary maps will be available to players [Link: 29m 16s]
Installations, Missions & Discoveries
- Scanning planets and moons from space is used to detect signals, crashed ships, mineral deposits, outposts and fortresses. This information will be found in the same fashion as current Unidentified Signal Sources in space - taken from Dev Update and Twitch on 7th August.
- You will be able to dock and trade at these outposts and fortresses, or you can just choose to land (terrain permitting) in the middle of nowhere and drive about using your SRV.
- Planets will also have rare minerals, pirate bases, crashed ships. You can fly and dogfight over the entire planet once you've descended to it.
- Settlements on certain planets/moons will be fortified. These can be attacked from the air or defended from the ground. There has been talk by Ed Symons (Elite Producer) of 'hacking' been an option to bring down a surface stations shields. Not confirmed, just discussed between the team.
- There will be missions to take whilst on the planets/moons.
- Missions will be connected between star ports and the planets.
- There are a different designs of bases on planets. Large ones will have landing pads, smaller outposts may be more orientated around missions.
- There will be lots of things hidden beneath the surface of the planets. [Link]
- This Guardian article also mentions "shipyards"
- Planetary bases will exist as a permanent feature of the planets and will not be instanced. [Link: 29m 20s]
- Smaller points of interest will only show up on the scanner when you're near them. [Link: 29m 20s]
Surface Reconnaissance Vehicle (SRV)
- GIF of the basic Scarab SRV can be seen here (thanks to ArmyDude on Reddit)
- Still image of the SRV can be seen here
- The basic Scarab has 6 wheels [as per information here]
- SRV's will take up module/compartment space and you will have to buy the "module" to transport the SRV in the cargo hold.
- Nearly all ships can carry an SRV, but not every ship can carry every SRV. Different SRV's for different tasks with with some cross over like ships.
- David Braben is quoted as saying, "With time there will be [more SRV's] in the same way that there are different kinds of ships, one [that] folds up so you can carry it." [Link]
- One ship (currently not in game) will not be able to carry an SRV. Speculation: Planet & Moon bases/fortifications could have ground based defence craft. One of these might be one of the small ships seen in CQC and would not be able to carry a buggy.
- Gravity will affect SRV's differently depending on the planet.
- It will cost to buy an SRV as per normal equipment.
- The initial SRV (Scarab) will be able to carry 4-6 tonnes or 'units' of cargo.
- Entering your buggy will be a 'fade to black' transition scene. No spacelegs at this time.
- Top SRV speeds will be about 100mph.
- The SRV will not need to be re-fuelled.
- The SRV will carry a weapon(s) that can be used to attack bases on the planet.
- The different planet surfaces will all give you a different handling experience in the SRV.
- Driving the SRV far enough away from your ship will cause your ship to take off and enter a low orbit supercruise of the planet or moon. This will be AI controlled 'for now' and would make the ship impossible to hunt down.
- Requesting that your ship returns to the planet will result in it flying to your location on the surface.
- Returning to your ship has been described as "interesting", the hint being that you can thrust/jump into your ships cargo bay as it is landing/taking off/thrusting above the surface of the planet.
- Your ship will appear on your SRV radar if you are close enough to it.
- Thrusters on each wheel will allow you to jump. On low gravity planets, jets will rotate round and force you on to floor for traction - to stop you floating away.
- Thrusters will also allow you to get out of situation where you might get stuck. Self destruction is also an option.
- SRVs are very small, and difficult to track by flying spacecraft, and enable you to tackle some of the fortifications you’ll find planetside in a different way from what you can do in a spaceship.
- It will be possible to blow up another player's SRV using your ship, but due to lack of heat signatures and the very small size and agility of the SRV, this will be hard to pull off.
- When you die on the planet you will return to your ship.
- Controls for the buggy will be re-mappable as you can do for your flying your ship.
- 'Surface skimmer' AI vehicles/drones will be remote controlled from a base on the planet. These will be 'almost land based' vehicles.
- 'Skimmers' will come in more than one variety.
- 'Skimmers' can be knocked out by destroying the control base, shooting them, or by destroying the 'relay towers' that exist on the planets surface. These relay towers give the 'skimmers' a better range. Speculation: At the moment these are AI controlled, but it might be possible for players to fly these 'skimmers' from the base of a moon or planet.
- It's been suggested that 'Skimmers' when skimmers are destroyed that they can be collected in your SRV and then sold on the black market.
- Debate in-house on on what happens to ships when you leave them and drive about planet - not decided whether someone else can destroy or just damage it. Note: This seems to be at odds with another statement that the ship will simply take off and fly around the planet in a low orbit supercruise. Speculation: It *might* be referring to what happens to your ship if you are landed at a moon base and the base is destroyed.
- Wings can be used on the planet surface in co-operation. Other co-operative play can be used to destroy bases defences. For instance it might be necessary to destroy a bases defences in a certain order before it can be taken over or destroyed.
- Cobra Mk IV - Photo HERE access available to buy in-game for all early backers, plus anyone who has the original game and orders Horizons. The new ship is apparently 'better in lots of ways, better weapons placement and 1 more hard point.
Future Horizons Updates
- Loot and crafting will be a Q1 (Jan-Mar) 2016 update to Horizons. (Speculation: loot has been spoken about before in terms of leaving stolen goods stashed on a planet or you to return to or others to find. Or it might be related to finding goods and equipment on crashed ships or destroyed bases. )
- Over the full season of Horizons more ships being released. (NOTE: This might be confused and in fact relate to the 1.5 update bringing more ships) This update would be in addition to SRV's which are due to be added in the Horizons season.
- Future planets updates in the Horizons season will include 'active volcanism' and 'ice volcanism'. At some point (before fully rendered 'atmospheric planets with life') there will be ones with weather systems.
- Most if not all content mentioned is already in game. No footage available as yet as textures have not been applied. This should be seen Soon! (tm)
- Atmospheric landings on planets with life will NOT be part of this Horizons release. That will come later in another paid expansion.
- The Unidentified Artefact will be woven into the narrative of the Horizons season. Confirmed again on the 9th August Twitch stream that there is an answer to what it is about and it is not a wild goose chase.
- Ed Symons said there is something else he is working on that he is more excited about than planetary landings, but that obviously he can't talk about it. It would appear there's still plenty of surprises within the Horizons season.
Core Game Improvements
- Core missions are being enhanced for the basic game.
- This will move beyond basic A>B structure and will include 'new interactions' and multiple staged missions. (Source: Sandro here at 1hr 35 mins onwards) There were other details that Sandro couldn't talk about at the moment.
- Further confirmation on the 9th August Twitch stream that there would be chained missions.
- There has been discussion at FDev about player built structures, but that is no guarantee they will be in the game at some point.
CQC Update News
- CQC (1.4) will be out on PC and Mac in September. PC version will follow 'one day' after XBox release ('fingers crossed, hopefully'). There will be lots of other new tweaks.
- CQC will feature 3 new ships:
i) Variation of the (Imperial) Eagle: more expensive and better in combat.
ii) Federal Gunship: 'Look on the underneath at the back, a big area with an opening - not sure what it might be used for'. (Quote & Tease: Elite Producer on Twitch)
iii) Federal Dropship Mk II
- CQC assets - Will "Absolutely" will be used in the main game.
1.5 Update News
One more update before Horizons, tentatively called 'Ships' (1.5). This will increase the number of ships from 20 to over 30.
Release date: Before Horizons, probably December (TBC).
Future Seasonal Expansions
The Elite: Dangerous Newsletter #29 provided a list of what at the time was their roadmap for expansions. In no particular order:
- Landing/ driving / prospecting on airless rocky planets, moons & asteroids
- 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
- Accessing richly detailed planetary surfaces
- Availability of giant ‘executive control’ ships to players