Outposts and internal consistency

Hello!

I'm posting today because I assume that Frontier are seeking feedback about the Odyssey alpha, which for the most part I am tremendously impressed by. Seeing the Elite universe brought to life on a human level is incredible after so many years of imagining it. Elite does the macro very well; it is wonderful to see the micro as well.

One of the reasons I backed Elite was the commitment to internal consistency and scientific plausibility behind the game. David Braben and the rest of the developers were keen to emphasise the thought and consideration that had gone into the design of the ships and space stations. Videos like this one show that, in which David discusses the design of the Coriolis:


One of the fundamental tenets of the Elite universe is that it doesn't have artificial gravity. 'Gravity' is provided by spin, which is why the space stations spin and why the rings of the Orbis are the width they are. This dev diary explains this more fully:


Elite Dangerous was completely designed around this principle, and the internal consistency is what made Elite such an absorbing, believable universe for me.

In recent years this has been eroded a little bit, here and there. There's the coffee machine in the Krait, with cups dangling on hooks, regardless of whether you're in the depths of space or not. There's the fleet carriers, which don't spin, but still have boxes stacked in neat piles in the hangars. (I asked Dav Stott on Lave Radio once whether this was an oversight - he joked that it was 'space velcro', and that I should take it up with the art team :))

Now we have access to the interiors of stations, which is utterly wonderful. I visited an outpost last night (for clarity: I mean the small, non-spinning space stations) and noticed that the interiors were nearly identical to those of the stations that provide 'gravity' through spin: bars with bottles and glassware neatly stacked, objects lying on benches and tables, drinks in open-topped glassware, conveniently not floating away.


But outposts don't spin, and the Elite universe doesn't have artificial gravity. So really, the outpost interiors shouldn't have this stuff - drinks might be expected to be in little squeezy pouches (like in the Expanse) and things could be expected to be strapped to walls. 'Space velcro' is fine, and 3307 is a long time away, so you wouldn't necessarily expect the interiors of the outposts to look like the inside of the ISS. But for the game to be internally consistent, the art of the interiors should at least reflect the fact that they're zero-G environments.

To a small degree, the devs have recognised this: when you emerge from the lift, your suit says "magboots engaged" or similar, indicating that someone at FD is still aware that outposts are zero-G environments. But that's as far as it goes - the art design doesn't reflect this at all.

The design of the Orbis and Ocellus stations were famously informed by ideas of what living in space might be like, by 20th century futurists like Gerard O'Neill and John Desmond Bernal (who designed the Bernal sphere, which inspired the Ocellus design). This commitment to plausibility has always been one of the things I have most loved about Elite Dangerous, and it is a shame to see it undermined.

Frontier have form in improving art assets over time in the interests of plausibility and immersion; the interiors of the spinning starports were updated long after release with lots of variations themed on the station's economy type, which we all absolutely loved seeing - so I am hopeful that Frontier might be able to revisit the outpost interiors and make them more consistent with the rest of the Elite universe. Given that Odyssey simulates survival and vulnerability in space so well, it would be a shame for outpost interiors not to be similarly plausible and believeable.

I thought about keeping quiet and hoping that it's addressed later, but alphas are for feedback, so here I am. Frontier: thank you for doing such a wonderful job with Odyssey, and please consider the above to reinforce the wonderful commitment to plausibility and immersion that Elite has always had. And other forum-folk: if you agree with the above, please do (respectfully) say so below. Equally, if you disagree with me and don't think it's a big deal, Frontier would presumably find that useful to know as well.

Thanks for your time!
 
I get your point but I don't necessarily agree it would be better for gameplay or more fun. I'd rather they introduced something into the lore that explains why when you're in a building, gravity acts normally. In Odyssey there are systems that can be tampered with - power, atmospherics, etc - perhaps one of those could be used to describe why you can walk into a building on an outpost and the coffee isn't floating out of the cup.
 
This post is polite and insightful and absolutely correct. I strongly urge Frontier to take steps to address this issue. The cornerstone of Elite's brilliance is the loving care Davit Braben took in designing this galaxy. It would be a shame for them to slip on these standards just as they are taking such great strides to expand the game.
 
Streaming earlier tonight and my first arrival at the outpost literally the first thing I commented on was, "Why am I running? Dude, my feet come off the floor. Is it not magnets? This ain't right. What are these panels I'm walking on? Why are they the same as the regular station?"

Didn't even notice the random kitsch but you're right. Definitely need caprisun packs and straps on benches.
 
Positive: Give this time as it's only Phase 1 and Fdev gives you what they desire for Phase 1 (as well as all the Phases to be rolled out). Combat will be the hardest to code. Planets, surfaces and atmo are going to be easier because the universe already exists. Negative: there are planets within systems that DO NOT follow their OWN cannon of actual lore so don't expect this to be address until the very last. Imho it will be a year before 'polishing' touches are address (if at all).
 
Make sure to post this (maybe in a condensed form) in the gameplay feedback thread - if you haven't done so already :D

I think that's a very good observation and some changes would really help.
 
I get your point but I don't necessarily agree it would be better for gameplay or more fun. I'd rather they introduced something into the lore that explains why when you're in a building, gravity acts normally. In Odyssey there are systems that can be tampered with - power, atmospherics, etc - perhaps one of those could be used to describe why you can walk into a building on an outpost and the coffee isn't floating out of the cup.
I think you're talking about the surface settlements? I'm talking about the little orbital outposts - the ones sometimes called shoebox stations.

Artificial gravity is fine as a sci-fi idea - other games use it and it's cool. My issue is that the Elite galaxy has explicitly never had it in the past. That has influenced how the assets are designed, so adding it now isn't consistent with the rest of the game's setting.
 
Make sure to post this (maybe in a condensed form) in the gameplay feedback thread - if you haven't done so already :D

I think that's a very good observation and some changes would really help.
Thanks - I hadn't done that yet. I will do so!

Positive: Give this time as it's only Phase 1 and Fdev gives you what they desire for Phase 1 (as well as all the Phases to be rolled out). Combat will be the hardest to code. Planets, surfaces and atmo are going to be easier because the universe already exists. Negative: there are planets within systems that DO NOT follow their OWN cannon of actual lore so don't expect this to be address until the very last. Imho it will be a year before 'polishing' touches are address (if at all).

I really hope it'll be addressed, or at least is on the list to be done. The purpose of this thread was to see how many people felt the same way I do - and hopefully for Frontier to see that and take it into account when looking at changes to make!
 
Besides the awesome concept art, the art of ED has never been particularly good. From ship scaling issues and woeful paint jobs, to cartoon animations and now choo-choo running arms, it's like the art team and the development team are playing to different hymn sheets. The sound team on the other hand... always top drawer stuff.
 
I don't think they have - otherwise, there would be no need for the "magboots engaged" when you step out of the lift. I think it's just an oversight.
The run/sprint toggle could have three modes: walk/run (tap toggle), sprint (hold toggle when running).

I was sad to see EDO being another 1st person game where I was running everywhere. Jumping in different gravities is fun though.

:D S
 
Top Bottom