Elite: Dangerous – Braben’s Head is in the Clouds

Elite: Dangerous developer David Braben talks about using procedural generation to create the universe. Developer video and concept art.

Exciting new things are afoot in the gestating universe of Elite: Dangerous. Procedural generation is the magic sauce that developer David Braben has previously used to generate vast, explorable galaxies. In this new video he explains its other applications using modern technology.

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Through the use of clever mathematical wizardry, Braben intends to generate unique and infinite explorable environments such as gas giants, stellar coronas and nebulae. In the video he describes how simple algorithms can be used to support artists in the creation of believable cloudscapes. He talks about the gameplay applications with the ability to hide within and to harvest gas resources.

This evokes images of everything from Cloud City in Star Wars to the climactic slow-burn battle between Captain Kirk and his nemesis in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.

It’s early days for Frontier Developments’ Kickstarter project, but the signs are healthy. With 49 days to go, Elite: Dangerous has already had over 10,000 backers and gained nearly £500,000 (US$793,000) of the target £1.25m (US$1.99m)

Along with the new video, a number of concept art pieces have been released. You can view some below or visit the Kickstarter page.

A Cobra mk. III aligns to dock

An ice belt and distant star

Orbital dogfighting is a legitimate business strategy


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Mat Westhorpe
Broken paramedic and coffee-drinking Englishman whose favourite dumb animal is an oxymoron. After over a decade of humping and dumping the fat and the dead, my lower spine did things normally reserved for Rubik's cubes, bringing my career as a medical clinician to an unexpectedly early end. Fortunately, my real passion is in writing and given that I'm now highly qualified in the art of sitting down, I have the time to pursue it. Having blogged about video games (well, mostly EVE Online) for years, I hope to channel my enjoyment of wordcraft and my hobby of gaming into one handy new career that doesn't involve other people's vomit.