Elite: Safe

I must say that I’ve rather gone off videogames in the last 12 months, other than the occasional bout of UT2004 and theHunter. A couple of games I might have wanted to play in 2012 were delayed (X: Rebirth, Grim Dawn). Perhaps it was the behemoth Skyrim which spoiled my taste for lesser games in 2012. I’ve tried a number of new titles, but I couldn’t even get into Risen 2 having been a rave fan of the excellent first Risen on the PC. And looking through the 2013 release schedule this week, nothing really grabs me.

But now… there’s awesome news for PC gaming, and something to very much look forward to in 2014. There’s going to be a modern Windows 7 version of Elite. Yup, with just 45 hours to go, the Kickstarter campaign for a remake of the famous Elite space-trading videogame has reached its crowd-funding target. The well-known British game designer David Braben has raised a whopping £1,277,927 (about $2m). He and his Cambridge based development team will now create a modern Windows version of Elite (effectively, the fabled Elite 4). Elite: Dangerous will be faithful to the original game, and be made free of the publisher interference and demands which crippled previous versions of Elite such as Elite: Frontier. Sadly, planetary landings are something that will be added only after release of the new version — but hopefully players of the first release will at least get seamless planetfall from orbit, even if they won’t be able to do more than skim the surface.

This fundraising success is also an early vindication of the choice to launch Kickstarter to the UK, which I understand was quietly helped along by top-level interest from the British government.


There should a deal of opportunities for iClone Elite fan machinima, too, to tell the back-stories in the run-up to release and beyond. If you have £4,500, there are even two Kickstarter slots left to write and publish a royalties-free novel set in the Elite universe.

Valve Software Source Filmmaker goes to beta

Valve Software’s Source Filmmaker is available now as a semi-closed beta for Windows 7. It’s the real-time tool used to create Valve’s own promotional animations for games such as Team Fortress 2.

It’s licenced for commercial work, provided you don’t pinch any of Valve’s in-game assets. To snag a beta licence key now, contribute a shiny 3D item to the Team Fortress Workshop, TF2′s internal marketplace for fan-made items. Doing this gives you a better chance of getting a licence key.

For a complete set of tutorial videos, take a look at the YouTube channel.

Current best graphics card

Readers might like to know that a detailed multi-page lab test of graphics cards, in the latest issue of the highly respected British magazine PC Pro, flags the Nvidia Geforce GTX 560 Ti 448 card as the best mid-range card (i.e: between the pocket-money prices and the astronomically silly prices).