Intervista a David Braben, l'autore di Elite
Abbiamo ricevuto le risposte di David Braben alle domande che avevamo preparato con l'aiuto dei lettori. Ve le proponiamo in questo articolo, sia nella versione originale in inglese che nella versione localizzata. Braben è l'autore dell'originale Elite ed è ancora adesso sugli scudi grazie alla recente uscita di Elite Dangerous.di Rosario Grasso pubblicato il 03 Febbraio 2015 nel canale Videogames
Gamemag: What are the main differences between the world of videogames of today and that of 1984, when you made the first Elite? I guess now there are new challenges to face, but perhaps some facilitations...
David Braben: Back then the industry was amazingly amateur. When we started Elite in 1982, the usual route to publication for a game was to manually copy cassette tapes, and put them in a Jiffy bag, and post them off to the customer, together with a photocopied set of instructions – usually fitted on to one page.
We remember the 1980s with fondness now, but many of the games were not very good! These days games are a lot better, and the industry is far bigger. Back then it might take one person a month or so to write a game. Today it can take hundreds of people more than a year!
Gamemag: How is possibile that a game as ambitious and widely promising as Elite Dangerous to be financed with the help of the players? Because well-known publishers are not interested in Elite Dangerous?
David Braben: Crowd-funding enabled us to make the game we wanted to make. Traditional publishers typically like a game to be not too different to other games that are released. That way they know who to market to, and the likely sales. Since there hasn’t been an open world space game like Elite for ten years, there is nothing to compare with, so understandably they would want to change it. We wanted the creative control to make Elite: Dangerous the game we wanted it to be.
Gamemag: What are the features for which a player should prefer Elite Dangerous than Star Citizen?
David Braben: It is not a case of either/or. I am a huge science fiction fan, and when I was a kid, I would avidly read any science fiction book as it was released. When Star Wars came out I was delighted. It didn’t make me any less likely to read or watch another science fiction film/book/TV series – the opposite in fact. It is the same with games. We haven’t had any good games in this genre for a long time.
Individual features are not important either – it is the atmosphere and the world they create that is important. I will play both the games you mention – Elite: Dangerous now, and Star Citizen when it comes out in a year or so, in the same way I watched Interstellar when it came out, and I will watch the seventh Star Wars film when it comes out too.
Gamemag: You will be able to land on planets and carry out missions on foot? How will the FPS part be and when it becomes available?
David Braben: Yes, we are planning these things in future updates, and they will be great - we’ll announce more details in due course!
Gamemag: What are the main features of the Cobra engine? And what were the main difficulties in the development of technology?
David Braben: The Cobra engine is a very powerful general purpose game engine. If you look at the range of games we have used it in you can see the breadth of its features. Look at the animations and furry animals in Kinectimals, the range of different elements and characters and the size of the park in Disneyland Adventures on Xbox 360. Look at the construction in Zoo Tycoon or the destruction in Scream Ride on Xbox One, or the beauty of LostWinds on Wii or iOS, and of course the majesty of Elite: Dangerous on PC. It is a very capable engine, and good for getting the very last bit of performance from a machine, whether low spec or high spec.
Gamemag: Sooner or later Elite Dangerous will arrive on console?
David Braben: We have said in the past that we will consider other platforms. The first new platform we are releasing is for Apple Mac in a couple of months time.
Gamemag: We will live in this wonderful remake the same feelings that the first Elite gave us in the days of the Commodore 64? The pulp is great and you can see, everything in the right place but ... the internal organs? Are they okay? Especially the heart and that part of the brain linked to the imagination?
David Braben: I think it is a worthy successor to the previous Elite games.
Gamemag: Individuals and/or groups of friends or corporations will be able to own outposts, towers, bases of various kinds?
David Braben: With time we do intend to broaden the sorts of things you can own, but we also want to stay focused to make a great game.
Gamemag: Is there some plan to ensure that players are able to exercise control over a territory beyond the influence of the main factions or other alien races or whatever?
David Braben: For the moment at least, there is no formal ownership of territory – ie you can claim and try and keep territory, but you can just as easily lose it.
Gamemag: The character will be improved as a role-playing game? There will be factions to fight and a storyboard that dynamically follows the missions?
David Braben: Currently we do have dynamic factions, and that is something we will build on in the future too along with many other elements.
Gamemag: Modders will be able to help in the creation of scenarios, planets and missions?
David Braben: We are looking at how to embrace this community.
Gamemag: Even with high expectations, other games like Elite ambitious failed to recreate a believable and fun world for the gameplay when you get off from the ship, especially because NPC characters and environments of the spaceport. Elite will be able to avoid the same mistakes?
David Braben: I want us to do this right, and that means taking our time with it, but yes, I think we will be able to create a believable and fun world.
Gamemag: Have you ever thought for those nostalgic for Elite and Frontier to add a single player mode even more realistic and similar to its predecessors, with time accelerator instead of the Supercruise, inertial flight and perhaps with the addition of a realistic navigation orbital?
David Braben: We are improving the game all the time. We already have a single player mode, but don’t plan to replace Supercruise. We will see what we can do with respect to improving the orbital routes…
Gamemag: Players will be able in the future to customize the user interface and HUD?
David Braben: Yes. There is already some support for this (as you will notice in many Youtube videos), and this will get better.
Gamemag: Can you explain how the netcode will work? We will have the classical game server structure or will rely mostly on p2p? Who has internet connections not competitive in terms of upload will be penalized compared to those who have more lag but good bandwidth?
David Braben: The network code already blends P2P and server access in a unique way, so it does not penalise players with slow connections.
Gamemag: About the structure of the open project of Elite Dangerous, thus actively involving community also in the formulation of the ideas of core gameplay, giving so much decision-making power to playerbase is not likely to castrate brilliant ideas if they go even slightly against the "collective opinion"?
David Braben: No – we don’t let it affect good ideas, as the final decision is still ours, but we do involve the community.
Gamemag: What new features we will have with the next updates?
David Braben: Community goals and “Wings” are coming shortly to enhance multi-player gameplay. They are the next big features, and we also continue to add many smaller features too.
Gamemag: We can make a question does not specify about Elite Dangerous? About the Raspberry Pi, how do you see the world of the makers?
David Braben: Raspberry Pi has been very successful, particularly in the Maker community. I am delighted how much interest it has gained amongst programmers too – particularly children, as that is what we set out to do.