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Thread: News - Elite: Dangerous single-player offline mode officially ditched

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    Re: News - Elite: Dangerous single-player offline mode officially ditched

    This is a comment from newsletter 50
    "Elite: Dangerous Offline Mode - Q&A
    From David Braben:

    Each of the “Elite” games pushed the boundaries of the technology available. With Elite: Dangerous a major new feature is playing online, and we are pushing that hard now. Offline support was not one of our original aims, though we did believe we could support it at the start of the project. We do a great deal of processing in the cloud, and this benefits everyone playing. We had considered that an online connection is a reasonable pre-requisite for a game delivered online. I am really sorry this has upset people, but we have a strong, consistent vision that we do not want to compromise.

    Below we have collected common questions from backers and the press and our answers so we can be clear about the situation.

    Can I still play in single player mode?
    Yes. Some people have thought that dropping 100% offline play means there wouldn’t be a single-player mode - to be clear, the single-player game is already there, but it requires a low bandwidth online connection for the reasons we explained.
    I’ve even played on a laptop using a tethered connection on the train.

    When was the offline mode dropped?
    The decision was made recently, and was not made lightly as we have been looking for ways to satisfy everyone. We announced shortly after we concluded that it wasn’t possible to create an offline mode without unacceptably compromising the game.

    Offline-only support was a requested feature during the Kickstarter – why was it dropped?
    Back during the Kickstarter, we were clear about the vision, to make a phenomenal new sequel to Elite in an online world, which we believe we are about to deliver. At the time we believed we could also offer a good single player experience, and base an acceptable offline-only experience off that. As development has progressed, it has become clear that this last assumption is not the case.

    Why wait so long to announce this?
    In retrospect we should have shared the fact that we were struggling with this aspect with the community, but we were still trying to find a solution. As features were implemented, for the best results we chose to prioritise delivery of the online single and multiplayer experiences, with a view to providing the offline version later in development. We had to make a decision for the good of the game, and that is what we did.

    What would you lose in offline mode?
    We have developed a multi-player game with an unfolding story involving the players, and groups collaborating with specific objectives and taking account of all player’s behaviour. This is what the game is about. Without this it would not be the rich gaming experience that we will deliver, and would be a great disappointment to all players.

    Any offline experience would be fundamentally empty. We could write a separate mission system to allow a limited series of fixed missions, but that would still not be a compelling game, and is just the first step in the mountain of work that would be required.

    Do you now consider Elite: Dangerous to be an MMO?
    Technically, it has always been. There are already over 100,000 people playing in the same world. We believe that always-online entertainment is already a reality for the majority. We are delivering a truly huge game using the best technology and designed to stand the test of time, played for many years to come and still be relevant.

    What do you say to people who backed Elite with an offline experience in mind?
    Many of the conversations we have had during development focussed on backers wanting to play the game without the downside of online – griefing especially – ie a single player experience. We considered this to be the main issue and focussed on making sure we had a great single player offering. We have also ensured that the solo play mode has a minimal network requirement(about 10 kbps).

    Are you confident the servers will be stable come launch day?
    Yes, as confident as we can be, because we have been testing our servers throughout the development process, and continue to do so. Our servers are the same ones that Amazon uses, and can (and have) scaled up quickly to deal with demand when needed.

    What is Frontier's plan for when the servers shut down?
    We do not plan to shut the servers down, but understand it is a reasonable question. We are at the beginning of the game not the end and are focused on creating a game that we hope will be played for many years in the future. We do plan to take regular archives of the game and the servers, to preserve the game for the future.

    Could the server code be released publicly some day when the servers are shut down?
    Yes. This is something we would do if for whatever reason we cannot keep the game going.

    Will offline mode ever be implemented? Why not create a second "offline galaxy" with different secrets than the online one?
    It is not out of the question we will create a cut-down game that is offline only, but this is not currently in our plan. It would still be a big undertaking to do well.

    Will you give people refunds?
    We have started responding to requests where there is a clear outcome:
    - Those who have pre-ordered an Elite: Dangerous release version from our online store and have therefore not yet played the game are eligible for a refund.
    - Those who have already been playing the game online in the Alpha and/or Beta phases, regardless of whether they backed the project via Kickstarter or purchased access to Alpha and/or Beta through our online store, are not eligible for a refund.

    We want to make sure we treat each person's situation with the thoroughness it deserves, and have contacted each of them to ask that they bear with us over the next few working days if their circumstances do not fit either criteria above as we look into individual requests.

    Is offline mode an impossible problem, or just unfeasible?
    It is a creative decision, not wanting to produce an empty game. It is technically possible, but it would be a largely separate game development.

    Why not delay the decisions and put extra resources on this after the release?
    We will review the decision after release, but our priority is moving the game forwards for the great majority of players, and are wary of producing a sub-standard game.

    Was this because offline players are less likely to get involved in microtransactions? Is this just about the money?
    No. We have been clear and consistent. This is about the game experience. I have always been against ‘pay to win’ – in a game like Elite: Dangerous there are a great many opportunities we could have taken already that would have amounted to ‘pay to win’ but we have chosen not to.

    This whole issue comes down to what the vision is of the game we are making, and whether people trust us to make the right decisions. We made this decision with heavy hearts but for the right reasons.

    David Braben"

    To which I will add Ian Bell was missing from the lineup for First Encounters - and we all know what happened to that release. Someone has to do the math and think in a logical not conceptual fashion and above all deliver on a promise made on time and to cost counterweighting the Jobs personality with a Woz who actually got the job done.

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    Unhappy Re: News - Elite: Dangerous single-player offline mode officially ditched

    Ian Bell was missing from the lineup for First Encounters - and we all know what happened to that release. Someone has to do the math and think in a logical not conceptual fashion and above all deliver on a promise made on time and to cost counterweighting the Jobs personality with a Woz who actually got the job done.

    Newsletter 50 has been released early today in which we have a huge section with David Braben on why he dropped Offline Solo mode at the last minuite, to which I am with Scaryjim, it is our choice not Brabens whever we wish to join the online universe which is all DLC and can be closed or blocked at a moments notice and I will not be joining it or buying a 'game' which may as well be EVE.

    Sorry for this duplicate, I originally posted on the main page and the script would not post
    Last edited by KendrickDM; 20-11-2014 at 12:00 AM. Reason: Apology

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    Re: News - Elite: Dangerous single-player offline mode officially ditched

    I wish he'd stop saying things like this:

    We have developed a multi-player game with an unfolding story involving the players, and groups collaborating with specific objectives and taking account of all player’s behaviour. This is what the game is about. Without this it would not be the rich gaming experience that we will deliver, and would be a great disappointment to all players.

    Any offline experience would be fundamentally empty. We could write a separate mission system to allow a limited series of fixed missions, but that would still not be a compelling game, and is just the first step in the mountain of work that would be required.
    He's still telling me what I'm allowed to like about games. Without other players deciding the story of the universe, it would be a great disappointment to me? No. A mission system allowing a series of fixed missions would not be a compelling game? So the original Elite wasn't compelling? Every other offline game isn't compelling?

    Seriously David, say "I like the way the online play is working out so I've decided to put all our resources into that and drop the offline mode". Don't say "We looked at an offline mode but you wouldn't like that game, so I'm saving you from yourselves by not giving you it, because I am the arbiter of game experience". The justification is just sad and annoying.

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    Re: News - Elite: Dangerous single-player offline mode officially ditched

    Quote Originally Posted by scaryjim View Post
    I wish he'd stop saying things like this:
    We have developed a multi-player game with an unfolding story involving the players, and groups collaborating with specific objectives and taking account of all player’s behaviour. This is what the game is about. Without this it would not be the rich gaming experience that we will deliver, and would be a great disappointment to all players.

    Any offline experience would be fundamentally empty. We could write a separate mission system to allow a limited series of fixed missions, but that would still not be a compelling game, and is just the first step in the mountain of work that would be required.
    He's still telling me what I'm allowed to like about games. Without other players deciding the story of the universe, it would be a great disappointment to me? No. A mission system allowing a series of fixed missions would not be a compelling game? So the original Elite wasn't compelling? Every other offline game isn't compelling?

    Seriously David, say "I like the way the online play is working out so I've decided to put all our resources into that and drop the offline mode". Don't say "We looked at an offline mode but you wouldn't like that game, so I'm saving you from yourselves by not giving you it, because I am the arbiter of game experience". The justification is just sad and annoying.
    I don't think he's quite saying that.
    From my understanding of it, it's more of an evolving universe, there's no fixed story line, but every system will have events, which are triggered by the player base actions (not individual players but by the combined actions of all the players) it may even be indirect, ie a planet might have a hidden "prosperity" value, so if enough players trade with it's stations in a 24hour period it raises the "prosperity" value, once the value hits a certain level that might trigger some event eg a new station or a station upgrade. a single player could never move enough cargo alone to trigger the event but the total player trades could.

    Again I can see the reason for it, it'll create a universe that feels more alive, things will be going on with out you as an individual effecting it.
    Think about something like skyrim, there's all these locations with events at them, but they only trigger when you the player goes to them, the world revolves around the player but it doesn't feel alive.
    The other way to go is the way he did in Frontier: Elite II (I'm not sure about first encounter) where events are on a timer, ie at this date this happens, this can make the universe feel more alive but at the same time very static.

    I don't think they need to "write a separate mission system" for an offline world, just change the weight of the player action, treat everything a player does as done by 100 people or a thousand, however much is needed to influence event triggers.
    Yes it'll still feel a bit empty as events will only happen around the individual player so not a fully living evolving world, but I don't think people would mind too much.

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    Re: News - Elite: Dangerous single-player offline mode officially ditched

    Quote Originally Posted by scaryjim View Post
    He's still telling me what I'm allowed to like about games.
    To be precise, he's telling us what the predictions are based on the player base as a whole.
    In short, they can't please everyone so they're focussing on the biggest number they can please.

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    Re: News - Elite: Dangerous single-player offline mode officially ditched

    I don't get the comparisons with the original version of the game, particularly in terms of missions, I only remember playing two missions in the game, one of them awarded the player with military grade shields and the other awarded a cloaking device iirc. If they did that now I would see that as a very shallow gaming experience, as a 14 year old with little gaming experience back in 1984 that didn't bother me, it most certainly would bother me now.

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    Re: News - Elite: Dangerous single-player offline mode officially ditched

    Quote Originally Posted by Pob255 View Post
    I don't think he's quite saying that.
    From my understanding of it, it's more of an evolving universe, there's no fixed story line, but every system will have events, which are triggered by the player base actions (not individual players but by the combined actions of all the players) it may even be indirect, ie a planet might have a hidden "prosperity" value, so if enough players trade with it's stations in a 24hour period it raises the "prosperity" value, once the value hits a certain level that might trigger some event eg a new station or a station upgrade. a single player could never move enough cargo alone to trigger the event but the total player trades could.

    Again I can see the reason for it, it'll create a universe that feels more alive, things will be going on with out you as an individual effecting it.
    Think about something like skyrim, there's all these locations with events at them, but they only trigger when you the player goes to them, the world revolves around the player but it doesn't feel alive.
    The other way to go is the way he did in Frontier: Elite II (I'm not sure about first encounter) where events are on a timer, ie at this date this happens, this can make the universe feel more alive but at the same time very static.

    I don't think they need to "write a separate mission system" for an offline world, just change the weight of the player action, treat everything a player does as done by 100 people or a thousand, however much is needed to influence event triggers.
    Yes it'll still feel a bit empty as events will only happen around the individual player so not a fully living evolving world, but I don't think people would mind too much.
    But to wait X time and X players to have enough effect to get a story line out of it? which might just be an upgrade, in which case not a proper single player story line.

    Not to mention the amount of people wanting to gank you while your doing your own thing loz

    It's MechWarrior all over again

    I want a game where I can roam around after single player have fun with NPCs and then jump into Multiplayer when I want. E.g Freelancer post game completion was fun
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    Unhappy Re: News - Elite: Dangerous single-player offline mode officially ditched

    Quote Originally Posted by Ttaskmaster View Post
    To be precise, he's telling us what the predictions are based on the player base as a whole.
    In short, they can't please everyone so they're focussing on the biggest number they can please.
    Hi Taskmaster, regardless he has gone back on his Kickstarter pledge:
    How will single player work? Will I need to connect to a server to play?

    The galaxy for Elite: Dangerous is a shared universe maintained by a central server. All of the meta data for the galaxy is shared between players. This includes the galaxy itself as well as transient information like economies. The aim here is that a player's actions will influence the development of the galaxy, without necessarily having to play multiplayer.

    The other important aspect for us is that we can seed the galaxy with events, often these events will be triggered by player actions. With a living breathing galaxy players can discover new and interesting things long after they have started playing.

    Update! The above is the intended single player experience. However it will be possible to have a single player game without connecting to the galaxy server. You won't get the features of the evolving galaxy (although we will investigate minimising those differences) and you probably won't be able to sync between server and non-server (again we'll investigate).
    Last updated: Tue, Dec 11 2012 9:56 AM +00:00

    He did not try to please as many people as possible, this was not part of the Kickstarter he cut an essential feature out which was promised 2 years ago.

    2 more import ones to watch for:

    Will the game be DRM-free?

    Yes, the game code will not include DRM (Digital Rights Management), but there will be server authentication when you connect for multiplayer and/or updates and to synchronise with the server.
    Last updated: Mon, Dec 10 2012 11:54 AM +00:00

    Will the game be free to play after the initial purchase?

    We do not plan to make it subscription-based. Once you have purchased the game up front, you will be able to play thereafter for no further cost. Everything in the game will be purchasable with in-game Credits, earned from trading, bounty-hunting, etc. We will probably allow the supplemental purchase of Credits with real money, for those who want to accelerate their progress through the game.

    We do plan to charge for additional updates, to be available sometime after the original release. These will offer additional content, features and gameplay.

    Chow

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    Re: News - Elite: Dangerous single-player offline mode officially ditched

    Quote Originally Posted by Ttaskmaster View Post
    To be precise, he's telling us what the predictions are based on the player base as a whole.
    In short, they can't please everyone so they're focussing on the biggest number they can please.
    No, he quite specifically says - rearranging his words without changing the meaning - "without an unfolding story taking account of all players' behaviour it would be a great disappointment to ALL players". I've bolded/emphasised the last bit because it's a direct quote and it's what I'm most bothered by. DB can't decide if I'd be greatly disappointed by on offline world with limited story and missions. I'm pretty sure I wouldn't be, because that's exactly what Elite was like (see below). I'm sure it would be a great disappointment to some players. But not including any offline mode has clearly been a great disappointment to some of the players. And that game mode would always be optional. Just as no-one is forcing me to buy E: D if I don't like the lack of an off-line mode, no-one would be forced to play the off-line mode if they bought E: D.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pob255 View Post
    I don't think they need to "write a separate mission system" for an offline world, just change the weight of the player action, treat everything a player does as done by 100 people or a thousand, however much is needed to influence event triggers.

    Yes it'll still feel a bit empty as events will only happen around the individual player so not a fully living evolving world, but I don't think people would mind too much.
    tbh, I don't think they even need to do that. Classic Elite (and lets be honest, most of us wanting offline mode are fans of the older games) didn't have any of that. You flew your ship around a relatively static universe, trading goods, upgrading your ship, and shooting down NPC pirates. As far as I can see, all of those elements already exist in E: D, and could work without a server (or perhaps with a local instance of a scope-limited server). Sure you wouldn't get DB's full vision of E: D, but I reckon you could get plenty of enjoyable gameplay, particularly if you're a fan of the original Elite.

    Quote Originally Posted by KeyboardDemon View Post
    I don't get the comparisons with the original version of the game, particularly in terms of missions, I only remember playing two missions in the game, one of them awarded the player with military grade shields and the other awarded a cloaking device iirc. If they did that now I would see that as a very shallow gaming experience, as a 14 year old with little gaming experience back in 1984 that didn't bother me, it most certainly would bother me now.
    Really? 'Cause I think you'll find most people clamouring for their offline mode wouldn't care that much about missions. That was never what Elite was about. It wasn't about running missions and getting an involved story and winning the game. It was about finding interesting trade routes, turning a profit, risking the wrath of the authorities by running contraband goods, shooting down pirates - there was no great story or mission, there was just fighting and trading and trying to make your way in the universe. You don't need some grand evolving story for that: you need a ship, and a universe, and some NPCs. As I say, all that work seems to have been done already. But we can't have it because DB isn't happy with the story. Well, sorry DB, for some of us it's not about the story, and if you think it is you're not making a spiritual successor to the original Elite series....

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    Re: News - Elite: Dangerous single-player offline mode officially ditched

    Quote Originally Posted by csgohan4 View Post
    in which case not a proper single player story line.
    Depends what you consider a proper story.
    Elite seems to be all about imagining your own story as you play through the physicalities of the gameplay.

    Quote Originally Posted by csgohan4 View Post
    Not to mention the amount of people wanting to gank you while your doing your own thing loz
    I've barely even heard from players in-game, let alone seen enough to make up a gank gang. This isn't Eve - Most of the player base is older and more grown-up.

    Quote Originally Posted by csgohan4 View Post
    I want a game where I can roam around after single player have fun with NPCs and then jump into Multiplayer when I want. E.g Freelancer post game completion was fun
    If you want a whole cinematic story with characters and events and all that, followed by open-world roaming, then you're more the Star Citizen type, I suspect.

    Quote Originally Posted by KendrickDM View Post
    The above is the intended single player experience. However it will be possible to have a single player game without connecting to the galaxy server.
    Intended.
    Possible.
    Offline still is very possible to achieve... it's just too much for the scope of what they believe they can deliver at this point.

    Quote Originally Posted by KendrickDM View Post
    he cut an essential feature out which was promised 2 years ago.
    I really wish people would stop using words like that...
    Tell me where exactly FD ever used words like 'promise' and 'guarantee' with regard to what they absolutely, definitely, 100% would deliver in the game?

    Here's some more for you:

    We do not plan to make it subscription-based.
    But it may end up like that if the chargable updates don't fund server maintenance.

    We will probably allow the supplemental purchase of Credits with real money
    But we may just keep it F2P with in-game credits only...


    Quote Originally Posted by scaryjim View Post
    I'm pretty sure I wouldn't be, because that's exactly what Elite was like (see below).
    But this isn't and was never going to be Elite like it was years ago, so you're not getting something that you weren't going to get in the first place...

    This was supposed to be a new, improved Elite with unfolding story, online interactivity and all that. By removing the very things this project was supposed to create, you're removing what everyone signed up for.
    It's not their problem if people thought they were signing up for something else... Those people should have read the words more closely.

    Quote Originally Posted by scaryjim View Post
    Sure you wouldn't get DB's full vision of E: D, but I reckon you could get plenty of enjoyable gameplay, particularly if you're a fan of the original Elite.
    People will probably petition FD for this, but it's just Elite with prettier graphics and nothing more. Certainly it would please a few fans, but it brings absolutely nothing new to the world of computer games, so in the grand scheme of things doesn't help FD's portfolio.

    Quote Originally Posted by scaryjim View Post
    As I say, all that work seems to have been done already.
    Yes - by many other games in the past 30 years.

    You ever wonder why games based on the film Aliens are always so crap?
    The reason is that so many other games took their inspiration from the film, that by the time an actual officially-licenced Aliens game comes along, it has nothing new to bring to the arena. All the other games have already done it.


    Quote Originally Posted by scaryjim View Post
    But we can't have it because DB isn't happy with the story. Well, sorry DB, for some of us it's not about the story, and if you think it is you're not making a spiritual successor to the original Elite series....
    I think the game creator does get to decide that part...

  11. #59
    Banhammer in peace PeterB kalniel's Avatar
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    Re: News - Elite: Dangerous single-player offline mode officially ditched

    Quote Originally Posted by Ttaskmaster View Post
    By removing the very things this project was supposed to create, you're removing what everyone signed up for.
    I think the demands for refunds and general disappointment on the backer forums refutes that point..

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    Re: News - Elite: Dangerous single-player offline mode officially ditched

    Quote Originally Posted by Ttaskmaster View Post
    I really wish people would stop using words like that...
    Tell me where exactly FD ever used words like 'promise' and 'guarantee' with regard to what they absolutely, definitely, 100% would deliver in the game?.
    The fact that they are offering refunds for people who pre-ordered shows that they accept that they had mis-sold the product. Backing a kickstarter obviously comes with the risk that what you back and what you receive may not be the same thing, but when you buy something from a shop and the seller accepts the order you have a contractual obligation to actually deliver the product as described.

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    Senior Member Pob255's Avatar
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    Re: News - Elite: Dangerous single-player offline mode officially ditched

    Quote Originally Posted by jimbouk View Post
    The fact that they are offering refunds for people who pre-ordered shows that they accept that they had mis-sold the product. Backing a kickstarter obviously comes with the risk that what you back and what you receive may not be the same thing, but when you buy something from a shop and the seller accepts the order you have a contractual obligation to actually deliver the product as described.
    No that doesn't say that, it shows they are being pretty good over it and are trying to avoid bad press.
    It also shows how little people understand kickstarter and game development.

    When you put money into a kickstarter you are NOT buying something, you are not investing in something, you are donating money to something.
    In return for your money they have to try to do what they said they would, they don't have to succeed, they don't have to give you anything, they just have to try

    One of the harsh realities of game development, is that there can be all sorts of ideas and concepts but due to time and difficulty constants ideas get dropped.
    That doesn't mean "they lied" it means that they had the idea down on an ideas board and they thought they could do it but as the development progressed they found that they it's too complex or time consuming to fit in with other things going on in the development.
    So they compromise on what can get done and what cannot.

    The only real differences between years ago and now in games development is now we (the general public) have far more access to the stages of the development (but still not as much as the people directly involved)

    What kickstarter has done is to allow games like this to get funding in the first place as most publishers and investors simply refused to fund a space sim game because they didn't think there was a market for it both the elite dangerous and Star Citizen kickstarters did leave quite a few people with egg on their faces.

    As to "story line" currently elite dangerous doesn't look like it has one or was ever said to have one in a single player story line sense, that's fine, none of the elite games had one.
    I think this is looking more like elite2 than the original elite, but without the realistic Newtonian physics, which is good because the full realistic newtonian physics, while far more accurate than the original elite model, was not good from a gameplay standing.
    you had missions in elite2, they are fairly simple things and you had events although they time based (I remember that one system has an economic collapse in the first ingame month which totally wrecks the trading prices and stock levels, you could just get one profitable cargo run from there if you were quick)

    In elite dangerous it's a more organic system where events are triggered by unseen stats in the background that players can effect, it's not some big over arching story, although some events may trigger other events.

    Think of it more like a sim city game, when you put down more houses that triggers more jobs and more demand for services, but you're one of the people in the city and the city is run by the AI that only reacts to what the city is doing.
    So if the majority of people are trying to get commercial jobs not industrial jobs, then the AI will put down more commerce to counter the demand, but now the number of commerce buildings has hit a point which triggers the AI to put down a casino, which in turn pushes crime up so it put down a police station to combat that, then has to increase the tax rate to cover the extra expense . . . etc

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    Re: News - Elite: Dangerous single-player offline mode officially ditched

    heres a thought - you pay top end money to back a game you want, play both alpha and beta , like what you see then suddenly they remove 1 feature you actually want? currently you get a great big **** *** from frontier - even though they technically have broken kick-starters rules (apparently)

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    Re: News - Elite: Dangerous single-player offline mode officially ditched

    Have a retread of my post Pob. You missed the bit where I differentiated between a product sale being a contract hence the refund, and a kickstart backing being something completely different.

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    Re: News - Elite: Dangerous single-player offline mode officially ditched

    What about those who pre-ordered from the Elite: Dangerous website? They aren't the same as Kickstarter donations, are they covered by contractual law?

    Also, I don't understand why the "pro online only" people are getting so upset and trying to force the "anti online only" people to see the errors of their ways, or trying to force them in to believing they are wrong for being upset that a major development change (regardless of if it was suggested, promised or written in stone) has left them paying (quite a lot) for something they will no lounger be able to enjoy, for WHATEVER reason they have. They're not causing you any harm, IF Frontier refund them it will be a drop in the ocean and relieve the bad press, so why argue it so much?

    Myself, it's more or a principal thing, I can't stand online only single player games. The only one I have purchased is D3 and that used to give me no end of problems. The ONLY reason why they do it is to stop piracy (ignore all that BS about the devs saying "you will have a better game online, so we're forcing you to play online"), and as usual, DRM hurts paying customers more than it does the pirates, so I am against it as much as possible.

    I wanted to play E offline in single player mode, as I did with Frontier: Elite 2. When I pre-purchased the game it was intended to be included and I didn't see much of a reason why it wouldn't be in the final product. They have now confirmed that there will be no offline mode and it upsets me greatly to see what could be a fantastic game get ruined (IMO) by being online only. That is my choice, that is my right.

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