SGJ Podcast #71: Elite Clones for Your Space Trading Needs

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21 Responses

    • Brian Rubin says:

      Hey Moonrogue, welcome to the comments. While Drifter is a fun game, to answer your question, it’s not a straight-up clone of one of the Elite games, which is what we were going for here. It’s a great open-world space game though, but not exactly the same.

      • Moonrogue says:

        Thanks, it’s nice to be here. Sorry, I misunderstood what the focus of the podcast was.

        How about Ms. Pac Man??????

        • Brian Rubin says:

          While Ms. Pacman is a fun game, if I may say so, it doesn’t really match the open-world stylings of Elite, nor does it have a dynamic economy or even random missions. ;)

          Seriously, good point, I changed the title of the show to hopefully be more clear. :) Thanks!

    • Brian Rubin says:

      There’s also no need to yell.

  1. thefrawg says:

    Great video! I put in an embarrassing number of hours on Elite and Frontier. I’m not sure how I missed First Encounters, but after a bit of googling, realize I had never seen it before. I guess I was too busy playing flight sims and the late Wing Commander games when it came out. Thanks Brian!

    • Brian Rubin says:

      You can skip First Encounters. It’s basically the same as Frontier with slightly prettier graphics, more bugs and a much shittier UI.

  2. Hi Brian,

    I wonder what are the discouraging points for you for the original First Encounters? I only remember ever playing that game (never got to play the prequels), so cannot compare myself…

    • Brian Rubin says:

      Interestingly enough, First Encounters, to me, felt like a few steps back from Frontier. Frontier had a simple, uncluttered interface and, while it was buggy, it still ran fine most of the time. FFE, on the other hand, tried to be too slick I think, and lost something in the user experience as navigating the menus and such became a super chore by comparison. Thing was also amazingly buggy, as I never got more than 15-20 minutes without a crash. To me, Frontier is the best in the series, while First Encounters is the worst. It’s basically the same thing as Frontier with a slightly glossier coat of paint, more bugs and a worse interface.

  3. Nack says:

    Paragon is fun, but it’s flaky in places. I had the autopilot go pathological on me several times; I’d get to the vicinity of a space station where I was supposed to land, hit the “dock at” button, and the ship would start spinning like a top, or fly into the station and then fly in little circles endlessly without docking. I failed several timed delivery missions because the autopilot went nuts in one way or another.

    • Brian Rubin says:

      Yeah, Paragon still has some quirks, like it’s ocassionally suicidal autopilot, but I’m having a blast with it regardless. I hit up the devs in the Steam forums about my joystick issue and they were pretty up front about how awful it is right now, which is kinda refreshing. They also said they’re working on the autopilot AI too I believe. Which is good because damn.

  4. I’m working my way through the podcast, but “witchspace” has always been the term.

    I don’t know about all the poor suckers on Commodores or other platforms that used Atari joysticks, but on the Apple ][ with a nice Kraft analog joystick docking could be mastered. I can’t imagine trying to dock with an “on or off” joystick. Yikes. But I’d still buy a docking computer just because it saved time.

    • Brian Rubin says:

      I had, I believe, this joystick at the time:

      And yeah, it made docking quite challenging.

        • Brian Rubin says:

          Sorry, when I tried to add the HTML code to make that an actual image, it broke the damned thing, so I had to upload it to imgur. Regardless, I totally remember that thing. Didn’t have one, but some friends did I think. IIRC it was a very solid little stick.

        • Nack says:

          I played the original version on the BBC Acorn with the keyboard, and it was great. You n00bs and your fancy Apple ][ kits…

  5. I’ve played Oolite, found it a lot harder than the original Elite and with all the upgrades and mod packs its hard to figure out which ones to use. It can be a fun experience.

    I was actually involved in the development of the Pioneer story for a bit before writing Elite:And Here The Wheel and it is very interesting. I found it quite interesting to see how Pioneer handled a three-dee galactic map versus how Elite:Dangerous has handled it.

    I briefly touched the First Encounters D3D but I actually preferred the original which I probably played the most.

    Unlike Brian I had massive squee on First Encounters and it is probably the game I channelled the most when I wrote Elite:And Here The wheel. The universe feels less static than Frontier – Elite II. The game provides so much more backstory to the universe and the dirty deeds of INRA which my novel expanded on.

  6. tallguyproductions says:

    Oh, and not to repeat myself, but:

    Guys! Elite II combat is not jousting! It certainly can be, before you get a good bead on the enemy. But once you figure it out, you can match course and speed with your target and keep him from shooting you while you can just dissect him. It’s great.

    You turn your engines “off” so you have manual control of the flight. Right click will make the mouse rotate your ship. Right AND left will fire your laser. Return is forward thrust, right-shift is reverse.

    When you see the enemy’s laser in front of you use reverse thrust to back away from it. For some reason this works. This usually also slows him up (relative to you) enough to get a good bead on him.

    And yes, the autopilot is more dangerous than a TNG holodeck.

  7. Zeus says:

    I just wanted to say, this is my first time listening to your podcast, and two seconds in I’m like, “Wait, is that he Bad Movie Podcast guy?!”

    You, sir, have a very distinctive voice. :D

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