Elite Dangerous is a AAA open world space exploration game for PC released in December 2014. Head for the stars, take a ship and trade, bounty-hunt, pirate or assassinate your way across the billions of star systems in the milky way.
While designing for Elite I worked on missions / event design and implementation, AI / difficulty balancing and designing game systems / player skills and progression (trading, mining, bounty hunting etc).
A large amount of my time was also dedicated to the mission system and the galaxy’s background simulation. The background sim in Elite is used to make the galaxy react to players and feel more fluid and dynamic.For example, high piracy levels in one system will lower the amount of trading in nearby systems. This can also increase the likelihood of bounty hunting npc’s and armed escorts accompanying trade ships due to risk of piracy. Using this information from the background sim we were able to generate missions that reflected the nature of each system E.g. A system dominated by large corporations will offer more trade and espionage related mission than a system rick in mineral resources, which will offer more mining related missions.
We also added narrative to the missions by creating and managing a list of proceduraly generated minor factions which issued missions to the player and responded accordingly based on their actions (completing a mission increases the player’s reputation with this minor faction, giving access to more lucrative missions.) This allows the players to build up contacts within a system, become more invested in certain minor factions and makes them feel more attached to certain areas of space.
I’m proud of my work on Elite and enjoyed the challenge of releasing a game in stages to a large passionate player base. Seeing my designs have an immediate effect on the player base and being able to continually tweak them based on player feedback was incredibly rewarding. The game is still being developed after launch and you can check out the very latest updates from Frontier here.