‘Elite Dangerous’ pilots finishing the Distant Worlds community challenge travelled to the far side of a simulated Milky Way. — Picture courtesy of Frontier Developments

SAN FRANCISCO, July 10 — With humankind mulling life on Mars and mustering the collective good sense to save our one-in-a-hundred-billion, life-supporting home planet, players of Elite Dangerous have put teamwork and sci-fi ambition together to complete an arduous five-month odyssey across the Milky Way.

How long does it take to cross the galaxy? After five months, thousands of players of Elite Dangerous have finished a journey across its to-scale simulation of the Milky Way, though only a quarter of the starting fleet made it to the end.


Set over 1,286 years away in a future where space travel is commonplace, the sci-fi adventure sim launched in 2014 and, when it did, one player immediately attempted to cross its 1:1 scale galaxy.

That journey inspired Distant Worlds, a 1,153-pilot trip that took place the following year, with its second iteration, Distant Worlds 2, embarking in January 2019 after 26 months of preparation and recruitment.

Some 13,615 members of the Elite Dangerous community set off together, representing 76 countries between themselves, according to an official Distant Worlds 2 log sheet and infographic.

The vast majority were there as explorers on this marathon expedition, but it was the involvement of other pilots playing as repair mechanics, fuel resuppliers, and food transports that made the voyage possible; still others flew as miners and geologists, documentarians and scientists, military escorts, medics, and even tour guides.

Along the way, they collected and delivered over 5.3 million tons of virtual material to help construct a new Starport and research megaship, participating in various cartographical, geological and photographic surveys.

Ninety per cent of the starting fleet had not previously made the journey, but endeavored to do so with the help of fellow debutants and more experienced fleet members.

Crash landings, high-gravity planets and stars, as well as a small but adversarial group of players and, primarily, the monotony of enduring a 1,188-million-light-year passage (“space madness”) numbered among reasons that only 3,747 (27.5 per cent) of 13,615 pilots made it to the end.

Completed in June, Distant Worlds 2 received a fresh wave of interest this week as outlets Rock Paper Shotgun and Kotaku returned to the subject, focus on the 2019 Electronic Entertainment Expo having dissipated.

At the game’s own fan expo, LaveCon, which was held over this past weekend, Elite Dangerous’ developer Frontier Developments announced the December 2019 introduction of a Fleet Carrier ship class, September’s new decal-oriented virtual currency Arx, and an overhauled starter experience for players new to the game’s famously steep learning curve. — AFP-Relaxnews

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