Ask Your Planetary Tech Questions!


Community Manager
Greetings commanders,

At 19:00 UTC tonight we’ll be joined live on stream by the awesome Dr. Kay Ross to chat about the new planetary tech coming to Elite Dangerous: Odyssey. Twitch drops will also be making a return so we expect the chat to be lively.

To help us see and answer the questions you have on planetary tech in Elite Dangerous: Odyssey we have created this thread! Please post your questions here and we’ll do our best to answer as many of them as we can on stream.

Please note that for this stream we will ONLY be focusing on questions relating to planetary tech. This relates to the Stellar Forge, how planets are generated, land formations etc.
Don't forget to write down all answers on forum please, a bit hard for non-native English to follow stream.

Question: will it be / can we have some planetary fun for long range explorers, for example monsters attacking you on the ground 50000 ly away from bubble. Or some true unique life there, i.e. - will it be any real reason to fly away and see something different there, or as usually can do all near Sol ?
We've seen several improvements of planets surfaces during the life of Elite, but nothing that stays as "definitive" with the full variety of features like caves, realistic rock spreading, variety of terrain materials, lava, etc. So, are there any technical challenges or barriers associated with terrain generation? As well as with full atmosphere implementation?


Volunteer Moderator
Very much looking forward to seeing Kay on stream again tonight.

There is a planet I visit occasionally over 42 Kylies away and I have been there 4 times. Because of the updates that the planetary tech and has received over the years, and the upgrade to adaptive lighting, it has looked different 3 out of the 4 times I have visited it. I will have to go back to get first footfall when Odyssey is released, what sort of differences will I see this time around?
Will the upgraded planetary tech include improvements to volcanism and the integration of volcanic features into the terrain?

The current geological sites can be very impressive, but often feel a wee bit "plopped down" in random locations that don't otherwise show many signs of volcanic forces, except for them being more frequent in canyons (closer to the mantle) and maybe having a little texture discoloration for a couple of metres around each vent.

Around fumaroles we might expect to find large areas encrusted in minerals, such that we might be able to spot the locations from far away. Volcanic features to be clustered around calderas. Shield volcanoes with lava tubes near the top. The remains of extinct features, basalt columns, ancient lava flows, etc.

Obviously I know it's not a trivial fix, and the current iteration of planets is an absolute marvel, but it would be cool to hear of any improvements that might be coming in this regard.
Hi! Planetary tech questions:
  1. It was previously stated that terrain overhangs would not be a thing. Does this rule out caves too?
  2. Will there be any weather phenomena, like fog, wind, rain, dust storms or blizzards, etc. on the planetary worlds?
  3. Will there be liquid surfaces (or liquids on surfaces)?
  4. Will planets be more interesting in terms of volcanism etc? Right now the geological sites are very... underwhelming and limited to a small area.
  5. Will terrain be (at least slightly?) deformable due to bombardment from ship weapons?
  6. Related to (5): could ice be vaporized from energy weapon impacts, creating temporary steam clouds?
Technically gameplay/animations questions but related:
  • If yes for (2) above, then will this impact visibility and sensor range for ships, vehicles and on foot?
  • Will there be re-entry effects?

How has the rock scatter changed? Is the thinking behind it more scientific or artistic?
To follow up on this, will it be more pleasant to drive an SRV? Right now it's really annoying sometimes, because it's hard to tell which small rock you will or won't hit.
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With procedural generation creating the landscape what's involved in the placement of planetary bases. Can they be placed anywhere (with use of a terrain flattening post process on what stellar forge produces to create a level area for them to go on) or do Frontier have to manually check and adjust the position of every single surface base?

And as a follow-up to that, did the position of bases like Cortes and Kraken's Reach (which both sit perched spectacularly on top of long ridges) come about randomly or are some locations hand picked for added spectacle?
I've a couple, for on-foot combat.
Will the weapons used on foot be hit-scan or projectile based, or both? For projectiles, is there any guesstimate on how fast the projectile will be traveling?
Will the new planet surfaces still essentially be static surfaces?

Assuming that’s the case, what are the future plans in terms of more dynamic surfaces, what are the major challenges involved, and what are the next major steps likely to be in terms of the planet tech?
Will the tech generate scripted landscapes and will geo sites be bigger, for example a bigger area for plants, geysers and so on?
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