Elite’s screengrabbing tool offers astronomical fidelity
Elite: Dangerous is charting new space for in-game screen grabs
With all the hype surrounding No Man’s Sky after E3, you’d be forgiven for forgetting about Elite: Dangerous’s similarly ambitious goal of accurately rendering our entire solar system and much of the universe beyond. Scales of this magnitude are difficult to conceptualise, but Frontier is at least letting you capture the view in exquisite detail. Hit F10 and you’ll get a regular screengrab, but hold Alt+F10 and the game will spit out an image at four times the resolution Dangerous is currently running in. If you’re playing the game in 1080p, then, you’ll end up with a 7,680x4,320 pixel screenshot. A 4K setup will give an astounding 15,360x8,640-pixel image.
“This was a feature we wanted for creating shots for full-page print coverage and posters,” Frontier founder David Braben tells us, “and we knew the game assets could take those super-high resolutions.”
When you take an image at this scale, the game runs for one frame at the relevant resolution, causing it to stutter slightly in the process. It’s tempting to toy with the idea of running the game at these resolutions indefinitely, but it will be a little time yet before that’s possible.
“The game wouldn’t run smoothly at 8K on any graphics card available today, and they don’t support 8K yet, anyway,” says Braben. “But that’s not to say they won’t in a few years’ time! It is possible, in theory at least.”