Elite Dangerous shows off Odyssey expansion's profitable space botany

As alpha Phase 3 gets underway.

Developer Frontier has offered a brisk look at Elite Dangerous' new genetic-sample-snaffling Exobiology feature, set to be introduced in the space sim's upcoming Odyssey expansion and available now for those in the current expansion alpha.

Given that players will have the option to hop out of their ships and stroll around on-foot in Odyssey, Elite dangerous' planetary systems have received a major overhaul. As part of these changes, new geological features and pockets of life will be available for discovery by thorough explorers, which can, in turn, be scanned to generate sellable data.

Frontier says it's now quadrupled the number of vegetation species in Elite Dangerous as part of its planetary overhaul, and those players interested in making a profit from the organic life they encounter will first need to acquire a Supratech Artemis Suit - purchasable from all good space stores - granting access to the new Genetic Sampler.

Elite Dangerous: Odyssey - Exo-Biology Trailer.

Once that's taken care of, Frontier recommends hopping into your own ship and deploying the newly enhanced Detailed Surface Scanner to generate a planetary heat map indicating prime locations for organic life. At which point it's just a short descent to the planet's surface - and a casual first-person stroll to your destination - before you can start sampling.

Upon finding life, the Genetic Sampler can be used to extract information which will then be added to your codex. Frontier notes, however, that you'll need further samples - three in total, from a wide area to ensure diversity - in order to complete sellable bio-data.

Once you're ready to swap your newly acquired data for cold, hard credits, it's time to head back to a space port of your choice and pay a visit to Vista Genomics where the exchange can be made. Data successfully logged will be displayed on the planetary map and the first players to discover the data will receive a bonus.

Elite Dangerous' new Exobiology money earner can currently be explored as part of the ongoing Odyssey expansion alpha, which enters its third phase of testing today. Phase 3 also further expands the playable portion of the galaxy to 50 Light Years and introduces "First Footfall" moments when Commanders plonk their boots on virgin earth for the first time.

Alpha access is available to all Elite Dangerous players that have purchased the Odyssey expansion's Deluxe Alpha edition, which cost a £10 premium over the £29.99 standard release.

Elite Dangerous: Odyssey is due to launch on PC some time this spring, once Phase 4 of the alpha is complete, with an Xbox and PlayStation release now scheduled for autumn.

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Matt Wales is a writer and gambolling summer child who won't even pretend to live a busily impressive life of dynamic go-getting for the purposes of this bio. He is the sole and founding member of the Birdo for President of Everything Society.

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