Elite Dangerous Mods, Tools & Enhancements (2017 Edition)

These are 2017’s best Elite Dangerous mods and enhancements.  Frontier has created a space simulator that is unfathomably large.  Now you can make it even better.

HUD Recolour

You spend a lot of time in your cockpit, so why settle for the standard orange color?  With this mod, you can change your Elite: Dangerous HUD color to a color of your choice.

This is a mod that requires a tiny bit of tinkering but has been made easy by a player by the name of Arkku.  His webpage explains how to recolor the HUD in fairly simple terms. Simply choose the color you like, then copy the text provided in the left-hand box an XML file.  Elite Dangerous mods don’t get any more effective than this simple change.

Voice Commands

Who doesn’t want to speak to their ship’s AI and have it carry out basic – and complex – tasks on demand?  This is a mod that will change the way you play Elite: Dangerous forever.

Voice Attack is the most popular program to put voice command functionality into Elite: Dangerous.  Players simply say a custom command into their microphone, which is then translated into mouse and keyboard commands to complete actions in-game.  You can even have the ship talk back to you.

“Silent running” will automatically lower my heat signature, with the AI acknowledging with a simple “silent running activated.”

“Request docking” will request permission to dock with the nearest station – a massive timesaver for those who hate flicking through menus.

“Deploy hardpoints” will deploy my weapons, with the AI acknowledging by saying “go get ’em.”  Why?  Why not.

The result is a much more immersive experience but this comes at a cost.  While you can test the program with a free trial, the full program is $10 – an amount that will hardly break the bank and will enhance your Elite: Dangerous experience substantially.

Amazon Polly (formerly IVONA) is a more expensive alternative but just as capable.  After a fairly generous free trial, the program adopts a pay-as-you-go model, with players paying $4 for every one million characters when giving speech requests.  Your mileage will vary depending on how much you play.

Voice Commands 2.0

I can’t mention voice commands, and more specifically Voice Attack, without mentioning HCS Voice Packs.

Rather than relying on Window’s text-to-speak software, it puts your voice of voice (or voices, if you wish) into your Elite: Dangerous voice pack experience.  This is an Elite: Dangerous mod that you simply have to do – it’s compulsory!

Packs range from £9.99 but the voices are incredible.  A.S.T.R.A is a slightly sexy robotic sounding female voice which is the standard offering and is built upon with each update to the game.

But, what if you want more than that?

They have a selection of official celebrity voice response packs to choose from – not voice actors, the real deals.  Sci-fi legends who have given their voices to the projects include stars from Red Dwarf, Star Trek, Doctor Who, Flash Gordon, Blake’s 7, Star Wars and more.

Who do you want as your co-pilot: William Shatner, Tom Baker, Brent Spiner, Brian Blessed, John De Lancie..?

There are numerous others – and they are professionally recorded to fit Elite: Dangerous (and a few other games), not awkwardly ripped from the movies and TV shows they have starred in.

Control Ship From Tablet/Smartphone

Roccat Powergrid is an app that displays a Grid of icons on your touch screen device.  These icons are then mapped to specific keystrokes in-game.  Pressing the icon for deploying hardpoints, for example, with automatically deploy your weapons.  This is especially useful for those using  HOTAS setup with a lack of buttons.

Log Your Travels

One advantage of Elite Dangerous having such an incredible scale is we can explore any star system we wish.  But, how do you keep track of such epic adventures?  Enter Captain’s Log.  This is an explorer’s dream.

Engineer Materials, Data & Blueprints Tracker

EDEngineer tracks materials and data and also keeps track of blueprints, listing the current data/materials currently needed.  This is a HUGE timesaver and allows Commanders to keep focused on the task at hand after the weary 2,000th jump in search of a part.

Monitor The Market

The Elite: Dangerous Market Connector app can download your Cmdr’s details and system, faction, scan and station data.  It can then:

This is a powerful third-party tool that helps a large portion of the third-party app and website eco-system.

Head Tracking

Head tracking does just that; it tracks the position and movement of your head and emulates it within the game.  The result is you can freely look around your environment – it’s essentially a poor man’s VR.  And, I couldn’t love without it.

The cheapest option is FaceTrackNoIR, a completely free program that uses your webcam to track the movement of your face.  It isn’t perfect but it is a reasonable introduction to the concept before you drop any money.

At the most expensive end of the scale is TrackIR, which can cost up to $169.95.  It comes with a clip to fit onto a pair of headphones with 3 LED lights and an infrared webcam-style device to track those LED lights.

Too expensive for you?  Fear not – DelanClip and TrackHat are two much more affordable alternatives, with a complete set-up costing less than £36.

I personally purchased the TrackHat Clip with the modified webcam and it has been superb but I have heard equally good things about the DelanClip.

VR

I’m mentioning this as a by-product of the above.  For those can afford it, VR can provide the most immersive experience available.  Having said that, the above head tracking options are at least a step in the right direction for those who are cash-poor but want to enhance their Elite: Dangerous experience.

HOTAS And Don’t Look Back

Some people spend A LOT of money on their Elite: Dangerous setups (we’ve written about the guy who has spent $14,000+) but getting more control doesn’t have to be extortionate.

A HOTAS gives players full control of their ship, with a thruster to control the speed, a flight stick to control their movement, and buttons to do everything else.  That’s about as in a nutshell as I could make that statement!

HOTAS setups can cost hundreds, even thousands, of dollars.  Fortunately, there are some decent entry-level options that won’t break the bank.

I personally purchased the Thrustmaster T-Flight Hotas X Joystick; for £38 you’ll really feel like you’re in control of your very own spaceship, hurtling through space at light speed.  As a by-product of purchasing a HOTAS my accuracy has dramatically increased and I’m finally able to opt for fixed weapons.

If immersion is your goal, an affordable is a strong step in the right direction.

Are There Any We’ve Missed?

That’s our comprehensive list but the range of mods, tools, and enhancements grow every day.  If we’ve missed any please drop us a comment, below, or send an email to johnsantinaATgrowngamingDOTcom.

o7 CMDRs.

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