If you’re looking for the best Elite Dangerous mods, apps and add-ons in 2023 then you’ve come to the right place. We’ve collated the Elite Dangerous mods and enhancements that will improve your time with Frontier’s unfathomably huge but incredibly awesome space simulator.
Here are the best Elite Dangerous mods, tools and enhancements in 2023.
Elite Dangerous HUD Colour Theme Editor
You spend a lot of time in your cockpit, so why settle for the standard orange colour? With this mod created by a player by the name of Arkku, you can change your Elite Dangerous HUD colour to a colour of your choice.
This is a mod that requires a bit of tinkering but has been made easy. Arkku’s website explains how to re-colour the HUD in fairly simple terms. Choose the colour you like, then copy the text provided in the left-hand box to an XML file. It’s a simple yet effective change.
Who doesn’t want to speak to their ship’s AI and have it carry out 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. It translates spoken commands into keyboard and mouse inputs to complete actions in-game. You can even have conversations with the ship.
It works exceptionally well, too. Once configured, saying “silent running” will automatically lower heat signatures, with the AI acknowledging with a simple “silent running activated”. “Request docking” requests permission to dock with the nearest station – a massive timesaver for those who hate flicking through menus. “Deploy hardpoints” deploys 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 small 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., but it’s safe to say that the Voice Attack option will likely be the more cost-effective option for many.
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 have to have – 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 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 several others, each professionally recorded to fit Elite Dangerous (and a few other games), not awkwardly ripped from the movies and TV shows the voice actors have starred in.
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.
There’s also EDDiscovery, which can track your Elite Dangerous travels, combat, trading, rank, commodities, materials, scans and all host of other data. It tells you which planets are high value and terraformable with little icons next to them, so you can be more efficient with your probing, streamlining some of the more tedious aspects of the game.
Map Out The Stars
The sheer number of star systems to explore in Elite Dangerous is simply staggering. Fortunately, there are a couple of resources that will help you to keep track of what’s out there.
Elite Dangerous Star Map has many routes, maps, expeditions and logs. It is also a good place to post your findings.
EDAstro is another great resource, with lots of galaxy maps and charts. All data is based on scanned bodies, and/or visited systems.
Keep on Top of Your Screenshots
For those who love taking screenshots while they explore the many different star systems on offer, the Screen Shot Changer mod adds the ability to save the current system name into the screenshot name when you hit F10.
It’s a simple improvement, but a significant one.
Engineer Materials, Data and Blueprints Tracker
EDEngineer tracks materials and data and also keeps track of blueprints, listing the current data/materials 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 Commander’s details, along with system, faction, scan, and station data. It can then:
- Send station commodity market prices, other station data, system and faction information to the Elite Dangerous Data Network. This helps to keep many tools up to date, including eddb, Elite Trade Net, Inara, Thrudd’s Trading Tools, Roguey’s, and more.
- Save station commodity market prices to your computer. You can then load that you can load those prices into trading tools such as Trade Dangerous, Thrudd’s Trading Tools, Inara and mEDI’s Elite Tools.
- Save a record of your ship load-out to files on your computer that you can load into outfitting tools such as E:D Shipyard, Coriolis or Elite Trade Net. This allows you to share your current load-out and to experiment with any changes before you spend any cash.
- Send your Commander’s details, ship details, materials, and flight log to Elite Dangerous Star Map.
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.
The cheapest option is FaceTrackNoIR, a 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.
I purchased the TrackHat Clip with the modified webcam, and it has been superb. I have also heard equally good things about the DelanClip.
There’s also EDTracker, which does not use or require web cameras or other external sensors.
All in all, there is a range of affordable head tracking options.
I’m mentioning virtual reality as a by-product of the above. For those who can afford it, VR provides the most immersive experience available. I purchased an Acer Windows Mixed Reality headset (spoiler: it’s just a badly named VR headset) and it’s giving me an exceptional VR experience. Therefore, if you’re considering VR but don’t have the money for a Vive or Rift, WMR headsets are well worth the money and do not offer a sub-par experience.
For those with a more modest budget, head tracking is a step in the right direction.
HOTAS (and Don’t Look Back)
Okay, so it isn’t technically an Elite Dangerous mod, add-on or app, but this is a point that needs to be mentioned as it will enhance your experience significantly.
Some people spend A LOT of money on their Elite Dangerous setups (we’ve written about the guy who has spent $14,000+ on his Elite Dangerous setup) 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 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 result 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 HOTAS setup is an achievable step in the right direction.
Are There Any We’ve Missed?
That concludes our list of Elite Dangerous mods, add-ons and apps.
It’s important to note that the range of enhancements grows every day. If we’ve missed any that deserve to be included, please drop us a comment below and we’ll update our list.
See you out in the black.