An unofficial Elite: Dangerous web comic by Lee Hutchinson, David Hall, and Jette Tingdahl

Twitter: @Fangs_Comic

Is this official?
No, “Fangs” is entirely unofficial and unaffiliated with Frontier Developments. This is entirely a fan-made project.

When will you post more “Fangs” comics?
Fangs is a labor of love—and, more importantly, it’s a part time labor or love. Panels get created and illustrated whenever David and Jette and I have time to do them. There’s a Fangs RSS feed to which you can subscribe if you’d like to know the very instant a new comic is published.

Who made this?
I did. My name is Lee and I’m a senior editor at Ars Technica. And, obviously, I like Elite: Dangerous. I also had a lot of help from my illustrator David Hall—Fangs book two would’t have been possible without him. As of mid-2020, we’ve added Jette Tingdahl as an additional illustrator to spread the work out a little bit.

How are the images made?
The process has changed as the comic has evolved. For Book 1 and most of Book 2, screenshots from Elite: Dangerous were loaded into The Gimp, sized (up or down) to 2560x1440, and then transformed into black-and-white via a Threshold filter. Sometimes I’d crop and rotate for dramatic effect, or cut and paste a few different pictures together into a single one. I’d twiddle with the threshold sliders until the image looked right, and then add the text boxes. Aside from giving the images that signature noir-style look, the threshold filter can hide details—which sometimes helps to cover up imperfections when I’m combining images together!

Starting with the back half of Book 2, ship exteriors and interiors are staged and rendered in Maya, then painted over in Photoshop. Frames requiring animation are first built in Maya, touched up in Photoshop, and then animated in After Effects.

What typeface are you using for the dialog?
That’s Unmasked BB, a free typeface from Blambot.

What kind of hardware and software is this running on?
“Fangs” is hosted on a dedicated server at Liquid Web. The box is a quad-core Xeon E3-1230 with 32GB of RAM, two 256GB SSDs in R1, and a 100Mbps uplink. The operating system is Ubuntu 16.04 LTS. The site uses Nginx mainline fronted by Varnish, with HAProxy for SSL termination. Finally, we’ve got Cloudflare in place as the CDN and edge cache.

OMG, did you learn to make web sites in 1998 or something?
Pretty much, yeah. In an effort to keep things as light and fast as possible, this site is all hand-coded static HTML and CSS (well, “hand-edited”, anyway—I use Espresso as my HTML and CSS editor). This was, on the whole, waaaaay the hell easier than setting up Wordpress or something and then fighting with the nightmare that is CMS theming. Sometimes, old ways are best ways. Plus, since the site is hand-coded and consists entirely of static assets, it continues to load very quickly even in the midst of a reddit death-hug.

Why does my ad blocker say there’s a tracker on this site? What the hell?
That’s Google Analytics. It really helps me out if you’ll allow it to run, because that way I can get an understanding of how many people visit the site and where they’re coming from. However, if you’d prefer to block it, I understand.

Can I translate these comics into Hungarian, or print them out and make them into hats?
You can do pretty much whatever you’d like with them, except sell them. “Fangs” is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International license. See the copyright page for more details on what that means.

How do I download the full-resolution images?
There’s a download link at the bottom of each comic page.

This FAQ has failed to address my question!
Send me an e-mail.