Elite: Dangerous backer, you'll be pleased to know that the space sim title is officially in alpha as of today. Frontier has released an announcement video wherein developer David Braben outlines what players can expect.
In a nutshell, the alpha entails single-player combat, including different weapons, loadouts, battles, and more. Frontier says that the aim of its phase one alpha is to "test key aspects of ship control and combat systems. Piloting a Sidewinder with varying weapon configurations, players progress through eight single-player scenarios [that are] initially designed to familiarize players with the controls [while] gradually increasing in difficulty and complexity.