Author Introductions: Nicholas Hansen
Great to see lots of new backers and pledgers to Elite: Dangerous this morning. All or in part thanks to the comments from Chris Roberts of Star Citizen, I think. He said some very nice things, which you can read here. It just goes to show that there are games developers out there who genuinely love games, which is great.
Also, I have another author Q&A for you, today it's Nicholas Hansen.
Tell us a little bit about yourself?
I'm a happily married man with a 6 month old baby girl. I own my own company and we work in a modest fashion within the Australian TV industry sometimes as a writer/director but mostly as an editor (#pays the bills). Ever since I was young I've enjoyed using my recreational time to write or create something and as one of my best friends quipped once "my life with you is a series of projects". These are usually film scripts.
When did you first discover the Elite games?
Frontier was my entrance into the Elite world and is really the only one of the games I got in to. I was 16. Anyway one day after school, a friend had a copy he shoved the floppy disk in his A500 and we all stood around with our jaws on the floor as the FE2 animated opening sequence played out before us. "You can do that in the game" he said, clearly proud that he'd found this magic first, "and you can go anywhere in the galaxy." He smugly pulled up the Galactic Map in the Nav section.
"Wait, you're saying that the entire Milky Way is on that floppy disk?" I asked astounded.
Then we all rushed into town to buy copies.
I had an Amiga 2000.
What's your favourite Elite memory?
My memory to share is actually very recent.
There was a period of time when I first got the game in '93 where me and my mates would just fly around and look at things "Have you seen Antares yet? The star is HUGE!" but when I started the game in earnest, I began way out in Lave. My plan was to earn money enough to get an Asp Explorer and then take taxi jobs with my destination ultimately being Sol... I would never actively fly to Sol, someone had to want to go there. With my Amiga I did the grind out between Lave/Diso/Leesti earning cash to get an Asp Explorer... I started taking the taxi jobs. Then I went to Uni and my Amiga died and I moved on with my life.
I had the Amiga Emulator for the Mac so I'd occasionally fire it up just for a nostalgia fix... but it was when this app iDOS appeared briefly on the iPhone App store that I really got back into FE2. iDOS has a DOS Prompt and so I was able to install the PC version of FE2. And with some hasty custom coding of the iDOS controls I had a handheld version of the game! An entire galaxy in my pocket!!
Suddenly I was back in the game in a big way.
I bought my Asp, I started the taxi gig and it's surprising how very few people want to fly to Sol for a visit but eventually I got one from Tau Ceti...
Jumping in to Sol and seeing Earth pop up on the HUD for the first time in over 15 years was beautiful. Docking at Abe Lincoln, awesome.
But pulling out of Abe and gazing down at Earth only so see SYDNEY -AKA THE CITY I LIVE IN - as a space port???
Just priceless. Such a well designed game for its time.
Have you written before or is this a fresh challenge? What made you back the project?
I'm a scriptwriter and have written (and directed) several short films, I've written at least one feature (and a few false starts), a half-hour TV pilot, an 8 episode webseries (which we are going to try and Kickstart in 2013).
I did write a few short stories back in my day, but this will be a fresh challenge for me writing prose vs stage directions & dialogue.
I've had an idea for a short story set in the Elite world for a couple of years now but have been writing & developing this webseries (plus having a newborn baby girl to significantly diminish my sleep) - I was just going to post in forum, but this might be a good opportunity to a.) find a wider audience and b.) set a deadline which will make me do the work!!! : )
Do you know what you want to write a story about?
Yes. It's not a grand sweeping epic and I don't see it as a long story. I think it will work best between two longer tales. It's called "Ode to Betty Cole".
I could tell you more about it obviously but I also think with short-form its best to know very little as you read it for the first time. No spoilers.What one thing most excites you about Elite: Dangerous? Something that's already been revealed or some feature you're secretly hoping for?
I'm excited about Seamless Planetary Landing and being able to get out of my ship and walk around space stations/ship & planet surfaces... I know these are promised updates and won't be there from Day 1 which is a shame but just having a modern version of Elite is going to be amazing. Especially from the concept artwork they've shown so far.
I also secretly hope that some of the systems from FE2 & FFE remain constant. I think we need the Federation / Empire systems. I really want to see Achenar with modern graphics. But other systems like Phekda or the dictatorships at the edge of civilisation like Beanso would be awesome too.