Author Introductions: Dung Beetle (& £2,001 - A Pledge Odyssey)
Ho ho ho! Merry Christmas!
We broke the £2,000 barrier - thanks to everyone, we're not quite half way there but we're ticking over at a decent pace. A huge thanks to everyone that has supported or that will support this project - not just from me, but from everyone who will write or illustrate a story, or enjoy what we create. In fact - thanks from everyone that will play Elite: Dangerous - because your pledges here help to make that happen.
Our Kickstarter ends just before the Elite one. I hope we don't get forgotten about in the last push over the line on that project as it could be a somewhat epic burst of activity.... please help spread the word and if you're going to pledge anyway - why not do it now?
To tide you over the festive few days - here's a Q&A from our newest Author, Dung Beetle (aka Tim):
Tell us a little bit about yourself?
I'm 29 years old, male, and I have been gaming pretty much since I can remember. As well as playing games in most genres, I enjoy writing different genres of fiction, listening to rock, blues and indie music and I really, really love the (original) Star Wars films!
When did you first discover the Elite games?
When I was about five years old, I remember watching my Dad play Elite on his Amstrad CPC. I started playing properly when I was about eight or nine - with a little help from my Dad when it came to docking - and I soon discovered the joys of exploring, trading and blowing other ships up! I immediately knew that, compared to the other games I was playing at the time (mainly platformers and shooters), Elite was something different, something special. The scope, the freedom and the attention to detail captivated me, and it was difficult to pry me off it for a number of years, particularly the Archimedes version of Elite, which undoubtedly cemented my love of computer games and Sci-Fi.
What's your favourite Elite memory?
It's impossible to have one memory for a game as expansive as Elite. Typical memories involve docking successfully for the first time; discovering "Witch Space"; getting your first "Right on Commander" message; using fuel scoops to capture an escape pod and then sell the crew to a life of slavery! The possibilities were endless, as Elite was so diverse, there was always something new to discover and do.
The universe of Elite feels brimming with life, and you really become immersed in this universe, as ships seem to go about their business, regardless of whether you intervene or not. When you stop playing and turn your computer off, there is almost a sense that Elite's universe is continuing without you, so convincing is the simulation. And every time you return something different happens, as everything interacts together to create situations that are unique to you and you alone - that is the beauty of Elite.
Have you written before or is this a fresh challenge? What made you back the project?
I completed a couple of creative writing courses a while back, and I've always written for pleasure from an early age. I have a number of short stories that need polishing before I can submit them (hopefully) for publishing in the future. This project is the perfect opportunity to not only continue my development as a writer, but also to write a story set in the universe of one of my favourite games of all time. Writing is always a challenge, and as the process continues, the plot never quite develops as you expect, so it's about getting the balance right to create an entertaining and thought-provoking story.
I'm particularly looking forward to developing ideas with like-minded people who share a love of both writing and Elite. This project particularly excites me, as different people have different perspectives, so a collection of short stories will reflect the depth and diversity of the Elite universe. I've already begun to research the Elite universe to ensure consistency, develop ideas and write brief sections of story, so I can't wait to see what everyone else is coming up with.
Do you know what you want to write a story about?
I'm developing a number of ideas at the moment. One idea involves a "Harmless" pilot who is obsessed with obtaining one kill and one kill only: an "Elite" pilot. His obsession becomes so extreme, that it consumes his very sanity and humanity. The story might be an exploration of what makes us human, what drives us and what motivates us.
My second idea revolves around the themes of class struggle and isolation, where a group of people/aliens are stranded in a ship's graveyard after a massive battle, forced to scavenge for parts in order to survive. It could involve a race against time, as a "Space Dredger" - a gargantuan ship that preys upon suffering - is devouring everything in its path, and their only hope is to fix the ship and escape into "Witch Space".
I have a few more half-formed ideas, but it's likely I'll merge some ideas together as well as new ones I haven't thought of yet! I hope to create a story that is as consistent and rich as the Elite universe, so I always welcome constructive criticism and feedback for my writing.
What one thing most excites you about Elite: Dangerous? Something that's already been revealed or some feature you're secretly hoping for?
I was excited that they were actually making a new Elite after all these years, so if it's half as good as the original, I'll be happy. However, the prospect of being able to walk around my own customized Cobra MK 3 or Fer-de-Lance and step onto other worlds has me feeling VERY excited. Multiplayer excites me too, as being able to do everything you can do in Elite, but with other people including my mates is tantalizing. It's always the attention to detail, the sense that a developer cares about their game that always impresses me, so I'm hoping for a vibrant, ever-evolving universe where the players themselves have the power to make a difference, whether through war, the economy or politics.
Frontier Developments are promising what is quite possibly the most comprehensive and expansive Space Sim to date and this is what excites me the most. When I played the first Elite I always thought: "one day, all games will be like this". However, I'm still waiting, so hopefully a new 21st Century Elite can once again change gaming forever...