Following my recent signing to the Frontier Developments game, Elite: Dangerous, I have, as I fully expected, become thoroughly engaged in the whole Elite hype. Many people who remember the original game on the various 8 bit computers on which it enjoyed major success have become similarly rapt by the title and its IP.
There are now more than half a dozen books of fiction available to buy written by both Elite fans and previously published authors. There are hundreds of amateur fiction pieces on the web, countless fan artwork based on the Elite universe, videos of the game put to music and numerous other endeavours, showing a community that truly loves it.
Some players have set up online “guilds” (the game does not and will not feature any built in guild system) to cooperate in various schemes from trading conglomerates, exploratory expeditions and piracy or smuggling rings. There are combat guides, fictional galactic news feeds, dynamic trading applications, created by players, all done as a respectful bow to this magnificent title that many of us have waited 20 years for.
Elite: Dangerous is an unusual game. Many MMO’s and other sandbox titles have massive play areas. Kilometres upon kilometres of 3D worlds waiting to be explored by players and lovingly handcrafted by the developers to ensure variation and quality. E: D differs in that it uses an algorithm (aside from known system data gathered from real world science) that procedurally generates star systems in a realistic and random way. What this means, is that we have an area of over 100 billion locations to play around in, an exploratory mission of the galaxy; all of which will probably not be seen by any one person in their lifetime.
To me, that seems worth documenting.
My homage to Frontier Development’s game is this.
“The Official Star Log of Commander Furieux.” A fictional weblog documenting the life, work and interstellar travels of a “Space Waster”. Complete with backstories, fleshed out combat and trading narratives based on in game events, images and videos taken of assets in the game and an up to date web diary of the day to day adventures of Deuil Furieux and any friends or foes (real person or otherwise) he may meet traversing the infinite black.
I am no stranger to MMO’s and in fact, I wanted to do something like this with Koei’s Uncharted Waters Online, a game I played dutifully for about 3 years. Sadly, it I never got around to it. The scale and scope of Elite: Dangerous is without doubt far, far greater than anything UWO offered and I look forward to sharing my tales and sci fi anecdotes with you. A game as graphically beautiful as this title is creates a perfect opportunity to take some great screenshots, the fiction behind the title is gradually becoming more apparent with each official novel released (of which I intend to read all of them) and the general goodwill behind the “majority” of the player base should make for some exciting and interesting encounters that should be recorded and shared.
The game itself is still in beta with an estimated release date in Q4 2014. As it stands we only have a handful of systems to fly around in, trade is still in its infancy and combat still has some bugs that still need ironing out. Lots of other features have yet to be implemented but I have taken it upon myself to kick off the star log with what we have so far.
My long term goal is to have a news section for the day to day events that occur during CMDR Furieux’s exploits, a system guide detailing all the systems that he visits complete with images of planetary bodies and relevant information regarding the economy and life or lack thereof in each. I also plan to write small pieces of fiction under the category, “Tales from the Star & Garter”, something that I have sorely missed engaging in since my pen and paper roleplaying days.
I think I am going to have a blast with Elite: Dangerous and all that it entails. A game like this does not come around often and I would like to thank David Braben and all Frontier Developments for making this title happen even after all these years, all the Kickstarter backers for proving there was a market for Elite 4 and of course to the community of CMDR’s, kind, hilarious and helpful to a fault (well, most of them!)
See you among the stars, Commanders!