I've been a bit quiet lately. Sorry about that. That doesn't mean to say that nothing has been going on. Those of you who know me and have followed me through this long, painful process should know that the times when I'm quiet tend to mean I'm busy - both on REAL LIFE and this project.
OK, apart from one early exception. But we won't go into that.
So, what have I been up to this past couple of months? Well, the last thing you probably heard was that the second draft was handed in. That was at the start of June. There then followed 28 days of promised "wife time" to make up for spending nearly a month working solidly on the book. This gave Frontier time to give all 305 pages of Elite Encounters a read through and stick some comments on there. When it came back, I was again shocked by the amount of changes that needed to be made to the manuscript.
No, no, wait. Don't make that face. This time, the shock was due to how LITTLE needed changing. In total, about half a page of text was tagged for removal!! And all of it was either Elite Dangerous content or some missed non-canon lore of mine that was contradictory to The Grand Plan! Add to that a few misspelled items, a couple of wrong names and a couple of queries and that was it! I fired an email back to query some of the content edits, and with a couple of suggestions, Mr Brookes was kind enough to allow some compromises as well as the addition on a BRAND NEW PARAGRAPH! Oh yeah.
So, after a couple of weeks work, most of which was battling with formatting issues, I submitted the third draft early this morning. I tagged it as "V1.0, Release Candidate 1" (can you tell I'm a programmer?). Frontier asked if I considered this the "ready to release version" and I replied yes. So hopefully, if the graphic changes I made are accepted, the book is DONE. I just need to wait for Frontier's approval (or maybe a couple of last minute edits) and we could have a finished product on our hands!
I have had to make a couple of hard choices, though. The beloved tagline "roleplaying in the Elite Universe" is gone. The project has had that subtitle since day one. But, for some reason, Frontier have demanded that all reference to the Elite Universe and any reference to prior "eras" of the game are gone. This is a significant issue to the project, given that this was always marketed as a project that would allow players to play RPG campaigns in the specific eras of the franchise. The vision I had for this was an ambitious one, granted, and although Frontier were largely supportive of this in the past, this seems to have changed, and the focus is on the stipulation that this is an "Elite Dangerous project". It means that although there is still enough background material to allow players to have a decent knowledge of the galactic situation through the franchise's history, it's not as rich or detailed as I would have liked. To be honest, the majority of the historical lore was lost during what I call the Great Cull, where 100,000 words were lost, as well as a bloody awesome sample adventure that Dan Grubb and I developed that brought original Elite lore to the forefront of the Elite Dangerous setting and another one that Darren Grey wrote that was really awesome too. There just wasn't the space. Have they been painful to lose? Yes. Was it necessary? Yes.
You're still getting a bloody amazing book, I think (not that I'm biased) and you're still getting the history and setting overview that will be a great background for the games you want to play. And it still weighs in at a respectable 300+ pages.
I just hope you agree after all this time.
Anyway. I'm waiting for Frontier to get back to me with whether or not they consider the book ready for release. We're on the brink and I'm EXCITED.