So Long April – How Little We Knew Ye

Hi all. Apologies for the April-May update being a little late. You may or may not know, but it’s been a very busy couple of weeks in the world of Elite Dangerous and its associated projects!

I’ll get other media announcements out of the way first. Firstly, Elite Dangerous will be entering the final Alpha phase on the 15th May. The Alpha 4 will allow travel between star systems for the first time and will also include the COMPLETE star map and all methods of travel (although we won’t actually be able to travel to most of them). TWo weeks later, on 30th May, the Beta phase will launch.

The other big news is that the Fantastic Fiction-published Elite ebooks will be launched on the 30th May! The Gollancz books are also close to release, and they will be hitting the virtual shelves during May too. For some reason I can’t find the “press release” with the date, but I seem to recall that they will be released along with the other books: so May 30th is the date I will tentatively note.

The two upcoming Elite-centred conventions, LaveCon 2014 and Fantasticon, are getting closer too. 5th July is the date for the former, and tickets should be released soon. Keep an eye on the Frontier Forums for more information. Fantasticon is on 16th August. Many of the big names in the Elite fiction world will be at both. I’ll be running a demo of the RPG at both, so if you want to get a sneak peek and maybe even a quick game of Elite Encounters, be sure to be there.

OK, that’s it for announcements. What does it all mean for the RPG?

The last couple of newsletters from Frontier have been chock-full of useful information. Not least is the full story behind heat management, most of which has been tied into the RPG’s all-new vehicle combat system. In the spirit of simplicity the adopted rules are stripped down to the basics but made flexible enough to be used for vehicle types other than just spacecraft.

One element that may have become apparent in the above paragraph is the use of the term “vehicle combat” rather than “spacecraft combat”. The rules have been developed in such a way to make sure that it’s easy to simulate combat between different vehicle types: for example having aircraft attack cars or having spacecraft attack sea-going ships. It also has a detailed (but hopefully simple) method of resolving combat between vehicles of different scale factors. Again, to cite an example, aircraft attacking individual people or fighters attacking capital ships. A lot of calculations went into the system, and the maths was…complex, but hopefully it has developed a reasonably accurate system that is simple to use and should play well in both “roleplay” and miniatures rules environments. Some tweaking still needs to be done but it’s almost there now.

In amongst all that has been the update and rewrite of the main system to get ready for the upcoming RPG Beta test phase. The clarity of the writing has been improved and expanded, and the character generation process has been improved to make it easier to read and easier to do. Some elements of character generation have been changed as have some of the stats. For example, “Reputation” has been simplified to become an overall reputation rather than having several specific reputations. Significantly, the Elite Ratings have been added and expanded on to become a useful part of the system as befits their iconic status in the franchise.

The race is now on to get the rest of the writing finished by the end of this month which again is my own self-imposed deadline. It’s not just an arbitrary deadline though: in order to get the book sent off for approval and have any hope of having it at least partially vetted by Frontier in time for LaveCon, I need to get it away by the end of this month. Thankfully there is not a lot of major stuff left to be written: just the equipment list and the character archetypes plus a guide to Morten-Marte: the RPG’s specific, unique star system created as part of the E:D Kickstarter pledge.

On that last note, there’s good news. The Morten-Marte system has now officially been included in Elite: Dangerous! The import was done last week and should be visible in the Alpha 4 star map (alternatively listed as LTT 4779 – a real star in a real place!) and can be found about 30 light years to the galactic south of Lave.

Morten-Marte Chart

OK, I’m aware that this update is getting on the long side again so with that glimpse of prettiness I’ll draw it to a close there. Direct your comments or questions to the comments on this post or on the Daftworks Forum.