The Nights Grow Dark

Hello everyone and welcome to the October Update.

It’s been a busy month for a variety of reasons, and this update will highlight a bit of a patchwork month as far as progress goes.


Since I’ve mentioned the progress, I’ll deal with that first. Progress is a stop-start, halting kind of thing at the moment. The major things are done, and now I’l filling in the blanks I’ve left throughout the manuscript where I’ve either ran out of ideas for something or have had to go and look something up. That means that there’s lots of little gaps and a few big gaps where I just haven’t had the information to hand.

A good number of those gaps are, sadly, yet to be filled in by the creators of the game universe that Elite is part of. More than the other writer’s packs, Elite Encounters has close ties to the computer game and many aspects of the RPG will rely on the release of information from the parent product.

The core element of both products is, obviously, space craft. Frontier are developing the spacecraft to be expandable later on in Elite Dangerous’ life cycle, to allow people to wander around ships and have realistic damage modelling. This means that information about ships, including even external designs, is slow to be released. This in turn means that it takes more time to get that information into the RPG manuscript, and invariably when a new piece of kit is revealled there will be some revision required to ensure that it fits into the existing content.

A rough example of this is ship weaponry. The beta process has involved the gradual addition of new weapon types. My initial weapons list used the weapon descriptions from the two “Frontier” games, listing the weapons by power rating. Once I finally got a chance to play the game enough to get myself into a shipyard, I saw that the lasers were listed by type: pulse, beam and burst lasers with either fixed, gimballed or turret mountings. This meant that the weapons lists in the RPG would need to be completely overhauled.

This could be the case for a lot of things in the book from now until Elite Dangerous’ final release date. Obviously if I can get early access to content for the book then I will push for it, but the truth is that it’s very likely the RPG will be released alongside the computer game on its release.

Other Stuff

In amongst rewrites and playtesting, I’ve been doing other stuff. Marketing for the RPG is an important consideration, especially if the game is to sell after its release and the end of the Kickstarter. The conventions through the summer, LaveCon and Fantasticon, were great opportunities for that and were very successful. In addition I’ve ran some online sessions with the Lave Radio podcast crew which were very well received and have yet to reach a conclusion.

This past week has been the official 30th anniversary of the release of the original Elite on the BBC Micro, and Frontier and the fans have been celebrating that with live streamed gameplay, competitions and a major event in the computer game itself. The celebrations are culminating with the release of the Beta 2 phase of Elite: Dangerous’ development today.

I joined in with the celebrations by live streaming a session of the RPG with James “OneViGOR” Vigor, Dan “Commander Dan” Grubb of Fantastic Books, Ben “EidLeWeisse” Moss-Woodward and Anthony “Ozoli” Olver, who has just launched his own Kickstarter to fund another Elite-related book that will look into the history of Elite over the last thirty years. The five of us joined forces on Saturday 27th across the popular tabletop gaming website and played a three-hour session which, true to form, wasn’t enough to finish the scenario!

You can find the recording of the session at OneViGOR’s YouTube channel (playlist for the session linked).

We’re scheduling the second session for Sunday 12th October at 11am (to allow Anthony to get to bed at a decent time – 11am for us will be 9pm for him!) so if you want to see how it all turns out, join us on James’ twitch stream at

The last 24 hours has also resulted in the confirmed presence of Elite Encounters at next year’s LaveCon event! By that point the game should be released in full, so I’m hoping to be able to bring some hardcopies along to sell, and will be running a couple of sessions of the game through the weekend. More information on that as it develops.

I’ve also been asked to pen a review of the Amiga version of Elite for Anthony “Ozoli” Olver’s “Elite Archives” book that I mentioned above. Yes, yours truly will be writing a review in the style of the eclectic computing magazines of the time and (hopefully) capturing the spirit of 1993. If you haven’t already, pop over to Ozoli’s Kickstarter page and donate some credits to this worthy book, which exposes everything Elite-related from 1984 to 2014. 

Well, that’s it for now. I’m off to try and get some sleep instead of another night of sleepless thrashing about.

All the best, and see you around the galaxy!