Authors Creating the Universe of Elite: Dangerous: T. James

Authors Creating the Universe of Elite: Dangerous:  T. James


T. James agreed to share with us some of his thoughts about his upcoming novel, Out of the Darkness, and what it means to the Elite: Dangerous.

Over the past few weeks, we have visited the authors who will be adding their voices to the upcoming Elite: Dangerous. The developer of the game, Frontier Developments, have revealed that they are taking full advantage of the creativity of the authors who are writing the official fiction. The fiction will help form the universe, but aspects of it may actually be added in the game.

T. James is a British author with some contemporary fiction and non-fiction stories and books under his belt. His upcoming novel, Out of the Darkness promises to include exciting action and tight twists. We contacted the author to ask him a bit more.

First things first, which Elite game was your favourite? Which ship(s) featured in the original games would you love to fly again in Elite: Dangerous?

Although the Frontier games offered superb levels of immersion and a very real sense of an expansive universe the versions I played were too buggy to enjoy, unfortunately. Others may disagree, I’m sure, but during a dogfight the realistic physics just weren’t fun.

Archaic as it sounds, it was always the original Elite gameplay experience that I craved—at least in terms of the flight model. The graphics were revolutionary for the time, and seeing pictures of the monochrome line-drawn ships and the four-colour HUD of the BBC ‘B’ version always brings back fond memories.

As for ships, my answer is boring: my favourite was always the Cobra Mk. III. It was ridiculously cheap for the specs it offered. Its upgradeability and versatility were second to none. It could function effectively in any role, with few trade-offs. In a game where you can only have one ship, and there are various play styles to sample, the Cobra Mk. III was the way to go. Elite: Dangerous opens up a whole new range of possibilities because it enables you to own more than one ship at once. As mentioned, I didn’t get far with the Frontier games and so most of the ship types are going to be new to me. I’m looking forward to being able to kit out several specialist craft to fulfil a variety of roles in-game.

How about the upcomingElite: Dangerous? What do you consider to be the most exciting part of it, based on what you’ve seen so far?

As long as Frontier leave it feeling like the original Elite then I’m looking forward to the added depth. Every aspect of the original is being enhanced, from trading and mining through to combat and the rankings. If implemented well, these should bring even greater levels of immersion than I experienced as a teenager—not just because my imagination is active, but because these things will actually exist in the game. That’s pretty awesome.

T.J., you have recently finished the first draft of your story. Could you tell us a bit of how you feel about it now?

Torn between the past and future.

Finishing the first draft is a huge relief. Writing as I do, scene by scene, there was the worry that when I started the next one I’d draw a blank—or, worse, there’d be nothing exciting for the middle or no ending. Finishing, and knowing I have a complete story, is a real load off my mind.

I’m a little nervous about the future, but that’s entirely normal for me at this stage. Out of the Darkness, in my mind, is a good story. The essential question is: what sort of images and experiences do the words on the page create in the minds of its readers? I’m hoping the story comes across as well as I intend it to. Sometime over the next few weeks I’ll be sending the story out to beta readers, and I get to find out. Then I’ll be bracing myself for some honest critique and the graft that follows.