Authors Creating the Universe of Elite: Dangerous: Allen Farr

Authors Creating the Universe of Elite: Dangerous: Allen Farr

Feature

Allen Farr's short story, A Game of Death, if one of the pieces of fiction that will help enliven the universe of Elite: Dangerous.

Over the course of this interview series, we have visited several authors writing novels, novellas and short stories to build up the fictional universe of the upcoming Elite: Dangerous, the fourth instalment in the genre-defining Elite series. But there are still many more authors to visit, especially since the Tales from the Frontier anthology comprises the stories of fifteen individual authors.

While getting good stories to read is great in itself, these stories are made even more interesting by the fact that the developer of the game, Frontier Developments, have said 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 and aspects of it may actually be added to the game.

Allen Farr is a British author who has previously written and had published a number of adventure scenarios for various pen and paper roleplaying games. His current challenge is to write a story for the Tales from the Frontier Elite anthology, called A Game of Death. Read on to find out what he thinks of Elite and writing for the game universe.

A question we have asked all of the authors involves the past Elite games. Do you have a favourite and is there a ship in the originals that you especially liked and would love to see in Elite: Dangerous?

The original version of the Elite for the ZX Spectrum is still my favourite, although Iím quietly confident that Elite: Dangerous will change this. I can still remember the first time I saw the rotating wireframe ship on my friendís computer, and I was hooked. I had to have a Spectrum, and I had to have Elite. The rest of my time was spent trading and blasting my way across the galaxy and fighting for game time with my mum who was horribly addicted to Horace and the Spiders.

My favourite ship is the ubiquitous Cobra. Not only was it my first ship, but I still find its sleek shape makes it one of the best looking ships in the game.

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

From what Iíve seen of the game so far, capital ships are one of the most exciting aspects. I canít wait to see the different design and functionality of the capital ships of the opposing factions, and I know Iím going to harass them as I did with space stations in the original game, just to see what happens when I poke the proverbial hornetís nest.

However, itís not what Iíve seen of the game that is the most exciting part, but being involved Ė from the initial Elite: Dangerous Kickstarter to the follow up Kickstarters for the writerís packs and then getting my synopsis approved by Frontier. Of course, writing the actual story is exciting, and seeing the anthology published will probably provide about as much excitement as I can take.

Allen, you have recently finished the second draft of your short story for the Tales from the Frontier anthology. How do you feel about it now?

Well, itís actually more of a third draft at this stage, but Iím quite happy with how it has evolved from the initial rough strokes. Everyone writes differently. Some work from a detailed outline they have drawn up, and others write up their set pieces before connecting the dots. I had a rough idea of the main concept, and even before that I had an idea of how the last line of the story should read. I just had to guide the story so the last line made sense. The comments and suggestions from the other authors have greatly helped fine tune it. Getting it in front of a professional editor is the next stage, something Iím both looking forward to and dreading.

What kinds of problems did you encounter during the writing process that you did not foresee?

The only problem so far that I didnít foresee was the actual title. One of the elements of my story is a popular strategy game set within the Elite universe, which the original title of the story took its name from. The game was originally to be called Counter Strike. However, as Mr Braben himself pointed out, there already is a game with that title, so the synopsis was approved on the condition that I changed the game and title.