Authors Creating the Universe of Elite: Dangerous: Ramon Marett

Authors Creating the Universe of Elite: Dangerous: Ramon Marett

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The Easy Way Out, by Ramon Marett, makes you wonder what you would do if you had to live aboard a ship with no way out for five years.

Ramon Marett is the latest author to agree to participate in our interview series to discover who the authors behind the upcoming Elite: Dangerous tie-in novels and anthology are. Each of the previous Elite games has been released with works of tie-in fiction and the fourth installment in the series is no exception. Rather, the connection between the fiction and the game universe is even tighter this time around as the developer aims to include bits and pieces of the novels and short stories into the game itself.

Ramon Marett is a British writer who has thus far specialised in writing commercials. His short story, The Easy Way Out, included in the Tales from the Frontier Elite anthology, will be his first foray into the world of fiction and his first published story.

Ramon, weíve asked all authors thus far to tell us their favourite past Elite title and whether there is a ship in the originals that you especially liked and would love to see in Elite: Dangerous?

Elite on the Archimedes is the greatest version ever made, until Frontier: Elite II came out that is. If I had to pick my favourite out of those two, itíd be Frontier on the Amiga. But only just.

The ship Iíd like to see back, and Iím sure it will be, is the Asp. But Iím more excited to see what new ships weíll see, now that the game is set another 50 years on from First Encounters.

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?

Iím really interested to see how much procedural generation has improved since the last game. I watched David Brabenís speech for TED on his procedural generation techniques and it was fascinating. He showed off some of the in-game planets theyíve created and the results are already impressive and Iím sure theyíll improve before next year.

So Ė what part am I most excited about Ė landing on those planets (which means Iíll have to wait another year for the planet-side update)

Ramon, your story has been read and commented on by your fellow authors and it is soon going to Fantastic Books Publishing for the professional editing rounds. How do you feel about the story now?

The first draft got a good response from my fellow authors which was a nice confidence boost. I got it in a day before our first deadline too, which should earn me a couple of brownie points with the Anthology crew.

Iím very happy with the story and I hope the Anthology readers will be too. Itís a little snippet of one Commanderís life in the Elite Galaxy, and (I hope) complements the other stories in the book.

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

Because the game design is still in a state of flux, that can make things difficult. I had to completely re-write a scene due to the way escape pods worked and how they subsequently changed Ė and how they might change again. That can be a challenge. Although in this instance it improved my story, so itís a happy problem.

My character is captain of one of the new ships, but the problem there is all I have is a name and a brief description Ė the actual ship hasnít been designed yet, not even one tiny piece of concept art is available.

The game is not out yet, so we must ask you if you have had much (or enough) information about the game universe. Are there many open questions still remaining?

Nope. We need early access to the game :) I want it today.

You said that youíve written lots of commercials in the past. Whatís different about writing a piece of fiction based on a game compared to your previous work?

The obvious difference to begin with is the length of the piece. TV commercials tend to be between thirty seconds to one minute in length. My 100 word drabble printed in issue 7 of the developer newsletter is longer than that!

But in terms of creativity itís the same. My ideas still come to me in the shower and nowhere else it seems. Iím not going to say writing for Elite is more fun, because I get enjoyment out of writing commercials just as much Ė itís a different discipline but it is still art. Okay, I am going to say it, writing for Elite is more fun.

Frontier is planning to include aspects of the fiction into the game. Do you have many ideas of what details of your novel you might want to see in the game? Are you willing to reveal some of them at this point?

I have an idea for a mission in the game but if I say any more itíll ruin the story.

What are the next steps in your writing process until your story is delivered onto the readersí hands?

My next step is to get a second draft done next week for internal review and then wait for feedback from Fantastic Books professional editors.

I need to fix my past and present tense. If Iím making it up as I go along Iíll write in the present tense. But if Iíve had an idea in the shower, when I go to write itíll be in the past tense. I just need to keep an eye on what Iím doing. The structure is all there, itís a cracking little story, just needs a bit of spit and polish now. Are you sure you guys donít want a thirty second version instead.

Thank you, Ramon Marett, for taking the time to chat with us. If the readers want to learn more about Ramon and his story, head over to the official Tales from the Frontier site.