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, Iím sure, but during a dogfight the realistic physics just werenít fun.
Archaic as it sounds, it was always the original Elite gameplay experience that I cravedóat 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 ĎBí 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 didnít get far with the Frontier games and so most of the ship types are going to be new to me. Iím 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 youíve seen so far?
As long as Frontier leave it feeling like the original Elite then Iím 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 teenagerónot just because my imagination is active, but because these things will actually exist in the game. Thatís 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 Iíd draw a blankóor, worse, thereíd be nothing exciting for the middle or no ending. Finishing, and knowing I have a complete story, is a real load off my mind.
Iím a little nervous about the future, but thatís 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? Iím hoping the story comes across as well as I intend it to. Sometime over the next few weeks Iíll be sending the story out to beta readers, and I get to find out. Then Iíll be bracing myself for some honest critique and the graft that follows.