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, we’ve 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, it’d be Frontier on the Amiga. But only just.
The ship I’d like to see back, and I’m sure it will be, is the Asp. But I’m more excited to see what new ships we’ll 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 you’ve seen so far?
I’m really interested to see how much procedural generation has improved since the last game. I watched David Braben’s speech for TED on his procedural generation techniques and it was fascinating. He showed off some of the in-game planets they’ve created and the results are already impressive and I’m sure they’ll improve before next year.
So – what part am I most excited about – landing on those planets (which means I’ll 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.
I’m very happy with the story and I hope the Anthology readers will be too. It’s a little snippet of one Commander’s 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 – and how they might change again. That can be a challenge. Although in this instance it improved my story, so it’s 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 – the actual ship hasn’t 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 you’ve written lots of commercials in the past. What’s 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 it’s the same. My ideas still come to me in the shower and nowhere else it seems. I’m not going to say writing for Elite is more fun, because I get enjoyment out of writing commercials just as much – it’s 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 it’ll ruin the story.
What are the next steps in your writing process until your story is delivered onto the readers’ 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 I’m making it up as I go along I’ll write in the present tense. But if I’ve had an idea in the shower, when I go to write it’ll be in the past tense. I just need to keep an eye on what I’m doing. The structure is all there, it’s a cracking little story, just needs a bit of spit and polish now. Are you sure you guys don’t 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.