Elite Reclamation is finished

Posted by on Jan 31, 2014 in Progress Report

No… not quite.

Despite being sick for a major part of this week with a nasty cold and chest infection, it’s still been busy. Is there a starmap, finally I hear you cry? Well, yes… and no.

Yes, as in I have the star systems I need. No as in I haven’t seen the starmap. I suspect it’s still an excel spreadsheet on the hard-drive of Mr. Brooke’s computer rather than a ‘thing’.

But Michael has given me enough. Enough to move Elite Reclamation past the 99.99% point to absolute completion. No longer are there any more <ImperialProxyWorld> and <FederationProxyWorld> monikers in the script. They are gone. Elite Reclamation is 100% complete, 100% proofread and 100% ready to go to Toby Longworth and Chris Jarvis for audiobook treatment with just days to spare. They start work on it next week. Phew!

So what can I tell you?

Firstly I can now reveal the general vicinity of the Prism system. It is a long way out, as I intended, so for those of you hoping to visit it shortly after the game is released, you’re going to have to stock up for a long trip.

In a straight line, the Prism system is 97 light-years from Achenar, and even further from Earth. That gives you an indication of how much each of the factions has grown in the last fifty years. Prism is on the outer edge of the Empire.

There are three other significant systems which are visited in the course of the story. They are now real places in Elite:Dangerous. The Imperial system of Haoria, The Federation system of Mithra and the large independent trading system of Ferenchia, all a little closer to the core than Prism is. What will they be like… even I don’t know!

Chione illuminated by the Prism sun, with Ruby, Sapphire and Diamond in the background

Chione illuminated by the Prism sun, with stars Ruby, Sapphire and Diamond in the background

Some of you may also have seen the visualisations I created of the Prism system. I’ve included them here. In order to work out what my characters would see from the surface of my inhabitable moon ‘Chione’, I simulated the entire star system on my computer.

Many of you will recall that I’m an Astronomer, so I spent a lot of time working out the orbital dynamics and created a star system which was unusual, but plausible. I can show you around. If you have a copy of ‘Space Engine’ I can even send you the config files for the system and you can look for yourself.

This is the config for the 'Prism Star' in SpaceEngine

This is the config for the ‘Prism Star’ in SpaceEngine

This has been worked out in a lot of detail. The Prism system takes its name from the fact that it contains four stars of differing spectral hues. The fours stars have different colours; red, orange, white and blue, due to their different surface temperatures and size.

They orbit in ‘pairs of pairs’. This is easier to show visually than in text. Here are the orbits of Prism (Orange), Ruby (Red Dwarf), Diamond (White) and Sapphire (Blue). Both pairs are separated by about twice the distance of Pluto in our solar system, and the distance between each pair is much bigger, something in the order of 650 astronomical units (1 AU = 93 million miles).

Here you can see Sapphire and Diamond (Prism AB) and Prism and Ruby (Prism CD) orbiting a common 'Barycentre'.

Here you can see Sapphire and Diamond (Prism AB) and Prism and Ruby (Prism CD) orbiting a common ‘Barycentre’ called the ‘Prism System’.

Only the Prism star itself has planets and its planetary system is quite unlike the one around our star here on Earth. The first planet is an enormous ringed gas-giant in a very close orbit. Chione itself is a moon, even though it is 80% of the size of the Earth, in orbit around a ‘Super-Earth’ sized ocean world ‘Daedalion’. This is a massive planet, about 8x the size of the Earth, covered in water to a depth of hundreds of kilometres. Chione is ‘tidally locked’ to Daedalion.

Here's a diagrammatic layout of the system.

Here’s a diagrammatic layout of the system.

So from the surface of Chione you can see huge Daedalion forever stationary in the sky, the Prism sun eclipsed by it every single day. In the night time, you will see three very bright stars (bright enough to cast shadows), one red, one white, one blue, depending on the season in which you find yourself. It should be an interesting place.

But how will it appear in Elite Dangerous?

Well, there’s a a little more good news. Michael Brookes has requested all the data and config files I’ve generated for my own use and as realised above. They intend to plug that data into something they call a “Stellar Forge” (sounds exciting!) and use it to see if they can generate the Prism system in game as close to how I’ve envisaged it here. You really can’t say fairer than that.

So, it shouldn’t be too long before you get the story, the audiobook,  the game and the entire environment. That’s got to warrant a ‘Right on, Commander!’

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  1. Congratulations, Drew! When do we get to read it?

    • I’m awaiting details from my Publisher. I’ll not use the ‘s’ word!

  2. Right on, indeed.

  3. Fantastic update, well done!

    Hope you’re feeling OK now BTW.

    I’m off to download Space Engine…

  4. As an interested amateur, what are the astrophysics likelihoods of a system like Prism actually existing? I think its unlikely that planets could exist in stable orbits in such a complicated system. Surely the gravitational effects from four stars would make such orbits impossible to be stable for very long? Certainly not long enough for complex life to arise on Daedalion or Chione?

    • Oh and congratulations on finally finishing the book! 🙂

    • It is a totally plausible system. I’ve been at pains to ensure it is realistic. There is almost certainly a star system like this out there in the galaxy not too far away.

      Quadruple star systems are pretty common too. We have already identified exoplanets in quadruple systems too, so no problems with planetary formation either.

      The planets in this system are very close to the star because the star is much cooler than our Sun. (Chione is only about 0.25 AUs from the Prism star.) Ruby, the red dwarf is 50 AUs away – gravitionally insignificant. The other two stars are 650 AUs away, so really just the backdrop.

      The Prism system ‘works’. Trust me. 🙂

  5. Congratulations Drew on completing the book. It was a long and rewarding way. When can we read it (the backers of the original KS?).. Just curious. Looking forward to it.

    Greetings, P.A.Groove

  6. Great news. The astronomical detail is really cool to see, especially stuff like tidal locking of the moon. I’m a sucker for hard science so I love this sort of thing. I think everyone will want a tour of Prism when the game kicks off 🙂

  7. Now I don’t pop in here much but I couldn’t resist reading about the Prism system. It sounds lovely Drew, even better if FD are going to be putting it in the game!. It will certainly be on my “visit list” Great work as always Drew. 😉

  8. Congrats Drew for coming full circle!
    How about you make the SpeceEngine .cfg available for download on your blog?

    • When I free up a little time I’ll post up the config files with instructions. You need multiple files and a bit of tweaking to get it to work.

  9. Fantastic result Senator! Thank you for all you dedecation and commitment. To the fiction and to the community. Can’t wait to read/hear about the Prism system.

  10. Congratulations, looking forward to a good read in the bath (that’s probably too much information).

  11. Congratulations Drew! Well done. I look forward to reading it.

  12. Very well done, Drew. The Prism system is a creation of insane genius. I hope Frontier’s networking protocols don’t collapse under the strain of all the tourists.

  13. I must add my own, belated, hearty congratulations. Drew, Sir, you have more than repaid the faith of all your backers in the very professional way you have handled the whole KS process, kept us fully involved and informed and delivered on your schedule. We could not have asked for more.

    I really wish you every success with E:R, you deserve a best-seller.

    What’s that you say? Wait until I’ve actually read the book? Well a very simple extrapolation of all available evidence conclusively proves that it’s going to be ‘freaking awesome’! (I do hope that’s the correct vernacular :))

  14. Well done, Drew. Frontier well into Alphas and your book finished. It’s getting real now.

    I hope you have found this to be up there amongst your favourite projects; it certainly felt to me like you’ve enjoyed it, and I absolutely agree with Jonathan Hammond, regarding my/our appreciation of the professional, but more than that, the thoroughly engaging way you’ve been able to bring us along with you on the journey.


  15. This is the first time I’ve thought much about the star map, and it’s good to have some information about what kinds of system might be possible in game. I’m impressed that you’ve done the research on the plausibility of such an interesting star system, and that FD can contemplate modelling it in game.

    Also, I’m just starting to realise how much fun visiting places from the fiction could be. I really need to start paying more attention to the fiction aspects of ED than I have been so far.

    Thanks for this post, it has got me interested!

    • Good to hear that Rob! The fiction authors have gone to great lengths to ensure that our books capture the ‘essence’ of Elite, and extend it into places the game simply can’t go…

  16. Congratulations Drew! Yours was the first kickstarter I ever backed so it is fantastic to see you come through and complete the project. Thank you for all the regular updates over the past year, and for letting everyone feel a part of your journey. I can’t wait to read the book and travel to the system in game with my Oculus Rift. Read on Commander!

  17. A bit late I know Drew but I just wanted to congratulate you on a job well done. I am really looking forward to listening to the audio version of your book. Thanks for what has been a very enjoyable and informative ride. 🙂

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