Signing off for 2016

Posted by on Dec 23, 2016 in Progress Report

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Drew’s ZX Spectrum adorns his study wall, a little homage to those early days of computing in the 1980s.

It’s been such a busy year! When I entered 2016 I was putting the finishing touches to the second book in the Shadeward Saga, Exoneration and planning to start work on the third.

Since then my plans for the rest of the year were majorly disrupted (again!), by not just one but two new official books drawing the inspiration from halcyon days of the 1980s.

First up was Lords of Midnight, the epic game by Mike Singleton. I’ve been fortunate to be working with Chris Wild, who was responsible for the iOS and Android ports of the game and was a close friend of Mike Singleton.

Lords of Midnight was my second favourite game from those early days of computing. A game that showed real genius, flair and innovation in its design. An entire world, with characters, adventure and drama which allowed you to explore its every nook and cranny.

And the opportunity to work once more with Frontier Developments: David Braben, Michael Brookes and the rest of the hardworking team there to tell the story of Elite Dangerous and what its players have done since the game was launched back in 2014. Premonition is on its way.

I consider it a huge privilege to be working on both of these projects, though it’s often difficult and painstaking work.

I was there when both of these games were first launched. 1984. I played them both, unaware as a wide-eyed 14 year old that I was taking part in a bit of history, a very special formative time in computing history in the UK. The ZX Spectrum that my parents bought me in 1983 now has pride of place on my study wall, reminding me of how much I collectively owe the writers of those games and the designers of that 8-bit computer, with its 48k RAM, cassette interface and ‘high resolution’ colour graphics. Not only books, but a career in computing too.

But with both books in flight, I owe more nowadays to the fans of what I’ve written. I’ve been delighted with the response to my original Elite book, Reclamation. The fact that there is another book on its way is very much down to readers of that first book making a groundswell of noise and demanding that the story continue. You can very much thank yourselves that another book is on its way.

So many of you have said “It couldn’t be in safer hands.” Thanks for that. The fans made it happen and I’m very honoured to be asked to do it on your behalf. Rest assured I’m doing my very best to make sure it’s worthy of that trust.

Lords of Midnight? We’ll, if I didn’t have a reputation for making a good story out of a computer game, that likely wouldn’t have happened either. Thanks again. Those reviews you’ve left me? Gold dust.

Drew's original copies of Elite and Lords of Midnight

Drew’s original copies of Elite and Lords of Midnight

Whilst I am looking forward, embracing the new and ensure the stories are fit for the 21st century, it’s worth a moment to consider their origins back in the attribute clashing days of the early 1980s. I’ve been uniquely privileged to be able to contribute in a huge fashion to two formative experiences of my childhood. The 1980s were quite bleak in many ways, but here was escapism and adventure. Now, 30+ years later I’m able to put something back into both of them and, I hope, give some joy and fun to a whole new generation.

2017 should see both of those books available. After that… well, who knows what else may come my way. I will be writing and you can expect to see more high adventure stories from me. Quite what they will be though, I wouldn’t like to predict!

But for now, adieu. Thank you to all the support and encouragement, for all the emails, twitter and facebook mentions, the twitch and youtube streams, the interviews and podcasts. Thanks for all the creativity you have generated around my stories: the new factions, the fan-fiction and the forum debates for and against the ongoing story.

I wish all of you a very merry Christmas and a happy, adventurous New Year. See you in 2017!

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    2 Comments

  1. I’m really looking forward to both Premonition and Lords of Midnight. LoM was one I played too, way back when (showing my age now!) 😀

    Thanks Drew, for all your work and dedication on the Formidine Rift mystery (and other mysteries to come I’m sure). Allowing the playerbase to interact and influence the narrative, even subtly, brings a fantastic new layer of depth to Elite for those who have embraced it.

    I’m fascinated on seeing how you’re going to knit it all together in Premonition!

    On a related note I really hope FD consider broadening the idea so its not only Salomé who ‘comes to life’ as an entity in game giving players the opportunity to influence and be a part of her adventures, but also the other major powerplay and cannon characters someday too (I’m sure there will be plenty of talented roleplayers out there willing to make it work). This kind of thing really does enrich the experience for a lot of players.

    Bring on 2017, Premonition and Lords of Midnight… fly safe, and have a great Christmas and New Year.

    o7.

  2. The Speccy got me started.

    I have about half a dozen of them now, and I developed the Spectranet (an ethernet interface, complete with networking software!) a few years ago for the Speccy to get it online 🙂

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