Elite Reclamation is finished

Jan 31, 2014

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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