History in the making

Posted by on Nov 29, 2013 in Progress Report

History in the making
alpha

I want a go! 🙂

Another week and, this time, another update from Frontier. They’ve clearly been busy beavering away at the Alpha release – and judging by the latest dev update, it can’t be far away. My PC is prepped and ready to install… December is just around the corner.

There were a lot of very interesting things in that video from my perspective. I particularly liked the cockpit illumination and the design of the interior of the spaceships. It was also gratifying to note that the ‘holofac’ instruments and general layout matched how I’d imagined the ships very closely indeed, so I won’t have too much tweaking to do to match up what is in my story with the game from that perspective.

Amazing cockpit glow from another ship's engines.

Amazing cockpit glow from another ship’s engines.

The key word for me was ‘immersion’. A lot of attention to detail has been placed on subtle touches that really ‘put you there’. The bob and weave of the cockpit in a sharp turn, the jolt from fierce acceleration or impact from enemy weapons. It’s impressive stuff. There was even a nod to the original game… and did you spot the BBC keyboard in the cockpit?

The game is clearly being designed with future expansion in mind, which is great.

scanner

Scanner pays homage to the original game’s flight instruments

As I’ve mentioned before, ensuring that the story matches up with the in-game experience is crucial for me from a quality perspective. I can’t wait to get my hands on the Alpha and try it for myself. It shouldn’t be long. A future blog entry will talk about my initial impressions as I take an Elite starship out for spin for the first time in many many years…

So what else?

An interesting day, tomorrow marks the anniversary of my Kickstarter being funded. Is it really a year since then? Yes, it is. A whole year in which this Novel, Elite:Reclamation, has gone from Kickstarter, to plan, to rough and now polished draft. Feedback from the editor is still coming in so plenty still to do along with the awaited Frontier info. Then there’s the new Kickstarter as well…

How is that going? Overall progress is good. We hit 33% of target in the first week and we currently stand at £11,475. Lots of familiar faces and comments – feels like we never left.

For those of you not onboard with the new Kickstarter, a few new bonuses have appeared since the project kicked off!

    • If you pledge at the £25 level you get all four ebooks and also an extra anthology called Fusion. This is a series of 25 sci-fi short stories. I wrote one of them called ‘Metal’ and Daddyhoggy from the Elite forums is also in there with ‘Baby Babble’. They’re not Elite, but they are very good indeed. They were published by Fantastic Books last year.
    • There is also a global upgrade for all pledgers from £1 to £15 – Fusion will also be given to you too!

Here’s the Kickstarter Link if you need it to hand.

A rather tongue in cheek story line has been developing between Commander Dan, Senator Drew, Commodore Susimetsa,  Agent P (Psykokow) and other notable characters. Don’t miss out on them – they’re great, although you’ll have to be an Elite fan to ‘get’ them I think.

We’ll be taking a look at the more serious side of the promotion in the next few weeks too, we don’t want to appear too clichy and geeky. (A tough ask for some of us I think! 🙂 )

One particular highlight is Chris Jarvis’ reading (scroll down the KS page, it’s about halfway). Don’t miss out on that. He’s the man behind Escape Velocity, of course. His audio reading gives some insight into what our finished audiobooks may well sound like.

Clearly some talented artists out there…

I’m also fascinated to see some of the artwork that’s coming out of the Elite:Anthology, tales from the Frontier. Looks like that’s going to be interesting!

If I have a concern at this point it’s around the number of actually pledgers we have. These remain relatively low, despite Lave Radio and Frontier giving us a plug, forum posts and lots of social media and so on. Those onboard already have pledged very generously, but there’s no substitute for numbers. I’d hope for more this stage given the number of pledgers for the books from the original Kickstarters.

My own Kickstarter had 435 backers for instance and Kate’s 811… our current one only has 130 despite representing 4 books. Did many folk back to ensure E:D got across the line… have they disengaged throughout the year… is it the time of year… kickstarter fatigue… cross-pollenation across the original kickstarters… something about the project itself… Thargoids? Is there something else at play here?

Any feedback on the Kickstarter is very welcome – there’s still plenty of time at this stage to tweak things around. I’d love to hear from those who pledged the first time round as to what they think now – and if you can spread the word, we’d very much appreciate it!

We still write on, Commanders!

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Alpha and Audiobooks

    11 Comments

  1. I expect lots of people backed the book kick starters they wanted to read and will already be getting those books in some form. They might not be too bothered about any extras from the Fantastic kick starter.

    I have backed the Fantastic kick starter and will (I think) be getting all four audio books. I’ve never listened to an audio book in my life; except when I was very young and insisted on listening to James and the Giant Peach on loop in the car. I’m just backing to lend support really. I’d already be getting the books I wanted in a format I can read.

    • James and the Giant Peach… a bizarre story. Charlie and the chocolate factory was my childhood favourite – except those umpa lumpah guys… spooky.

  2. Great blog Drew!

  3. I only backed two of the books originally but wanted to get more and now is my chance, thank you.
    Hopefully more do the same.
    When this kickstarter came out, it was the first to be made in order to fund a kickstarter and now it has spawned a kickstarter (along with three others) and that is a first so make this a success so that we can maybe go into the Guiness book of world records to have the most number of kickstarers to be successfully funded due to a kickstarter.

    • Now five ebooks up for grabs. Reclamation, Lave Revolution, And Here the Wheel and… two anthologies. Elite: Tales from the Frontier and Fusion – 25 more sci-fi stories. Enough reading material for months. 🙂

  4. I think one problem is that most of the potential backers have already backed the individual books, so they’re getting the eBooks anyway.

    Audio books are compelling, but for a £25 pledge, one only gets a single audio book. I find that to be a bit expensive when compared to other kickstarters. If we take the Elite campaign as an example, one could get a digital copy of the final game for mere £20.

    I also think that the timing of the kickstarter isn’t helping much. At the moment, people are more excited about the actual game and the upcoming Alpha rather than the fiction, so as a result, most of their disposable income is going towards gaming rigs and equipment.

    • Good points Malcolm. I’ve certainly had to splash out to sort out an ‘Alpha’ rig. We’ll have a look at that £25 pledge level. It’s something of a sweet spot for a Kickstarter, so deserves inspection.

      Excited about the game… really? 🙂

    • for the £25 pledge you get all ebooks you already subscribed to as audio books. So, essentially, buy one hardback, and you get audio book upgrades for free. Seems like a no brainer to me for anyone who already backed the original kickstarters. But obviously either than message is not getting out, or people do not agree with me!

      I still think we will make it there in the end, even if we have to get David Braben to jonty up to the Elite level. Perhaps Dan should offer a jumper as well as the flightsuit.

      • Indeed, Richard. Note to self: always read all the details before commenting. :$

        As I said, people (or at least me) are so focused on the upcoming Alpha that other stuff is just slipping under their radar.

        Anyway, just to be sure, suppose I backed 3 of the books and now pledge at hardback level (£25), how many audio books do I get, 3 (matching the ones that I already backed) or all 4?

        • Hi Malcolm. I’m pretty sure you’d get upgrades for the 3 you already backed.

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