This last 40 days has seen a lot of work for what might on the surface be very little progress
Hi everyone. Apologies for the lateness of this update. It's been an up and down month, to be honest.
I'm going to keep this one brief, because once again the day has flashed past in a blur of stuff to do. I'm only including an RPG progress report as well as a couple of notes about upcoming events.
This last 40 days has seen a lot of work for what might on the surface be very little progress. Most significantly, Mid to late January saw some actual testing feedback come in from a completely independent RP group.
The feedback was a mixed bag of positives and negatives. On the plus side the new three-stat system still seems to be a popular choice when combined with the re-imagined Aptitudes. On the negative side the character generation needs to be simplified and expanded because without me around to guide the process it seems to be quite comfusing. This is exactly the sort of thing I need to know and WANT to know - this isn't just a game for me, it's a game that should be accessible to everyone.
As such I've ripped a whole load of text out of the book and am currently re-writing the entire character generation section. The avatar Record Sheet has also been majorly redesigned to keep it in line with the new stats and Aptitudes. A big change is that Aptitudes have been renamed to "Traits" in order to be more suitably named in light of a recent addition. One comment made was that there were ne negative aspects to characters, making them feel a little two-dimensional. With that in mind the Aptitudes list was revised and expanded to include Aptitudes that could be positive or negative, the latter of which means that Avatars can have personality flaws or physical disadvantages. The use of the word "aptitude" for things that could affect characters in a negative way seemed to make little sense, so the term "Traits" has been applied to those particulat attributes of an Avatar.
The addition of negative traits opens up a whole new aspect of character development and can expand the range of skills (and flaws) the character can have.
The knock on effect of this is that there's a lot of work being done on the character generation and general task system, both in terms of the actual mechanics (including the negative Traits and so on) as well as the "fluff" behind it all. "Trait Kits" are a new concept, allowing players to choose a kit and apply that to the Avatar rather than doing it all automatically. Roles and archetypes are being revised and expanded to invlude trait kits and focus more on a defined career path. This again speeds up character generation by allowing players to apply an archetype's component experiences to their Avatar in one go. Options will still be available to make up the Avatar's experience list piece by piece, but more detailed Archetypes will allow a short-cut for players to get into the game quickly.
In between wrestling with that lot I'm still trying to work out a way to get the ship stats and combat working in a manner that is simple, scalable, flowing and easy to understand. The more I investigate these options the more apparent it has become that my original plan to have the ship/vehicle systems being a close copy of the methods of the computer game just isn't going to wash. There are too many variables to keep track of and too many stat tweaks to manage. A player would need a computer program to keep track of it all. As such I've discarded that plan and tried to boil the main variables for ship equipment (Rating, Class and Integrity) into a simple set of stat change ranges. For example, the Class of an equipment item will dictate its relative size and mass with a set percentage increase in cost. Rating will result in a lower percentage increase in cost whilst increasing the effectiveness of the equipment's core values (i.e. a weapon's damage or a hyperdrive's range). That's the current plan anyway, and for the first time it feels like there's light at the end of that particular tunnel.
OK, that's about it for the progress. Other small tweaks are ongoing but they're not really much to talk about - just tightening up of text and playing with page layout options (which at the moment are VERY basic).
There are three major Elite-related events this year. March sees the second EliteMeet convention being held, this time in Birmingham. EliteMeet was first held in Manchester in the Autumn of 2013 and was skipped last year due to the official launch event in November. Ben Moss-Woodward and his gang of helpers have resurrected the beast and arranged for it all to be held at the Westley Hotel on the 28th March. Search on Facebook for Frontier Elite Dangerous Plotters and Planners to find out more. Or click this link.
EliteMeet is a relatively small gathering and is very Elite-centric. I'll be there with the current beta of Elite Encounters, and there will be loads of other fun things going on. Elitemeet is usually pretty informal and more "bar-centric" than the other conventions.
July sees the third annual LaveCon event, organised by those wonderful people at Lave Radio. LaveCon 2015 will be held on the 11th and 12th of July at the Sedgebrook Hall Hotel in Northamptonshire. This hotel is the fanciest one on the calendar this year (or any year, really) and is in a beautiful country location. Head on over to laveradio.com to see the details and how to book your place. Again, Elite Encounters will be there, as will the Lave Radio crew making a live broadcast. The book authors will be doing readings from their upcoming works and existing stuff, and Michael Brookes will be dragging some Frontier developers with him to share their experiences again.
Finally in October is the second Fantasticon, organised by the unsinkable Dan and Gabi Grubb of Fantastic Books Publishing. Fantasticon is the least Elite-centric festival of fun, with cosplay, network gaming, fantasy and science fiction books and guests all over the place. Fantasticon 2015 will be on the 24th and 25th October (a two-day event for the first time) and will be at the Country Park Inn on Hessle Foreshore under the Humber Bridge. Check out fantasticbookspublishing.co.uk for more info.
And we're done
OK, that's it for this very late update. Sorry there isn't much more news. Hopefully next month will be happier.
All the best to you all,