Elite, Firefly, and Perry Mason...

So, I've done something recently that promises to eat into my free time quite considerably for a while; I've picked up a copy of Elite: Dangerous for the Xbox One. I actually picked it up for the PC when it first came out, but it never really ran it very well, and I quickly dropped out of it – when I belatedly realized that I could buy it for the Xbox, I picked up the Commander's Edition, and it arrived a few days ago. Now, I've been playing Elite for most of my life, one way or another; I remember playing the original when I was a kid, and I spent far too long playing Frontier: Elite II during my teenage years. It was the sort of game that you could just drop a few weeks into without seriously thinking about it, and more than a few school breaks were eaten up by that game – even limited as it was.

It's almost surprising that it's taken as long as it has for me to get into the game, in retrospect, though too be fair, the Xbox was a 35th birthday present, only a few months ago. (And now, now I feel old.) I've logged about six hours so far, and progressed from my original Sidewinder up to an Adder very quickly. (Didn't even get a chance to upgrade the original ship – I lucked into a lucrative courier mission at my second system, and that gave me enough to leap right to the Adder.) I tricked it out, logged a few hours, but finally picked up the ship that I intend to call home for a while – the iconic Cobra Mark III.

This is the sort of game that requires one to create one's own goals, rather than setting them up. Right now, I'm focusing on building up a healthy credit reserve, and get the Cobra up to the point where I can start doing a little bit of exploration. This is a game where it is possible to fly to the Galactic Core, and while I'm not going to do that in the Cobra, I certainly should be able to find a few interesting sights closer to home. Though another goal is to see Sol for myself, and that means keeping close to the Federation for a while, earning myself enough status to get the precious permit to visit Earth. Ultimately, I'd like to make Sol my base, if only because I'll probably find it easier to remember where it is...

You can probably tell that I've got into this game quite quickly, and I think it's going to fill the 'relax in the evening' niche rather better than the 'surf the net until I fall asleep' plan I've been operating under for a while; that I have some ambitions is a good thing, and yes, there's a good chance you will find screengrabs turning up in the near future on the blog, once I find some things worth recording for posterity. Judging by the images I've seen already, that won't be long in coming, especially when I push out into uncharted territory.

Now – this is already having an influence on some of my plans for next year, and no, I don't mean that I intend to spend twelve hours a day playing Elite! More to the point – I now have two new ideas for series that you're going to see next year, and one of them is completely inspired by this game, and another is getting at least some inspiration from it. (Details? Well, it's a little early, but the first one is me finally taking a punt at my 'Firefly' series, in a three-volume run that should run from January to March next year, and I've got a concept for a 'Space Noir' series set on Phobos in the second half of the 21st century, inspired strongly by Perry Mason. Yes, you heard me right. I've also got 'Fox Company' waiting in the wings...let's just say it's going to be an exciting 2018!)