Back in early January 2011 my wife, Joy, convinced me to take off four weeks from work. She, alas, still had to go to work and so I was home alone with starter's orders not to work on my games. I knew that this was going to be a challenge. I knew I had to have some preoccupation. So I turned to a novel I had once started some years back. It was called Warner's World. I reread what I had written. It didn't have enough gravitas, so I ditched it and started with a clean slate.
Now I had been given a fair bit of advice about writing from different folks over the years. I had also a fair bit of practical experience but not lately in fiction. Back in the 1980's I was a senior policy officer with our Department of Defence focussing on strategic and international relations. I had written just about every known type of policy document - from ministerial responses to cabinet submissions and even draft memorandums of understanding between governments.
After I left the public service in 1986 to start my own games company I gained a good degree of experience in writing marketing and user documentation. Later as a consultant on numerous defence projects I became a bit of an expert in project documentation. All that was pretty technical, dry and boring.
With a blank sheet of virtual paper in front of me in January 1911 I wanted to write something that was definitely not dry and boring. I set my mind to write an adventure on a big canvass but with the focus squarely on a small set of individuals. I wanted to explore how these people coped and developed as they played their part in what can be argued as the greatest stressor of human activities, war.
While thankfully I have never been personally subjected to the rigors of war I have studied it all my life. Eight years of Army Reserve experience, ten years in Defence and participation in numerous military projects since then had given me a good understanding of how military organisations work and how the people who work in them tick. In addition I have thirty years experience in studying military history and designing military simulations and war games. Much of this has focussed on writing artificial intelligence to model how military decisions are made and how soldiers react in combat.
I know a lot of people who have served or are still serving in the military. I don't claim to be an expert but I have a fair idea how they think and behave and believe me I had a huge range of rich characters to draw inspiration from.
So it was natural for me to write about soldiers in war. But I wanted more than that...TBC.
Dave O'Connor is an award winning designer of computer war games, a consultant to the military in the simulation space, an expert in artificial intelligence and now author of the Warner's World series of sci-fi books. He is probably best known as President of Panther Games and designer of the Command Ops computer wargame series. He lives in Canberra, Australia, with his wife Joy. He has two adult children.
Warp Drive Publishing
is a division of
Panther Games Pty Ltd
ACN 66 008 609 541
We are located in Canberra, Australia.