Games industry veteran develops powerful new fiction writing system

From ‘Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’ in the 90s, through ‘Harry Potter, Goblet of Fire’ and ‘Avatar: The Last Airbender’ to the award-winning ‘Eufloria’, Rudolf Kremers’ game design experience enhances his story-telling.

DARTFORD, KENT – 29 August 2023 – Elsewhen Press is a publishing house specialising in high quality, entertaining and thoughtful speculative fiction from talented authors. One of those authors is Rudolf Kremers, a BAFTA nominated game developer. Having spent over 20 years working as a designer and consultant to many of the largest entertainment companies in the world, as well as writing a well-respected text book on Level Design, Rudolf has written screenplays and video game narratives across various genres. His skill and experience naturally come to the fore when he writes fiction, and the publication of his debut science fiction novel, Birds of Paradise, has made him think about how his video games career has affected his writing and vice versa, leading to some inspiring conclusions.

Rudolf started making games over 40 years ago as an enthusiast, although it wasn’t a realistic career path in the Netherlands in the 1980s. But when he realised that things were different in the UK, which had a thriving video games industry, he moved to London to work with Douglas Adams at The Digital Village. Rudolf was recently called a “veteran” game developer, and although that description made him grumble a bit about “not being that old”, he realised that it’s not an unfair description. He’s now been working as a professional game developer in the UK for almost a quarter of a century, in all kinds of roles for several companies (before starting his own), and worked on a great variety of titles. He says that he has “the scars and stories to prove it”.

But he had always wanted to be a writer, having developed an insatiable love of reading from an early age, especially science fiction, fantasy and horror, but also books on mythology, space exploration, euro comics, superhero comics, and various other pulpy endeavours. He says, “I’m one of those poor sods afflicted with that famous ‘restless creative’ gene, which ensured that a desire to read also came with a desire to write. Luckily, as a game designer I often had the opportunity to work on game stories and lore and other such things. But writing for games comes with its own pitfalls and peculiarities and while that has its own charm, I eventually felt the need to do the kind of writing I fell in love with from a very young age. Initially, I took a detour where I wrote a bunch of screenplays but I finally arrived at a point where I just wanted to create something by myself, written for fans of my favourite genres. Something I would love reading myself. That wish turned into a big fat sci-fi novel called Birds of Paradise. I have had some of my short horror stories published, and I have finished a second novel, historical this time, set in 1630s Japan.”

With the publication of Birds of Paradise this summer by Elsewhen Press, Rudolf started to think about the relationship between game design and writing. He realised there had been a positive feedback loop between his video games career and his writing projects, indeed he concluded that “Every single one of those writing projects has made me a better game developer; and, conversely, every game I have developed has made me a better writer.” As a result he has begun to write a series of blog posts examining this conclusion. He has started with a topic that is the subject of frequent debate by writers: the pros and cons of meticulous planning and outlining versus more freeform writing and development – Rudolf looks into how both styles can be accommodated in a project, drawing on both writing and game development experience, to set out some unique writing techniques.

Peter Buck, Editorial Director at Elsewhen Press, says “It’s clear that there is a huge cross-over between literature and video games, especially in science fiction and fantasy. Indeed, games often beget books and books beget games, and they can all spin-off into films and TV! So it’s no real surprise that what Rudolf calls ‘restless creatives’ in any one of those media will likely excel in the others. Birds of Paradise is an epic science fiction story, a page-turner that would also be ideally suited as a thrilling blockbuster movie or as the underlying story-arc of an engaging video game. We were honoured that Rudolf approached us to publish it.”

Birds of Paradise is available as an eBook and in paperback from good retailers. Rudolf’s series of articles about the relationship between game design and writing is available on his blog.

Notes for Editors

About Rudolf Kremers

Rudolf KremersRudolf is a BAFTA nominated veteran game developer, author, photographer, producer, father, husband, cat person, filmmaker, dog person, and consultant. (Not necessarily in that order). Originally of Dutch/Spanish descent, he currently lives and works as an interactive entertainment consultant in Canterbury.

He has worked with clients across the entertainment landscape for more than 23 years, including companies like Lionsgate Studios, Framestore and Electronic Arts, providing design and consultancy work for some of the biggest intellectual properties in the world.

Including his debut science fiction epic Birds of Paradise, which has just been published by Elsewhen Press, Rudolf has written two novels, a gaggle of short stories – some of which are collected in The Singing Sands and Other Stories (published by Demain Publishing) – a textbook on game design (published by CRC Press), several screenplays, and an abundance of video game narratives.

This gives him all the license he needs to continue writing sci-fi, horror, weird fiction, historical fiction, and whatever other muse he succumbs to.

About Birds of Paradise

Humanity received a technological upgrade from long-dead aliens.
But there’s no such thing as a free lunch.

Birds of Paradise by Rudolf Kremers; cover art by Max Taquet
Cover art: Max Taquet

Humanity had somehow muddled through the horrors of the 20th century and – surprisingly – managed to survive the first half of the 21st, despite numerous nuclear accidents, flings with neo-fascism and the sudden arrival of catastrophic climate change. It was agreed that spreading our chances across two planets offered better odds than staying rooted to little old Earth. Terraforming Mars was the future!

A subsequent research expedition led to humanity’s biggest discovery: an alien spaceship, camouflaged to appear like an ordinary asteroid. Although the aliens had long since gone, probably millions of years ago, their technology was still very much alive, offering access to unlimited power.

Over the next hundred years humanity blossomed, reaching out to the solar system. By 2238, Mars had been successfully terraformed, countless smaller colonies had sprung up in its wake, built on our solar system’s many moons, on major asteroids and in newly built habitats and installations.

Jemm Delaney is a Xeno-Archaeologist and her 16-year old son Clint a talented hacker. Together they make a great team. When she accepts a job to retrieve an alien artifact from a derelict space station, it looks like they will become rich. But with Corps, aliens, AIs and junkies involved, nothing is ever going to proceed smoothly.

If you’re a fan of Julian May, Frank Herbert or James S.A. Corey, you will love Birds of Paradise.

Cover art: Max Taquet

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