Community Spotlight: Iain M Norman

Iain M Norman is constantly tinkering away at something Elite Dangerous-related. Mostly behind the scenes, Iain is part of the 'local friendly volunteer' community team, and he's the narrator and part-time script editor for the Elite Dangerous fan mockumentary Dockers. 'You should definitely listen to if you’ve ever wondered what the community’s mug obsession is all about. Speaking of mugs I’ve also lent my voice to various adverts on Hutton Orbital Radio, assisting a little with the success of the recent and immensely fun Hutton Mug CG,' says Iain.

'I work from home for a small music education website called Gigajam,' Iain explains wryly when explaining why he's got so much time to work on extra-curricular activities. 'I’m very passionate about music, listening to, creating and recording it, and most of my day is spent helping others do the same through Gigajam.' 

Iain explains that the Elite Dangerous community fills a gap that comes about from working at home. 'Home working is great for lack of interruptions, and just being able to get on with things, but the flipside of that is it can get lonely. The Elite community fills in that gap, with the forum, and various ED groups on Skype I’ve made many new friends that I talk to every day. It’s great to be able to take a break and have a chat around the virtual water cooler, or spend a lunch break recording some Dockers lines, and generally keep an eye on the forums.

'I love the forum. It’s one of the most friendly game forums I’ve ever had the pleasure to be part of. From a moderators point of view it’s easy to sometime see the doltish side of things, and now and then I might have to plead for less hand-baggery, but overall the forum is a great place full of great people.'

Ultimately, it's the community around the game that keeps Iain coming back, but the game is where it all started. 'I treasure those magical moments that happen inside the game, those moments where I find myself in a completely different place psychologically. I’ll look around my cockpit, look out at the stars, watch a beautiful planet slide past, or weave between the icy rocks of a gas giant’s ring and I’ll think "Bugger me I’m really in a spaceship!" for a moment.'

Iain explains that forum moderation would take up much more of his time if it wasn't for the collaborative efforts of the rest of the team. 'It could be very different, moderating would take up all of the team’s every waking hour if it wasn’t for the back room secret squirreling of fellow moderator and boy genius programmer Andrew Sayers. You might not see him on the forums much but the time he spends building us time saving tools saves us all hours of pain.'

The recent Hutton Mug community goal caused quite the storm amongst the community, with thousands of you getting involved. Iain had a hand in arranging and supporting those who wanted to help. 'Encouraging people to get involved and engage with community is so rewarding. We never thought over three thousand people would contribute scrap towards Hutton Mugs for example, and it’s great to have played a small part in promoting that and helping people discover the community side of in-game activities.

Talking of mugs, Iain also has an update for those who got involved and are waiting for the real-life mugs to turn up. 'David Pearson, head plotter and planner of the Hutton Radio Guys has organised a convoy to pick up the first shipment of mugs once the CQC update is released, that’s going to be the 10th of October hopefully, keep an eye out for that.'

Elite holds an important place for Iain, who has been playing the series since he was 11. 'I was around a BBC-owning friend’s house and he showed me Elite for the first time. Then I co-piloted the Electron version with my best friend from primary school until I was able to play myself when the ZX Spectrum version was released. Ever since then I’ve been obsessed with space games, always looking to relive those formative years. Nostalgia is a very powerful emotion and it’s a mammoth task to try and live up to people’s childhood memories and fantasies, just ask George Lucas, but Elite Dangerous hit the mark for me. The first time I got in a sidewinder in alpha and found myself rolling a target to vertical on the scanner and pulling up to get them under my crosshairs and I was right back in my ‘80s bedroom, 3am in the morning, Elite, and a cup of cocoa.'

See more information on Dockers, and Mugs, by clicking here.