Alt.Fan.Elite Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

This FAQ can be read in a linear fashion or by following the hypertext
links. Your choice. 

Last updated 28th September 1999.
Changes: Many download URLs removed. As soon as alternatives are found
they will be posted here and in the Mini-FAQ.

Please send comments, corrections and additional information
(especially about missions in various versions) to

1) Netiquette - a quick guide
   Contains abbreviations and idiosincracies of the group as well as
   an introduction to posting for newcomers.

2) Common information
2.1) Ship groupings
2.2) Unusual denizens and the versions they inhabit
2.2.1) Cloak and Dagger Ship
2.2.2) Dredgers
2.2.3) Generation Ships
2.2.4) Rock Hermits
2.3) Hidden Features
2.3.1) Initiative Save
2.3.2) Forced Witchspace
2.4) Missions

3) Versions of the Game
3.1) Electron Elite
3.2) BBC Tape Elite
3.3) BBC Disk Elite
3.4) Elite - The Executive Edition (BBC with Tube)
3.5) BBC Master Elite
3.6) BBC Tube Elite
3.7) Master Compact Elite
3.8) Elite A
3.8.1) Description
3.8.2) Missions
3.9) Amiga Elite
3.10) Spectrum Elite
3.11) MSX Elite
3.12) Tatsung Einstein Elite
3.13) NES Elite
3.14) C64 Elite
3.15) Apple II Elite
3.16) Amstrad CPC Elite
3.17) Atari ST Elite
3.18) PC Elite
3.19) PC Elite+
3.20) Archimedes Elite
3.20.1) Description
3.20.2) Missions Genesis Capsule Kill Zartid III Kill Zurid Pino (cloaked) Medicine Run
3.20.3) Extra features Space Beacons The Urutu Crazy Craft Missionaries Messages Scrolltext Escorts Rentadock
3.20.4) Fluffy Dice
3.21) Archimedes Elite Gold
3.22) Frontier Elite II - PC, Amiga and Atari ST
3.22.1) Description
3.22.2) The Mirage and the Dart
3.22.3) Bugs Deimos and Phobos Garbage Truck Bug Wormholes Get Rich Quick Mining Machine Bug Mad Protection Scheme Impossible Missions Unshiftable dissatisfied passenger Note
3.23) First Encounters
3.23.1) Description and missions
3.23.2) Interesting Ships Bubble Drive Ships Thargoid (the "Unknown") Keeping the Quest Baffling Alien Long Range Cruiser
3.23.3) Bugs and Problems My Missile Hits Me! My Turret Gun Hits Me! They Won't Give Me A Nuclear Missile! How Do I Turn On The Transmission Jammer? I Can't Voluntarily Use My Escape Capsule! My Assassination Target's Not There! Joystick prevents map rotation I have -1 passengers and can't sell my ship Not Actually Bugs. Everyone's Out To Kill Me! Wormholes fixed

4) Tricks of the Trade
4.1) Good trading
4.1.1) Original Elite
4.1.2) Frontier & FirstEnc
4.2) Good combat
4.2.1) Original Elite
4.2.2) Frontier & FirstEnc
4.2.3) Archimedes Elite

5) Technical Information
5.1) Slowing down old games on a PC
5.2) Getting the various Elites
5.3) Problems running First Encounters
5.4) Trouble with Win95
5.4.1) Frontier Elite II
5.4.2) First Encounters

6) Other Relevant FAQs

7) Particularly impressive Elite WWW sites

98) Is that it?
98.1) The Elite Project
98.1.1) What is it?
98.1.2) How can I keep tabs on it?
98.2) The Galileo Project
98.2.1) What is it?
98.2.2) How can I keep tabs on it?
98.3) X
98.3.1) What is it?
98.3.2) How can I keep tabs on it?

99) Miscellaneous
99.1) How do the rankings go?
99.2) What's with this Right On Commander stuff?
99.3) Acknowledgements
99.4) Disclaimer


2) Common Information

This section contains information which either fails to fall into a
category elsewhere or applies to more than one game and so is located here
to refer back to. 

Note: In the descriptions of versions, they may be described as deriving
Elite ratings from kills, points or score, where the method is known. See
99.1) How do the rankings go? for details.

2.1) Ship Groupings

Different versions of Elite have had different sets of ships in the game,
both as opponents and, more rarely, available to fly. They can be split
into several groups. Datacards showing the ArcElite ships can be seen
Note that there are some significant differences to earlier versions,
including that the Asp shown is completely new. For screenshots of both
the ArcElite Special Asp and the classic Asp MkII (also in ArcElite), see
the ArcElite picture gallery at
Also, the ArcElite Boa II bears little resemblance to the Boa of earlier

Minimal list: Primarily for low-end machines where memory is a
major restriction. Consists of: 
Asp Mk II, Asteroid, Boulder, Cobra MkI, Cobra MkIII, Escape Capsule,
Gecko, Krait, Python, Sidewinder, Thargoid, Thargon, Viper, Coriolis
Station. Note no boulders - no mining lasers.

Standard list: Original BBC Elite and direct clones had all the
ships of the restricted list above, and also the following:

Adder, Anaconda, Boa, Constrictor (mission target), Fer-de-Lance, Mamba,
Moray, Shuttle, Transporter, Worm, Dodecahedral Station. 

Elite A list: Elite A is a highly expanded version of BBC Elite and
contains all ships off the standard BBC list plus the following new and
unique ships created specially by the author: 

Bushmaster, Chameleon, Ghaival, Iguana, Monitor, Ophidian.

Note the Bushmaster is not the same as the one in ArcElite. Documentation
also hints at the existence of a fast, heavily defended destroyer under
tests by the galactic navy (the Constrictor?) and a battle-carrier being
developed at a secret location to combat the thargoids. It also notes that
encounters with unknown ship types need not necessarily be uncommon and
that the encyclopedia may be incomplete.

ArcElite list: ArcElite is a bottom-up rewrite of Elite for the
Acorn platform and features the following additional ships:

Asp II custom edition  - note the original Asp MkII is still in play,
Boa II - the original Boa has been removed,
Bushmaster, Caiman, Copperhead, Hognose,
Moccasin (2 clearly distinct variants exist),
Racer, Urutu.

Note that because the missions are different, there is no Constrictor.

Also look closely at the Copperhead. You've seen it before, haven't you?
To quote the datacard, "Due to it being equipped with a rejected precursor
of the Cobra MkIII Mous, this ship is often observed flying rather
erratically." Think of a game beginning with Z.... (PC users can now think
of one by David Braben beginning with a V...)

There are two additional ships; the Cougar is found in Master and Tube 
(and possibly Master Compact) versions of Elite as a very rare encounter,
and as a reinforcement for the cloaked Asp in the 16 bit mission set.
In most versions with the full shipset, the Wolf MkII can be occasionally
encountered. It is a lone trader with a very powerful weapon and shields
at least as strong as a thargoid's. Peaceful unless attacked, it is a
fearsome foe.

2.2) Unusual denizens and the versions they inhabit

2.2.1) The Cloak and Dagger Ship
A ship of unusual design which does not appear on radar and is the target
of one of the later missions in some versions of Elite. When destroyed it
releases a cargo cannister containing the device, which can be triggered
(method depends on game version). It drains half a bank of energy but
makes enemy ships less successful at locating and shooting at you - very
useful against thargoids, I hear. See section 2.4 for more information on
this mission.

2.2.2) Dredgers
No confirmed sightings of dredgers have ever been made and it is unlikely,
from examination of the code, that they were ever in any Acorn classical
Elites, and utterly certain that they are not in Frontier or First
Encounters. There is some doubt about ArcElite - there is a mystery ship,
but it is commonly held to be the Urutu. See section 

2.2.3) Generation Ships
These have never been implemented to the best of my knowledge - this is
nearly 100% certain for classical Acorn Elites and direct ports, Frontier,
First Encounters and ArcElite, all of which have been dissected in great
depth by fans with sufficient programming skill to extract the ship
models, and absolutely certain for PC Elite and Elite Plus, Amiga, Atari
ST, MSX and C64 Elites (all ship names are listed in the executable). It is
also rumoured that Ian Bell once stated in an interview that none of them
have ever been implemented in any version of Elite to date.

Some claim to have found wandering space stations available on comms in
Frontier Elite II when mis-jumping. General opinion is that this is a bug.
No-one has ever tracked one down to dock at. 

2.2.4) Rock Hermits
These have been confirmed to exist on Spectrum Elite, PC Elite and PC
Elite +, 6502 Tube and Master Elites. They are superficially similar to
asteroids but (in some versions)  do not spin. When shot they disgorge a
krait (verified for PC Elite+) or sidewinders (apparently; some versions) 
which then attack the player. The failsafe ID technique in the PC Elites
is to missile-lock them and read whether it says "Asteroid [debris]" or
"Asteroid [hermit]".

They also exist in ArcElite and are readily recognised because their
asteroids are painted bright yellow, blue and pink and a message flashes
up reading "Hermit beacon detected". Their proximity prevents jumping. No
ships emerge but a criminal record is gained for shooting one. No minerals
are released on mining. 

2.3) Hidden Features

2.3.1) Initiative Save
This works on all Acorn platform implementations of Elite except ArcElite,
apparently. I've only tested it on BBC Disk Elite and Elite A. Press @ to
bring up the disk menu, select save commander, then press return for name
and drive. If you die you will return to this position. No need to
actually do all that slow disk accessing and _really_ saving until you
turn off. Remember to save every now and again though, in case you
accidentally hit break or something! 

2.3.2) Forced Witch-Space
Again, one for the Acorn Elites (not ArcElite). When engaging hyperspace,
hold down X for maximum climb. You will get mobbed by thargoids every time.
Note this is impossible in Elite A because the ship becomes inoperable
while the computers dedicate themselves to the hyperspace calculations so
your climb gradually recenters before you jump. It also doesn't function
with the new emergency Hyperspace Unit. 

2.4) Missions
The following list includes all missions in all versions of Elite, of which
I am aware. In sections on individual Elites, they shall be referred to by

1) Tribble
   At 6553.6cr, you are offered a Tribble / Trumble for sale. If you buy it
   it sits in your hold eating cargo and multiplying. If you get enough,
   you may see one crawling across the screen! They are useless and can
   be destroyed by flying close to the sun. If you escapsule, one comes
   with you to start the whole cycle again.

2) Supernova
   You enter a system and all your fuel drains away in a leak.
   When you dock, you are told the sun is going nova and are asked if you
   will take refugees. Accept, and all your cargo is dumped to make
   space and you have to launch immediately. Refuse, and you are kicked
   out anyhow. You now have to use a galactic hyperspace or scoop the
   star for fuel. Your reward: Some gem stones, or 1000CR (varied with

3) Stolen Police Ship
   You are asked to help the military track down and destroy a stolen
   police ship - it's quite obvious; it's been given a new paint job.
   Reward: 4000CR

4) Thargoid Documents
   You are asked to pick up the captured designs of a thargoid
   battleship from site A and take them to site B (usually a very long
   journey) and are hassled by thargoids all along the way. In some
   versions you may even find out that you were only a decoy, after all!
   Reward: Naval Energy Unit (better than standard model) or 5000CR
   depending on version.

5) Asteroid Bombardment
   A planet is under threat of collision with an asteroid shower. All
   the system's ships have been destroyed trying to fragment them. You
   must save the day! Reward: 6000CR

6) Cloaking / Masking Device
   Reports of a ship in a nearby sector which is fitted with some sort
   of a masking device. Destroy it. It is intermittently invisible to
   both radar and sight and cannot be missile targetted. It is one of
   the 3 Asps you encounter on first entering the system, and when you
   engage, Constrictors (fawn, blunt) and Cougars (red, blue and black,
   with rectangular wings) come to its aid. Novel, eh?
   Believed variant: Master & Tube Elites: Cloaked ship is a Cougar.
   No Constrictors present.
   Reward: A masking device (so long as you manage to retrieve it!)

7) Thargoid Invasion
   A nearby space station has been taken over by thargoids. They
   apparently also possess a hyperdrive jammer. If you destroy the
   station (which is guarded by a swarm of thargs) you receive a
   hyperspace jammer as a reward. You also receive the rank "Archangel".
   It is impossible to dock at this station.

8) Constrictor
   A top secret naval ship prototype has been stolen - the Constrictor.
   You must track it down and destroy it. If in galaxy 1, you are told
   where it was last sighted, and follow the trail (in the Data on
   System screens) to where it galactic-hyperspaces. If in galaxy 2,
   you are just told that it has entered this galaxy and must try and
   remember the site of galactic hyperspace entry. Note down all systems
   in 7ly of your entry to galaxy 2: These are where it may have jumped
   to. Explore each in turn (include the one you arrive at - this is the
   correct next stop in some versions) until you pick up the trail
   again. When you find it, it is tougher than any other ship, including
   Constrictors in the Masking Device mission, and is energy bomb proof.
   A sly way to beat it is to missile at close range so it cannot ECM in
   Reward: Money (varies with version, may be up to 10,000CR)

ArcElite missions are covered in the section on ArcElite as they are
unique to it.

Note: In Elite Plus, there is also a message in the code welcoming you
to the 9th Galaxy. No-one has yet found out how to get there. I have
some pet ideas:
1) Galhyp from witchspace
2) Something to do with your galhyp and the hyperspace jammer...

3) Versions of the Game

3.1) Electron Elite (Bell & Braben, 1984)

A version for the Acorn Electron, this is the simplest form of Elite. It
has the reduced ship selection, and no suns so the fuel scoop is only
useful for collecting cargo. The screen is monochrome, including the
console, and graphics are wireframe with hidden line removal. As on the
BBC version, this does not include suns, which can be seen through their
planets. All space stations are Coriolis model. There are no missions. 

Elite rating is based on number of kills.

3.2) BBC Tape Elite (Bell & Braben, 1984)

This version has the reduced ship set. The space view is monochrome with
wireframe ships, as above, but the console is 4-colour (red, green, and
yellow or white depending on whether you had an escape pod) due to a
cunning trick allowing it to be in Mode 5 while the main view was in Mode
4. All space stations are Coriolis model. There are no missions. One
interesting feature of this and of Electron Elite is the inability to turn
off the docking computers(!). 

Elite rating is based on number of kills.

3.3) BBC Disk Elite (Bell & Braben, 1984, combined disk 1986 with
-------------------  Master and Tube Elite)

Like BBC Tape Elite but with more ships, and when you dock on a 
space station you get a brief view of other ships sitting around 
on the ground.

This is the archetypal classic Elite. Each sun has one planet and each
planet has one space station but this may be Coriolis or Dodec class.
Planets are occupied by a variety of races and have a variety of
governments which act as danger classifications, from the tame Corporate
States, through Democracies, Confederacies, Communist States,
Dictatorships, Multi-Governments and Feudal Systems, to Anarchies,
the worst of the worst. 

The ships flew using an inertialess engine - the player controls speed,
not thrust, and can change direction instantaneously. 

The game uses the standard ship set. 

The first batch of disks sold had a minor glitch which prevented 
asteroids from ever appearing. Boulders never appeared either - 
these are simply the fragments produced from shooting an asteroid 
with a mining laser and can be sold as minerals.

To display the authors' names on the spinning ship screen, pause the game,
press X, then unpause again. 

Missions: Constrictor (triggered at 256 kills, galaxy 1 or 2)
          Thargoid Documents (triggered mid-dangerous, galaxy 3, maybe
                              other galaxies too)

Elite rating is based on number of kills.

Bug: As in 48K Spectrum Elite, if the hyperspace counter reaches 0 while
docking, you will dock in your destination system without having to fly

This may in fact be widespread among classic Elites.

3.4) Elite - The Executive Edition (Bell & Braben)

A special BBC 6502SP version put together by Ian Bell and given to a few
people, but not published. The only differences I know between this and
normal Tube Coprocessor Elite are the presence of a StarWars-type
scrolltext which rolls up the screen when you start the game, and that
after this you get a mock-battle, in which you are scored for number of
enemies destroyed and penalised for usage of missiles.

Missions: Unknown, probably as Master and Tube (see next section).

Elite rating is based on number of kills.

3.5) BBC Master Elite (Bell & Braben, 1984, 2nd release 1986, 3rd
---------------------  release 1986 on combination disk with Tube
                       and original BBC disk versions.)

The first Elite to have colour in its main display. The console is drawn
in eight colours and the main display in four (including black). This
version uses the standard ship set but also sports a peculiar craft which
is the second one displayed during startup when creating a new pilot.

According to Chris John Jordan, who was involved with the creation of
Acornsoft's editions of Elite, it is the Cougar, an initially peaceful
trader which fights very effectively when attacked and possesses
better-than-average shields and laser. This has since been verified by
visual and missile-radar ID of the ship in Elite Plus for the PC.

Missions: Constrictor (256 kills, galaxy 1 or 2)
          Thargoid Documents (mid-dangerous, galaxy 3, maybe others)
          Others, details unknown. Cloaking device believed to be
          among them.

The odd ship seen on one of the startup screens is a Cougar, believed
to be the Cloak & Dagger Ship (ie with Masking Device) in this verison.

Elite rating is based on number of kills.

3.6) BBC Tube Elite (Bell & Braben 1986, superseded by joint disk
-------------------  with Master and original BBC, also 1986)

Designed to run on a BBC B or Master with second processor, this game
appears identical to BBC Master Elite only faster. I would speculate that
it also has the same missions. Note that the Cougar does not appear on
the startup screens, however. 

Elite rating is based on number of kills.

3.7) Master Compact Elite (Bell & Braben, 1984)

Existence of a special version designed for the Master Compact is rumoured
but has yet to be confirmed. 

3.8) Elite A (Bell & Braben, highly modified by A.Duggan, allowed for
------------  release 1997)

3.8.1) Description

Using the Elite A unique ship set, this game is a non-commercial
significantly altered version of BBC Disk Elite. While the graphics are
the same, many features have been altered: The player begins as pilot of
an Adder and can buy better ships (this is _very_ expensive and seems
likely to keep me in a job right up to Elitehood!) as he earns more money. 
Ships have different speeds, turn rates, numbers of missile pylons, shield
and hull strengths, laser mounts, hyperspace ranges and cargo hold sizes. 
Equipment now occupies space so it is essential to strike a balance
between weaponry and trading space. 

Other significant modifications include:
Special cargos, which must be delivered to a specific destination as
quickly as possible with payment depending on speed.
An online encyclopedia allowing access to ship statistics and pictures
(though I can't see how the value given as cargo space is derived - it
seems utterly erroneous on the Adder and Gecko, at least), equipment
information and keys.
An IFF device allowing identification of ships' intents at a distance.
Random ship appearance positions, so you can't tell whether they're
pirates by their start location.
Replacement of the vastly unfair energy bomb with an instant hyperspace
run away unit.
Many more less significant changes. 
Note that there are also some new ships not in the encyclopedia! One can
be seen at Simon Challands' webpage.
There is another, but I know no more than that it exists.

It runs in an enhanced mode with a Tube Coprocessor which is slightly
faster, accesses the disk less and has more varied ship encounter

Elite rating is based on number of kills.

3.8.2) Missions
Because the game has only been made recently available to the public
full mission details are unknown until someone plays through them.

However, it can be confirmed that the Constrictor and Thargoid Document
missions are present, at least, and possibly more.

This version is available from Ian Bell's WWW page.

3.9) Amiga Elite (Telecomsoft, 1988
----------------  & Firebird, date unknown)
Followed by Elite Plus (Amiga Empire Interactive, 1995) which was the
Elite files in a box with Elite Plus artwork, apparently. 

Available from Ian Bell's webpage.

Solid colour graphics in bright colours. All stations are coriolis. 
Standard ship list, but with the Wolf MkII (no description available).
In this version it is a tough pirate ship. Thargoids can mob you in
witch space or attack as (and sometimes _with_) normal pirates.
Asteroid pieces are called platelets, not boulders. Like the BBC
version, but unlike PC Elite and Elite+, there is no status/danger
warning light on the console. Thargoids _do_ release thargons,
contrary to some reports, but are apparently very reluctant to do so
even in prolonged battle. As in the Atari ST version, enemy ships fire
bullets, not lasers, and only when resolved from dots.

There are 4 or 5 missions:
Thargoid Documents
Thargoid Invasion

There is also a cloaking device, activated by pressing Y, and which
may be obtained by destroying a special ship. The mission is slightly
atypical. You receive the following message:

Warning to all Traders: Reports having been coming in from Traders in
this sector of an unknown hostile ship with awesome capabilities.
Rumours suggest that this ship is fitted with a device which causes
on-board computer systems to malfunction.

The ship is a Cougar flanked by 2 Asp Mk IIs. It does not cloak but 
releases the device in a cannister on destruction. When activated,
enemy ships will not shoot at you, though they will fly at you and
bank away as normal.

Elite rating is based on score.

This version also has the Wolf MkII ship.

Undocumented features:
In early versions, enter "sara" as the protection code, followed by the
correct one. Then press * during play to bring up a hex editor.
The ships can be viewed using the following keys on the initial spinning
cobra screen:
F - change ship
A - stop spinning
D - restart spinning
O - zoom out
I - zoom in

Pressing W during flight gives a score, game time, and the credits.

On later versions, the initial protection code is "suzanne".

This can also be used to create custom galaxies: See
for more details.

3.10) Spectrum Elite (Firebird/Torus 1985, followed by many enhanced
--------------------  versions and rereleases)

First game ever to use the Lenslock anti-piracy system: You look at some
coloured squares on the screen through a special lens, and they reveal
themselves as a 2 digit code which you type in to get access.

Ship set: Adder, Asp Mk II, Cobra Mk3, Fer-de-Lance, Krait, Python,
Sidewinder, Viper, Thargoid, Thargon. 
All space stations Coriolis.

Status display was white on red which became white on magenta with escape
capsule. Status indicator on scanner changed from green to yellow to red
to flashing red depending on degree of danger.

Sometimes on docking, a message was produced: 
"Pirates have taken over your ship - Game Over"
I doubt this did much for playability.

Pausing then pressing a specific key then unpausing toggled forced
witchspace mode (witchspace every jump). The key may have been F. 

And a cheat: If your hyperspace countdown finishes just as you get the
docking tunnel, you will find yourself instantly docked in your
destination system. So launch, trigger hyperspace, and re-dock at the
station you just came to. Only tested on 48K version.

Bug: If you destroy a ship you have fired a missile at, it will fly to
the last known position then stop. It cannot be shot or ECM'ed and can
be flown through. This is rumoured to also appear in a version of PC

Missions: Supernova, Cloaking Device, maybe others.

3.11) MSX Elite (Tape: Mr. Micro ltd.
---------------  Cartridge: Japanese import.)

Wireframe graphics, looks like 8 colours. Hideous music.
Four missions: Supernova
               Thargoid Documents
               Thargoid Invasion

3.12) Tatsung Einstein Elite (Mr. Micro ltd., 3" disk)
I now know what a Tatung Einstein looks like.

A single-unit monitor and keyboard system with built in 3" disk drives. It
ran CP/M, so it was probably Z80 based. Very similar to the Amstard PCW
8256/8512 but with a completely different case.

Submissions to

3.13) NES Elite (Imagineer, 1991)

Ian recommends this as the version to play if you wish to re-experience
classic Elite. It certainly looks good but the emulator which he
recommends is highly restrictive unless you register for the full version,
and it runs slowly on a P133. Note that this game has a scrolltext and
practice combat at the beginning, like executive Elite.

Wireframe graphics.
Missions unknown.

3.14) C64 Elite (Firebird Software, 1984)

As colourful as BBC Master Elite but with a smaller screensize leading to
a lower resolution.

There are 3 missions: Trumbles (like Tribbles), Constrictor and Thargoid

Want to know what a trumble looks like as it crawls across your screen?
See Ian Bell's page (link at top of this section) - it's the blue bug-like
thingy used as the C64 Elite icon.

Elite rating is based on kill-points.

3.15) Apple II Elite (Firebird, 1985)

Limited colour - uses the funny Apple II system where by lowering the
screen resolution, black and white bars become colour...

Mission details: Unknown.

3.16) Amstrad CPC Elite (Firebird, 1985)

This game allegedly has the reduced ship set, but apparently there are
Fer de Lances. The docking sequence is a simple tunnel, rock hermits
release kraits and sidewinders when attacked, and all stations are
Coriolis type. It occasionally produces a "Pirates have taken over your
ship - Game Over" message on docking.

Mission details: Has Nova, Thargoid Base, Cloaking device, maybe more.

3.17) Atari ST Elite (Firebird, 1988)

Described as "Graphically very good", uses solid colour.

Missions: Supernova, Constrictor, Thargoid Documents, Masking Device,
Thargoid Invasion

Apparently, combat was a severe letdown: Enemies shot round red bullets at
you, not lasers, and at close range only. So buy a rear military laser and
you can rule the spacelanes.

3.18) PC Elite (Microprose Software, 1987, Andy Onions)

The original PC Elite. Classical Elite, but with the option to choose
solid graphics or wireframe. CGA only - 4 (sickly) colours. The two
versions are completely independent of one another. The menu provides a
touch of humour, telling you you need a fast computer (6MHz 80286 or
faster) to run solid graphics mode.

Missions: Supernova, Masking Device, Thargoid Invasion

3.19) PC Elite + (Microprose Software, 1991, Chris Sawyer)

PC Elite improved to run in EGA or VGA (with 16 colours) or MCGA (with 256
colours) graphics modes. All modern machines will probably be able to use
the MCGA mode. 

Missions: Tribble, Supernova, Stolen Police Ship, Thargoid Documents,
Asteroid Bombardment, Masking Device, Thargoid Invasion.

Adders and Kraits (in particular) have a tendency to "bleed" missiles:
Once you fight back and start doing them serious damage they loose them
all in quick succession. This makes combat very dangerous before you have
an ECM, because you can't escape missiles like in BBC Elite.

Anarchies are great fun, with a relentless assault from large numbers of
ships (as many as 7 have been reported) at once, and they never stop
coming. Good equipment and powerful lasers are a must. Not one for your
regular trade routes!

Apart from the tribbles, missions are triggered on a hyperspace count
basis: After you leave galaxy 1 a counter increments with each hyperspace,
triggering missions at certain levels.

Note: Also present in the code are the messages for when the player
trails the Constrictor. This mission does not appear to be implemented,

3.20) Archimedes Elite (Gringras & Burch, 1991)
There are two versions - v1.05 and v1.14. The latter has the password
protection removed. 

3.20.1) Description
Claimed by all those who have played it (to the extent of my 
knowledge) to be the best incarnation of Elite ever. 
Superficially, it is BBC Elite with solid, colour graphics and 
extra ships. However, for the first time in the Elite universe, 
you are no longer the centre of action. The AI has taken a 
colossal step forwards. Now you can encounter pirate packs 
battling it out for dominance of their private patches, traders 
under attack, Bushmaster mining vessels smashing asteroids into 
chunks and scooping up the pieces, vipers towing disabled ships 
back to the station, vipers flying along in formation looking for 
some lawbreaker to fight... (they are _very_ deadly. I've seen a 
pack of six flying along in a perfect rectangle suddenly peel off 
into combat. They took down 5 caimen and 5 geckos before I could 
even blink). There are even other ships like yourself - Cobras 
armed to the teeth looking for pirates to fight, to boost their 
Elite rating. A considerable range of new ships, all with their 
own unique characters. And then there's the oddities. But that'll 
wait until later.

Quite simply the most playable Elite game of all time.

3.20.2) Missions
---------------- Genesis Capsule
Requirements: Galaxy 1, 550CR, 1200 kills.
You get hired by GalFam to drop an ecology seed capsule on a 
starving world to revitalise its economy. To succeed, simply 
jettison it while facing the planet at very low altitude. First, 
of course, you have to go and pick it up...

Reward: 500CR and a rosy glow. The system data changes from "A 
hopless starving planet" to "A starving planet with a glimmer of 
hope". Kill Zartid III
Requirements: 1450 kills, 4000CR, any galaxy.
A respected member of the Tri-Alliance (Note for TEP members - in 
those days, the thargoids were the baddies...) has been running 
plans to the enemy. Find him and kill him. You are told where he 
was last seen. Zartid flies blue wing-like ship, and is escorted by a
small fleet of Mambas. If you take too long to kill him he gets

Advice: If you can't take it, energy-bomb the mambas first. You 
might also want to try the missile trick from the BBC Disk 
Constrictor mission.

Reward: Yaw boosters. These turn a good pilot into a deadly 
pilot. In the right hands they can improve laser accuracy by as 
much as 50%. Best used with mouse control - right hand on the 
mouse, left on the cursors. Kill Zurid Pino
2600 kills, any galaxy.
You have killed Zurid's father, the infamous pirate Rantan Pino. 
Zurid has stolen a top-secret Cobra with a cloaking device and 
missile autolock and is coming to get you. Zurid flies a red-
brown cobra which does not appear on scanners and has 8 missiles. 
Another difficult fight.

Reward: Missile Autolock. A little cross on your current missile 
target and a lot of pose value. Medicine Run
4600 kills, planet no. MOD3 = 1, any galaxy.
Travel around the galaxy gathering components for a medical cure. 
The chemicals may have various side effects - one makes you 
likely to explode if you get too hot sun-scooping, another seems 
to increase the damage of enemy lasers to your shields and 
energy, and a third reacts with any of the others if your shields 
are reduced to nil while it's in the hold. Advice: As soon as you 
find the mixing centre, drop off the more troublesome ones!

Reward: 2000CR and innoculation!

3.20.3) Extra Features
---------------------- Space Beacons
Navigational aids for the lost spacer, these are a feature of 
ArcElite only. Brightly coloured tetrahedrons registering as 
cargo on the scanner, no benefit is gained from shooting them, 
and they do not appear on the hold contents register when 
scooped. They do take up 1t of storage, however, and cannot be 
shifted short of using an escape capsule.

I vaguely remeber something about ejecting one in association 
with every tonne of X jettisoned, but I cannot remember what X 
was, and have tried it with minerals and food without success.

Space beacons do not stop you jumping. The Urutu
Mentioned on the Moccasin card in ArcElite Gold, this is the name 
frequently associated with the yellow ship with a grey underside 
and green nose border and triangles on its back. This ship is 
rectangular with a rounded nose and may be pirate or trader. It 
is almost as fast as a Cobra and _very_ manouverable.

Notes released on an Acorn Computing cover disk pertaining to be 
documentation of the state of the game, however, suggest 
otherwise, recording that dredgers may have been included in some
of the jump-emergence event possibilities. Maybe these ships are 
dredgers. They certainly seem meaner than your run-of-the-mill 
bad guy. However, dredgers are apparently huge. This ship just doesn't
seem big enough. 

On the other hand, there are two very distinct forms of Moccasin and it is
possible that the one not on the card is the Urutu and that the green and
yellow ship is a dredger. After all, the Urutu is described as a close
cousin of the Moccasin. 

For convenience I refer to them as the Moccasin, Special Moccasin and
Urutu. Crazy Craft
Archimedes Elite only. These ships fly in erratic circles. They 
are mentioned in the handbook. From the game's perspective, they 
are in fact trying to shoot themselves! Missionaries
ArcElite only. Harmless weak unarmed ships originally created for 
target practice by the navy and bought up en masse by a religious 
sect who fly around dangerous planets spreading the word.

Darwin in action. Messages
Sometimes, the unexpected can flash up on the bottom of your screen. Watch
out for: 

REPENT, SINNER! REPENT! - cried occasionally over the radio by 
missionaries in hognoses.

MEGAWEED!!! - displayed occasionally upon scooping a cargo cannister. A
particularly potent narcotic. Sells as normal though. 

WHY DID THE GROIGAN DANCE?  _ Thargoids ambushing an
WHY WAS THE KANGAROO HAPPY?   unlucky pilot in witch-space Scrolltext
If you bring up the info window in desktop and leave your pointer on the
copyright message, you get a scrolltext. Apparently one of the names
credited is that of the Mad Hatter, of Micro User Elite column fame. Escorts
If you attack a ship with escorts, it does a runner while you fight them.
Just thought I'd mention it. Rentadock
At Tech Level 8+ if you have no docking computer, you can press C anyhow
and pay a charge of 50CR for use of the remote Rentadock. This puts rather
a dint in the income. 

3.20.4) Fluffy Dice

There are two expansion modules worthy of mention:

1) !EliteExt by Ben Dooks and Andrew Clover, with a few bug fixes by Rob
Pfeifer. Available for download from
as a self-extracting archive: Set type to Obey and double-click.
it gives you a ship ID system which also displays remaining shields on
target, a clock, a cargo hold fullness readout, fluffy dice which swing
realistically with the movement of the ship and a bumper sticker reading
"My other ship is a Thargoid".  Versions before 1.03 (Rob's fix) confuse
Anacondas and Boa II's, and also Moccasins and the rarer special variety. 

2) AUEliteCht - a module available from
which gives a super-powerful laser and rather fancy explosions, among
many other things.

These are both off Simon Challands' wonderful Acorn Elite page

3.21) Archimedes Elite Gold (Gringras & Burch, 1991)

Archimedes Elite, with reference cards provided for the ships and a little
pad to record market prices on. 

3.22) Frontier Elite II (Braben, with elements
                                            attributable to Bell, 1993)

Available in Atari ST, Amiga and PC formats from

3.22.1) Description
Ian Bell and David Braben returned to the Elite universe to bring 
it up to date. In this game, star systems have more than one 
planet, planets may have many space stations and ground ports, 
there is far more equipment available to the player, the player 
may buy different and better space ships, and there are a wide 
range of careers open, from passenger transport to mining, 
assassination and life in the military. Of course, one can also 
stay as a trader if one wishes!

The biggest change is the inertial (Newtonian) flight engine. You 
have momentum and if you change facing, your thrusters will begin 
to act to slow you down rather than leading to an instant travel 
in the new direction. This is like the real world, as opposed to 
Tie Fighter and its ilk.

There are no hand-coded missions but the sheer variety of day-to-day
careers more than makes up. 

3.22.2) The Mirage and the Dart
For those of you who only have Frontier, some background is necessary. In
classical Elite, thargoids attacked you by diverting your hyperspace jump
then mobbing you. In Frontier, they didn't exist. In FirstEnc the
thargoids are back and they're friendly. I suppose you want one of their
ships now.

Forget it.

The shape is there (you can see it sticking half out of the ground at some
military bases you are sent to photograph). There are snippets of
storyline in the code which lead people to believe that you must be Prince
with the Empire, have some sort of high pass from Sirius Cybernetics and
be at the eastern edge of the galaxy. Unfortunately it was never
implemented. Even the ship definition is incomplete. It is possible to
create a Mirage by hacking, but the ship stats are mad. For example, it
has more missile racks than the savegame file has slots for. In short any
data in it is random gibberish from whatever part of the program code it
happens to point to. 

To put it simply, the ship does not exist in normal play. You have to
cheat. Get one here.

I also heard tell once of a small ship with a Class 9 Hyperdrive called
the Dart. This is an utter lie. There is no Class 9 Hyperdrive (the
hackers have verified this), nor is there a shape for it in the game
(again, the hackers have been through it with a fine toothcomb. The only
unaccounted-for shape is the mirage). It is possible this legend arose
from someone hacking themselves to be flying a missile with a Class 8
drive (and maybe even poked the text and drive stats - _creating_ a Class
9 drive where none should exist). In short, as far as getting it in the
game is concerned, another fiction. 

3.22.3) Bugs
The first four are beneficial. These are not guaranteed to work on all
versions, or indeed at all. The ones after these are harmful and are
probably far more ubiquitous... Deimos and Phobos
Apparently shooting these asteroidal moons of Mars gets you kills, and
they remain intact so you can keep shooting until you're Elite or your
finger gets tired. Use a mining laser at 3rd acceleration, and make sure
you're a fair distance away and have shields because you get a fair load
of minerals flying off. Garbage Truck Bug
Load up your ship with rubbish, fly out beyond the last planet of the
system and click just below the jettison button in your cargo hold. You
want to be travelling fairly fast when you do this or you'll hit the crazy
stuff spewing out back. You can increase your tonnage indefinitely in this
manner. Note that some say you simply jettison the rubbish and get an
increase of 1t for each rubbish jettisoned. This could be 2 separate bugs
on different versions, or different (and one therefore incorrect)
relatings of the same bug. Try them and see. Wormholes
When hyperspacing a distance close to an exact multiple of 655.36ly the
fuel tonnage required drops almost to nil on some versions. That's what
you get if you skimp on variable sizes when programming!  This allows
rapid transgalactic travelling for very little fuel (simply knock off as
many 655.36's from the distance as possible, then use the range remaining
after that). This bug is only present in early releases. Nonetheless it
is one of the most widely heard-of bugs in the game. Get Rich Quick
There are two ways to do this. First, go to Cemiess. Buy Gemstones on the
Black Market - they pay you to take them. When your hold is full, sell
your ship thereby losing your cargo but keeping the money. Repeat. Second: 
Get a passenger. Repeatedly try and buy a cheaper ship. You will be
credited with the difference each time, but because of the presence of the
passenger your ship will not actually be changed. If you don't actually
want to carry the passenger, eventually buy an escape capsule and use it
just outside the station. Mining Machine bug
Mining machines must be picked up in reverse order to that in which they
were dropped or the game crashes. There is a patch to fix this at Mad Protection Scheme
Sometimes the scheme asks for e.g. page 8238, line 27764, word 29263.
There is a patch available at George Hooper's excellent utilities page:
This disables the protection altogether. Impossible Missions
Beware of missions requiring you to deliver to or kill someone emerging
from a planet with no starport. They are impossible. Also beware of
missions to planets near far greater masses e.g. many gas giants and a
large star, as it may be impossible to get your frame of reference
relative to them, making approach difficult and missiling near-impossible
(nuclear missiles have a fixed velocity of about 10-15,000 km/s - if you
need to match speeds by going faster than this, they'll never hit). Unshiftable dissatisfied passenger
If a passenger declares they're disgusted at how long you're taking and
getting off at the next stop, their contract vanishes but they remain in
the cabin, unshiftable, preventing you selling it or your ship. The only
way to get rid of them is by using an escape capsule. Note
If you have other troubles, read the section on First Encounters bugs. 
While many of these are new to FirstEnc, some may apply to FEII as well. 
Likewise, some of these bugs are in turn carried forwards. There are also
many minor glitches not mentioned here such as populations in empty star
systems, etc. etc.

3.23) Frontier: First Encounters (Braben, 1995)

3.23.1) Description and Missions

Written by David Braben alone, this is rumoured to be the buggiest game in
history with the possible exception of Battlecruiser 3000. However, it
pushes FE2 that little bit further and makes something special of it. 
Planets are texture-mapped, there are journals you can subscribe to,
keeping you up to date on current affairs, and there are some special
hand-coded missions to surprise you... 

The latest patch (version 1.06) is available from Jades' First 
Encounters Page, download section -

Handcoded missions are back in this game, and there are a wide variety,
details of which can be found on Jades' missions page.
They range from transporting a dolphin to destroying a law academy.

Some, however, stand out above the others: These are the missions 
involving Argent's Quest and the Thargoids.

Triggered by having sufficient combat rating, and being on Alioth 
in early October (November?) 3252. Look on the bulletin board for 
TURNER'S REQUIEM and donate 10,000cr.

These missions are somewhat buggy - apparently most problems can 
be solved by using stardreamer up until the first cutout, just 
before docking, then saving, starting a NEW GAME, then reloading. 
Then dock. When docking on space stations, do not accelerate time 
for the final stage.

Warning: When entering the first hidden system, make sure you've 
got a nuclear missile...

3.23.2) Interesting Ships
------------------------- Bubble Drive Ships
These are mentioned in the journals in First Encounters but are just a
filler for New Scientist and don't actually exist in the game. Thargoid
You can get the "Unknown" - your very own thargoid fighter - by following
through the Turner's Requiem plotline and siding with the Thargoids. Keeping the Quest
If you opt not to get a thargoid fighter but return to the Alliance in the
Quest, they will take it back when you land at New Rossyth. So land at
Fortress Campbell instead, sell it, buy a Lifter or something, and go to
New Rossyth. They will repossess the Lifter and you can go and buy back
the Quest - for keeps this time! Baffling Alien
There is one unidentified ship that is not involved in the game in any
way. It is octagonal so probably thargoid in origin, but much more ornate
than their usual bland functional designs. It comes with a thargoid
hyperdrive (equal to or better than Class 8) and a thargoid laser of a
very special type - it fires blue with a little explosion on the end.
Try, All Thargoid Ships file. Long Range Cruiser

You can get a file hacked to fly a Long Range Cruiser, too. Not much fun
as pirates just crash into you all the time before you can even turn to
fire. Again, it's available from

I've also recently hacked to fly a Lynx cruiser and a Nuclear Missile.
The ultimate hacking guide is by George Hooper and can be found at:

3.23.3) Bugs and Problems
------------------------- My Missile Hits Me!
It's not being projected far enough to leave your ship. Go to 3x 
stardreamer just after launching. This is a frequent problem with big ships. My Turret Gun Hits Me!
It's mounted in a position where it's partially enclosed by your 
ship's hull (e.g. Griffin Carrier lower turret). No solution. Buy a better
ship. They Won't Give Me A Nuclear Missile!
Either you're wearing an Iraqi military uniform or all your 
pylons are full. Sell a missile before taking the photography or 
bombing mission. How Do I Turn On The Transmission Jammer?
It's automatic. It'll take care of itself. I Can't Voluntarily Use My Escape Capsule!
As for missiles in, you're not getting thrown clear. No 
solution. Just wait until someone else blows you up. In the 
Quest, if you want a go in the Stowmaster, try ramming a planet or something. My Assassination Target's Not There!
Reload and re-enter the system. If all pads are full when a base 
is generated, there's nowhere to put the target! Joystick prevents map rotation
Even having a joystick plugged in means you can't use the right button to
rotate the local sectors map. I have -1 passengers and can't sell my ship
Oh dear. You took the scripted mission with a sole passenger in, didn't
you? Well, you're stuck like that. Either use an escape capsule or take a
contract for another passenger and try and get bug to kick in. 
Even if it doesn't, at least while you have the contract your passenger
count returns to zero so you can carry out ship transactions as normal. Not Actually Bugs.
---------------------------- Everyone's Out To Kill Me!
You forgot to destroy the military satellite on a photography 
mission or the first hidden system in the thargoid missions. Try 
again but get it this time. Wormholes fixed
"The wormhole fix in FFE is a blatant kludge (one of my favourite
Americanisms!), as the range still appears negative and the fuel
consumption is 1t. However, when you press H you get the hyperspace noise
(AFAIR) and your fuel drops by 1 ton but you stay put. The thought of 1t
of fuel boldly going where no TC has gone before seems very amusing." -
Graham Thurlwell

This appears only to be true for early versions.

4) Tricks of the Trade

4.1) Good Trading

4.1.1) Original Elite
Fly Furs and Liquor & Wines from a poor agricultural to a rich industrial
and Computers and Machinery back. A convenient start (though not the best
possible) is between Lave and Zaonce, but Lave is rich. The poorer the
agricultural and richer the industrial, the better. And always be on the
look out for dirt cheap narcotics at the industrial end. You can make a

Any time you see gold at less than 39.0cr/kg, buy. Ditto for platinum and
72cr and gems at 19.5cr. Sell when they go over. These volumeless goods
can make a nice bit of profit on the side if you have the cash.  Note that
prices may be less favourable at other world combinations, but that poor
agriculturals tend to export these mined precious goods and rich
industrials have a great demand for them. 

Remember also that the cheapest "buy" is to scoop after shooting up a
pirate - do this when you're good enough. Go out and scoop a holdful then
come back and sell it. 

Ever tried mining traders? They jettison a cannister every time they're
shot, and mining lasers do the least damage so you get the most loot. Bad
for the reputation. 

4.1.2) Frontier & FirstEnc

A large number of trade routes exist. However, a fairly immediate one from
the default starting place on Gateway in FFE is this:  Nerve Gas, Battle
Weapons and Animal Meat from the Gateway system to Titican (go to the
ground port, not the station - the guard on the ground can be bribed for
250cr if necessary) and Robots and Farm Machinery back. You should find a
trustworthy black marketeer and stick with them. You will soon find you
have to visit many starports to load up to maximum before doing your run! 

Note that Gateway _does_ exist in FE2 - but it's called Oltiqu instead.

In the first two months in FirstEnc, just run medicine to Sohalia from
anyhwere (preferably somewhere that exports it). This is _far_ more
profitable than the Wiccan Ware race. 

4.2) Good Combat

4.2.1) Original Elite
The trick is to get them while they're distant. Target a missile.  When it
locks, you're aiming dead on. Kill. Repeat. An analogue joystick works
wonders too. Missiles from close range are rarely ECMed before they hit
the target but beware because the blast frequently damages you too. 

When fighting thargoids in witch space, selectively take out the thargoids
(octagonal). When all are dead, the thargons (pentagonal) will fall inert.
Scoop them up as cargo and sell them as alien items! 

4.2.2) Frontier & FirstEnc
Combat has become a bit of a jousting match, with ships flashing past one
another too fast for a real dogfight to take place. The best trick is to
pause, aim a turret, fire, and keep firing while unpausing. So it's
cheating. Anything else is pot luck and just as monotonous. However, if
you do play fair there are tactics that will give you the edge. Fight at
low speeds (1000km/h or so) relative to your reference body. Although this
shouldn't make a difference, it does - the enemies find it easier to match
veloc ities and then you have the edge as they are poor at rapid turning
and direction changing, which are easy when velocities are well matched.
Also, turn your stardreamer up to max briefly after each kill, before the
next ship comes in range. They will skip in one at a time instead of all
at once, and will act dazed for a few seconds before they "spot" you. 

4.2.3) Archimedes Elite
Mastering Yaw Boosters is the key to success. With these in one 
hand and the mouse in the other, you have the most manouverable 
ship in space. Get in amongst the pirates then orient so your 
chosen target is flying more or less vertical relative to you. 
Keep him in the sights and fire! He must be in them when the 
laser blits reach the centre of the screen, _not necessarily at 
the moment of firing!_

If mobbed by a second bunch of pirates while halfway through the 
first lot, charge straight into the midst of the second. Either 
you let them have free shooting while they close with you, or you 
let the one or two ships remaining from the old pack have a go at 
you while you move over to the new. I know which I'd prefer.

I play it squeaky-clean. There's more than enough pirates to go 
around, so don't bother attacking innocent ships. They take too 
long because they run away. You're better off getting out of jump 
range and finding some more baddies.

Beware the sudden increase in reinforcement likelihood two Right On
Commanders after deadly, and the increased tendency of Copperheads to use

Concerning thargoids, see (4.2.1). Also note that in ArcElite ramming a
thargoid will destroy it but will not inactivate its associated thargons.
Active thargons can, however, be scooped quite happpily. 

I have had response to this section to the effect that yaw boosters keep
your hand too far from the ECM. What can I say, but "If you're not living
on the edge you're taking up too much space". Oh - and I can stab any key
without looking, just like that (*snaps fingers*) so it's not really a
problem for me. I guess that's personal preference then. 

Further points:

Shots to an enemy's thrusters do no damage.

Before ships enter from the edge of radar, they will flicker on briefly
somewhere near the centre. If you catch this extremely rapid flash of
green it can act as a reliable early warning system. 

It's fine by the police for you to shoot pirates in the station zone. 

If you're a fugitive, vipers attack you on sight unless there're pirates
in the area in which case they go for them first. If you're the cautious
type, you can run for it now. 

Fer de Lances behave like vipers in that they attack pirates or the
fugitive player. Naturally, they respond if attacked themselves. Armed
with front and rear pulse lasers, they are far less fearsome than the
Cobra Mk3 bounty hunters with military lasers all round. Many's the time
these guys have shown up and joined me in polishing off a pack or two.

5) Technical Information

5.1) Slowing down old games on a PC
There is an excellent software utility called Mo'Slo which allows you to
reduce your PC processor speed to a specified percentage of its maximum.
It is available from
It works a treat. Note that it has recently been updated to use less
memory and produce slightly more slowdown per percentage.

5.2) Getting the Various Elites
A vast number of classical Elites can be downloaded from Ian Bell's
WWW page. 

Emulators are recommended for all except ArcElite. Note then that there is
an Archimedes (ARM2 - ie a fairly slow one) emulator somewhere on
It runs Archimedes Linux, very slowly, and no-one has got it to run
ArcElite yet. Solution: Buy an Archimedes.

Commander Jades (aka Graham Thurlwell) has a good guide as to obtaining
Frontier Elite II and First Encounters on his WWW site.
The patches are on the download page -
which is worth a look even if you haven't got FFE yet.

As for any other version, I'm afraid you're on your own.

5.3) Problems Running First Encounters
If you just can't load a commander file, I'm afraid that's tough. There's
a bug that means every now and again a commander is generated that won't
load. Always use the incremental filenames so you have a backup. 

If you can't run the actual game, here's a list of things to consider:

i) FirstEnc will not run in Win95 or under QEMM.EXE or other protected
mode memory managers because it uses its own, somewhat argumentative one.
This was fine at the time because Win95 wasn't out then, but now it's a
problem. Either select 'shutdown' then 'restart the computer in MS-DOS
mode' or run it in pure MS-DOS mode by selecting this from the F8 menu at
startup or from a boot disk with minimal drivers (try just HIMEM.SYS and
your mouse driver, and CD-ROM driver if you use the CD version).

ii) Do you have the latest patch version? V1.06 is now available from
Note that this patch disables videos in the CD-ROM due to incompatibility
with some video cards. 

iii) Are you using the CD-ROM version? If so, you should really think
about trying the floppy version. Having payed for the game, you are
entitled to have a working version, after all. Check out

5.4) Trouble with Win95

First, a few terms. Back in the dim and distant past of MS DOS, memory
was divided into 2 main regions: Base and upper. Frontier Elite II
uses only base memory and requires rather a lot of it. First Encounters
is capable of using upper memory - programs that do this utilise what
is known as "a DPMI handler". Win95 contains one of these, built in. So
does First Encounters. They are not happy cohabiters.

5.4.1) Frontier Elite II

When you run a DOS game under Win95 it creates an environment the
program cannot tell from a genuine DOS boot-up. Unfortunately, this
means including the device drivers (which enable your computer to do
things like use the CD ROM drive or mouse in DOS). These take up some
base memory. If you have too many drivers, there will not be enough
base memory for Frontier to run.

First, if you've been messing around with the memory settings in the
MS-DOS shortcut, delete it. Then read on:

There are 2 solutions:

1) Remove some DOS drivers.
Under Win95, there is no need to have any of these loaded to utilise
your devices, except if you boot the computer to the command line or
shut down and restart in DOS mode. If you work exclusively in the
Windows environment, you can edit your config.sys and autoexec.bat
files and comment out (prefix with "rem ") any lines that appear to
load code for hardware (and some software - e.g. do you really need
that Display Doctor power management system? Win95 can turn off the
monitor too...). This will free up more base memory.

To check how much you actually have available, go to a DOS box and
type "mem". The figure we are concerned with is the largest
executable program size. Typing "mem/c/p" lists drivers and the
amounts of base and upper memory they are using.

If you have troubles with your system, remove some or all rems.

For more confident users, consider prefixing lines which run
programs from autoexec.bat with "lh " to reduce the amount of base
memory they take.

2) Create a boot disk
This is better for those not willing to perform surgery on their
boot files and for those who regularly use a pure DOS environment.
Format a floppy disk, flagging the "copy system files" box (or
from DOS type "format a: /s"). Create the following files on it
using edit or notepad:




lh c:\mouse\mouse   (or whatever the command for your DOS mouse
                     driver is -you'll find it by loading either
                     c:\autoexec.bat or c:\windows\dosstart.bat
                     into notepad or edit)

Reboot the computer with this floppy in drive A: and run Frontier
from DOS.

5.4.2) First Encounters

This game can not in any way be run from the Windows environment.
You must either "shut down and restart the computer in MS-DOS mode"
(the option off the shutdown menu) or create a boot disk as
detailed above.

6) Other Relevant FAQs
The Frontier Elite II FAQ:
FFE FAQ (v1.1):

7) Particularly impressive Elite WWW sites

These two are my personal favourites:

Matt Dibb's page -
George Hooper's page - - the utilities section is superb. Also contains the only known listing of Elite-rated commanders

Other good ones include:

Jades's page -
Case's page - - includes a patch to make space black
like it should be
Zat Solo's page -
Ian Bell's Elite page -

98) Is that it?
For the time being. According to recent press, David Braben is working on
Elite 4. Very little is known about this, not even the final intended name.
Ian Bell also reports an ongoing project on his homepage but gives no
details. Maybe it's another Elite. Maybe not. Who knows?

Vague details on:
Matt Dibb's page -
Jades' Elite 4 page

These aren't your only hopes, though. There are other games in the pipeline:

98.1) The Elite Project

98.1.1) What is it?

An attempt to write a single-player game with the feel and open-
endedness of Elite. As a result of a recent debate on the likely 
stance of the original authors to copyright, no features 
copyrightable to Elite are going to be included, including the 
name. Provisional name: Stardreamer.

This game will be public domain.

98.1.2) How can I keep tabs on it?

See for the most 
comprehensive list of links about.

The latest code is available from

98.2) The Galileo Project

98.2.1) What is it?
An attempt to write a multiplayer game with the open-endedness of Elite
but the universe, scenario, technology and the like are all newly devised.
Will be playable over the internet. 

98.2.2) How can I keep tabs on it?

Via their website:

98.3) X

98.3.1) What is it?
A commercial space flight and combat sim that I am told "looks everything
First Encounters could have been, brought up to date". I have yet to check
out the webpage though I hear a rolling demo is available. 

98.3.2) How can I keep tabs on it?
From the link off, the company which is developing it.

99) Miscellaneous

99.1) How do the rankings go?
Elite ratings are as follows:
Harmless               0               0
Mostly Harmless        2              50
Poor                   8             400
Average               24            1000
Above Average         44            1500
Competent            130            2500
Dangerous            512            4500
Deadly              2560            6000
Very Deadly   (ArcElite only)       8000
Elite               6400            9600

Why 6400? Ian needed to think of a number and &1900 (which equals 6400)
was the value of PAGE on the BBC when assembling the source. So there you

The actual number of kills required is the same in all editions, with the
exception of ArcElite which is considerably harder, and some 16 bit
versions which utilise points.

In BBC Elite all crafts were worth 1 kill, but on points versions,
although the thresholds were the same, "a third ("fractional")  byte was
added to the kill tally and each ship had a kill rating varying from 0.06
for an Asteroid to 8.0 for a Thargoid (Police Vipers were a measly 0.21
because they were so easy to kill while launching)" - Ian Bell.

This fractional kills system is what I have referred to as "points" in the
above game descriptions. The Amiga version bases ranking on "score" which
is similar to the points system but utilises different values:
Adder                      100 pts
Anaconda                    90 pts
Asp Mk II                  110 pts
Boa Class Cruiser           60 pts
Cobra Mk I                  60 pts
Cobra Mk III                80 pts
Fer-De-Lance               100 pts
Gecko                       80 pts
Krait                      100 pts
Mamba                       60 pts
Python                      40 pts
Orbit Shuttle                3 pts
Sidewinder                  80 pts
Thargoid                   150 pts
Thargon                     20 pts
Transporter                 10 pts
Viper                       50 pts
Wolf Mk II                 150 pts
Worm/Escape Capsule         80 pts

In the Amiga version, Right On Commanders are still awarded by number
of kills.

99.2) What's with this Right On Commander stuff?
In classical Elite, you got a message saying "RIGHT ON 
COMMANDER!" every 256 kills, as a bit of encouragement from the 
Elite Federation. The first corresponded with being about halfway through
competent, and getting the Constrictor mission. 

In ArcElite, the messages are as follows:
"GOOD SHOOTING, COMMANDER!" - Every 50 kills. The first one 
corresponds with the promotion from Harmless to Mostly Harmless 
(cf 8 kills in BBC Disk Elite)
"RIGHT ON, COMMANDER!" - 1 kill before every fifth "GOOD 
SHOOTING, COMMANDER!", ie every 250 kills, beginning from kill 

99.3) Acknowledgements
So far, thanks to me (Robert Pfeifer) for writing all this, David Braben
and Ian Bell for writing the original game, Ian Bell again for kill
figures and making so many versions freely available, Warren Burch and
Clive Gringras for writing ArcElite, Andrew Clover for writing the best
Elite add-on ever (swinging fluffy dice and a rear window sticker saying
"My other ship is a thargoid"), the following readers of this FAQ for
corrections and contributions both quoted and silently incorporated:

 * Ali Bharmal
 * Daniel Brown
 * Simon Challands
 * Steve Critchlow
 * Jonathan Day
 * Roger Earl
 * Matthew Garrett
 * George Hooper
 * Chris John Jordan
 * Brad Kerr
 * Tim Lambert
 * Tony Lorusso
 * Patrik Radman
 * Christian Schmadalla
 * Colin Stott
 * Graham Thurlwell
 * Mark Tysoe
 * Mark Williamson
 * Michael - no last name given
 * John - ditto
 * Ian

Anyone else whose name I accidentally deleted while compiling a list of
changes - once again, the delete key ravaged the mailbox before the
credits were compiled. Sorry. Feel free to remind me. Sheppy's Cider in
Taunton, Somerset, UK for producing the best medium still cider in the
world, my student's union bar for having once sold bitter at 50p a can,
and KLF, Sisters of Mercy and Ash for writing good music to kill to.
10,000 kills and I've put away my guns. In ArcElite. Now I'm putting
notches in my Elite A belt.

99.4) Disclaimer: 
I hereby disclaim responsibility for any faulty information in this FAQ,
and if any the effects of this information, this FAQ and any inferences
you may draw from it on you, your computer, your brother, sister, dog,
gerbil, or in fact anyone or anything anywhere and anywhen. It's for you
to use entirely at your own risk. Have fun and don't eat it. Except maybe
in hardcopy.