Elite / Frontier 25 years of Frontier Elite 2

Jenner

Volunteer Moderator
I got my start with Frontier Elite 2. A friend of mine in high school had a copy, and I, er.... *borrowed* it. It wasn't my first space combat/sim game (that was XWing for me) but it definitely was the first game I played that tried to model the entire galaxy and allowed you to land on planets. That was really something for the time. I remember being very impressed with the proc gen of the game that allowed such breadth for such limited executable size.
 
My own start was with the shareware version of Frontier : Elite 2 when it was given out on the coverdisc of the UK magazine "PC Utilities". My own PC was a recycled hunk of junk at the time which could barely run Windows 98, but the shareware version of FE2 ran like a dream.

I had almost gotten into the series with the CPC version of Elite when they bundled it with issue 100 of the Amstrad Action magazine, but between my seeing it in the shop and getting cash to buy it, the magazine had been swiped...
 
I KNOW Frontier Astro. We have been friends for decades.

High winds this weekend and I lost power. I went to the basement to check the breakers just in case and they were OK. The power came on a few hours later.

Next to the breakers was a shelf with a plastic container. I opened it up and found a 5.25" disc of Frontier: Elite II and a Firebird version of the original Elite plus a few support discs that I don't remember what computer I used them with!

With today's technology you can play any version of the Elite games as desired. Still with friends like Frontier Astro who was there at the start it makes me smile. No I won't tell you his name.

Regards
 
Frontier killed my Amiga 500+ with half a meg expansion slot, the disk drive died but by then I had got my hands on a SX25 with 4 meg, and a 80 meg HD, good times :)
 
Are you sure it was 5.25" ?
I think 3.5" was the standard back then - Amiga, Atari ST, 386 PC - all had 3.5" drives.
It was 5.25. You want a picture? It was really black so might take some creative photography with great lighting to upload a decent picture. I'm thinking that it was the Commodore 64 with the 5.25 inch drive. I wasn't into IBM PCs then.
 
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Frontier killed my Amiga 500+ with half a meg expansion slot, the disk drive died but by then I had got my hands on a SX25 with 4 meg, and a 80 meg HD, good times :)
Amiga. I was there. A great computer for the times with probably the worst company to promote it. Heck the movie "The Last Starfighter" c1984 used it's abilities where every other computer manufacture didn't come close. Oh, Elite came out in 1984...

Regards
 
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It was 5.25. You want a picture? It was really black so might take some creative photography with great lighting to upload a decent picture. I'm thinking that it was the Commodore 64 with the 5.25 inch drive.
Picture? Sure, why not. :)
Just finding it hard to believe a 5.25" version of FE2 exists (cool if it does) - C64 Firebird Elite of course is 5.25" floppy (or C-tape). :)
 
It was 5.25. You want a picture? It was really black so might take some creative photography with great lighting to upload a decent picture. I'm thinking that it was the Commodore 64 with the 5.25 inch drive.
C64 didn't get Frontier: Elite II; that was 32-bit machines only. The 8-bit era only had the original Elite which is, in many respects, still better than the follow-ons. In most respects it has, of course, been vastly superceded. But what I really loved about it was the manual, novella, and just the quirky and funny planetary descriptions (Edible Poets et al), which the later games replaced by trying to be more realistic.

C64 had tape and 5.25" drives, but the Amiga and Atari had 1.44MB 3.5" discs. I don't think I ever saw a 5.25" disc for those machines.

Maybe you found a PC copy, which possibly came on a 5.25" HD (1.2MB) disc? PCs started off with the low-density 5.25" drives, 3.5" drives came out later for them and weren't nearly as common for a very long time.
 
Who knows. Here is a picture...



Maybe I created the thing 35 plus years ago. Looks like it as that is my graphics and not Frontier back then. Now I wonder what is on it and why I would save it to a 5.25 disc while FE2 was all about 3.5 discs.
 
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Amiga. I was there. A great computer for the times with probably the worst company to promote it. Heck the movie "The Last Starfighter" c1984 used it's abilities where every other computer manufacture didn't come close. Oh, Elite came out in 1984...

Regards
I first played Elite in the early 90's it was the game I brought when I traded in my Sega mega drive for the Amiga :)

To think it was a nice sunny day and there is a swiming pool, but no I must play Elite :)

 
Who knows. Here is a picture...



Maybe I created the thing 35 plus years ago. Looks like it as that is my graphics and not Frontier back then. Now I wonder what is on it and why I would save it to a 5.25 disc while FE2 was all about 3.5 discs.
Wow. :)

Yeah, maybe you made a copy to test how well it runs on a XT/AT or even a regular IBM PC :eek: (very unlikely to run at all, as IIRC FE2 needed DOS 5.0 or higher with EMM386 & 595+ kB conventional RAM still free)?
Or it is a save disk, to reside on a separate disk drive?
 
I have a little story about my 20 years of Frontier: Elite II. You see, I first came across Elite when FFE came out and I read an article in a local gaming mag about it. Now, where I live, getting niche games at the time was quite difficult, as legal stores generally didn't carry them (just the "AAA" titles) and nobody I knew had the game, nor could get it. I always kept an eye out for it wherever, but there was nothing for three years. Then, in one shop which had a rather extensive catalogue of titles collecting dust on the shelves, they said that while they don't have FFE, they do have the previous game, FE2. So I bought that one instead. Looking back on it, I'm glad I did: the contents of the box were much better, in my opinion. Plus it was better to play FE2 a lot first, and then the sequel later.
Now, for some reason, I wrote the date inside the box itself; I never did that before, nor after. I still have it around, it says 1998. July 25.

Oh, and it was the "CD" version of the game - which just meant that they decompressed the floppy version and burned that to the CD, wasting a whole lot of space.

I only got my hands on FFE when I found it on some warez site after finally getting 24/7 internet access, never could buy it legally. Oh well, Mr. Braben has received plenty of my money since.
 

Kerrash

Volunteer Moderator
FE2 is bae! Played it to SagA* and back :D

My intro to the franchise as I was too young to be an '84er
 
Having played Elite at school back in '84, and later on the C64, i couldn't wait to get hold of FE2. Strange thing is, I recently found the map that came with it and the book!
Brought back some happy memories!
Trying to get the hang of Newtonian flight after Elite was a proper PITA, but got there in the end.
Regards,o7
 
FE2 is an amazing game even today. I whiled away weeks of my time on it, and that was while I had Dangerous downloaded!
 
FE2 was the game finally that got me to splash out on a 68030 accelerator card for my Amiga so it would play more smoothly. I spent so many hours on that game I don't think my Elite Dangerous hours have surpassed it yet.
 
Yeah, erm hmmm - great game!
It killed none of my computers at all but it killed relationships and an eternal amount of time.
I love it!
I discovered it a little late, i inherited the CD32 version which i still like best because of the navigation aid.
the dude who gifted it to me didn't liked the game where you "have nothing to do" many can't get warm with open world still today.

If things i made wasn't bound to some leafy stuff then it was bound to FE2.
Some know me well like Geraldine and Steve.

When i started to play it no one else close to me liked it and everybody thought i'm nuts, but i have to admit i'm from deep valley (Kanton Glarus, Switzerland, really deep).

For those who yet know me well (but you will have to):



wrong picture... ;)

131980


A never ending story.

I could write an essay about it, but i guess that's not needed.

As usual i'm a little late, there is just one thing where i'm usually never late ;)
However let's celebrate it on (i never did anything else i don't mind about anniversaries, every year is an anniversary for FE2 and FFE what is the difference if it's 25th or 26th or 99th?

I have a soundcomparison clip for you which shows how the score sounds using a recent virtual MIDI synth.
However it's still a little deranged, very primitive BUT i always liked the score of FE2 because i like classical music.
FE2 gaves me shivers, i won't forget how i felt how nervous i was when i first was in orbit to a gas giant and liked to land on it.
It used to gave me the impression of real extreme height as primitive the graphics was seen from todays pov.

the order is: MS wavetable, creative 8MBGM, "Fatboy".
Yes the "Glockenspiel" is a little to loud in "fatboy" not only for this game i told this the publisher of Fatboy already, usually homebrew soundfonts have somewhere a leak and are a little specialised, Fatboy is quite good for classical music and jazz and rarely sounds bad with a nicely made MIDI.
Unfortunately you have to live with the adlib sound because if you switch to MIDI the SFX also turn to MIDI and worst of all for some reason the Piano chords hang, probably an issue of DOSBox and i can't remember how that was on a real machine because i always played with adlib music because of the stupid sounding MIDI chords as SFX. It makes only sense to explore the music in MIDI but not to play the game (yes i do played the PC version very excessive after my divorce. On the other hand F1 GP uses the same either MIDI or adlib SFX and the MIDI chords as SFX never hang, piano chords for motor sound ever heard this? "clang - clang - clang, quite funny).

Unfortunately you can't get "MAXSBOS" of GUS working for DOSBox this would change this behave and you would have MIDI music and adlib SFX.
I have to tell this the devs of DOSBox, i would like to get this for certain games like FE2 or F1GP, it mismatches because of the implemented expanded memory manager which isn't accepted by GUS software as EMM. I know or read already that they don't see much sense for GUS in DOSBox (because of todays virtual MIDI wavetable synths), but well they won't help you to get SFX and MIDI music for certain old games further yes they do sound good but no they aren't as balanced as the wavetables of GUS, it's very advanced and even much better as MS wavetable synth. and this for a product from 1993!

As next i will made a clip of TomM's GL Frontier where i used the converted MIDI's from FFE revisited by Mike Cook instead of the conversion of the Atari score.
To save space (which isn't really needed) and to reach better performance they are heavy compressed .ogg files @64kB/s in 22050Hz (22kHz is condition for GLFE2). I also converted the whole score for FFED3D to this in .mp3 (.mp2 in fact) because i noticed glitches in the sound if the sampling freq. is 44100. It's prepped for the use with JSGME to exchange the files easy, i split the score to two sets, set one contains the music from FE2 and set two contains the rest from FFE if you like something different as a classical music score. (interested in a StarWars score for GLFE2?, to be honest i rarely play GLFE2 sorry Tom but i could then play as well the amiga version, and i miss a little the original look of the planets, the shading is cool but there are no continents or anything to see on them that's sad, recently i have also big problems to run it, win10 strongly dislikes GLFE2 it runs but fails often to start, it's slightly better if i use the latest release of SDL1 but it didn't helps much, expect no magic. What i wonder is why didn't take the CD32 version as base? it's the most advanced of all FE2 releases. Neither i like the 4:3 aspect ratio, as i remember it the aspect is 16:10 with a black border on the bottom if displayed on a 4:3 aspect monitor it isn't streched in height to 4:3)
FFE score for GLFE2

For those who like to get the additions i collected i have this file, at this point a big thx to Hoopla and the rest of you dudes who preserved it, to Theunis who guided me through my hardest time after my divorce and again to Hoopla, JJ and Tompox, i haven't had web access then but i had a lot of docs to read and a lot of time to dig into it. (as a tip, i use since long tiny hexer, it's a very nice hex editor and the best is you can send a file to it which means you can open a file very quick without to change the set standard program to open it, sure you can drag files into it but most handy is to rightclick on the file and send it to tiny hexer)

It contains a set of prepped savegames (and of course the savegame editor) as a sort of Missions for a quick play so you won't get a pimped ship without to do something for it.

Many will know this stuff i already posted it here almost a decade ago and it's still to find on SSC.
The Flight Plan Generator is something worth to be looked at, if you are bored of FE2 and played it to excessive it will be a nice addition.
The Log isn't very handy so it's not included
Tom's FE2 editor should be also present.
Most you can obtain from Steve or Hoopla or who ever it's spread widely but never collected in one zipped folder.
Sad is that i lost my HTML wormhole list, it was quite handy because you could select simply location and target and it showed you the best intermediate system i found.
FE2 Additions

A little extra for Win10 users.
Win10 has this stupid behave to open app windows staggered from upper left corner to lower right this can be annoying.
A nice solution is to use Windows App Kit Compatibility Administrator, you can download it for free from MS (enter "Compatibility Administrator" you will find it).
It only needs a simple fix "keep app window centered to screen", the .sdb can be exchanged so if you are interested here they are (drop them anywhere, load it into the compatibility manager and activate the patch) Included are the patches for DOSBox so all you DOSBox games will open always centered on screen and one for GLFE2, you can take it also as template for a patch for JJFFE (or pioneer or any else App you like to open always centered and won't do by default) for FFED3D it's not longer needed Andy fixed that for it with his latest release:


Let's make the clip now.
 

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