Elite / Frontier Elite Plus

Long time no see...

I decided to put my already few years old speedrun record to Speedrun.com, starting appropriate category for it there in hopes that some other EP Commander would get motivation to break it and make it better: https://www.speedrun.com/Elite_Plus_PCDOS

(under construction, more details, guides, sources etc will be added. Possibly also more categories)

I'll verify possible new records/record attempt entries with adequate video proofs.



Right on Commanders!
 
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It's generally bad behavior in an internet forum to quote whole *** thread above for random speedrun guys to break the record, I know.

They all should extensively test:

A) Is it beneficial to spend as much as money you can for spare Energy Bombs for saving some time overall for extra time spent when buying these luxuries by docking in a station?

B) Is it beneficial to spend some money to Escape capsule for saving some time when you know you've already 1000 or more Hit points accumulated?

C) How many minutes you can save in the start of the game when getting your minimum basic equipment? My record run is unoptimized.

D) How many minutes you can save if learning to fly your Cobra MkIII with speeds not coded to the original game? (Set your speed as such with an emulator you can save some time... as long as you're the pilot of your EP Cobra MkIII.)

E) Can you benefit in speedrun by shooting a station, getting Fugitive status, and endless stream of police Vipers as targets....?

This Archangel is as serious as possible when it comes to this particular version of the game (only Elite version where you can achieve the rank of Archangel). I expect that same from all usurper canditates.

Thank you, Commander. o7

Nothoria Infama
Archangel, Double Elite
Elite Plus


PS. I know myself the world record run is far from optimal.

PSS. I have enough flying hours in this game to be honest what it can ever give to you, Commander X.
 
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Hi everybody
Does anyone of you know how the points and rating are stored and to inteprete in a savegame?
It was a Q of someone on VOGONS, i peeped into his savegame and hoopers but it's not to clear to me how the counter works and how it's to interprete.

Referring to "D" the values at adress 0x90 to 0x91 and 0x92 to 0x93 re the points if i look at hoopers savegame it's "2" for both which would mean two shot ships an approached to the first rank. If i take the savegame of the one who asked for how near he is to elite the values (obviousely) differ much.
 
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Hi everybody
Does anyone of you know how the points and rating are stored and to inteprete in a savegame?
It was a Q of someone on VOGONS, i peeped into his savegame and hoopers but it's not to clear to me how the counter works and how it's to interprete.

Referring to "D" the values at adress 0x90 to 0x91 and 0x92 to 0x93 re the points if i look at hoopers savegame it's "2" for both which would mean two shot ships an approached to the first rank. If i take the savegame of the one who asked for how near he is to elite the values (obviousely) differ much.
You may have found this already, but if not - you'll want to download "elchksum.zip" from the Elite Plus utilities section on George Hooper's site: http://ffeartpage.com/utility.htm#tag4

The readme.txt that George has written details the data contained in a .cdr file when viewed in a hex-editor such as HxD, but also note that if you are going to edit them, he files have a checksum value stored to protect against cheating. The program elchksum.exe, written by Steve Critchlow can be used to correct it for an edited file - details in the reame.txt file also.
It looks like to be Elite ranked you have to reach 1000 points: 0x03E8 in hex, which would be stored as "E8 03" in the cdr file at the two addresses.
 
Thanks again Andy, no i bypassed this file because i don't play Elite or Elite plus, you can't play all and each time i start it i get the feeling i could then play Frontier as well which i will prefere. Pardon me FFED3D of course :)
I would like to join "dangerous" but as it looks i need a much better machine as my lousy notebook.
(in fact each time i play FFED3D i feel the urge to build the missing models and then i feel sorry because i didn't)
 
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Hi Commanders

Still playing EP occasionally, currently at Galaxy 6, Double Elite Offender, maybe about 85000-95000+ kills, with some 2.685.000 Credits. No new special encounters or anything out of normal grinding. Seriously contemplating an attempt for trying to break the already years old Speedrun world record (From the start of the game to Elite promotion: 2h43min) in near future. -5 minutes should be relatively easily doable if optimizing the start... Let's see.

Anyway, I would be extremely happy if someone can provide a link to a site where I could upload the Russian Language version of Elite Plus, or if such site/bucket doesn't exist yet, make that possible by him/herself. :)

Only Archangels from The Russian colony of Riedquat can be reasonably presumed taken necessary actions for saving such precious artifact.

If there are other language-modded versions of Elite Plus, this is exactly the place to bring them out/post links to them. Thank you.

Right on Commanders!

PS. If EP is installed into your nerve system, you don't lose the knowledge how to pilot your Cobra MkIII. Ever.
 
So, as someone looking to get into Elite, is Elite Plus for DOS a good version to start with? are their any nasty bugs? are there any fixes? if not Elite Plus what Elite should I start with?
 
Lord_Kane... i would start with E4 :)
Nah ok, i can't.
Then Frontier?
This would be my choice - it was my choice.

I guess "Elite" and "Elite Plus" differ as much to "Frontier" and "First Encounters" as they differ to Elite Dangerous.
In other terms, maybe the look of the Cobra MKIII is the only similarity.

Reading above to play "Elite Plus" to Elite ranking in 2:40h such is not to guess of for "Frontier" or "First Encounters", it takes month's to become Elite in "Frontier".
The rewarding for shot ships differs much, Frontier is sleek and you need to shoot countless enemies and points are little per shot craft, one and in very rare cases more as one then 255 of them are again one point which goes to the ranking score which doubles the needed points for each rank).
You aren't rewarded with points for nasty acting in Frontier (vice versa i would say).
Probably if one is patiently enough he can buy a heavy shielded Panther and wait on a photo or bombing mission for the hundreds of enemies to collide with you,
i haven't had the patience to be honest. Another problem is that you need to play quite long and have to finish countless missions to achieve a military rank which gets you in position for reconnaissance or bombing missions. So before you can do this you have to play very long, boring long for the start off delivery missions.

Honestly i never became "Elite" in Frontier in all those years, i always got bored long before, if you reached the rank for bombing missions which is close to the highest military ranking you are still only half way to become "Elite" by shot ships, it depends a little on how many you shot down of course.
For a little while you will pick up any little "Falcon" spread by a hidden military station, but after a while you will finish the mission and leave as soon as possible because even this gets boring after a while (usually i fly near to ground level to such a station so attackers will collide with the surface, after i laid my egg i leave as fast as i can not caring about the ships which are on my tail).

On the other hand i can reach "elite" in five minutes.... but that's not playing that's hacking.

Long text short sense,
Each "Elite" differs to the other and is worth to be played.

In my personal opinion "First Encounters" is the best of the previous released (Elite Dangerous i can't play), unlike FE2 it has a story which makes it more interesting to play as Frontier, achieving military ranks and elite is the same as for Frontier but it's no longer of much interest in First Encounters.
Your goal it the first encounter, the first contact with the Thargoids. It has many sub threads which are also fun to play and even can influence if you ever will encounter the Thargoids. In Frontier you form your character while playing, in Frontier itself you won't recognize this much but in FFE it can hinder you from certain things.
Being greedy and hunting for every credit isn't the way to win the game, being mamas beloved son and act like a boy scout will help a lot. Sure if you once played that story to the end it loses interest but then it's still to play like Frontier and you can still achieve elite (as grey :) ).

Finally as a tip, if you decide ever to play FFE sure play FFED3D but keep a original DOS version running, i noticed that in certain parts FFEWIN on which FFED3D is based can fail in the Thargoid missions, at least i had to use the original FFE for some things to finish. What exactly i can't remember it's quite a while ago since i played it through. But i know i stuck and when i loaded the save state to original FFE i could step further.

I guess it's a good decision to start with "Elite Plus", as it seems the game didn't consumes to much time.
After that you can still invest countless hours in First Encounters.
And you will, even when you follow the step by step guide which is known as "spoiler" (because it tells you how to decide).

A little bit of advertising at the very end;
I edited a couple of save states for Frontier, short sort of missions to complete, i think if one didn't likes to play the game for years this is a good alternative to just play an afternoon. Finish the mission(s) and you will be rewarded with a souped up ship but you can only keep it if you finished the mission. Each mission has a different goal, different ship and different skill.

I will open soon a thread about good old Frontier because after almost 25years of playing it with the wrong sounding music i finally can play it with the proper sounding music.
Thanks to the "Munt" (Roland MT32 emulation) project.
Honestly i had no idea and some will have recognized this already that i was in the complete dark about the MT32 and it's specialties.
 
Hi Nothoria Infama,
If you also speak Russian then EliteGames.Ru may be a good place for you to visit & join?
It has an archive and it's own Elite Sub-Forum too.
Thanks! Unfortunately my Russian is at the level of "Njet", "Spasiba!", "Normal" etc. But google translator will help. :)

...

Unrelated rant:

I made earlier tonight some tests and preparations for an attempt to break that already annoyingly old Speedrun record. Tested how long it actually takes to equip your Cobra MkIII ready for the jump to Riedquat (or other Anarchy) with minimal necessities to survive in the grinder. Best attempt was almost exactly 15 minutes of play from the start of the game, and with little better luck with RNG (how often and fast traders for looting appear, and how much and what cargo they carry) even that can be cut down a little bit. The start of that last game was so good I continued immediately to the record breaking attempt as recording was on. However, due lack of recent routine and current sleep deprivation my fresh 'Jameson' got killed soon after at Riedquat, maybe some 150 kills. Anyway, I figured out what is the best order to do things to minimize time for equipping the ship.

1. Start of the game at Lave. Sell one missile and your Fore Pulse Laser. Buy Fuel Scoop. (You have 2 missiles left)
2. Jump to Leesti, as it is more peaceful and profitable place to do some initial commerce raiding = accumulate more credits/time unit and credits/ trader ship encountered.
3. Kill 2 traders encountered with your 2 missiles, but before launching missile fly close to them to be able to scoop their cargo faster. Its best if you just fly directly behind them, using missile at the last moment before collision. That way you usually scoop their entire cargo and metal alloys of a ship right away, without need to hunt cargo canisters separately. However, there is still some risk... Crash every other ship incoming directly to you for saving time and accumulating kills, always when status of your ship's energy banks allow that.
4. Dock to Leesti system station (Dodec), sell your loot, buy 4 missiles, and dispatch out again. Hobby with piratical activities as aforementioned. Try stay close to the station and on a line between planet and its sun, as that way you waste less time in your docking approach. When cargo hold is full (or near full), dock again. Buy ECM-System, and 4 Missiles.
5. Rinse and repeat 3-4, dock and buy Mining Lasers (yes, they are just as good as Military Lasers, but cost a fraction of those). From this point on you don't need missiles anymore, and only about 1500 credits for Extra Energy Unit, and fuel. Note that you can count also a selling price of Fuel Scoops to that 1500 Credits, as you don't need that piece of equipment anymore in your Elite Plus speedrun record attempt. When funds for the Extra Energy Unit are acquired, dock, make your last purchases in Leesti, say: "Bye bye Dorothy!" to the system and hyperspace directly to Riedquat - to The Coolest system in the Galaxy Chart 1.

When leaving from Leesti you're likely ranked as 'Above Average'.

You have now minimally equipped Ironass Cobra MKIII for your urgent needs in your attempt to become the ELITE within next 2 and half hours.

  • Fore Mining Lasers
  • ECM System
  • Extra Energy Unit

Riedquat. All above is just mere foreplay for the next hours of grinding as your main goal is to kill as much 'Harmless Rodents' you can trying maximize your kills/per time unit. Forget everything else, ignore cargo capsules and escape pods (even if you have still Fuel Scoops), forget credits. Your sole purpose for now one is accumulate hit points.
Local rather anarchic 'Harmless Rodents' try intensely transform your Cobra MKIII to debris, but you accept the challenge: generally you shoot everything that fly with some kind of propulsion system, engine, thrusters, and everything else too if it blocks your use of jump drive. Fly directly toward Riedquat's Coriolis station, and when you are near the planet, try keep yourself on a line of it and the sun, but don't fly far from it. Stay out of the station's shield-sphere as its absolutely too easy to crash with it or shoot it accidentally when decimating assaulting Rodents. Besides, its not worth of Elite to kill ships that doesn't even shoot back. Your choice, ultimately. Of course you can dock with station and buy more equipment if you want, but that may cost some precious time, time that is the most valuable thing in efforts like Elite Plus Speedrun to Elite from the start of the game.

About 2 and half hours later you need finally think that docking. Statistically You get about 11.5-12.0 Credits per kill on average when grinding in anarchist systems, and Riedquat isn't exception, thus you can relatively easily estimate how many kills you've accumulated. 1000 kills is near when you have about 11800 Credits. 1000 hits is enough big sample that RNG aspect of particular ships with different amounts of bounties is already statistically leveled up, and probability of extreme variances in an encountered ship type distribution (0-20 Credits, and occasional Thargoid 50Cr) to occur very small. You can also make extra docking if you're unsure about your kill totals. This is particularly useful if you're not docked since departure from Leesti, as you get promotion to Deadly knowing your exact number of Hit Points if you're still under 1000 kills. If more, then you're accomplished what you tried to do in the first place. Congratulations!

  • You're truly ELITE if you make it within 3 hours of real time (without saving the game).
  • I salute you, you make it within 2h 45 minutes (without saving the game).
  • If you break the world record, providing adequate video-proofs about it, you can then brag about it in a local pub, in a church, everywhere, and nobody, nobody can deny you truly deserve to be called Archangel!
  • If your record time comes closer to 2h 35 minutes in real time, you're the Elite Plus Badass par excellance! Galactic lore will tell stories about you even after multiple suns are gone supernovas!
  • Less than that, you are fearless Thargoid commander adjusting frame rates and cycles on your High-jacked Cobra MKIII's DOS-Box console to totally alien levels.

That shall be the introduction to the Elite Plus Speedrunning. If it takes more than 3 hours to become Elite in Elite Plus, you are simply bad combat pilot.

Right on Commanders!
 
So, as someone looking to get into Elite, is Elite Plus for DOS a good version to start with? are their any nasty bugs? are there any fixes? if not Elite Plus what Elite should I start with?
Commander Gernot already replied to your question, so do I too.

Elite Plus (PC/DOS) is probably the last version of Elite to start with (Note that Amiga Elite Plus is entirely different animal). There are several reasons for that, one of them being the fact that in Elite Plus several things considered typical to Classical versions of Elite are someway either watered down, half-baked, unimplemented, or unfinished. PC ElitePplus is actually updated version of PC Elite (CGA colors), with some added extra missions, better user interface, and MCGA colors.

  • Rank requirements for Elite promotion are set lowest across all different versions of Elite and it's descendants. Only 1000 or more kills for the rank.
  • The most fast paced Elite version among 'Classical' elite versions.
  • Missions: Tribbles, Supernova, Mask Device, Thargoid Plans, Asteroid Bombardment, Stolen Police ship, and Thargoid Invasion missions, and not fully implemented "Constrictor".
  • General bugginess of Elite Plus is often over-exaggerated, and clear bugs does appear in the game only when "Constrictor" mission is triggered, and between accumulated hit points of 60000-65536 during which you effectively lose your Elite combat rating and get several odd 60K+ "promotion" messages, and occasional buggy mentions about mysterious ship (you should chase down). However, buggy appearance doesn't inflict to actual game play, and will be fixed when your hit counter reach to the floating point of 65536/0 -> you start again get promoted normally from harmless to Elite (thus, unofficial Elite Plus 'Double Elite' rank for commanders with second Elite promotion at total of 66536 or more hits).
  • Elite Plus has 9th galaxy, and famed Archangel title, which both do lack from most Classical versions of Elite.
  • No known in-game means to force Witch-space mis-jump.
  • Witch space of Elite Plus is atypically grim place with atypically small survival chances, contra other classical elites.
  • Generally Elite Plus is the easiest commercial version of the Game ever made: you need only few hours to get enough credits for all purchasable equipment to your ship, and if you know what you do, less than 3 hours of real time game play to get famed Elite combat ranking.
  • Modern computers can make the game so fast that it's practically unplayable, tho honestly I tend to think that much of whining about its speed comes from the fact that people have been used to slower versions of Classical Elites and do not adapt themselves properly to Elite Plus based on their expectations on 'What should be right speed". I have played this game since '90s using myriad different Computers with DOS, Windows, Processors, and also with different versions of DOS-Box emulator, and I've never considered the game too fast to be played. I have never needed artificially slow down the game either, with any of my previous computers/systems. So, that unplayability by speed is mostly or at least partially just a 'myth'.
  • Idiotic AI. Enemies fly predictably. Hunters (Wolfs) joust with each other without shooting. Ships 'spam' all their missiles mindlessly if harassed, and so on, other indications for Elite Plus not being fully finished product.
  • In Elite plus career as a peaceful trader/merchant is utterly absurd and inefficient career option, in every way possible. Only time you need 'trade' anything is when you sell your looted cargo.
  • After Elite rank, about 35000 Credits, and missions you have practically left only endless grinding in essentially same galaxies. Money became meaningless.
I wouldn't recommend Elite Plus for newbies to get introduced to the Universe of Braben and Bell, as PC Elite Plus is the game reserved for most Hard Core Old School Elite Commanders (and for those who seek Raxxla for their entire life time), but every Commander should try it, as its free, its relatively easy to get functional even in most modern computers and systems, and as such its easy to also discard then after.

However for those rare who can enjoy for it, playing it can become a kind of transcendental, meditative experience. But it requires probably hundreds of hours of mindless grinding to really appreciate this ancient escape pod floating somewhere between Riedquat and Tionisla... :)

...and if you break that Speedrun Record, you're truly badass Pilot. All Elite versions considered. :)

EDIT: uh. I actually forgot recommend any Elite version. For introduction to classic Elite game I'd recommend Elite-TNK (Elite The New Kind), which is rather faithful reverse-engineering project of Classical elite(s). Worth to try. Here: https://www.new-kind.com/
 
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Now I know its certainly possible cut several minutes from the speedrun record. I managed to break record unofficially, without having any adequate proofs for confirmation that happened. Recording was not set on for the session, and also my timing was not properly organized to determine exact time, but My time was around 2h 40min - 2h 41min. Elite promotion with 1005 hit points. I made extra docking to the station when I had 974 hit points accumulated, getting promotion to 'Deadly'. After that it was easy to count remaining missing kills, and I shot few extra to make sure I was over 1000 hits when docking the last time. Rather 'mostlyharmlessly' I even paid 50Cr docking fee to make sure I don't f*ck it up anymore at the end. lol! n00b! Flight and grinder was very smooth as from the start (that was very good too RNG-wise) I wasn't particularly attempting anything in the record-breaking fields, thus there was no over-thinking or fake-concentration, or extra mental pressures involved when playing. Leisure run involving some periods of transcendence.

Tribble offer was declined, but I think that breaking the record with wind screen overpopulated with cute tribbles would be rather cool thing to do. :D

-------------
ADD: At the end part of the flight I had some difficulties in estimation how many kills I had, because I wasn't exactly sure how much I had money when leaving from Leesti, and I couldn't remember what was exactly statistical average bounty/ship when grinding in anarchist systems, and bank account is best way to estimate approximate amount of hits in long grinders. In speed runs you haven't that much time to start calculate stuff and make math, and that's why i dug out my old Elite Plus log book I dutifully made for CDR Nothoria until 60K kills promotion message occurred. I had then some 1.88 million Credits. From those notes I picked up a sample set of notes from anarchies to which I had also calculated how much bounties were before selling my loots. I doubt its fully accurate sample as I counted kills in my head then, but at least the size of the set is enough big to get good idea on how much bounties should on average be near 1000 kills accumulated. I started later keep count also for how long it approximately took in those high kill count grinders, but the times are rounded to a closest 5 minutes so they cannot be used for any rigorous calculations. However you get an idea how long it takes to get this or that amount of kills when grinding in an anarchic system with fully equipped Cobra MkIII, but for speed running purposes it is practically same as with minimum necessary equipment.

System / Kills / Bounty / Approx. real time of play

Sotiqu_______320______3522.5
Erbiti_______1008______10880.6
Xeaten______530______ 5887.8
Riaronus____613_______6744.7
Edzaar______252_______2698.5
Belees ______506______5298.3
Ararus______456_______5218.6
Riedquat____1030_____11025.4_____2h 15min
Uszaa_______515______5182.2_____1h 10min
Sotiqu_______418______4541.5_____1h
Erbiti________613______6678.7_____1h 15min
Xexeti_______522______5921.8_____1h 5min
Maesin______553______5722.2_____1h 15min
Retila_______705______7733.1_____1h 25min
Isveve______870______9493.5______1h 45min
Xeesenri____1161____12208.2______2h 20min
Maises______728_____7888.7______1h 30min
Xeaqu______1212____13085.3_____ 2h 25min

TOTAL_____12012____129731.6

Average: 129731.6 Credits/12012 Kills = 10.8 Credits/Kill

So, if entering to for example Riedquat with empty bank account on average you need get 10800 Credits to be relatively sure you're already 'Elite' before docking to the station. Note that you have already some kills from your efforts to get necessary equipment for the anarchist system.

We can also count from this data approximate time needed to get that unofficial "Double Elite" status in Elite Plus at 66536+ kills if spending all real time in-flight only in an anarchic system. If someone want get that unofficial combat rating it requires at least some 8000 minutes to do, which means about 133-134 hours of full combat sorties. Time well spent. Meanwhile you would have got approximate income of 718.000 credits only from bounties. With some realism added to needed time to become 'Double Elite', we need take account also very real possibilities of dying, and time wasted to those occasions. That time estimate doesn't take account necessary out-game "services" either, and also time spent out of flying and grinding in-game will grow in ratio to how much you play. Furthermore. Nobody can grind 24/7, which is pretty good raw estimate if you want get the "rank" within one week. If taking it as a project like daily job of 8h of work without weekends off-duty, realistically you could achieve it from 6 weeks to two months of daily duty as a full time Bounty Hunter/Pirate. However, do something like that and your mind would likely get as close Raxxla as it is possible in this game, and not necessarily in good way... :D

Someday, maybe someday there will be lively guild and community of active Elite Plus commanders discussing and testing all kinds of stuff about this Gem. For years this all have seemingly been rather lonely project. This thread is starting to look like a personal blog, which isn't its purpose nor my hope. Please forgive me.

Right on Commanders!
 
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