Elite / Frontier ZX Spectrum 128k Elite "3" - 1993

I remember that mission - and utterly failed.

I had no clue whatsoever how to go about actually doing it - and if I remember right - that was a game over :(
You can't refuel at the station so you must have a Galactic hyperspace onboard. The moment you launch from the station the star goes nova, you have about 15 seconds to get out of dodge! This mission forces you into galaxy 3.

Cheers,

Drew.
 
It was great to see the Supernova happen on the last hyperspace jump of the stream, perfect timing :)

I’ve been doing a little further searching for mission trigger info - some interesting stuff from Ersh on the World Of Spectrum / Spectrum Computing forums who has used a debugger on the game - they reckon:


Mission 1 (Sun going super nova) is triggered after you've made 32 hyperspace jumps in any galaxy but the first.

Mission 2 (The cloaked Asp) is triggered after you've made 128 jumps in any galaxy but the first.

Mission 3 (Thargoid attack) is triggered after you've made 254 jumps in any galaxy but the first

Looks like I’ll be getting very familiar with my current Galaxy chart :) Edit: it also ties in with another snippet of info that said all the missions after the first one can be completed in Galaxy 3.

My current plan of action: find two systems within 1ly of each other and hyperspace ping-pong between them until I need to refuel - I’ll report back with findings!

Also, I seem to be unusually lucky with the Ship Boarded By Pirates game over screen, going by the percentages they discovered:

0.39% likelihood in Corporate States and Democracies

0.78% likelihood in Confederacies and Communist States

1.17% likelihood in Dictatorships and Multi-Governments

1.56% likelihood in Feudal Worlds and Anarchies
 
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Success!

I found two systems 0.8ly apart from each other so I could manage 8 hyperjumps before having to refuel - including the flight back to the Station, each ping-pong session lasted about 5 minutes. Thankfully I’ve travelled the current Galaxy a fair bit, so I only had to do 4 sessions before the Thargon (sic) mission triggered.

I’ve been given an ECM System Jammer and a target in a system 14.7ly’s away. Time to go stop the alien attacks on that planet (even though, according to the last Lore Stream, we’re the baddies :))
 
It was great to see the Supernova happen on the last hyperspace jump of the stream, perfect timing :)

I’ve been doing a little further searching for mission trigger info - some interesting stuff from Ersh on the World Of Spectrum / Spectrum Computing forums who has used a debugger on the game - they reckon:


Mission 1 (Sun going super nova) is triggered after you've made 32 hyperspace jumps in any galaxy but the first.

Mission 2 (The cloaked Asp) is triggered after you've made 128 jumps in any galaxy but the first.

Mission 3 (Thargoid attack) is triggered after you've made 254 jumps in any galaxy but the first
This is fab - thanks for letting me know - we'll investigate in due course!

Cheers,

Drew.
 
That.
Was.
Tough.

I don’t think I’d ever be able to complete the Thargoid mission without emulator save-slots - kudos to those who managed it back in the day! The prospect of going back to the previous Station after each death, nooooooope!

One nice benefit from my sweaty piloting skills being put to their ultimate test:
4D7E1CC3-B87F-4614-A012-C684276078E6.jpeg

Hurrah for Thargoids being worth 4x normal kills!
 
I recall playing once on the 48k Spectrum and docked on a station and there was something about being boarded by Merciless space pirates. I got the impression I'd failed the mission I was on - but I don't recall much else about it. I think I was on a mission to rescue a hijacked space station, or something. Don't recall.

Back then the stations didn't have guns and just spawned endless Vipers. I seem to recall on one version you would just target the slot of a station and fire continually by taping down the fire key until the police suicided enough vipers to give you "elite" rating. The viper couldn't actually turn quickly enough to clear your lasers before being blown up, so every one the police launched was an immediate kill.....
 
Ho ho! That was an interesting read and certainly raised one, then the other, eyebrow :D

Sounds like Speccy Elite was the product of what we’d call “crunch” and they were not too impressed with the help from Bell & Braben (“just a pigging list of numbers”) or the original game - “All they’d done is cobble it together over a few years and they acted like it was holy writ. All the info and stuff had just been copied from a board game called Traveller”

Still, they produced what I think is the best version of the original releases, and it’s still bringing me enjoyment all these years later. Would’ve liked to have seen those Generation Ships and Black Holes though :)
 
To be honest. It is incredible what they got out of a 48K spectrum. Or 32k BBC. Expecting generation ships or black holes, too. Well, maybe in the 128k version I used to think. But they wouldn't have been that impressive due to the inherent limitations of the platform, which already required quite a lot of imagination from players.

games have certainly moved on a bit, haven't they? - back in the day someone could write a million-seller effectively on their own. Teams of just a few people used to produce this month's top game & names like Geoff Crammond, Mike Singleton and Matthew Smith really meant something and, in context, some were like pop stars.

Now virtually nobody knows the names of the coders. Mind you. It's like "Who played 2nd flute in the London Philharmonic Orchestra?"

But it must have been so exciting to write that thing in your free time after University and publish it. Most indy games these games get totally eclipsed by big business, and even small games have a cast of dozens.
 
To be honest. It is incredible what they got out of a 48K spectrum. Or 32k BBC. Expecting generation ships or black holes, too. Well, maybe in the 128k version I used to think. But they wouldn't have been that impressive due to the inherent limitations of the platform, which already required quite a lot of imagination from players.

games have certainly moved on a bit, haven't they?
Part of the reason I’m enjoying replaying Elite is because I’m having to use my imagination to fill in the blanks, something I’ve not had to do in games for a long while - like exercising a long forgotten brain area, long unused because games have been serving us everything on a plate for the last pair of decades.

It’s been fun remembering what I imagined the “blanks” were back then - for me, Elite was a place of the black & white line art from the manual and the sort of artwork that was in the 2000AD comic at the time.

The main reason I’m getting so much fun from the game now is due to me playing the game very conservatively back in the 80’s - my game time was limited back then so I was very risk-averse, I was doing fairly mundane runs in Galaxy Chart 1 and that was all. Now I can do instant saves at each Station, I only risk losing a few minutes play - so I’ve suddenly discovered huge swathes of the game I’d never known about.

It’s an incredibly tight design and wonderfully balanced - even now, many hours into the game with the best ship I can have, I’m still being challenged and sometimes even bested by opponents.
 
Seeing as the Dread Pirates Red pitched up on the stream today, I’ve reread the World Of Spectrum forum post by Ersh regarding them - once you’ve got them, you’re stuck with them :(

They list two POKEs to turn them off:
  • 48k - POKE 56907, 254
  • 128K - POKE 55315, 254
They’ve also made a list of 12x POKEs to enter which is essentially a mod for the 128k version - if you approach a Station and it isn’t rotating (denoting that pirates have overtaken it) then you can jump to another system to escape. Clever stuff!


Edit: they also mention it doesn’t occur in Galaxy 1
 
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Well. Isn't that just a random "you're dead"?

Seems a bit weird just to have it russian roulette you. Mind you, it only happens in certain types of system, so arguably it's up to you if you take the risk.

Save early, save often
 
Well. Isn't that just a random "you're dead"?

Seems a bit weird just to have it russian roulette you. Mind you, it only happens in certain types of system, so arguably it's up to you if you take the risk.

Save early, save often
Unfortunately it happens in all types of system, just the chance is lower in safer state ones. Even though the biggest chance is 1.56% (Feudal or Anarchy) I still seem to get hit quite regularly - I suppose it evens out correctly, I’m about 2/3 my way through circumnavigating Galaxy Chart 5 and I’ve been hit 3 or 4 times.

I’m tempted to POKE the problem away but I want to do a “proper” playthrough, so I might have to put up with the occasional gnashing of teeth :)

Edit: the programmer Ricardo Pinto refers to it as one of the Special Missions in the magazine interview Drew posted above - I reckon it could’ve used a bit more playtesting :D

Edit2: not wanting to believe in a no-win scenario, I’ve got the Red Pirates to trigger and tried a couple more things - shooting the Station with missiles while cloaked so it doesn’t use its ECM (no win) and shooting the Station with missiles normally in the hope the ECM Jammer from the Thargoid mission would still work (no win).

I think this is Elite’s “Kobayashi Maru” - and apparently I swear more than Lt. Saavik when faced with this test of character :D
 
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There may also be a non-poke workaround for this. Got the following comment on my youtube.

On the 'Load new commander screen' press 'Y' then Save commander, name it what you like. Let it go through the motions of saving. You'll then be docked where you died.

Haven't tested this yet though!

The pirates "mission" looks like this! ;)

Cheers,

Drew.

 
On the 'Load new commander screen' press 'Y' then Save commander, name it what you like. Let it go through the motions of saving. You'll then be docked where you died.

Haven't tested this yet though!
Give that person a licky-sticky Gold Star!

I’ve just tried it out on the pirate save I have and...it...works! I was back in the Pirate-infested Station with all the same gear and cargo, and upon launching the Station was rotating again - obviously the key sequence used in the above work-around corresponds exactly with the Coriolis Rotation Emergency Procedure Enactment which pancakes all the zero-G loving pirates to the deck, allowing their capture :D

The Pirate mission flag may survive Hyperspace, Galactic Hyperjumps, and being crammed into an Escape Pod, but it cannot survive the “brrrrrPIP...brrrrrPIPPIPPIPPIDDYPIP!” of the humble Speccy save tape!

Edit: I’ve just experienced it in my live game and the thought came to me - I got captured by pirates, they showed me no mercy, then the game gave me this option: “Save Commander ARIOCH”...yes please, I think I’ll save him from the pirates, let’s go on a daring rescue into the detention centre :) No qualms about using this in the future!
 
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I’ve made it to Galaxy Chart 8 after a curtailed circumnavigation of Chart 7 - a flubbed key press while fleeing a particularly spicy encounter with two pirate wings added a “Galactic” in front of the “Hyperspace” I was expecting to see - so my original plan of getting 2 or 3 “Right On Commander” messages per remaining Galaxy has now altered to 5 or 6 messages (hopefully, if I’ve counted correctly) in the final one.

The game still surprises - I’ve not encountered this before but after not getting docking permission due to my Fugitive status I flew away from the station in the hope of meeting some bad ‘uns whose demise would get me back into the local authority’s good books. A ship cluster signal appeared on my scanner at the two o’clock position which would normally be a wing of pirate Sideys or Kraits - this time it was a wing of 3xVipers, presumably the local Fuzz come to dispense a bit of coherent light justice.

I decided to try a different system to dock at, as I flew away from the expanding debris field :)

Edit: ...and a handful of systems along, I spy this:
4C75C8BE-9A86-4B7F-9208-FBF5316D1CCE.jpeg

...is that a binary system? Looks like Cecees is perfectly positioned atop Esusale (the star name that comes up when selecting it with the cursor).
 
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Had a bit of a surprise this morning - whilst fighting a lone Asp I got my latest “Right On Commander”...but it came when I used the ECM on the missile it had just launched!

I didn’t realise missiles were worth killpoints, so I’m now letting more get launched at me to see if my rank progression speeds up at all.

Edit: I was normally getting a “Right On Commander” every four days or so - just had another one this morning after getting almost all vessels to launch their missiles at me. Looks like I’m getting at least double the progress this way :)

Also, congrats to Drew Wagar for completing the Stealth Asp mission on his Saturday stream, I’m pretty sure I only had two extra pirates spawn with mine - he had to deal with a wing of four!
 
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Great thread, nice progress and good information.

About that Supernova Refugees -mission. When it begins does there happen a fuel leak immediately after the jump to the system in this version? If so, it is maybe possible to go directly to scoop some fuel from the system's star (that one which is going Supernova soon enough) before reaching and docking to the system's station for the mission briefing.

In PC Elite Plus you can avoid galactic hyperspace jump that way when Supernova mission is triggered with in flight on-screen "FUEL LEAK" message if immediately going to scoop fuel. After mission briefing in a station it isn't anymore possible, because the Star will really go supernova, leaving galactic hyperdrive jump as your only option for departure from the system (i.e. it's possible to get stuck to the system if you don't refuel before docking, and you don't have GHD, and saving game there under such conditions).

Also, In Elite Plus, The system of Supernova will appear without it's star there after regardless of how manyeth time you re-enter to it.
 
Great thread, nice progress and good information.

About that Supernova Refugees -mission. When it begins does there happen a fuel leak immediately after the jump to the system in this version? If so, it is maybe possible to go directly to scoop some fuel from the system's star (that one which is going Supernova soon enough) before reaching and docking to the system's station for the mission briefing.

In PC Elite Plus you can avoid galactic hyperspace jump that way when Supernova mission is triggered with in flight on-screen "FUEL LEAK" message if immediately going to scoop fuel. After mission briefing in a station it isn't anymore possible, because the Star will really go supernova, leaving galactic hyperdrive jump as your only option for departure from the system (i.e. it's possible to get stuck to the system if you don't refuel before docking, and you don't have GHD, and saving game there under such conditions).

Also, In Elite Plus, The system of Supernova will appear without it's star there after regardless of how manyeth time you re-enter to it.
This is something that Drew Wagar tried out in his livestream - it is possible to fuel scoop from the star before it goes supernova, however when you leave the Station and try to do a normal hyperspace to a nearby system you still end up in the next Galaxy and the Galactic Hyperdrive is deleted from your inventory.

Must be the supernova shockwave interfering with the hyperdrive engines or some other handwavingly vague reasoning :D
 
Thanks @Arioch. On those star systems that appear close enough each other (making it impossible to make a jump between them directly). There are similar issue in Elite Plus too. That's probably because star chart isn't 2-dimensional, all systems have 3 coordinates. If X and Y are close enough to mark same spot, Z still differs. If systems A and B are close enough not to allow direct jump, going via C allows jump to either system. Can't recall how it is exactly in Elite Plus, but I think there must be at least 0.8ly between systems to allow direct jump. Shorter than that and galactic navigation chart cannot make difference between systems if being either of those.

It think this feature is present in every version of Classical Elite.
 
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