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Looking at an Elite history

By Chris Williams. Published: 21st Oct 2003, 15:16:31 | Permalink | Printable

Insight into the making of 8 bit legend, Elite

As some of you have pointed out to us, the Guardian has recently published extracts from Francis Spufford's new book, Backroom Boys: The Secret Return Of The British Boffin.

The quoted material documents in detail how Ian Bell and David Braben met and created Elite, the famous space flight'n'trading game for the Acorn BBC Micro. It also offers an insight into publishers Acornsoft and thus a fledgling Acorn and also the internal design of Elite.

Nostalgia googles at the ready.


Masters of their universe from the Guardian

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Right On Commander

 is a RISC OS UserGavC on 21/10/03 3:55PM
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It's odd that there's still not all that much like Elite, with the same freedom to do what you want (although admittedly in a universe without room for a huge number of choices).

It was interesting to read that Acornsoft were the second choice of publisher. It's also another example of something technically brilliant coming from Acorn(soft, in this case), but the business part wasn't quite there - they could have done very nicely if they'd kept the conversion rights.

 is a RISC OS UserSimonC on 21/10/03 6:09PM
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If you can still get a hold of it, there was a good review in Edge Magazine of the making of Elite several months ago (I forget which issue).

Regarding the freedom offered, that's what makes games like Driver so playable long after you've finished them - the huge maps and the freedom to go around and play at what you want.

 is a RISC OS UserDougal on 21/10/03 9:45PM
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Just think, the Electron and the Beeb could handle Elite. Now, think what a modern computer could handle given its capacity. I hate to mention it but Karma probably gave us in insight into the possibilities. Game running in real time so that when you play at, say, 5pm you always come across a transport ship travelling from a moon to a planet. Scan for lifeforms and find people on board. Miners travelling back home after working all day on the moon.

Just look at the diversity of Ultima Online and similar games. Now apply that to Elite. Now, that would be fun :-)

 is a RISC OS UserSpriteman on 22/10/03 9:26AM
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Stuff Ultima online, you want to play Anarchy Online. Thats the one true MMORPG! :)

 is a RISC OS Userpiemmm on 22/10/03 9:35AM
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Slightly OT but: Did you mean nostalgia googles? I think you meant goggles. Oh well, I suppose I'm just picky!

Also: Aren't these new icons cool! :ro4: -- Smiler - :D alex.melhuish6388@ntlworld.com

 is a RISC OS UserSmiler on 22/10/03 7:33PM
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Maybe we're supposed to search google groups for old Elite postings

 is a RISC OS Usermavhc on 22/10/03 8:02PM
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The thing you're forgetting though is that Karma is the closest we've come to an advancement on Elite on Acorn and RISC OS machines. Black Angel had better graphics but there wasn't a lot more to the gameplay.

 is a RISC OS UserAW on 24/10/03 12:56PM
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