Introduction

Frontier Elite II: some have called it a game, others a space simulation, and then there are those who call it... a way of life.

FE2 was written by David Braben in 1993; it was a British import to the United States market. The product was sold and distributed by Gametek, Inc. of Miami Beach, Florida. It was created for the IBM compatible platform and required a 386, 2MB RAM, EMS memory, sound card, joystick, and mouse. Unfortunately, it is currently out of print (but you may be able to find it used).


If you are familiar with the product or are an Elite Commander in your own right... please to go directly to the to see the main menu for this section. If your not up on FE2 or perhaps need a refresher course on how cool this thing still is, you may wish to read on and then enjoy the Slide Show.


The following is the text from the back of the box:

"The original game, ELITE, shook the computer game industry to its foundation, as the first 3D polygon space simulation back in the mid 1980s. The game was an unprecedented success and grew to such cult status that game players formed their ELITE Fan Club. A feat yet to be repeated, the standard was set and gave rise to a multitude of sci-fi simulation wannabees.

Now as popular as ever, this unique style of game has been taken to the limit with the astonishing FRONTIER - ELITE II. The most eagerly awaited sequel to date, FRONTIER pitches you far, far into the future to the year 3200. Civilizations have spread through the galaxy hundreds of light years from Earth in all directions. Vast area of the galaxy remain unexplored and with many thousands of worlds now settled in the cosmos, a rich and varied life of adventure awaits. Take on the role of a space trader known to moonlight as an intergalactic mercenary and watch the Universe unfold before your very eyes."

In a nutshell, what you do in FE2 is nothing short of living an Alternate Life. You buy a ship and slowly outfit it with all the right components; get some cargo cheap at Point A, then try to find a Point B where you can sell it for more money. Along the way almost anything can happen, and sometimes does.

What's really mind blowing about the product is that in less than a meg, the author programmed a game which creates the whole galaxy. There are about 100,000,000,000 star systems to visit in the game, not to mention the starports. Many of the star systems near Sol system are placed at close to accurate locations. This is a real 3D simulation which generates planets and gravity wells, takes into account the time it takes to accelerate and deaccelerate... just everything.

Its a bit hard to describe the entire scope of the program to someone who is unfamiliar, but let me try to give you a glimpse with the following...

Now its time to take the Introductory Slide Show Tour...

Here we are at the Frontier Elite II BBS screen (there's one at every starport), from here you can take different jobs, or perhaps sell some contraband for high profits. Watch it though, sometimes the police post fake ads to catch smugglers. In this shot, we are at M.Gorbachev Orbital City - one of several in high Earth orbit. Notice also in the ad list, which scrolls down quite a way usually, some guy is looking for a job as a crew. In FE2, you can fly many types of ships, some require more crew than others, some need only a pilot.

At shipyards you can upgrade your vessel, or repair it as need be. You can also go shopping for new and reconditioned craft (a favorite past-time of many pilots). You need credits in FE2 for all the reasons you need cash in the real world. You have to pay your crew, and there's always some goodies you want. In that case, its usually for your ship - like perhaps upgrading to a Class 2 Military HyperDrive to save some cargo space taken up by the standard hydrogen burning model.

There is a neat little station called Columbus at Io (that's one of the moons of Jupiter for those who don't know their solar neighborhood). I try to get in here sometimes with Battle Weapons, once in a while the guards don't check my cargo bay and I can get a great price for them on the Black Market through the BBS (don't tell the federal authorities).

Some systems have planets which require biospheric domes to support life. That's the case on Merlin, an ice world in the Ross 154 system (one of the closest systems to Sol).

Merlin is in orbit around a gas giant, which can been seen in the sky in this shot. Under the ice surface of Merlin is a living sea, rich in many species of marine life. The food chain begins with lichens which stick to the underside of the ice and produce oxygen. Sometimes the gas forms giant pockets of O2 beneath the surface. The only settlement on Merlin is Sirocco Starport, business is limited to fish export.

Speaking of starports... Mars has two nice settlements. In 2290 Mars became the first planet to be terraformed successfully. The two major cities are Quenisset and Olympus Village. All sorts of services are available here for the traveller. This is the Starport at Olympus Village with an Adder class ship in landing sequence.

The detail in the FE2 engine is simply unbelievable, away from the starport on Mars you'll find the outskirts of the city, including everything from billboards to churches with cemeteries. What programming!

Well, that's all for the FE2 Slide Show. So, why not go relax now over at the Commander's Club, the heart of this Frontier Elite II site... now known as the:


Copyrights & Acknowledgements
Frontier: Elite II: copyright David Braben & Frontier Developments, 1993, 1994.