A History Lesson

The begining ...

Back in the 1980s one of my hobbies was learning about microprocessors or micro-computers as they were known at the time. The latest addition to my collection was the BBC Micro. Revolutionary for its time, 32k memory, built in Basic interpreter and powerful colour graphics capability. Dominated by by simple 2D games. That changed in 1984 with the release of the classic game - Elite.

In 1982 - two students who entered Cambridge University met and found they had a common interest - micro-computers. Together they began a project to make a 3D game, using wireframe graphics (with hidden line removal) which was at the forefront of micro-computing at the time (I believe Microsoft's Flight Simulator and Battle zone were about at the same time).

The game they developed was Elite, but it was no ordinary space shootem-up. Also written into the game were 8 galaxies - each holding 256 planets with a breakdown of cultural economies, populations and natural resources. In addition you could fly the universe in a large selection of ships equiped for defense/offence and capacity to carry goods to trade.

Finally you could choose your role as trader, pirate, miner or bounty hunter. Their universe is policed by armed ships based at the space stations. With regard to the latter, Elitists need to negotiate docking until they are able to buy a docking computer - which is amongst a range of upgrades that you can purchase. You tour the universe accumulating wealth and protecting it.

To add to the scenario you may also increase your status which in turn brings with it the offer of secret missions.

At the time of its launch the game was well ahead of the computer gaming market, and still holds the respect of many hardened gamers. But, what it also did was to begin a dynasty of Elite and Elite derivatives for over 40 years, culminating in the current Elite Dangerous.

I have created this website to pay homage to the original game designers and successive enthusiasts who continued and extended the original game. A brief history is given in the following pages together with images showing the evolutionary change in presentation with advances in technology.

My apologies to Elite purists, I had to make a few adjustments in this demo. Notably textured ships - as I am not yet up to hidden line removal. Also with ship design - I used a few personal touches as didn't have enough detail to copy the original. Hope I haven't crossed the line an have made a good representation of the BBC Micro Elite logon screen.