David Braben‘s long-awaited 1993 follow-up to the classic space trading game Elite unfortunately doesn’t involve Ian Bell.
Still, it DOES involve the use of procedural mathematics to generate solar systems, planets and the finer details of the galaxy you exist in. In short: it’s an iconic space exploration game.
The scope of Frontier: Elite II is incredible – like the size of the universe. Only this is one trillionth the size… I’m laughing because I’m exaggerating, but the size of this game is phenomenal.
You can fly around quite happily, from system to system, landing on planets, trading, co-existing, and generally trying to stay on the right side of the law. Or you can go full pirate and try to shoot and rob everyone you can. You have to build up your firepower, though, in order to do that. Only thing that caught me out were fines for unauthorised take-offs. You have to watch out for those!
The numbers are mind-boggling. The colours are brilliant. The blasting is fun. And the life of a space rogue is an intriguing one in Frontier.
And it all fits onto just one floppy disk. Genius programming!