This FAQ is now produced by Graham 'Jades' Thurlwell, since Jeroen has decided to concentrate on other things. This file is as such a hybrid of mine and Jeroen's experiences, so there may (will) be a different editorial style in some sections.
This file contains information about this game in the form of a question- and-answer style document, oh, let's say.. FAQ. Also, strategies, technical information, hints & tips, and loads of other info about FFE are included. The latest version of this file is available from:
Readers of this file can always contact me in case of wrong information in this file, additional facts, or just to chat about the Elite games. Please make sure that you quote the version number of this FAQ, as there are a number of out of date (and, in some cases, illegally hosted) versions out there.
In addition, more information can be obtained from my FFE site at:-
The first of the trilogy, 'Elite', came out in the mid 1980s, and was one of the first games of its kind: not only the arcade element was there, but also the concepts of exploration, earning money, trading, etc. This was about the first of 'virtual reality' games, in a time that VR was just being invented on bigger computers.
Then, in 1993, after a LOT of Elite imitations, 'Frontier' came out. This was the second in the Elite trilogy, and had 'Elite 2' as subtitle. The gameplay itself had not changed, but was greatly expanded in possibilities, including the ability to have fully different solar systems, each appearing to function according to laws of nature, plus a universe that's made accordingly to current theories and beliefs of solar systems positions. The game 'Frontier' was criticized upon, as being dull after a few hours of play, because nothing would happen after the player got himself a nice rank and bank account. Whether or not this was a problem to you really depended on your personality and what you wanted out of the game. Whereas 'Elite' had some secret missions to complete when the player didn't expect it, Frontier didn't.
In 1995, FFE was made, and it addressed the problem of dull gameplay: a plot was made into the game, plus many improvements in graphics, sound, maths, etc. Unfortunately, after the exciting new missions, there seems to be little else to do, but hey, a 'regular' game would have ended by then, wouldn't it?
While there's been quite a lot of controversy about the abrupt end to the plot, intrepid players have hacked into the various files of the game and found out that there should have been a lot more happening, and an early interview with David Braben hinted that there were supposed to be other ways of playing the game. Of course, the numerous bugs and kludges employed to get the game released on time have denied this to us. (A page dedicated to the 'broken missions' can be found at http://www.jades.org/brokmiss.htm).
FFE is a so-called 'open-ended' game. It has no real 'goal' to reach, and it does not 'end' if played long enough, like Frontier and Elite. The player can see for himself what he decides to do with his spaceship, and how to earn his living. In the Frontier universe, a starship commander can take on bounty hunting, smuggling, mining, soldiering, pirating, delivering people or packages, and of course... trading. The money he/she makes can be spent on bigger ships, better weapons, a wide variety of new equipment, or just donating it to charity. There are also numerous 'missions' to fly for other people, including working for the three super-powers to earn a higher ranking. It was the introduction of military ranks and medals to obtain which was one of the new things Frontier and FFE offered over the original Elite.
The programmer Ian Bell, who wrote the first Elite game together with Braben, had no participation in FFE and only a small role in the production of FE2. However, he (and a lot of us Frontier players) feel that he should at least be mentioned in Frontier/FFE credits for more than just the original 1984 Elite credit. He thought up lots of spacecraft shapes and universe-details in Elite, which Mr. Braben used in his Frontier/FFE games. Without Ian Bell, OR David Braben, there would be no Frontier today... For those who would like to see a list of who did what, see the FAQ on Ian Bell's site at http://www.bigfoot.com/~elite0.
The game was published by GameTek. After having financial difficulties, they were bought out by Take Two Interactive. However, they wanted nothing to do with the game, so the rights have reverted to David Braben's company Frontier Developments. The game has now been re-released as shareware, see The Elite Club's website for more info.
However, this configuration will probably cause the game to slow right down to slide-show-speed. I've played FFE on a 486DLC-40, and it was just about playable on 'low detail' level. Here's what you need to run the game so you'll actually have fun:
The game is reported to run smoothly on maximum detail levels + SB16/Midi sound. However, when approaching big and busy star-ports, the frame rate drops noticeably. When a player is at a planet and there are some 20-30 ships around it may be necessary to switch to low detail.
Pentium 100's and above should have very little trouble. On a P120 everything appears to run smoothly, although I suspect a bit of slowdown when there's a lot of smoke close up.
Virtually all systems built since 1996 should have no problems running the game in terms of system requirements, although recent versions of Windows can cause some problems. See later in this FAQ for more info.
The 1.00 version of First Encounters was virtually unplayable due to the many programming errors. The Frontier Development team started patching things up over the months that followed, resulting in a few 'patch disks'. The most recent one is v1.06, available from The Elite Club. This fixes a lot of problems, but still leaves a few of them in. Sadly, enough to devote a whole chapter to them. Apparently, this new patch simply overwrites FIRSTENC.EXE so there's no need to apply all patches. Just the original + patch 1.06 will do. The address of the Elite Club's patch section is http://www.eliteclub.co.uk/download/.
If you have the Shareware version from The Elite Club, it is already patched to version 1.06.
Please note that there is not an actual 1.1 patch, the most recent official one is v1.06. If you have the Shareware version from The Elite Club, it is already patched to version 1.06. Also, it's possible that earlier patch versions report '1.1 remastered' so the best way to make sure you have the right version is to install FFE from scratch and then the 1.06 patch. If you decide to use John Jordan's JJFFE version, you'll be running the executable that came with that rather than FIRSTENC.EXE so you won't have that problem.
The most recent Windows version (at the time of writing, this is V2.8) uses Direct X, so you should be able to get the game to work with any cards or devices that have Windows drivers. If you enable it in the JJFFE config file (ffewin.cfg), your joystick will work properly.
John's JJFFE website is at http://jaj22.org.uk/jjffe/. The site contains all of the info you'll need to get it running, including an FAQ.
I can't say anything for joysticks, except that I've heard lots of people complain about bugs in the joystick routines. This problem is now covered in the 'Bugs' section. Gametek says it's a game written primarily for mice. Er, that is, it's written for people I guess, but they will be using a mouse. A computer mouse of course, not a real one.. Ha ha.. who would want to use a real mouse...? (it's getting late).
While the original DOS version has buggy joystick support, John Jordan's JJFFE runs in Windows and uses the Windows joystick routines, which should mean that you can use any joystick for which you have Windows drivers.
|A||Ship Dive||TAB||Cycles through all 3 engine modes:
ON, OFF, AUTOPILOT
|C||Centre Galactic Map||ENTER||If Engines OFF: ACCELERATES ship
If Engines ON: INCREASES Set Speed
|D||Mining Machine Launch|
|E||ECM||RIGHT SHIFT||If Engines OFF: DECELERATES Ship
If Engines ON: DECREASES Set Speed
|SPACE||Fires Lasers||ESC||Pause Game|
|L||Text Labels On/ Off||ESC (again)||Enter Preference List|
|M||Launch Missiles and mines (only if Battle Target selected)||Page Up||Scroll Message Area / BBS Up|
|Page Down||Scroll Message Area / BBS Down|
|N||Navigation Computer||<||Turn Ship Left (Roll left if 'Use Elite Control Method in space' activated)|
|R||Remote Orbital Map|
|T||Target (Navigation Target or Battle Target)||>||Turn Ship Right (roll right if 'Elite Control Method in Space' activated)|
|U||Undercarriage Up / Down|
|X||Escape Capsule||?||Hyperspace Cloud Analyser|
I must say that the autopilot functions best in maximum time acceleration mode. Example: You launch from an orbital station and set your autopilot destination to a star port on the planet surface. If you press ALT-F3 to accelerate time, you'll see the planet approach, you'll see the autopilot trying to get on the other side in a rather clumsy process, and chances are you'll see the planet approach too fast, and you'll crash. When you launch and press ALT-F5 (maximum time acceleration) you'll find that the moment you switch on time control, you're safely at your destination.
The autopilot can also be a handy tool to circle around other starships, or scooping up cargo-canisters.
When the engine mode is MANUAL, you enter a SET-Speed value (by throttling up or down), and your engines automatically try to assume that speed. Also, when you change your heading, the steering rockets will push your ship into the direction you're facing, while attempting to maintain your SET speed. This is a computer-controlled engine mode.
When engines are OFF, you completely disengage all automatic computer control of your engines. You can control your main and retro thrusters, and can steer your ship. This mode can be very handy while scooping up cargo items, or in combat as it can offer you a lot more control. If you have JJFFE, you can control all of your ship's thrusters.
When engines are AUTO, the Autopilot will control all throttle and navigation functions, and fly towards the target set by you. When the target appears to be a Starport or orbital station, the autopilot will attempt docking/landing.
When you're going too fast and are about to crash, you might want to turn your ship around, facing the opposite direction of movement, switch the engines OFF, and keep pressing ENTER. Remember, your aft engines are the strongest, and in engine OFF mode, they produce a little more thrust. You might want to point your ship 90 deg. upwards, so you'll avoid the planet altogether, instead of just trying to slow down.
One key thing to take into account is that your retro thrusters are often a lot slower than your main thrusters, so it'll take longer to slow down. This is especially the case in the larger ships like the Boa or Panther. Obviously, the bigger the ship the longer it will take to slow down. Flipping the ship round and using the main thrusters as 'retros' is a good idea.
If your altitude is around 1000, and all the above conditions are OK, you should make a safe landing within a minute. A little longer on low gravity planets. Try landing on Earth's moon.. It takes ages for you to descent on SET speed 0.
A quicker way to descend, though very risky if you get it wrong, is to set your speed to 0 as normal, and then turn engines OFF. You will descend much quicker, accelerating on the way down. This is due to you not being slowed down by the thrusters. To slow your descent, turn engines back on. Note that the fastest speed you can get away with landing at is about 100 Km/h.
If you get another medal or permit, it might result in the bottom item in the first column moving below the instrument panel.
If you click the commander status button again you can see that the bottom line flashes up briefly so that you can read the hidden text. You haven't lost anything...
The galactic information maps on my website include maps with 'Tech Level' information. Only systems marked as being 'Tech Level 12' have the drive for sale. The maps, together with an explanation of the 'Tech Levels', can be found at http://www.jades.org/maps/index.htm.
The galactic information maps on my website include maps with 'Tech Level' information. Only systems marked as being 'Tech Level 12' have Plasma Accelerators for sale. The maps, together with an explanation of the 'Tech Levels', can be found at http://www.jades.org/maps/index.htm.
Also, you can't jump when you're very close to a stardock or space station. The manual says why.
And finally, when you have engaged your autopilot, hyper jumping is not possible. Switch your engines to MANUAL or OFF and try again.
Although there's no official patch from Frontier Developments that will fix this, if you use John Jordan's JJFFE version of the game, the joystick support has been fixed.
The easiest way of getting to a safe place is to pick a planetary starport, as it saves time wasted on docking station-positioning. When you don't have atmospheric shielding, try to pick a MOON to land on.
First, set your target using your map. Point your nose towards it, and remember the distance (AU). Let's say the distance is 10 AU. Then, accelerate using the ENGINE OFF method (so keep ENTER depressed) until you're exactly half way there (5 AU). Then, turn your ship around and do the same. In the same time-frame, you should be at the same speed you were at, before you throttled up, or close to it. Then pick a comfortable speed (not too fast) and use a quick time acceleration (SHIFT F3 or maybe F4) to approach your target. If you find yourself 'spinning' and swooping around your target, then you were going too fast to begin with. Slow down, and if necessary, use faster time-acceleration. If your target is on the surface of a planet, it might be a good idea to establish atmospheric flight first, and then fly around the planet with an ALTITUDE reading AVAILABLE (that means you're well within the atmosphere). Fly about 30000 km/h, and use time-acceleration very carefully. To find out if you're going the right way, face the ground, and examine it. You should see your targeted green square somewhere. Align with it, and go around the planet to reach it.
Now, while you'd think that the shipyards would be generous and give you the value of whatever equipment was fitted to your ship, they actually don't. The only factors the shipyard takes into account are the value of the ship's hull plus the value of the drive - so a Cobra Mark Three with a Class 3 Military Drive is worth more than a Cobra Mark Three in identical condition but with a Class 3 Standard Drive.
Therefore, you should only sell your ship once you've removed all of the equipment at the upgrades screen. Please note that shipyards can only remove items of equipment that they have on sale as they won't have the tools (I think the only exception to this might be drives).
When you photograph a site from a very close distance ( < 10KM I think) you'll get extra credit for it. These close-quarter recon shots are classed as "excellent" by the military powers, and earn you an extra 4 ranking points (explained later).
Fortunately, your employers will give you a transmission jammer to block the satellite's signal while you're in the system (the jammer is automatic) and a nuclear missile to destroy the satellite so it can't transmit when you leave. As soon as you enter the system, the transmission jammer automatically activates itself.
The reason you can only accept the mission if you have a military drive is that the satellite appears to send some sort of signal to all ships in the system, which will overload a hydrogen drive and destroy the unfortunate ship the drive is installed on. Kind of like a super energy bomb. Thanks to Huug Schenk for doing a series of tests of this theory and mailing me his findings.
The Satellite is a very large craft, with a civil ID(letter,letter,-,number,number,number). It will be orbiting one of the planets in the system, and is visible on the 3D system map. Select it as your autopilot target, and activate stardreamer until you're close to it.
Once you can see it, select it as your combat target (hit F5 to bring up the combat console, left click on the red circle and then left click on the satellite) and fire the nuke at it by clicking the black and white missile icon.
Once the satellite's dead, do the recon in the normal way.
Your reputation goes up and down based upon how you perform civil missions, successful deliveries will improve your standing whereas failure tarnishes it.
In order to allow you to recover from a bad rep, some missions will ignore your reputation. Conversely some missions will require a very good reputation. (Both extremes are basically managed by a random factor at mission creation). The part most people see if whether they can get an extra 10%, half payment in advance or full payment in advance since it uses the same system to decide whether or not to do so with another random factor.
It is I guess one of those areas where the game really comes into it's own and these situations only rarely arise since a player will usually perform a mission to the best of his ability assuming it will gain him something. A pure "take the money and run" player would likely find he runs out of customers very quickly.
The most obvious way to enhance your reputation is to complete parcel and taxi missions on time. This shows prospective clients that you provide an efficient and prompt service. Some of the hand-coded missions (including the Wiccan Ware and Soholia Medicine Relief ones) also can improve your reputation. Finally, big donations to charity are always worthy of praise.
The best way to see a bad reputation in action is to take a few missions (e.g. deliver x to y) and make sure you fail them. Each failure will cause your reputation to take a hit. Lying to people putting out 'Missing Person' adverts also works. You could of course hack your reputation to a low level, but starting a new commander (who will have a neutral reputation) is easier.
This section contains information contributed by Mark Hetherington
The ranks are worked out on a points system, with each type of mission being accorded a certain value. As you continue to do missions, your points score will increase along with it. At certain scores the program will decide to award you a promotion.
|delivery=2||assassination = 14||photo = 16||bombing = 18||excellent photo:20|
|Certificate of Valour||Crimson Brassard||First 'important' delivery|
|Starburst||Black Polygon||First secret delivery|
|Purple Omega||Golden Spike||First assassination|
|Vermilion Crest||Platinum Cross||First Photo mission|
|Blue Excelsior||Legion of Honour||First 'excellent' photo|
|Frontier Medal||Celestial Warrior||First bombing mission|
An example of an 'important' item is gravatic detonators. Note that your first photo mission shouldn't be 'excellent' otherwise you won't get the 4th medal.
Also, there appears to be a bug which may prevent you from getting the earlier medals. I do not know what causes this, or how the problem can be fixed.
Despite what the manual says, the Elite Rating is still determined purely on the number of kills you get. In case you're wondering, 6000 kills will make you Elite. The ranking system is the same as that of Frontier Elite 2, and the number of kills required for each rank are as follows:-
If you're wondering how this compares to other versions of Elite, take a look at this file:-
These missions are special, different from the others. They can have an effect on the game like no other event. They might even give you nice things for your ship to keep...
The times listed is mostly the time that the mission is FIRST sighted. Sometimes the real action takes place months after the time listed. Monitor the newspapers closely, for they will provide information about these hand coded missions.
A more detailed walk through of the missions can be found at:-
A word of warning - if you wait for the target ship to hyperspace and kill it at its destination, you won't get credit for the kill. Blow it away before it jumps, and get out fast!
As with the Rast hit, you may have to take out the target before it jumps to get credit.
This mission has a bug, which can catch you out. Sometimes you pick her up, take her back to a Federal world and you'll get both a 'Well done' and a 'You suck' message. I'm not 100% certain why this happens, but two things to try are avoiding removing your passenger cabin until you've completed the mission and making sure you don't enter and leave Miargre until it's time to pick Jan up.
So, get the mission, travel immediately to Fort O'Brien in Cemiess (-2,-2), and you're given the statue straight away. Drop it off at Oliverport in Epsilon Eridani (1,0) and you'll get your reward.
The papers mention something about Mick Turner who has died on his exploration mission to the Far North. Around 4 October 3252 you must go to Turners Requiem on Fortress Culloden, on Alioth [0,-4]. Go to the Requiem, and donate the maximum amount of credits. Then accept the mission, but don't go North just yet.
If you haven't enabled 'use file extensions' yet, this is a good time to do so (in the Others section in the options screen). If you make a mistake in the missions, you will be able to go back to a previous save to try again. Make sure that you save just after accepting the first mission and make sure you don't delete the save. The mission does not generate a contract, but there seems to be a time limit in this mission - you must be back at Alioth after doing the first mission before the end of December 3252. Failure to do so (for example because it took a long time to get the nuke and transmission jammer from a classified mission) will result in you being ignored when you get back and you will not get the second mission. Saving regularly is a good idea.
If you've gotten the information from the 'Journalists Welfare Fund' you know that the System you're going to is protected by a Defence Satellite which gives away your ID and position to INRA. So, you must first travel to a Federation or Imperial system and get a CLASSIFIED MISSION in order to receive a Transmission Jammer and a Nuclear Missile. You have no intention to complete that mission, but you really need those items for your Thargoid encounters. If your military rating is important to you, you may want to take the nuke from the opposing side.
When you have the stuff, travel to coordinates 32,32 and go to Pleione. In your Remote orbital map, go to Pleione 4B's orbit and you'll find a satellite. Target it, travel towards it, and... DESTROY it! If you don't, INRA will chase you forever, wherever you'll go.
Then, do what you're told by the Mission funders: use your map to locate the wrecked Turner's Quest, and take a few pictures. Also, look for its flight recorder that's there flying around somewhere. Make sure the 'object's labels' are visible by pressing L, target the flight recorder, and B towards it. Make sure you have room in your ship, by dumping some radioactives (the price for peace with Thargoids :).
You can also visit the wrecked Thargoid vessel, but it's not a mission requirement I think. The Thargoid ship is marked with "???" for its ID. There's lots of Alien Items there to scoop.
Then fly back to Alioth. You'll get a message congratulating you, and asking you to land at New Rossyth. Shortly after doing so, you should get the briefing for the next mission.
Upon landing at Alioth and fast-forwarding to the next day, you may find that you are unable to take off, and text headed 'Message from INRA Counter-Intelligence Directorate' will appear. This might have been another mission, but there aren't any buttons for more info/accepting. You can get out of this by hitting F4 to get to the BBS screen (this might be fixed in JJFFE).
If you want to know more about what might have happened if the INRA mission had worked, take a look at:-
Don't forget to save your game before jumping to Polaris.
Go to Polaris (check your contract screen for the details), there's a Thargoid Forward base there, and a Thargoid shuttle. When arrived at Polaris, do the same as in Pleione: destroy that satellite first. It's at Polaris 3D.
Then, you can use your Navigation computer to quickly select '???'. That's the Thargoid shuttle, and you can engage aviation and time- control. When you're going to dock with it, save your game first. When docked, notice your radar. It's suddenly filled with dots. Go to the map and press 'C' to centre your chart on your current location. You'll notice that you're no longer at Polaris, but at Miackce, FAR north. Launch, and you find yourself floating between curious Thargoid (Thargon?) ships. The game's afoot.
What happens next is up to you. I suggest you don't fire, but wait and fly around a bit. Sometimes you might have to press ALT-F2 or F3 to speed up time, until you get the message from the Thargoids to dock at their space station. Save your game, and then press 'N' to select their docking station (the top, or first option). You can use time acceleration on the way to the station, but I recommend you don't use it while actually docking.
Wait for the Thargoids to disarm your ship. The Thargoids will then propose a mission to save their race from extinction... If pressing their response buttons "YES/NO" do not work, you'll have to restore your game. I suggest you say YES because the Thargoids will kill you when you don't. You know too much by now.
If all goes well, you get a message from the Thargoids when you enter Miackce, asking you to dock again. Press 'N' to select "???" again and engage Stardreamer. Save your game before docking (save your game before hypering in, for that matter). When docked, you'll get a message asking you to wait briefly. Do just this--don't engage time control yet! After a few seconds the Thargoids thank you, and are willing to give you a Thargoid War Vessel as a present. You can accept it, or decline it, but you've come all across the Galaxy for this..admit it! Click YES and when they tell you to enter time control, and press SHIFT-F5. Then wait until you see the familiar human background change to the alien interior, and you get the message GO IN PEACE. Blast off towards human space, namely Alioth, and receive a big well done message from the Alliance. You can keep your ship, and sell the goodies in it. You will be able to reach home in TWO jumps!!
Once you've finished at Alioth, go to the system where you got the Classified mission to face the music. After that, the Universe is yours! By the way, contrary to what the Alliance tell you, you are not actually outlawed in Federal or Imperial space - you probably would've been had the game been properly finished, but not in the version that shipped.
Sometimes, when you return to Alioth, you receive a rather neutral message that you are paid, and your old ship is given back to you. When this happens, restore the game back from where you blast off from the Thargoid station in your alien ship. I don't exactly know what causes this "bug", but you might want to try again, and try to avoid any populated systems on your way back. Perhaps it's random, I don't know. But I have solved many Thargoid-mission returns this way. You can keep your Thargoid ship.
However, it is now possible to run it in Windows 9x by using a modified version. See the next section for info on this.
While it is possible to get the offical version of the game running eventually, this is not with out a lot of messing about, which may be difficult for the less advanced user. Using JJFFE is a lot less hassle and it actually has more bug fixes than v1.06.
It is much easier just to use JJFFE (see above) since this runs direct from the Windows Desktop.
FFE might have trouble with computer memory, or the way your memory has been set up. Try the following configuration using DOS 6.xx or the memory managers you get with Windows:
; ** CONFIG.SYS **
Device = C:\Windows\Himem.sys (Or C:\DOS\HIMEM.SYS if you don't have Windows)
Files = 40
Buffers = 40
LastDrive = Z
Stacks = 9,256
Dos = High
;This line is for CD version owners, in my case the Toshiba CD driver
Device = C:\Tools\TOSHV111.SYS /D:CD0
; ** AUTOEXEC.BAT **
rem Put your Soundcard settings or other SET's here, for example:
Set BLASTER=A220 I5 D1 H5 P330 T6
Set MIDI=SYNTH:1 MAP:E
rem Put your Soundcard drivers, CDROM MSCDEX + other drivers here
rem only load mscdex if you are using the CD version
MSCDEX /D:CD0 /M:15
Because of the age of FFE, it only supports a limited number of soundcards compared to Windows, although in practice most soundcards released had the capability to emulate one or more of the Soundblaster range of soundcards (which in the DOS and early windows era were as close to 'Industry Standard' as hardware got).
If you have a wave table add-on card on a Soundblaster 16 soundcard, try downloading the SB-MPU patch from Creative labs. Enable it like I did in the AUTOEXEC.BAT, and you'll have less trouble. Also goes for a number of other games.
Also use FFE's latest version, 1.06. There were bugs with the sound in earlier ones. Of course, make sure you've run SETUP to set your sound equipment!
If you own a Creative Labs Soundblaster AWE64 card (Value and Gold) and have Windows 95, you may find that the DOS drivers for your card supplied on the accompanying CD will refuse to install even if in DOS Mode. You will get digital sound from the card when adding the soundcard settings in your AUTOEXEC.BAT file, but MIDI won't work.
What you need is a file called 95dosapps, which contains updated drivers for using the soundcard in DOS mode. You'll find the relevant file at http://www.soundblaster.com in the tech support/drivers/awe directory
Once you've installed the files properly, you will need to select AWE 32 as your soundcard. Be amazed at how much better the music sounds! Pity it doesn't improve the sound effects...
When booting 'clean' or indeed cleaner than normal :) make sure you DO have all your soundcard drivers loaded and configured correctly. Your soundcard's settings must be set accordingly to FFE's sound settings, and with hard resets, soundcards are returned to their default settings. Also use FFE's latest version, 1.06. There were bugs with the sound in earlier ones. Of course, make sure you've run SETUP to set your sound equipment!
Also make sure all your commander files have an A attribute. When in DOS mode, type ATTRIB +A *.* in your commander directory. When in Windows, bring up your commander directory, choose 'select all,' right click in the directory viewer, select properties from the menu and then make sure the box next to 'Archive' has a tick in it. Without A attributes your commander files might seem to be gone, so if you've made a full backup recently you must attrib them back.
If the program keeps rejecting your commander file, just try another. If this keep happening during Thargoid missions, there's nothing I can do about it. Just make sure you have version 1.06, it doesn't seem to happen there.
You can run the game in Windows if you use JJFFE. See above for more info.
WARNING: Only change settings in your BIOS when you know what you're doing, and before you start, make sure you have a way to set the CMOS back to default in case you screw up.
More information about Mo'Slo, and a downloadable version, can be found at:-
Usually, the floppy version has the 'Videos' option in the 'Others' preferences screen switched off and the area where the people appear is left blank. As with other settings, the state of the 'Videos' option is saved in the saved states. Because of this, it's possible that some saved states you download may have videos switched on, which will cause non-CD versions to display 'Insert CD ROM' in the corner of the BBS screens. This is particularly the case on JJFFE, which has the CD code re-enabled.
To get rid of the 'Insert CD ROM' prompt in the BBS screens, go to the options menu on the game, and look in the Others menu. Make sure that the box next to Video (at the bottom of the list) is not red.
To turn the videos back on, go to the options menu on the game, and look in the Others menu. Make sure that the box next to Video (at the bottom of the list) is red. This should reactivate the videos.
As I use the floppy version, all saved states downloaded from Jades' FFE Site have the videos switched off.
Go into your FIRSTENC directory on your hard disk, and type ATTRIB -R *.* /S This will flag all your files READ-WRITE, in case this wasn't done already. Next, create a directory in your FIRSTENC dir. called CD_DATA. Copy all the FirstEnc CD files into this directory, EXCEPT the dir. called \DATA!! This directory contains all the movies, and that's about 600MB. Even for big hard drives this is a waste of space. You don't even HAVE to copy ALL of the CD's files into CD_DATA. These are the files in MY CD_DATA dir:
But for now, copy all of them and delete some later if you think they're not needed (like the French or German versions)
Next, find the file FIRSTENC.CFG and load it into a text-editor (for DOS 5 or higher users: EDIT FIRSTENC.CFG will do). You'll find only one drive- letter in there, corresponding to your CDROM drive (G: in my case). Change the letter into something that doesn't exist yet in your PC, let's say J: for example. Save the file.
Then remove your FIRSTENC CD from the CDROM drive, and type: SUBST J: X:\GAMES\FIRSTENC\CD_DATA (where X: is the drive letter where FFE resides, and GAMES being the directory where FFE resides). When you see an error message, you might want to check your SUBST command for errors, and your CONFIG.SYS to check that your LASTDRIVE is indeed J or further in the alphabet.
When no errors are displayed, start FFE without CD. I recommend creating a batch file to SUBST the drive to CD_DATA, start FFE, delete the SUBST drive afterwards. When you're in FFE, the first thing you must do is TURN THE VIDEO ANIMATION OFF!! If you leave them on, the game goes looking for that \DATA directory that we didn't copy..:-)
From what limited knowledge of electronic music I have, it appears that the files suffering from this are those which originally appeared on Frontier: Elite 2. It could be that they got a little scrambled in conversion. The Quality Quartet tunes appear to be OK, so try deselecting all tunes which aren't credited to them.
However, you can change the resolution in the Windows version of JJFFE (see the section )'The JJFFE Alternative' for more info) by editing the relevant bit of the file ffewin.cfg (see the readme file for instructions. While this does increase the resolution, it does nothing to the detail of the graphics. In higher resolutions, they might appear a little blurry. I prefer running the game in the original screen mode because it's sharper and low res modes don't bother me.
If you want to change the resolution in JJFFE, here's how to do it (instructions are for v2.1):-
However, it is possible that FFE may be modified to use higher resolutions or 3D cards by members of the forthcoming Elite Club. See http://www.eliteclub.co.uk for more details.
Another possibility, particularly for low-ranked pilots is that there just aren't any missions available from that port at the moment. Try another port in the system or skip a few days with stardreamer. If you're in an Alliance or Independent system, these powers don't offer military missions.
To illustrate this, say you hold rank in both the Federal Military and the Imperial Navy. You've just taken a recon photo of the President of the Federation's secret love nest on Mars, and have managed to capture a shot of the President and the First Lady indulging in a spot of rumpy pumpy from a range of about 1KM (very long lenses in these military cameras!).
You arrive back at Facece and are rewarded for your audacity with a cool 20 rank points and a Legion of Honour medal (this being your first 'excellent' recon). Meanwhile in Eta Cassiopea, the Feds are understandably pissed off at what you've just done, and deduct you 10 points.
As I mentioned in the previous section, it appears that the game penalizes you for being a turncoat. As your score declines due to your treachery it might mean that it drops below the threshold for doing certain missions. Serves you right for being traitorous scum :-P
The target ship must appear somewhere at the starport in question. But what if the starport's full, and the target ship can't land there? We suspect FFE does not take this in account, and the target ship vanishes from the game. If you think about it, it's actually quite realistic. This can particularly be a problem with the smaller starports like Sirroco Station in Ross 154, which only has two landing pads.
As a player, you can bypass this by hyper-jumping into the system again, and see if the target has shown up this time. Every time a player jumps into a system, all the system's inhabitants and planetary positions are randomly different. So SAVE YOUR GAME BEFORE JUMPING IN!!
This bug has been fixed on JJFFE 2.7 and above.
Buy a missile, combat-target the weakest ship that occupies the landing pad, and blast off into orbit (3KM away according to manual). Then face your red target, and fire the missile. Press SHIFT-F4 once to make your missile hit the target for certain, then wait a bit (SHIFT-F3 for a few seconds) and head back for the spaceport. Your target will be either destroyed, or he will have fled. Perhaps you'll have to wait until midnight to have the traffic controls 'reset'.
Another possibility is that you let the target ship hyperspace and then followed it to it's destination by using the hyperspace cloud analyzer and killed him in deep space. For some reason, the game takes this as meaning that the target has escaped, even if you jump it and blow it away in it's destination system. Therefore you should take him out on launch, and get to 12,000 feet and hyperspace as quickly as possible once he's in little bits. As far as I am aware, this problem only happens with the 'scripted' assassination missions (the other one is 'Assassinate the Assassin of Dentara Rast')
Fortunatly, I had the save from before I took the mission, and just reloaded and tried again. This time I ensured that the passenger cabin remained installed and I didn't take any other taxi missions until the mission was complete. I also didn't enter Miargre until it was time to go for the pickup. I was able to get the proper recognition this way.
Ok, seriously: In early versions of FFE, this is unavoidable. If you're playing v1.06, I suspect you didn't take off quickly enough. If the hitchhikers say "Let's go--NOW" I suggest you listen to them. Hyperspace as quickly as possible. You're probably best off taking off as soon as they board, so you should ensure you have enough fuel to make it to Edethex before actually arriving there.
One possible factor that triggers this is if you spent a long time waiting for a classified mission to get the nuke after you accepted the Quest. As a precaution, you should make sure that you don't arrive back at Alioth any later than the 30th of December 3252. If you saved the game before the Requiem, go back to that save and try again. If you didn't do this, then your only way to continue with the Thargoid missions is to start a new game.
Another thing that can cause some trouble is that the satelite in Polaris orbits a different planet to the shuttle - Polaris 3d.
Also, if you LIKE living on the edge, and plan to keep on playing even with INRA on your tail, you might make a forced hyperspace misjump at times. This will confuse lots of INRA ships, and the game may run some- what faster.
But the Polaris system is (was?) just a base for the Thargoids, and their home planet is located far more to the north. When you dock at the shuttle (which turns out to be a transporter) it hyperspaces a long way to Miackce [37,144]. And you have to be able to return this distance.
...it must be something you did wrong, but I haven't figured out just yet what this might be.
If missiles are immune to your ECM waves, do the following:
During battle, you may have found out which of the attacking ships have ECM capability. Keep a combat-lock on that ship, and when some ship fires a missile at you, press M to fire a missile at the ECMming ship. He will activate ECM shortly to destroy your, and every other missile! I call this the "poor man's missile jammer".
Another clever tactic which seems to work is selecting the missile as a target and launching a missile of your own. If you're lucky your missile should destroy the enemy missile before it hits you. Of course, you could always try to be flash and shoot the incoming missile out of the sky :-D
The reason why you can get away with this seems to be due to the game's selection of reference points. If the planet is near to a very large body it might not be selected as the reference point. It appears that the game calculates your altitude relative to the reference body. The collision detection on planets appears to be a bit kludged,so you flying into the planet isn't picked up if the program isn't keeping track of how high you are due to the planet not being the reference point. In the case of Canopus 1, it is just over 1AU away from the bright giant star.
Remember that there are separate criminal records for Alliance, Federal, Imperial and Independent systems (apparently you can't get a permit violation for Imperial or Alliance record).
Having a long and ugly criminal record doesn't seem to affect getting missions, how often you are attacked or actually anything else in the game (provided you pay your fines)!
This section was contributed by Timo Takalo.
|Dumbell||-72,40||Nebula, but no special system found|
|Beta Lyrae||-146,85||Contact Binary. System crashes if jumped into|
|Betelgeuse||59,14||I could fly into the atmosphere of betelgeuse B|
|Pleiades||32,32||Lots of systems with nice looking stars|
Sampling Rate: 22,050 Hz
Sampling Size: 16 Bit
I'm not sure if it's possible to replace the original sound samples, I'm currently messing about with any samples I can find lying around. Watch this space!!
Robin Zlatic has given me some info on adding your own background pictures to the game. They need to be 320x158 and in original FFE colour palette. This could be done with Paint Shop Pro where you could open original .BMP file and save its palette to file. Later you create an image an apply palette to it. Otherwise it won't work properly (it will work but will be VERY ugly).