This page provides you with fascinating detail of what's new on the site! (No? Really? :-P) What's at the top is the latest modification, so you don't need to scroll all the way down to see the latest changes. For those of you who can't be bothered to go to the main page to get to the new bits, hyperlinks have been added (where appropriate) so you can go straight there!
During the Christmas break I managed to find the time to play FFE for a bit, and concentrated on playing the Draco save. In order to experiment with different ships, with a view to reviewing them by seeing how they performed in regular gameplay, I'd replaced the Saker with a Gecko. I have now reviewed the ship and you can read my conclusions on a ship that seems to be often overlooked by players of the game.
Sadly, this 20th Anniversary Year of my site turned out to be like most recent years in which I just don't seem to have had much free time or have been too tired to do much work on the site. Hazard of getting old, I suppose. I have however managed to do some more work on Musings on 20 Years of Running an FFE Site.
This instalment gives some insight into the creative process and where the information came from. It has been expanded from a reply I was going to send in response to an email from Will Davis asking which sources I'd used for the ship information. There's still some work to be done on it but one of the early ways I used to run the site was to just upload what I'd done so far and then regularly update it. I sometimes think I should go back to doing that.
Commander Jades is now Elite on ArcElite! Updated description of that commander with the latest developments and uploaded the latest verison of the commander file. I've temporarily discontinued the disk image version of the file download but, as far as I am aware, all current RISC OS emulators can read ZIP files natively so that may not pose a problem.
After a very long journey that started way back in 1991 with the release of the Acorn Archimedes version of Elite, commonly known as 'ArcElite', I have finally managed to gain the coveted combat rating of Elite! The required score is a challenging 9,800 kills, higher than the 6,400 required in the BBC version and all other versions of Elite 1 (see the Combat Ratings Comparison page). As you can imagine I'm delighted to be Elite on at least one version of the game, even more so because I managed it before I'm 40!
Today is exactly twenty years since I announced the launch of Jades' FFE Page on alt.fan.elite and I thank every one of you who have read, contributed to and helped promote this website over all of that time. I couldn't have done it without you.
To celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the site, I present the first instalment of a Special Feature looking back at particular episodes from the life of the site. I will be updating this through out the year so if there's anything you wish to see please let me know!
Improved introduction to explain the relevance of the colours and briefly explain the in-game Journals. Also fixed an oddity on modern browsers where the headings in the article boxes were ignoring the color attribute in the code.
On Friday the 27th of January it will be exactly twenty years since I announced the launch of Jades' FFE Page (as it was then called). On or, hopefully, before the 27th I will be uploading a special feature looking back at particular episodes from the life of the site. In the meantime please enjoy the tastefully remastered version of one of the original logos for the site.
Fixed some typos and tweaked wording.
This being the 20th Anniversary Year of FFE I couldn't let the year go without mention so here is a history of the game.
Uploaded updated EPOC version of the trade database. I've used it on my Psion Revo Plus and, more recently, Series 5mx. It should work on any machine running EPOC Release 5. I'm not sure if it will work on the older Series 5.
I have finally got round to making my surviving FFE commanders available for download, something which sadly was way too late for my Commander Dubya save and my saves from Amiga FE2 (although I recently found an old hard drive which may contain versions of the latter). The page has also been updated with the most recent info about what the commanders are up to. I'd actually forgotten that Draco was now flying a Gecko!
As was probably inevitable, while I was working on bringing the EPOC trade database up-to-date following my acquisition of the Psion Series 5mx I've found a number of corrections and updates needed to be made. These have now been sorted. One major change I've made is that for systems that belong to the Empire I've standardised on using 'Imperial' for the Allegiance, this matches the practice in the game itself.
At this stage I'm not going to upload the updated database as I'm still checking it. Watch this space!
Thoughout most of the time I've been working on this website I've had a Psion palmtop of some description or other, starting with a Series 3c I had back at Uni. I eventually upgraded to a Revo Plus as a present from my Parents for graduating however I've never had much luck with its built-in rechargeables. It's been out of action for a while but I recently managed to buy an excellent second-hand Psion 5mx, which I'd always wanted but couldn't afford new back in the day.
Now that I once more have a working Psion, I'll be updating the EPOC version of the trade database file. I'll probably also end up making still more tweaks to the Trade and Guide to the Galaxy pages as well as I'm bound to find something I've missed in the earlier updates this year...
The main change in this update is that I have improved both the Commander's Guide to the Galaxy and Trade Information pages by including co-ordinates on the index table. I have also cleaned up a number of minor errors, mainly ones relating to linking to other system reviews.
Fixed some typos and tweaked a few entries.
Fixed some typos.
My domain provider has notified me that they are performing a server relocation on the 2nd of March and that my site will be unavailable between 10pm GMT on Saturday the 8th of February and 1pm GMT on Sunday the 9th while they carry out the work. They apologise for any inconvenience caused.
I have added a number of new systems and have also made minor tweaks to some of the entries.
The major change for this update is that I have changed the order in which the import and export data is listed. This now matches that in the game. I have also added some new systems.
My domain provider has notified me that they are performing a server relocation on the 2nd of March and that my site will be unavailable between 8am GMT and 8pm GMT while they carry out the work.
After a long delay and assorted false starts, David Braben is once again looking at releasing a new game in the series. Elite Dangerous is the current name for what may become Elite IV. In an interesting departure from previous practice, DB is looking for people to pledge funds via Kickstarter to support the development of the game.
More information can be seen on the Elite Dangerous Kickstarter page. This is of course the most concrete news we've had that there will be a sequel to FFE in quite some time and I await developments with interest.
Fixed a couple of typos in two of the mission reviews - I'd spelled Miackce incorrectly and one of the co-ordinates was wrong. The information in the FAQ was correct, however. While doing that, I took the opportunity to improve the wording of the description of the final mission.
Tweaked wording of Jo Merion's Message section and INRA's Delivery #1.
Added note that trading in Live Animals and/or Slaves can be illegal in some systems to the Cargo Bay Life Support section. I've done some reworking of the Hyperdrives section - while the standard layout for the other reviews has the price and weight at the top of the review, I've decided that in the case of hyperdrives the sections flow better with the descriptive text appearing before the tables. While doing that, I've expanded the section on Military Drives to give more comprehensive details on how they compare to the Standard versions. The reviews for the Combat Computer and Auto Refueller have been also been expanded to include more information on how they function in the game. Finally, I've made some minor tweaks to some wording in other sections.
Corrected Minor Imports section of Alioth review - it said 'Fruit' when it should've said 'Fertilizer.' Added missing co-ordinates to Epsilon Indi entry.
Corrected Barnard's Star entry so that the 'Illegal Trade' entry uses the full name of the merchant.
Added an archive of decoded journal text from FFE. The files were originally decoded by Russ Williams, but his site went down a few years back. The files are ©1995 Frontier Developments and appear with their permission.
Updated the status for the remaining active commanders, and added the details for my new Commander Draco save.
I've gone through the entries and added co-ordinates to all known systems mentioned. I may eventually add direct links to the relevant Guide pages but that's not a priority at the moment.
While visiting Barnard's Star, I confirmed the prices for Classes 5-7 Standard Drives, the Class 3 Military Drive and both Plasma Accelerators. I've also mentioned the unimplemented insurance feature in the Escape Capsule section and added the Transmission Jammer even though it's covered elsewhere. Other than eventually adding the Chaff Dispenser, this page is now complete.
While checking over the surviving FFE commanders in preparation for making them available for upload, I remembered that the Jades2 commander was in the middle of the 5 Furies and Jan Thikka rescue missions. I've therefore confirmed the details for those two. The 5 Furies mission is only available from Federation and Alliance systems and not, as I had previously thought, Imperial ones.
The description of the Two Hitchhikers mission has been corrected so that the name of the destination starport in Edethex is Singh rather than Singh Starport. I've also improved the wording a little.
Confirmed that the Duval Artefact mission is available from all systems except those that are Imperial.
You can get the Argent's Quest #1 mission from any of the ports on the planet Argent's Claim and the orbital station Gotham Park - you don't have to get it from Fortress Culloden.
I've tweaked the intro a bit to improve the flow, removed a spoiler from it, and moved the Spoiler Warning up so it's more visible.
Added some more background text.
Made a start on doing a proper review. Main work so far has been on doing the background info. I'll do a more detailed review, and rate it, once I've had an extended play with it - which will probably be in a few weeks as I've had to start a new commander (due to losing Dubya in a Windows failure) and keep getting blown up by missiles. I'd forgotten how dangerous the starting Alliance position could be!
Confirmed Range With Class 8 Drive stat. Could've sworn I updated that years ago...
Added note that the in-game crew required figure is greater than the review text in the manual says it is.
For entries that reference other systems covered in the Guide, I've now added internal hyperlinks to the other entry so that you can go straight to the info. To keep code size down I've only done this for the first mention. I've also standardised the format of the 'Port for Illegal Trade' entry so that the port is mentioned first, then the name the trader uses on the BBS and finally whether or not the police will accept bribes.
Standardised all trade good names to match the format used in the game (i.e. 'Fruit and Veg.'). This should make searching on the page more consistent. I've also removed a few entries for Chaff from the Major Exports sections as it isn't a trade good.
As with the Guide to the Galaxy, I've altered the page so that where a review mentions another system the name is now a link to the relevant review. I've done this for the mentions in the Best Import/Export Route and for the first mention in the review proper.
In addition I've also made sure that both Best Import Route and Best Export Route, together with the first mention of a system in the review text, quote the relevant co-ordinates for the system in question. Still haven't worked out why the cells are all different sizes.
Standardised all trade good names to match the format used in the game (i.e. 'Fruit and Veg.'). This should make searching on the page more consistent.
Where a good that is 'Always Out of Stock' happens to be illegal, this is now mentioned. I eventually plan to move all illegal trading info into a dedicated section but this is a long way off at present. Talking of illegal goods, it's only the 'Goods Bought and Sold' style merchant adverts that can be police traps - adverts for a specific item (i.e. Wanted: Narcotics, will pay 2000CR') are in all cases from a 'legitimate' buyer.
As far as I can work out, the most likely reason why the search facility failed is that, in the period when my domain was acting up, enough search report emails bounced to make atomz.com's system believe that my account was dormant and therefore it should be shut down.
I've set up a new account with them, and hopefully it's up and running properly again. A quick test seems to show it's OK, I'll fine-tune it later.
I've noticed that the search facility provided by atomz.com doesn't appear to be returning any results from this site. I've therefore disabled the Site Search function while I look into the problem. I suspect it's somehow connected to the hosting problems I was having last year.
George Hooper, who produced the toolbar icons and some other graphics for me, has changed the domain his website's on so I've updated my site accordingly.
After a couple of months where my hosting provider of several years, Sausage Hosting, had completely disabled my account, I've managed to make alternative hosting arrangements with Orpheus Internet and pointed the domain at my new space. Hopefully everything will be back to normal shortly, once I've got the email accounts up and running again. Apologies for any inconvenience the unavailability of my site may have caused.
Corrected Internal Capacity (With Class <n> Drive) to indicate actual default Class 8 drive rather than Class 2.
Fixed link from Sol section to Barnard's Star section - link contained upper case letters and target was all lower-case. Double-checked all other links in Trade and Guide to make sure case was consistent.
It's often surprising to me just how long I've been running this site, and a lot's changed on the Internet in general since those heady days back in early 1997 when I decided I'd managed to put together enough content to launch my very own FFE site. Companies have come and gone, the browser market's now almost completely the opposite way round to what it was when Netscape 3 was where it was at, IE3 was just coming out and you could still find university machines running Mosaic! People are still banging on about the 'democratisation of the Internet' except now it's all 'Wikis and MySpace' rather than 'free GeoCities webspace' and the hype machine rolls on and on...
Removed small table illustrating what goes where as I suspect it attracted more spam from address harvesters than any useful effect it had in helping people send stuff to the right place. The rest of the text should give readers enough useful information.
Tweaked the wording of the Amiga FE2 section. Atari FE2 section now has download links as the 3rd-party site that hosts the files includes information on paying the Shareware fee to Frontier Developments. The 'ArcElite' section has been brought up to date with the latest information on compatibility with modern RISC OS machines, including the new A9 Home.
As part of his development work on a quick reference sheet detailing the ships in FFE, Manfred Wagner sent me a list of suggested corrections for several of the ship reviews on my site. Most of these have now been implemented with the remaining ones to follow shortly. See the index page of the Ship Reviews section for details of which files have been updated.
The archive for the test file for the Python had become corrupt some time ago, and my local copy was also damaged. I have now made a new archive and uploaded it.
A reader sent me a rather nice PDF of the French-language version of the FFE manual, with colour pictures produced by him. Enquiries revealed that the text of the PDF was a direct transcription of the original, so I needed to get the permission of Frontier Developments to host it. This has been given, so enjoy the file!
The Major Exports section for Epsilon Indi proudly proclaimed that you could buy 'Hindi' there. This has now been corrected to Liquor. I have no idea how that error crept in. I've also tweaked the HTML a bit and managed to track down the rogue table cell that was showing up next to the Alioth section.
I have now fixed all of the links to John Jordan's site for JJFFE that appear on this site (I'd missed the one on Contact Jades). This is the only change for this update. Note that the address in the GameFAQs version of the FFE FAQ is still incorrect, as they have recently changed their Terms & Conditions and I am not yet sure if I wish to accept them - which uploading a new version would constitute.
As some of you may be aware, I have long intended to convert the whole website to CSS in order to keep up with web standards and to make maintenance much easier. Over the last year I have been experimenting with trial CSS versions of certain pages on my RISC OS machines at home, and have been very pleased with the rendering of the site on the Open Source NetSurf. In fact, I've now decided to abandon my original plan of maintaining a 'legacy' HTML 4-only version for backwards compatibility. Experimentation is still ongoing, but I'm expecting that I'll make the switch to CSS sometime in the second half of 2005.
For the more curious among you, some of the test versions I'm working on can be accessed HERE! Note that these are experimental works-in-progress, and are only a couple of pages from the site. The final version will be much more robust.
I've been working on tightening up my HTML, as part of my preparations for next year's CSS rollout. This has had a couple of more visible effects, most noticeably the switch to using proper heading tags (<H1>, <H2> and <H3>) instead of larger font sizes and/or bold. I'm also now using closing paragraph tags, which seems to have changed the appearance of the pages in some browsers. I really should get a new HTML book...
One of the main pages I'm working on is the Assassin tutorial. It's still not complete yet, but I've uploaded the latest draft, which is more comprehensive than the previous effort.
I've been playing FFE quite a bit recently, and have added a number of extra systems to the Guide and Trade pages, which now have a total of 64 systems in them. At some point, I'll probably have to split the pages up or rethink the layout, but not just yet. At the moment, having 64 actual reviews is more of a priority - most of the current systems only have the data completed.
Manfred Wagner contacted me to point out an error I'd made when I made up the inservice dates for the Eagle 1 and 2. The ship reviews section of the FFE manual mentions that the Eagle 2 took "seven years of work" to develop, whereas I dated it as being released only four years after the original. While checking the entries in the manual, I also noticed that the Eagle 3 review mentions 15 years of legal action between the designers of the Eagle 2 and those of the Eagle 3. I have therefore revised the dates for all of the Eagle reviews to fit the facts. Many thanks to Manfred for taking the time to draw my attention to the mistake!
Added the EPOC version of the FFE Trade Database. I've also altered the description of ForeCol to mention that recent versions of JJFFE include the option to change the colour of space.
I've now found the backup of my other FFE saves, and have updated the details. I've been playing FFE quite a bit in the last few months, mainly concentrating on Commander Dubya, who is now a Major. The ArcElite Jades section has been updated to reflect my new combat rating of Very Deadly - I've only got another 1200-odd kills to go! The C87 version of this commander file has been updated (and has a ReadMe file in the archive), but technical problems have prevented me from updating the ADF disk image archive. I've also tweaked the layout of the page a bit as part of the continued preparation for CSS.
I've changed some of the troubleshooting section, mainly in response to a number of new bug fixes in JJFFE. I recently encountered the Thikka mission bug, so this section has been rewritten to include my findings. As you may be aware, I've finally got round to updating the text version of the FAQ on GameFAQs.com - which was Version 2.2, from about 1997! The version on GameFAQs (G2.9c) is text-only, and includes proper section numbers. I will introduce these for the HTML version 2.9d, which will be the next global update.
As you probably know, through most of the history of my site, I've had it hosted by Yahoo Website Services. When I first decided that I needed a dedicated hosting provider, my research lead me to SimpleNet, an American company. They gave me several years of quality service, but were eventually bought by Yahoo and renamed Yahoo Website Services.
For the first few years after the takeover, the level of service remained the same. However, the last few years have seen a gradual decline in service, one of the worst episodes being the Klez outbreak, where YWS decided to impose a strict mailbox size cap and delete any messages over the quota - rather than doing the sensible thing and actually providing virus filtering. The final straw was when I needed to change my payment card number, and spent over a fortnight jumping through hoops with Yahoo Wallet. The problem was that the account that was tied to my hosting had an obsolete email address as the contact details, and I couldn't manage to get it to accept a new one. In the end, after they'd suspended my hosting, I decided I'd had enough and switched to Sausage Hosting after their excellent customer service had answered three of my queries about RISC OS compatibility in less time than it took Yahoo to send me an auto response to my first request for clarification over my billing problems...
So far, I've been very impressed with Sausage Hosting, who are a damned sight more customer-friendly than Yahoo Website Services ended up. Another plus point is that SH are platform-independent and have told me that if, I do have any problems using their service with RISC OS, they'll look into it and come up with a solution. This is very important for me, because I've moved back to RISC OS for productivity work after scrapping my own PC last year.
I know I've been promising this on alt.fan.elite for quite a while, but I've finally completed work on altering the site so that it passes the W3C's HTML 4.01 Validation check. The code was always pretty portable (it was written to work on Netscape 3), but now that it all complies with the standard it should work on any browser. A side-effect of this is that the text now appears in your browser's default fonts rather than Brisk on most browsers - this is due to the relative lack of support for the <BASEFONT> tag. Normal service will be resumed once the site is rewritten to use style sheets.
I've made a number of improvements to the layout of the reviews, and completed the Adder review after play testing it for a while. In addition to this, I've restructured the site by moving the ship review files into a directory of their own, with the intention of making the site easier to maintain by having less files in the 'root directory.'
Added a couple of new sections dealing with gameplay issues, and updated some of the technical information and mission sections.
Made some tweaks to the layout, and also revised the entries for the Combat Computer and Tractor Beam Cargo Scoop.
Various tweaks to the different mission descriptions, including a rewrite of the description of the Duval Artifact mission, and the Rast and Innitu hits. The order of the missions has now been changed as I've now got all of the dates. I've also spellchecked the page, including spotting that I'd incorrectly called Soholia 'Sohalia'.
Changed section on FFE manual to point to the HTML version done by Franke Scheper.
Added Commander Dubya and made archives of my ArcElite Jades commander files available for download.
The Amiga version of FE2 is available from the Elite Club.
General cleanup of the page, adding a number of new sites and removing the ones that have disappeared.
On the 27th of January 1997, I announced on alt.fan.elite that Jades' First Encounters Page (as it was then called) was open for business. Five years and two changes of location later, it's still going!
Added the latest info about the FFE and FE2 shareware release, and rewrote the ArcElite section, including more info about Acorn/RISC OS emulation.
Updated addresses for pages that have moved to new locations and added some more sites.
My counter recently passed the 250000 hit mark, a figure which I never imagined I'd get. I'd like to express my heartfelt thanks to all of you for your support.
Pretty major update (hence version number change to 2.9), including the latest information about JJFFE and changes to some of the mission descriptions.
I have now completed the first phase of updating the Guide and Trade pages, which now have information for all of the systems in the most recent version of my trade database on my Revo Plus. The next phase is writing up the descriptions of the systems and adding the information on the best routes to and from each system. While I quite enjoy doing the reviews myself, I would also welcome submissions from my readers - particularly for the systems which have stats but no descriptions. You'll get credit in the normal way.
Due to the lack of reports of anyone managing to complete (let alone see at the right time) the Jo Merion's Message mission, it has been reclassified as 'broken'. Therefore, the details have been moved to the right place.
Having resumed playing FFE after a fairly lengthy break, I've been playing my Maharg save (the main Razor save is pretty dull at the moment) and have been collecting information about the handcoded missions. Therefore, I now have some more confirmed dates - this has resulted in the order of the missions changing. I've also played the Agent's Quest and Thargoid mission series again, and have rewritten some of the mission descriptions so that the information is clearer. Speaking of the Thargoid missions, references to the 'Jo Merion has a message' mission (now moved to Broken Missions) have been moved to Broken Missions.
REKing16 pointed out that I'd forgotten to review the Auto Targetter. This has now been done.
Now that FFE is available as shareware from The Elite Club, I have removed it from my site. Before you mail me complaining about this decision, I did give you several month's warning!
Now that the proper patches are available from The Elite Club, there is no longer any reason for me to continue to host these.
Added a few links, and updated others (i.e. the new location of the Software Refinery site). I've also just noticed that the link to comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.space-sim was actually pointing to flight-sim instead. Nice going, Jades. It's only been wrong for about two years!
I've updated some of the technical sections with the most recent information I have, particularly the section on running FFE in Windows 9x. In addition to this, there have also been minor tweaks to other sections.
Alexander Law has contacted me to say he's finally found a taker for his copy of Amiga FE2. Therefore, his info has been removed. In addition, I'd removed some stuff from the section on FFE and have added information about the release of FE2 and FFE as shareware.
Huug Schenk has kindly donated his galactic information maps, which come in two flavours - a population map (number of inhabited planets in a system plus allegiance) and a Tech Level map (based on what equipment is available in the shipyards in the system). The Tech Level map in particular is very useful.
These maps have been developed from a list of systems which was originally created by Schwempa.
When complete, this section will contain detailed tutorials on various aspects of the game, including all of the career options.
Finally removed the 'Christmas Greetings' message at the top of the index page. I was supposed to have uploaded another update before the 'take down Christmas decorations' time, but didn't get round to it. Oops!
The Elite Club now has the patches on its site, so I've changed the relevant links.
Removed the link to the FAQ altogether, since it is linked to from the front page.
I underestimated the time it would take to do a proper job of updating these pages, and have decided that I should spend another week or so making sure the pages are complete. I'd originally intended to leave uploading the whole 17th November update until I'd completed these pages, but I've now decided that it's better to upload the stuff I have done. Sorry for any disappointment.
My original guestbook provider, Guestworld, were bought by Lycos a few months back, and it looks like my old guestbook has gone. I've now set up a new one.
Updated the ArcElite section with info about running the game on the Red Squirrel Acorn A5000 emulator. Andrew Gillett has confirmed Amiga FE2 will be released through the Elite Club. Target Media have sold all their copies of FE2 and FFE.
I've now got test files for all the ships, and these have been uploaded (thanks to Simon Challands for sending me a test file for the Harrier). In addition, I spent more time testing the Tiger Trader, and decided I'd been too harsh on it when I did the original review.
Added a section called 'Misc Stuff' to hold, erm, mixed stuff. At the moment, the only file in the section is my Series 3c trading database. In addition, test files for all of the publicly available ships are now uploaded.
Added info on where to get a plasma accelerator, and a Class 3 Military drive. Significantly improved the appearance of the index, and fixed some garbled text. In addition, I've changed the versioning system so that updates increment the number as follows:-
Really minor stuff, like spelling correction, will not merit a change in version number.
Added some info about the copies of FFE available from Target Media. Also added more info about the Elite Club re-releases of FE2 and FFE.
Rearranged some of the sections into a more logical order, in particular the bugs section. Also, I've read through it and fixed some sections that were a little garbled. The index has been improved.
In order to tidy up the index page of the site, I've moved the lengthy explanation of my decision to remove the FFE Download to the relevant page. Warning that the download will be removed has been put in the 'news box' on the index page.
And I really have, this time! The page has been extended to cover all of the equipment that is available to the player.
Added more sites, also corrected some mistakes.
It was brought to my attention that some e-mail links didn't work properly. These have now been fixed.
Added info about JJFFE where appropriate, and mentioned the search engine. Moved the Guestbook controls to this page, after removing them from the index page. Also, I've tweaked the layout a little by using an ordered list for the various points in the e-mail section.
Removed borders from the index table and reduced the size of the remaining table borders. The button for the contact information now appears in the main index table, which also contains the box for the new search engine. The Guestbook controls have been moved to the Contact Jades page. All together, quite an improvement.
Cameron Gregory told me what was wrong with my counter - the 6th digit only shows up if the display's width is changed from 75 to 90. The hits were there all along!
Changed URL of Simon Challands' Acorn Elite site to point to new location. Altered link to Dylan Smith's website to reflect new name and URL.
Added information about John Jordan's patch to make the game run in Win 9x, and updated the section about the joystick bug (JJFFE fixes it). Also removed link to old text version from Downloads, replacing it with one to the HTML one.
I've finally managed to finish work on converting the FFE FAQ to HTML. The HTML version now replaces the text version, which is now discontinued.
The content in that section was getting stale, and it wasn't much use.
I guess that my site is pretty popular then?
Ragnar Lillemark has contacted me to say that he's found a company which is still selling FFE and FE2. I've also added info on buying a second hand Archimedes, to play ArcElite.
Various minor clarifications. In particular, I've added a large number of links to Frontier Developments. If they implement a reward system based on the number of links to their site, my Contact Jades page alone should make me a rich man!
Following a request from Frontier Developments to remove the copy of Frontier: First Encounters I have available to download from this site, I have decided to give my readers advanced warning that the archives will be removed. Notification has been placed on the main index page, the How to Get... page, the Contact Jades page and (of course) the page containing the download links. You have been warned.
Numerous updates on the current availability of the various versions of Elite, FE2 and FFE. I've clarified the situation with the Frontier Developments re-releases of FFE and FE2, confirmed that the full version of Amiga FE2 is not on the Amiga Classix CD-ROM (it's a demo) and mentioned the possibility of running ArcElite under emulation. I'll add more info on emulating ArcElite as and when I confirm it, possibly as a separate page.
Is it me, or does everyone want to be linked to by this website? ;-)
Partially through some sort of post-Millennium reflection, I decided to read all of this page (does anyone else bother to do so?) to see what I'd done over the years. While doing this, I noticed a few things that needed changing. Some of these were technical things (dodgy or obsolete links), and other entries were updated to reflect my current opinion of the various events.
As soon as my father was the first to enter the house on the New Year (an old Thurlwell family tradition), I went upstairs and turned on my computer and was pleased to see that it worked normally. And it should - I built it!
Added link to Robin Sharrock's Frontierverse site, which I'd forgotten to do in the previous update.
Added the answer to the question "My mouse doesn't work."
Added some new links, and changed the URL of George Hooper's site to point to the new location.
Put link to Ian Bell's website back, removed some broken links and changed the URLs of a couple of sites that have moved to new locations.
Ian Bell's Elite website is back up, so I've put the information about getting the versions of Elite 1 from his site back in.
Added some more answers.
I've now closed the Lave Station site, and the downloads which were still useful have been added to the main Downloads Page.
Removed link to Ian Bell's website, which has been taken down due to trouble between Bell and Braben. Also added link to the developers of Hardwar, Braben's company Frontier Developments, and removed the link to my Elite 4 site (which is very out of date).
Added a link to the Patch Problems page.
Added more information, most notably all of the lasers and defensive equipment are now covered.
Changed some out of date information, and updated the sections on Elite 1 and ArcElite to reflect the current situation with the Bell/Braben website dispute (see alt.fan.elite for details.)
A number of people have been mailing me recently reporting problems with the floppy patch. This page gives you my thoughts on what may be happening, and offers a workaround.
Fixed some broken links and added a few new sites.
Fixed a typo and updated the profile of FFE Commander Razor to show new rank of Viscount.
Changed link to Ian Bell's site to point to new location.
Added a new system review, and corrected a wrong co-ordinate in one of the reviews. I've also tidied up the index table.
There is now a link to the FFE bit of Take Two's patches page, which I'd forgotten to do in the previous update.
I've altered the patch links to point to the location of the FFE patches on Take Two's site, and removed the installation instructions for my old patch archives.
I've had reports that Special Reserve have stopped stocking the compilation with FE2 on it. I've checked this, and have removed the reference to the compilation in question. I've also added info on David Braben's planned shareware release of FE2.
These screenshots had been produced by Dylan Smith for use on his website, and had been downloaded by me some time ago. I have been using them on my site for a while, but had not credited them to him since I'd forgotten where I'd got them from. Apologies to Dylan, and I've now added the picture credits.
More information added.
I've now added the Trade Page to the main site, after copying the trade info I've noted down in a small database in my Psion. Adding the icon to the toolbar took a long time...
Despite being attached to the old logo (because I actually created it myself), I've decided that it was looking a bit tired, and that after about three years it was time to get a new one. A couple of e-mails to George Hooper later, I've now got the sexy new logo which you've probably already noticed!
I've added these pages to streamline communications and (hopefully) reduce my E-mail workload a bit. The Contact Jades page is there so that people trying to contact me have some useful pointers to things to check before asking me something already answered on the website. The less time I spend trying to phrase RTFFAQ politely, the more time I'll have to develop this site ;-)
I've finally managed to spell check the entire site! There should now be no spelling mistakes (I hope!) in this website, and I'll be checking during updates, rather than not bothering at all.
I have merged the most useful download files that used to be on Lave Station with the main Downloads Page. In addition, I have added little icons to the page so that you can quickly see what version of Elite the various things are for (thanks to George Hooper for these icons).
I'm now Deadly on ArcElite!!
I've updated the page with the latest info I have, including new information on getting both versions of Frontier: Elite 2.
This file contains information on running FFE on Windows 95 (and probably Windows 98) systems.
I'm now Dangerous on FFE (Commander Razor) and Competent on Elite-A!
I've managed to get some more ready-to-fly ship files done, so the range of ships you can test is much bigger. These files will be used to write some more ship reviews when I get the chance.
I've been getting reports that the patches for FFE have vanished from Gametek's web server. I have found the v1.06 patch disks Gametek sent me, and have made archives from them. These can now be downloaded. Also, I have added installation instructions for the patches, since some people have been unsure what o.
Having a leisurely flick through the site to see what needs changing, I decided that the title page needed a revamp. I've moved the 'news box' to a better position (under the last updated notice), and shifted the 'What is FFE?' section from the index page to a separate page. Oh, and I've renamed the site, since "Jades' First Encounters Page" is very inaccurate...
Erm, don't counters like me or something? Cameron Gregory's server bombed out, taking my hits with it. I can't remember exactly how many I'd had, but I distinctly remember being visitor number 7000 at one time. The figure could be somewhere in the region of 8500 - 9000 hits, but I'd be guessing. As soon as I remember the restart code I'll zero the counter. At least Cameron replied to my query and apologised, unlike Free and Fun...
Finally chased down all the broken download links (I hope...), including the ones to the files I'd had to stash on the Canadian mirror. Once I get together the cash to upgrade to Hotdog 5 I'll go over the whole site with Linkbot to see if there's anything I missed.
For some strange reason my entire account at Stratec (who were hosting the download mirror) vanished, and has probably ascended to Silicon Heaven. However, this isn't such a problem, as the new server this site is now hosted on made the mirror obsolete anyway.
I finally got round to checking the links!! All of the sites on this page should be valid now. Some long-dead sites have been removed, and some new sites have been added.
No major update yet. I've been experimenting with changing the layout of some bits of the site, and fixing some little bits that didn't work properly.
While doing a spot of surfing around the various Elite pages to see what's new, I noticed that Ian Bell has made several versions of Elite 1 available for download. This information and a link has now been added to the relevant section.
I'm now Dangerous on ArcElite!! 4507 assorted people have met their maker on the end of my mighty military lasers :-)
I've added a guestbook, courtesy of my friends at GuestWorld. You can now leave messages to tell me how great (or crap!) my site is. So if there's something you really want to see on your super hyperwave Jades' FFE Site then just stick it on the guestbook!
I signed up with SimpleNet [now Yahoo Website Services] to provide me with [then] unlimited webspace and a domain name. Hopefully this should result in the end of the trouble I've had this year. As a result, the complete new website is now available. Update your bookmarks, this is the final location!!
Finally got round to getting those 3D clicky buttons I promised all that time ago... These come courtesy of my good friend George Hooper, and, as you may have noticed, are based on those in FFE. Therefore the site now has a very useful navigation bar, which will enable you to whizz round my site.
I've tried to use the buttons in a fairly logical way, and you should get used to them in a very short time (I certainly did ;-). For your convenience, the main page has the icons appearing next to the text describing each section (note that not all sections have icons yet, so you may still need to go back to the main page).
In addition, I've now got the site displaying in a nice new font. The font is called Brisk, and adds more of a futuristic look to the site (and looks a bit like the FFE one...). If you have the font on your system then you'll get the pages shown with the new font. If you don't, or your browser doesn't support the use of multiple fonts, then you'll still get whatever you told your browser to use. I'll upload the font for you as soon as I work out how installing fonts downloaded from the net works...
Yes, it's that time again, where, drained of any real creative spirit, I fix some niggling little problems that should have been sorted out ages ago... Also, I've done a few minor updates to the various pages.
I managed to escape back to Durham while Sunderland University weren't looking, and reacquainted myself with the joys of ArcElite. When I saw how many kills I'd got (3269), and yet how I was only competent I started to wonder, especially as becoming competent didn't exactly take 6 years on FFE... Anyway, quite a bit of digging revealed some rather interesting things!
Somehow my FFE website having more visitors than that of the Leader of the Opposition seems rather amusing. That and the fact he had a one month head start on his counter...
For site history fans, this was before the counter screwed up. Last time I checked (late 1999), Mr Hague's website had gone 404, so I guess I won!
Turns out that George Hooper, the guy that does most of my graphics for me, is also a bit of a dab hand at coding and hacking the game too! As a result, a rather large number of files are waiting on my hard drive on my own PC... The ones I have uploaded here are the most essential, and well worth a look.
I created the mirror site for two reasons. Firstly, being a whole lot closer to North America, it may make downloads for my friends on the other side of the ocean a hell of a lot quicker. Secondly, it isn't affected by the trouble with the main site so I can make the new download files available.
During this period I was locked out from FTP access to my website, so uploading the updates was impossible. As you might guess, I became rather irritated due to my so-called ISP's failure to come up with a quick solution... (It should be pointed out that I was trying to gain access from the University of Sunderland's network, which may have been a contributing factor). The situation was eventually solved by my setting up an entirely new location at http://www.jades.org/ffe.htm thanks to those wonderful people at SimpleNet. [SimpleNet were later bought by Yahoo to form Yahoo Website Services.]
About time too... This one is free, and I think it's pretty good. It's written by Cameron Gregory, and if you want one simply go to http://counter.bloke.com!
Jeroen's decided to give his site up, and we've agreed that I should take it over. For the time being I'm hosting the whole site, pending it's merging with my downloads page. Take some time to visit it because it'll be gone soon :-(
I have been contacted regarding some slight problems with links to the ship files, and I've hopefully fixed them now! In addition, I have added more ship files, so there's even more to choose from!
While raking around in my FFE Files directory, I found a textfile containing some more bits for the 3255 page, which I've now added (although they seem to have come from a different save to the others...)
It's here! One of the most important additions ever to Jades' FFE Site is now on-line and waiting for you to visit! Highlights include FAQs, other useful textfiles, utilities (when I get some..) and, new and exclusive to Jades' FFE Site, Jades Dynamics' SelectaShipTM technology!! [Why is it that everything new in software is now called technology??]
The great thing about SelectaShipTM is that it allows you to take any ship (once I've got all of them) and take them for a test flight, fully equipped and crewed, for nothing!! So now you can see if I'm right or not, or get to experience the Galaxy's greatest (and worst) ships today!!
Please note, SelectaShipTM technology is not available on the 'Thargoid' Warship, the Argent's / Turner's Quest or the Stowmaster Fighter
Yes, it's that time again! I've decided that I should try to do more ship reviews. Those ships where I've got the file with them on, but haven't done the review properly, cannot escape from being updated now!!
And now, new for July 1997, Jades' Ship Reviews Page has been enhanced with SelectaShipTM technology!! This exciting new development [yes, I admit it, I'm doing a marketing module!!] means that you can now test the ships for yourself!
If the review has a ! symbol before the name of the ship on the index page, then that review is SelectaShipTM enabled! Just scroll down the review (preferably reading it...) to the bottom and you'll see the words Test the ship! between two horizontal lines. Clicking on that downloads the Zip file containing a commander file with the test ship inside.
After enduring the frequent space shortage for a number of months, I decided to move the whole site to a new ISP. I'd just signed up with BT Internet, and they offer 5Mb of webspace. Therefore it was time for a change. All the old files have been deleted from the Blake server at Sunderland Uni and the whole lot's on BT Internet now. All that's left in the old location now is two pages and their support files. These pages have been set up to automatically send people accessing them to the new locations.
It never worked. I advise you that Free And Fun are a useless load of con artists, and you shouldn't bother going to their site, which I have removed from my links page. Anyone know where I can get a decent counter from??
I'm doing more work on the Commanders' Guide to the Galaxy, and have added a few more systems. I am now accepting submissions from readers, and most of the new reviews have come from there. In addition, I've improved the Guide's index, which I was never really happy with. It's now a table!
I decided that it was time to find out how many people are visiting this page, and I have given Free and Fun their second and final chance to provide me with a working web counter. It had better work this time...
I've finally got round to starting the page where I look at the missions which you can't do! The oldest dead link in the site now has a page connected with it. I've been meaning to do this since I first created the site, and I'm now working on it.
The missions themselves are now detailed, and there's some other bits and bobs I'll be adding.
I have decided to give my site a new look, as part of the 'Fight Against Grey Backgrounds.' I thought that the site could do with more graphics, as most of the other FFE sites had, at the very least, a backdrop. Courtesy of Dave Gilbert, I now have that! I plan to give the site a little bit of the look and feel of the GUI of FFE, so expect 3D clicky boxes!