The following table lists almost all of the differences between the official Acornsoft versions of Elite on this site.
This table doesn't contain every single difference between the versions, just those that have a noticeable impact in-game. For a complete list of every single difference between the versions, see how to compare the different versions of Elite (in particular, I recommend the curated lists).
Note that Elite-A is not included in this table, as it is a modification of the disc version and lists all its variations within the source code itself.
|Dodo space station||No||No||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Distinct2 ship designs||10||12||29||30||30|
|Max. ships in the local bubble3||10||10||10||18||10|
|Max. cops in the local bubble||3||4||4||7||6|
|Bytes in each ship's data block||36||36||37||37||37|
|Enhanced AI and spawning (NEWB)||No||No||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Ships that Anacondas can spawn||n/a||n/a||Worm||Worm|
|Colours in the space view||2||2||2||4||4|
|Colours in the dashboard||2||4||4||8||8|
|Flashing dashboard indicators||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Ship colours in the 3D scanner||1||2||2||6||6|
|Dot height in the 3D scanner||2||2||2||2||1|
|Dashboard horizontal pixel count||256||128||128||128||128|
|Escape pod colour scheme4||No||Palette||Palette||Border||Border|
|Mining lasers and asteroid mining||No||No||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Crosshair colour varies with laser type||No||No||No||No||Yes|
|Proper docking computer||No||No||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Sun, fuel scooping, cabin temperature||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Extended text tokens||No||No||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Extended system descriptions||No||No||Yes5||Yes||Yes|
|Energy bomb kills Constrictor||n/a||n/a||Yes||No||No|
|Energy bomb kills Thargoids||n/a||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|Energy bomb graphical effect||No||Flash||Flash||No||Lightning|
|"Press Fire or Space" ship||Mamba||Mamba||Krait||Asp Mk II||Cougar|
|Search for systems by name||No||No||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|SHIFT moves chart pointer quickly||No||No||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Buy/sell specific amounts of cargo||No||No||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Buy all available cargo with "Y"||No||No||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Display ship hanger on docking||No||No||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Launch tunnel colour||White||White||White||Yellow||White|
|Disc access menu||No||No||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Revert to default commander||No||No||No||No||Yes|
|Fractional kill counts||No||No||No||No||Yes|
|Kill count varies by ship type||No||No||No||No||Yes|
|"S/E" indicator width (in mode 4 pixels)||7||6||6||8||8|
|Fuel goes red when low||No||Yes||Yes||No||No|
|Laser sound attack phase amplitude6||n/a||112||126||126||n/a|
|Send trade screens to printer||No||No||No||Yes||No|
|Logarithm-based maths routines||No||No||No||Yes||Yes|
|Hostile ships spawning distance||32||32||25||25||25|
|Galactic hyperspace counts down from||15||15||15||2||2|
|Hyperspace countdown text column||5||5||6||6||4|
|Rings in the hyperspace tunnel||16||16||16||8||8|
|Launch escape pod in witchspace||n/a||Fatal||Yes||No||No|
|Thargoids in witchspace||n/a||4||4||4||3|
|Docking check7 #3||Yes||Yes||No||No||No|
|Docking check7 #4 vector||Station||Station||Planet||Planet||Planet|
|Docking check7 #4 angle||22.0°||22.0°||26.3°||22.0°||22.0°|
|Medium circle radius range8||9+||8-60||8-60||4-50||8-60|
|Explosion particles per vertex||7||15||15||15||7|
|Top laser line vertical offset9||0||0||0||1||2|
|In-flight message position||Column 9||Column 9||Column 9||Centred||Centred|
|Max. junk shown on our death||4||4||5||5||5|
|Version bit number in save file10||3||1||2 or 5||2||3|
|"Star Wars" scrolltext and demo||No||No||No||Yes||No|
|Random Saturn on load screen||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|Title banners on load screen||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|Saturn planet dot counts||1280||1280||768||768||768|
|Saturn ring dot counts||1280||1280||819||819||819|
|Saturn dot plotting logic||OR||OR||Overwrite||Overwrite||Overwrite|
|Loading pause on launch/dock||No||No||Yes||No||No|
|Size of loader binaries (bytes)14||4,864||5,426||8,448||6,557||721|
|Size of main binaries (bytes)15||19,200||20,712||39,994||45,253||44,616|
|Total size of all binaries (bytes)16||24,064||26,138||48,442||51,810||45,337|
|Total instruction count||8,668||9,438||16,336||12,957||12,266|
- ^ Including space stations, but not including the 6502 Second Processor version's Elite logo, or the planet and sun.
- ^ The cassette and Electron versions use the Cobra blueprint twice (for trader and pirate); the disc version also uses the Python blueprint twice (again for trader and pirate); and the 6502SP and Master versions also use the asteroid blueprint twice (for the asteroid and the rock hermit).
- ^ Not including the space station, planet or sun.
- ^ The original versions change the whole dashboard palette to indicate that an escape pod is fitted, whereas the advanced versions just change the colour of the dashboard's border. The Electron is monochrome, so it doesn't use the palette to indicate the presence of an escape pod; instead, it displays "Escape Capsule" in the Status Mode screen.
- ^ In the disc version, extended system descriptions are only shown when docked.
- ^ This subtle difference in the definition of the laser sound envelope makes the lasers noticeably quieter on the cassette version. The Master version has a unique sound system that doesn't use the standard sound envelopes, so this doesn't apply, and the Electron's sound effects are different again.
- ^ See the deep dive on Docking checks for more details of what these mean for docking.
- ^ In the non-Electron versions, a step size of 8 is used for drawing small circles, while 4 is used for medium circles and 2 for large circles. In the Electron version, small circles use a step size of 8, while all other circles use a step size of 4.
- ^ In the original versions, both sets of laser lines converge at the same pixel. In the 6502 Second Processor version, the upper pair of laser lines aim one pixel higher than the lower pair, so they overlap less, and the Master version aims one pixel higher than that. Because EOR logic is used when drawing, this gives the lasers in the 6502 Second Processor version a sharper point, and the Master version a much sharper point, as the tips overlap less and don't cancel each other out.
- ^ The version bit was changed from 2 to 5 when the refund bug in the first version of disc Elite was fixed. Before the bug was fixed, buying a laser that you already owned affected your credit balance.
- ^ Arbitrary code can be executed on the I/O processor just before the main game code terminates. This could be used for loading device drivers, for example. The address of the code block is &0B00, and the code block must start with the string "TINA", followed by the code to be run. The call handler is implemented at the end of the STARTUP routine.
- ^ The Master Compact release supports the Compact's digital joystick, as well as the standard analogue joystick. The Electron version contains a lot of joystick code, and it is possible to configure joysticks using the "K" option when paused, but the code to actually read joystick values from the ADC channels is omitted, so joysticks can't be used even if configured. That said, the chart routines still call the relevant joystick code, and configuring joysticks does move the crosshairs, just not in a controllable way.
- ^ The Acorn Bitstik is a three-axis joystick that was aimed at professional graphics and CAD. The extra axis means you can twist the stick as well as move it, which Elite lets you use to control the ship's speed.
- ^ The breakdowns are as follows:
- Disc = 256 (loader 1) + 2,816 (loader 2) + 5,376 (loader 3)
- 6502 Second Processor = 788 (loader 1) + 5,769 (loader 2)
- ^ The breakdowns are as follows:
- Disc = 19,997 (docked) + 17,437 (flight) + 2,560 (ship blueprint file)
- 6502 Second Processor = 6,454 (I/O processor) + 38,799 (parasite)
- Master = 27,720 (code) + 16,896 (data)
- ^ For comparison, these releases have the following binary sizes:
- 6502SP version, Executive release = 788 (loader 1) + 5,769 (loader 2) + 6,451 (I/O processor) + 39,143 (parasite) = 52,151 bytes
- Master version, Master Compact release = loader (740) + 27,904 (code) + 16,896 (data) = 45,540 bytes