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Elite on the BBC Micro

Different releases [Disc version]

This site contains the source code for two different releases of the disc version of Elite:

  • The release from the Stairway to Hell archive, which is also the version in the BBC Micro Games Archive
  • The game disc on Ian Bell's website

See below for comprehensive details of the differences between the releases, along with links to the relevant bits of the source code.

All these differences are implemented within the source code using BeebAsm IF statements, which determine which release is compiled. These IF statements check the values of the relevant source code variables (_STH_DISC and _IB_DISC), which are themselves set by parameters to the build command (such as release=ib-disc). See the associated repository for more about building different releases from the source.

Note that in the following, I have only included differences that appear in the main game code, rather than those that appear in the loaders, as these files can differ extensively between releases without affecting the game itself. The release on Ian Bell's site contains a whole load of copy protection differences when compared to the same code in the Stairway to Hell release, and it also contains two more binary files (ELITE5 and ELITE6), plus a !BOOT file that contains even more copy protection code. I haven't disassembled the loader files from this release as that's a whole different rabbit hole.

To play Elite with an SSD disc image, load the disc image into drive 0 and press SHIFT-BREAK

The Stairway to Hell release
----------------------------

The version in the Stairway to Hell archive is a cracked version of the original Acornsoft release. It has all the known bugs fixed and the copy protection is disabled, so this looks like the second release of disc Elite.

Default build in repositoryYes
Official releaseAcornsoft SNG38 v1.1
Build command parameterrelease=sth (optional)
Source code variable_STH_DISC
Download SSD disc imageOriginal, Flicker-free
Play this version onlineOriginal, Flicker-free

It has the following features that differentiate it from the other releases:

  • Bit 5 is set in the version number in the competition flags (see DFAULT).

The game disc on Ian Bell's site
--------------------------------

The version on Ian Bell's site appears to be the very first release of disc Elite. The binaries match the very first Acornsoft release (with the refund and asteroid bugs), so this looks like the original disc version.

Default build in repositoryNo
Official releaseAcornsoft SNG38 v1.0
Build command parameterrelease=ib-disc
Source code variable_IB_DISC
Download SSD disc imageOriginal, Flicker-free
Play this version onlineOriginal, Flicker-free

It has the following features that differentiate it from the other releases:

  • The refund bug is present (see refund).
  • Asteroids are never spawned (see Main game loop part 2).
  • Bit 2 is set in the version number in the competition flags (see DFAULT).
  • The docked code's workspace noise is different (see Unused block 2).