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Elite on the BBC Micro

Downloading the musical version of BBC Micro Elite

How to download and play BBC Micro Elite with music

Available for the BBC Micro and BBC Master, you can play musical Elite right here in your browser, or you can download disc images for use in a real machine or an emulator. Here are the links:

To load the musical version of Elite, simply insert the disc image and press SHIFT-BREAK (or SHIFT-F12 on most emulators). For the BBC Micro version, you will need at least 16K of sideways RAM, though note that not all sideways RAM solutions are supported (see below). The BBC Master comes with sideways RAM as standard.

If you want to enjoy a bit of docking à la Blue Danube, then you will need to load the maxed-out commander file that's included in the disc image. To do this, press "Y" on the title screen to bring up the menu, press "1" to choose the load option, enter "MAX" (without the quotes) as the commander name, and press "0" for the drive number. This will give you a fully stocked commander, and when you launch into space by pressing f0 (or f10 if you're playing in your browser), you can then press "C" to engage the docking computer, and can sit back and enjoy that iconic music while the docking computer does its stuff.

If you just want to hear the docking music, you can also swap the tunes around to hear the Blue Danube on the title screen, as described in the next section.

Stopping, starting and swapping music

To go along with the music, there are two new game configuration options, also ported from the Commodore 64 version. As with the existing game options, you can toggle these settings by first pausing the game (by pressing COPY on a real machine, or End in most emulators), and then pressing the relevant option key. You will hear a beep confirming your choice, and you can then return to the game by pressing DELETE on a real machine, or backspace in most emulators.

The new music-related configuration options are:

  • M - toggle music on and off (while leaving the sound effects alone)
  • E - swap tunes, so the docking music is played on the title screen, and the title music is played when docking (or, if this is the second press, swap them back)

The music will also be disabled if you turn off the game's sound using the game's Q configuration option.

Notes on sideways RAM

When loading, the game will check for the presence of sideways RAM, and if successful it will load the music and ask you to press a key to play the game. If the game can't find any sideways RAM, then it will tell you and give up. Note that your sideways RAM must be writeable, so if you are on a BBC Micro and have a read/write switch fitted, make sure it's in the write-enable position.

Note that the game will only work with sideways RAM that uses the ROMSEL latch at SHEILA &FE30 to switch banks. The BBC Master's sideways RAM is fine, but some types of BBC Micro sideways RAM use the RAMSEL latch at SHEILA &FE32, while others use the user port at SHEILA &FE60 and &FE62, and I'm afraid there just isn't enough free memory in Elite to support all these different styles of sideways RAM. In particular, owners of Solidisk sideways RAM may be out of luck here.

Release history

BBC Micro Elite with music has had the following releases:

  • 2023-02-10 - Initial release of the BBC Micro version
  • 2023-03-09 - Added options for toggling music on/off and swapping tunes, and stop music when sound is disabled
  • 2023-03-10 - Fixed an issue in the BBC Micro version where music could sometimes be disabled on load
  • 2023-03-10 - Initial release of the BBC Master 128 and BBC Master Compact versions
  • 2023-03-13 - Updated sideways RAM checks to check for &FE30-style RAM only, as that's the only type that is supported
  • 2023-03-14 - Fixed an issue in the BBC Master versions that could corrupt music when scanning for key presses
  • 2023-03-14 - Initial release of the 6502 Second Processor version
  • 2023-03-15 - Fixed an issue in the BBC Master versions that crashed the game on pause

You can check the release for a given disc image by loading the disc and typing *TYPE README to display the credits. The build date is at the end.