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Elite (Game in Focus) Editorial

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Game in Focus (Elite)

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I have decided to write a article on a game I have been playing for many years, both in the present and back to the days when I gamed on a little 8bit computer affectionately called the Speccy or Spectrum. The game in focus is a well known space trader / simulation game called Elite or its present day incarnation Oolite.

Excert from the Elite novel Dark Wheel by Robert Holdstock included with the original Elite
QuoteFrom the moment that the trading ship, Avalonia, slipped its orbital berth above the planet Lave, and began to manoeuvre for the hyperspace jump point, its measureable life-span, and that of one of its two-man crew, was exactly eighteen minutes.
The space station gently span away into the shadows and the small Ophidian class vessel shuddered as its motors angled it round towards the Faraway jump. The planet Lave, below, rotated in blue- green splendour. There were storms moving across the Paluberion Sea, six great whorls of pink and white cloud. They were approaching the continental mass that was FirstFall, and promising a bleak and wet few days to the swathes of forest and the deep, snaking valleys that cut through the rugged land. The cities of both Humankind and Lavian glittered among the verdant blanket below like bright shards of glass.


About the Original Elite

The Original Elite programmed by David Braben and Ian Bell was first published by Acornsoft in 1984. It was available on a number of the 8bit machines and also had 16bit iterations.
The game itself was a space simulation which also had the ability to trade buy-able commodities between planets , having a stock-market where prices fluctuated, more-so between planets of differing economies e.g. industrial and agricultural. The universe in Elite is pretty expansive for such an old game consisting of 8 galaxies of 256 planets in each galaxy, so there is room for plenty of exploration. Players of elite could role-play to a certain degree and pick a professional or role for their character ranging from trader, pirate, bounty hunter or asteroid miner, my personal favourite being a bounty hunter and sometimes when no ones looking I take a sneaky pirate kill. ;-)
The game is open ended the driving force to play being to reach the holy grail the rank of elite, a feat I haven't reached, currently Iam dangerous on Oolite with 2049 kills (I may have been a bit higher, but lost my save when my computer died. *SIGH!* ). The universe is also alive with npc's all set with the different roles of trader, pirate, bounty hunter, Galcop or asteroid miner. Pirates will attack on you the player if your lucky Galcop (space police) may intervene and save your ass. Likewise if your the pirate you will gain a bounty on your head, Galcop will seek and destroy you, even if the bounty on your head was only for a small unpaid parking fine (damn double yellow line asteroids!).

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So how can I play this game now?

Game in Focus (Oolite)
Oolite is available on Windows, Mac, Linux

Taken from Oolites website
QuoteOolite is a space sim game, inspired by Elite, powered by Objective-C and OpenGL, and designed as a small game that is easy for users to pick up, modify and expand upon. Almost every aspect of the game can be changed by using simple, free graphics packages and text editors.

Originally written for Mac OS X, and under continuous development for over five years, Oolite is available for Mac OS X (10.3.9 and higher) and PCs running Windows XP, Windows Vista or Linux. It requires at least a 400 MHz processor, 256 MiB of memory, and a graphics card capable of accelerating OpenGL graphics. The game and source code are offered for free under the GNU General Public License.


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The game in its Vanilla form (no addons) plays very much like the original, but has a number of differences the ability to buy a different ships, special cargo missions, solid filled graphics with textures and nebulae effects.

Excert from fan made Oolite novel from Drew Wagar
QuoteSimply put, a Q-bomb (or to use its proper name, the Tyley-Feynman Quirium cascade
mine) is a chain reaction device. Although it is physically very small, its effect has been described
as being ‘like a miniature supernova, and just as deadly’. The gravitic shockwave it emits causes
any matter caught within its range to be annihilated in another gravitic flash which expands in the
same way as the original detonation, resulting in a domino effect. The upshot, then, is that the
initial Q-bomb explosion is only the start. Secondary explosions (the strongest caused by the
destruction of its victims’ hyperdrives) progress in much the same way, catching further objects and
causing them to explode, until there is no more significant matter to be consumed by the expanding
waves of destruction.
The explosion expands in a sphere from the point of initial detonation. It is accompanied by the
emission of high-energy photons (from gamma rays to visible light, mostly in the blue frequency
range of the spectrum). The expansion of the sphere is easily observable (from a safe distance) and
travels relatively slowly. The word ‘relatively’ is key here:- most ships are unable to outrun the
effect sphere without witch space fuel injectors, and should a ship not make good its escape early
on, even injectors may be insufficient for the craft to reach minimum safe distance.
Thus, the results of a Q-bombing can be rather spectacular.


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What makes Oolite for me is the option to tailor the game with the many addons available to create your own universe. Do you want galactic superstores on the edge of the galaxy? Do you want galactic bars where you can take contracts on the local most wanted? Do you want a greater variety of ships or a larger choice of weapons at your disposal. You can do all these things and more with the relevant addon installed. You can't find the addon your looking for well that’s also o.k, as the game is easily modifiable (it must be easy, as I have managed to create an extra mission and spaceships myself).

Many of the oxps (addons) available here:-
http://wiki.alioth.net/index.php/Category:Oolite_expansion_packs

The game is open ended the driving force of which you play on, might be just to earn enough for that shiny new Python Cruiser or a rear Military Laser for your Cobra mk 2 or maybe you have started a new career as a bounty hunter. Oolite has the old missions from the original and there are plenty more as downloadable content provided by the community.

List of standard mission and addons available here:-
http://wiki.alioth.net/index.php/Oolite_Missions (be sure to grab yourself BlackJacksBullion ;))

So what are my favorite addons?
There are a number of oxps that I just couldn't do without, here i will talk about a few of my main favorites.
Your Ad Here
This oxp adds advertising billboards in the spacelane which add to the eyecandy of the game. The oxp also provides Constores (Tescoo Express) which gives you the opportunity to trade other than just the vanilla space stations.
Random Hits
Adds Space Bars in anarchy systems which adds trading opportunities but more importantly bounty hunters may view the bulletin boards to view the most wanted and take on seek and eliminate missions to earn a extra buck.
Planet Fall
It gives pilots the ability to land on the planets or moons in the vicinity, allowing more trade opportunities.
Anarchies oxp
This oxp adds Salvage Gangs, Sentinel Stations or Renegade Stations, the Salvage Gangs being the most interesting, it is located inside of an asteroid so you will have to be vigilante to find it. Once found you are able to buy second hand equipment at a reduced price, which also has the consequence of said purchased item failing at some point.

There are many other really great oxps available the ones listed above are just addons i think add the greatest amount of extra content to the game.

So buckle up and take your trusty Cobby for a spin, download available at :-
http://www.oolite.org/ Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
Tags: Editorial, Review
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