Elite: Braben, Bell (& Pinder!)

One of the most impressive games I played as a teenager was Elite on the BBC micro.  I only got to “Deadly” which is the level before Elite but over the years I’ve enjoyed all kinds of space games (and zombie games!).

Having worked in the games industry for 14 years I’ve met many famous names and last year I bumped into David Braben at the Develop conference in Brighton. He seems to still be a keen game developer and one with an eye on the future.  I think he is very protective of the works that we as developers produce and, I suppose, quite rightly.  I agree with his issues on video game retailer’s selling 2nd-hand goods.  I wouldn’t mind if they charged a reasonable price (i.e. 1/2 the original price or less) for these used products.  You don’t see W.H.Smiths buying back magazines and reselling them for 95% of the original price.

Anyway.. I’m off topic; recently I heard about a reverse engineered version of Elite that was written in C.  I was intrigued and tried to find it.  The original author of the re-engineered C Elite was Christian Pinder .  The source code (or a version of it) can be found at Chris Fleck‘s site since Christian was asked by Braben to stop distributing it.  This is a real shame but I can’t really believe that it is still the case.   According to statements I’ve read and the content of  Ian Bell’s Elite website it looks like almost everyone who might object is happy for copies of this 25 year old game to be out there.

Maybe it is time that the two of them made a clear statement about what they see as the future of (at least!) the original version of Elite, if none of the others.

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