Thanks to David Braben and Frontier Developments, the Shareware versions of Frontier: Elite II and Frontier: First Encounters are now available for download. Here are the legendary games for IBM PC and compatibles. There is a £5 registration fee which applies if you continue to play either game for more than 30 days. Frontier Developments strongly recommends that you read the readme.txt file included with each game before playing.
Game Downloads frontier.zip 468k SHAREWARE! - FRONTIER: ELITE II firstenc.zip 2405k SHAREWARE! - FRONTIER: FIRST ENCOUNTERS (v1.06) e2manual.zip 247k FRONTIER: ELITE II Manual - HTML format protect.txt 3k FRONTIER: ELITE II Copy Protection Codes - The codes are for the initial shareware release, which did not have the protection codes. The current version available for download now includes this file. frontier.lha 430k FRONTIER: ELITE II Amiga CD32 version - LHA format Non-AGA.
The following files are the original version 1.06 patches for Frontier: First Encounters. They are for the original CD-ROM and 3.5in Disk versions of the games, and are NOT needed for the shareware version above. To install the patch, download the appropriate file, unzip it to its own directory, and then run install.exe and specify the directory where Frontier: First Encounters is installed. If you encounter difficulties running the install program, you may wish to try running it in real DOS mode (Restart in MS-DOS Mode from the shutdown menu).
Patch Downloads ffe106d.zip 759k FRONTIER: FIRST ENCOUNTERS patch 1.06 - 3.5in disk version ffe106cd.zip 761k FRONTIER: FIRST ENCOUNTERS patch 1.06 - CD-ROM version
These games were originally designed to run in DOS on 16 bit 386/486 systems using earlier Soundblaster and AdLib type soundcards. Note that these games will not run on newer Windows systems that do not support DOS (2000, XP) and often require modifications to Windows 95, 98, ME systems to operate correctly.
Frontier: Elite II wants 592k of conventional memory to run, and may require modification of the Autoexec.bat file on your system to do this. Additional installation information can be obtained by visiting the various Elite sites on the Links page.
For Windows 95/98, Frontier: First Encounters will run on some systems by using START-SHUTDOWN-RESTART IN DOS MODE (not a DOS prompt), then running the game. Some newer soundcards may have problems, or just will not work, using the older drivers. A mouse driver is also required as FFE will not see the Windows driver. Generally the newer the OS, the more problems one has running the game.
Matt Dibb's Life on the Frontier page has some tips getting the game to run in Windows. John Jordan has also reprogrammed the FIRSTENC.EXE files to run under the newer Windows versions. You can download these files on my Utilities page. Basically you install the original game, then replace the FIRSTENC.EXE file with John's version.
What's the best system to run the games on? My vote would be a NON-MMX Pentium 166Mhz, 32Mb of Ram, Soundblaster 16, Windows 3.1, and DOS 6.22 OS. Add a Logitech mouse, some decent speakers with a subwoofer, and a Wico reed relay joystick. You can then enjoy traveling the universe for the next decade.