Ok, so after my last post about running the Archimedes 32-bit version of Elite on RISC OS on the Raspberry Pi I got a few comments about running the earlier (and more authentic) 8 bit version on modern hardware. So I thought I’d have a bit of a play and try out a few options for running the original version.
Probably the easiest way to get a taste is to run the NES version on an emulator – Elite co-creator Ian Bell describes this as “the best way to re-experience the feel of 8 bit Elite“.
If you find the display corrupts you need to make sure it’s set to PAL and not NTSC or ‘auto’ . iNES has a nice function where you can remap keys to the various buttons, which is handy when using an external USB keyboard with the MK802.
It works well- although Elite’s many keys are replicated through combination key presses which takes a bit of getting used to. You can fly, shoot, get shot at, and crash at docking.
As I mentioned in my previous post – it’s rather fun to play Elite on the Raspberry Pi computer – the original BBC B’s spiritual successor, which also shares a creator with Elite.
The Raspberry Pi also has (various) NES emulators available for it – although I’ve yet to find one that can run Elite smoothly and without any issues (consider this a work in progress). However you can emulate the machine where it all started back in 1984:
How to emulate the BBC Micro – model B on a Raspberry Pi – model B
It is possible to run the original BBC B version of Elite using the !BeebIt emulator – this is an emulator that runs in RISC OS.. compared to the linux and android based emulators available this runs much more quickly since RISC OS is a very lightweight operating system.
To relive the original Elite – I’ve prepared a step by step guide – make sure you do all this on a Raspberry Pi running RISC OS - particularly unpacking the zip files.
RISC OS uses a 3 button mouse – you’ll need one to access menus using the middle button – applications have a ! at the beginning of their name, and shift-click opens the application folder. There’s more RISC OS info available here.
Then download !BeebIT – of the two versions available I’ve been using Michael Foot’s.
Next you’ll need some BBC ROMs -
Download & extract the OS2 (operating system) and BASIC ROMs (programming language)
Download the Watford DFS (Disc Filing System) version 1.44 ROM – make sure you download version 1.44
edit: the bbc.nvg.org site seems to be down at the moment – here’s an alternative source http://www.stairwaytohell.com/roms/index.html?page=homepage
rename the files to OS2 and BASIC and DFS and middle click and set the file type to BBCSnap (the icon will change to a BBC owl)
Next open up !BeebIT by holding down the shift key, open the ROMS folder and drag the ROMs into it.
Double click !BeebIT to run – it should appear on your icon bar. If you get any errors for missing ROMS, check the steps above. f12 will exit the emulator back to the RISC OS desktop.
Download BBC Micro Elite extract and set the type to DFSImage (the icon should change to a floppy disc)
Double click on the image file to run.
Once in !BeebIT type *!BOOT (on my keyboard the @ was *)
Have a go at playing with the settings – you can choose a high quality display mode, or set CPU speed to Full Speed. If you’re feeling a bit more adventurous !BeebIt also emulates the Master 128 which ran a full colour version of Elite which is similar to the NES version – you’ll need to download the correct ROMs but all the info is included in the !BeebIt help file.
If you’re interested in Elite you can read a bit more about the 32-bit version of the game in my previous post – or check out the Elite Dangerous Kickstarter which is collecting pledges for a 21st Century version.