First Encounters

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Frontier: First Encounters

Frontier: First Encounters
FFE small.jpg
Developer Frontier Developments
Publisher Gametek
Latest version 1.06 (Shareware)
Release date(s) Easter 1995
Platform(s) DOS
Microsoft Windows (JJFFE)

Frontier: First Encounters (most commonly abbreviated FFE) is the third game in the Elite Series by Frontier Developments. It builds substantially on its immediate predecessor Frontier and is currently the last word in canonical Elite.

The game was originally released early, under pressure from the publishers Gametek, which led to an extremely buggy game. These problems were later fixed, and a fully patched version of this game (though still with some "broken" features) is available from the Elite Club website.

Features include:

  • Newtonian modelling for both ships and interstellar bodies.
  • Fully modelled Stars and Planets (although certain systems can still crash the game)
  • Ships from both its predecessors, as well as some new ships.
  • A set of journals representing the news as seen by each of the major powers. Many clues to the hard-coded missions can be found within these journals.
  • An overall plotline, which can be affected by the player completing the hard-coded missions. Not being mandatory, this can be ignored by players who prefer the freeform nature of the game, or can be completed for fame, notoriety and substantial material rewards.
  • A series of videos of people on the BBS requesting the randomly determined missions. These are renowned for their bad acting, and are not considered an essential part of the FFE experience.

Third party enhancements

The overall popularity of First Encounters was greatly increased by the release of John Jordan's JJFFE, which allows First Encounters to be run natively in windows.

During the summer of 2006, Kolijoco released a version of JJFFE called GLFFE, which uses an OpenGL 2.0 renderer, and includes new control console graphics - allowing FFE to be played in high resolution full screen.

Nic's Mod lowers the GLFFE's requirement from OpenGL 2.0 to OpenGL 1.2 and introduces some useful features, including a doubling of all planet resolutions.

Most recently, another refinement of FFE known as FFE D3D has emerged onto the scene, featuring considerably improved graphics while still remaining faithful to the original game.


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