To follow this idea my first collected additions to Frontier, all over the web you find utilities which support this old game.
The offered shareware release of the game by Frontier.devs is overhauled and they removed the so called "wormhole bug". this bug leads to that you get in about 64000LY distance a "in range" reading and you can jump to this system. by calculationg the point where the hyperspace ranges will cross each other you can jump to any system using only a small amount of fuel and a small amount of time.
So first you will like to patch the game to the old version including this "bug".
There is a windows helper program to this bug the "Wormhole Calculator" it will perform this calculation for you, just enter starting and target system and the proggy will show you the coordinates where you have to look for a suitable intermediate jump system.
Another fine DOS tool is "SGE" the save game editor, it decrunches the savegames and converts them to a human readable and commented file, using this i created some "Missions" for the game, just a given start point for a quick game with a given task to fulfill which range from beginners to advanced.
Some missions are only to solve with the "wormhole bug" since i placed the ship on the opposite side of the galaxy.
But you can try otherwise, due to that it is procedural generated there are random clusters of inhabited systems all over the galaxy, if you can manage to reach them in one year before your drive fails due to lack of servicing you can probably find home without the wormhole bug.
SGM is also used by the "rank teller" (DOS) which will show off your "score" and your advance in ranking (how many points you need to advance to the next rank).
YOU WILL NEED TO DECRUNCH ALL THE FILES OF FE2 USING UNLZEXE TO EDIT THEM! (except for the savegames for this is SGE).
Tom Morton who started "Pioneer Space Sim" had created "GL Frontier" (based on his favorized atari release) previousely and a helper program for windows with which you can edit the ship specs in the game and save them to the game, "FE2EDWIN" is a windows application which must be placed in the FE2 directory to work. Take care and backup your original exe and also only use Tom's provided frontier.exe because the program affects any file while and won't respect all versions of Frontier which exist (i.e. german or french won't work at all) the proper version is shown in the program if it opens frontier.exe by diplaying TOM and a version number. Of course if you alter ship specs here they will be also altered for the AI, if you like to have a pimped ship only for you i suggest to use the savegame editor. Hooper provided some example savegames with pimped ships. My missions use pimped ships which you will own after you succeeded the "mission".
(hi tom, you are just huge)
A german contributor did the tedious work and created the only existing real MOD for Frontier "Arisata" which will change "Ross154" to "Arisata" and adds a second station to the system.
btw. there are only a few hardcoded systems in FE2, Sol, Ross154, Epsilon Eridani in general and all the rest is procedural generated.
however it can be used as a guide to i.e. change the stations in Sol if you like that.
The original release has a password copyprotection which appears from time to time, also for this exists a replacement file will still show the copyprotection screen but you canter any keystroke to reset the timer, also SGM would allow to reset this counter. if the copyprotection is removed like for the shareware release the savegames won't work for the protected version since it will show right at start this question and fails the to accept "any key".
however i use the unprotected version only it's located in a specific data file of FE2.
Unfortunately exactly in this file is also another bug (mining machine bug) which was removed for the latest release.
Of course easiest would be if i link here the whole game like i use it, but i guess that's not wanted.
Another tool is EFP the "Frontier Elite II Random Flight Plan Generator" a nice short DOS program which creates a flight plan for you, adds something special to FE2, a sort of "mission path" you can follow.
Two very basic and old tools are SEEGRF and GRF2BMP these programs read out the .GRF files Frontier will generate if you press "asterisk" to save a screenshot from within the game, the format is the same as it is used for the intro animation of Frontier.
Not really needed if you run it in DOS-Box but well nice to have, mostly of use if you run FE2 in an original old doze.
Using Hoopers "FE2Info" and Theunis' "objects of FE2" i hacked the program and made the Lynx Bulk Carrier available to purchase.
Not of real use since this is a oversized ship but just for the fun of it.
Personally i use a hacked version which will display "Frontier Dev" instead of "Gametek Konami", the file is the debugged later release i just hacked the old "Frontier Dev" in it.
That's quite a lot for this vintage space game, paragon to all what was later released in this genre of procedural generated open world games.
I still play it from time to time and even still prefere it over First Encounters even if it's almost the same game.
Mostly i like the Amiga version, it was the fist i played and even when it's untextured compared to the PC-DOS release the CD32 release is major becuase it contains the extremely helpful navigation aid.
The game is processor time hungry it let's DOS-Box sweat, i discovered that it's best to run it on a plain "386" processor setting maximum cycles and set the sound to "low" 22050Hz. The MIDI sound seems to be broken for DOS-Box (but i dunno how it would have been in an original DOS, like i said i used Amigas up to 1998, i still hate the lathe controller it's rubbish). However the sondeffects are sluggish in midi and the button clicking sound won't stop once a button is clicked.
Wind noise, station sound and the piano chord for the hyperspace jump sound very funny with MIDI instruments. The music would be quite fine especially if you use a modern midi soft interpreter which i found even here (thx), but not the best, 4 voices still sound weak other games from the same period have much better midi music.
Still you will encounter that if a lot is displayed FE2 will slow down a lot. You can check this already at default start in Ross154 when you switch to external view and rotate the camera, it will show you very well if it's running fine or not.
A brief summit of my "Missions":
now i have to setup a folder containing only the additions and mods.
Still the question is open "CAN I LINK THE WHOLE GAME?" (i will wait patiently for an answer)
if not i have to link a half non working game and you will have to find the apropriate version yourself.
Or i can redirect you to Frontier.devs themself (or elite-games.ru) it shoud be still somewhere in the forum or i can upload it there without any problems.
I'm a FE2 veteran you will know 😀
(say hi to geraldine, steve and all the rest of pilots)
looks like i haven't all on my notebook and will have to check where i uploaded my stuff or from where i downloaded it.