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Title:Elite: "The game that couldn't be written"

Elite may be the most complex 8-bit game ever produced. And it was arguably the most groundbreaking game ever released for its time. Back in the early 1980s when arcade-shooters reigned supreme, two undergraduates at Cambridge redefined what computer games even were. In this video we'll look at some of the technical aspects of how David Braben and Ian Bell were able to construct an entire universe, economy, 3D engine and backstory in 22KB on a 2MHZ processor. This story is well known in the UK, but computer games history is largely told through the lens of the US and overseas viewers may not be familiar with the impact Elite had on gaming, and the wider world. For anyone that wants to give Elite a try, you can play it online here: Though, I recommend downloading the disc image from that page and running it in 'beebem' (free BBC micro emulator). That way you can save your game. All footage of Elite is taken directly from my BBC Micro via a capture card. Blender was used for 3D animations VSCode with the Beeb VSC extension was used to develop my assembly code BeebEm was used to run 6502 assembly scripts within the BASIC interpreter Sources: Mark Moxon's incredible Elite website, complete with fully annotated source code: Elite source code on github (annotated by Mark Moxon): The BBC Micro user guide (an excellent manual - remember when things came with good manuals?): Another useful reference for the BBC Micro: BBC Micro memory map: Interesting paper about Elite and it's impact: An excellent guide to 6502 assembly: ‘Middle aged men roasting video games’: Original requirements for the BBC Microcomputer: Intro music credit: Music: Evan King - Fetch Quest End music credit: Krayzius & Brainstorm - Virtual Boy 00:00 Intro 04:03 Some Context 06:02 The BBC Micro 12:35 Elite and its Creators 17:02 Hardware 31:30 6502 Assembly 33:48 Innovations: an Overview 37:08 Innovation #1: split-screen 40:12 Innovation #2: backface culling 45:28 Innovation #3: Procedural Generation 47:32 Innovation #4: the Radar 54:08 Elite's Impact 56:33 Lasting Impact on Gaming


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