Frontier: First Encounters (FFE) came hot on the heals of Frontier: Elite 2 in 1995. It’s the third game in the Elite series developed by Frontier Developments.
FFE had the potential to be the crowning glory of the Elite series, but due to conflicts with their publisher; Gametek, Frontier Developments were forced to release the game several months before it was fully complete, which meant it was shipped with far too many bugs. Fortunately many of these problems were later fixed but by then the damage was done - the introduction of the first 3D FX graphics cards just one year after release suddenly made the then ground breaking graphics seem archaic, which didn’t help either.
Built heavily on its predecessor; Frontier, FFE uses the game accurately modelled galaxy, Newtonian modelling for both ships and interstellar bodies however, this time the planets were fully modelled objects that have rolling hills, lakes and mountains. The ship compliment was increased to now include 48 different models from small, nimble fighters, up to huge bulk carriers.
The previous two political factions we’re joined by a third; The Alliance, based in the Alioth System. Along with this FFE also had the Journals which helped to create a far more interesting and complex story for the player to immerse themselves with. There was also a much larger plot-line encompassing all kinds of [hard-coded] missions and often the player could influence and change the outcome of these.
With the big jumps in computer technology going on during the 90’s Frontier Developments we’re able also include a large catalogue of video snippets to enhance the player experience. Although a novelty at first they did soon become tiresome and most players just turned them off.