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Index of all deep dive articles

This site contains over 100 deep dive articles that explain how Elite weaves its magic. If you want to learn how Elite works under the hood, then this is the place for you.

See the quick start guide for some recommended starting points, or check out the following index of all the deep dive articles and jump straight in. The articles are presented in an order that makes sense for those wanting to unravel the inner workings of Elite, so if you're wondering where to start, I recommend simply working your way down the list.

Most articles apply to all the 6502 versions of Elite, but where this isn't the case, the relevant versions are shown.

Memory maps

The main loop

The split-screen mode

Simulating the local bubble

Ship data

Simulating the universe

Moving and rotating in space

Flying and flight controls

Tactics and combat

The scanner and dashboard

Drawing pixels

Drawing text

  • Drawing text - How Elite draws text on-screen by poking character bitmaps directly into screen memory [Cassette, Disc, Electron, 6502SP, Master, Elite-A]
  • Fonts in NES Elite - The three different fonts used in the Nintendo version of Elite [NES]

Drawing lines

Drawing ships

Drawing circles and ellipses

  • Drawing circles - The routines that draw planets and the hyperspace and docking tunnels
  • The ball line heap - How we remember the lines used to draw circles so they can be redrawn [Cassette, Disc, Electron, 6502SP, Master, Elite-A]
  • Drawing ellipses - How Elite draws ellipses for the planet's crater, meridian and equator

Drawing planets

Drawing suns and explosions





Saving and loading

  • Commander save files - A description of each and every byte in the saved commander file
  • The competition code - All the information that's hidden in the Elite competition code [Cassette, Disc, Electron, 6502SP]

6502 Second Processor Elite

NES Elite