The FFED3DAJ Thread
So what is this FFED3DAJ thing then & how to install it?
First of all, FFED3DAJ is not a stand-alone game that will run 'out of the box' - it's a continuation of the FFED3D project and aims to stabilize it, fix the outstanding issues and to add further enhancements. The aim of FFED3D was to update JJFFE for "modern" (2008+) PCs and add 3D models and effects using DirectX9. Before that, JJFFE updated the original Frontier: First Encounters (FFE) to be playable on Windows 95 systems.
So - FFED3DAJ requires the texture/model assets of FFED3D to be playable. If you are starting out from scratch then you will first need to download and install a base pack. There is the choice of the smaller, standard FFED3D beta1.12++ package or Ittiz's beta3 package which is significantly larger but it includes all of the up to date models as well as those infamous videos!
The original FFED3D beta1.12++ is available from Elite-Games.ru: full beta. Registration is required to post to the forum and download files, but is free to join. It's a Russian language site, and the home of the original FFED3D project started by DreamZzz. Chrome users should be able to automatically translate the site and register with / navigate it.
Alternatively, browse the Download Terminal here at SpaceSimCentral which hosts a choice of two updated packages:
FFED3D_Complete.7z contains the beta1.12++ plus a collection of later models and textures.
FFED3D-beta3-Ittiz.7z contains Ittiz's beta3 pack. Further updated and includes the BBS videos.
The files are located within the main folder "#-F", then "FFED3D".
You will need to register as user here to post to the forums and to download files, but joining is free.
If you grab either of these two base packages, then be forewarned that they are archived using 7zip (.7z) which is open-source, freeware. (Owners of WinRAR can also open this format since around version 4.2).
FFED3D-beta3-Ittiz.7z is recommended as the base pack for new users to download and install over.
If you choose the FFED3D beta1.12++ pack rather than Ittiz's, then I would recommend running the JSGME application that's found within the root FFED3D folder. This can enable / switch between a number of enhanced/replacement models and textures that are not normally active.
Both this site and Elite-Games have an active community/forum board, so please stay a while and say hello/thanks when you download, see what other goodies there are and join in with some of the discussions!
Adding the FFED3DAJ patch
The Russian Elite-Games site has a specific FFED3DAJ discussion thread on its forum with downloads here.
Here at SpaceSimCentral, the individual patch files can be found in the same download location as FFED3D via the Download Terminal file manager, Folder '#-F' \ 'FFED3D'.
The distribution of FFED3DAJ is split into 3 .zip files:
FFED3DAJ_v1.11.zip contains the new patch .exe files. (required)
FFED3DAJ_v1.11_CoreFiles.zip contains a set of updated or new core textures and other supporting files. (required)
FFED3DAJ_v1.01_ExampleSkins.zip is an optional install and contains some examples of multiple-textures on ships as well as a custom shader that colorizes the cargo canisters for variety.
The patch is split like this to save bandwidth for the hosting sites. Once an initial install has been completed, it's typically just the primary "patch" zip file that gets updated between builds. These files should be unzipped into your FFED3D folder, straight over the top of the base installation.
There's a readme file included in the patch .zip "FFED3DAJ_readme.txt" that hopefully explains a lot of the various configuration settings, so please do take a look at that and then edit your ffed3daj.cfg to suit your own requirements / preference!
There are 3 executables included to play this updated version of the game:
FFED3DAJ.exe - This is the classic Frontier: First Encounters game, adapted from JJFFE 2.8 code.
FFED3DAJ_Anisotropic.exe - This is the popular "Anisotropic" modification of JJFFE.
FFED3DAJ_Hellmod.exe - This is EliteGames.Ru's own modification of JJFFE.
The current release version is v1.11.
Note that this patch requires DirectX 9.0c to be installed. This may not be present on relatively clean systems that doesn't have other games installed. If it is missing then running the game will typically display an error message that it can't find d3dx9_42.dll.
If this error message is displayed, the "DirectX End-User Runtimes (June 2010)" will need to be downloaded and installed from: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=8109
There is also a work-in-progress beta build which is currently v1.16 beta1 and a build can be found here.
Note: beta builds do not contain a complete set of required files for this patch - First time users must add the beta file over a full setup that has had the latest release of FFED3DAJ applied to it. (patch & core files)
As always, a very big thanks to Steve of FrontierAstro for all of the time that he's spent over the years, testing the never-ending beta builds and for feeding back both bugs and suggestions to help get the version to where it's at today. (And also for supplying a few of the new loading-screen 'hints'!)
Recommended Texture Add-on packs
To get the best visuals from the latest builds of FFED3DAJ, I recommend that you add the following texture packs by nanite2000.
These were created in collaboration and to accompany the release of v1.10a. They will continue to be compatible with future versions.
They are available here at SpaceSimCentral from the Download Terminal, Folder '#-F' \ 'FFED3D'
Alternatively from this post at Elite-Games.Ru: http://www.elite-games.ru/conference/viewtopic.php?p=3171500#3171500
nanite2000_Planet_Surfaces_v1.8.zip For enhanced planet surface textures and atmospheres. (Gallery)
nanite2000_Metal_Textures_v1.3.zip for enhanced metal surfaces on FFE's original ship and space-station models. (Gallery)
nanite2000_Planet_Icons_v1.1.zip for an updated set of graphics for the system information views. (Gallery)
nanite2000_Cockpit_Graphics_v1.0.zip for updated cockpit icons and buttons. (Gallery)
Please do post in this thread if any help is required or to leave any feedback! 🙂
Donik has recorded the intro using the v1.10a build and nanite2000's textures pack.
And pettytyrant101 has posted this little video for your viewing pleasure:
"FFED3DAJ- Elite Frontier: First Encounters- see the galaxy for less than 3 Altarian dollars a day!"
If for some reason you have issues uploading files to download area just let me know AndyJ and I can put them there for you. Or if you think we need to clean up the FFED3D file area we can do that too to help limit confusion for people. Been a long time since I last played with FFED3D and I will admit I haven't tried your work yet, I should make some time 😉
But very nice work and an excellent explanation on how you get it all working.
Even though FFE3D has been around for years now, it's still impresses me. I will never forget, way back in the days before Elite Dangerous came out, this turned up on the Frontier Forum. I was blown away. Then Steve "Coolhand" Tyler, posted a picture of this stunning Police Viper. I thought it was just a nice render. When I found out I could actually fly it in FFE3D.........well, all I can say it's been on my hard drive ever since! 😀
great write up Andyj, any know issues with Windows 10.
Not that I'm aware of, no.
However if a system is fairly clean and doesn't have any older games installed already, a potential issue would be an absence of the DirectX 9.0.c runtimes that FFED3DAJ requires. If this is the case, then running the game will typically display an error message that it can't find d3dx9_42.dll.
If this error message is displayed, the "DirectX End-User Runtimes (June 2010)" will need to be downloaded and installed from - https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=8109
(never gamble with 3rd party websites that claim to 'fix issues' with individual downloads of .dll/system files!)
This dependency is covered in the readme, but I'll add it to the instructions above too.
Oh, and be sure to add the v1.15 beta7 files after setting up a base FFED3D & v1.11 - it has a couple of years worth of fixes & enhancements over the last release version(!) and there have been A LOT of improvements for things like borderless fullscreen mode, enhanced joystick support, memory usage etc.
This build contains a new configuration application ffed3daj_config.exe to help users set up their preferences and controls without having to manually edit the ffed3daj.cfg file.
(requires .Net 4.x on Windows 7)
Existing players with previous beta builds, please be aware that there has been a change to the binding of dev scripts to keys.
Previously, they were defined at the end of the Keyboard mappings section, against pairs of keys in the format "script_key1=" and "script_cmd1=".
These are now stored in their own [SCRIPTS] section with a primary key named "script1=" which has the filename assigned against it (without ! prefix or .txt extension) and a second entry "script1_key=" which can optionally have a keyboard key name assigned to it.
To convert existing entries in the keyboard mappings prior to running the configuration application, edit the .cfg file and insert the line "[SCRIPTS]" before them and rename the entries as appropriate.
A list of scripts can added in this section, and these are now assigned to Joystick (and also Mouse) buttons by specifying the name of the entry, e.g. "script5" rather than the filename.
SpoilerChanges: 2019-10-23 - Version 1.16 beta 1:
+ Enhanced suns: FFE's 3D suns are now supported and replace the 2D versions by default. Enabled
with the .cfg value "draw3DSuns=1", set to 0 to disable and draw the 2D bitmap suns instead.
+ 2D versions are now drawn to emulate FFE's non-spherical stars with the .cfg setting
"drawNonSpherical2DSuns=1" as the new default. Set to 0 to display all stars as spheres again.
+ Added new texture file values to permit 3D sun surface and corona textures to be customised.
+ Time variable for shader animations is now updated in line with game time to reflect a paused state or
accelerated stardreamer settings.
+ Added a keyboard BINDS option for the wingman_menu key and added a fix so that it will now work when
keyboard remapping is enabled.
+ Special CTRL keys functionality can now be remapped, e.g. screenshot, fullscreen/window toggle.
+ Dev console has improved descriptions for orbital objects (stars, planets, spacestations) and
planetary starports when displayed with the 'list' and 'info' commands.
+ Fuel scoop, ECM and Scanner models can have their positions tweaked via the tris.ini belonging to
Ships/stations that are rendered as .X models. A further setting makes it possible to enable animations
on these equipment items.
+ Dev console / scripts can interrogate and/or set the majority of the .cfg file settings values.
e.g. "draw3dsuns 0" would disable the new feature to draw suns as 3D objects.
The settings names are not case-sensitive. Directories, Translation Language, Control bindings,
Joystick configuration and Screen setup values are read-only and can not be updated at this time.
+ Dev console/script commands that can output value/string variables also support the .cfg variables
and some internal code variables.
+ Dev console/script commands nav, att and select can clear their current object value by setting to 0.
+ Dev console/script commands can reference 'nav' and 'att' as object id's to use their current value.
+ Internal refactor of .cfg file processing to build up the list of settings for the developers console
with name, data type and callable functions to handle value validation/update at start-up and via input.
+ Automatic and Bind Scripts are cached at start-up and script errors will prevent repeated execution
until corrected. Updating a script file will cause it to be reloaded into the cache.
+ New auto script "_auto_OnRender" which triggers before each frame is rendered.
+ Bug fix: Water textures became lost to the planet shader if they were cached on the video card
and textures were reloaded, resulting in black texturing. (issue introduced in v1.15 beta1)
+ Fix to prevent the 3D text "DAVID BRABEN'S" being briefly displayed when the intro demo repeats.
+ The blue explosion stars in the intro sequence were glitching again. They are now displayed in 2 of 3
segments: where the Police Viper MKIIs and the Turner class ship are destroyed.
+ Patch correction:
+ The "DisableEnginesOffCombatVelocityFudge" and "DisableAICombatVelocityFudge" settings were not
being used in the Anisotropic and Hellmod builds following a change in 1.15 beta1.
+ .cfg variable changes:
+ "forceEngineSound" has been moved from the PATCHES section to GAME_SETTINGS.
+ Joystick section: The "enabled" value is now renamed to "enableJoystick".
The legacy value will still be read from old .cfg files until replaced.
+ .cfg file change:
+ New section [SCRIPTS] to define all bindable script filenames and an optional key assignment.
+ Keyboard, Joystick button and Mouse button script binds now use a SCRIPTx identifier value from the
[SCRIPTS] section instead of a filename.
+ New section [CTRL_BINDS] to define special CTRL key assignments. These include screenshot, quit
game and toggle screen-mode as well as several developer options.
+ A new configuration application "FFED3DAJ_Config.exe" is included to edit the .cfg file.
This can define:
Display modes. FFE Game settings and Language. Graphics and effects values.
Model settings and caching. Keyboard, mouse and joystick bindings and values.
Game Directories. Optional Gameplay fixes and patches.
The Tooltip help for the various options is defined in the file ffed3daj_config.ini, located within
the Translations\EN directory. If the selected game language is not "EN" then the application will
check for definitions within the appropriate Translations subdirectory. This allows for translated
tooltips to be added in future.
(Windows XP/7 PCs may require .Net 4.x runtimes to be installed.)