Information on the version of Aviator analysed here
Acornsoft released Aviator for the BBC Micro in March 1984. It was available on both cassette and disc, though the game code is identical on both media. The version analysed on this site is identical to this original version, but with the copy protection disabled (specifically, it's the version from the BBC Micro Games Archive).
There is another variant of Aviator that was never officially released, but which is readily available (see below). This variant sports a four-colour dashboard and a blue-and-white canopy view - in contrast to the original release, which is black-and-white from tip to tail - and just like Elite, it achieves this by reprogramming the screen palette for the bottom part of the screen. The standard monochrome version of Aviator already uses a four-colour screen, though it hides this fact from the player so it can use the extra colours behind the scenes to implement ultra-smooth game graphics (see the deep dive on flicker-free animation through colour cycling for details). Switching the palette for the lower part of the screen allows the dashboard to use all four colours without clashing with the palette-switching technique, which is still used in the two-colour canopy view.
Here are some suggestions for exploring these two variants of Aviator:
- Play the officially released variant of Aviator in your browser at the BBC Micro Games Archive.
- Play the unofficial colour variant of Aviator in your browser at the BBC Micro Games Archive.
- Navigate the codebase using the map of the source code, A-Z index and source code cross-references.
- See the code statistics for Aviator.
- Build Aviator from the source code with the accompanying GitHub repository.