Disassembly (CC65) of the Commodore 64 port of the seminal space-sim Elite, by Ian Bell / David Braben.
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Elite : Harmless

Elite : Harmless is a greatly enhanced version of the Commodore 64 port of the seminal space-trading-combat sim Elite, made possible by a full disassembly.

State Of The Project

The game is disassembled but documentation is on-going.
No improvements have been implemented yet.
Help is needed in these areas:

  • Understanding / commenting the 3D math code;
    working out how to rebuild the math tables from macros
  • Commenting SID code (I know literally nothing of audio theory)
  • See also the list of "Help Wanted" issues

Planned Improvements:

Building Elite : Harmless

Elite : Harmless can be built on Windows, Linux & Mac.


  • It's strongly recommended that you use Microsoft's VSCode. The repository contains a VSCode configuration to automatically set code formatting options and provides built-in shortcuts for building (CTRL+SHIFT+B)

  • Windows 10 users must install the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL), this allows you to run the Linux toolchain with the minimum of fuss, and is far less complicated than using other Windows-Linux toolchains such as MSYS / Cygwin. For other Windows versions, MSYS or Cygwin will have to be used, but no support is provided for this

  • The assembler used is CC65, this provides us cross-compatibility between Windows, Mac & Linux and an easy way to build from source on Windows 10

Setting Up The Build Tools

  1. Install VSCode

  2. Open VSCode, open the Extensions panel (CTRL+SHIFT+X), search for "CC65" and install the CC65 extension

  3. From the VSCode menu, select "Tasks" > "Run Task..." and click on "Install build tools". The setup Bash script will download and compile CC65. The script will ask for your Linux password so as to install the GCC compiler suite and required tools (sudo apt-get install git gcc make python3).

Building the Elite : Harmless Source

Just press CTRL+SHIFT+B in VSCode to build the source code.


This work was made possible by various resources available on the web, for which I would like to give thanks to the people involved and for the love and effort they've poured into their work.


"Elite" is copyright David Braben & Ian Bell, Acornsoft (BBC / Electron versions), Firebird / British Telecom (C64 version), 1984-1985, all rights reserved. The name "Elite" is used in this project for historical, educational and archival purposes only.

To protect the legal interests involved, "Elite : Harmless" is made available under a Creative Commons Attribution, Non-Commercial, Share-Alike Licence.