This is a Mac OS X port of John Jordan's JJFFE, which is itself a reverse engineered version of Frontier: First Encounters, a 1995 computer game developed by David Braben's Frontier Developments.


5th December 2009: MacJJFFE updated - added music support, fullscreen mode, JJFFE config file

29th November 2009: MacJJFFE released

System requirements

You'll need a Mac with an Intel processor, running Mac OS X Leopard (10.5) or Snow Leopard (10.6). MacJJFFE won't run on Tiger (10.4). MacJJFFE absolutely will not run on PowerPC Macs, since JJFFE is largely x86 assembler reverse engineered from the original MS-DOS version.


The current version is based on JJFFE 2.8a7.

MacJJFFE_2.8a7-mac2.dmg (Apple Disk Image, 1.11MB) - MacJJFFE disk image

MacJJFFE_2.8a7-mac2_src.tar.bz2 (bzipped archive, 922KB) - source code and Xcode project. For developers.


Just download the disk image, double click to mount, and drag the JJFFE app bundle to your Applications directory.

For the full experience, JJFFE requires the original FFE game data files. You can still run the game without these files, but there will be no sound or music, and you won't be able to read the in-game journals.

Luckily, Frontier Developments re-released FFE as shareware. Here's how to install the FFE game data:

MacJJFFE runs in a window by default, but you can toggle fullscreen mode by pressing CTRL+F12. To change the default, or to select a different fullscreen mode, you can edit ffemac.cfg in /Applications/JJFFE/Contents/Resources. Most of the options are explained on the JJFFE site, but you'll probably want to fiddle with startfullscreen (0 or 1), winwidth, winheight, fswidth and fsheight.

For help figuring out the game itself, I recommend the guides on Life on the Frontier, and the FAQ and tutorials on Jades' First Encounters Site.


Check the JJFFE FAQ for general questions about JJFFE. For specific help with the Mac version, you can find me on IRC in or #gamedevhell on SynIRC (


MacJJFFE is based on JJFFE, which is a hacked and reverse engineered version of a commercial game. It's probably illegal to download it even if you own the original legally. It will be removed rapidly if anyone complains.

Posted by pwr (site) at November 29, 2009, 8:12pm. Category: . semipermalink Tags: games, retro, elite, frontier, mac, ffe, macjjffe


Share this:

Post a comment

All three fields are optional. Your email address will only be made available to the site owner.


Displaying comments 0-17 of 17 (most recent first)

How do you get rid of it?

Posted by The Kid at September 26, 2015, 11:50pm. Category: .

using a laptop with OSX 10.6, it works but weird controls : A-Z for up-down, but ? for rotating left and strictly no key or combination of keys I tried could steer right, the FFE FAQ doesn't help with that. Anyone could ?

Posted by OL at March 18, 2014, 2:37pm. Category: .

cool, it works!


Posted by gernötli at November 19, 2012, 11:22am. Category: .

Many fashion ladies always pursue fashion Cheap Louboutins, they often pay attention to famous brand. Especially purchasing their Discount Christian Louboutin, certainly, they try to choose a pair of distinctive Cheap Louboutin Shoes. Beautifully show daily work profile. It is no doubt that Christian Louboutin Ankle Boots are a fun choice in true fashion for women. This Christian Louboutin Boots will be perfect for the weekdays and the weekends.

Posted by Discount Christian Louboutins (site) at November 12, 2012, 7:42am. Category: .

How do i save my game. Do i need a certain directory? It just wont let me

Posted by Pj at April 10, 2012, 3:16pm. Category: .

To all the ones screaming for an iphone port:
Please read the section "reqirements" above!
The same reason why it doesn´t run on PPC macs applies for the iPhone:
it is ARM based and cannot execute the x86 code ffe is written in. There needs to be a similar approach that has been used for glfrontier from 68k to x86.

Posted by hil at November 4, 2010, 7:25am. Category: .

Wow an iPhone port would be great! The new iPhone 4 supports connecting an Apple bluetooth keyboard, so it could be played at least with that without the need to re-write all input interfaces :-) and as jailbreaking is no longer illegal, people could install it on their iPhone without Apple store blessings ;-) doc

Posted by anonymous at September 17, 2010, 6:00pm. Category: .

This is fantastic, I can't thank you enough for this and I'll post about it on my blog too!

Posted by Robert Berry (site) at August 7, 2010, 6:35pm. Category: .

Simply awesome ...

Posted by AlexFA at March 20, 2010, 9:49pm. Category: .

I've no doubt that while technically possible to port this to the iPhone, it would not only present a number of interface challenges (No mouse / keyboard) but distribution would be essentially impossible due to it not standing a chance of getting through the AppStore process. However I may give it a go anyway, as pwr has kindly supplied the source and an xcode project to make it easy for me, and respond here withe how it went...

Posted by Matt Fellows at March 15, 2010, 11:53am. Category: .

Good day!

Can you port Elite JJFFE то Iphone? Is it real?

It will be amazing! Мany gamers will meet with pleasure Elite on their iDevices.



Posted by DA Dzi at March 11, 2010, 5:30pm. Category: .

I confirm it won't run on 10.4.X, but great job otherwise !

Posted by anonymous at January 14, 2010, 11:04am. Category: .

David Braben and John Jordan are the heroes here - I'm just the middle man!

Posted by pwr (site) at December 9, 2009, 10:46am. Category: .

Thanks, config file and music are both working well. You are hereby elevated from scholar to God.


Posted by Chris at December 9, 2009, 3:43am. Category: .

Hey Chris,

Config file and music are in - let me know how you get on :)

Posted by pwr (site) at December 5, 2009, 11:56pm. Category: .

Looks good so far, would love to know if there is a config file where I can adjust the window size/run fullscreen like you can with the windows JJFFE?


Posted by Chris at December 5, 2009, 8:16am. Category: .

You Sir, are a scholar. Your Timing really couldn't be much better since I googled in the hope of finding something like this 6 days after you throw it out there. If everything works ok I'll be sure to pass this one on to both my dad and brother. Would love to see the music in there if you can figure it out.


Posted by Chris at December 5, 2009, 8:02am. Category: .

Site Copyright © 1996-2009 Paul Roberts. Opinions expressed are mine and don't represent the view of my employer.
Powered by clunkyblog release 3.10. Generated in 34ms.