Pioneer (video game)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Initial release2006; 17 years ago (2006)
Stable release
release 20230203 [1] / February 3, 2023; 10 months ago (2023-02-03)
PlatformLinux, Microsoft Windows
TypeSingle player, Space trading and combat simulator
LicenseGPL (and more permissive licenses)[2][3] / CC BY-SA 3.0[4]
Landing on Miranda Colony

Pioneer is a free and open source space trading and combat simulator video game inspired by the commercial proprietary Frontier: Elite 2.[5][6] It is available for Linux, and Microsoft Windows.


Pioneer is set at the start of the 33rd century. The player may choose from one of three starting locations: Mars, New Hope or a space station around Barnard's Star.[7]


The game has no set objective, and the player is free to explore the galaxy and accrue money by performing tasks like trading, piracy or combat missions, allowing them to achieve a higher rank, buy better ships and equipment and hire more crew.

It has a realistic flight and orbital model based on Newtonian physics and a rudimentary atmospheric model with drag and heat build-up.


Development was started in 2008 by Tom Morton, also known for his work on GLFrontier, as a remake and homage to Frontier: Elite 2.[8] The game is written in C++[9] and uses OpenGL for graphical rendering. It uses Lua for scripting support. The development migrated in 2011 to a repository, and some years later to GitHub.

The project had at times up to 50 developers[10][11]

Reception and impact[edit]

Pioneer was selected in March 2013 as "HotPick" by Linux Format.[12] Pioneer was used in a physical spaceship flight simulator project in 2013.[13] In 2014 Pioneer was described by PCGamer as "incredibly slick" and named among the "Ten top fan remade classics you can play for free right now".[14] In 2015 a Der Standard article noted the enormous work the fans have achieved with Pioneer as Elite remake and continuation.[10]

Pioneer became a quite popular open source freeware title; between 2011 and May 2017, the game was downloaded via over 260,000 times.[15]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Pioneer 2022-02-03". 2023-02-02. Retrieved 2023-02-03.
  2. ^ licenses
  3. ^ licensing
  4. ^ authors.txt on "Pioneer's art, music and other assets are licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License." (May 2017)
  5. ^ Craig Pearson (2011-12-06). "Back To Front(ier): Pioneer". Rock, Paper, Shotgun.
  6. ^ "Game Bytes #2". 28 August 2012.
  7. ^ "Pioneer Official Site".
  8. ^ "Initial commit to the Git repository". GitHub. June 24, 2008. Retrieved September 30, 2019.
  9. ^ "Pioneer github page". GitHub. 5 January 2022.
  10. ^ a b Rainer Sigl (February 1, 2015). "Lieblingsspiele 2.0: Die bewundernswerte Kunst der Fan-Remakes". Der Standard.
  11. ^ "Pioneer github graphs". GitHub.
  12. ^ Linux Format 168 March 2013 page 77
  13. ^ Amazing dad builds son a spaceship simulator by Michelle Starr on (April 11, 2013)
  14. ^ Craig Pearson (2014-01-01). "Ten top fan-remade classics you can play for free right now". PC Gamer.
  15. ^ Download Statistics: All Files6 on (October 2019)

External links[edit]